When it comes to proposing an urban redesign for the economic heart of Halifax, tension is a measure of success, the project manager for HRM by Design says.
“People are finally understanding that there’s not one right point of view,” Andy Fillmore said. “I think the tension from various camps is an affirmation that the plan is in the right place.”
A draft of the plan, which has been touted as a solution to the city’s urban design, sprawl and development woes, became available to the public yesterday.
Fillmore says he’s confident the detailed, five-volume proposal strikes a balance between heritage and development.
Public consultation has driven HRM by Design since it was launched in 2006. The HRM by Design team includes consultants, city planners, architects, residents and members of the heritage and business communities.
At the last public meeting, much of the controversy surrounded proposed building heights.
Phil Pacey, Heritage Trust of Nova Scotia president, said yesterday he would continue to oppose the plan.
Although the plan adheres to the Citadel viewplane and ramparts bylaws, Pacey says it makes way for taller building on existing heritage properties.
“It’s just throwing one of our prime economic assets in the province in the garbage can,” he said.
But as Fillmore maintains, HRM by Design sets out to do more than settle the age-old battle between short and tall.
The downtown proposal divides the area from Cogswell Street to Inglis Street and South Park Street to the waterfront into defined precincts.
In addition to maximum building heights, overlays include street character, pedestrian areas and opportunity sites.
There is also proposed amendments to the land-use bylaw, a plan for the Barrington Street Conservation District and a 136-page design manual.
It is intended to pave the way for similar plans for the remainder of the regional centre — meaning the peninsula and Dartmouth within the Circumferential Highway.

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