Halifax Regional Council will meet on Tuesday for the second week in a row. There are plenty of items and a full agenda, which can be found on their website.
Young Avenue Development proposal (again)
Councillor Steve Adams caused some controversy last week when he motioned to amend a land-use bylaw.
The specific location he wants to amend the bylaw for is a several Young Ave. plots where unofficial Halifax heritage houses once sat.
The houses were purchased and torn down by Halifax developer George Tsimiklis, who now is asking Councillor Adams to amend the bylaw so large multi-unit apartment buildings can be built on the site.
However, Waye Mason, councillor for Halifax South Downtown, says that Tsimiklis is trying to strong-arm council.
“In the way that this developer always does, he's pushing and pushing and pushing,” he tells NEWS 95.7.
Mason says the developer already tried to rescind the land use bylaw in 2015, but councillors, including Adams, voted against it.
Mason says the current bylaw allows developers to rebuild on Young Ave., but the buildings must be house-style and have limits on how many levels and units.
“The idea here is that the owner of that property was offered the opportunity to do a heritage development agreement. If he registered the buildings, we would've given him more.” he says.
“Save the heritage, get more units. Tear it down, you build single family homes.”
On top of the developers repeated attempts to change bylaws, Mason says his fellow councillor is interfering in his district.
“He didn't come to me before he brought the notice of motion at the last council meeting,” says Mason. “I don't know what his motivations are. I would never do this to him.”
The District 7 Councillor says he’s also concerned for his residents, who already had public hearings on this two years ago.
“We have already done exactly what [Adams] is talking about,” says Mason. “These neighbours fought really hard to try and protect that heritage. The neighbours thought this was behind them.”
Mason says he’s been in talks with Tsimiklis since 2015. At first, the developers proposal was reasonable.
“What was originally presented to me was, it'll look like the houses that I'm allowed to build in the new zone, but they'll be multi-units,” he says.
But then the owner started asking for more.
“Suddenly they're taller than they should be, they're going to have underground parking. You give him an inch, he takes a mile,” adds Mason.
But more than that, Mason is worried this sets a bad precedent for allowing developers to get their way from council.
“It undermines our ability to protect heritage anywhere on that street and anywhere in Halifax,” says Mason. “Because what you're saying is you tear down the historic building, you don't register it, and in a year or two council changes its mind, you can build what you want.”
For Mason, the matter is already settled.
“Council's already voted on it. Nothing has changed that should make us reconsider what we've already decided,” he says. “I think that we need to stick to our guns.”
Corner of Beaver Bank road to be sold to private owner
A public hearing will begin at 6:00 p.m. in Council Chambers to help advise the fate of Majestic Ave. where it intersects with Monarch Drive.
The two properties, which are located next to the Beaver Bank-Monarch Drive Elementary School, total approximately 8,600 square feet.
Council doesn’t note exactly how much the properties are valued at, but it’s “over $50,000,” which is the requirement to hold a public hearing.
Find information here on how to contribute to a public hearing.
Future updates for Gorsebrook Park
A report on Gorsebrook Park Plan will be presented to council on Tuesday. The plan details future updates for the park located in Halifax’s South end.
The report from the Department of Parks and Recreation says that Gorsebrook Park, which was built on top of a golf course in the 1940s, is in need of some updates.
Area residents met with the councillor for the area, Waye Mason, back in 2015 to mention their concerns.
The plan’s highlights include fixing up entrances, implementing a central pavilion with washrooms, and adding a paved walking loop.
The city estimates the total work to cost around $3 million but staff have not included any funds in the current capital budget.
“The possible future capital expenditures would be considered when components require repairs and as opportunities for park improvements arise,” says the report.