Prince Albert/Glenwood Hotel Fight

Grahams Grove Area. Development site highlighted in blue. Banook Shore (5 storeys at peak) and low-rise development

There has been a twist in the controversial Prince Albert Road and Glenwood Avenue development. Site preparations are underway, but the developers don’t intend to build the eight storey apartment building that Council approved back in September. Instead, they intend to build a 16 storey hotel. The hotel development is as-of-right, and doesn’t require Council approval. It’s a decision that makes a mockery of both the upcoming Centre Plan and the seven year process to get to an approved mid-rise residential project. It’s deeply disappointing and infuriating and I will fight it.

Rendering of the as-of-right hotel (Glenwood side)

Unfortunately, options are very limited because the hotel development is as-of-right, meaning it doesn’t require community consultation or Council approval. So how in the world can a 16 storey building be as-of-right? The fault is with our antiquated 1970s zoning rules. The Dartmouth Plan requires Council approval for all apartment buildings of more than three units, but, at the same time, most commercial zones have few limits. Since Prince Albert/Glenwood is zoned general commercial, the developers need approval for an apartment, but not for a hotel. This makes no sense and is an example of why it’s so important to replace Dartmouth’s old zoning bylaw with the new Centre Plan. Our current planning rules are dysfunctional and have been for a long time.

So why do the developers want to build a hotel after they spent so much time and energy pursuing an apartment building? When they notified me of the switch to a hotel, they indicated that they had reconsidered their options a few months ago because it had taken so long to get the apartment approved, and because the appeal to the Utility and Review Board by the Banook Area Residents Association had created uncertainty as to whether Council’s decision would be upheld. The developers also indicated they were concerned that, even if the UARB upheld Council’s decision, the ruling might be further challenged at the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal.

The appeal may have been the spark to get the developers to seriously look at the hotel option, but it has since been dismissed, and the time for additional appeals has elapsed. There is no longer anything standing in the way of the eight storey apartment building that Council approved. At this point, the developers have simply calculated that a 16 storey hotel is more profitable, and have completely disregarded what HRM has identified as appropriate for Grahams Grove in the Centre Plan.

Prince Albert/Glenwood apartment that the developer doesn’t intend to build

There is a profound difference between having the legal right to do something and it being the right thing to do. The developers, Tony Maskine, Wadih Jabour, and Pierre Jabour, have opted to take advantage of Dartmouth’s outdated planning strategy to construct a building that is totally out of scale with everything around it. They’ve done so knowing that it’s not supported by the community, after Council already rejected 15 and 9, and mere months before the incoming Centre Plan will eliminate District 5’s flawed commercial zoning. They’ve done so after an exhaustive process that produced an approved apartment project. The seven storey plus penthouse option that Council approved in September wasn’t loved by everyone, but it was a fair compromise reached in good faith and, from the feedback that I received, it was generally supported by the broader community.

The developers have turned their backs on the compromise to pursue a 16 storey hotel, not because it’s right for Dartmouth, but because they can and it’s in their financial interest. Maybe that’s good business, but it’s not in the community’s interest. They’re putting their interest ahead of everyone else. It may be their legal right, but it’s not the right thing to do. I’m deeply disappointed in their decision.

Next week, I will introduce a motion at Council to see what, if anything, HRM can do to stop this. It won’t be easy. The hotel is allowed under Dartmouth’s current planning rules, the developers have had a permit since 2009, and site preparations have already begun. Being a planner, I know that’s not a great place to be starting from, but this is worth fighting. There are places in Downtown Dartmouth where this hotel project would be a perfect fit, but it’s the wrong approach for revitalizing Grahams Grove. The current location serves the interest of three people, and three people alone, and should be stopped.

Dartmouth, join me in speaking out if you think this hotel project and the developers decision is simply wrong.

Email to reach Council (cc me

Email to reach HRM’s planning department


  1. Well, well, we’ll! Isn’t this a farce! All the effort that the community at large has put into this issue is now down the proverbial drain.
    I hold council entirely to blame for this as they allowed the re-zoning to be separated out from the construction approval. Once re-zoned, the developers had carte blanche to do as they greedily desired. Shame on a myopic council for paving the way for these clowns!!!

