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  #21  
Old Posted Mar 30, 2016, 3:44 AM
counterfactual counterfactual is offline
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The real issue is that we do not have municipal/provincial heritage laws that mandate the maintenance and preservation of our built heritage. Until that happens the buildings will continue to decline and disappear.
I don't think it's mandate or not; that may simply deter development, and we really want both. Instead, you could also, as someone123 suggests, create strong incentives for heritage preservation.

But to do that, we need to get over our obsession with height limits.

If we did, you could say: you can only build this high as of right. But you can build a single tower this high, or build up higher, if you preserve these built heritage elements. You get significant density and height bonuses for preserving heritage/facades, etc.

That is what is required. But again, it means abolishing/amending the stupid viewplanes laws, one of the banes of this city's existence.
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  #22  
Old Posted Mar 30, 2016, 11:40 AM
mleblanc mleblanc is offline
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I seem to be the only one out there glad this old eye-sore is gone. Old buildings do have charm, yes, but not when they are in this state of disrepair. The homeless that would gather underneath the awning will miss it more than I would I'm sure.
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  #23  
Old Posted Mar 30, 2016, 12:10 PM
JET JET is offline
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Originally Posted by counterfactual View Post
I don't think it's mandate or not; that may simply deter development, and we really want both. Instead, you could also, as someone123 suggests, create strong incentives for heritage preservation.

But to do that, we need to get over our obsession with height limits.

If we did, you could say: you can only build this high as of right. But you can build a single tower this high, or build up higher, if you preserve these built heritage elements. You get significant density and height bonuses for preserving heritage/facades, etc.

That is what is required. But again, it means abolishing/amending the stupid viewplanes laws, one of the banes of this city's existence.
Heritage laws that mandate the maintenance and preservation of our built heritage, work really well when combined with tax disincentives for undeveloped land; where property owners have incentives to maintain properties, and significant disincentives for not maintaining properties or vacant land. There are so many empty lots where buildings came down and nothing happens, that are an eyesore and the tax is a pittance.
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  #24  
Old Posted Mar 30, 2016, 1:14 PM
Drybrain Drybrain is offline
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Originally Posted by mleblanc View Post
I seem to be the only one out there glad this old eye-sore is gone. Old buildings do have charm, yes, but not when they are in this state of disrepair. The homeless that would gather underneath the awning will miss it more than I would I'm sure.
The only reason it was in disrepair (though I think it was really just kind of dirty and in need of a new roof) is because the owner, intending to demolish it, didn't maintain it sufficiently.
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  #25  
Old Posted Mar 30, 2016, 1:36 PM
Phalanx Phalanx is offline
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I seem to be the only one out there glad this old eye-sore is gone. Old buildings do have charm, yes, but not when they are in this state of disrepair. The homeless that would gather underneath the awning will miss it more than I would I'm sure.
I think you're one of the few, yes. A building that's in a state of 'disrepair' can generally be 'repaired'. If you look past its appearance now, to what it once was and could have been, and then consider that, yes, it had charm, and no, buildings like that aren't built anymore, and that Halifax has relatively few of them left as is, it's a definite overall loss.

And as has been pointed out before, old buildings like this can be incorporated into new developments, and make for a much better, more interesting streetscape.
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  #26  
Old Posted Mar 30, 2016, 4:20 PM
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Will this place have parking? Would be great to have underground parking available for public use, across from the library...
There is parking provided under and beside the library. I think it was originally intended to be used for Queen Judith's Royal Coach, but with her departure, new Queen Åsa (put a ring on it) Kachan has decreed that the peons be allowed to pay her (in gold presumably) for the privilege of using it.
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  #27  
Old Posted Mar 30, 2016, 4:56 PM
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Really disappointing that there wasn't an effort to save the BMO / former Maritime Life Building, if only the facade. Huge loss for the street and city and yet this type of building is falling one after the other.

Maybe there needs to be a different review process when an entire block is demolished.
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  #28  
Old Posted Mar 30, 2016, 7:00 PM
JET JET is offline
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http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-s...view-1.3512742
Danny's having a public meeting after the buildings all come down. What a guy.
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  #29  
Old Posted Mar 30, 2016, 7:58 PM
eastcoastal eastcoastal is offline
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I like the cohesive look it will give the entire block...
You say cohesive, I say monotonous
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  #30  
Old Posted Mar 30, 2016, 9:16 PM
lawsond lawsond is offline
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The picture of that brick townhouse and others of the bank building just make me want to go,postal. That street scape was brilliant...human....urban. That new building is just a waste of space. So depressing and so unnecessary. Where are the fing heritage people when they are needed? Oh the new one is under ten storeys so that makes it ok? Aaaaargh! I can't think of one low rise compromise building in this city that didn't turn out to be either gut wrenchingly tacky or looking like an aircraft carrier like this one.
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  #31  
Old Posted Mar 30, 2016, 9:56 PM
portapetey portapetey is offline
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http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-s...view-1.3512742
Danny's having a public meeting after the buildings all come down. What a guy.



