Nova Scotia

Building height rules again on HRM agenda

Halifax regional council must decide if it wants to disregard its rules on new building heights for the second week in a row as the redevelopment proposal for the CBC and YMCA buildings on South Park Street is up for discussion Tuesday.

Halifax regional council must decide if it wants to disregard its rules on new building heights for the second week in a row as the redevelopment proposal for the CBC and YMCA buildings on South Park Street is up for discussion Tuesday.

Last week, council decided to allow the 48-storey Skye Halifax development on Granville Street to go ahead because of the potential for economic benefits, despite being more than twice as high as HRM by Design allows for that part of downtown.

Now, the YMCA wants to build two highrises more than twice as high as what's allowed.

The YMCA wants to change the area's height limit from 23 to 49 metres.

HRM planning staff are fine with this because of the public benefits of the YMCA's social and recreational programs.

But the city's design review committee is not in favour of the project. It's worried about the impact of the tall buildings on nearby Citadel Hill.

Coun. Jennifer Watts said she be willing to consider the YMCA's proposal because of the work it has consistently done in the community in terms of supporting low-income families.

And, said Watts, "The peninsula is looking for recreation facilities."

However, she is concerned about the flexibility of the city's downtown development rules.

"It's a very confusing place that council has put itself in."

It might now be difficult for council to refuse to let the YMCA development go on to the next stage, said Watts.

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