Great! Halifax is becoming a condo haven for the rich. Could there be any fate more boring for what used to be funky eclectic streets? Granted they needed fixing up but must aging beauties be murdered just because they have a few sags and lines? Where are the spa treatments for some of these gems? The effort to tear down the fortress of learning that was Saint Patrick's High School looks to be so mammoth, that that structure would have survived a nine point earthquake. Surely such a well-built structure could have been salvaged and been integrated into the design of a new complex; the same goes for the CBC building. Instead, in the case of the latter we get a cheap curving reference to Art Nouveau instead of its representative authentic expression and, oh yes, they stole a name in the process. The high-rise will be called "The Pavilion," co-opted from the youth centre of the Public Gardens complex. They couldn't tear that building down so they did the only thing uncreative peopel can do--take from someone else's authenticity. Is there nothing that isn't being destroyed and then replaced with its name by corporate greed and tastelessness? Consider all the street and subdivisions named for the natural features that were there before the developers destroyed them--Suzy Lake Drive, Ancient Hemlocks Avenue, Northwood in the Parks.
People who passionately argued for the sacrosanct importance of the historical heritage feature of the original 18th century Halifax street grid to be left intact were called haters, anti-development and, subsequently, each member of the Heritage Society was sued by Joe Ramia, the developer who "pushed the envelope" [By the way, who got that envelope he was pushing?!] One illustrious councillor added, "We got lots of streets. Give him Grafton..."
So someone gained something for giving Joe what he wanted and Halifax lost a lot of sun shining onto outdoor patios, view planes of the harbour from the Citadel and a significant cultural feature which, surprise, surprise, is what tourists come to see. Oh they don't want to see glass boxes and no sunlight? You're kidding! Oh, but we gained the saviour ship of the Nova Centre which mysteriously ended up smack in the centre of the 18th century streets like a tanker gone aground on the shoals of history when it shoulda, coulda, woulda sailed freely into a waterfront location at the Cogswell Interchange site until one dark and stormy night in a back room where a secret meeting involving Mayor Peter Kelly and perhaps one now illustrious pol., former city planner, made the Cogswell site a no go when the removal of the interchange suddenly got cancelled. (now it's mysteriously back and slated for demolition.). With the developers grabbing properties, tearing them down or leaving them vacant rather than making the rent affordable, all that's happening are wrecking balls and little million dollar boxes with granite counters, stainless steel appliances and wall size flat screen t.v.s for wealthy, bored retired consumers. Why can't developers for once build something that puts the public interest of supporting nature, heritage, culture before their maximized profit? Why? Because they're the "Sultans of Swing" value nothing but building boring phallic things as shrines to their power ,and hoarding wealth, just a microcosm of what's happening everywhere. Maybe we'll even get a Drumpf Tower one of these days.
One such fiasco in the making was reported by Local XPress recently, complete with an architectural animation to show what is going to happen to the new Central Library's amazing view. But, hey, we can trust these "Swift-talking Highrise Hawkers in Hugo Boss Suits." They wouldn't lie to us. They just love to wipe out a lot of what citizens cherish and tourists thrill to see and local musicians write songs about and students love about Halifax before it was, as Frank Cameron has pointed out, a bunch of Greek letters that I can't reproduce here but that were borrowed from Ki^ and S^MSUNG to make a new brand of us. Maybe we're just the detritus of us for what are we without our heart and soul brand but a band of brothers lost in a wilderness of condo clubs?
So, in this new jungle of joylessness and gadgetry, what do we stand for? We got a nice new library whose best feature is the view, which it is about to lose, unless the people mount a resistance to this latest swinging Sultan's shriek as he sings: "Whoops, there goes another rubber tree plant, or another three hundred year old tree, or another natural corridor, or some cultural ambiance or THE VIEW!
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