Apartment Building is a Done Deal
by Cathy Vaughan
[Reprinted with permission. Chebucto News – July 2022]
Spryfield residents were relieved that the application to re-zone 48-50 Old Sambro Road was rejected by the Halifax and West Community Council in November of 2021. But the developer appealed that decision. Despite the best efforts of the Williams Lake Conservation Company (WLCC) to oppose the rezoning, the Halifax and West Community Council was ordered to approve the rezoning.
WLCC’s president, Murray Coolican, was disappointed with the loss of their appeal and explained that “The NS Utilities and Review Board (NSUARB) has allowed an appeal by the owner of 48-50 Old Sambro Road to overturn the decision made by HRM Community Council to turn down an application for re-zoning. This means the zoning will be changed to enable the development of a multi-unit, 4-story dwelling with underground parking.”
WM Fares Architects submitted a planning application request to rezone lands on the Old Sambro Road from R-2P (General Residential Zone) to R-3P (General Residential and Low-Rise Apartment Zone) to enable the development of a 4-story, 13 unit apartment building with an underground parking garage.
Coolican commented that “Many Spryfield residents were opposed to the rezoning of lands on Old Sambro Road. They were concerned that the 4-story building will interfere with wildlife in the area and will impact the water flowing off the property into Catamaran Ponds. In addition the Catamaran Ponds are an important part of the Williams Lake watershed.”
The Spryfield community also expressed concerns with the unsafe flow of traffic from the site into the busy intersection, the potential of flooding basements once construction began and the loss of the mature tree cover in the area. Blasting will also be problematic for the neighbourhoods as the builder clears the site for the underground parking garage.
After the recent ruling, Martha Leary of the WLCC, noted that “the NSUARB decision reflects the current Halifax Municipal bylaws. The progressive environmental policies in the Halifax Green Network Plan or HalifACT that have been passed by Council have no power until they are in the Municipal bylaws. Without changes to these bylaws, environmental concerns are not considered in a rezoning. The environment always comes in last. We can’t win. ”
In an article in The Coast, June 6, 2022, Matt Strickland reported on a presentation to Councillors made by “Our HRM Alliance.” Afterwards he summarized the dilemma, “Climate plans should have and need to have associated bylaws to be effectively implemented. They frequently do not. Development plans always do.”
Until the municipal by-laws reflect the Halifax Green Network Plan, the environment will come last and we won’t win this fight.