Citizen Daniels has been keeping us posted via e-mail on his efforts to have
Council recognise that the elevator shaft at Railtown is higher than
the plans showed when the development was agreed to in the hopes that
somehow Precedence Homes can be made to change their plans. The
following is the latest arrow from his quiver which raises some
THE VANISHING RAILTOWN ELEVATOR SHAFT I recently obtained a copy of the power point presentation entitled 'Railtown - Development Agreement Proposal -- Town Council Meeting 22 August 2005' (the 'Presentation'). This document contains further information about the elevator shaft which has now been constructed at
Railtown. After reviewing this document, and the report prepared by
the Town's Planning Department, dated June 25, 2005, which I have
discussed in previous a letter, one important question leaps out: WERE THE TOWN COUNCILORS AND THE PUBLIC MADE AWARE OF THE ACTUAL HEIGHT
OF THE ELEVATOR SHAFT AND THE EXTENT TO WHICH IT WOULD PROTRUDE ABOVE THE ROOF LINE PRIOR TO THE APPROVAL OF THE PROJECT? --The cover page of the Presentation shows a colour rendition of a portion of Railtown. No elevator shaft is shown. --Pages 16 and 17 contain diagrams of the project entitled
'Prototypical Elevation - Facing South' and 'Elevations.' These diagrams are the same or very similar to the ones which make up Schedule B of the Development Agreement.' These diagrams do not show any elevator shaft, let alone one that protrudes well above the roof line. -- Page 22 contains two photos showing the view looking down Harbourside Drive from the intersection of Main Street and Harbourside Drive. The second photo is a simulation showing the view from the Tim
Hortons' corner with Railtown built. There is no indication that the
elevator shaft will be visible from this vantage point.
--Page 41 contains the caption 'Roof top observation deck' after which
five comments are made. Two of the comments deal explicitly with the
elevator shaft: 'From Main Street, architect relates that one will be
able to see 1 ft of the elevator shaft, will not be able to see stairs'
and 'Elevator shaft is 12 feet high.' Could the public or Councilors glean from the Presentation the actual height of the elevator shaft and how far it would protrude above the roof line? Certainly the diagrams of the project, especially when they are labeled 'Elevations,' give no hint of the protruding elevator shaft. As to the simulated photo on page 22, depending upon which corner one of the intersection of Main Street and Harbourdrive one stands on, the protruding elevator shaft is either hidden by existing buildings, or sticks out like a sore thumb. The simulated photo that was provided does not reveal, but hides, the extent to which the elevator shaft is
visible above the roof line. If the individual who created the
simulation had only walked up Gaspereau Avenue about 100 yards, the
view of the elevator shaft would be quite evident. And perhaps more to
the point, it would have been obvious how the shaft (and third storey)
would block views of the dykelands. Page 41 does contain the statement that '[e]levator shaft is 12 feet high.' Unfortunately, it does not state: 'the elevator shaft is 12 feet high ABOVE THE ROOF LINE.' How could the public be expected to
understand the actual meaning of this statement in light of the
elevation diagrams displayed earlier in the Presentation? Another hint
of the actual height of the elevator shaft is contained in the comment:
'From Main Street, architect relates that one will be able to see 1 ft
of the elevator shaft, will not be able to see stairs.' This statement
in the context of the full Presentation and without further
information, such as location on Main Street where the architect was
standing, obfuscates, rather than clarifies, the actual extent to
which the elevator shaft would rise above the roof line. To the question I posed at the outset, I do not know the answer. I do know that unless the public and Town Officials are able to be fully informed about development projects, the legitimacy of the approval process is called into question. I encourage all those who are unhappy about the elevator shaft to express their displeasure to the Town.
David A. Daniels
December 5, 2006
If you attend a PSPAC meeting or a Council meeting why don’t you ask this question.
“Does a Development agreement have the force of law behind it?” Then don’t let them evade the question.