Residents raise red flag over proposed five-storey development in Halifax

By Stephanie Taylor, Metro Halifax
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Residents in Halifax’s west end say they are troubled that a proposed development would change their neighbourhood as they know it.

Banc Development is proposing to build a five-storey mixed-use building on Chebucto Road in Halifax.

More than 100 people filed into the Maritime Hall at the Halifax Forum for a public hearing on Monday night, for the latest updates on an application to build a new five-storey development, located on a now-empty gravel site of a former Ultramar gas station on Chebucto Road, near Beech and Elm streets.

The development, proposed by applicant WSP Canada Inc., on behalf of Banc Development, is asking that the area’s zoning maximum height allowance of three-storeys be amended to accommodate a new five-storey mixed use apartment block.

The ground floor would include approximately 8,300 square feet of commercial space, while the remaining four floors would comprise of 52 single and two-room rental units.

The proposal also includes the construction of an underground parking lot with an entrance on Elm Street, as well as 10-stall on-street parking.

Kourosh Rad, urban planner with WSP, said the area is attractive for its proximity to amenities, schools, and overall pedestrian and cyclist-friendliness.

“There is a push to increase density on our peninsula,” he said, adding that can be done more effectively with a five versus three storey building.

However, many residents at Monday’s meetings disagreed, voicing concerns about the impact such a development would have on the already traffic-heavy Chebucto Road, citing safety and the current struggle those in the neighbourhood have to find parking.

“Crossing Chebucto Road … you literally take your life into your hands,” said Sara Kirk, who lives on Berlin Street.

“It’s a huge challenge to have a building of that size on a lot that size in a very already, I would say, fairly dense neighbourhood.”

City staff said the feedback from Monday’s meeting will be applied to another draft of the proposal before the project is addressed in a staff report and brought before Halifax West Community Council, which would again call for a public hearing.

Organizations: Halifax Forum, Ultramar, WSP Canada Banc Development Halifax West Community Council

Geographic location: Chebucto Road, Elm Street, Berlin Street

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