%&@$#%!!! Peggy Cameron. Why do the news outlets keep publishing her mewling drivel?


Didn't do a thing to save the existing buildings, but will oppose their replacements vehemently.
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  #32  
Old Posted Mar 30, 2016, 9:57 PM
portapetey portapetey is offline
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The picture of that brick townhouse and others of the bank building just make me want to go,postal. That street scape was brilliant...human....urban. That new building is just a waste of space. So depressing and so unnecessary. Where are the fing heritage people when they are needed? Oh the new one is under ten storeys so that makes it ok? Aaaaargh! I can't think of one low rise compromise building in this city that didn't turn out to be either gut wrenchingly tacky or looking like an aircraft carrier like this one.
The townhouse would have cleaned up so nicely.
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  #33  
Old Posted Mar 31, 2016, 12:57 AM
Drybrain Drybrain is offline
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Apparently Westwood suggested to some people at the Downtown Halifax Business Association that they could preserve the Maritime Life building (and therefore the view from the library, which people seem more concerned about the built heritage, but anyway) if they can build higher (into viewplanes) on the east side of the block.

I think this could be an ideal compromise, and it'd be awful if intransigence about the precious and inviolable viewplanes effed it up.
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  #34  
Old Posted Mar 31, 2016, 1:53 AM
Colin May Colin May is offline
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Originally Posted by Drybrain View Post
Apparently Westwood suggested to some people at the Downtown Halifax Business Association that they could preserve the Maritime Life building (and therefore the view from the library, which people seem more concerned about the built heritage, but anyway) if they can build higher (into viewplanes) on the east side of the block.

I think this could be an ideal compromise, and it'd be awful if intransigence about the precious and inviolable viewplanes effed it up.
I regarded that as being quite obvious because clearing away of the older buildings is required before any more demolition. Going higher on the south sectiom will also block the view of Nova Centre (no loss).
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  #35  
Old Posted Mar 31, 2016, 3:56 AM
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That would be great. I wonder if it is possible for the city to issue a building permit with a variance in a reasonable amount of time or if this is something that's open to lengthy appeals. If appeals are possible expect some Friends to go down that route, whether or not it actually improves the outcome.

I still think the brick townhouses were a significant loss for the city but a preserved Maritime Life building would make this a vastly better development. That building is a landmark on Spring Garden Road, and it could be made even better with some restoration work.

The city really needs to step it up and start protecting early postwar architecture before it's too late. The Bank of Canada building was a significant loss and the Ralston Building is in rough shape.
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  #36  
Old Posted Mar 31, 2016, 4:13 AM
counterfactual counterfactual is offline
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Originally Posted by Drybrain View Post
Apparently Westwood suggested to some people at the Downtown Halifax Business Association that they could preserve the Maritime Life building (and therefore the view from the library, which people seem more concerned about the built heritage, but anyway) if they can build higher (into viewplanes) on the east side of the block.

I think this could be an ideal compromise, and it'd be awful if intransigence about the precious and inviolable viewplanes effed it up.
This would be fantastic.

It would also be, finally, a proper confrontation with TRUE HERITAGE PRESERVATION with these incredibly stupid view planes.

It's the perfect case to finally take the view planes down: heritage preservation AND views from the Citadel vs. useless view to the grain elevator from Citadel Hill enforced by pointless laws that are decades old.
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  #37  
Old Posted Mar 31, 2016, 10:33 AM
Drybrain Drybrain is offline
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That would be great. I wonder if it is possible for the city to issue a building permit with a variance in a reasonable amount of time or if this is something that's open to lengthy appeals. If appeals are possible expect some Friends to go down that route, whether or not it actually improves the outcome.
And of course, if the friends of the grain-elevator-view (the viewplane in question extends from the Citadel to the grain elevators on Bland Street) or whatever end up tying the thing it up in appeals, we're likely to see Westwood say "screw it" and tear it all down, which they can do as of right.