    • The rezoning didn’t change the hotel rights. He has had the development permit since 2009. Ultimately this is the fault of successive Councils since no one has updated Dartmouth’s commercial zoning. The roots of this go back to the 1970s! The absurd property rights that go with commercial zoning in Dartmouth will go away with the Centre Plan, which would save a repeat of this at say the old Sobeys store in Southdale. Unfortunately, the developer of this project is coming in under the wire and it’s going to be tough to stop.

      • Well you had better figure it out as the fallout from this fiasco will be huge – standby to be inundated with flack from the entire community! I would go so far as to say that this will be a major determinant in your re-election!!

        • My impression is that Sam is doing (and will continue to do) the best that he can for Dartmouth. Threats against his job do not seem appropriate or constructive.

          • I agree with Thomas. Sam isn’t the villain here. Write the Mayor, the Council, your MLA and demand that steps be taken to stop this fiasco. Sam did everything he could to find a reasonable compromise. The developers are simply acting like greedy jerks, and they’re likely hoping folks will get mad a Sam and elect someone who’s easier to manipulate. Don’t fall into their trap!

      • The fault goes to the local citizens who have lied and cried their way to tying this up for almost 10 years, until finally the developer (who has tried to work with the local dolts) takes the legal, and easy route. They tired to work with the people of the area, but to NIMBY avail. And then Gloria McClusky decides that she isn’t happy out of the spotlight, and starts pounding her drum. Wind for the paddlers? Bull crap. The prevailing winds are NOT from that direction.

        Very disappointed in Sam today who, sensing the chance to get back on the good side of a few whiners flips to ‘bad developer/ bad city hall’ mode.

        Don’t blame the developer. Don’t blame council (those revenues have to come from somewhere). Blame the neighbors who would rather have a massive funeral home than live people close by. And how would you be as a developer who buys a property under a certain set of regulations, only to have the Sams of the world change them to suit their own special ‘we can just raise everyone else taxes instead’ outlook on life.

        • You must not live in the area- to call people, who don’t want their home environment ruined is mean spirited at best. The local residents have multiple valid reasons for not wanting what was proposed. It is their home. They are also the taxpayers of the area. The developer is not. The developer is well known to be Of ill repute and not interested in the community. Who should have the say more than the people who live there?!

        • “Massive” funeral home? Really? Why the hyperbole? Surely the 16 storey eyesore will be “ massive”, no?

    • Yes. It does. At the complete fault of the community that was consulted, got large adjustments (16 down to 8 stories), then decided to sue anyway.

      Stupidity has its price.

  2. Pointing fingers and assessing blame for this outcome does not address the current situation. What are the practical things that community members can do to help fight this development? Signing petitions and sending emails seems unlikely to persuade these developers, who obviously have little concern for the folks who live here.

    – Is there any value to a name-and-shame social media campaign?
    – Is there a way to try to block business at this new hotel site — discourage visitors from putting their money behind this monstrosity?

    In short, what are some practical steps that we can all take to help fight this development in our city? How do we prevent a hotel construction from yielding the financial reward these developers anticipate?

    • For now, the best thing that folks can do is write Council. to reach all of us. That way it’s on record. It’ll help me when I bring a motion forward to look for some way out of this mess on Tuesday.

  3. How can you be surprised Sam? At all the meetings, the community told you this developer could not be trusted and had concrete examples, and they were basically told to hush, it was not nice to say those things. I hold you fully accountable for this mess by not standing firmly behind your community and fighting. If the lake is ruined for competitive racing by wind you can also take that on your shoulders. You can also shoulder the costs of traffic accidents and any injuries. You liked to think as a planner you knew better rather than focusing on who you were supposed to support-that you were elected to support. People like Gloria McClusky always remembered who they were accountable to….and I am sure at the ballot box you will be reminded.

    • The way I read this is that Sam is doing everything to push this back. The developers are exploiting a loophole in a predatory manner. That was there before Sam. He has pledged to do everything possible to fight this. I suggest that energies be directed towards that challenge rather than trying to assign blame.

    • Oh give me a break. You don’t understand the situation, blathering on and placing blame won’t convince anyone. Maybe Gloria could have changed the archaic zoning rule while she was in office over the past 30 years.

      • Agreed instead of leading the charge on every concession the developer offered …no it was never good enough for the gang of short sighted victims of the developer! Give me a break these ridiculous people always knew there was planning permission for the hotel. Would anything ever be enough for them …NEVER!!! I say thank you to each and every one of you who through your actions have lead us to this situation. Do I blame the developer …absolutely not!! I blame this group of give no ground anti development and Gloria mccluskey for leading the charge …hope they are no very satisfied with the final outcome …enjoy the 16 floor wind shear.

