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Welcome to Our HRM Alliance

nature Groups from the rural, suburban and urban core of Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM) have come together to help make the municipality a better place through the Our HRM Alliance. The exact number of groups in the Alliance keeps increasing, but a group of six organizations form the Steering Committee.

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Healthy & Active Population



Communities must be walkable and built at a human scale. Building orientation should address people not vehicles. Residents should be able to walk to work, school and recreational activities within their neighborhoods.

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A robust transportation system that includes a vibrant public transit system and cycling infrastructure is necessary for HRM to insure the participation of all citizens in public life.

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Sustainable Development



All present and foreseeable infrastructure and servicing costs should be the responsibility of the developer and not the municipality.

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Green Areas




Green spaces provide benefits for both the environment and for the people living within it. Access to nature is important for psychological well being. Natural areas must also be protected from human interference so they can perform the critical ecosystem services that benefit humanity.

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Town Centres



The heart of a community in a rural or suburban area is as important as Halifax or Dartmouth is to the municipality as a whole.

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  • Welcome to Our HRM Alliance

    Welcome to Our HRM Alliance

  • Healthy & Active Population

    Healthy & Active Population

  • Transportation


  • Sustainable Development

    Sustainable Development

  • Green Areas

    Green Areas

  • Town Centres

    Town Centres


Economic Benefits of a Greenbelt Factsheet

Last Updated on Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Our HRM Alliance is proud to distribute a factsheet on everything you need to know about a greenbelt, including its benefits for health and the economy. Please share with your friends and networks.

 Economic benefits of greenbelts

Open letter to Council on what it means to "Be Bold"

Last Updated on Tuesday, 15 April 2014

It is exciting that Halifax has committed to "be bold." Our HRM Alliance encourages Council to live up to this brand promise.

Being bold does not mean passively allowing the laisser faire growth patterns that have swallowed up green-space, undermined downtowns, and lead to unwalkable communities throughout North America. Being bold means identifying a vision of this municipality's future and being dogged in pursuing it. We need to learn from the best cities in the world and do even better.

Halifax is a city with lakes, forests and oceans at its doorstep. Let's be bold and identify all of our nature we intend to keep, and create a complete set of trails that connects our residents and tourists to everything we have that is beautiful.

Our HRM Alliance invites the municipality to:

  • Be bold and make Halifax the healthiest, most active city in Canada.
  • Be bold and give Halifax the best access to green-space in Canada.
  • Be bold and require that all new communities are walkable.
  • Be bold and ensure all new offices contribute to our downtowns.
  • Be bold and create transit-oriented communities that will free us from traffic.
  • Be bold and unburden residents of rising taxes for unneeded infrastructure and financially wasteful developments.
  • Be bold and create a greenbelt.

As the economic center of Nova Scotia, this municipality needs to make decisions that will distinguish this municipality as a place to visit, to do business, and to live. Our HRM Alliance calls on council to live up to this brand promise, and make regional planning even stronger in Halifax.

Spotlight on Members

Last Updated on Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Our HRM Alliance would like to applaud member groups in the Purcell's Cove area for their recent work to maintain the integrity of the regional plan: McIntosh Run Watershed Association, Halifax Field Naturalists, Purcell's Cove Neighbourhood Committee,and the Purcells Cove Area Residents Action Committee. These four groups have recently formed The Backlands Coalition with 6 other local organizations, which are pushing to stop the Urban Reserve designation for a forest in their area at least until the end of the Regional Plan, in 2031.

If this Urban Reserve is allowed to be redesignated "rural settlement"—as will be considered at the first reading of the Regional Plan in May—a large area of land will be opened for development with little time for consideration for its impact on urban growth and natural heritage. The last-minute change would also set a dangerous precedent for how planning will be conducted in the future.

The Alliance applauds the Backlands Coalition for having:

  • Conducted a flora study to demonstrate the ecological value of the area.
  • Helped to mobilize local attendance at the Feb. 25 HRM council meeting, when many amendments were being proposed to undermine the regional plan.
  • Organized a member rally in which legal questions were answered and mobilization strategies were developed.

In particular, we would like to thank Catherine Mackinnon, Kathleen Hall and David Patriquin for their work in forming this new coalition.

