St. John’s City Council should rescind approval for the construction of a new hotel on top of Atlantic Place.
Over the years we have lost much of the character of St. John’s due to ill-advised and often ad-hoc planning decisions, perpetrating buildings that are out of scale in the downtown area.
I am not anti-development and I am not opposed to modern design if done sensitively, and I have written on the subject of modern buildings constructed in the post-Second World War era that respected the surrounding context.
However, we seem to face a never-ending struggle to fight inappropriate development in St. John’s — for example, the original Fortis development in the East End, and The Battery Hotel project that was reminiscent of a huge grounded cruise ship on Signal Hill.
Fortunately, approvals for these projects were denied.
With either traditional or modern architecture, essential principles that should guide development in the downtown area are appropriate scale, fit with the surrounding context, and preservation of the existing views for the benefit of all. If fortunate to first experience the city after sailing through the narrows, visitors often comment on the beauty of what is left of the East End, of congenial historic buildings and houses on the hillside clustered around the harbour.
They see remnants of a city where those living and working in the downtown area enjoyed views of the harbour from many different vantage points. Visitors do not come here to see the latest high-rise buildings in the West End, and they certainly do not come here to see Atlantic Place.
Many St. John’s residents are of the opinion that this atrocity should never have been built in the first place, and I respectfully request council reconsider putting a huge dollop of icing on this ugly cake.