Deferral means mutlimillion-dollar project can go to first reading, public hearing
The proposed Skye Halifax development.
[HALIFAX, NS] – The new regional council will have to decide the fate of the sky-scraping twin towers in downtown Halifax, the outgoing council decided Tuesday.
In one of its final decisions, the four-year-old council voted to defer discussing a report from the city's Design Review committee that recommends against amending current planning policies to allow the construction of Skye Halifax.
According to HRM by Design rules, the maximum height permitted for the Granville Street site is 66 metres. The towers would shatter that at 172 metres.
A solicitor for HRM explained that if council deferred the recommendation to reject the mutlimillion-dollar project, it could go to first reading and in turn, a public hearing.
That's something outgoing Coun. Steve Streatch said he wanted from the beginning.
"I always thought this needed to go to the people and we need to hear what the community has to say," said Streatch. "We need to have an open mind going into the future."
But Coun. Dawn Sloane said that council has heard enough feedback from the community.
"We've heard from the public," said Sloane, who was also speaking at her last council meeting. "I think we should defeat this. ...I say we defeat it now, period."
The report from the Design Review committee highlights five violations of existing planning policies in the new proposal, including the violation of the Citadel Rampart View requirements and of street and boundary setbacks.
City staff have also recommended rejecting the United Gulf Developments Ltd. project — a revised version of the company's initial, and controversial, "Twisted Sisters" plan.
The Downtown Halifax Business Commission has also been consistently against the proposed building, saying that it supports development in the downtown core, but not a project that's so contrary to the municipality's design plan.