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  #81  
Old Posted Jul 10, 2014, 5:26 PM
Drybrain Drybrain is offline
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Originally Posted by portapetey View Post

Trust me, I'm on your side and would love to see cool new highrise developments downtown, but I think it's very farfetched to imagine Halifax can sustain a large skyscraper city. We are just far too small and there aren't enough people to pack into many, if any, 50 and 60 story buildings.
Exactly. The city doesn't lack megatall buildings because of development-stifling NIMBYism, it lacks them due to the fact that it has fewer than half a million people. I can't think of any cities in our size range with a lot of major highrises—even Hamilton, with a larger population and well within the economic orbit of the GTA, is basically on par with us for highrises. (It's highest buildings are a bit higher, but I think we have more buildings over 200 ft).

This is partly why the whole Skye thing was ridiculous, or why calls to pack the Cogswell lands with 60-storey towers sound kinda...silly. Anyway, as I've said on here ad nauseam, I'm way more excited by all the infilling happening nowadays then I am by huge-ass buildings. Would rather see the city stitched together to be awesome at the street level than built up to the sky and look cool from a distance.
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  #82  
Old Posted Jul 10, 2014, 6:03 PM
portapetey portapetey is offline
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Exactly. The city doesn't lack megatall buildings because of development-stifling NIMBYism, it lacks them due to the fact that it has fewer than half a million people. I can't think of any cities in our size range with a lot of major highrises—even Hamilton, with a larger population and well within the economic orbit of the GTA, is basically on par with us for highrises. (It's highest buildings are a bit higher, but I think we have more buildings over 200 ft).

This is partly why the whole Skye thing was ridiculous, or why calls to pack the Cogswell lands with 60-storey towers sound kinda...silly. Anyway, as I've said on here ad nauseam, I'm way more excited by all the infilling happening nowadays then I am by huge-ass buildings. Would rather see the city stitched together to be awesome at the street level than built up to the sky and look cool from a distance.
I think development-stifling NIMBYism DOES play a role in failing to repair some of the huge holes in the downtown, and some of the other huge planning mistakes in other parts of the peninsula. It's just not the only factor.

The two biggest complaints I have about Halifax are its balkanization - it is far too segregated in terms of residential and commercial zones, and in terms of neighbourhoods being completely separate from each other - and the tendency to do suburban style development in areas that should have a more urban feel - stripmalls or large bigbox department stores behind large parking lots along Duncrack and Lacewood, along Young St., the Shoppers at Robie and Almon (I think?), the Superstore on Barrinton South, that sort of thing.

Urban streets should have storefronts cozied right up to the sidewalk (parking in the rear!); they draw the eye to the sides, pulling you down them. They make you want to walk down and explore.

Big, broad, empty boulevard lined with tress can be rather beautiful, but they don't encourage you to walk down them. You naturally view them like highways.

We need more consideration for human psychology in design. Otherwise, everything just looks like another "business park".
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  #83  
Old Posted Jul 10, 2014, 6:07 PM
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Originally Posted by eastcoastal View Post
In this case, I think that they see the rules they're enforcing as those designed to protect heritage aspects of the city. Not individual buildings.

They have problems with some components of HRMbyDesign, but there are significant portions they are OK with... maybe bordering on supportive... in any case, they'll use what weapons they can to fight for what they believe is right. So, when HRMbyDesign rules that apply everywhere else, are conveniently avoided for this one particular piece of land, it raises their hackles. While it may not be clear-cut, I also think that their concerns with whether or not the building contravenes the city's requirements not to create super-blocks at least warrants reasonable discussion.

About the ad - I think it's great.

About the recent legal action naming the trust and its officers - terrible. I can't imagine that impacting their right to free speech and doing what they believe is holding the city accountable to its own rules will be tolerated by a judge. Terrible costs to the developer aren't right, but I don't believe that the Trust undertook legal action for the sake of causing disruption, but because they REALLY do think they're doing the right thing.

Beliefs can be tricky things.
if you dont like the view planes in the bylaw - appeal HRMxD. that was the time and place to do it - not specific projects.

