Halifax City hall through the memorial arch
Municipal

Special North West Community Council, Nov. 9, 2020

 | November 12, 2020

Present:

Councillor Cathy Deagle Gammon

Councillor Pamela Lovelace

Councillor Lisa Blackburn

Councillor Paul Russell

Councillor Tim Outhit

Absent: 

The important stuff (motions under consideration and vote result):

Blackburn’s the vice chair, but she’s sitting in the chair role this evening until the new councillor committee positions are finalized, which for this committee will be in December.

Even though there was heavy skepticism levelled at the traffic impact statement saying there’d be no impact on traffic, the committee voted unanimously to approve the development agreement for the Shaw Group’s proposal on Windgate Drive. As a reminder, they’re looking to build 84 townhouses and 92 single-family homes. 

Councillor Blackburn wanted to make sure the staff report into HRM mobile home park bylaws survived and got a staff report. Even though it’s mostly a provincial responsibility, she believes it’s important the city does what it can to make people’s lives easier, if it can. The committee agreed and passed the motion unanimously. 

I got this one a bit wrong in the newsletter, the committee decided to let Walid Jreige have a public meeting to get feedback on the revised townhouses he wants to build in Middle Sackville. Apologies for skipping a couple of steps in the process when I wrote it for the newsletter. This passed unanimously. 

And finally, Councillor Russell’s motion to get a staff report to study a change in the land-use bylaws because the HRM has hills will get a staff report. This also passed unanimously. 

Who said what (paraphrased): 

Staff: (Making the presentation for this case) The overarching plan for the area is low to medium density development that keeps a ‘village’ feel. Two houses per acre is the planned density of this development. 60 per cent of the site must be open space. The planning behind this development started in 2006, with the regional plan. 132 people came to community meetings in 2019, and 12 called or emailed staff. Concerns raised were traffic congestion, housing affordability and impact on water tables and environment, among other things. Traffic impact statement determined there would be a low impact on traffic. Staff recommend the council approve the development agreement as proposed. 

Russell: I have questions about the traffic impact statement, did the traffic study just include the traffic generated by the new development, or did it include the people who use it as a shortcut? 

Staff: I thought it was for the area, but I don’t know. The consulting company that is representing the developer can probably answer these questions. From staff’s perspective, the studies were reviewed, and the findings were accurate.

Blackburn: Is the corner of Windgate and Beaver Bank Road considered by the traffic studies? 

Staff: I was under the understanding that it was.

Conner Wallace (Planner with Zzap consulting): Application started in 2007. The community feedback was general support and concerns. The concerns about stormwater runoff have been mitigated by built-in designs, ditches, gardens, etc. The concerns about spaces between existing homes and new developments have been addressed by adding space between proposed development and existing houses. Traffic concerns, none. Traffic impact statement says there’s no expected impact. Cumulative traffic study says the same thing. It was designed so that people in the community can age in place, low maintenance, accessible and affordable. 

Deagle Gammon: It looks like there’s an extension into Elise Victoria Drive which would make it a thoroughfare, does the traffic impact statement include that? 

Wallace: No, it wasn’t required for the development, we are not required to because we’re not connecting Elise Victoria.

Lovelace: You’ve said that it’s private wastewater/stormwater and have a bunch of plans, but has it been seen by Halifax water since it would also affect them? 

Wallace: I think so, staff can confirm. 

Staff: Yes, Halifax water has seen it, and they’ll see it again at permitting, if council approves this development. 

Outhit: Are CCCs (capital cost contribution) part of this project? 

Staff: No, not necessary. 

Blackburn: Was the intersection at Windgate and Beaver Bank Road included in your analysis. 

Wallace: Yes, and Windgate and Windsor Junction Road.

Blackburn: You’re not planning to punch through any of these streets to make them thoroughfares? 

Wallace: Correct.     

Russell: Do you own the property next door where the streets would be punched through? 

Wallace: Someone else owns it. 

Russell: The other owner could come back and do it, but we’ll do that at that time. 

Ruth Carleton (speaker from the public): I have a question about the traffic study, when was the actual study done? It said when it finished, but when did the study start and end? I find it hard to believe there won’t be an impact on the Beaver Bank end. I can barely get out of there now, I can’t believe that the study, with the other development, won’t have an impact on traffic. 

Wallace: As part of the original study in 2018 and addendum in 2019, they look at two data sets from 2015-2019, then newer data in 2017, with the estimated new traffic generated by the development. And they use all that data to predict an impact and they found there will be no significant impact.   

Public hearing is now closed. 

Staff: Just wanted to concur that the studies were done in 2018 and 2019, and found low trip generation. 

Blackburn: This is where the motion would be introduced, from the councillor from the area so…

Deagle Gammon: (Moves the motion before the committee, as written in the agenda

Russell: Seconded.

Vote: Unanimous – Aye. 

Blackburn: Do we have correspondence or petitions? 

Staff: We have one from Outhit? 

Outhit: (Received a petition and is doing the proper things with it, I missed this due to a cat on the keyboard. This will be updated to be accurate ASAP)

Blackburn: Review of report requests, the only report on the list is one that I requested stay alive, do I step down from the chair and speak to it? Or? 

Staff: If everyone’s okay with it, we can just move the motion. 

Russell: (Moves the motion as written on the agenda)

Outhit: Seconded. 

Blackburn: I very much want to see this work continue, there’s a lot of problems with land lease communities, so any improvement we can make, even though it’s a provincial issue, we should do. I want to see the work continue. 

Vote: Unanimous – Aye. 

Blackburn: Thank you. 

Russell: (Reads the motion on the agenda for case 21863

Outhit: Seconded.

Blackburn: For context, I’ve been a public meeting on this, and the developer has put a lot of work into changing the development, so I look forward to the public response on this. 

Votes: Unanimous – Aye. 

Russell: (Reads the motion about building height as written on the agenda)

Seconded: Outhit. 

Russell: There’s a development on Sackville Drive that’s being designed, and the developer wants to put three five story buildings on the land. But it’s on a hill, and it’s measured from Sackville drive, which is the bottom of the site. A building at the back would have to be on the level of Sackville drive, instead of at the top of the hill. So we should measure the height of the building from the average ground level where the building is, not the edge of the property at the bottom of the hill. 

Blackburn: Reminder, this is for a staff report. 

Vote: Unanimous – Aye. 

Blackburn: Notices of motions? Next meeting is Nov. 26, 2020, and it’s a joint public meeting. And since we’re at the end of the agenda, adjourn? 

Outhit: When do we elect chairs? We should have one before the joint meeting. 

Staff: At the December meeting. 

Blackburn: Motion to adjourn!

Interviews:

Previous meeting minutes and current agenda:


A former Naval Officer turned journalist, Matt Stickland is committed to empowering his community to ensure that everyone has access to the information they need to make their city a better place.