    • Heather: Maybe get behind this and support what’s going on. I think the majority of the community (remember majority not the few that fought it) were supported by Sam which is his job. Kudos to him for fighting for it!

      • If the majority were in favour they didn’t show up! At best they were an apathetic majority or the developer would certainly happily speak for him!

    • Hi Heather. I realize that today is an angry day and people want someone to blame. It’s the nature of politics that you get the credit and blame for things you do and things that you can’t control. On this, I have to say I’m surprised. There was no reason for the developer to go through this long process just for the heck of it. They were committed to building a residential building. That change along the way.

      As I look back at this, it’s a struggle to identify what I could have done differently. Let’s say I voted no to the residential proposal back in December 2017 rather than seeking to find a compromise. What do you think the developer would have done with that? Gone away never built anything on the land? Given what we know today, that wasn’t in the cards. The alternative to a mid-rise residential project is a 16 storey hotel. A hard no from Council have just hastened the process of getting to this point: the proposal that everyone was hoping to avoid.

      • « That changed along the way »

        Yes, no kidding, the day council told Monaco they couldn’t build 15-Storeys. This is about the dollars this developer can make, why wouldn’t they try to build as many doors as they possibly can. You’re mad because you were outsmarted, don’t go making it worse by getting into a fight.

        Here’s an idea though….reopen communication with Monaco, tell them that a 15-storey RESIDENTIAL building is back on the table. At least this way the tenants will be less transient, and you may be allowed input on exterior look and feel.

  4. It’s as of right development. The developers purchased the property knowing they could put a 16 storey hotel there. They own the land and the right. They had tried to work with the community for years to have an apartment residential development for many years. The community fought their plans and in the end everyone compromised at 5 storey. The developers are making a business decision. Who can blame them. My question is why didnt anyone in council inform the public that hey they can build a 16 storey hotel if they want at the time the residential proposals were made. It’s wrong to lay blame on the developer. It’s right to question the councillors and the lack of full disclosure if they never informed the community of the hotel option.

    • It was actually well known and discussed. Every staff presentation had it, my recollection is it came up at every meeting on this project. The Banook Area Residents Association also referenced it frequently. What’s a surprise isn’t that the developer could, it’s that it’s actually viable to do it.

    • Sam informed me a hotel was a legal option. It’s on the books. Lack of knowledge of the law by the public should not be laid at the councillor’s feet. The point is, being technically legal and under the wire of the centre plan deadline, does not make it right. It will still be an incongruous, inappropriate blight on the landscape of the Dartmouth Lake District. And morally questionable. After learning the community’s concerns through one process, the develop slips in a surprise building that is the complete opposite of the compromise they had agreed to that embodied what the community could accept. Underhanded and greedy. This proposed development should be shunned by all.

    • There always was full disclosure on this it was public knowledge and record.

  5. Sam, why did the process take so long to begin with? This is your starting point.

    I know what you’re saying, 16 stories is probably a bit high for the site, but this likely could have been avoided if the process to come to a conclusion that may be overturned didn’t take seven years.

    Put yourself in their shoes, they’ve owned a property since 2009, put forward a plan, then had to fight for seven years for something that may not happen. That’s a pretty frustrating investment. And yes, three individuals will benefit financially, but three individuals are taking the financial risk. How will Dartmouth benefit? The increased residents would have supported businesses downtown, along the Main St improvement district, and created additional amenities for everyone in the neighbourhood.

    This story is similar to Prince Albert & Celtic, how long until that developer’s money can be deployed into a building and economically benefit the community directly and at large? If wind was the issue a study should have been suggested to the developer or ordered by the city years ago if the concern is protecting Banook. We can’t take seven years to approve something every time it’s not inline with our antiquated by-laws or covered by this unicorn centre plan.

    Sam, the issue lies with you. Your constituents are single dwelling individuals, but not if you embrace density in a productive way, they become apartment and condo dwellers who will quickly outnumber them. Let the neighbourhood grow.

