Nearby residents are lining up against Danny Chedrawe’s proposed 25-storey building on Robie Street, and for perfectly understandable reasons: the building is huge, not only in comparison to nearby single-family homes, but in comparison to pretty much the rest of Halifax. (I think it would be the fifth or sixth tallest building in Halifax.) Neighbours are concerned about creating wind tunnels and shadows that affect their properties. And, in what I find the most valid complaint, there is a cluster of development either already approved or in the proposal stage in the immediate area, but no overall plan for them.
There is the eight-storey building slated for construction at Quinpool and Vernon. Armco wants to build 28- and 12-storey buildings at the corner of Quinpool and Robie. A proposal will soon be submitted for the St. Pat’s High School site, and a development for the lot south of the Atlantica Hotel is in the works. Any one of the developments may or may not pass muster on its own, but no one seems to be looking at the collective effect should all of them be built.
The Quinpool Centre, now aging ungracefully, is already a dead spot on Quinpool Road. If we’re not careful we could destroy the life on the street, just as thousands of new residences are built. It could become a warehouse for people to sleep before they go off and experience life somewhere else.
Still, one neighbourhood complaint that bothers me is the call for more parking in Chedrawe’s building:
Duncan Street resident David Smith pointed out the plan allows for one parking spot for every two units.
“That’s not enough,” he said adding that it would only put more parking pressure on the neighbourhood.
By the end of the meeting, Chedrawe said he’d reconsider increasing the amount of parking.
Quinpool Road Mainstreet District Association supports the development but wants it to have more self-contained parking and a traffic study done in the area.
While other aspects of the building are debatable, the entire point of dense urban apartment building in a central location is to attract people who don’t want to bother with owning a car. The building will be within easy walking distance of grocery stores, downtown offices, the universities, and many bus lines. A requirement for additional parking is almost, but not quite, a requirement that residents own cars — it changes the feel of the building, and of the neighbourhood. It adds cars, or at least the infrastructure for cars, where none is needed.
Chedrawe has a good reputation among planners. This building might be too much for the neighbourhood, but the limited size of his proposed parking lot is sensible. It’s the way of the future, even. We simply cannot keep building for cars and think that it won’t lead to more cars. It necessarily does.
Increasingly, young people, and especially young people living in cities, don’t have driver’s licences, much less cars. They prefer to walk or take transit, and use cabs or car share for the exceptional times when they need a vehicle. We should cater to them.
That skateboard park on the Dartmouth Common will finally be built this summer, reports the Chronicle Herald. Well, it’s that last part of the Commons — the little triangle of land between Wyse and Windmill Roads and the old brothel. The skateboard park will be next to the basketball court, on the land where Gloria McCluskey’s failed outdoor gym used to sit. (The gym was popular while it lasted, but the company that made the equipment went kaput and it couldn’t be maintained.)
Now we just need wine bar/ coffee house up on the ridge line, next to the gazebo, to make the Common civilized. Imagine stopping by on your way to or from the Bridge Terminal, sitting and watching the harbour for a moment of repose before catching the bus to meet with your asshole boss, or meeting your spouse on the way home from work for some decompression. I tell ya, the Dartmouth Common could be a thing, if only we weren’t so hung up on the alcohol issue.
3. IMP layoffs
IMP Aerostructures has laid off 30 employees at its Amherst plant, reports the Amherst News. About 200 people work at the facility. Last year, the plant laid off 90 people, but then hired back 30 of them in the winter to make up lost production time due to the snow; those 30 have been re-laid off.
As of this morning, absolutely no one has bought the GroupOn coupon for the Portland to Yarmouth and back Nova Star trip, which includes 90 glorious minutes in Yarmouth.
A Dartmouth woman, however, told the CBC that she’d buy a similar coupon if it was offered the other way around because she already makes that trip — she takes the Nova Star from Yarmouth to Portland and back, and spends just 90 minutes walking around Portland:
It’s a trip that my husband and I enjoy taking quite a bit, usually over a weekend,” [Catherine] Montgomery says.
“We enjoy the actual travel and the ambience of the boat. We disembark and then we usually have our ticket booked to go back over,” she says.