I think we need to have a broader discussion about what's useful and what's not useful about viewplanes, and this seems like a no-brainer for an exception. A compromise would be ideal, if the city can bring itself to tell the squeaky-wheel view-obsessees to just deal with it.
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  #38  
Old Posted Mar 31, 2016, 12:54 PM
Drybrain Drybrain is offline
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According to Waye on twitter, there's no appetite to pursue this because it would mean opening up all the HRMxD viewplanes to debate and other developers would start wanting more height.

Density bonus is also problematic because, well, complicated, but basically because NIMBYism everywhere else.

I'm convinced there must be some compromise that's reachable without throwing everything into disarray though. I think the only thing left is to email Waye and the mayor and the chief planner and be like "Fix this."
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  #39  
Old Posted Mar 31, 2016, 1:31 PM
OldDartmouthMark OldDartmouthMark is offline
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Sorry folks, but I have already given up on this deal.

Westwood is a business, and as such their main purpose is to make money. Incorporating heritage structures into their project, especially with all the constraints placed on them by HRMxD and the NIMBY groups, will not make as much money as just leveling it all and putting up the piece-of-crap that they are going to build. Combine this with the fact that they apparently just don't care about Halifax's history or built heritage or whatever you want to call it, and there's no hope in hell that the Maritime Life building (or façade) will be saved. Since the city or province don't have any rules or processes in place to steer developers towards saving structures like these, they have free rein to do whatever makes the easiest money for them - simple as that.

The current plans have been in place for years and everything is going to plan. The demolition machine is swiftly moving along and I can't see any way that it would change now, especially after some 130-year-old Victorian structures have already been leveled. At this point in time its a done deal and Chedrawe is now simply in image-saving mode:

http://thechronicleherald.ca/novasco...says-developer

Quote:
“We have a commitment to this community, so we’ve taken extra steps to ensure this is worthwhile. We widened the sidewalks all the way around by 50 per cent. We are putting in street trees and more lighting. We are also burying overhead wiring at our cost,” he said.

“This is all meant to enhance the development, but more importantly, to directly benefit the public.”
Look at all he's doing for us... what a great guy...

From the other side of things, the city seems too timid to try to change or improve things now. From the sounds of things, their idea is that HRMxD and the Centre Plan is like a rulebook that they have made, so now they can put their feet up and not have to think about it for another 50 years, when they are no longer there. Heaven forbid that the current HRMxD isn't perfect and may have to be continually tweaked rather than set in stone and forgotten about. Really, this type of planning guideline should be fluid - it should be continually changed and improved as time goes on, with the goal of making Halifax the best Halifax that it can be - but from Waye's comments outlined by Drybrain in the post above, it looks like this is not even on the table.

So... expect more crap like this in the future:
- Timid politicians who are afraid of upsetting the development community.
- Developers who don't give a crap about Halifax's history or culture, and are just looking for the next low-hanging fruit to pluck and expand their bank accounts.
- An apathetic public who are afraid that if they don't let developers have their own way that they will take all their money and go away - we must be careful to not expect high quality building projects so as not to offend them.
- NIMBYs who don't have the ability to remove the blinders and see anything further than their own narrow point of view.

Stick a fork in it folks, this one's done.
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  #40  
Old Posted Mar 31, 2016, 1:40 PM
Drybrain Drybrain is offline
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Originally Posted by OldDartmouthMark View Post

From the other side of things, the city seems too timid to try to change or improve things now. From the sounds of things, their idea is that HRMxD and the Centre Plan is like a rulebook that they have made, so now they can put their feet up and not have to think about it for another 50 years, when they are no longer there. Heaven forbid that the current HRMxD isn't perfect and may have to be continually tweaked rather than set in stone and forgotten about. Really, this type of planning guideline should be fluid - it should be continually changed and improved as time goes on, with the goal of making Halifax the best Halifax that it can be - but from Waye's comments outlined by Drybrain in the post above, it looks like this is not even on the table.

I'm not gonna step up to defend Westwood, because I think that if they were better developers this wouldn't even be an issue. But, I do think they'd make good on a compromise if they were given the height elsewhere on the block.

Treating HRMxD as tablets brought down from the mountaintop is not the way to deal with planning disputes, especially those unforeseen in the plan. It's a good rulebook, overall, but there have been a lot of controversies stemming from it. The fact that we're going to permit such a massive blunder in the name of upholding HRMxD suggests strongly that the plan needs some tweaks.
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