    • +1 on this. Council and NIMBY folk 7 years ago had a viable option on the table that would have left the community with new neighbours, new customers & new taxpayers. Dartmouth is always complaining that the downtown needs fixing up, but the money is never there to do it. If “fixing up” means going back to 1950, Dartmouth will be waiting for a long time. Taller isn’t automatically bad, folks, as long as the building looks good. Enjoy the new hotel…

    • I take the point A.B. It’s why we need to get rid of all this mess and get on with the Centre Plan (due to be law this fall). Everyone should have certainty as to what’s going to happen on their street and in their neighbourhood. We’re close, but the ghosts of the 1970s aren’t done with us yet. Throughout this process, I tried hard to find a compromise and took some lumps for doing that. It’s really disappointing to have all that evaporate on a whim here at the end.

  6. This is so frustrating. It is obvious from the process that the community does not support this. Why is it that the people who live in the area are at the mercy of “Developers” who are only interested in making a buck and moving on.

    • Unless you built your own home, it was built by a developer that did it, to make a profit. That’s how the ecomony works and how people get paid.

      This can, and will be laid at the feet of a few area residents that tied up that process for 7 full years, and then when they didn’t get exactly what they wanted, tried to sue to block what they had agreed to. The developer shares none of the blame, and honestly, I applaud his patience…7 years to finally throw up hands and go the easy route!

      And ever notice, how (as it was pointed out to me a few days ago), that the ‘Artists Rendering’ comissioned by the area residents, shows it in the wrong location? AS if to say ‘look how it will mess up the lake for the paddlers!’

  7. I disagree that this is the fault of current Council. If commercial zoning has remained in place for almost 50 years, then there are many councillors whose knuckles could be rapped. Understand the legislative process before condemning current councillors. Informed Councillors like Sam are a rarity. He would still get my vote.

  8. There has been plenty of time, more than 2 years,for council to have changed the old zoning. Such a change should have been job 1 since the 2016 election. Council generally supports a councillor when a controversial project is proposed. This site was controversial during the period of Councillor McCluskey and the zoning should have been changed during her term or very soon after she retired. The obsession over wind on Lake Banook was misplaced. If there is a wind problem it is localised to the immediately adjacent properties.

    • You’re right Colin. We could have changed the zoning. The problem is we can’t sneak a zoning change by. It’s only when a public hearing is advertised that a property owner loses their existing rights and has to comply with what’s proposed. So there would have been a window where it would have been a race to see if the developer can get an as-of-right permit application in before HRM can change the rules. History has shown that we lose that we consistently lose that race. I weighed doing that, but the worry was that it might actually force the developers hand and get the exact outcome that I didn’t want: an as-of-right hotel.

  9. Expropriate, if you can persuade Mayor Savage and 7 other councillors. $1 million may be enough. And then sell the property with a new zoning and the existing approval.
    There has been enough time to have changed the zoning in the past 6 years, and a lower zoning in that period would have given HRM a better bargaining position. This has been a major issue in that area for many years and a strong business approach would have been the best way forward. It is more about business than about planning.

  10. It seems to me the significant point here is the Center Plan and the fact it has not yet been passed. We’ve been hearing that it’s coming….when is the question. Sam, you seem to be saying that if it were in place this hotel wouldn’t be allowed. How many other developments will be able to sneak through while the community waits?

    As to these developers, surely they will be identified as untrustworthy when they pursue further developments.

    • Yes. If the Centre Plan were law this wouldn’t be allowed. The final draft from staff (subject to revision at Committee and Council) was released last week and if all goes according to plan will be law in the fall. Developers know this of course. Maybe if the Centre Plan had come in earlier, this project may have stopped in its tracks, but it’s also very possible that the developer may have rushed down to the planning office to add a building permit to his development permit to protect his as-of-right hotel option. It’s hard to win when it becomes a race to see if new rules can be put in place before an application can be completed because of the lengthy public process that goes into changing even the smallest rules.

  11. sounds like the time spent debating the donair and the name change of the municipality at council was of highest priority for the residents at that time. The smoking bylaws was also another well spent issue at council. Lets ignore the outdated bylaws we have and wait for a storm and then point fingers. A proactive approach would have gone along way. Well Done! That’s progress! Lots to be proud of.

    • It’s a heartbreaker. We’re literally just months away from replacing those outdated rules. Not sure if it would have stopped the developer here though as he would always have the ability to race us to the permit. It’s hard to win when it becomes a defacto race to see if the municipality can get new rules in place before a developer can get a complete permit together. Earlier might have just sparked the same result. It really is hard to say.

