Repeal of Sackville heritage bylaw eases restrictions on new Lafford apartments

Excavation and fencing at Lafford site with no building permit

Sackville Town Council’s repeal of its heritage bylaw on Monday will make it easier for Lafford Realty Inc. to construct a controversial three-storey apartment building  with underground parking on land once owned by the United Church.

During the question and answer period at Monday’s council meeting, Sackville’s Chief Administrative Officer Phil Handrahan said the Laffords had not yet applied for a building permit even though they’ve removed trees, installed a temporary orange fence around the perimeter and excavated the site at Main and York Streets.

“No [building] permit has been issued to proceed,” Handrahan acknowledged, “and the developer is waiting on what the decision of council is going to be with respect to heritage.”

Town planner Lori Bickford said a building permit is not required for the work that is going on at the site.

Brian Lane at last month’s public hearing

Under persistent questioning from Sackville resident Brian Lane, Bickford said the orange fencing at the site is temporary, not structural, and therefore does not require a permit.

Town manager Jamie Burke acknowledged that without the repeal of the heritage bylaw, the developer would have to apply for a permit from the Heritage Board for construction of the new building.

“It does require Board approval,” Burke said. “It is somewhat of a subjective process for Board members as there are no specific requirements in terms of a particular style the building has to be other than the need to complement the existing streetscape,” he added.

‘They can do whatever they want’

During a public hearing on repealing the bylaw held last month, Lane urged councillors to delay scrapping it at least until the new Lafford building goes through the process.

“You’ve got a chance of a major development for the downtown area,” he said.

“It should comply to the existing heritage bylaw. You get rid of that, they can do whatever they want,” he added.

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4 Responses to Repeal of Sackville heritage bylaw eases restrictions on new Lafford apartments

  1. Gordon Heffler says:

    Obviously these so called local government officials that are known as so called “Councillors” are either sheep being maybe led in any direction with these recent ill-conceived repeals of the Heritage regs, or they are possibly “lambs to the slaughter” as now they have not even come to the realization that they have not only sold out the town, but themselves as well to biz developer(s). If I ever know of a rain-man or pied piper, I will definitely recommend they come to your town to sell their ideas to the more than gullible local council there. Sad fact is that they don’t even realize that they are being “played”. Good Luck…you will need it as this unfolds!

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  2. Meredith Fisher says:

    At this moment, I am visiting in the Halifax historic Public Gardens. Having just read the latest New Wark Times, I feel so sad for our little town of Sackville, NB. This green space in the heart of Halifax is so beautiful and so revered by the people who live here and enjoyed by all who visit, all ages, all cultures. Evidence of pride in place and pride in history, pride in beauty. Everywhere, groups of people taking their colourful photographic memories of each other. Oh boy, has Sackville missed the boat. To what end? Where is the wisdom and careful consideration for preservation of things that make Sackville special? Not compellingly important enough, I guess.

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  3. Rima Azar says:

    If I may, I would like to share two inspiring links about heritage preservation from Beirut (6,000-year old):
    1. https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/beiruts-museums-to-war-and-memories
    I had the chance to visit this Museum upon its full restoration. Highly recommended, if you are in the area one day.
    &
    2. https://www.relbanks.com/rankings/world-gold-reserves
    If you look at # 19 on the list above, you see that Lebanon managed to preserve its gold reserves, despite its crazy 15-year-civil war. We are talking about a ranking of 19 out of the top 50 countries with largest gold reserves (not too bad for a small and non-rich country).

    What I am trying to say is that, despite the ugly years, there was a light of hope for preservation of beauty because someone kept believing in heritage when everything was falling apart. The end result is a long yet happy story to be proud of for years to come.

    Today, another small country that also survived war experienced another miracle. Bravo to Croatia (although I feel sorry for England).

    All this to say is that, we the citizens (hopefully not the denizens), we urge our Town Councillors, to let our Sweet Little Sackville shine to its full potential!

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  4. Ron Shaw says:

    If you don’t enforce this bylaw, it leaves it wide open for anything to go! In saying this, the developer should have no issue abiding by the set bylaw, just make the new development fit the streetscape, ah the headaches of changeable!

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