TIANS Against Halifax Historic Properties Redevelopment

The (Halifax) Historic Property core region is one of the most defining elements on the Halifax Waterfront. Any development that mitigates the authentic experience and preservation of this area would be very short-sighted and detrimental to tourism over the long term.

– Tourism Industry Association of Nova Scotia

It is now standard practice in big business to develop for the sake of development. In other words, ripping down the old and building the new seems to be the ultimate way to drive the economic engines. And if this isn’t happening then the economy is in recession.

During the past ten years Nova Scotia has lost dozens of historic buildings including two gas stations that date back to the 1920′s. But those are new compared to the buildings from the 1800′s that are suffering the wrecking ball. And why is this happening? Because the powers-that-be figure that tearing down historic buildings, ones that have been saved by previous administrations, is the only way to retain or gain a good tax base.

And what happens when the developers lose? They throw fits. This is because they have spent tens of thousands of dollars on architects and consultants so why wouldn’t they? The real problem is that there are no hard and fast rules about dealing with historical landmarks. The rules seem to change with each mayor:

1973: The city council formally supported the preservation of the Historic Properties ares north of Duke Street from Granville Street to the water. This recognition made Halifax a leader in preserving history.

2002: The Heritage Canad foundation, a national organization dedicated to preserving the architectural heritage and historic places of Canada, chose Halifax to host its conference. They found that vacationers want to visit historic areas and their preservation is vital.

2008: Armour Group wants to destroy the main buildings and keep the facades. This will take in the last original area of Halifax.

What TIANS is saying is that the Armour Group should not have been lead on to believe that they could destroy old properties for the sake of a new development. Armour Group and certain city councilors argue that there is not enough office space in Halifax. Actually, Halifax has over 1,000,000 square feet of vacant land in downtown Halifax.

There are a lot of stupid moves in Halifax planning. (The Cogswell exchange was one of them) Rather than destroy the heritage properties why not look at the available land? Because you know what happens to many buildings that are destroyed in Halifax? They become parking lots. And tourists can only park once.