  12. I don’t understand why anyone has a problem with a building being built in a city. Seriously, it won’t make any difference to your view of the concrete ans billboards that already surround you. Maybe move out to the country if you don’t like development?

    • Your right it wont block the view of anyones concrete and billboards. It will block the views of many homes lake view and put those houses in constant shade.

  13. The developer is going to maximize what they can legally put there. These outdated zoning rules need to be modernized. Which I thought the Centre Plan was supposed to address these outdated issue. Where is this so called Center Plan, it seems like vapourware to me.

    • Centre Plan’s final draft that’s started on its journey through Council committees will be debated tomorrow. If all goes according to plan, it’ll be signed by the Province and law in the fall. We’re almost there. This one is coming in literally in the last few months that it would be allowed.

  14. You all realize there was a hotel right across the road where the Superstore stands today, It was very profitable Hotel and was a big part of the community for many years.
    This hotel will be a great addition to the area, Paddlers visiting Banook lake to compete can stay within walking distance. I think everyone is over reacting to something the know very little about. Progress is not always easy or smooth but it is needed as if we live in the past will never have a future.

  15. I don’t buy a 16 story Hotel, really? No way that is viable, just a ploy to push the apartment development through appeals. Shady, good luck sorting this pile of you know what out now.

    • Hi Brett. I have heard that comment from a few places today. I don’t get the sense that’s what’s up here. The units are small (hotel rooms) and they have a major international chain signed on. It feels like a hotel, not a bait and switch. The apartment is out of appeal at this point and could be started tomorrow.

  16. We all know that 16 stories does not have the community’s support. We also know that a 16 stories hotel in that spot is not justified and will never be profitable. I really don’t think that you have to be a genius the see what the developer is trying to do: build 16 stories as a hotel, than start converting them into apartments and/or condos.

    • Hi Erik. I have heard that comment from a few places today. We’ll see, but I don’t get the sense that’s what’s up here. The units are small (hotel rooms) and they have a major international chain signed on. It feels like a hotel, not a bait and switch.

  17. I think this should be a reminder to anyone fighting against or trying to delay modernized planning rules because they don’t like aspects of them, that you’re not fighting these things in a vacuum; there are existing rules in place that have much greater problems and there is a very real cost to delay. Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good.

    Sam was very clear throughout the process that a large hotel was possible here already. If I recall, one of his reasons for voting for the most recent residential proposal (even though it wasn’t perfect) was that it was a big improvement over what was already allowed. In other words, he saw that good could be achieved without holding out for perfect.

  18. I think it looks great and will help with jobs. All these people moaning about anything new. Its one building for crying out loud.

  19. Can they provide parking for such a hotel? Perhaps they can be stopped on the parking issue? I wonder if they will end up providing Dartmouth with an “apartment-hotel”–that is, accommodation for people who live there for relatively short periods but have no regard for the community.

    • From what I know that’s not the intent. They have a major international brand signed on. I don’t think it’s in the style of Downtown Dartmouth’s old Super 8.

  20. And then another and another. How will this affect the world class canoe and kayaking course?

    • It shouldn’t have any impact. There is that at least. The developer modelled wind for the 15 storey proposal back in 2014. If 15 with a similar mass and design won’t impact the lake, 16 won’t. If this was on the Banook Shores property we might be in trouble, but there are trees and buildings across the street. Lots to break up the wind. This is just the wrong fit. It’s way too big for the neighbourhood.

      • While I appreciate your credentials as a planner, as a lifelong resident of the area I’m not at all sure that “it’s way too big for the neighborhood”.

        Those opposed would do well to look at One Oak Street, fifteen storeys tall (and appearing to be a more massive building than the proposed hotel, based on the rendering you posted) which was dropped into the middle of a 100% residential neighborhood about forty years ago and has had no appreciable negative impact whatever over that time. I also don’t think it detracts (in an esthetic sense) from the appearance or character of the neighborhood. For that matter, I’ve never heard anyone in the area complain about it either.

        By contrast, the proposed hotel is on a busy traffic artery, on a solidly commercial strip (which has been solidly commercial for at least sixty years), with another hotel immediately behind it.

        I suggest that opposition is primarily on esthetic grounds, but of course we’ll never all be able to agree about what looks “good” or “out of place”. As for me, as a resident of the area and lifelong Dartmouthian who grew up on and in Lake Banook, (as did my kids after me), I have no objection to it.

