Canadian Martyr’s Site


Canadian Martyrs Church sale 

Park to Park request for intervenor Status

September 7, 2016 VIA E-MAIL

Elaine Wagner 

Chief Clerk of the Board 

Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board 

3rd Floor, Summit Place 1601 Lower Water Street Halifax, NS B3J 3P6

Dear Ms. Wagner: 

RE: Matter M07610 – Ashcroft Homes Inc.

Request for Intervenor Status by Park to Park Community Association

We represent Park to Park Community Association, a South end neighbourhood association, and registered society, established initially in response to concerns around inappropriate development In our community. Please accept this letter as the Association's request for intervenor status in this matter.

This matter relates to an appeal from a refusal by an HRM development officer to issue a development permit to the Appellant. Accordingly, the test that must be applied to the Association's request is that set out at para. 10 of the Board’s decision in Northern Construction Enterprises (Re), 2012 NSUARB 149:The Board finds that the test to be applied, in this proceeding, is whether, on an objective basis, the proposed Intervenors are "aggrieved persons", or, if they are not, have a "real and substantial interest".

The Board’s reasons in Northern Construction suggest that the crux of this inquiry is whether theAssociation members will be uniquely, personally, or particularly impacted by the proposed development (see para. 100).The Association submits that this test is satisfied in the circumstances of this case, for the following reasons:

Over the years the neighbourhood has developed a rapport and understanding in dealing with Saint Mary’s University that has resulted in very little negative impact on the fabric of our neighbourhood. This was the result of two factors, firstly the creation of the Saint Mary's MasterPlan with neighbourhood involvement and the long term commitment to buy the Canadian Martyr’s property should it become available, and secondly, the implementation of the U1/U2 zones in the MPS and LUB that not only protected the neighbourhood from University expansion but also contained any high density development to the interior of the campus.With the advent of the Ashcroft Homes proposal of two multi unit (27 and 31 story) towers on the Canadian Martyr’s property, our neighbourhood is at risk. We are of the opinion that the fabric of the neighbourhood will be irrevocably damaged, clearly inflicting both loss of enjoyment in our neighbourhood and financial losses for many. The interpretation of the U1/U2 zoning suggested by Ashcroft Homes, allowing commercial development of the property under the guise of a student residence, fundamentally alters our understanding of the whole concept of the U1/U2 designation and presents an entirely differentway of dealing with university issues within the campus environment and the surrounding neighbourhood. Any change to the interpretation as presented by HRM by allowing what amounts to commercial/high rise condo development will clearly negatively impact the enjoyment of, value and use of our residential neighbourhood.Even though university services may overlap in uses such as housing and food delivery, and as such have a commercial aspect, it is the spectre of private sector decision making around these uses that will alter our neighbourhood environment most profoundly. Student accommodation and other services under the controls currently exercised by the University in conjunction with the neighbourhood presents a far different environment for neighbourhood residents than control of these services/uses through untested private sector decision making.

Fundamentally we are of the opinion that this is a commercial venture. Even under the guise of a student residence, approval by the Board of two (27-31 story) condo/residential towers the rental of which will be managed by a private entity, not the University as anticipated under the zoning designation, will negatively impact the overall fabric of our neighbourhood. More egregiously, those homes directly across on Inglis Street and on surrounding streets adjacent to the University would be uniquely and disproportionately impacted.

In light of the above we submit that Park to Park meets the test set out in Northern Construction and respectfully asks that the Board grant its request, and allow it to participate in this proceeding as an intervenor.

Respectfully submitted, 

Pat Whitman, Chair 

Chris Annand, Vice-Chair 


Letter to Church 

Park to Park Community Association

1074 Wellington St., Suite 603

Halifax, NS   B3H 2Z8

August 14, 2016

Father Mark Cherry, Pastor

Deacon Dan Daley, Chair, Pastoral Planning Team

Ms. Stephanie Caldwell, Chair, Transition Committee

Saint Thomas Aquinas Canadian Martyrs Parish

1725 Oxford St.

Halifax, NS, B3H 3Z7

Re:Proposal for a multi storey development on Canadian Martyr’s Site on Inglis Street

We are writing on behalf of the neighbourhood of which Canadian Martyr’s Parish has so long been a part.  Park to Park Community Association (PtP) is very concerned about the proposal by Ashcroft Homes, an Ottawa firm, to purchase the church site on Inglis Street and build two 20+ storey private student residences on the property.

Our concern is not with the sale of the church and property. Rather, our concern is that the church would be prepared to accept an offer that clearly is not in the best interest of the neighbourhood and would significantly exceed existing site zoning height limits. This is particularly concerning because there are other offers available, including a fair one from Saint Mary’s University.

Late last week, HRM Planning Staff rejected Ashcroft Homes application to tear down the church and build the private student residences.  It is clear from their rejection of the proposal that they consider it inappropriate for the site. The proposal does not meet the intent of the MPS Policy (sections 4.5.1 and 4.5.2) nor the corresponding Land Use By-law (sections) 70(1), 70(Ab) 6 and 70(BA) 1). The developer has no ties to the community and obviously no concern about the negative impacts on the neighbourhood.

The intent of the site zoning clearly implies that any construction within the U1 and U2 zone be done by Saint Mary’s University who have developed a respect and rapport with its neighbours.  The sections of Policy and the further clarifications under Land Use By-law sections noted above, state among other things, "that uses generating significant activity be limited to the interior of the campus and uses adjacent to residential areas be limited as to intensity of use, scale and setback so as to be compatible with and minimize negative impacts on adjacent residential development".  In addition, there appears to be no attempt to present a plan that would be in harmony with the existing Saint Mary’s University Master Plan and our own understanding of how SMU would approach development of this site.

Why the church would accept an offer completely at odds with the intent of the policy ignoring the needs of the neighbourhood, simply for money, is a challenge to our understanding of the church as an integral part of the city and community.  This development is wrong for the city and wrong for the neighbourhood, wrong for the University. Park to Park feels strongly that by acceptance of this offer, the church has abrogated its responsibilities to the parish and the surrounding neighbourhood.


We understand that Vatican representatives have yet to approve the sale.  Because the sale was handled in such a secretive way with no communication with parishioners or concern for the consequences on the community and the city, Park to Park asks that the sale to Ashcroft Homes be rejected and other more reasonable offers be considered.

We understand that Ashcroft intends to appeal HRM Planning Staff’s rejection of their proposed development application to the UARB.   If so Park to Park Community Association will seek to oppose this development application and will support HRM Planning Department’s opposition to this development and will encourage neighbours and other community focused groups to join us, to get the right development for the site.




Pat Whitman, Chair,

Chris Annand, Vice-Chair

on behalf of 

Park to Park Community Association


Cc:  Archbishop Anthony Mancini, Archdiocese of Halifax Yarmouth

      Most Rev. Luigi Bonazzi, Apostolic Nuncio to Canada

      Margaret Murphy, Associate Vice President, External Affairs, Saint Mary’s University

      Waye Mason, Councillor, District 7, HRM

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