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Centre Plan | FAQs

What is the Regional Centre?
What is the Centre Plan?
What is a Secondary Municipal Planning Strategy?
What current Plans are in place for the Regional Centre?
Why is the Centre Plan important?
What issues will be addressed in the Centre Plan?
Isn’t it “too late”? I already have development happening in my neighbourhood that I don’t like.
How is this related to the “Corridors Project” that I went to public meetings about in 2012?
When will you be holding public meetings on this project?
Will the Centre Plan identify all the amenities that I need in my neighbourhood?
How does the Centre Plan relate to HRMbyDesign?


What is the Regional Centre?
The Regional Centre is the area of Halifax Regional Municipality that includes the Halifax Peninsula and the area of Dartmouth inside the Circumferential Highway. The area is approximate 33 square kilometers and has a population of almost 100,000 people. This area has been identified in our Regional Plan as an area of focus for economic, social, and cultural development.

What is the Centre Plan?
The Centre Plan is a project that will help update and unify Planning Strategies in the Regional Centre into a single Secondary Municipal Planning Strategy.

What is a Secondary Municipal Planning Strategy?
The Regional Centre Secondary Municipal Planning Strategy will be a document that articulates the goals for the development of a community (social, economic, environmental, and cultural). It includes consideration of land development and how that land development works with other municipal services such as Transit, Road Operations, Parks, Economic Development, and Community Facilities. Secondary Municipal Planning Strategies can also allow for the development of implementation tools such as Land Use By-Laws, Design Guidelines, Grants Programs, and other functional programs that help achieve the goals of the Plan.

What current Plans are in place for the Regional Centre?
Currently in the Centre Plan area there are four different Plans in effect in different areas. In the case of two of these plans (Dartmouth & Halifax plans) the first authorship was in the 1970s and they have been revised on a piece-meal basis with no comprehensive review with the public.

Why is the Centre Plan important?
The Centre Plan is an opportunity to address the fact that the documents that outline and frame the goals of the communities within the Regional Centre have their roots in a different era and have not been kept up to date through regular review with the public. The work with the public to develop the Centre Plan It also allows us to think about how these core elements of Dartmouth and Halifax work together to establish our Regional Centre and how they can work together to satisfy the goals of the Regional Plan and meet the needs of the residents of the communities that are established there.

What issues will be addressed in the Centre Plan?
The Centre Plan will prioritize the issues that are identified in Chapter 6 of the Regional Plan, that is to say identifying the best ways to integrate growth into our existing strong communities within the Regional Centre while considering the needs of residents in 2016.

Isn’t it “too late”? I already have development happening in my neighbourhood that I don’t like.
No, it is not too late to write policy that will influence the form of growth and the development of the community over the next 15 years. While we do recognize that there are a certain number of “in the pipe” developments in the Regional Centre we do not think this should limit how the community articulates its desires. Additionally, for developments that are not yet “in the pipe”, they will be able to benefit from the certainty and clarity that the new unified policies within (and any programs supported by) the Centre Plan. When these new developments are conceptualized all parties (the public, the land owners, the neighbours) will have a shared understanding of what is appropriate.

How is this related to the “Corridors Project” that I went to public meetings about in 2012?
The corridors project identified the opportunities that existed along important streets (or corridors) in the areas of the Regional Centre that had significant commercial zoning and activity. The work we did then forms part of the background, and in some respects the community feedback has become the backbone, for the Centre Plan. The work we did with staff and the public then has not been lost.

When will you be holding public meetings on this project?
Public meetings, and public engagement through our web tools will begin in the coming weeks (late February / early March 2016). Please visit shapeyourcityhalifax.ca/centreplan for details.

Will the Centre Plan identify all the amenities that I need in my neighbourhood?
The Centre Plan is a plan at the scale of the whole Regional Centre, it is not a neighbourhood plan. It will identify programs for ensuring that communities are able to be complete communities and it will give targets for population and employment growth in line with this. It is not an exercise in Neighbourhood Planning.

How does the Centre Plan relate to HRMbyDesign?
When HRMbyDesign was first used to describe the work of the Planning & Development department the Centre Plan was always seen as the third stage of the HRMbyDesign process. The HRMbyDesign process was successful in setting the Vision and Guiding Principles for the Regional Centre, and establishing the Downtown Halifax Plan.