Open letter to council on the proposal to amend the bylaw to allow a 19 story building on South Park and Brenton.
We have several concerns about the bylaw amendment in Case 01046, in particular:
1. The HRMbyDesign Project has already recommended a maximum building height of 116 feet for this area. This proposal was based on maintaining the beauty and integrity of the Halifax peninsula in order to benefit everyone rather than on benefitting the narrow interests of a condominium developer. The WM Fares group has offered no public good that can be obtained from adding an extra 6 to 8 stories to the HRMbyDesign recommendation.
2. We already have two precedents that are relevant to this case: Fenwick Tower and the Aliant building. Those who live and work on the Halifax peninsula view both of these buildings as eyesores which not only mar the natural beauty of the peninsula but also inhibit views of the harbour. There is no reason to repeat these mistakes. These buildings also demonstrate that once this building has been constructed it will be with us for a very long time. Do we really want another Fenwick Tower on the Halifax peninsula?
3. Property prices, particularly condominium prices, are already falling on the Halifax peninsula due to the glut of condominiums that has resulted from the construction over the last several years. An enormous building such as this will only further contribute to this glut, producing extra units that nobody will want or need for years to come. This again brings to mind the disaster that was and is Fenwick Tower.
4. Finally, should this building be constructed at 19 stories as suggested, it could easily become the beginning of a trend that will result in the beauty of the Halifax peninsula becoming transformed into the hideousness of the island of Manhattan. Is this truly a road that we wish to begin to travel down?
In conclusion, to amend this bylaw in favor of such a large building is a decision which does not benefit the people of Halifax; it only benefits WM Fares. This amendment proposes to add 6 extra floors of condominium units that the public neither wants nor needs, as witnessed by the large number of units currently for sale in the recently completed Martello building. Thus, we will be permanently destroying the Maritime beauty of our peninsula for no reason whatsoever. The 116 feet height recommended by the HRMbyDesign Project is clearly quite adequate and if WM Fares claims that such a building is not profitable for them to build, then they should consider building elsewhere.
There is a public meeting regarding this issue December 5th at 7pm at the Prince George Hotel. Please attend if you have concerns.