Chebucto News: Big Issues with a Small Lot in Spryfield
By: Cathy Vaughan, Williams Lake, January, 2021
This story appears in the February 2021 issue of Chebucto News
There is a definite sign of change in Spryfield. The enormous, blue HRM sign, on the small vacant lot at 48 – 50 Old Sambro Road, is evidence of change that may happen in your Spryfield neighbourhood. Read the sign. Provide your input. Make change happen your way.
Wadi Fares, a well-known developer in the city, has applied for the rezoning of the lot located at the intersection of Dunbrack and the Old Sambro Road, the busiest intersection in Spryfield. He is applying to rezone the small lot, from R-2P General Residential to R-3 General Residential and Low-Rise Apartment to accommodate his proposed 3-storey, 13-unit apartment building, of one- and two-bedroom, plus underground parking for 13 cars.
Neighbours and conservation groups have some big concerns with the rezoning of the small lot. The “Spryfield Defenders” Face Book page owner Dana Oakley, a resident of Spryfield, panicked when she read the large HRM sign on the property. She immediately started a petition on her face book page outlining issues with rezoning the property. She reached 200 followers and her petition has over 300 signatures.
“To rezone the area of 48-50 Old Sambro Road will affect the natural wildlife in the area who utilize the area daily for crossing from the Long Lake to the Catamaran Pond. It is a wetland crossing area. This area is already an extremely dangerous traffic zone as many drivers tend to drive 10-20kmh over current speed limits. There are many traffic incidents, accidents on file for the area. There are many older homes in the area that will also be affected in two possible ways. One being a property tax increase and the other, foundation and, or dwelling damage due to any required blasting,” writes Dana in her petition.
The Williams Lake Conservation Company (WLCC), a volunteer, non-profit organization is also concerned about the affect of the re-zoning and development of the property as it is in an important watershed area. Catamaran Pond is next to the small lot and is a vital water way that feeds into Governor’s Brook, Colpitt Lake and Williams Lake.
According to a recent water flow report by Dr. Melanie Dobson, molecular biologist with Dalhousie University and member of the WLCC, “Water originating on the hillside east of Dunbrack and from ditches along the road is piped under the junction with the Old Sambro Road and feeds into Catamaran Pond.”
Catamaran Pond is in the Williams Lake watershed and is an important part of the fragile watersheds of the surrounding lakes. The pond will be negatively impacted by the construction of the apartment building and its underground car park if the rezoning is approved.
Councillor Shawn Cleary also knows the connection between development and water flow. His two motions to study the rezoning of the Church of Christ lands, on Williams Lake, to Urban Reserve and to study the remediation of the Williams Lake dam included the investigation “of the influences of climate change, development and other relevant factors on water levels and water quality in Williams Lake watershed.”
Currently, the application to rezone the property on the Old Sambro Road is in public engagement phase and you are encouraged to fill in a short survey on line, on how you think the community is impacted by the rezoning of this property.
HRM Planning department’s, Jennifer Chapman, Planner lll, whose email appears on the HRM sign, is in charge of this public engagement phase. Besides the on-line survey, she has sent a letter to the surrounding area explaining the proposal and asking for feedback.
“Your feedback will be considered in the staff recommendations that will go to Halifax and West Community Council for a public hearing,” reads the HRM website for Case 22890 at 48 – 50 Old Sambro Road.
Read the sign. Provide your input. Make change happen your way