Halifax: Proposed Dartmouth development raises concerns

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About 150 people showed up at a public meeting Monday night to express concerns about a proposed downtown Dartmouth development.


Developer Darrell Dixon proposes to erect three apartment buildings near the intersection of Queen Street and Irishtown Road, the renamed extension of Pine Street. One building, just east of the newly rebuilt Greenvale School aprartments, would be seven storeys. A building to the south of the school and east of Irishtown Road would reach 19 storeys. The third building, west of Irishtown Road, would be 14 storeys.


Few people at the meeting directly criticized the height of the proposed buidlings---only three specifically mentioned height---instead expressing concerns about the massing of the buildings, and how close they would come to adjoining buildings. The distance between the 19-storey building and the Greenvale school would range from 2.5 to 30 metres, which one speaker characterized as “a wall around the school.” Residents in the nearby Canal Gate condos also expressed concern about the tower looming immediately next to them. Some speakers also criticized the project as poorly designed, with one saying it would be “an instant slum.”


The architect for the project is Troy Scott, who lives in Dartmouth and designed the new Bridge Terminal. Scott seemed at pains to defend Dixon’s project, pointing out that the buildings’ shadows would fall only on each other and not on adjacent properties, and argued that downtown Dartmouth needed the new residents the apartments would bring.


Some requirement would be made of Dixon to pay into a fund for a separate city project of “daylighting” the old canal, and installing a fish ladder. Walter Regan of the Sackville River Association stressed that the two projects should be dependent on each other: “no salmon, no apartments,” he said. That plan additionally calls for making Irishtown Road a cul-de-sac, with a pedestrian bridge crossing the newly daylighted canal to connect to Pleasant Street.


The Harbour East Community Council will make a decision on the development proposal later this summer.


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