Halifax's growth plan goes to regional council
A revised plan for developing the Halifax Regional Municipality is going before council Tuesday.
The fourth draft of the update is months late. The original 2006 plan outlined how and where development should take place in the municipality, but hasn't met its targets.
Planners want to encourage residential construction in the downtown cores and not in the suburbs. Other key areas marked for growth include the undeveloped Port Wallace land off Waverley Road and Porters Lake.
Paul MacKinnon, executive director of the Downtown Halifax Business Commission, questions if the latest revisions are enough.
"There was so much wiggle room there that we simply continued to develop the way we always had," he said.
"I think there's a bit more tightening of that, [but] not as much as we would like to see, frankly."
New home construction down 30%
However, home builders don't want to see too many restrictions, especially not ones that drive up costs. Residential construction fell 30 per cent in 2013.
Paul Pettipas of the Nova Scotia Home Builders' Association said installing primary services underground, for example, could add $20,000 to $30,000 per lot.
"What is dangerous for the housing industry is anything that adds further costs. We can't afford for those starts to fall further," he said.
"The other thing is 'green belting.' We have to make sure they don’t use it to stop development altogether."
After council discusses the plan it will go to a public hearing before being put into place.