Willow Tree Group

On June 19, 2018, Regional Council gave final approval to APL’s 25-storey building at Robie and Quinpool, despite overwhelming opposition from the public.

According to the draft Centre Plan (p. 107), APL’s 25-storey project will be the first phase of a major redevelopment of the Quinpool district from Robie Street to Monastery Lane (where Canadian Tire is currently located) that would add a half-kilometre of 15-storey buildings along the street and its adjacent neighbourhoods.

Although the Willow Tree Group’s four-year opposition turned out to be futile, our website will remain online. Its resources and editorials may be useful to other groups who are questioning proposed developments in Halifax, along with Regional Council’s respect for the by-laws and the approval process.


For a history of this case, please check the Current Status page.


[Archived June 2018]

Above is the Quinpool Road district in Halifax: a dense fabric of houses, flats, small apartment buildings, and local businesses.

Below is what’s being proposed here by APL Properties (George Armoyan) and Westwood Developments (Danny Chedrawe). This view is from the Halifax Common. APL’s 29-storey tower on the left would become the second tallest building in Halifax, only 29 feet shorter than Fenwick Tower (the jewel of the South End, built in 1971). Westwood’s 25-storey tower on the right would become the sixth tallest building in Halifax, seven times higher than what’s permitted on this site, and taller than the Bell Aliant Building on Barrington Street. The black dots at the bottom are people walking along Quinpool Road.

two-developments

This is how these buildings would appear from the opposite side, the Parker Street neighbourhood, with Cogswell Park in the foreground:

welsford_park_with_towers_2

This is how APL’s building would look on its own, next to the houses on Parker Street:

Who Would Benefit From These Developments?

  • the developers, who would gain millions of dollars from the development rights
  • developers who own nearby properties and would expect similar gifts from HRM
  • people who are excited by tall buildings and think they are modern and world-class
  • singles and couples who want to live in a high-rise apartment block
  • national retail chains that would replace local businesses along Quinpool Road
  • HRM officials who want to appear to be taking action on densifying the peninsula

What’s Wrong With These Developments?

Losses would be felt by local homeowners, local renters, local business owners, pedestrians, drivers, users of Cogswell Park, users of the Halifax Common and the Oval, Quinpool Road shoppers, children who would live in these buildings, and those who value neighbours and community functions.

These developments break Halifax by-laws that are intended to safeguard the public interest:

  • neighbourhood compatibility
  • building height
  • ground-level setbacks from adjacent properties
  • upper-level stepbacks
  • population density
  • landscaped open space
  • parking spaces
  • impact on wind in the local area
  • impact on sunlight in the local area
  • impact on traffic in the local area
  • commercial zoning on Robie Street (Westwood property)

These developments also would have a negative impact on:

  • local residential and commercial property values, assessments, taxes, and rents
  • locally owned, independent businesses along Quinpool Road
  • smaller developers who might propose mid-rise buildings along Quinpool
  • social dynamics and community function of Quinpool neighbourhoods
  • environmental conditions on the Halifax Common, including the Oval
  • precedents for spot re-zoning on other properties along Robie and Quinpool

They would do nothing to advance urban initiatives for the peninsula:

  • family housing
  • affordable housing
  • community facilities

The Bottom Line

The net result of these developments (profits minus losses) would be negative. Simply reducing their height would have little impact on the bottom line. City hall: Just say no. The developers who own these properties need to go back to square one.

We are in favour of development in the Quinpool District – but it must be smart development that is based on a thorough set of objectives for the whole district (which may or may not become part of the Centre Plan). We are also in favour of a municipal planning process that respects the rules. To find out why, please read our editorials and view the rest of the website.

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