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How to share your input on the changing face of Halifax’s North End

Click to play video 'A transforming neighborhood brings mixed reviews' A transforming neighborhood brings mixed reviews
WATCH ABOVE: Preserving the heart of Halifax's North End community. Alexa MacLean reports – Feb 26, 2016

Halifax’s North End has a rich heritage that represents some of the city’s most historical events. It was an early industrial hub for the Nova Scotia Railway in the 1800s, saw the Halifax Explosion in Dec. 1917 and the creation of the Hydrostone neighbourhood.

The neighbourhood is a staple of the North End hub today, but lately there’s been rumblings of a “new North End.” It’s one that’s receiving mixed reviews from long-time residents.

 “I love the North End. I love the character, I love the passion of the people, I love seeing the children run around,” North End resident Crystal John said.

“I hope that we don’t gentrify it so much that people are afraid to just be themselves,” John added. She also works at the Mulgrave Park Caring and Learning Centre.

John has spent most of her life in the area and is concerned that an explosion of urban development is displacing the core values of the community she calls home.

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“I don’t see these buildings that are going up inclusive of all income levels. I think when we put these fancy high-rise buildings and living accommodations with stores and shops underneath that are high-end stores, than those who aren’t able to afford that, they are kind of pushed to the margins,” she said.

The northern part of the Halifax peninsula has become very attractive to developers.

“It goes to the rich history of the North End and the diverse people, culture, building forms, colours and the textures that exist in the North End.

“That really makes it a vibrant community and that’s why a lot of people want to live there,” Kourosh Rad, an Urban Planner with WSP Canada Inc., said.

Jennifer Watts is the HRM Councillor for the area and says that with the new Centre Plan project beginning at the end of March, now is the time for community members to get engaged in Centre Plan discussions.

“The Centre Plan is a new planning strategy developing a whole new land-use bylaw for the urban core of Halifax,” Watts said.

For more information on the Centre Plan you can visit the website.