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Media release: Friends of Halifax Common petition Mayor Savage and HRM Council

For Immediate Release

Media Advisory – Feb 24, 2020

KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) A Friends of Halifax Common petition calling for full public disclosure and public consultations on the proposed $2 billion dollar QEII hospital expansion; restriction of hospital developments to Halifax Common lands already assembled by the NS Health Authority; legislative protection of the Halifax Common; and a review and reconsideration of proposed demolition of the existing Halifax Infirmary parking garage will be presented by HRM Councillor Waye Mason at HRM council on Tuesday morning – Feb 25. 

The  2,882 electronic signatures were collected in a twenty day period between Tuesday Feb. 4 and Sunday Feb. 23, 2020. Remedies sought are outlined in each of the four points being petitioned on (see below).

A 2008 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between HRM and the Province governed the sale/swap of a number of parcels of land between the city and the Province, including the Queen Elizabeth High School Lands on the Halifax Common. Significant is the statement that ‘as a condition of sale, (HRM and the Province) approve the key Urban Design Principles and Site Planning Guidelines’ and Collaborative Planning.  So far the Province is not following that or any of the other conditions outlined in the MOU.

On Feb 11 HRM Council “compromised” with the Province by agreeing that the 7-storey parkade and a steam plant proposed for the Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History grounds may be instead be built on a western portion of Summer Street. This will impact only the second item in the petition and what it will look like is unknown. 

Petition to the Nova Scotia Provincial and HRM Municipal Governments:

We the undersigned hereby petition Premier Steven McNeil and Members of the Nova Scotia Legislature along with Mayor Michael Savage and Halifax Regional Municipality Councillors to:

1. Make public all proposed plans for the entire expansion of the QE2 hospital (both the Halifax Infirmary and Victoria General) including its associated parking, power plant and other encroachments, as well as all anticipated costs and then schedule public consultations.

2. Do not allow expansion of any components of the Halifax Infirmary to the east side (Natural History Museum side) of Summer St., rather keep all expansion of the facility to the land assembly (21.5 acres) currently held by the Province to the west side (Hospital side) of Summer St that includes the former Queen Elizabeth High School and CBC TV properties.

3. HRM should commit to not selling any additional parcels of Halifax Common, and Council should seek legislation from the Province that will give legislative protection to the Halifax Common such as is currently given to the Dartmouth Common.

4. In light of the very significant negative economic and environmental effects of demolition and rebuilding, the province should revisit its plan to not keep the present Robie Street parking facility and retain it instead.