Also remember the Super block was created as a result of public consultation. Urbanists decided that sacrificing Grafton was an acceptable tradeoff to preserve and better argyle. urbanists hate super blocks, because they become unwalkable, but they manged to come up with a reasonable compromise. - Halifax got a better building, and a Better Argyle district, and we gave up a Street. Fair trade in my books.

point is - a very vocal interest group got changes made to the project - by working with the developer. Im sure they didn't get everything - but they did well, and its a better project and city because of that..

HTNS take note.
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  #84  
Old Posted Jul 10, 2014, 7:20 PM
Hali87 Hali87 is offline
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Originally Posted by portapetey View Post
The two biggest complaints I have about Halifax are its balkanization - it is far too segregated in terms of residential and commercial zones, and in terms of neighbourhoods being completely separate from each other - and the tendency to do suburban style development in areas that should have a more urban feel - stripmalls or large bigbox department stores behind large parking lots along Duncrack and Lacewood, along Young St., the Shoppers at Robie and Almon (I think?), the Superstore on Barrington South, that sort of thing.
I disagree, on a national scale, Halifax isn't any more land-use segregated than other cities, and I would say that it's actually considerably more integrated than most. Ever been to any Halifax-sized cities in Ontario? Ever been to Winnipeg, or anywhere in Alberta?

Many cities in Canada have no equivalent to say, Quinpool, Agricola, Spring Garden, or the Hydrostone, or Downtown Dartmouth. These are commercial areas that cut through residential zones. Most parts of the peninsula are within reasonable walking distance to basic shopping and services, and other areas like Dutch Village are starting to improve. I'm not sure what your benchmark of a non-Balkanized Canadian city is, but if you're thinking of Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver, realize that when people think of these cities as being "walkable" (and I would argue that Toronto is largely less walkable than Halifax) they mean the cores, not Etobicoke, or Montreal-Est or Fraserview, just as when people talk about Halifax being walkable they don't mean Clayton Park (which, incidentally, IS much more walkable than many comparable neighbourhoods nation-wide). Walkability is a bit more subtle than just not having parking lots in front of buildings.

If you want to see real land-use separation, check out London or Oshawa, ON, or a prairie city like Edmonton.
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  #85  
Old Posted Jul 10, 2014, 7:45 PM
portapetey portapetey is offline
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I disagree, on a national scale, Halifax isn't any more land-use segregated than other cities, and I would say that it's actually considerably more integrated than most. Ever been to any Halifax-sized cities in Ontario? Ever been to Winnipeg, or anywhere in Alberta?

Many cities in Canada have no equivalent to say, Quinpool, Agricola, Spring Garden, or the Hydrostone, or Downtown Dartmouth. These are commercial areas that cut through residential zones. Most parts of the peninsula are within reasonable walking distance to basic shopping and services, and other areas like Dutch Village are starting to improve. I'm not sure what your benchmark of a non-Balkanized Canadian city is, but if you're thinking of Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver, realize that when people think of these cities as being "walkable" (and I would argue that Toronto is largely less walkable than Halifax) they mean the cores, not Etobicoke, or Montreal-Est or Fraserview, just as when people talk about Halifax being walkable they don't mean Clayton Park (which, incidentally, IS much more walkable than many comparable neighbourhoods nation-wide). Walkability is a bit more subtle than just not having parking lots in front of buildings.

If you want to see real land-use separation, check out London or Oshawa, ON, or a prairie city like Edmonton.

I'm not talking about comparisons to other cites. I'm talking about this city, here, now.

It is a scattered disorganized city with huge tracts of residential neighbourhoods with nothing else but houses in them, interspersed with hideous sterile business parks. There are very few real integrated neighbourhoods. Only a few spots around the peninsula and way out in Bedford are even close to an urban design with residential area properly enclosed by commercial streets that cater to the local neighbourhood. The vast majority of the city is suburban "subdivision" style tracts that rely entirely on cars and highways.

Whether other Canadian cities are exactly the same is irrelevant to whether this is a good thing or not. Yeah, Mississauga is similar. Does anyone anywhere think Mississauga is nice place?
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  #86  
Old Posted Jul 10, 2014, 7:45 PM
Drybrain Drybrain is offline
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Originally Posted by Hali87 View Post
I disagree, on a national scale, Halifax isn't any more land-use segregated than other cities, and I would say that it's actually considerably more integrated than most.

