No Destiny for Ingramport
Over 500 people crowded into the Black Point Fire Hall to discuss a controversial waterfront development at Ingramport. The public hearing was sponsored by HRM, the body that will decide the fate of the project.
TANTALLON (29 November 2005) -- IT STARTED out at 29 then dropped to 17, but last night the number 12 appeared somewhat acceptable. That has been the journey of a proposed condominium development for Ingramport.
About 500 people gathered last night at the Fire Hall in Black Point for a public hearing, sponsored by HRM. Three councillors -- Steve Adams, Reg Rankin and Gary Meade -- were there to answer questions and assess the public response to the controversial development project.
Destiny Developments wants to build a condo and public marina on St. Margaret's Bay. The project calls for construction of a breakwater, near the mouth of the Ingramport River, to provide protection for the marina. Adding the waterside development requires approval from the federal government, the provincial government along with the regular construction permits from HRM.
Planners for HRM were shocked last night at the size of the crowd and the consistency of their opposition. About 40 people paraded to the speaker's position to voice their concerns about the size of the project and its impact on the environment, the community and the neighbourhood.
A few supporters found their way through the crowd to make their feelings known, near the end of the meeting. However, their comments appeared to be self serving rather than reflective of the community.
The much anticipated event was expected to be rancorous with the two sides well entrenched. However, the mood was controlled and the meeting progressed without incident among the partisan gathering.
The three HRM councillors came to the conclusion that the proposal was too large and the marina concept did not fit the location. They will send the issue back to planning with a recommendation to scale it down. They suggested a 12 unit condominium should be acceptable but with no marina and no breakwater construction. They conceded a wharf for the private use of the condo owners, but could not support a public waterfront development.
The audience appeared to accept the scaled back design. Some continue to oppose the higher density development wanting instead to retain the single family style development that is consistent throughout the region. Others seemed resigned to the fact that 12 units was better than 17, especially if the marina proposal is eliminated.
The MLA for Chester-St. Margaret's attended last night's meeting but only to observe. Judy Streatch has long been opposed to the scale of the proposal and she is prepared to fight it. Streatch was pleased with the meeting because the HRM councillors received a clear message. The people of the community spoke very clearly and under HRM bylaws for development, they must respect the will of the community.
There was criticism for the local councillor, Gary Meade. Some thought the project should never have come this far, ending in such a massive public meeting. Meade seemed to support the project all along, despite the overwhelming opposition, and his support may have allowed the project to move through the planning process.
Sending the project back to planning for revision begs the question whether the developers will continue. The process has taken much longer than they expected and has led to a dramatic reduction in the size of the project. Where once they wanted to build a 29 unit complex, they are now hearing that the community might live with 12. However, there is no guarantee for any number and without the marina, Destiny Developments may determine the project has no destiny.
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