Decision delayed on Halifax downtown office plan, by CBC News Nova Scotia, Sept 17th,2008
Decision delayed on Halifax downtown office plan
Opponents speak out against 'assault' on city's history
Wednesday, September 17, 2008 | 9:19 AM ET
Halifax regional council on Tuesday postponed a decision on whether to let a developer demolish the interiors of a cluster of historic buildings in downtown Halifax.
The Armour Group wants to put up a nine-storey office building across from the Historic Properties. It promises to leave the facades of the old buildings to be gutted intact.
Council adjourned the debate Tuesday night after hearing from 26 people, all opposed to the development plan. Council plans to finish the debate in two weeks.
"I think this is the most egregious assault on the history of Halifax I have witnessed," said Michael Goodyear, who spoke at the hearing.
Peter Leavell, another speaker, said the municipality should protect the Upper Water and Hollis streets area and direct development elsewhere.
"If we look for a site that would allow the integrity of historic properties to remain intact, we can have both the millions of dollars that historic properties bring to the city every year and we could have whatever benefits would accrue from the availability of extra office space," he said.
Coun. David Hendsbee called it one of the most difficult decisions he'll have to make on council.
Hendsbee said he recognizes the developers' record when it comes to protecting heritage, but he doesn't like this project.
"I think of the founders square, I think of the waterfront properties. They've done great accolades. But this particular project, I have difficulty imagining it there," he said.
If council rejects the development proposal, said Coun. Bob Harvey, it should help the Armour Group deal with what it considers money-losing real estate.
"If that means buying the buildings and looking for other developers who'll develop them in a different way, we gotta do that," Harvey said. "We can't leave Armour Group hung out to dry on this."