If you want to see real land-use separation, check out London or Oshawa, ON, or a prairie city like Edmonton.
Agreed. To me, Halifax's peninsula feels similar in walkability to central Toronto (approx. High Park to The Beach, Eglinton to the lake). In some ways, it's more walkable—like, a much greater share of the central population being able to commute on foot into the downtown core in a reasonable length of time, simply because the city is smaller.

There ARE too many suburban-style developments in central locations, though that, again, is fairly common nationwide. (Some cities are well ahead of us on discouraging that stuff, though,so we shouldn't get complacent.)

And yeah, prairie cities are the worst for ultra-orthodox, SimCity-esque land-use segregation. Edmonton is especially terrible. It has about three real neighbourhoods, one of which is kind've given over to nightlife and bars, and one of which is downtown, which is still hugely lacking in terms of amenities for residents.

Of course, with their young, urbanist mayors, etc., Edmonton and Calgary are starting to turn a corner in this regard, but there's still about 75 years of "this goes here, this goes there, never the twain shall meet" development to overcome.

Quote:
Originally Posted by portapetey
Urban streets should have storefronts cozied right up to the sidewalk (parking in the rear!); they draw the eye to the sides, pulling you down them. They make you want to walk down and explore.
I agree with that, which is why I'm thrilled to see modestly-scaled infilling, to re-urbanize the gaps we created over the past few decades. There's no reason Barrington, for example, can't be an unbroken row of storefronts from Duke to Inglis. (Or one day, post Cogswell, north of Duke as well.)
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  #87  
Old Posted Jul 10, 2014, 8:09 PM
Hali87 Hali87 is offline
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Originally Posted by portapetey View Post
I'm not talking about comparisons to other cites. I'm talking about this city, here, now.

It is a scattered disorganized city with huge tracts of residential neighbourhoods with nothing else but houses in them, interspersed with hideous sterile business parks. There are very few real integrated neighbourhoods. Only a few spots around the peninsula and way out in Bedford are even close to an urban design with residential area properly enclosed by commercial streets that cater to the local neighbourhood. The vast majority of the city is suburban "subdivision" style tracts that rely entirely on cars and highways.

Whether other Canadian cities are exactly the same is irrelevant to whether this is a good thing or not. Yeah, Mississauga is similar. Does anyone anywhere think Mississauga is nice place?
All that I meant was that almost every city in North America is like this. I remember reading a post (don't remember if it was you or not) saying that if Halifax was larger it would be just like Atlanta. I find this a stretch and seems to imply that some people think the urban form of Halifax is significantly more land-use separated than most cities, which it is not. Mississauga and most of the 905 is much, much worse and not something that I really think Halifax can be compared to in any realistic way.

Unless you subscribe to a very specific, New Urbanist view of what a "correct" neighbourhood is like, pretty much the entire Peninsula is an "urban design" as is much of Dartmouth as well as parts of Bedford and the Mainland. Sure there are tracts that are exclusively residential but again, looking at the big picture, they are not very big. There are entire CITIES in Ontario that are basically giant residential subdivisions. Sure, a given street in Bedford South might look similar to one in the 905 belt, but it's the sheer lack of anything other than houses for miles and miles and miles that differentiates the two. Even in Bedford South, you're never really that far from retail. Scale definitely matters.

