Media Advisory: At Sept 7 HRM council meeting, citizens’ group will oppose four towers on single block

Development Options Halifax Opposes Four Massive Towers at Spring Garden and Robie – It Has Better Options

Citizens’ Group will appear at Sept 7 HRM Council Public Hearing

Case 20761 – Rouvalis 28, 29-storey towers are being considered separately from Dexel’s Cast 20218 for 2 ~30-storey towers.
Case 22927: proposes adding 23-storeys (orange) in a lot that HRM staff recommended be restricted to 6-storeys

(Ki’jupuk/Halifax) A Halifax citizens’ group dedicated to better public engagement on urban development intends to appear at the upcoming Sept 7 public hearing before HRM Council to oppose two developments that it calls “monstrous.” Development Options Halifax (DOH) says these projects have been subject to an “upward creep” process hidden from citizens and even many HRM Council members. A letter from DOH to Council accompanies this media advisory.

Case 20761 (Rouvalis) now calls for two towers, respectively 28 and 29 storeys + penthouses near the corner of Spring Garden and Robie (the Carlton Block.) An additional proposal, Case 2021 (Dexel), for two more towers of similar height on that same block, will NOT be on the agenda on Sept 7. How is it possible for HRM Council to meaningfully consider the development of the Carlton Block and the cumulative impact of four towers – greater  in square footage than the  Nova Centre – in this partitioned way? The fact these two developers won’t collaborate shouldn’t force citizens to only see half the picture. The two developments should be considered together.

There are good reasons to reject BOTH proposals. The developments are just too massive for any rational development purpose in Halifax. They will worsen both the current affordable housing crisis by permanently removing 110 affordable units and their high embodied carbon will deepen the current climate crisis. Developers have exploited the term “densification” and have bypassed the problem of affordability to sell us on height as if there is no better option. But Development Options Halifax has better options.

Having for years avoided the onslaught of a full-blown housing crisis, is HRM now using the crisis to stampede approval of poor proposals?

Another proposal coming to Council at the same Sept 7 meeting, Case 22927 (Westwood) suffers from similar problems. The 23-storey building at Robie near Quinpool began as a low- to medium-rise with HRM staff recommending 6-storeys but that has been allowed to creep upward. It merely adds to a horrific massing problem at this corner which resulted from politics, not planners.

Development Options Halifax is a group of citizens in Halifax, NS who want better balance between the interests of citizens with those of developers. We advocate for using technology such as 3-D models to present facts and smaller scale in-fill options to the public and to open an informed and transparent public discussion on development that better addresses housing needs and mitigates the climate crisis.