Supreme Court dismisses heritage group appeal over Halifax development

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There are plans to build an eight-storey apartment building on Brunswick Street behind the restored former rectory of St. Patrick's Church (the brick building on the left). (Paul Poirier/CBC - image credit)
There are plans to build an eight-storey apartment building on Brunswick Street behind the restored former rectory of St. Patrick's Church (the brick building on the left). (Paul Poirier/CBC - image credit)

The Nova Scotia Supreme Court has dismissed an appeal by the province's heritage trust of a development on Brunswick Street in Halifax.

AMK Barrett Investments wants to construct an eight-storey apartment building behind the former rectory of St. Patrick's Church.

Halifax community council approved the proposal in 2019. But heritage advocates argued it does not suit the neighbourhood and violates heritage protection rules, so they appealed the decision to the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board.

The board dismissed the appeal saying council reasonably applied the intent of the municipal planning strategy. On Thursday, the province's Supreme Court agreed with the board.

"This really sets a precedent that council can do anything it wants, there is no relying on the bylaws," said Andrew Murphy, president of the Heritage Trust of Nova Scotia.

Appeals did not have merit, says lawyer

Jason Cooke, the lawyer for AMK Barrett Investments, said it's unfortunate the appeals delayed the development for so long because "they did not have a lot of merit."

"I respectfully but strongly disagree with the characterization that it creates a free-for-all. Quite the opposite, it's an application of the relevant policies," said Cooke.

Cooke pointed out the development will be set back 18 metres so it will not impact the streetscape. He added his client is pleased with the court decision and is eager to proceed with the project.

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