Last edited by Hali87; Jul 10, 2014 at 8:36 PM.
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  #88  
Old Posted Jul 10, 2014, 11:07 PM
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Keith P. Keith P. is offline
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Well said Mark. I really don't think the Heritage Trust expects that Nova Centre will be blocked. What i see them doing is attempting to get government to follow it's processes, and not make it up and change it up as they go along. HT is concerned that a recent government decision will provide precedent that heritage is only facade deep, and that will have significant impact on heritage buildings. Saying that the only thing that Heritage Trust has done in 45 years is blocking the expressway is a simplistic and erroneous viewpoint. While there may be checks and balances in place regarding property development and heritage, someone has to step up when process is not followed or is ignored. Heritage Trust does that, and does it very well; I am glad that they do. If Government would only follow correct process, then perhaps HT could focus on more pertinent issues, and not have to focus on keeping government in check.
Wait a minute here. Govt exists to make those processes, procedures and policies. If they want to change them, that's fine too. The Nova Center was supported by all 3 levels of govt and I am unaware of any point where HRM failed to follow the process as defined. If the HT doesn't like the exceptions that were built into those processes for Nova Center, that's too bad; but it does not mean that any process was bypassed. This argument sounds suspiciously like more of the same misdirection and misstatement that the HT is infamous for.
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  #89  
Old Posted Jul 10, 2014, 11:27 PM
fenwick16 fenwick16 is offline
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Wait a minute here. Govt exists to make those processes, procedures and policies. If they want to change them, that's fine too. The Nova Center was supported by all 3 levels of govt and I am unaware of any point where HRM failed to follow the process as defined. If the HT doesn't like the exceptions that were built into those processes for Nova Center, that's too bad; but it does not mean that any process was bypassed. This argument sounds suspiciously like more of the same misdirection and misstatement that the HT is infamous for.
I agree. This is just democracy in action.

It seems that some people think that HRM municipal by-laws were carved in stone on Mount Sinai. (excuse the sarcasm, but I couldn't resist)
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  #90  
Old Posted Jul 11, 2014, 12:11 AM
Colin May Colin May is offline
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Wait a minute here. Govt exists to make those processes, procedures and policies. If they want to change them, that's fine too. The Nova Center was supported by all 3 levels of govt and I am unaware of any point where HRM failed to follow the process as defined. If the HT doesn't like the exceptions that were built into those processes for Nova Center, that's too bad; but it does not mean that any process was bypassed. This argument sounds suspiciously like more of the same misdirection and misstatement that the HT is infamous for.
They allowed a developer to close a public road, demolish it and turn it into part of a large hole and a pour concrete footings for a project in which they are part owners and then HRM held a public hearing to receive the opinions of the public as to the merits of closing a road which did not exist.
I think that meets the definition of ' bypassing the process'.
It also meets the definition of ' We don't care what the public thinks but we'll waste the time of council, staff and the public and pretend that this hearing will have any impact'.
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  #91  
Old Posted Jul 11, 2014, 1:10 AM
OldDartmouthMark OldDartmouthMark is offline
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I agree. This is just democracy in action.

It seems that some people think that HRM municipal by-laws were carved in stone on Mount Sinai. (excuse the sarcasm, but I couldn't resist)
FWIW, the ability for a citizens' group to state their case is democracy in action as well. Works both ways, I believe.
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  #92  
Old Posted Jul 11, 2014, 1:16 AM
ILoveHalifax ILoveHalifax is offline
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In order to build the Nova Center with the required size of exhibit hall and ball room space it had to go over or under the street and that was approved by council.
After many public meetings the present format was determined and again approved by council. The request for the closed street was approved by council and had council not approved it the street could have remained open. It was not a done deal, although most people who followed the public meetings were pleased with the design to close the street, as it appears was council since they approved the closure.
I was at, at least one of the meetings where reps from HT wanted to hijack the meeting and go back to discuss the portions of the proposal that had already been approved. Democracy is knowing when your opinion has not been accepted and proceeding with the wishes of the majority.
HT needs to accept the democratic process and move on.
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  #93  
Old Posted Jul 11, 2014, 1:23 AM
portapetey portapetey is offline
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They allowed a developer to close a public road, demolish it and turn it into part of a large hole and a pour concrete footings for a project in which they are part owners and then HRM held a public hearing to receive the opinions of the public as to the merits of closing a road which did not exist.
This is a clever way to spin it, and it has some merit even as it is a little tricksy.

The street is being repaved over top of the underground levels of the Centre once they are built up to street level, so it only "doesn't exist" temporarily through the construction phase.

The question was whether the new/old street, which will essentially tunnel through the Centre, would remain a public street.

I agree that was never very likely.

