Outdated laws mean an outdated society, so the Halifax Regional Municipality has decided to fix its old municipal bylaws.
The kickoff event for HRM’s centre plan was held at Alderney Landing in Dartmouth Monday.
“Tonight’s all about education,” said Jacob Ritchie, urban design program manager for HRM. “We want people to understand what the centre plan is and we want people to tell us what they love about their community.”
The centre plan is supposed to be a secondary municipal planning strategy that will help guide land use and development in the area. It will focus on seven key themes including land use, housing, economic development, culture and sustainability.
The current land bylaws were drafted in the late 1970s and mid-1980s, and — according to the HRM — do not reflect current economic, social or environmental conditions.
Ritchie wants residents to tell HRM what they want before the city begins to draft policies. HRM is planning to draft the centre plan in the fall and have a final plan by December.
Coun. Waye Mason (Halifax South Downtown) was at Monday’s event. He said the centre plan will bring much needed stability to future development in HRM.
“We’ve got a lot of different plans in Halifax and Dartmouth that are old and are fundamentally different from one another,” said Mason. “The idea here is that you harmonize these things to make it easier for everyone.”
Mason said that people in his district have spoken with him about their worries of commercial developments happening in their neighbourhood. He said it’s important for the centre plan to outline not only where development can take place, but also where it should not.
“It should give people comfort that their neighbour’s house can’t be turned into an apartment building or refinery or something,” he said.
Halifax resident Meredith Fillmore agrees that the city needs this plan.
“Halifax is, I think, one of the few remaining livable cities in our country and we want it to stay livable,” she said. “The only way to do that is to have a strategic approach to planning and make sure we think out all the uses, and all the communities, and all the interests.”
Ritchie said people can visit centreplan.ca to add to their comments.