  21. Come on Sam! The developer is using a legal loophole that you and many other councillors before you failed to address. You can’t possibly be so naive. You know that a 16 stories hotel is not financially viable. Sooner rather than later the developer will convert the ‘hotel rooms’ into apartments and/or condos. I’d like to know your concrete plan to fight this project.

    • Hi Erik. I don’t know that 16 storeys isn’t viable. 10% of our tourists are shoppers from elsewhere in the Maritimes who come here to shop. There are two hotels in Dartmouth Crossing. This spot is on our beautiful lake, easy access to the Crossing, easy access to the Airport and not far from Downtown Halifax. The developer indicates they have a major international brand signed on. If this proceeds, the proof will be in the pudding. My options to try and stop this are limited. I’m going to ask at Council for the planning department to review to see if there is anything at all we can do (likely not). I will be asking to look at a landswap or acquisition. There is the chance that, if there is outrage, that the developers or their partners might change their mind (please write It’s not a great place to be starting a fight from, but the alternative is just letting this go.

      • Trust me, when I come back home I’ll be looking for an upscale hotel, and this location would work just fine for me, and certainly be preferable (location wise) to downtown Dartmouth or Halifax. from the outside looking in, it certainly seems viable.

  22. Blaming Sam or the council or Gloria doesn’t get anything accomplished.
    Sam got a compromise after some hard negotiations and then these 3 greedy men pulled a
    neat trick. Probably sitting in their office laughing about how smart they are.
    Expropriate or start a “go fund me page” to hire a group of lawyers to fight them on every move they make.
    Make their life miserable

  23. Hi Sam,

    I am a relatively new resident of Celtic Drive (~2ys). I have been generally in favour of appropriate development on that site, and believe 9 residential stories was a good compromise.

    While I agree that 16 stories is excessive for the area, everyone seems to be focused on the negitiive impacts of a hotel development. What are the potential positive impacts for the immediate area? Are there common types of develpments generally follow a hotel like this?

    Thank you

    • Hi Luke. There would be of course some. Rooms for paddling events, economic development, a restaurant, might be the kickstart tor revitalizing Grahams Grove etc. A hotel would be a great thing for Dartmouth, but it’s just not the right spot. The mid-rise apartment with ground-floor commercial is a better fit.

  24. Hi Sam: May I suggest you call a public meeting to get the people together to discuss this situation. Meeting focus should be on what to do going forward vs what was done or did not happen in the past. What has Monaco Investments stated publicly on this topic so far?

    • Hi Jon. Monaco released a statement yesterday that was picked up by some media. Here’s what Star Metro included (statement didn’t come to me)

      Lawyer Nancy Rubin sent an email to the Star on behalf of the developer, saying they wouldn’t be participating in interviews, but they’d taken the public’s concerns into consideration during the planning process.

      “There have always been two options and plans for this property — a multi-unit residential building or a hotel,” the statement said.

      “For the longest time, the residential building made most sense due to the needs of the community and market conditions. In the 10 years that have passed, those needs changed and the market conditions for a hotel became more favourable.”

      The statement said the developer’s research showed there was a need for a hotel in the area.

      “With this development, we look forward to providing a quality hospitality service and the continued growth of the community and surrounding area,” it said.

  25. Sam you have laid this information out to the community without any factual documents or any detail. If the intent is to create more worry or alarm at this stage then you have succeeded. The developer( Monaco) has absolutely proven over 7 years to be less than ethical or honest in their dealings with the community. Yes a 16 storey hotel as of right was possible and threatened by Monaco at every turn for 7 years as leverage to get the height and density they insisted upon. If there is a signed agreement with a hotelier then have Monoco produce the letter, so we can see what the community is facing. If this is strictly an expression of interest or a letter of intent subject to conditions, then investigate. Two new hotels are coming on stream in Dartmouth Crossing and occupancy rates are an issue. Please demonstrate to the community that you are here and capable of representing their interests.

    • Yes-Sam was told by the community -if he didnt know-that this was not an ethical developer many times over-the voters were ignored …and condescended to on top of that for not being nice….well-the community knew better and now I do believe Sam has to wear it. He had many options and opportunities before this, and should have listened to what the people impacted wanted. He did not. Additionally, Sam liked wearing his “planner” hat to talk down residents concerns….the old city planner who attended public meetings had grave concerns and was blown off and ignored…Sam needs to work hard and will be judged by his success, not by the degree of effort if it is too late! He needs to get the horse back in the barn…no matter how hard he slams it, it is useless unless the horse is back in…to use an old phrase!

