Halifax City hall through the memorial arch
Harbour East-Marine Drive Community Council

Passage to preserve its working coast roots

Alderney Landing doing well in spite of COVID
 | March 5, 2021

Harbour East-Marine Drive Community Council, March 4, 2021

Meeting recap (the important stuff):

The Passage will be keeping true to its working coastline roots. The committee voted down a motion to allow for accessory buildings, like sheds, to be built within coastal setbacks no matter what. They did so in favour of voting for a new motion put forward by Councillor Kent, which would allow for accessory buildings as an exception. The seemingly minor change allows for accessory buildings when they are needed but otherwise preserves the coast.  

The Alderney Landing gave a presentation to the committee about how they’re weathering the COVID pandemic. All in all, they’re doing quite well. Events have continued, and although they initially projected a loss this year, they are now looking like they’re going to break even. They will however be asking for support, which will be in the Parks and Recreation budget presentation to council. 

Councillor Sam Austin has requested a staff report to figure out if the city owns a fence on Woodland Road. A development proposal for Caledonia Road will also be going to a public hearing.  

And finally, two development proposals in the Passage, a light industrial zone on Hines Road and a residential development on Silver Lane will go to a public hearing. The industrial zone will likely be quite contentious. So I’m looking forward to that public hearing. 

Who said what (paraphrased): 

Hendsbee: Public hearing for backyard suites bylaw housekeeping amendments. There’s no one signed up, you can speak by signing up here. Do we have a presentation? Does anyone have a question? 

Austin: Don’t we do a staff presentation before questions? 

Meaghan Dalton: HRM passed the secondary and backyard suites legislation last year. Staff found 11 errors in land use bylaws, 4 in the area of this committee. There’s a typo, an out-of-date reference, a grammatical error, another typo, and another grammatical error. (Wrong references can infrequently have weird legal implications by things being accidentally allowed by wrong reference.)

Mancini: When is this bylaw active? 

Dalton: Right now. It’s just grammar errors.

Kent: I don’t see district 3 mentioned, is district 3 part of the secondary suites? 

Hendsbee: This is just where they found errors, it’s in effect in district 3. Correspondence? 

Clerk: You have three pieces, sent to you already. 

Hendsbee: Alderney Landing update presentation by Sandra McKenzie (and Bea MacGregor).

Bea MacGregor: We have 600 performances and events per year, pre-COVID. Surveys have said they love Alderney Landing and want more of everything Alderney does. Alderney is intrinsically linked to the revitalization of downtown Dartmouth. We are one of the top venues for small and medium events in the city. A lot was cancelled due to COVID. We did some outdoor events as COVID allowed. We have built COVID into our planning. Our Fire and Water Cultural Festival, Bluenose Ghosts Festival and Christmas market were all brought back with the COVID restrictions of the day. We managed to pay a bunch of local artists for those events. We’re going to continue to grow our signature events. We switched our market to online when COVID first hit to support our vendors. We’ve had around 2000 per day during COVID, it’s normally 3500, we’ve had positive feedback (COVID restricted Alderney market is great) we’re going to have a beer garden next year since Brightwood’s this year went over well. We’ve been able to expand a bit within COVID restrictions, even though we can’t have our normal amount of vendors we’re close. We want to expand our gallery. We were able to have our gallery shows. We’re going to launch art carts in April. Eastern Front Theatre is back home at Alderney Landing. We had projected a loss of $150,000 but are now projected to break even in the event industry. Parking lot use is down. We’re losing the wage subsidy in June. The parks and rec budget includes an increase in our funding which will be presented on March 31. 

Austin: Alderney Landing did incredible work to pivot this year. I’m glad the essence of Alderney Landing was able to continue through COVID, we may have lost the market for a couple years if we hadn’t been able to keep it going. 

Mancini: Alderney is part of the fabric of Dartmouth. It’s so important. There are lots of opportunities now. A lot of the Dartmouth business started in Alderney. The folks that put on the comedy fest, can we get a showcase at Alderney? Maybe one of the ones CBC covers? 

MacGregor: I called Kim (comedy fest people I assume) today!

Mancini: Kim Henderson does buskers, I’d like to see them in Dartmouth too.

MacGregor: Us too!

Mancini: The market, the original market in Halifax, the brewery one, they had musicians, can the Alderney one have musicians? 

MacGregor: Yes, but not with COVID. 

Mancini: Kent and Purdy you should go to the best market in the HRM (HEAR! HEAR! ALDERNEY MARKET IS BEST MARKET).

