HRM takes steps towards new homes in Bedford Commons

Thousands of units would be built in new community

3 min read
caption Halifax Regional Council agreed on Tuesday to consider changes to Bedford's land use bylaw to allow for a large housing development. Tuesday's regional council meeting was held virtually instead of at City Hall.
Thomas Scott

The Halifax Regional Municipality took initial steps Tuesday toward allowing the construction of thousands of new homes on the Bedford Commons.

Halifax Regional Council passed a motion Tuesday to consider amendments to the Bedford land use bylaw to enable a comprehensive mixed-use development of the Bedford Commons Opportunity Site. This area is located between Highway 102, Rocky Lake Drive, the Bedford bypass and Duke Street in Bedford.

The area is currently a mix of vacant land, commercial, commercial recreation and low-density residential.

The BANC Group has submitted a development plan for the site that would include 27 multi-unit buildings ranging between six to 33 storeys and 121 townhomes and cluster homes, for a total of 6,216 dwelling units.

caption A concept plan for a housing development proposed for the Bedford Commons has enough space for about 6,000 homes.
Fathom Studio

The development would turn the site into a mixed-use community with supporting public infrastructure. The plan was prioritized by council as part of phase three of its regional plan.

The municipal councillor for the area said density is key to continue developing the area.

“I’ve often told people that if we could just get a little more density in there [Bedford Commons], that would help the battle to get transit in there. But we have to make sure it happens,” said Coun. Tim Outhit (District 16).

“I don’t know if it’s 600 units. I don’t know if it’s 6,000 units. That’ll be determined over the process,” said Outhit.

Not everyone agreed development warranted the price of servicing it.

“I don’t understand why we would give this priority over other growth areas that might have lesser development costs for the municipality in terms of our services and our responsibilities,” said Coun. Kathryn Morse (District 10).

BANC, owner of four of the five properties in the Bedford Commons Opportunity Site, had requested the municipality initiate a planning process for their properties. The municipality would undertake a comprehensive neighbourhood planning process at the same time it issued a development agreement.

The Bedford Commons Growth Area Initiation Report was released on Nov. 21, 2023, with the Bedford Comprehensive Neighbourhood Planning Process submitted by HRM chief administrative officer Cathie O’Toole on Dec. 14, 2023.

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Thomas Scott

Thomas is in his fourth year of journalism at the University of King's College. He loves sports and has reported on a variety of them for years....

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