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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


Deputy Premier Diana Whalen leads hike raising awareness about Blue Mountain-Birch Cove Lakes Wilderness Area

Last Updated on Monday, 09 June 2014

IMG 4322-2

Every year Clayton Park MLA and now Deputy Premier Diana Whalen hosts a hike with the Halifax Northwest Trails Association into the Blue Mountain-Birch Cove Lakes Wilderness Area (and someday HRM Regional Park). Saturday, June 7th, was an excellent day for a hike and over 50 citizens from around HRM came out to see the area for themselves with a hike into beautiful Susie’s Lake.

This magnificent intact urban wilderness is located on the outskirts of Halifax, just behind the Bayers Lake Business Park. In 2006 the City committed to create a large Regional Park and in 2007 the Province protected a large portion of the lands to assist the City in its creation.

Unfortunately, since then, the City has done very little on its end. This needs to change. HRM Council needs to step up to the plate and acquire the necessary lands around the Wilderness Area and get on with the promise of creating the Blue Mountain-Birch Coves Lakes Regional Park. A cornerstone piece of a Greenbelt, a huge health and recreation asset for a growing city and a legacy for future generations. C’mon Halifax, Be Bold and give us our park!

Special thanks to Diana and the Halifax Northwest Trails Association for a great day!

Council to Address Amendments to Regional Plan May 20

Last Updated on Thursday, 08 May 2014

Council will (tentatively) discuss amendments to the Regional Plan on Tuesday May 20th that would greatly reduce controls on development. Our HRM Alliance opposes these amendments because they were made last-minute, at the first reading of the plan, at which point there is little opportunity for public input.

The date of the discussion will remain tentative until May 16, the same day staff will be releasing a report on the proposed amendments. 

The proposed amendments read as follows:

  1. The implications of re-designating the Purcell's Cove Backlands from Urban Reserve to Urban Settlement or Rural Commuter and, in particular, the below considerations to be taken into account:
    1. Will water and sewer services come to this area in time for it to be developed at the end of 2026 and if not, is the urban reserve be still viable?
    2. Are current and planned water system investments in the area too small in capacity to support urban format development in the future?
    3. What is the developable lot capacity for the lands under rural commuter in this area? What are the implications for traffic and other services if the lands develop under the rural commuter.
  2. What provisions exist or could be included to allow one time small scale (1-3 lot) subdivisions in the Open Space and Natural Resource, Urban Reserve & Rural Commuter designations?
  3. The implication of designating all or a portion of the Cole Harbour/Westphall Urban Reserve near Highway 7 and Ross to Road to Urban or Rural Commuter or CDD and amend the water service district accordingly.
  4. The implications of applying the CDD Zone to certain sites on the Eastern Shore; if not the entire defined Eastern Region.
  5. Within Fall River, identify areas with current ground water quantity or quality issues or on-site sewer issues that may be considered for inclusion in the service boundary along with a mechanism to allow the timely extension of sewer or water services to those areas.
  6. The implications of grandfathering the approved Seven Lakes and Nature Ridge developments under the 2006 Regional Plan open space conservation planning bylaws.
  7. The implications of the issues raised in the correspondence from WSP dated February 19, 2014, including:
    1. that Policies S-15 (a) and S- 16 (a) be amended to: Permit 1 unit per 4000 metres square or greater in centres as may be provided in secondary planning strategies; 
    2. the deletion of the “net developable” references in Table 3-4 and footnote 17;
    3. the deletion of Policies S-15 (a), S-16(a) and S-17(c); and
    4. amending Growth Centre Map for Porters Lake whereby the circle does not cross over the lake or over Les Collins Avenue in West Chezzetcook.
  8. The implications should Regional Council choose to designate the lands recently acquired by NS Nature Trust described as PIDs below along the Eastern Shore as PA – Protected Areas ( PIDs 0551192, 40028151, 40028136, 40028078, 40028144, 40027799, 40027740, 41252420, 41252412).

Invite: Green Space vs. Urban Sprawl—the case for Blue Mountain-Birch Cove Lakes Regional Park

Last Updated on Monday, 05 May 2014

The Canadian Association of Retired Persons (CARP) is hosting a panel discussion this Tuesday on the struggle to protect a key area for the future greenbelt: Blue Mountain-Birch Cove Lakes Regional Park. The province has designated the area to become park, but the municipality has yet to do its part and acquire the lands.

The discussion will be an opportunity to learn about land protection and meet other groups working on these issues.

  • Subject: the long awaited, but yet to be delivered, Blue Mountain - Birch Cove Lake Regional Park.
  • Keynote: Raymond Plourde, EAC Wilderness Coordinator.
  • Panelists include:
    • Honourable Diana Whalen.
    • Ryan Van Horne, Journalist.
    • Truman Layton, Outdoor Enthusiast

All are welcome and encouraged to attend.

Tuesday May 6th
The Happy Turtle Yoga & Wellness Centre
2742 Robie St., Suite 100, Halifax

Alliance releases Greenbelt Factsheet

Last Updated on Wednesday, 30 July 2014


Our HRM Alliance is proud to distribute a factsheet on key economic, health and enviornmental benefits of a greenbelt. Please share with your friends and networks. (A low-res version is available here for email).


 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.

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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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