But the public process and the elected officials were obviously both OK with it. That IS democracy.
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  #94  
Old Posted Jul 11, 2014, 1:27 AM
portapetey portapetey is offline
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Originally Posted by ILoveHalifax View Post
In order to build the Nova Center with the required size of exhibit hall and ball room space it had to go over or under the street and that was approved by council.
After many public meetings the present format was determined and again approved by council. The request for the closed street was approved by council and had council not approved it the street could have remained open. It was not a done deal, although most people who followed the public meetings were pleased with the design to close the street, as it appears was council since they approved the closure.
I was at, at least one of the meetings where reps from HT wanted to hijack the meeting and go back to discuss the portions of the proposal that had already been approved. Democracy is knowing when your opinion has not been accepted and proceeding with the wishes of the majority.
HT needs to accept the democratic process and move on.
Bingo!

This is my beef with the Trust side's tactics. They wave the flags of democracy and balance and ideas and listening as long it supports their argument, and then when it doesn't they deny it even happens.

They are rather dishonest, even corrupt, in their propaganda. People simply don't trust them anymore.
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  #95  
Old Posted Jul 11, 2014, 1:31 AM
portapetey portapetey is offline
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FWIW, the ability for a citizens' group to state their case is democracy in action as well. Works both ways, I believe.
They stated their case. They weren't denied that.

But, clearly, they failed to convince the majority with their case. That's on them.
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  #96  
Old Posted Jul 11, 2014, 1:58 AM
fenwick16 fenwick16 is offline
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Originally Posted by Colin May View Post
They allowed a developer to close a public road, demolish it and turn it into part of a large hole and a pour concrete footings for a project in which they are part owners and then HRM held a public hearing to receive the opinions of the public as to the merits of closing a road which did not exist.
I think that meets the definition of ' bypassing the process'.
It also meets the definition of ' We don't care what the public thinks but we'll waste the time of council, staff and the public and pretend that this hearing will have any impact'.
You make it sound as if this occurred overnight. It was a 4 year process that saw a municipal election and 2 provincial elections. Both provincial and municipal officials were re-elected with their known support of the Nova Centre (including Mayor Savage) during 3 - 4 years of it sitting as a vacant 2 block site after the RFP was "won" by Rank Inc. The idea to build under Grafton Street was first stated in a WHW report in 2007 - http://www.tradecentrelimited.com/si...1_May_2007.pdf

Just for the record, Grafton Street is not being closed to pedestrians. The municipality can have a perpetual easement that allows pedestrians to use the passageway.

I believe that part of the reason for the sale of Grafton Street is to allow condominization of the Nova Centre components, which would allow the municipality and/or province to own the convention centre at the end of the 25 year capitalization period if so desired. (this is something that some people demanded a few years ago)
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  #97  
Old Posted Jul 11, 2014, 2:21 AM
fenwick16 fenwick16 is offline
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Originally Posted by OldDartmouthMark View Post
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Agree again, which is why I agreed with the letter that we need (here's that word again) balance. Again, I don't think we should jump on the idea that everything which comes out in support of heritage properties is part of some underhanded media war crafted by the HT - I think there are a lot of citizens who honestly support saving heritage buildings - probably many who don't follow the local goings on but are only saddened and perhaps outraged when they see yet another Halifax landmark fall to the wrecker's ball or have its character ripped out by building up through its facade (in human terms it reminds me a little of taxidermy, but that's another discussion for another time).

I guarantee that if the Dennis Building comes down there will be a lot of outcry from the public at the loss. Once it's gone it's gone forever and we need to think in those terms. Sorry, getting a little off-topic, but it's a valid point to the discussion, I think.
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This states part of the problem. The problem is the irrational desire to save sick, non-functional buildings "as is" by the Heritage Trust and others. Animals don't live for ever and some people stuff them once they are gone (taxidermy seems rather repulsive to me, but some people have a desire to preserve animals even once their life is gone - that is a good analogy OldDartmouthMark for the Dennis Building). While people accept that animals don't live for ever, some people think that buildings such as the Dennis Building can survive indefinitely.

