Towers loom over Bloomfield makeover plan

Peter Bigelow, HRM manager of parks and recreation, explains the proposed Bloomfield Master Plan.

Peter Bigelow, HRM manager of parks and recreation, explains the proposed Bloomfield Master Plan on Thursday.

The proposed Bloomfield Master Plan suggests residential towers for the south side of Almon Street, where tennis courts and a parking lot now sit.

Consultants and city staff pitched the high-rises on Thursday as a way to pay for most of the $10.6 million required to demolish Bloomfield School, create a green space, and pay for four other buildings dedicated to arts and culture programming.

The biggest tower would be between 10 and 15 storeys high. The smaller tower would be about two-thirds the size. Both would be on the northern edge of the green space.

One speaker at Thursday’s open house meeting suggested the tall buildings, combined with proposed four-storey townhouses along Agricola and Robie streets, would make the green space in the middle an uncomfortable place to relax.

“Do you ever get the sense that they are watching you?” said Paul Hannon, describing the effect of being in a park close to people’s condos.

“You look around and see all these windows,” said Hannon.

Brian Mackay Lyons, an architect hired to produce the draft plan, said that all those eyes will actually help.

“Public spaces are safest when that happens,” said Mackay Lyons.

Without the towers, creating the green space, townhouses and public-use buildings would require $5 or $6 million in city funding. The towers reduce the public subsidy to $1.8 million – an option more in keeping with the city council’s directive that any development be pay for itself.

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