Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Mayor delivers message to residents. Guidelines were made to be broken.

May 29. CBC Radio Morning Show:
Council and The Battery. Some residents living in The Battery - a historic part of St. John's - are upset over a new house that's being built. They went to city council on Monday looking for support... but they didn't get it. We talk to St. John's Mayor Andy Wells to find out why. Listen to this audio feature (Runs 6:25)

No spark to Battery development complaint: mayor
Last Updated: Tuesday, May 29, 2007 12:50 PM NT
CBC News
St. John's Mayor Andy Wells has little sympathy for a group of residents in the Battery neighbourhood who want city hall to halt construction of a house that could block views of the harbour.

"I don't think there's a single thing wrong with this application," Wells told CBC News on Tuesday, after opponents of the project unsuccessfully appealed to city council at its regular meeting on Monday evening.

"It meets all our requirements. The owner of this property is entitled to develop the property pursuant to the rules."

While the proposal on Signal Hill may meet city requirements, residents say it flies in the face of non-binding guidelines drafted three years ago for development of the historic neighbourhood.
A former fishing village along the lower reaches of Signal Hill, the Battery has over the years become a magnet for property-hunters eager to obtain one of the best views in the city.

Resident Alison Dyer said the house planned for the backyard of 24 Battery Road is set farther back from the street than it should be.

"One of the main reasons, again, to have Battery guidelines [is] so that it would keep the integrity and look of the Battery," Dyer said.

Lisa Porter, who fears that property values will drop for the surrounding homes, said residents didn't know about the plans until a few days ago, when an excavator started work on the foundation.

"It was a big shock to us when this started on Saturday," she said.

Wayne Howell, who owns the land where the controversal house is being constructed, declined an interview but said he is within his rights and has obtained appropriate permits.

Dyer said the group of residents does not yet know whether it will appeal the city's approval for the development.

Wells said an appeal would be a waste of time and money, as no rules have been broken.

In 2006, amid strong resident opposition, city council shelved a proposal that would have seen a new hotel and condominium complex built at the site of the current Battery Hotel.

Battery residents deliver message to Council

VOCM News: Battery Residents Deliver Message to Council May 29, 2007
Our view is gone, our privacy is gone, our hearts are broken. Some Battery area residents delivered that message to
St.John's council at yesterday's meeting, trying to defer or stop construction of a new dwelling on Battery Road. Residents say it is in blatant contravention of the Battery development guidelines. Councillor Frank Galgay says the permit has been issued and council cannot take it back. Galgay says if residents wish they can make an appeal, but Mayor Andy Wells says unless there's a violation of a regulation they do not have any grounds. Battery area resident Lisa Porter says they expected a little more form their councillors. Porter says the group will meet to discuss an appeal.

CBC Radio Morning Show May 28, 2007: Battery development concerns Some people in The Battery are getting shaken-up over a new house that's about to be built. We speak with one resident to find out what her concerns are. Listen to this audio feature (Runs 6:02)

Our view is gone… our privacy is gone… our hearts are broken

may 28, 2007
Is your view in the Battery next????

On Thursday, May 24, 2007 the City of St. John’s Building Department issued a permit to the owners of #24 Battery Road to construct a new house on their recently subdivided lot, #26 Battery Road. This development is in blatant contravention of the Battery Development Guidelines to which the City claims to adhere.

The Battery Development Guidelines were done to curtail haphazard and inappropriate development, and to “protect existing private views and privacy” We are concerned that a new house in a back garden - where none existed previously, with a huge retaining wall, a 35-foot driveway will have a severe negative impact on the neighbouring views, privacy and property values. How can this been seen to follow the spirit and intent of those guidelines?

Who is being hurt by this new development?

Long-time residents of Walsh’s Square as well as those on Signal Hill and Battery Road:
In particular: Mr. Kelly has been on Walsh’s Sq. for 72 years (#3);Mrs. Dawe for 41 yrs (#9); Ms. Dyer & Mr. Bruce Johnson for 17 years (#7); Ms. Porter & Mr. Pope for 15 years (#5); Chris Fitzgerald for 5 years (#2)

Where are the guidelines being broken?

There was no professional view plane analysis
[1] conducted. Our own analysis shows that most of the harbour view, and privacy, of 4 properties will be gone!

Loss of view and privacy will negatively affect our property values.

The BDGS indicated only horizontal expansion but no infill opportunity for #24 Battery Road.

The BDGS recommends that in this zone (Heritage 3, R3), that the Front Set Back “be in line with at least one neighbour”. The City Heritage officer made a written recommendation in January 2007, that the building be in line with existing house #24 Battery Rd.

Structural integrity of the hillside. There has been no engineering study or 3-dimensional site plan to show how the hill at the back of this property will be properly contained. Erosion of this steep slope could cause serious problems for properties on Walsh’s Square.