It is most likely that the only salvageable part of the Dennis Building is the facade, so why not present a practical idea of rebuilding it as a modern building on the inside while saving the facade? Alternatively, it could sit vacant as a museum piece surrounded by a barricade to allow people to see it but not occupy it.
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  #98  
Old Posted Jul 11, 2014, 3:00 AM
Colin May Colin May is offline
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Originally Posted by fenwick16 View Post
You make it sound as if this occurred overnight. It was a 4 year process that saw a municipal election and 2 provincial elections. Both provincial and municipal officials were re-elected with their known support of the Nova Centre (including Mayor Savage) during 3 - 4 years of it sitting as a vacant 2 block site after the RFP was "won" by Rank Inc. The idea to build under Grafton Street was first stated in a WHW report in 2007 - http://www.tradecentrelimited.com/si...1_May_2007.pdf

Just for the record, Grafton Street is not being closed to pedestrians. The municipality can have a perpetual easement that allows pedestrians to use the passageway.

I believe that part of the reason for the sale of Grafton Street is to allow condominization of the Nova Centre components, which would allow the municipality and/or province to own the convention centre at the end of the 25 year capitalization period if so desired. (this is something that some people demanded a few years ago)
The condominization cannot take place without changes to the Condominium Act. Hendsbee raised the issue, the solicitor admitted he had no knowledge of the Act and the rest of council ignored the issue.
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  #99  
Old Posted Jul 11, 2014, 3:14 AM
Colin May Colin May is offline
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Originally Posted by portapetey View Post
This is a clever way to spin it, and it has some merit even as it is a little tricksy.

The street is being repaved over top of the underground levels of the Centre once they are built up to street level, so it only "doesn't exist" temporarily through the construction phase.

The question was whether the new/old street, which will essentially tunnel through the Centre, would remain a public street.

I agree that was never very likely.

But the public process and the elected officials were obviously both OK with it. That IS democracy.
Not spin, nothing tricksy, it is a statement of fact.
An accurate description of a sequence of events.
Do you have another description of what happened ?
Try building a home and having a foundation a few inches outside the description in the survey approved by HRM planning. You will not be allowed to occupy the property, you will have to apply for a variance and go through a public hearing and success is not guaranteed. You may be ordered to demolish the building.
Time and money, lives in limbo all for the sake of a few inches. It happens.
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  #100  
Old Posted Jul 11, 2014, 3:42 AM
fenwick16 fenwick16 is offline
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Originally Posted by Colin May View Post
The condominization cannot take place without changes to the Condominium Act. Hendsbee raised the issue, the solicitor admitted he had no knowledge of the Act and the rest of council ignored the issue.

Obviously it is easier for Rank Inc. to abide by the Condominium Act than to have the Act changed. Regardless of whether HRM Council understood the Act, the province did and it was stated that the province required that it be condominized.

The Nova Scotia Condominium Act is available on the internet and can be read by anyone who so desires. Here is a link to the Condominium Act - http://www.novascotia.ca/just/regula...gs/conregs.htm

Section 3 - (d) states
3 The Registrar may require any of the following documentation to accompany a report on title submitted on registration of a declaration:
Section 3 amended: O.I.C. 2011-252, N.S. Reg. 230/2011.
(d) a certificate of a lawyer that he has investigated the title and believes the applicant to be the owner of the freehold estate in the property, subject to the encumbrances, easements, and encroachments, if any, set forth in the certificate, and that after consultation with the declarant, he is not aware of the existence of any other claim adverse or inconsistent with the applicant’s to any part of the land or to any interest therein, or that he is aware of such adverse claim, in which case he shall set forth every such adverse claim and the particulars thereof; such certificate may be in Form 1 or to the like effect.
The definition of "freehold estate" is: "A freehold estate is a right of title to land that is characterized by two essential elements: immobility, meaning that the property involved is either land or an interest that is attached to or has been derived from land, and indeterminate duration, which means there is no fixed duration of ownership." (source: http://legal-dictionary.thefreedicti...eehold+Estates)


The issue of the Condominium Act of Nova Scotia has arisen in reference to other properties. One example is the Cunard proposal - http://my-waterfront.ca/development/...eptual-design/. As stated in the local media, this complex cannot be a condominium because it is being built on leased land (from the Waterfront Development).
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