Halifax Regional Council has given the green light to the last phase of an urban planning strategy for Halifax and Dartmouth after three hours of debate on Tuesday night.
Councillors voted unanimously in favour of adopting the plan with some amendments, including a report on pre-approved development applications that will be affected by the passing of the final phase.
The Centre Plan is a planning process for the Regional Centre, including Peninsula Halifax and Dartmouth inside the Circumferential Highway. The plan is being developed in two phases, Package A — approved by council in September of 2019 — and Package B.
Package B is the second and last phase of the centre plan that was officially launched in 2016. It focuses on developments that city staff deemed appropriate for high-growth areas, like Halifax’s downtown core.
This phase focuses on protecting the character of low-density neighbourhoods while encouraging new growth through hidden density opportunities — things like the approval of backyard suites and internal conversions of existing larger homes.
Tuesday’s session was the first in-person public hearing since the pandemic hit and the last opportunity for people to share their thoughts on the final stage of the planning strategy.
“Many residents, such as myself, a young professional just starting my career in Halifax, rely on lower density, affordable housing and will not be able to afford the high-rise living that will be replacing it,” said Caden Hebb, a Halifax resident, who attended the hearing.
Halifax Mayor Mike Savage said during the session that between packages A and B, there are 49,000 potential developments as of now.
“We’ve already got 20-something thousand approved developments. We need the housing this will provide,” he added.
—with files from Alexa MacLean
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