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Regional Council

Quinpool development in limbo after vote from council

After hours of debate, council puts APL Properties’ plan for Willow Tree Tower on hold

3 min read
caption The fate of both of these buildings now hangs in the balance of council's decision and APL's plans
Michelle Cuthbert
caption APL Properties wants to put up a residential and commercial building at the corner of Quinpool and Robie.
Michelle Cuthbert

A vote by Halifax regional council has left a development at the corner of Quinpool Road and Robie Street on the back burner.

APL Properties Limited, a part of Armco Capital, asked council on Tuesday to consider a revised proposal to develop a 25-storey residential and commercial building on the space currently occupied by Willow Tree Tower.

Previously, an APL proposal of 29 storeys was shut down by council in March in favour of a staff recommendation for a building of about 20 storeys.

The 20-storey plan was scheduled to go to a public hearing, but that hearing was cancelled because APL found the plan didn’t “work for their financial needs,” said Carl Purvis, planning program manager for the Halifax Regional Municipality. He advised council on the case on Tuesday.

Municipal staff issued an information report detailing APL’s request for 25 storeys, which Coun. Shawn Cleary brought before council for “questions and clarification,” according to the motion.

caption 6009 Quinpool Rd., half of the property up for debate, currently stands at 10 storeys.
Michelle Cuthbert

Cleary moved that the developer should be allowed to develop up to 25 storeys, due to a dropping population in the area.

“If we don’t get more people in the regional centre then we’re not going to have great services, we’re not going to have great shops, we’re not going to have great places for people to live and work and play,” said Cleary during the debate.

Because the motion would be the opposite of the previous decision, HRM legal staff indicated that it would need a two-thirds majority vote to pass at this meeting.

Jacques Dubé, chief administrative officer, said should the motion not go forward, the plan would likely “die a natural death” in limbo and the developer may choose to renovate the existing structure.

Coun. Bill Karsten supported the motion. He said he did not believe the height of the building mattered, if it is well designed.

“I would bet dollars to donuts there’s not a person in this room who at first blush could tell me whether a building was 18 or 24 or 28 storeys,” said Karsten.

Coun. Lindell Smith opposed the motion, indicating he was not pleased by the process taken by council in the debate.

“This just doesn’t sit right with me,” said Smith.

The final vote on the motion for 25 storeys was 9-8, so it did not not pass.

APL could not be reached for comment by The Signal.

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