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ROSS CANTWELL: Sidewalk closure fees add up, help drive developers away from downtown Halifax

ROSS CANTWELL • Guest Opinion
Re: “Construction blocking Halifax sidewalks an issue that’s building for pedestrians” (Jan. 25 story).

HRM Coun. Kathryn Morse wants planning staff to review the use of sidewalks by developers. As someone who has had to pay HRM for the privilege of closing a sidewalk, I have a few comments to add to the debate.

Coun. Shawn Cleary is correct; it is virtually impossible to redevelop property in the urban core without closing a sidewalk. While studies show that a tight urban development pattern is considered smart growth (i.e., it is more efficient to service), downtown is a very hard place to build.

Unlike planned communities such as Clayton Park or Bedford West, the urban core does not have large, uniform lot sizes with generous road rights of way to facilitate supply deliveries. In the urban core, most developers are consolidating smaller parcels of land, many with old easements, irregular shapes, unknown property ownership (this one can be a doozy), etc. … [Read More]