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Canadian Urbanism Uncovered



  1. Great piece. I’m glad you point out how poor transit service is, and likely will always be, at the proposed Commodore Drive location. By comparison, the Maybanks site is a great spot for transit, now and in the foreseeable future.

    The transit problem is part of a bigger problem – as a society we seem to have forgotten about value, which is how much you get out of something, as opposed to cost, which is simply how much you pay for something. We cheap out short term and pay for it – not always monetarily. Low costs and efficiency should always be big considerations, but thinking about value captures those good things, along with so much more.

  2. The burnside location by the all weather fields won’t work and the maybank field spot would be the best. if you close a rink in north dartmouth and dartmouth south/woodside it would have to be in the same area doesn’t it, but then a again they close akerley arena when they built bmo center. whats next tey will look at shutting down the eastern shore rink and make them drive to the new dartmouth arena

  3. My concern for the Maybanks is the loss of other well used ball and soccer fields.
    You mention that the ball fields could be relocated to other parks in the community – but which parks? Do they have room to add ball fields? Would something else be pushed out to give room for the ball fields? or over to the soccer fields – the soccer fields are well used as well. Where will they go? The idea of a rooftop soccer field is interesting but would cost a lot for to use than the current grass fields which would cause it to be inaccessible to many users. It would be an awesome idea for downtown Halifax though.

    I’m not opposed to the Commodore site. Transit could easily be brought to the site – it should already be there to begin with the soccer fields, etc – that’s a whole other issue. The location is regional central and easily accessible by areas just outside of Dartmouth – people from other areas use these rinks as well and participate in the programs. It’s not necessarily Dartmouth Central though.

    I wish staff would do complete research when looking into these long term projects. Even some of the questions I have asked could have been easily researched by staff. That way, like you said, this is a long term plan that people have to live with the consequences of for at least the next 25/30+ years. Let’s do it right and get all the information before it’s decided upon.
    I can’t stand how we just don’t do that and it’s an acceptable practice by HRM staff.

  4. Point well taken Gina. Getting the Arena in closer to the city shouldn’t be done at the expense of losing existing community infrastructure, especially if it’s well used. I feel we can have both though. Maybank Field is in a neighbourhood, but it’s also readily accessible to the larger region (at least as much as Commodore). Your post did prompt me to go back and take a second look though and I feel like I missed the really obvious solution to the ball diamond problem. It appears that there is actually some undeveloped land right on the Crichton Park School property. If you look at the map in my post, the area I’m referring to is the wooded section right next to the school behind the homes on Lyngby Avenue and Louis Court. It appears in property mapping to be included with the school lands. You could build a new soccer field on that land and then put the ball diamonds on one of the existing soccer fields. Better to rearrange the fields to keep the ball diamonds away from homes since the baseballs tend to fly out of play much more regularly and have the potential to do more damage. The immediate neighbourhood would end up with 2 diamonds and 2 soccer fields so it would be down one diamond, but it would gain 4 ice surfaces and better facilities for the existing sports fields. I think that would be a net win for Crichton Park as well as Dartmouth as a whole. If needed, the third diamond could, hopefully, be situated elsewhere in Dartmouth, perhaps in an area that is currently lacking in infrastructure.

  5. Good article, i appreciate seeing other designs and ideas. I’ll start of by saying that I play soccer, volleyball and hockey. I’m at the commodore location for volleyball and soccer 2-3 times a week in the summer and it’s great. It’s quick to get to coming off the McKay bridge (Maybank would be similar). Comming from Cole Harbour or Fall River would be similarly accessible in either location. The commodore location is easier for people from Bedford and Sackville to get to.

    The new 4 pad as you indicated will primarily used for hockey and people will not be using transit regardless of the location. I support using transit and keeping your car at home but I’ll never be going on a bus with a stinky hockey bag. The spectators will be the parents and they will be driving too regardless of the location. That leaves public skates which is a valid point. I would suggest using The Dartmouh Sportsplex. It has public skating and is very accessible by transit. Moreover you wouldn’t need to find a new home for a ball diamond.

    This is a bit minor because you were just putting out ideas but the land that you proposed for the ball field behind Lyngby Avenue, Maybank soccer fields and Crichton park is on a fairly large hill and would likely be unsuitable.

    Thanks for the alternative view. I’ll be happy either way as long as it gets build. I just hope they do a better job designing the dressing rooms than they did at the BMO center. 2 showers for one dressing room doesn’t cut it for a full hockey team.

  6. Also, the main synergy that I can see is shared parking. This is ideal with primarily winter usage with the rinks and summer usage with the fields. I know driving isn’t the way for forward for most forward thinking urban plans but when it comes to hockey, your driving,

  7. Great article as usual Sam! Maybanks is an interesting idea, deserving of consideration. I agree with your concerns about the Commodore location, but as someone who regularly visits the soccer fields there and has bussed through Burnside, I wonder whether siting the new rink there would convince Halifax Transit to route a new or existing bus route through there. Burnside is woefully underserviced by public transit – perhaps a concentration of sports facilities there would create a critical mass, sparking improvement.

  8. Thanks Mary and Michael. Mary, you’re right, situating the new Arena on Commodore Drive might encourage Metro Transit to send a bus down it and into Dartmouth Crossing. That would be a big plus. Burnside is one of HRM’s major employment centres and will always be an important destination. The problem with Burnside in the bigger picture is the way its laid out with low-density land-uses and hostile design for transit. There’s really no reason that the buildings, even the semi-industrial ones, couldn’t have been up close to the streets with the vast swaths of parking behind them. That would have made running a bus through a lot easier! Planning usually focuses on minimum setbacks to prevent buildings from coming to close to the street. I sometimes think we need the reverse, maximum setbacks to keep things close to the street where transit and sidewalks are! Burnside’s monoculture of uses also means that transit pretty much only really works as a commuter service. There is just not enough demand outside of business hours. I have some hope that the residential development along Wrights Cove may transform part of the park into a more varied place. Time will tell.

  9. I hate all the multimillion dollar rinks, especially at this expense of ball fields. Dartmouth is as much (or more so) a baseball city as it ever was a hockey city.

  10. As to the Maybank location,do you not think that access to anything there would mean hundreds more cars on Woodland avenue,which is the main access to the MacDonald bridge for many many people.Also many cars are now coming from a 4 lane divided highway to a 2 lane residential street,resulting in speeding trying to beat the 2 sets of traffic lights at Lancaster and at Victoria Road.
    Can you imagine the back up of cars turning left onto MicMac Boulevard toward the Maybank area for sporting events as well as access to Micmac mall?

  11. Hi Charles. A traffic study would no doubt be needed to see what impact the 4-pad might have. The area is busy in the AM and PM rush hours. I suspect sporting events wouldn’t interfere with that very often because of varied hours. It would need to be looked at. It’s kind of moot since after I wrote this, Council went ahead and approved Commodore. Site prep is well underway out in Burnside so the ship has sailed. The Lancaster/Woodland/Mic Mac intersection does need work. It’s a real hazard with the high speeds that people go through there at if the light is green.