Halifax could become a ‘second-rate’ city: Experts

Jennifer Taplin - Metro Halifax A pair of urban sprawl experts descended on Halifax Thursday with dire warnings.

Environmental lawyer David Donnelly and author Bruce Lourie, both of Toronto, said Halifax is at a tipping point.

“Bruce and I are convinced Halifax is at a dangerous crossroads and that you’ve already tipped into a predominant suburban community,” Donnelly said.

“Your trend is alarming. It’s full flight from the downtown for businesses and the few residents you are attracting are not sufficient to reverse the tide.”

The pair was in town to speak at the 10th-annual Carmichael Lecture, but conducted media interviews beforehand.

Sprawl means people aren’t walking (which creates health issues) and suburban areas can have more crime because less people are out at night, said Lourie. He added suburbs don’t have as many services like transit and commuting times are long, which means wasted hours and greenhouse gases.

Halifax is good at looking back, but the future of the downtown core isn’t a pretty picture, Donnelly said.

“No offence but to be so focused on protecting the viewshed of a relatively minor colonial fortress when you have a waterfront, a spectacular ocean front, seems to be slightly reversed priorities in my opinion,” he said.

The solution involves greenbelt legislation copied after Ontario which outlaws bedroom communities, Donnelly said.

“If Halifax doesn’t take dramatic steps which involves cooperation with the province and legislation, then Halifax could be on its way to becoming a second-rate bedroom community like Toledo, Ohio or Buffalo, New York.”


Metro Halifax: http://richmobile.metronews.ca/halifax/local/article/859297

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