Two views from Citadel Hill: "TexPark" Towers threaten view & downtown
By PETER ZIMMER*
HALIFAX (25 Februartyu 2006) -- HERE's what the twin towers United Gulf is proposing for the old TexPark site will do to our views of Halifax harbour from Citadel Hill.
Some say a "modern" city isn't modern without its high-rise downtown towers. I'd point you to Copenhagen and its famous Rundetaarn (The Round Tower) observatory (still in use), finished in 1642 in the centre of this history-rich city. From its top, in the heart of the city, just 34 m (11 stories, give or take) above the street (and not much more above sea level) you see NO higher nearby high-rise towers crossing the horizon, they've been forbidden. Got to http://www.rundetaarn.dk/engelsk/view1.html for a 360º view. The Danes chose to cherish and preserve this historic panorama without stopping themselves from also having a rich, growing, modern, very liveable dense city all about. The Citadel View Planes legislation did not, does not go as far as is needed to keep what makes Halifax special from proposals for thoughtless redevelopment [images above, below]. The whole length of the ramparts of the Citadel (or even the grass outside along the moats) should be Halifax's Rundetaarn; from our harbour our Citadel must not be hidden behind a wall of glass, concrete and steel, putting the heart of Halifax out of sight of any waterborne visitors. Go to the Heritage Trust Website for more images and facts and arguments- www3.ns.sympatico.ca/heritage.trust/ and click on the link under the image on the right for a PDF of a brochure with more information.
The proclaimed "transparency" of the towers is a shuck and a fantasy of architect's models and developer's hyperbole ... glass facade or not, if built the towers WILL block our views (save those from inside which will earn its owners premium rents), they will loom forbiddingly above us mere human pedestrians on the streets below, will affect winter winds at sidewalk level, ... Do we really need another permanent Maritimes Centre/Scotia Square-type mistake in our downtown? I think not.
Your time for any action is right now. The HRM Council will meet on this issue Tuesday, 28 February at 6:30 PM at City Hall. From an email sent me: "Mayor Peter Kelly says that Council has an "intense desire" to find out what the public thinks of the project. The committee asks you to let Council know your views by sending a brief message to the Mayor and Council at the following address: email@example.com" Do it now. Phone, email, write, be there Tuesday (early if you want a seat in chambers). Contact your HRM councillor (www.halifax.ca/districts/index.html to get their individual phone and email co-ordinates). Forward this email to your friends and acquaintances.