Kent: It’s a treat to hear a success story like this in COVID. It’s very impressive. The shops I went to in 2004-2007 were fledgling stores, and it’s nice to see them as mainstays now. *screen freezing* The use of the outdoor venue, I see it as a highlight of downtown Dartmouth. I’d just like to plug our local musicians and bands. Especially the ones that were close to hitting the threshold of exposure. The music industry is a struggle, I’m hoping there’s an opportunity to showcase local bands to give them an opportunity to perform to a larger audience than can be crammed into a pub. 

MacGregor: Our theatre is 300 seats and COVID restrictions make it 111 seats. We can accommodate up to 111 bubble groups, and we’re working with New Scotland to bring in musicians, and our doors are wide open for them. Our beer garden this summer will also have live entertainment. We always pay our local artists. 

Hendsbee: I hope your beer garden has room for good old fashioned Eastern Shore hospitality this summer. Onto Case 22198, staff presentation. 

Carl Purvis: No presentation tonight, this is to legalize and formalize an existing salvage yard, but it’d have to go to public hearing next meeting. 

Purdy: *Reads the motion for agenda item 13.1.1 as written

Mancini: This is coming to us because of complaints, how does this becoming legal help this? 

Purvis: It’s a different issue, the unsightly premises is how we figured out the permitting wasn’t done, but the development agreement is how it would be regulated. 

Mancini: So we can do compliance enforcement once it’s legal? 

Purvis: Yes

Hendsbee: And fencing and screening can be added. 

M/S/CVoteAyeUnanimous

Kent: *Reads the motion for agenda item 13.1.2 as written* I’m not going to be supporting this motion, and I ask you don’t either. This is a working shoreline, and harbour, and has been since it was just Indigenous people living here. When I was on council last we identified that this shouldn’t have been included, and this was put forward by the former councillor because of a shed. This report was intended to address the shed issue. There’s a lot of contradiction that has happened over the years on council. Because of the brunt force of surf and surge from the ocean, there is a different risk level. The report says there’s not a lot of data around the working waterfront. I think the community needs to have this settled so people can get on with the work they do. We’re not talking about residential. I have a motion to put forward once we vote this down. 

Mancini: Can we see Councillor Kent’s motion before voting? 

Kent: *In legalese* Allow some exceptions for building accessory buildings in the setback area so people can keep working on the water. Not residential. *End of legalese* There’s a working harbour elsewhere in the HRM and it’s unreasonable not to do it here. And I worked with staff to make sure they could deny things if there were going to be bad.

Hendsbee: Does this include houseboats on the shoreline? 

Kent: It wasn’t on my radar at all, I have no idea. It hasn’t been an issue for us in this area. 

Hendsbee: Houseboat and floating homes are only a matter of time before they start appearing, we don’t have authority over them yet, but I think we should get ahead of this. 

Purvis: This deals explicitly with accessory buildings. A houseboat isn’t an accessory, they are separate. 

Hendsbee: Do they deal with water lots? Putting wharves and docks and stuff in the water? 

Purvis: We can’t really change what people do in the water, but this makes sure the land next to the water can’t be changed. The wording is loose enough that we can consider all variables. 

Hendsbee: Climate change might require changing the coast. 

Purvis: Maybe, I’m not a climate expert, but I think changes will be coming. 

Kent: There is a difference between a coast and a harbour, the ocean affecting the coast vs affecting a harbour is different. This is designed to be site specific. I’m trying to protect and acknowledge the working shoreline. The unintended consequences of change are why we’re back here now, I’m going to call the question for the original motion. 

Austin: When I first saw this I thought we were going to have an argument about climate change and flood risk, but this is not that. This is a reasonable restriction to recognize a historic pattern of use. I think council of the day may have overreached back then. Kent’s done her homework and I think will work. 

Hendsbee: The spirit of Jeep Deveaux is whispering in her ear. 

Purdy: I support Kent’s motion. 

M/S/CVoteNayUnanimous

Kent: *Reads her new motion

M/S/CVoteAyeUnanimous

Hendsbee: Case 22797, Mancini?

Mancini: *Reads the motion for agenda item 13.1.3 as written* At the site currently, there’s an old strip mall, Jessy’s Pizza used to be in there. I’m fully supportive of this, it’s only first reading. We haven’t had any significant development in the area recently, and I’m supportive of development in general, if we do it right. But how big is the notification area? 

Staff: It’s on map 2, page 8 of the pdf. 

Mancini: A large percentage of this area is rentals, can we expand the area of notification? 

Staff: Yes.

Mancini: Can we just make it bigger? 

Hendsbee: Double the size? 

Mancini: Yeah, double the size. Some residents didn’t know it was happening, I just want to make sure the notification goes out. I support this. 

