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  #21  
Old Posted Nov 29, 2020, 6:52 PM
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It wasn’t that the landlords were crooks, it was just that the value of their land radically shifted and there’s no way long-time tenants could have avoided that.
And renting is generally a contract to live in an apartment for the period of the lease, typically 1 month or 1 year. The tenants are not entitled to live there affordably indefinitely and that is not reasonable in a city that is growing, where an apartment might actually be much more desirable after a 10 or 20 year period; effectively a completely different offering which may also then not be a good fit for what the tenant wants. Easy mobility and the ability to match families and individuals to different types of housing over time is one of the big benefits of renting. If you're a student you move near a university, if you're a busy professional you move near work, if you're a senior you can save money by living farther away from employment nodes you don't need to commute to every day.

The wider question is whether there's ANY affordable housing for some people in the metro area and this depends on unit costs, incomes, and transportation options, plus there are other options like housing vouchers which allow low income people to afford more expensive housing. It's also good to get people on the home ownership ladder which has been done with some affordable housing projects but only seems to happen at a boutique scale in Halifax while thousands of people would benefit from such programs.
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  #22  
Old Posted Nov 29, 2020, 8:50 PM
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The tenants are not entitled to live there affordably indefinitely and that is not reasonable in a city that is growing
Of course not, but in these cases people who were independent may have to shift towards off-market housing or become homeless which each have their own costs to the taxpayer. It’s another aspect that has to be evaluated, and one that may seem insignificant now but have consequences down the road. It might not be preventable, but we should be prepared to deal with the impacts.
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  #23  
Old Posted Nov 29, 2020, 9:09 PM
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It's also good to get people on the home ownership ladder which has been done with some affordable housing projects but only seems to happen at a boutique scale in Halifax while thousands of people would benefit from such programs.
I know that in some parts of the world social housing is mostly done to assist in achieving ownership. It helps families get richer in the long run, and they can rent out the social housing if they don’t want to sell it. Social housing that eventually puts people on their own feet: the gift that keeps on giving!
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  #24  
Old Posted Nov 29, 2020, 9:17 PM
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Of course not, but in these cases people who were independent may have to shift towards off-market housing or become homeless which each have their own costs to the taxpayer. It’s another aspect that has to be evaluated, and one that may seem insignificant now but have consequences down the road. It might not be preventable, but we should be prepared to deal with the impacts.
To me the question is not whether these people should get some kind of assistance. They clearly should, and nobody should be homeless. The question is whether it makes sense, long term, for that assistance to be in the form of a rent subsidy that the landlord is compelled to provide.

Lots of jurisdictions this year are providing emergency rent subsidies to low income tenants. We have this in BC for the pandemic (although I think the actual demand might be a bit lower than what was originally feared since the covid economic crash was much milder than the original worst-case projections). You apply to the province, tell them who your landlord is, and they forward the money to the landlord. The portion paid by the tenant plus the province adds up to the full rent.
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  #25  
Old Posted Nov 29, 2020, 9:22 PM
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To me the question is not whether these people should get some kind of assistance. They clearly should, and nobody should be homeless. The question is whether it makes sense, long term, for that assistance to be in the form of a rent subsidy that the landlord is compelled to provide.

Lots of jurisdictions this year are providing emergency rent subsidies to low income tenants. We have this in Vancouver for the pandemic. You apply to the province, tell them who your landlord is, and they forward the money to the landlord. The portion paid by the tenant plus the province adds up to the full rent.
Ah I seemed to misunderstand what you meant at first, seems like an interesting question.
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  #26  
Old Posted Nov 30, 2020, 1:11 PM
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I think he was implying that was before the centre plan, I thought the whole point was that approvals would be streamlined if they meet the new guidelines for the area to avoid haphazard downgrades to the project. I do think that there should be some periods of review to accommodate larger developments in the future if growth accelerates. Perhaps every 5 years the city could evaluate whether it aligns with demographic trends or the needs of various stakeholders, and update accordingly. Although perhaps the planning growth outside the centre should be prioritized next. Thoughts?
Yes, in theory this kind of review is supposed to happen. Part of the problem in Halifax is that amalgamation* created a planning department that was responsible for 20+ land use bylaws from the former municipalities. They got so bogged down just administering the old ones that they never stayed on top of updating and reviewing. And then to make things worse the older the documents got, the more people asked for one-off changes, and the more bandaids got slapped on the documents, making them more complicated, further taking time away from the big-picture updates and housekeeping. It was a planning death spiral that resulted in crucial land use documents being 40 years out of date.

