Developer changes gears, plans to build 16-storey hotel near Lake Banook
Published Wednesday, April 10, 2019 5:01PM ADT
After a long and contentious fight, there's a new twist in a proposed development for Dartmouth.
Instead of putting an eight-storey apartment building near Lake Banook, the developer, MCO Investments Ltd., now intends to build a 16-storey hotel.
Last fall, Halifax regional council approved the plan for an apartment at a site on Prince Albert Road.
The developer’s change of plans isupsetting to the local councillor.
“Somewhere along the way, he's changed his mind and now that's what he wants to build here, which is, really, a slap in the face, it really is,” said Halifax Regional Coun. Sam Austin.
Development of the site has been controversial for years.
Austin says because of outdated commercial zoning laws, the hotel development doesn't require council approval.
“Dartmouth’s plan dates from the 1970s and it is so dysfunctional,” Austin said. “You cannot build more than a three-unit triplex if it's residential, which is why we went through this huge public process on this property, but yet, you can build an office tower up to the sky or a hotel, and the sky is literally the limit. That makes no sense.”
Tim Rissescoof the Downtown Dartmouth Business Commission says the city needs to move forward with the Centre Plan so that it can foster the type of development it wants in the urban core, downtown Dartmouth, inside the Circumferential Highway in Dartmouth, and on the peninsula in Halifax.
“This is a little bit of a relic of the past, that you'd be able to build a 16-storey commercial building there,” Rissesco said.
In a statement, says in part: “There have always been two options and plans for this property -- a multi-unit residential building or a hotel. 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.”
Nearby residents have concerns about the project and how a 16-storey building could impact paddlers who use Lake Banook.
“We've got the worlds coming and the Indigenous Games coming, and you know, it's a huge resource for the area and brings in some good money,” said area resident Juanita Cooper.
Austin says he plans to fight the project.
“It's disappointing that we were strung along like this, that this process, it's made a mockery of the Centre Plan and all the consultation work that's gone into it. It really has," Austin said. "I will try to stop it, but it's going to be hard.”
Austin plans to bring up the issue at council next week to see if there's anything that can be done.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Natasha Pace.