Concerned? contact: Ward Councillor Frank Galgay 579-8801
Development Committee Chairperson: Art Cheeseman; Council liaisons: Wally Collins 576-8584 Shannie Duff 753-5260 Tom Hann 576-8219

I will have to find & scan a picture, that you might understand our plight.

[1] BDGS, p.13 “In order to protect views…the main principle is that a building can be added to if the addition does not significantly interfere with another property’s view…We suggest that it is significant interference if it is: too close or too big, and interferes with more than 5% of a view cone)

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Way to a Woman's Heart

(Photo: Alison at the Dildo Kwik Mart, Trinity Bay, by Bruce Johnson)

"All my men have cooked for me says Della.

She looks down at her breasts, sweeps a crumb off her tight blouse with her right pinkie, smoothes the nylon apron. There’s a mix of aromas from the full serving trays, thick but not unpleasant. Overhead, a buzzing from the florescent lights. Outside, a bus swishes and farts, carves the puddles and stops. The door to the cafĂ© implodes - stamping feet, a curl of diesel fumes. There’s a run on the gum stand, the muffin tray, the soft drinks but Della stands behind her counter of pink meats and unlikely salads fixed on an audience of one.

George, now George liked sausages, she says, fidgeting with an oval tray containing something gel green. Spicy Italian were his favourite. A smile pulls at the ends of her mouth. Course he didn’t really do much with them, just cooked them with a mound of mash potatoes or noodles, he liked those tight squiggly ones. Her eyes blink like silent castanets. Mostly he’d sit there and watch me eat. Sometimes he’d offer to cut them up, my sausages, but that made me feel a bit uncomfortable like.

Della looks out at the big window, between her deli counter and the bus stop. It’s steamed up and showing traces of an old x’s and o’s game.

And he was up out of it as soon as he’d eaten. I mean he was up and at the dishes like, straight away. I never knew if I should hurry up and finish and help him out or what. She gives the clean stainless steel counter top a quick wipe, tossing the cloth behind her into the sink..." [excerpt from: Way to a Woman's Heart, A. Dyer, 2006]

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Mystery Photo #4 - what are they doing?

(Photo: Nfld Kayak Company CRCA Level 2 course, Burgeo)
May 17, 2007

After a day of refining strokes, towing, and performing mock rescues it's time to get down and play...? Can anyone remember the name of this hilarious game? And yes, that is solo expedition kayaker Serge Savard trying to keep up with the crowd.

The KNL (Kayak Newfoundland Labrador) annual retreat is this weekend in Terra Nova. Frey Hoffmeister & Greg Stamer will be there for greenland paddle and roll clinics. Can hardly wait. Got a new backband installed in my perception shadow (many thanks MD) - a nice low profile one used in tempest kayaks. Probably won't get to try it out until the saturday day trip. That and a new, tada, kokatat goretex drysuit. So high end, honestly, you won't recognize me :)

I can taste it

(Photos: Cape Broyle north side trail)
May 16, 2007
I can taste it. Summer. Right around the bend, may have got temporarily stuck in that bit of driftwood but should be here on a wing soon. Mother's Day. Took it off, bit chilly but bright sunshine made up for it. Took family to Bauline East on a short hike to LaManche - couldn't find any scanned photos of that splendid walk, especially as one gets closer to the abandoned community; the hidden rock walls, house foundations and, since 2000, a magnificent suspension bridge across the gorge. Photos above are from a walk another year in Cape Broyle, a little further south. All wonderful scenery, smellery and walks.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

waiting for spring and a wide-thinking sea

(photos: Little Passage, Gaultois, south coast Newfoundland)
May 8, 2007
Bright yellow drysuits are reminding me of open-faced dandelions. White adirondacks of sun-soaking summer afternoons. I'm desparate for spring. And hankering for an extended trip. Perhaps the south coast of Newfoundland again? Hermitage Bay and Bay d'espoir on the south coast are hard to top. Cliffs, waterfalls, the odd cove crowded with houses and treacherous slips (makes for some interesting put-ins), many with just the sound of running water, the small cry of a bald eagle or that fog-toned call of a gull. The musty smell of blackberry heath when the breeze trips off over the land, or mouth-watering kelp when the sea is thinking wide.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

An ode to spring, of sorts.

May 6, 2007

A Seedy Kama Sutra

The randy dandelion
Shocking purple to a bee
Male, female parts entwining
Sire veiled virgins on the wing.

Its receptacle is naked
Abrupt, slender to the apex
Around its bloom stand scales erect
While copious white bristles it does eject.

Its thickened taproot stretches deep
hairy, thirsty in dirt it creeps,
and will itself reproduce, should
its piss-a-bed be executed.

Oh globular white feather head
a summer zephyr will blow you
and bitter juice you dribble, when
fingers chain your pedicles.

© Alison Dyer 2003

Away at the Cove this weekend. Weather is preposterous. Little word of spring. Perhaps around a corner - if you see it send it this way. Via a shortcut.