Nova Scotia

Dartmouth development criticized at meeting

A three-building development for downtown Dartmouth was largely panned at a public meeting on Monday night as local residents criticized the project and the city's role in it.
More than 100 people showed up to ask questions about a proposed development in downtown Dartmouth. (Anjuli Patil/CBC)

A three-building development for downtown Dartmouth was largely panned at a public meeting on Monday night as many local residents criticized the project and the city's role in it.

"It's too ugly, it's too big," said Aet Sanstrom, who lives in the area.

"These buildings belong — to my thinking — in a bigger city downtown."

Sanstrom was one of more than 100 people who showed up for Monday's meeting at the Dartmouth Sportsplex, to hear the details about developer Darrell Dixon's proposed mixed-use residential and commercial development. Some say it's needed to boost Dartmouth's downtown, but immediate neighbours worry about its size.

The three buildings — seven, 14 and 18 storeys tall with a combined 300 residential units — are planned for four parcels of land located on Ochterloney Street, Irishtown Road and Queen Street.

John Bermingham, who also lives in the area, said the buildings will destroy the character of the neighbourhood.

"The Canal Bridge building is on 171 Portland Street and it was built in 2005 and the way that it will be affected is the other building will be towering over it, there will be the increased wind gusts," he told CBC News.

"Our visitor parking has been taken away too, it's been all blocked off by concrete blocks."

Other residents voiced concerns about the affordability of the units and the look of the buildings.

People complained that families would be shut out — because of the lack of three-bedroom units and other features, such as parks — and were worried some older trees in the area would be cut down to make way for the buildings.

Cathy MacKay, who lives near one of the three proposed sites, said the buildings don't fit in to the existing neighbourhood. She brought up nearby Greenvale School as an example.

"The people who did that did an amazing job," she said.

"But they're going to be completely crowded out by this giant erection in the middle of Dartmouth."

Kevin Desroche, a Dartmouth resident, was one of the few people at the meeting who supported the project. He said downtown Dartmouth needs a makeover.

"It's not as fleshed out as it could be, it needs revamping. If you walk down Portland Street, it's still shabby," he said.

Staff at the Halifax Regional Municipality will use the information collected at the meeting to send a report to the Harbour East Community Council. A decision on the application will be made by council following a public hearing.