Businessman fed up with HRM decision-making

A Halifax businessman says he's fed up with city hall because he wants to move forward with a new development but the planning process is caught up in red tape.

A Halifax businessman says he's fed up with city hall because he wants to move forward with a new development but the planning process is caught up in red tape.

Michael Turner is ready to expand his company, but the city is standing in the way of what he wants to do to the property he purchased at the corner of North and Windsor Streets.

"HRM honestly is a dysfunctional organization with mindless stupidity as its core competency," said Turner. "It really is a frustrating organization to deal with."

"I've actually talked to 15 people, 15 people on a small building 4,000 square foot building application, that's ridiculous."

His plan is to demolish the long-time target of graffiti and replace it with a new building connected to his current office.

But the trouble is with the planters.

"He wants to put some flower boxes around the perimeter of his property, that would intrude into the public right of way, so that is not something staff can do without a council approval," said Shaune MacInley, manager of public affairs with HRM.

Even though the recommendation came from the police.

"Some things that we would suggest can be things such as increased lighting, video surveillance, and even plants and vegetation which not only shows that you're taking care of your property but also provides a buffer between the side of your building and people who are on the street," said Const. Brian Palmeter.

Turner sees it as the city refusing to bend the rules

"HRM is really decision adverse — it simply won't make decisions."

After three months of meetings, and $14,000 in application fees, he's on the verge of abandoning the project.

"It just forces you to look for alternatives, alternative locations perhaps in Burnside Industrial Park, and so that means that development barriers like Halifax peninsula and downtown, it's a huge impediment actually to do anything really."

City staff say the building permit could be issued right away without the planters — however with the planters, the matter could take council up to six months to decide.