Nova Scotia

King's Wharf project on hold

A major residential development on the site of the Dartmouth Marine Slips on the waterfront has run into a problem — CN Rail has yet to give permission to cross its tracks to get to the site.

Permission required from CN Rail to cross tracks

A major residential development on the site of the Dartmouth Marine Slips on the waterfront has run into a problem — CN Rail has yet to give permission to cross its tracks to get to the site.  

Construction work on the $300-million residential and commercial Kings Wharf development was supposed to start in January, two years after the Halifax Regional Municipality gave approval to proceed.

"It is frustrating. It is five years," developer Francis Fares, of Fares Real Estate Inc., said Tuesday.

The problem the project faces is two-fold: it needs permission to cross a rail line on the street to the building site, and the HRM won't issue a building permit until CN gives the OK.  

Planner Paul Dunphy said HRM has no choice but to wait for CN to approve the developer's plans for crossing at King Street.

"Well, its a deal breaker for us and it's also a deal breaker for the developer. Both the developer and ourselves need to know that access can be obtained to the land," Dunphy said.

"If the residents can't get to their condos, there's no sales. For us, if emergency vehicles and citizens can't get to their homes, then we can't approve anything."

For HRM it's about emergency access in case of fire or a derailment.

CN has given conceptual approval to the project, but the rail company told CBC News it is still evaluating detailed plans submitted by the developer.

The stakes are high for Fares who said he's spent $20 million already and has sold 50 per cent of the first building.

Still, he predicts approval will come from CN.

"II think it's a matter of days, to be honest with you. I'm not going to say weeks or months. It's a matter of days," he said.

Fares is hoping to break ground to begin construction by the end of this month, or in May.

The development will include a mix of townhouses and highrise units, as well as a tower that will be built on an infilled water lot.

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