News / Halifax

From big development to mystery walls: Five quick hits from Halifax regional council

A proposed development at the Willow Tree might be taller than staff had liked, the Bayers Lake Mystery Wall will be explored.

John Bignell, left, Terry Deveau and Keagan (aged 7) of the Nova Scotia Archeology Society look over a section of wall in Bayers Lake in this file photo.

Jeff Harper/Metro file

John Bignell, left, Terry Deveau and Keagan (aged 7) of the Nova Scotia Archeology Society look over a section of wall in Bayers Lake in this file photo.

1.    Willow Tree development grows

After staff recommended that the building be limited to 20 storeys, Halifax regional council voted Tuesday to allow bylaw amendments that make a 29-storey building possible at the corner of Robie Street and Quinpool Road.

The development, proposed by APL Properties Limited at 6009 and 6017 Quinpool Road, was one of two dealt with together at council’s meeting, the other being right next door at 2032-2050 Robie Street.

Council approved the first half, but voted down the second, theoretically allowing the developer to build up to 29 storeys.

Municipal staff recommended splitting the two previously joined site specific Municipal Planning Strategy and Land Use By-law amendments proposed by the developers, and drafting bylaws to allow a building limited to 20 storeys on the site.

That doesn’t mean, however, that the building will end up that tall, as staff will still be working with the developer to shape the design ahead of a public hearing and final approval by council.

2.    Funding for Spring Garden street outreach program

Halifax regional council approved $45,000 in funding on Tuesday for a program that seeks to “address homelessness and panhandling in Halifax and Dartmouth’s downtown business districts.”

The Navigator Street Outreach program, run by the Downtown Halifax Business Commission and Spring Garden Area Business Association, works to connect “street-involved and homeless” people with organizations like Adsum House for Women, Laing House, and Out of the Cold Shelter.

3.    Municipality considering Neptune Theatre funding

Staff at Halifax Regional Municipality will be considering the addition of $50,000 in funding for Neptune Theatre ahead of next year’s budget.

The funding would go towards renovations happening at the theatre this year and next.

The federal and provincial government announced contributions of nearly $1 million, and $100,000 respectively, in March.

The theatre had asked the municipality for $100,000, but based on municipal policies, plus tax relief and another grant that staff say add up to nearly $500,000 annually, they recommended only granting $50,000.

4.    Mystery Wall to be demystified

The long-standing mystery of a strange stone structure in Bayers Lake may soon be solved.

Halifax regional council approved $5,475 in funding on Tuesday for a scientific exploration of the wall – dubbed the Bayers Lake Mystery Wall because no one actually knows how old it is, or who built it – to be done next fall by the Nova Scotia Archaeology Society.

The society wants to use an X-Ray Fluorescence (pXRF) system “in order to analyze soil chemistry in and around the site.”

According to the proposal from the Society, that system can help them figure out how old the walls are without digging into the soil around them.

The Society also wants to include the public, and says in its proposal that they could run a site tour, or even a workshop or symposium.

The pXRF system needs to be rented from a lab in Ontario for a total of $7,475. Saint Mary’s University, which will have an archaeologist on site to supervise the work, is donating $2,000.

5.    Dartmouth museum?

A museum to hold the history of Dartmouth should be on the way soon.

Halifax regional council voted on Tuesday for a report on plans for a new museum in Dartmouth after the closure of the sale of the old Dartmouth City Hall building closes at the end of September.

There was a proposal more than two years ago to use the building as a museum, before council decided to sell the building and use the profits to build a Dartmouth museum.

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