Dear Mayor Savage and HRM Council:
Argyle Street is a special place. It is the heart of the city’s entertainment district, home to Neptune Theatre, City Hall, and St. Paul’s Church. It will soon be the front door of our brand new Halifax Convention Centre, and contains the largest collection of sidewalk cafés. It is hard now to imagine Downtown Halifax without sidewalk cafés, and since the very first café (established on Argyle Street as a “pilot project” in 1995, as part of the G7 celebrations), the street has become synonymous with good food, good drink, and relaxing with friends.
In 1997, Downtown Halifax Business Commission (DHBC) partnered with HRM to create a new streetscape plan for Argyle Street, to enhance the pedestrian experience, and allow cafés to become permanent features. This study was updated in 2004. In 2012, building on that work, the Planning and Design Centre and DHBC led a public consultation process to create a shared street design for Argyle Street. During the summer, DHBC and HRM partnered on a six-week pilot project to test the design principles with the #MingleonArgyle project. Like the café pilot of 1995, it was a resounding success.
Downtown Halifax Business Commission is in complete support of the HRM staff report, to complete detailed design and construction documents for Argyle, as well as the work on Grafton Street. We look forward to continuing our relationship with HRM staff and Ekistics, as we move toward this exciting transformation of the downtown.
Paul MacKinnon, Executive Director, Downtown Halifax Business Commission