Montgomery said going on foot saves her and her husband some time. They went to Portland twice this way since the ferry launched last year.
“Usually we just walked around the downtown area. They have a very pretty downtown area in Maine,” she says. “Gone for a coffee, or grabbed a light meal, pretty much that’s it.”
I dunno, now that Sangillo’s has closed, maybe one could spend just 90 minutes in Portland.
Who’s behind the “Draft Kelly” website? Russell Gragg identifies six suspects.
Stephen Archibald went to the Rare and Unusual Plant Sale in Annapolis.
This is Archibald’s second post about Annapolis, which prompted one reader to complain that the name of the place is Annapolis Royal, and that Annapolis is in Maryland. (I stopped by the historic Maryland town last month; it’s a lovely place.) But I figure that as Archibald spent his childhood winters in nearby Bridgetown, there are probably local names for places that don’t match the names on the maps, and so “Annapolis” it is.
Graham Steele’s discussion of decorum at Province House is merely an excuse for his real point, which is that legislators are dumb:
It is beyond the capacity of most MLAs to understand the issues, so they take shortcuts. It’s a lot easier to shout someone down than come to grips with what they’re saying. It’s a lot easier to think in partisan terms, “our party is good, your party is bad” than to think in policy terms.
It’s a lot easier just to vote for a bill because you’re told to, than to read it and try to understand it well enough to make up your own mind.
Incidentally, the MLA who threw the bottle across the legislative chambers (and missed the waste basket) was Joanne Bernard.
4. Casual sexism
Rachel Ward, who sometimes works for the Examiner, talks about the casual sexism experienced by female reporters:
After interviews, I’ve had male sources call their communications advisors — and sometimes people I know — to complain that I didn’t understand the topic. I’ve been told to deepen my voice for radio. I’ve had too many sources to count think an interview meant a date later. A male source once kissed my hand.
5. Prayer circus
Cape Breton Regional Municipality Mayor Cecil Clarke is making a fool of himself over the prayer at council issue, says the Cape Breton Post:
So, it seemed a little curious to see Clarke — prior to the April 21 council meeting — lead what was essentially a prayer meeting attended by many evangelical Christians, a number of whom don’t seem to recognize the separation of church and state.
The circus continued during Tuesday’s council meeting, with the council’s old prayer inexplicably printed in the meeting agenda (Clarke was away on vacation), and with members of the pagan community interrupting the council’s new “moment of silent prayer, invocation and reflection” at the start of the meeting.
No public meetings.
On this date in 1820, George Ramsay, the ninth Earl of Dalhousie and Governor-General of Canada, laid the cornerstone of the first Dalhousie College at Grand Parade, where City Hall now stands:
[Lord Dalhousie] wanted to establish a Halifax college open to all, regardless of class or creed.
The spoils of war helped fulfill his dream. During the War of 1812, Castine, a small port in Maine, was being used as a base by American privateers who harassed ships along the Eastern Seaboard. Britain sent a Royal Navy force from Halifax to capture Castine and turn it into a customs port of entry. When the war ended, the navy returned to Halifax with the money it had collected as customs duties. Lord Dalhousie invested 7,000 pounds of this treasure as an endowment for the college and put aside 3,000 pounds for its construction. The earl modeled the fledgling college after the University of Edinburgh, near his Scottish home.
The institution of Dalhousie College was actually created in 1818, but while the cornerstone of a building was laid two years later, by that time Lord Dalhousie was appointed Governor General of Canada and went to Quebec. With no one around Halifax to champion the college, the college took a while to get off the ground. Classes weren’t offered until 1838, and those were “only intermittent and degrees were not awarded for some time.” It wasn’t until 1863 that the college was reorganized and proper instruction given. The first class had 28 students.
In the harbour
Atlantic Companion, container ship, arrived at Fairview Cove this morning from Norfolk
ZIM London, container ship, Rotterdam to Pier 42
Atlantic Heron, bulker, Quebec to Pier 25
Sina, cargo, Havanna to Pier 36
CSL Tacoma, bulker, Norfolk to Nation Gympsum
Fusion sails to sea
I was locked out of my own site this morning. Looks like I need to go buy a new router.