      • Multiple comments blaming Sam but not one suggestion what he could have done differently. Because this hotel was always an option, despite some people’s claim of ignorance.

        “What the people impacted wanted” lol was never a priority of the developer.

    • Hi John. The intent was to let people know what’s going on. I don’t have documents from the developer to share and I have no expectation that he would release anything considering how that discussion went at the Utility and Review Board. He has dropped just over $300,000 on a building permit which is no small thing! He has told me in no uncertain terms he has a contract signed with an international brand, a contractor in place to build the project, an operator to run it, and financing. Have I seen paper proving all of that? No, but my judgement is he’s not bluffing here. This is real.

  26. 7 years to get to a development agreement, the planning process in HRM has no formal structure or rules! Every development agreement is at the ever changing whim of development staff. I’m glad the developers are finally getting to develop their land and hope the can salvage some of their investment.

    • They develop “their” land but ruin the whole community’s look and feel, block the viewplane for a whole neighbourhood, destroy the lakeside landscape with a ridiculously inappropriate design choice, and ignore community values, good taste, good planning, and the visual aesthetic which we all “own”. It’s an ignorant, greedy, unfair move they are making. Does a difficult HRM process justify this retaliatory reaction? These developers should show more community care and pride. And a less garish design sensibility.

      • “block the viewplane for a whole neighbourhood” – This is a hyperbolic exaggeration, And, as a matter of law, nobody has a right to a view. Nor, in reality, does anyone have any reasonable expectation that their view will never be obstructed.

        “ridiculously inappropriate design”, “destroy the lakeside landscape with a garish design sensibility” – These are entirely subjective opinions. I (and I suspect many others) don’t agree with them in the slightest. Who’s right?

  27. Sam,

    I’ll begin with a ‘thank you’: in my view you’ve been an active and highly engaged councillor who worked hard to bridge the divide between residents on the one hand, many of whom thought even an eight storey structure was an outrage, and the interests of developers who believed they had a right to a reasonable return on their investment.

    The developers absolutely should respect the community and communicate their intentions and rationale clearly. But your rhetoric framing the project as “simply wrong” and “worth fighting” strikes me as a bit of self-serving posturing. The developer did not make “a mockery” of the planning process; the process is a mockery, and that is entirely within council’s control. The developers did nothing “wrong”; they purchased the land and made their business decisions in full compliance with the law.

    It seems to me this is a legitimate question: If I chose to rebuild my house or throw up an outbuilding, complete with permits and fully observing existing bylaws, and my resentful neighbour demanded council change the rules retroactively to prevent it, would you be there to advocate on his behalf? Or mine?

    You have framed this as a fight between “the interest of three people” and the public interest. I suggest to you that is, again to borrow your words, “simply wrong”. This is primarily a fight between property owners wanting to preserve their views and property values and property owners who want to maximize their investment. One might argue there is considerable public interest in a development that will bring thousands of paying visitors to the community every year, and employ scores of local residents.

    This is no bucolic suburban neighbourhood. It is an active commercial strip, on a busy four-land thoroughfare, as it has been for decades. Over 55 years, I’ve bought fast food there, had my car serviced and filled up there, bought my groceries there, visited the low-rent motels there. The only thing that sets this project apart is height, a ludicrous and irrational strawman argument as it so often is.

    Expending council resources — even discussing spending hundreds of thousands of dollars — to battle property owners who have shown years of patience and broken no rules is, in my view, a mistake.

    • Well stated, Roy. The assumption by the community and council from the outset — that the development consortium wouldn’t dare do what it was and still is legally entitled to do — was just plain wrong. At the same time, the exorbitant period required to get the Centre Plan approved is unconscionable. Instead of devoting time to every social justice issue that takes their fancy, our council needs to focus on fundamental and less glamorous issues of greater concern to the majority of HRM citizens. It seems many councillors have either forgotten or have no idea what these are. Fortunately for District 5 residents I do not believe Councillor Austin is a member of this misguided group.

  28. I believe a public meeting should be held asap. It seems the majority of the community does not want this development so how do we go forward.

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