Alright guys, the other night after hearing more BS about the Water St. development and doing some serious thinking, I decided to write the HT and Pacey an email, here it is:
I would like to introduce myself, Patrick Helliwell, co-founder of the pro-development group, Haligonians for Development.
I am not sure who exactly is going to be receiving this letter, but I would like to direct to Mr. Pacey- thanks.
Mr. Pacey, I would like to bring up some of the issues that our group has noticed arising in the last little while, with regards to some of the views that you (and members of the Heritage Trust) express and share with the media, at public hearings at City Hall, and out in public as well.
We would like to first off bring attention to the development currently being "disputed" for the 1860 Up. Water street property by Armour Group. I would like to bring forward the fact that even our group is mixed on our opinions on this particular development, I however must say, personally, that I am 100% in favour of this project. You may have collected signatures and whatnot in support for your cause on this project, however if you look at the facts (and this is where even our folks who are iffy about this project) say it needs to be done. The buildings are in deplorable shape, even the building owners have expressed need for this project to go ahead in order to save their businesses, the buildings are very outdated and do need dire help to bring them up to standard. The need for office space downtown right now is incredible, and recent developments that have been approved around the city are a start, but more development needs to happen downtown.
This is where our group has noted a second thing we would like to bring to your attention. Please could you publicly define what exactly the Heritage Trust's job is? I understand, the "official" job of the HT is to protect and keep heritage properties in good condition, fantastic, I am all for preservation of our current properties. However, this brings us to what is getting confusing, for instance, you say in the case of the Armour Development that if we want office space downtown, we could go develop vacant lots elsewhere in the city, and that you are NOT against new development, also a great answer, but then when a development *is* brought up for these vacant lots, the HT jumps right on them and starts shooting them down, saying they shouldn't happen because they are an "incongruous monstrosity" or that they will affect *nearby* heritage properties.
So, if the Heritage Trust's job is as it is defined as to protect existing heritage properties, but you are also for new development at the same time, yet the group shoots them down and tries appeals here and there, it seems as though, by saying this you are completely contradicting what the Heritage Trust stands for. Please, for the sake of all of us, pro-development as well as pro-heritage, clear that up, that would be fantastic.
One other quick realization we've come to as well was with the Kings Wharf development for downtown Dartmouth. From what I understand, Fares has gone around to the vast majority of homeowners of affected views and showed all of them renders of the proposed building, and as the meeting at city hall went, from what we can tell the majority of people are in favour of that development. I know one issue you and one other gentleman had mentioned is the view from the Brightwood golf course. First off, Brightwood is a "pay to use" service and really should not be considered when it comes to what the views really matter since it is a place for private use. Also, from observing over the hearing for the amendment to the height restrictions and the other things on the table that evening as well, I believe it was the head of the union of members from Brightwood, who in fact mentioned also that the members at the club were also all in favour of this development. On that note, on top of the amazing amount of positive support for this project which was represented at the meeting, Haligonians for Development are also all very strongly for this project as well, we has a couple speakers from the group there that night as well, and we believe there is nothing out of context with the buildings height at all, it will really be a centrepiece and a beautiful addition to Dartmouth, and the HRM as a whole.
Now I would like to pass on some thoughts that myself and other members of our group has given in the last little while that we feel we would like to pass on to the Heritage Trust.
First we would like to say that we are all for the preservation of Halifax's heritage, I think it is fantastic to have such the history that Halifax has been blessed with. However that should not be stopping progression into the future, which inevitably time will HAVE to make happen. In order for Halifax to stay on top as a top city in Canada, and have a worldwide name, you have to understand new development HAS to happen in our downtown core, for one it will prevent major sprawl, which right now the way the greening of society is going is what we need, less commuter distance and more urbanization and centralization. Of course, in a city in order to do that within already pre-defined space limits, the only thing to do, is to build up. I understand the HT's view on anything taller than the distance I can throw a snowball straight up in the air seems to be the way a person with severe arachnophobia reacts to a spider, one mention of the thought and they freak out. This, honestly (my personal thoughts here) has to stop, the HT has to focus more on preserving what Halifax has now for heritage property instead of shooting down and condemning new developments even before they really get a chance to be heard about.
As a young, proud Haligonian (I do love this city, I really do, but I want to see it change!) I am 20, currently attending the Waterfront NSCC campus pursuing my desire to be a photographer. I want to see Halifax grow up with me, I don't want to see this city stagnate, and have things coming to a screeching halt because this city isn't moving forward with anything progressive. I want to be able to live my life here in Halifax and in around the Maritimes, I want to be able to live in a Halifax that will grow with me, if we allow more development, more business will find their homes here in Halifax, more people will come to our "coast with the most" (hopefully more!!) to live and grow up and start families here. Halifax will prosper, be vibrant, current, "hip" and fun, there will be things to do all the time, more places to go, more things to see. I think the history of Halifax should go along with the development and progress of the city as well, for it is part of all of us and needs to stay just as much. I just don't want to have my kids in 100 years looking at the exact same Halifax that I see every day, I want for them to see new and wonderful things here, and frankly right now, the Heritage Trust is definitely impeding that dream. That thought is shared with a vast majority of the younger generation of this city, and certainly as well as other members of the Haligonians for Development group.
I thank you very much for taking the time to look at this, and sincerely hope you understand where myself, and the group is coming from.
- Patrick Helliwell -