Nova Scotia

Councillor aims to fight plan to build 16-storey hotel near Lake Banook

Sam Austin says decision to build a hotel, instead of residential building that was already approved, is 'an outrageous move.'

Sam Austin says change to development along Prince Albert Road is 'an outrageous move'

Dartmouth councillor Sam Austin plans to fight the construction of a 16-storey hotel on this site along Prince Albert Road across from Lake Banook. (Mark Crosby/CBC)

A Dartmouth councillor plans to try to fight the construction of a 16-storey hotel along Prince Albert Road, across the street from Lake Banook.

But Sam Austin admits under current planning rules the company, Monaco Investments, does not need council approval for a commercial development.

Residential developments do require approval, however. The developers originally asked to build a 15-storey residential building, which drew criticism from community members. 

In September 2018, the Harbour East Community Council approved an eight-storey building after a heated public hearing. That decision has been appealed to the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board.

Since then, the developers decided to build a hotel on the site instead of a residential building. A hotel is permitted since the site at Glenwood Avenue and Prince Albert Road is zoned for commercial use. 

"This is a slap in the face to the community," said Austin. "Unfortunately our 1970s planning rules mean that [commercial] development is as-of-right — if it's a hotel or an office building, the sky is the limit."

Coun. Sam Austin posted this rendering of the project on his website, and says this is what the proposed building will look like from the Glenwood Avenue side. (samaustin.ca)

Austin is particularly upset with the timing of the decision to revert back to a hotel project. He points out the new Centre Plan rules will be discussed by the Community Design Committee on Wednesday and could be in place by September.

Under the Centre Plan, development along Prince Albert Road would be limited to six storeys.

"This is an outrageous move," said Austin. "This is a complete undermining of the vision that we've sketched out for the area."

Austin plans to ask staff at next Tuesday's council meeting if there is anything the municipality can do to intervene.

A number of residents who live near the site expressed frustration and disappointment with the news but did not want to do interviews.

CBC News contacted Tony Maskine, one of the developers, but did not hear back by publication time.

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