Council cans plan, Development voted down, by Lindsay Jones, Metro News Halifax, Oct 22, 2008
Council cans plan
Development voted down
LINDSAY JONES FOR METRO HALIFAX
October 22, 2008 12:15
Regional council rejected a plan to redevelop a block of heritage buildings on the Halifax waterfront last night.
The vote was tied 9-9, which means a loss.
Councillors debated Armour Group’s Waterside Centre project for more than an hour yesterday.
The project would’ve preserved the facades of six buildings on the corner of Duke, Hollis and Upper Water Streets and put a six-storey glass tower on top.
Preston Coun. David Hendsbee said he thinks there’s a better proposal out there. “It technically may fit within the so-called policies and guidelines, but spiritually, I don’t think it does,” he said.
Eastern Shore Coun. Steve Streatch said it’s wrong and misguided to cast aside the developer whose past projects, which include the award-winning Founders Square in Historic Properties, have been significant for the region.
Afterwards, Armour Group chairman Ben McCrea stormed out of council and refused to speak to reporters. He has 30 days to appeal the decision to the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board.
Heritage Trust of Nova Scotia president Phil Pacey said he’s “absolutely delighted” by council’s decision, but there’s still work to do. Armour owns the buildings and has applied for a demolition permit for one building and holds a permit to demolish another.
“We’re very worried about what may happen during the next months, but we think there is a realistic solution,” Pacey said.
Bruce Keith, who runs O’Carrolls Irish pub and restaurant on the site of the proposed development, says council’s rejection may could well mean the loss of the buildings altogether.
“The point that everybody keeps missing is this was an opportunity to save the buildings, not an opportunity to not do anything,” he said.
Mayor Peter Kelly said he has faith the developer won’t demolish the buildings and will return to council with a creative way to preserve them.