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  #41  
Old Posted Feb 22, 2014, 1:49 AM
counterfactual counterfactual is offline
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I think this is pretty uncommon though. It would be interesting to see statistics on the full approval pipeline: how much time it takes at each step, how many steps proposals go through, and approval or rejection.

I guess we'll see what happens with this case. It seems hard to argue that this building would actually be out of scale with the neighbourhood, or "inconsistent with the intent of the MPS" in a significant way. Most of the surrounding buildings are low-rise apartments just like this one or institutional buildings of similar scale.

I'm happy at least that we no longer have these debates about buildings downtown.
Clearly, you've not seen the NIMBY MANIFESTO. Watch as it easily morphs to apply to this development:

----------
WHILE I SUPPORT MY COMMUNITY AND DEVELOPMENT ON AND AROUND COBURG ROAD, I CANNOT SUPPORT THIS DEVELOPMENT FOR THE FOLLOWING REASONS:

1. Sometimes when I walk on the the sidewalk near the current building, I enjoy the sun's rays. This extra floor will not only create new shadows and block the sun, it will actually kill the sun, exploding it in an amazing galactic haze of supernova star dust.

2. I live in a home not far from here. This development will block the view of.... nothing. I got nothing. No! Wait! ...of Needs Convenience! Because Needs will be gone! Yes! Save the View of Needs.

3. This area is already too crowded. I am old and tired, and I just feel that this is not right.

4. Like Spirit Place, this development could attract young people and "singles". This is inherently bad. It might also lower my property value. Just saying.

5. The wind on Coburg is like a polar vortex, even in the summer. This will create more wind. We are all born with certain inalienable human rights. They include freedom of speech and freedom from wind.

6. A few more apartments will bring more cars. Let's assume, for the sake of the developer, that it will only be three cars per unit. Why, one floor of this development alone will clog up Coburg for hours!

7. Is this much height really necessary? I know there are several apartment buildings around here. And it is really not inconsistent with anything in the broader area. And it is consistent with the purpose of the zoning. And it won't negatively impact anything. And that density is important if we are going to rehabilitate urban growth. And... uhm... but is height so necessary?

8. This is a heritage neighbourhood and this development is inconsistent with heritage requirements. Well, not a heritage neighbourhood yet. But we are requesting heritage designation as "CounterfactualVille". The community dates back to the 1300's. I bet you cannot find any evidence to rebut this claim. Friends of CounterfactualVille believe that his development neglects that history.

9. The computer says no.

10. The world will end if this goes forward. I'm serious.

Last edited by counterfactual; Feb 22, 2014 at 6:01 AM.
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  #42  
Old Posted Feb 22, 2014, 1:53 AM
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I read in the news that people speaking in support of the proposal were shouted down. Did the chair take steps to prevent this from happening?
That allnovascotia said that one person, Danny, was shouted down. What it didn't say is that the Chair did intervene.
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  #43  
Old Posted Feb 22, 2014, 6:37 AM
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I didn't chair the meeting, the chair of the PAC did. Danny Chedrawe also spoke twice, as did about half dozen supporters (planners, developers, locals). The practice at PIMS (which are not public hearings) has been that people can speak as often as they want, it is more of a conversation format. I am not sure this is a good idea, personally, but it is not exactly shocking or news. It's been that way for decades.
IMO public information meetings work but there is a problem with heckling and cheering/applauding that I have witnessed before mainly for Peninsula proposals. I think people should be allowed to speak ONCE for a maximum of five minutes (depending on crowd levels). No clapping/applauding or heckling should be allowed. Returning to the podium to ask a question should be allowed IF all other speakers are done and it is a quick question with no discussion afterwards.

What's listed in the PDF going to D7&8PAC on Monday is acceptable unfortunately it is not always followed. Granted it should be noted I have not attended a PIM since before the 2012 elections so I can't personally say if things have changed or not.

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Originally Posted by Waye Mason View Post
That allnovascotia said that one person, Danny, was shouted down. What it didn't say is that the Chair did intervene.
Got to love the half-ass reporting of AllNovaScotia. I'll be glad when I get home and can attend some these meetings myself to get the facts straight.

