Nova Scotia

Halifax plan for urban development received with cautious optimism

A revised Centre Plan to guide Halifax's future development should be in place for a few years before being altered to give it "some backbone," a number of residents say.

'I think that it is going to go a long way as to how the character of Halifax develops'

Chris Annand and Pat Whitman listen to the latest draft version of Halifax's Centre Plan. (Pam Berman/CBC)

Some Halifax residents are cautious about how the municipality is going to proceed with development plans in view of recent conflicts over proposed projects.  

"We would like to see the plan have some backbone," south-end Halifax resident Chris Annand said following a public meeting Wednesday night where city planners presented details of the municipality's Centre Plan.

The latest draft is based on public feedback from previous sessions. 

Agricola Street growth centre dropped

There have been some changes.

For example, there are now only five growth centres instead of six. One on Agricola Street has been dropped. 

There are still redevelopment corridors but the apartment buildings envisioned for them are between four and six storeys, instead of high-rise buildings.
A multi-coloured map of Halifax's Centre Plan. (Pam Berman/CBC)

"They really seem to be looking at so many different aspects," Brian Trainor of Dartmouth said.

"I'm quite impressed."

Pedestrians first

Some members of the development community think the Centre Plan will improve look of the city.

"What's really striking for me is putting the pedestrian first," said Jacob JeBailey, an architect with WM Fares, a Halifax developer.

"I think that it is going to go a long way as to how the character of Halifax develops in the future." 

But others worry that as soon as the Centre Plan is approved, developers will be looking for changes.  

Keep changes to minimum

"I mean the plan should be able to be in place for several years before any kind of significant changes are made," Pat Whitman of Wellington Street said.

A number of residents' groups plan to ask regional councillors to make it more difficult to approve changes by requiring a two-thirds vote instead of a simple majority.

There will be a series of neighbourhood meetings in November to discuss the draft Centre Plan. Public comments will be accepted until Dec. 2.