A resident’s letter-updated

Copied below in italics and in full, except for the address heading, is Mr. Daniels response to the letter he rec’d from the ToW regarding his concerns about Railtown. Given the efforts Mr. Daniels has taken over the issue of the height of the development we decided we should dig out our notes on the public meeting that took place in Aug 2005. We came across a piece of information which pertains to the dispute over whether or not the public was aware of the height of the elevator shaft. Read Mr. Daniels letter first.

re: The Railtown Elevator Shaft Dear Mayor Stead:

Thank you for your letter, dated December 13, 2006.

I was, needless to say, disappointed with your responses to the concerns I raised. I will address the points you make below. (Although you did not mention them, in light of the date and content of your letter, I will assume that your letter is also meant to respond to my letters dated November 9, 2006 to James Dewar, the Town Solicitor, and December 11, 2006.) In addressing the question of whether the construction of the elevator shaft was known at the time the Council approved the Development Agreement, you state, 'The presentation clearly indicated the elevator shaft would extend to twelve feet above the roofline on the building.' I have detailed in my letter to you and other Council members, dated December 11, 2006, the reasons why the presentation, far from being 'clear' on this point, only served to muddle this fact. I repeat from my December 11th letter two points: in a section discussing the roof top garden, the presentation states at page 41: 'Elevator shaft is 12 feet high' but does not state, as it should have to make the point clear: 'Elevator shaft is 12 feet high ABOVE THE ROOF LINE.' In addition, the drawings on pages 16 and 17 fail to depict any portion of the elevator shaft. I was not present at the public hearing when the presentation was made. I have, however, spoken to a number of individuals who did attend the meeting, and none of them told me that it was 'clear' to them that the elevator shaft would extent twelve feet above the roofline. On the issue of whether the elevator shaft exceeds the Land Use Bylaw ('LUB') height limitation, you opine that the shaft falls within the height exception for 'mechanical operation' of a building. If this is the Town's interpretation of the LUB, I would suggest that the Council consider amending the LUB to deal with this possibility. Concerning the drawings which do not show the elevator shaft, you state that they 'are conceptual or prototypical drawings which provide adequate information respecting the development for Council to determine whether the development is consistent with the intent of the Municipal Planning Strategy.' Even if the drawings adequately served this purpose, which I questioned in my December 11th letter, they also were intended to serve two other vital functions: (1) to inform the public about the project, and (2) to become an important term in the Development Agreement between the Town and the developer. How could the public be expected to provide informed comment when the drawings did not provide an accurate depiction of the finished project? And how can the Town be expected to enforce a provision of a development agreement which contained only 'conceptual' or 'prototypical' drawings? On this final point, I would refer you to section 227(2) of the Municipal Government Act which explicitly permits 'plans,' not conceptual or prototypical drawings, to be included in a development agreement. You go on to state: 'The conceptual or prototypical drawings would not be expected to show all of the mechanical equipment related to the building or the exact final design details. It would not be reasonable to require this level of design and expense to be provided by a developer prior to any indication from the Town that the development could be constructed.' In the first place, by the time of the public hearing, the developer did have an indication that the project would be approved: the Planning Advisory Committee had already recommended its approval. See July 19, 2005 PAC Minutes. Second, I refer you to page 19 of the Town's Architectural Guidelines Manual. Number 10 on that page states: 'Mechainical eqiupment should be contained within the roof structure. Where not possible, penthouses should contain the equipment and be obscured from public view.' There is a drawing accompanying this instruction showing mechanical equipment hidden from public view at the rear of the depicted building. How could the Town determine compliance with this requirement without being provided with a plan or even drawing showing the elevator shaft? Third, if the developer is willing and able to include such design detail as a turret, which makes the project look more attractive, he can be expected to include in a design drawing a structure which would protrude far above the roofline and be visible from the dykelands and parts of the Town. Finally, and with all due respect, the Town should be less concerned about expenses which the developer has to incur, and more concerned about providing the public with as much accurate information as possible. Respectfully yours, David A. Daniels

Now for our two cents. In our old file we found a handout which was put together by one Wolfville resident who was against this development and who spoke on behalf of one of the residents of Harbourside Drive. It
was a summary of concerns and was attached to a copy of the Environmental site assessment prepared by T. Hennigar for the Town. The sentences that caught our eye in reviewing it were these, emphasis ours.: August 9,2005 Bob and Marlene Cook submitted an application for Freedom of Information and several things were not made available: Blue prints of the development– the reason they asked for these is because they needed to know how far down they were going to dig to lay water and sewer. What sort of roof top construction, i.e. refrigeration units, elevator shaft, electrical room, once again it was not supplied. [sic]

We feel quite sure the Council members would have received a copy of this handout as we did in the gallery. It is clear there was concern about these things, that information was asked for and not supplied at least by the time of the meeting.

To be fair we must also mention that in our notes we also found signed statements which had been collected by the developer from 7 other Harbourside residents saying thery were in favour of the project.

Citizen Daniels has sent us via e-mail a copy of his letter to the editor of the Advertiser and since not everyone gets the Advertiser, and they may not even print it, he has asked us to copy it here which we are happy to do. We have attached it to this post. Mr. Daniels has received a response from the Town regarding his concerns which he will also be answering with a copy to us.


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