Nova Scotia

Halifax-Dartmouth Centre Plan to make pedestrians priority

An overview of what will be the blueprint for future development in the area was revealed Tuesday night at a public meeting.

Overview of what will be blueprint for future development revealed at public meeting

The green parts of this map show the areas that would be affected by the centre plan. (Anjuli Patil/CBC)

People at a public meeting in Alderney Landing Tuesday night were able to share their thoughts on the first draft of a plan to regulate new development in Halifax and Dartmouth.  

Putting pedestrians first is one of four core concepts of the Halifax-Dartmouth Centre Plan. 

Jacob Ritchie, urban design manager with the municipality, said it makes sense future development should prioritize pedestrians. He said the population is aging and fewer younger people in the area are getting drivers licences.

"If we think about pedestrians first we'll be able to put people close to the things they want to use like their commercial facilities, the services they need and their jobs and their homes," said Ritchie.

"We know there is a higher cost of housing in the regional centre but really what affects our household budgets sometimes is housing and transportation."

Jacob Ritchie, the urban design manager with the municipality, said it makes sense future development should prioritize pedestrians. (Anjuli Patil/CBC)

Focus on pedestrians

Cathy and Ralph Jacob recently moved from Cole Harbour to downtown Dartmouth.

"We've gone from a real car-centric environment to a now pedestrian and ferry and water taxi kind of environment," said Ralph Jacob. "It's quite a big change so we're glad to see a focus on pedestrians first."

"There is a lot of wonderful walking areas, particularly around downtown Dartmouth. But there are some areas that could could be safer and more pedestrian friendly in Dartmouth, for sure," said Cathy Jacob.

Closer to things you need

Other concepts discussed at the meeting were concepts such as complete communities, human-scale design and strategic growth.

Complete communities is the idea that residents should be close to the things they need — be it shops, schools, work or recreational activities. Strategic growth ties into that. It has to do with people being able to get around without needing a car. Finally, human-scale design is about making people feel at ease with their surroundings. 

Critics at the meeting, like Beverly Miller, said planners are too optimistic with their vision for Halifax and Dartmouth. She is concerned developers will still be able to build what they want despite a plan.

"Anyone who has had experience with development in this city are very skeptical," she said.

More events coming

The next part of the draft of the plan will be revealed Oct. 19.

More events on the plan will be held in November and Ritchie said people should make a point to come out.

"We don't expect people to understand this all by themselves or on their own. We want communities to get together and discuss the centre plan and we want to be there," said Ritchie.

About the Author

Anjuli Patil


Anjuli Patil is a reporter and occasional video journalist with CBC Nova Scotia's digital team.