Centre Plan isn’t perfect, but it’s the second step (Downtown Halifax Plan was 1st) in getting on track with planning post-amalgamation. If HRM can get it wrapped up soon and move onto Bedford (assuming politics doesn’t put the focus of he next planning efforts on the Eastern Shore instead) and get that done in a timely manner, there might actually be an opportunity to keep documents appropriately updated.

*This was an unfortunate outcome of amalgamation, but shouldn’t be used to suggest amalgamation was over all a bad idea.
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  #27  
Old Posted Nov 30, 2020, 6:02 PM
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[QUOTE=IanWatson;9120333]Yes, in theory this kind of review is supposed to happen. Part of the problem in Halifax is that amalgamation* created a planning department that was responsible for 20+ land use bylaws from the former municipalities. They got so bogged down just administering the old ones that they never stayed on top of updating and reviewing. And then to make things worse the older the documents got, the more people asked for one-off changes, and the more bandaids got slapped on the documents, making them more complicated, further taking time away from the big-picture updates and housekeeping. It was a planning death spiral that resulted in crucial land use documents being 40 years out of date.

Centre Plan isn’t perfect, but it’s the second step (Downtown Halifax Plan was 1st) in getting on track with planning post-amalgamation. If HRM can get it wrapped up soon and move onto Bedford (assuming politics doesn’t put the focus of he next planning efforts on the Eastern Shore instead) and get that done in a timely manner, there might actually be an opportunity to keep documents appropriately updated.

*This was an unfortunate outcome of amalgamation, but shouldn’t be used to suggest amalgamation was over all a bad idea.[/QUOTEt]

HRM became an entity in 1996-97. So 23 years to streamline certain policies and procedures. That means someone fresh out of School has spent the better part of a career wading through the mess. I know we are not Russians but perhaps a Tsar is needed to motivate some efficiency's.
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  #28  
Old Posted Dec 1, 2020, 12:05 PM
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HRM became an entity in 1996-97. So 23 years to streamline certain policies and procedures. That means someone fresh out of School has spent the better part of a career wading through the mess. I know we are not Russians but perhaps a Tsar is needed to motivate some efficiency's.
Now, now. The planning department staff are far too busy sawing off the top few floors of new buildings proposed for development, wrecking the street network with ill-advised changes, setting up storefronts to discuss their planning missives (I have to imagine business there is not good), and posting on social media about the evils of the private vehicle. You cannot expect them to do frivolous things like reviewing policies and processes of their department as well.
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  #29  
Old Posted Dec 1, 2020, 12:50 PM
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I know we are not Russians but perhaps a Tsar is needed to motivate some efficiency's.
It’s very strange of you to use someone known for letting their country lag economically behind the rest of Europe (to a point where abolishing serfdom is considered modern) and being out of touch with their people as a good example for government work. If anything such a person would embody your frustrations with the planning dept.
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  #30  
Old Posted Dec 1, 2020, 1:07 PM
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It’s very strange of you to use someone known for letting their country lag economically behind the rest of Europe (to a point where abolishing serfdom is considered modern) and being out of touch with their people as a good example for government work. If anything such a person would embody your frustrations with the planning dept.
Well the modern version of that Russian Tsar, while repugnant here in the West, is credited with increasing the average Russians standard of Living by a factor of Four. The man gets stuff done. We tend to talk and spend . The Russian Federal government also have remarkably little debt.
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  #31  
Old Posted Dec 1, 2020, 5:49 PM
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If we're now saying good things about Putin, how about we acknowledge that "Tsar" isn't the ideal comparison?
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  #32  
Old Posted Dec 1, 2020, 8:15 PM
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If we're now saying good things about Putin, how about we acknowledge that "Tsar" isn't the ideal comparison?
How about we acknowledge that HRM takes too long to get things done.

