The Garden Plot

Dartmouth View Planes

In a report that went to Harbour East Community Council last week, staff is recommending that council delete the view plane from Brightwood Golf Course, and maintain/enhance vistas from the Dartmouth Commons.   Also, it would include amendments to the DMPS (Dartmouth Municipal Planning Strategy) that would change height allotments on the waterfront.

Presently, the vistas are as follows:

·        “View Plane 1: From a viewing position near the I)Dartmouth Common baseball fields, this view was intended to provide a vista of George’s Island;

·        View Plane 2: From the same viewing position, there is a panoramic view of downtown Halifax and the central harbour; and

·        View Plane 3: The third view plane is intended to be a wide panorama of Downtown Halifax, the mid harbour and the harbour entrance, from the vicinity of the 7th green in the Brightwood Golf Course. This private view extends over much of Downtown Dartmouth” HRM Staff Report, June 2013

What HRM staff is proposing is that the vista from Brightwood Golf course be deleted, because this is on private land and HRM does not protected views on private land.    Also, they are proposing to have five protected view planes from four sites on the Dartmouth Common.  Finally, there is a request to better protect waterfront view corridors: that is views from the streets that naturally align with the harbour front. 

I applaud the staff’s report; I don’t feel that the view plane from Brightwood should have ever been a protected view.   It makes no sense that a city would ever protect vistas that are located on private property.   It casts a shadow over Downtown Dartmouth that severely limits development to a mere two stories.  Thus, I support Harbour East Community Council’s acceptance of this report, and I hope that when it reaches regional council—that it too will be supported.

Amending the view planes as described in the report makes good sense for Downtown Dartmouth and Dartmouth as a whole.  There are many sites in the downtown core, which have been identified as opportunity sites and with these amendments may aid in making them more attractive to developers.

When I consider cities such as Montreal, Toronto, New York and Vancouver that balance old versus new and the natural and built environment, there is comparatively much room for improvement in our city.   Specifically, if we look to Montreal and Vancouver who have key view corridors to and from Mont-Royale and the North Shore mountains, respectively: we can observe a better harmony in protecting natural beauty while supporting development.   One discussion not included as a subtext in this report is the importance of maintaining public access to our beloved harbour front board walks.  I believe ensuring public access to these is as important as the protected view plans from the Dartmouth Commons.

Furthermore as we grow with King’s Wharf and the potential for re-development in Dartmouth Cove updating regulations makes sense.  We can have a strong, healthy downtown core with a logical plan that balances the needs of current and future residents/businesses, the old and new Downtown Dartmouth.

Let’s make Dartmouth grow for a prosperous future!