BTW Waye I'll be the person trying to keep a straight face every time Bev Miller or the Paceys get up and try to convince the crowd the world is going to end. I also stand out because I mention bicycles 90% of the time I speak.
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  #44  
Old Posted Feb 22, 2014, 1:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Waye Mason View Post
Well of course Keith's thesis would be damning if it were true. As often is the case with Keith, it is not.

I didn't chair the meeting, the chair of the PAC did. Danny Chedrawe also spoke twice, as did about half dozen supporters (planners, developers, locals). The practice at PIMS (which are not public hearings) has been that people can speak as often as they want, it is more of a conversation format. I am not sure this is a good idea, personally, but it is not exactly shocking or news. It's been that way for decades.
According to Amy Fraser, Beverly Miler, former MP Loudmouth Mary Clancy, and Owen Carrigan of SMU were a few among several others in opposition who were allowed to speak more than once. Frankly, I trust Ms. Fraser's reporting more than your account.

It would also provide clarity if the councillor would explain his own opposition to the project rather than pretending to be an unbiased observer as certain comments imply. Incompatibilities with a 5-storey building next-door? Really? We are talking 35 residential units, perhaps 80 residents. Dalhousie can add one class to a freshman program and get more than that many people into the area.

I again state my belief that this nothing but a councillor pandering to wealthy, influential voters in an affluent neighborhood than anything related to planning policies or bylaws.
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  #45  
Old Posted Feb 23, 2014, 2:07 PM
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According to Amy Fraser, Beverly Miler, former MP Loudmouth Mary Clancy, and Owen Carrigan of SMU were a few among several others in opposition who were allowed to speak more than once. Frankly, I trust Ms. Fraser's reporting more than your account.

It would also provide clarity if the councillor would explain his own opposition to the project rather than pretending to be an unbiased observer as certain comments imply. Incompatibilities with a 5-storey building next-door? Really? We are talking 35 residential units, perhaps 80 residents. Dalhousie can add one class to a freshman program and get more than that many people into the area.

I again state my belief that this nothing but a councillor pandering to wealthy, influential voters in an affluent neighborhood than anything related to planning policies or bylaws.
Typical Keith - I acknowledge that people spoke more than once and they often speak more than once at a PIM and you continue to try and make that a violation, like I am lying or misleading. That part of the reporting is correct, people spoke more than once. Danny and Jared spoke more than once - FOR the proposal.

As for why I was against Council scheduling the public hearing on this matter, watch the video here, it is item 11.1.6 http://archive.isiglobal.ca/vod/hali..._live.mp4.html
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  #46  
Old Posted Feb 23, 2014, 2:45 PM
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I watched the dissembling councillor attempt to justify his opposition to this. Even the motion was crafty, putting forward the motion, but then speaking against it. Likely that was to let him argue either side in the future regardless of what the outcome may be. He says he is in favor of density, but he is not in favor of this. He notes the buildings that surround the site, but still tries to sell the idea it is "out of character". Even some of the dullest councillors noted that his position was inconsistent with what is there and positions on other projects. He just doesn't want density in his backyard, or that of his wealthy constituents.

A 5-storey building should not be controversial. It is not a high-rise. The world would not spin off its axis. This is not a quiet, sleepy residential neighborhood. Residents should not be surprised by the proposal. Attitudes like this condemn Halifax to continue to be in the ditch, to continue to push people out into the suburbs, to try to freeze the status quo into amber. Why are we so afraid of change? No vibrant city can be that way.

How hypocritical.
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  #47  
Old Posted Feb 23, 2014, 3:06 PM
fenwick16 fenwick16 is offline
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Increasing density in well serviced areas decreases the HRM tax load by decreasing services required in the under-serviced outlying suburbs. This is a tasteful project that appears to serve that purpose and is not out of scale with most surrounding buildings.

One thing that worries me is the effect that Southend opposition can have on Dalhousie and Saint Mary's universities, which are economic drivers for the entire HRM. I think that all HRM residents have a right to participate in public discussions that affect the HRM as a whole. If in the future more land is required for Dalhousie and Saint Mary's universities to expand then that should be a priority over the objections of a few home owners since such expansion will benefit the entire HRM.

