Dartmouth residents appeal Lake Banook condo decision

Dartmouth residents who have been fighting for years against a proposed highrise condo development on the east side of Lake Banook took the fight to the next level this week.

Residents fighting condo development worry about wind, increased traffic and shadow

An artistic rendering of the proposed eight-storey building, as shown from Lake Banook. (Halifax.ca)

Dartmouth residents who have been fighting for years against a proposed highrise condo development on the east side of Lake Banook took the fight to the next level this week.

They have appealed to the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board, hoping to overturn the Sept. 6 decision by HRM's Harbour East-Marine Drive Community Council that allowed an eight-storey condo building with ground-floor shops at the corner of Prince Albert Road and Glenwood Avenue.

"It really kind of pulls the rug out from under the residents here," said Paul Mombourquette, who lives on Glenwood Avenue, beside the proposed site. "This affects a lot of things: wind, shading, privacy, property values."

The review board hearing was held Monday and Tuesday. Jeff Weatherhead, a member of the Banook Area Residents Association, made the official appeal, however many other residents turned out to speak.

"We certainly feel that the council did not reflect or consider, quite frankly, the wishes of the residents," said John Dalziel, who lives near Lake Banook.

Dalziel said he is concerned about wind impact and changes to the character of the lake, and about setting a precedent for other large buildings to be constructed in the area. 

"I know the councillors have many issues to consider, but we feel quite let down by the process," he said.  

The building would contain up to 90 condo units. The developer, Monaco Investments, initially proposed a building of 15 storeys. That was refused by council in 2012, and the developer returned with a smaller proposal for 10 storeys, which was eventually scaled back to nine, and then eight.

Residents in the area say their main concerns include increased traffic, a large shadow, and wind-tunnel effects for paddlers on Lake Banook.

Residents list many concerns about the proposal, including increased traffic and wind tunnel effects. (Google Maps)

In a report to councillors, municipal staff concluded the building had acceptable setbacks and a traffic impact study found no issues.

On Tuesday, under cross-examination before the review board, senior municipal planner Luc Ouellet said he was not aware of any evidence that winds coming off the development would have any negative effect on the lake.

Ouellet said municipal staff looked at a previous wind study done when the developer made an application for a 15-storey building in 2012. That study showed the 15-storey building would have "negligible" wind effects, so Ouellet said staff did not feel there was a reason to ask for a wind tunnel test on the proposal for the smaller building.

Mombourquette said he is hopeful about the outcome of the appeal. 

"We're dealing now with the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board, and I have confidence that group is going to be very objective in their decision on this. That does give me hope," he said. 

Final submissions to come

Lawyer Nancy Rubin, who represented Monaco Investments at the hearing, said she had not received instructions to comment to the media.

The residents, the developer and the city will all make their final written submissions fo the review board on Dec. 20, and will appear before the board on Dec. 21 to answer any final questions.

About the Author

Shaina Luck

Reporter

Shaina Luck covers everything from court to city council. Her favourite stories are about ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances. Email: shaina.luck@cbc.ca