News / Halifax

Community group says Halifax shouldn't let developers 'devise a vision for the city'

The Willow Tree Group is one of 12 community groups urging Halifax Regional Municipality to halt development agreements until the Centre Plan is completed.

A rendering showing the proposed APL tower development at Quinpool and Robie.

WM Fares Group

A rendering showing the proposed APL tower development at Quinpool and Robie.

A group of Halifax homeowners are calling on the municipality to stop accepting development agreement applications until the Centre Plan has been completed and approved.

On Monday, members of the Willow Tree Group held a press conference to express their concerns about “the abuse of the development agreement process,” using a proposal by APL Properties Ltd. (George Armoyan) as a “prime example” of their concern.

That proposed 20-29 storey development at the corner of Robie and Quinpool roads goes before HRM council for approval on Tuesday.

“APL as it turns out is just one of many high rises that are proposed, approved, under construction or recently completed,” said Steve Parcell, a member of the group and a Dalhousie University architecture professor.

During a presentation, Parcell pointed to an image showing all high rise buildings over five storeys that fit into one of those categories.

“Clearly from the distribution of dots there is no recognizable urban pattern, there’s really no vision behind where these things are going,” Parcell said.

The Willow Tree Group and 11 other community groups have written an open letter to the mayor and council requesting a halt on site-specific zoning amendments in the Regional Centre until the Centre Plan has been completed and approved.

“The Willow Tree Group believes it’s a bad idea to let developers devise a vision for the city,” Parcell said.

“Planning should come before development and before doing anything the Quinpool District needs a well rounded, evidence-based, deep planning study.”

In an email, Adam McLean, director of development and sales with Armco Capital, responded to the Willow Tree Group’s press release.

“The demographics in HRM are changing and there is a large demand for multi unit housing in and around the peninsula with vibrant commercial at street level. The city should not be considering halting development or establishing a moratorium until a consensus plan for downtown is developed,” McLean said.

“There will also be opposition to development, because it means the character of an area is seeing change. We believe this change is progressive and will add good density in a growth corridor and vibrant retail.”

More on Metronews.ca