Although this is somewhat off the topic, even a Northwest Arm bridge should be seriously considered. Such a bridge would benefit the entire HRM since it would decrease the requirements for more expensive bridge expansion across the harbour. I think it is time for HRM Councillors to get a bit tougher on Southend home owners who have the financial resources to oppose almost everything and start demanding what is best for the HRM community as a whole.
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  #48  
Old Posted Feb 23, 2014, 7:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Keith P. View Post
I watched the dissembling councillor attempt to justify his opposition to this. Even the motion was crafty, putting forward the motion, but then speaking against it. Likely that was to let him argue either side in the future regardless of what the outcome may be. He says he is in favor of density, but he is not in favor of this. <snip>
How hypocritical.
Paranoid much? Administrative Order 1 of HRM requires the report's recommendation be put on the floor first for debate and the Mayor always calls on the area councillor to put the motion on the floor.

If you want to make sweeping statements you should maybe do some research first, unless the facts are getting in the way of your truthiness.
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  #49  
Old Posted Feb 23, 2014, 8:03 PM
counterfactual counterfactual is offline
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Originally Posted by fenwick16 View Post
Increasing density in well serviced areas decreases the HRM tax load by decreasing services required in the under-serviced outlying suburbs. This is a tasteful project that appears to serve that purpose and is not out of scale with most surrounding buildings.

One thing that worries me is the effect that Southend opposition can have on Dalhousie and Saint Mary's universities, which are economic drivers for the entire HRM. I think that all HRM residents have a right to participate in public discussions that affect the HRM as a whole. If in the future more land is required for Dalhousie and Saint Mary's universities to expand then that should be a priority over the objections of a few home owners since such expansion will benefit the entire HRM.

Although this is somewhat off the topic, even a Northwest Arm bridge should be seriously considered. Such a bridge would benefit the entire HRM since it would decrease the requirements for more expensive bridge expansion across the harbour. I think it is time for HRM Councillors to get a bit tougher on Southend home owners who have the financial resources to oppose almost everything and start demanding what is best for the HRM community as a whole.
Forgot HRM, these university are key drivers of aspects of the broader Nova Scotia economy. Big time. Ask anyone in venture capital, the only game in town are universities in Halifax. They're the only ones innovating and investing in R&D in the province.

Meanwhile, when someone wants to a modest 5 storey development nearby, for students, faculty, professionals, etc, the university has to contend with Beverly Miller and the Four Horsemen of the NIMBY apocalypse.
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  #50  
Old Posted Feb 23, 2014, 8:17 PM
counterfactual counterfactual is offline
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Paranoid much? Administrative Order 1 of HRM requires the report's recommendation be put on the floor first for debate and the Mayor always calls on the area councillor to put the motion on the floor.

If you want to make sweeping statements you should maybe do some research first, unless the facts are getting in the way of your truthiness.
I take no position on the procedural debate here.

And Waye, I've been a big fan of some of your important work at Council, including battling for more funding and investment downtown.

But you're wrong on these modest infill proposals. It's hypocritical to advocate greater urban density and then oppose a modest, low impact, proposal like this, which removes an ugly little building and provides more, nicer, housing for university members and anyone else.

Out of scale and out of character? This building will "change the neighbourhood" ? Give me a break.

The Councillor asking about the "brand new" 5 storey building RIGHT beside this one, completely undercuts your arguments. Your "historical" argument actually makes your position worse, because the history suggests that you had HIGHER buildings in there historically. That was the character of the neighbourhood historically, so you're defending a fiction. A concept of the neighbourhood that does not now, nor ever, existed.

The ONLY basis to oppose this proposal is the typically conservative mindset, where people oppose any kind of change, solely for fear of "different" people moving into the neighbourhood and thus to preserve property values for the wealthy.

You're on the wrong side of this, and I suspect you know it, as your arguments have been weak.

My worry, is when you take these hypocritical positions to keep a couple wealthy loudmouths in our district happy, you're undermining your credibility to advance the broader cause for urban density, which is a critical issue for the broader city. councillor Mosher called you out on this, and you had no answer.

You're defending the classic NIMBY position: I support urban density, but not in my backyard.

