I wanted to get this blog out showing the new provincial proposal for a parking garage far earlier than this, but my website crashed when running some updates and it took a couple hours to fix it, sorry about that. I did write about the proposal in my newsletter yesterday. I said:
The Province has proposed a significantly different design to address the parking garage on Summer Street. You can read about that here in the Herald.
It is a less damaging plan than the province originally proposed, but it isn’t great, I don’t want anyone to think I love it. It is set back from Bell Road, and is 40% smaller than what was previously proposed, and no longer needs municipal land and won’t damage Lancers or Wanderers grounds.
Ultimately this is a test of the province’s ability to build a quality building in an urban setting. As I said in the Herald: ‘“That’s important for them because they are about to spend $1 billion building hospitals at the VG and Halifax Infirmary sites,” Mason said. “We need to see that this building, the first one they’ll build, gives us confidence that they are going to build buildings that are going to add to the city, not ruin the city. I am very hopeful that they will rise to the occasion.”’
The municipality can’t stop the province from building here. All we are being asked is to allow a pedway to go across Summer Street. I am going to support that, with some reluctance. I will say the province has not done any public engagement on this new, substantially changed plan and they should, they owe the public that, but that is up to them.
I am going to take this as a win because it no longer hurts existing uses. Is this perfect? No. Is it better? Yes.
Marcel Tarnogorski who wrote this guest blog with renderings of the old proposal last January sent in new renderings late yesterday of the new proposal, which are below.
The province is asking HRM for permission to have an encroachment for a driveway over some land on Bell Road, and a pedway across Summer.
To be clear, they are not asking permission to build. They do not need a yes from HRM, the province does not need it. I know there are some old MOUs out there attached to the sale of that land from the old City to the province back in the 60s but our legal staff don’t seem to feel those are binding, more guiding.
What happens next
The design is not final. There has been no public engagement on the changes to the hospital plan. I encourage residents to reach out the the area MLA, Labi Kousoulis, and the Premier and encourage quality design for the garage, good landscaping, a mitigation plan for the museum, and most importantly a full public engagement and a full reveal of the proposed amended Halifax Infirmary and Victoria General site plans, as changed.
We all want the new hospital, and I want it in the core of the city, a major regional teaching hospital needs to be in the centre of the city. We all want that goal!
But as this change demonstrates – public engagement and feedback has made this project better.
So I hope the province engages fully with the province on the details of the proposed hospital on both sites, so we can have input into how these massive buildings will face the street, the impacts on people walking by, understand the wind and sun impacts, and hopefully can have further input.
New Proposed Garage Renderings
EDIT: These are just renderings that show mass or size and shape. The process of tendering the design / build is when the final design and architecture would be confirmed.