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The proposed 48-storey Skye Halifax buildings were designed to resemble boat sails. (United Gulf Developments Ltd.)

Opponents of a controversial proposal to build two 48-storey high-rises in downtown Halifax have delivered a community letter to regional council hoping to get their message out before councillors debate the proposal on Tuesday.

Skye Halifax is a development proposal for Granville Street. The project by United Gulf Developments Ltd. would cost $350 million and include 400 condominiums, hotel rooms, restaurants and retail space. At 48 floors, the two towers would be the tallest in the city — 16 storeys higher than Fenwick Tower.

That's also more than twice as high as HRM by Design allows for that section of downtown Halifax.

Forty opponents to the project signed the letter, urging council to stop the proposal in its tracks. They said it doesn't just bend the rules - it blows them up.

"I think it would set an incredibly destructive precedent," said John Lindsay Jr., with East Port Properties.

'It's statement architecture. I think it's beautiful.' —Chris Marriott, downtown business owner

"I must say opposing other developers' actions is something I'm extremely reluctant to do. However this particular application is so over the top in its disregard of the rules and could lead us back to where we were for the past 30 years before HRM by Design, which was site-by-site, hand-to-hand combat."

He said new cranes in the downtown shows the HRM by Design rules are working and should be extended to other parts of the Halifax peninsula and downtown Dartmouth.

But at least one small business owner in the downtown area said there should be exceptions to every rule.

"It's statement architecture. I think it's beautiful," said Chris Marriott of Torusoft Ltd. "When you have a plan it's great, but it needs to be able to allow for something that 'blows up the rules' because it is just good. It's good unto itself.  It's unique and I think it should be built."

Halifax Regional Council will debate the Skye proposal Tuesday afternoon and decide whether to kill it or send it on to a public hearing.