Coming to Halifax council: Khyber hearing, Willow Tree highrise, fire station naming

A decision on the Willow Tree Highrise may come out of Halifax Regional Council on May 22, 2018. Global News

A few longstanding issues will take a step forward when the Halifax Regional Municipality’s council meets on Tuesday — with at least one vote on a controversial highrise in the municipality and a public hearing on the Khyber building.

Here are some of the highlights you can expect at council this week.

READ MORE: Halifax to sell Khyber Building for below market value

Khyber hearing

A public hearing on the sale of 1588 Barrington Street — better known as the Khyber building — will be held at 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday.

Up for debate is whether the municipality should sell the Khyber to the 1588 Barrington Building Preservation Society for the price of $1.00.

If the sale is approved and supported by the public hearing, it will be unconditional and the municipality will give a one-time grant of up to $250,000 for the development of the building.

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The society says that if they do purchase the building they will transform it into an arts hub.

However, a lot of work still needs to be done on the building after tenants were forced out of the property in 2014 over safety concerns, including asbestos.

Naming of firehalls

Council will look at a staff recommendation to amend the municipality’s commemorative naming process — barring fire halls from receiving commemorative names.

Instead, a supplementary report recommends that the HRM continue using its current system of having its stations identified by numbers.

Since public applications can make suggestions for names of specific municipal assets, staff recommends adopting the policy to avoid potential conflicts in the future.

The staff report details that most cities in Canada use the method of identifying fire halls by station number and street.

WATCH: Halifax developer not backing down from fight over building height

Click to play video: 'Halifax developer not backing down from fight over building height' Halifax developer not backing down from fight over building height
Halifax developer not backing down from fight over building height – Nov 15, 2017

Willow Tree highrise

The controversial Willow Tree highrise is back at council and it may be approaching its final appearance, with a slate of proposed amendments to the municipality’s land-use by-law going through their first reading.

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The land-use by-law exemptions would allow developers APL Properties to build a 25-storey highrise at the corner of Quinpool Road and Robie Street — despite the company originally proposing a 29-storey building.

In March, council voted down a first reading of a by-law that would have imposed a 20-storey limit on the building. Instead they voted to establish a limit of 25-storeys with more incentives for the municipality.

Those include extra sidewalk space as well as 10 affordable housing units in the building, with the intention of them being discounted by 40 per cent for at least 15 years.

To call the building divisive is a bit of an understatement —  at least 35 people attended a public hearing earlier this year to passionately debate the building.

Improve the intersection of Micmac Boulevard and Woodland Avenue

Councillor Sam Austin is asking council to direct city staff to work with the Nova Scotia government to improve the intersection of Woodland Avenue, Highway 118, Lancaster Drive and Micmac Boulevard.

Austin’s application asks both the province and the staff to consider a roundabout as a solution for the frequent accidents at the intersection, as well as the issue of pedestrian access.

He notes that the province identified a roundabout as a potential solution to traffic issue several years ago, but it was eventually put off because of issues over shared jurisdiction.

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To resolve that problem, Austin is also asking the city to request the province transfer a portion of Highway 118 to the control of the HRM to better reflect the changed boundary of the municipality.

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