New development tends to start with the tearing down of existing buildings. I spoke with Peggy Cameron about the city’s problematic demolition approvals, their impact on climate change and affordable housing, and the reluctance of city councillors to make things better.
Peggy Cameron: The Halifax Common’s 240 acres is ~ 20-25% parking lots. There is an obvious opportunity to re-naturalize, re-wild or landscape them to create new park space and a cheap, efficient way to deal with major impacts from climate change. But Mayor Savage and Council have no plans to change this usage. In fact they recently approved plans for a new 8-storey parking garage by the NS Museum of Natural History. That’s despite ~3,000 citizens petitioning against the garage and for protection of the Halifax Common.
The sale of the Bloomfield school site by the city more than anything means the loss of desperately needed affordable housing. A look at what could have been.
Martyn Williams writes the Halifax road safety steering committee after drivers killed 8 pedestrians on crosswalks since the beginning of 2018.
In 1995 there were 156 rooming houses in Halifax and Dartmouth. In 2016 there were fewer than 20 left. This video looks at the reasons why. Greed (aka capitalism) is the obvious reason, but urban planners and poor bashing media also played a role.
Martyn Williams: There were numerous core concerns raised by stakeholders and by design experts regarding Cogswell’s lack of connectivity, lack of character, and lack of genuine buy-in and involvement from the community and stakeholders. Now we must take time to reconsider Cogswell, before mistakes are made. The new Cogswell just exists on paper right now. Nothing is irreversible.
This documentary puts a face to the rapid changes gentrification has brought to the Halifax North End. We meet some of the older residents who reminisce about life in their old neighborhood, one that actually deserved to be called vibrant.
“We’d all benefit from living in a city that was less racist, that was less unjust, that was less oppressive, that was less centered on displacement in the interest of white supremacy and profit.” An interview with professor Ted Rutland about urban planning as a misguided strategy to reduce crime and poverty and pave the way for gentrification of the historic Halifax North End.
On April 29 Martyn Williams sent an open letter to Jacques Dubé (Halifax CAO) and Brad Anguish (Director, Public Transportation and Works) expressing concern that genuine issues relating to social distancing rules and lack of space for pedestrians were not taken seriously by Halifax City Hall. Here is a further exchange between Brad Anguish and Martyn Williams.
10 pedestrians died in Halifax traffic over the last 2 years, almost half of them while using a crosswalk. Making crosswalks safer is not rocket science, writes Martyn Williams, so why should we accept that our life and personal safety is less important than traffic flow?