Public Access to Fletchers Lake at Risk

Last Updated on Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Purcell's Cove Residents Action Committee Appeal to Contact Councillors

Last Updated on Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Dear Neighbours and fellow HRM Residents,

A critical event has occurred going forward to the RP+5 public hearing that requires your immediate attention. All of the developers owning the land in the Purcell's Cove Backlands have joined forces by hiring a law firm and attempting to re-zone the Backlands. Currently the Backlands are zoned Urban Reserve. This group (Clayton, Norm Nahas for Battery Hill Development, Bess Developments & Tanya/Roderick Morrison) has requested a re-zoning to Rural Commuter. 

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Alliance News

Weekly Updates

March 24

Hello Alliance,

We’d like to extend a big high five to Michael McFadden for his excellent letter in the Chronicle Herald this morning:


Walkable neighbourhoods video

If you would like to promote creating walkable streets in your community, here is a fantastic 3 minute video you can share:


Spotlight on Members

We will periodically be highlighting some of the great work of our member groups. The first round are the new members of the Backlands Coalition in the Purcell’s cove area: McIntosh Run Watershed Association, Halifax Field Naturalists, Purcell's Cove Neighbourhood Committee,and the Purcells Cove Area Residents Action Committee.

See the spotlight here: http://www.ourhrmalliance.ca/spotlight-on-members

Eastern Shore Strategic Priorities Public Meeting

Also, for Alliance members living in the Eastern Region, a public meeting is being put on by ACOA, HRM and the Greater Halifax Partnership to set “strategic priorities” on Saturday, March 29th at 9:30-3:00pm. Here is the invite:


We want to know what your community feels should be the future priorities of the Eastern HRM Region!

The communities of Eastern HRM (Lake Echo to Ecum Secum and the Musquodoboit Valley) are coming together to look at the strategic priorities for the entire region. This process includes; capturing existing community visions and plans, looking for commonalities, getting community input via a community meeting and create a strategic statement that can be used as a starting point for the region to look at their overall strategic priorities.

Please forward the attached flyer to any and all members of your organization and community and ask them to attend the community meeting on March 29th at the Oyster Pond Firehall (51 Old Trunk Road, off Hwy #7) from 9:30 am -3 pm. Also feel free to post on any community calendars, facebook pages, community signs, etc...  We know this is short notice but we are hoping for good community representation.

If you have current community plans or reports you feel we should see ahead of time please forward them to us.  For more information contact Denise VanWychen, Contract facilitator at 902-384-2973/891-0191 or  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Denise VanWychen


February 11

New Events and Logistics Coordinator


It is my pleasure to announce that your new Events and Logistics Coordinator: Tristan Cleveland. Sylvia Dove has moved to Cape Breton but will still support our efforts from afar. I am a McGill urban planning graduate from Saint Marguerite’s Bay. I have been volunteering with the Alliance since I returned in June, and I look forward to taking on an administrative role to ensure we achieve our goals.


Draft 4.0 Regional Plan


Draft 4.0 of the Regional Plan has been released and, while it remains an imperfect document, we are happy to have secured a number of advances. A detailed analysis of how the latest draft scores on Our Seven Solutions is forthcoming. First reading of the draft was to be today in council but it has been deferred because of missing councillors. Please find the latest draft and staff report attached.


April Hearings


The final hearings on the Regional Plan will be held in April. It is crucial that every Alliance group is represented at these hearings, for two reasons:


  • It is likely that pro-sprawl groups will come out to oppose advances made in the regional plan, and so we must ensure we do not lose the progress we've made.
  • True success will be decided in the upcoming Greenbelting and Public Open Spaces Priorities Plan and other secondary plans. We need to show council there are broad-based support for our ideas (from each district) to ensure serious commitments can be made in these plans moving forward.


March Alliance Meeting


A full Alliance meeting will be held on March 26th. It will be an opportunity to identify goals and plan our next steps. Raising public awareness and engaging rural and suburban communities will be key. A workshop will be provided on how to speak effectively at hearings.


Planning and Infrastructure Hearings


Tomorrow, Wednesday, at 10:00am council will allow the public to speak on Planning and Infrastructure's budget (after the staff presentation and council questions). This is the first year they are doing so, and so it will be a great chance to give your input.


