I think the reason behind everything here and all these height by laws, is not only the "historic" aspect of the city. (Which there really isn't much at all, go to Quebec city if you really want to see a historic section and how much better than is). But the fact that Halifax blocks are really narrow and not big at all, so you will have floors with a lower amount of space than other major cities, hence you need to build higher.
HRMBD is a step in the right direction, but it's not there yet.
Also, I have little faith for many of the politians in this city, many of them lack a true vision for the city and it's inhabitants and focus more on personal opinion which seems to dominate them
On topic. Like I said before, over my dead body this renovation and renewal will take place