Shannon Park was vacated by the Forces before HRM became an entity. Think about that. The buildings they left were in pretty good shape but turning off the water and heat left them in a rotten state that close to Salt water. I believe the old PMQ's there at one time housed about three thousand people but I may be wrong. There are supposed to be 477 homeless folks in HRM right now with no doubt many more with tenuous home security. Opportunities lost?
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  #33  
Old Posted Dec 1, 2020, 11:13 PM
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Well the modern version of that Russian Tsar, while repugnant here in the West, is credited with increasing the average Russians standard of Living by a factor of Four. The man gets stuff done. We tend to talk and spend . The Russian Federal government also have remarkably little debt.
You’ve also had many Russian families lose it all to shared equity schemes over the last 20 years. Essentially, imagine putting a hefty deposit on a yet to be constructed flat in Shannon Park only for the building to never be completed. A housing and land development issue was left unchecked until it became a consumer protection issue, a far cry from “getting stuff done”.

Your idol did finally take notice of the problem but only offered a 3 year timeline to draft a solution.
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  #34  
Old Posted Dec 2, 2020, 12:56 AM
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You’ve also had many Russian families lose it all to shared equity schemes over the last 20 years. Essentially, imagine putting a hefty deposit on a yet to be constructed flat in Shannon Park only for the building to never be completed. A housing and land development issue was left unchecked until it became a consumer protection issue, a far cry from “getting stuff done”.

Your idol did finally take notice of the problem but only offered a 3 year timeline to draft a solution.
Putin is not my idol, he is a thug and a murderer but in the Russian strong man context he is their guy. Russians have a very different interpretation of right and wrong compared to us in the West. There is no history or tendency for Western Liberal democracy. Its still stuck in a 1949 mindset but Putin still gets credit for a chicken in every Pot.
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  #35  
Old Posted Dec 2, 2020, 3:01 AM
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Out of scope...
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  #36  
Old Posted Dec 4, 2020, 5:39 PM
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It takes far longer to "get things done" in an advanced democracy. That's just the way it is. If you would trade one for the other, you can move to Russia.
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  #37  
Old Posted Dec 4, 2020, 7:10 PM
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It takes far longer to "get things done" in an advanced democracy. That's just the way it is. If you would trade one for the other, you can move to Russia.
While it's true that consultation and good planning take time, there's still such a thing as a reasonable timeframe for these projects.

The Shannon Park redevelopment was discussed for Halifax's 2014 Commonwealth Games bid. That was the bid to host in 2014, not a bid in 2014. A lot of the bid materials were created by 2005 or so.

Many other Halifax sites are similar, like the old high schools (St. Pat's and QEH). I think they were torn down around the early 2000's and they are still empty. The sites remind me of Detroit. Except in Halifax's case there's lots of development going on in general, just not on these government-controlled lots. I think it is reasonable to question why these developments have taken so long, particularly St. Pat's (QEH tied to a hospital project which is much more complicated), although it seems like things are starting to move a bit more. A big part of the problem was apparently building up a bunch of bureaucratic dependencies between different planning exercises which were themselves delayed. This is a recipe for huge delays, and the payoff for the wait is often unclear.

At this point there aren't many derelict lots or surface parking lots with private owners. Almost every weedy lot or prime parking lot is some kind of governmenti-related project that got stuck in limbo for years. In many cases these are very prominent sites and the neighbourhoods they're in will be compromised until they're developed.

Last edited by someone123; Dec 4, 2020 at 7:24 PM.
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  #38  
Old Posted Dec 4, 2020, 7:33 PM
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It will be interesting to see the publics patience for the way things are after we get through Covid. Governments strengths and weakness's are on full display and its ironic in a Country, that usually shows disdain for, or out right hostility to the Armed Forces that the Feds and Provinces are relying on them to get things done. Perhaps some Empires will be challenged if not ripped down.
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