Last edited by counterfactual; Feb 23, 2014 at 8:30 PM.
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  #51  
Old Posted Feb 23, 2014, 8:43 PM
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I take no position on the procedural debate here.

And Waye, I've been a big fan of some of your important work at Council, including battling for more funding and investment downtown.

But you're wrong on these modest infill proposals. It's hypocritical to advocate greater urban density and then oppose a modest, low impact, proposal like this, which removes an ugly little building and provides more, nicer, housing for university members and anyone else.

Out of scale and out of character? This building will "change the neighbourhood" ? Give me a break.

The Councillor asking about the "brand new" 5 storey building RIGHT beside this one, completely undercuts your arguments. Your "historical" argument actually makes your position worse, because the history suggests that you had HIGHER buildings in there historically. That was the character of the neighbourhood historically, so you're defending a fiction. A concept of the neighbourhood that does not now, nor ever, existed.

The ONLY basis to oppose this proposal is the typically conservative mindset, where people oppose any kind of change, solely for fear of "different" people moving into the neighbourhood and thus to preserve property values for the wealthy.

You're on the wrong side of this, and I suspect you know it, as your arguments have been weak.

My worry, is when you take these hypocritical positions to keep a couple wealthy loudmouths in our district happy, you're undermining your credibility to advance the broader cause for urban density, which is a critical issue for the broader city. councillor Mosher called you out on this, and you had no answer.

You're defending the classic NIMBY position: I support urban density, but not in my backyard.

Post of the Year nominee.
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  #52  
Old Posted Feb 23, 2014, 9:33 PM
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This is a politically difficult situation given how council is set up. Most other councillors do the same thing with projects in their districts, because it takes very few votes to change the result in a single district. On top of this they get votes only from residents, not businesses or institutions, and younger people and renters tend to participate less in elections, so homeowners wield disproportionate power in municipal elections (unsurprisingly, the tax rates and municipal service levels are hugely slanted toward residential and against commercial properties).

The bigger problem is actually when it comes time to build infrastructure, not approve developments. With new infrastructure you get the inverse problem where for any project you get a few councillors in favour because their district is directly affected while most others tend to be against because they want the money spent in their district. I think this dynamic is why there was so little investment downtown for so long, and why transit is a mess. It is a really tall order to require 4 or 5 councillors to take a principled stand on a regional planning issue that their constituents won't like.

Some other cities address this problem by having "at-large" councillors who are voted to represent the entire city rather than a single district. I bet a council with, say, 6 at-large and 6 local councillors would perform better than the current council.
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  #53  
Old Posted Feb 23, 2014, 10:09 PM
worldlyhaligonian worldlyhaligonian is offline
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Originally Posted by counterfactual View Post
I take no position on the procedural debate here.

And Waye, I've been a big fan of some of your important work at Council, including battling for more funding and investment downtown.

But you're wrong on these modest infill proposals. It's hypocritical to advocate greater urban density and then oppose a modest, low impact, proposal like this, which removes an ugly little building and provides more, nicer, housing for university members and anyone else.

Out of scale and out of character? This building will "change the neighbourhood" ? Give me a break.

The Councillor asking about the "brand new" 5 storey building RIGHT beside this one, completely undercuts your arguments. Your "historical" argument actually makes your position worse, because the history suggests that you had HIGHER buildings in there historically. That was the character of the neighbourhood historically, so you're defending a fiction. A concept of the neighbourhood that does not now, nor ever, existed.

The ONLY basis to oppose this proposal is the typically conservative mindset, where people oppose any kind of change, solely for fear of "different" people moving into the neighbourhood and thus to preserve property values for the wealthy.

You're on the wrong side of this, and I suspect you know it, as your arguments have been weak.

My worry, is when you take these hypocritical positions to keep a couple wealthy loudmouths in our district happy, you're undermining your credibility to advance the broader cause for urban density, which is a critical issue for the broader city. councillor Mosher called you out on this, and you had no answer.