It will be an opportunity to call for:


  • Allocating sufficient staff time to work on the Greenbelting Priorities Plan.
  • Scaled Capital Contribution Charges that will encourage growth in our growth centres and downtowns. (There is already interest among councillors to make this happen, so we'd be nudging them to do what they should and already want to do).
  • A stop to charging residents for senseless water projects that only really benefit certain developers.
  • Sufficient funding for community trails. (A chance to represent our non-urban groups).
  • In general, to concentrate infrastructure investment in and near existing communities, rather than rewarding greenfield development.
  • Bike Lanes (Janet Barlow, EAC, and Ben Buchwald, Bicycle NS, will already speak to this.)


That's all from this update!


I look forward to working with all of you!


Jan. 14, 2014

Happy Monday Alliance!

I hope everyone is enjoying this beautiful Spring day in the middle of January. The date hasn’t been set yet for the Public Hearing but I figured I’d forward some info about it, as well as a news article on how green spaces effect our well-being, and our recent member count.

1.) Public Hearings:

The upcoming Public Hearing is an opportunity for the public to share their opinions and views on the 3rd Draft for the Regional Plan with Regional Council. Public Hearings are advertised in The Chronicle Herald at least two weeks in advance with the date, time, and location. I will be sending an email out to all Alliance members as soon as I hear the date announced.

Anyone may speak at the public hearing, for a maximum of 5 minutes.  You may also submit comments in writing to the Municipal Clerk’s Office before 3pm the day of the hearing. Written comments will be distributed to Members of Regional Council, as well as relevant staff. They will be kept on file as part of the official public record. Think about what your group would like to say at these hearings, and who from your group

If you want to find out more about Public Hearings check out: http://www.halifax.ca/municipalclerk/PublicHearingsFAQ.html

Lets have a strong Alliance presence at these hearings!

2.) BBC News January 11, 2014:

Green spaces have lasting positive effect on well-being

3.) New Member Group

I'd like to welcome the St. Margaret's Bay Chamber of Commerce to the HRM Alliance! We are now at 51 member groups, and growing.



Jan. 3/14 Quick Alliance Update

Happy New Year Alliance!

Here are a couple updates to get us started for the year.

1.) Public Hearings

The public hearings for the revised Regional Plan will be taking place sometime in the next few weeks. We would like at least one person from each member group to represent their organization at the public hearings, so start thinking about who from your group would like to speak up! We will be in touch next week with materials and hopefully a date for when the hearings will take place.

“I’m really grateful for the number of residents and community groups that have really responded to this process…and have challenged us to really think about the regional plan in a really comprehensive way.”

– Coun. Jennifer Watts in the Metro last month.

2.) 50 Member Groups

I’m excited to announce that two more groups have joined the Alliance. Welcome Lucasville Community Association and Purcell’s Cove Area Residents Action Committee!



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Important Documents

Regional Plan Feb. 25, 2014:


Regional Plan Sept. 18, 2013:

1) RP Draft 3
2) Staff Report
3) Summary of Research
4) Community Engagement Report
5) Draft 3 Maps


1) Letter and 3.0 analysis sent to Mayor & Councillor. Dec. 2, 2013
2) WRWEO’s letter to Mayor Mike Savage and Councillors  regarding their disappointment in the final draft of RP+5. Oct. 9, 2013
3) District 4 resident Michael McFadden's letter to Councillor Lorelei Nicoll. Nov. 4, 2013
4) District 16 resident Catherine Frazee's letter to Councillor Tim Outhit. Dec. 2, 2013


1) Suburban Sprawl: Exposing Hidden Costs, Identifying Innovations. Oct. 2013
2) Evaluating the Economic Benefits of Greenbelt Assets March 2012
3) Donnelly Law Re: Our HRM Alliance Calls for a Greeneblt for Halifax, Nova Scotia. Oct. 2, 2013
4) Gardner Pinfold Economic Impacts of Growth Related Infrastructure Costs June 2013
5) STANTEC Report Quantifying the Costs and Benefits to HRM, Residents and the Environment of Alternate Growth Scenarios April 2013
6) Donnelly Law Re: HRM Greenbelt and Landowner Compensation July 19, 2013


1)   David Donnelly: Legal Issues Related to Land Protection and controlled growth March 10, 2014

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