Last Updated on Tuesday, 18 February 2014
Last Updated on Friday, 14 February 2014
The Backlands Coalition has released a floral study of the William's Lake Watershed. It will contribute to a more informed discussion of the appropriateness of developments in the area.
The Backlands Coalition is a recent addition to Our HRM Alliance and focuses on preserving natural ecosystems off Purcell's Cove Road.
Last Updated on Friday, 29 November 2013
In 2006 HRM adopted a new RMPS (Regional Municipal Planning Strategy). It was to be reviewed and amended if necessary every 5 years. As the first review approached a broad-based coalition of close to 50 committed NGOs, the Our HRM Alliance, formed to advocate for positive changes to the Plan. Representing business organizations, community groups, organizations dedicated to health, improved transportation, and the environment, a “people’s congress”, they agreed on Seven Solutions which wouldmake HRM a healthier and more liveable “community of communities”.
In 2011, HRM set in motion its official review process, RP+5, the Regional Plan plus five years. The review’s launch featured a presentation by the Alliance of the Seven Solutions. Theyquickly became focal points for the municipality’s planning dialogue.
Over the next two years, throughout the municipal election, throughout the RP+5 Public Consultations, which inspired four volumes of volunteer citizen engagement, and throughout the detailed review by HRM’s own citizen/councillor advisory committee, CDAC (the Community Design Advisory Committee), the Seven Solutions have been front and centre. On September 18, 2013 HRM Planning Staff produced a draft document, 3.0. Now the question is, have the Seven Solutions found their way into the draft Plan?
What follows is the Alliance’s response to that question:
The Objective section at the beginning of 3.0 is great. Also, its Chapter 9, Governance and Implementation, and its Appendix A - RMPS Indicators do provide a much clearer list of measurable, though targets for these indicators are often missing. Progress cannot be measured without targets. Indeed, there are a number of areas throughout the Plan where worthy objectives will be difficult to achieve without stronger policies to support them.
The document lacks clarity. To communicate effectively, it needs a simple unifying concept – Greenbelting, so everyone knows where development is encouraged, under what terms, and where it’s not allowed. Citizens and developers alike have called for simplicity, for clear choices, and for eliminating red tape. 3.0’s policies are still too complex and leave too much “wiggle room.” The draft itself calls for a Greenbelting Priorities Plan. So, let’s get on with it.
That said, staff and citizens alike should be proud - huge improvements have been made through the RP+5 process. We are almost there. With one more push, the Alliance is convinced we can achieve an RMPS that will put this municipality on the right course.
Last Updated on Monday, 22 July 2013
With planning and law, there's bound to be a lot of confusion over the specificities of development law, and the ability for a municipality to enforce the goals of their plans.
To sort this out, Our HRM Alliance consulted with two law firms to clear things up.
We clarified that:
- HRM has the ability to restrict development, and limited power to prohibit development absolutely. (Briefing courtesy of Burchell's LLP)
- HRM has no obligation to compensate developers for land that becomes protected. In fact, doing so would set a dangerous precedent. (Briefing courtesy of Donelly Law)
Last Updated on Monday, 22 July 2013
The Our HRM Alliance is dedicated to creating a more liveable, sustainable HRM.
In 2012, we published "Our Seven Solutions", containing seven specific recommendations to HRM on the occasion of the 5 year review (RP+5) of the Regional Municipal Planning Strategy (RMPS).
For the final round of submissions to the Community Design Advisory Committee, the Alliance has chosen to break those solutions into five fundamental parts. Without the inclusion of these concepts in a revised RMPS the Alliance will not be able to support it.
The five concepts include:
1. Directing Growth
2. Greenbelting and Priority Plans
4. Inadequate Measures to Monitor Success
5. Increasing Riparian Buffers
For a more detailed explanation of each of these 5 fundamental areas for a more liveable and sustainable HRM, please take a look at the letter we sent to the HRM Planning team.
Page 1 of 6
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.
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!
Regional Plan Feb. 25, 2014:
Regional Plan Sept. 18, 2013:
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