You're defending the classic NIMBY position: I support urban density, but not in my backyard.
Well said, what are we wasting our time with here?
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  #54  
Old Posted Feb 23, 2014, 10:14 PM
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Some other cities address this problem by having "at-large" councillors who are voted to represent the entire city rather than a single district. I bet a council with, say, 6 at-large and 6 local councillors would perform better than the current council.
That is a very interesting idea. I like the 6 "at large" Councillors and 6 local Councillors ratio.
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  #55  
Old Posted Feb 23, 2014, 11:00 PM
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I have to admit; I'm siding with the folks against Waye on this one (respectfully of course). Being located on a primary transit route and being with frequent bus service this would be a good site - but I'm going from memory the building sizes around there. Streetview shows roughly 2 stories - so is this a matter of 4 or 5 stories is more appropriate or is it the broader issue of the site is not appropriate? (I am asking the question for all, not just specifically for Waye)

But I wonder if there is a bigger issue in that with no Regional Centre Plan - there is no understanding of the ideal locations for intensification? If you look at some of the original images and discussions from RCP it spoke to identifying the sites on the main streets and leaving the lower density parcels further into the main streets alone. If it is the case that there is no real policy identified for where density should go (beyond the broad "in the Regional Centre") then of course this sort of application may cause some people difficulty because this wouldn't be a corridor, node or key density point. But from a planning perspective, as I said before, it's on primary/frequent transit.

Most cities end up with these applications and sometimes it's difficult - I've always wondered if policy should be created that gave a general outline of where the intensification should be when outside the main corridors and nodes (on primary transit, not in the middle of low density blocks and whatever else needed to be included). At least that way, if an application didn't meet any of the criteria, then it wasn't going to get an easy ride.

But this also begs the question of the point of an initiation report in the first place. While I have no problem with any Councilor objecting to an application, I've always believed that an applicant (who pays their fees and submits a complete application) is entitled to their opportunity to initiate an application. Halifax is the only city I know of that requires council to give the thumbs up to initiate an application, after an application has been made (and fees paid). Here in Calgary, you pay the feel, we evaluate your application - if it's a rezoning, you know that it's up to council in the end. Plus here, we'll hold a public hearing regardless of whether there is support for an application or not. But that's just the difference in Planning regs, I suspect.
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  #56  
Old Posted Feb 23, 2014, 11:57 PM
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I think I've made it pretty clear that I'm by no means a "build for the sake of building" or even "density for the sake of density" kind of guy, but I struggle to see how this particular proposal is a bad idea. Coburg has plenty of buildings of a similar scale to this - not just the Campbell building, but Howe Hall (set back), Alex Hall (barely set back), the red brick apartments across the street (no setback) and the two ~10 storey multi-units.

Waye, I kind of understand your argument about limiting how much the university can encroach on the surrounding neighbourhood, but Coburg has always seemed like the de facto northern edge of Studley Campus. More fundamentally, this is not even a "university" building, it's a mixed-use res/retail building available to anyone who wants to live/shop there. I understand that the local neighbourhood plan (which I'm not really familiar with) doesn't designate Coburg for high density, but pedestrian-friendly infill here seems very much in line with the spirit of the Regional Plan and also makes sense simply based on the reality of how this street and this neighbourhood function. I also understand that the Centre Plan designates certain corridors for intensification, and that this is not one of them, but the Centre Plan hasn't been adopted yet (and I've heard that it won't be for several more years... any idea what the actual timeline is?)

I guess I am wondering what you are worried the impacts of this project will be. Bringing the streetwall up to the sidewalk? This is almost universally accepted as good urban design for this type of project on this type of street (I struggle to understand how you could consider Coburg Road "suburban"). Are you worried more about the project itself or the precedents it will set? If you are worried about the character homes in the area being knocked down for midrises (which is not what's going on with this particular proposal) then I think there would be better mechanisms for protecting them than preventing this from going forward. If you're dedicated to keeping the neighbourhood exclusively low-rise, single family, then it's too late, because the area between Coburg and Quinpool is already peppered with multi-res buildings of a similar scale to this one. If you're dedicated to reverting the neighbourhood to low-rise, single family (which is sort of the impression that I got from that video) then I would say this absolutely flies in the face of what HRM has been trying to accomplish.