M/S/CVoteAyeUnanimous

Kent: *Reads the motion for agenda item 13.1.4 as written

Hendsbee: Presentation? 

Brittney MacLean (city planner): Zzap wants to put a light industrial zone on the property. There has been a history of residential developments on this property, one residential development was rejected, another one was withdrawn and is pursuing this application instead. Here’s where they want to zone light industrial:

Presentation slide from Zzap. slide titled: Site Context; Hines Road, Eastern Passage. Slide shows a satellite image of the area that is being discussed.


MacLean: They can’t develop a lot of this property because some of it is zone environmental conservation (so just put some industry beside that, I’m sure it’s fine). This is what light industry is:

Presentation slide from Zzap. Slide title: i-1 Zone Permitted Uses; Eastern Passage/Cow Bay LUB. Table with heading i-1 Zone, rows labeled Commercial Uses, Industrial uses and Community Uses. Slide details the various uses in these three catagories.

MacLean: The applicant hasn’t said what they want to use it for, but if you approve it they can do any of these things. We got seven calls and seven letters/emails. We received a lot of comments in our public information meeting. There were concerns about traffic, industrial vehicles, speeding, concerns that Hines Road isn’t built up enough and doesn’t have sidewalks but does have children, it would make it harder to access the trail, they don’t know what the applicant wants to do with the land, some of the land uses allowed are intense, they’re worried about the environment, the required screening wouldn’t be put up, trees would go down, and the existing zoning fine. They also said that there’s already a bunch of industrial use there and more of it would erode what remains of their sense of community. Industrial development is in line with the municipal planning strategy. There was a traffic study done, any new trips would have minimal impact on traffic (drink!). We recommend you approve the application, as it’s consistent with the intent of the industrial use zoning. 

Kent: Can I make comments? 

Hendsbee: Would this prejudice a public hearing? 

Lawyer: You can preface questions with comments.

Kent: I was under the impression until the public hearing was called, can I not comment on whether or want to support the motion? I’m just going to roll with it. The public engagement meeting and buffer zones, what can be expected? 

MacLean: Increased setbacks would be applied during permitting, and it’d be 30 or 50 feet, depending on if it’s next to a residential zone. The setback from the trail would be 30 feet, and no vegetation would be required. Watercourse setbacks would be 30 meters, depending on the slope, but the minimum would be 30 meters, but that’s permitting. No wetland conservation area can be touched. 

Kent: There’s no particular intent for the applicant to proceed with anything specifically. The applicant is on the line, can we get a sense of what they envision on the property? But it maybe should wait until the public hearing? I’m going to support it, for now, to get to the public hearing. 

Mancini: Point of order? We can’t have a consultant speak at first reading, it needs to be at the next step. 

Kent: I’m okay with that. 

Hendsbee: The property has right of way on Hines Road, but seems to go on Howard Avenue? Was that considered in the traffic impact study?

MacLean: The study was only from Hines Road.

Hendsbee: But the access is coming off of Howard right now. 

MacLean: After construction all of the access would be only on Hines Road. 

Hensdee: Next case!

Kent: *Reads the motion for agenda item 13.1.5 as written*

Staff: I don’t have a presentation.

Hendsbee: Overview? 

Staff: *Gives an overview of the history of the application*

Kent: I didn’t read the second recommendation, does that matter? 

Lawyer: The second part of the motion is what happens if this passed to the next step, doesn’t need to be read today. 

M/S/CVoteAyeUnanimous 

Austin: *Reads a motion to get a report on the Woodland Road fence in Dartmouth* Every councillor in the last 20 years in Dartmouth has had this fence come across their desk. The city of Dartmouth bought a fence and now might still own the fence, the city’s painted and fixed it over the years, but no one really knows who owns it. The homeowners fight us because they don’t think it’s their responsibility, so we just really need to know who’s responsible for what which is what I want to get out of the report. The fence is 30 years old and on its last legs, someone needs to replace it, we need to figure out who. I can try and answer questions, but I have a lot of questions, which is why I want the report. 

Hendsbee: The two previous councillors also had this issue, we should make this an attractive gateway fence into metro. I think we need to have this seriously looked at and make it aesthetically pleasing. 

M/S/CVoteAyeUnanimous

*Meeting moves in-camera*

*Councillors returned from in-camera and voted on a motion

*Meeting adjourned*

Present:

Councillor David Hendsbee, Chair (District 2)

Councillor Becky Kent, Vice Chair (District 3)

Councillor Trish Purdy (District 4)

Councillor Sam Austin (District 5)

Councillor Tony Mancini (District 6)

Absent: 

N/A

Interviews:

N/A – COVID

Previous meeting minutes and current agenda:

Previous meeting

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.

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