Ultimately, I feel like this is a product of the disconnect between zoning and urban design. More broadly, it seems to basically be pure NIMBYism (another concept I try not to throw around lightly). Even if this specific site was not identified by staff as a target for intensification, the proposal itself makes perfect sense to me and I can't see the project (in and of itself) having a negative impact on the neighbourhood - you can talk about the intent of U-2 and U-1 and R-2 zoning in theory, but in practice this proposal seems perfectly in character with its surroundings.

Waye, I'd be interested in hearing a bit more about your rationale for opposing. Could you elaborate a bit on the things you brought up in council? Could you explain how the current "Needs" building is better for the neighbourhood than the proposed development would be?
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  #57  
Old Posted Feb 24, 2014, 1:35 AM
counterfactual counterfactual is offline
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Originally Posted by someone123 View Post
This is a politically difficult situation given how council is set up. Most other councillors do the same thing with projects in their districts, because it takes very few votes to change the result in a single district. On top of this they get votes only from residents, not businesses or institutions, and younger people and renters tend to participate less in elections, so homeowners wield disproportionate power in municipal elections (unsurprisingly, the tax rates and municipal service levels are hugely slanted toward residential and against commercial properties).

The bigger problem is actually when it comes time to build infrastructure, not approve developments. With new infrastructure you get the inverse problem where for any project you get a few councillors in favour because their district is directly affected while most others tend to be against because they want the money spent in their district. I think this dynamic is why there was so little investment downtown for so long, and why transit is a mess. It is a really tall order to require 4 or 5 councillors to take a principled stand on a regional planning issue that their constituents won't like.

Some other cities address this problem by having "at-large" councillors who are voted to represent the entire city rather than a single district. I bet a council with, say, 6 at-large and 6 local councillors would perform better than the current council.
I wonder if our Councillors would do well to read a little passage from a speech by a guy named Edmund Burke:

Quote:
Certainly, gentlemen, it ought to be the happiness and glory of a representative to live in the strictest union, the closest correspondence, and the most unreserved communication with his constituents. Their wishes ought to have great weight with him; their opinion, high respect; their business, unremitted attention. It is his duty to sacrifice his repose, his pleasures, his satisfactions, to theirs; and above all, ever, and in all cases, to prefer their interest to his own. But his unbiassed opinion, his mature judgment, his enlightened conscience, he ought not to sacrifice to you, to any man, or to any set of men living. These he does not derive from your pleasure; no, nor from the law and the constitution. They are a trust from Providence, for the abuse of which he is deeply answerable. Your representative owes you, not his industry only, but his judgment; and he betrays, instead of serving you, if he sacrifices it to your opinion.

- Edmund Burke, Speech to the Electors of Bristol, 1774
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  #58  
Old Posted Feb 24, 2014, 1:36 AM
counterfactual counterfactual is offline
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Post of the Year nominee.
Never thought I'd see the day.
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  #59  
Old Posted Feb 24, 2014, 12:52 PM
worldlyhaligonian worldlyhaligonian is offline
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Never thought I'd see the day.
Neither did I. Keith has some varied opinions (Right in believing the Khyber is a clubhouse, but wrong in terms of his apparentl love of wanting to bulldoze it)

In this case, both of you are definitely right. This proposal is actually fantastic.
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Old Posted Feb 24, 2014, 4:38 PM
IanWatson IanWatson is offline
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But this also begs the question of the point of an initiation report in the first place. While I have no problem with any Councilor objecting to an application, I've always believed that an applicant (who pays their fees and submits a complete application) is entitled to their opportunity to initiate an application. Halifax is the only city I know of that requires council to give the thumbs up to initiate an application, after an application has been made (and fees paid).
It's only for amendments to the plan (MPS). In theory your Municipal Planning Strategy is for the long term, and Council is in no way obliged to consider changing it. Council may decide that conditions have changed significantly since the plan was implemented, and therefore there is some merit to considering the application. The initiation report examines whether there's any merit.

Contrast that to a Land Use Bylaw amendment or development agreement request. Council is obligated by the Municipal Government Act/Halifax Charter to consider your application for one of these, so there's no need for an initiation report. You pay your fees, you get considered.

It's not just in Halifax, but elsewhere in NS too.
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