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Draft revised Regional Plan discussed by Regional Council on February 25, 2014.

Find out about next steps...


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The Community Design Advisory Committee Meetings on RP+5 have concluded:


Past Discussions - Key Policy Areas


On December 12, 2012, the Community Design Advisory Committee (CDAC), the committee guiding the Regional Plan five-year review (RP+5) process, discussed a number of important issues, including that of greenbelting.

Get information on the definition of greenbelting, how HRMís Regional Plan currently supports many elements of a greenbelt, and how the concept may be used to further enhance HRMís natural areas and support complete communities.


Key Studies Informing Policy Direction

At its meeting on October 10, 2012, the Community Design Advisory Committee (CDAC) received presentations on three important studies:



The information provided through these studies will be used to inform new/revised policy and future public engagement.



Review of Proposed Policy Direction

Earlier in October, the CDAC completed a first round of review of proposed policy direction (possible changes to the Regional Plan). Altogether, five draft policy direction documents were presented to the CDAC for their discussion and recommendation.

HRM staff will now examine all of the committee's feedback and recommendations. Staff will return to the committee this fall with a detailed response and information to supplement that already provided.

Once all new/supplementary information has been reviewed, the CDAC will provide recommendations on policy direction to Regional Council's Community Planning and Economic Development Standing Committee (CPED). The CPED will give direction back to the CDAC and HRM staff on preparing the final policy amendments to the Regional Plan.

CDAC Policy Review Schedule*

July 4th
July 25th
August 1st
September 5th
September 19th
October 3rd

*The draft policy documents will be posted here when they are tabled with the CDAC, approximately 3-5 days before the meeting date.

The proposed policy documents are an important milestone of the RP+5 process. They provide a clear public record of proposed policy changes, public feedback on policy changes, and a response to this feedback.

Public comments are organized according to the five themes of the review - Sustainable, Vibrant, Livable, Mobile and Prosperous. During March-May 2012 HRM residents were invited to submit comments through a number of channels, including 7 regional public meetings, 2 focus groups with newcomers, several stakeholder meetings, an on-line survey, and submissions via e-mail, mail, and social media. All comments were forwarded to appropriate HRM staff for response and are reflected in the proposed policy documents. 

Given the volume of comments and submissions, it was necessary to organize and abbreviate some of the comments to ensure that all points of view were captured in a succinct and accessible manner. A complete record of all comments, public submissions, etc. can be accessed from this webpage at 'Consultation Summary'.


Density Bonusing Legislative Amendment

HRM has submitted a formal request for the Province to consider amending the Halifax Regional Municipality Charter to expand the use of density bonusing from downtown Halifax to the entire municipality. Read more...


Public Engagement Process...

Public engagement is vital to the Regional Plan 5 Year Review. Information sharing and consultation will help to shape recommendations to Regional Council on changes to the Regional Plan.

RP+5 Public Engagement Phases 1 & 2

Public Consultation Meetings

In March 2012, seven meetings and a kick off event were attended by over 500 citizens. Another 61 citizens participated on-line during two live-streamed events. The meetings were held in various HRM communities to discuss what has changed since the 2006 Regional Plan was adopted and how key policies need to address current challenges and future opportunities.

Public Meeting Presentation (PDF)

Stakeholder Engagement

HRM is committed to an open, transparent, and inclusive public engagement process.

Community and professional organizations, institutions, the business community, diverse cultural groups and other interest groups can participate in long range planning efforts in a variety of ways:

  • Attend public consultation sessions
  • Complete the survey (closed May 18/12)
  • Use social media tools and @PlanHRM on Twitter
  • Submit a letter by email or regular mail (until May 15/12):


    Mail: Halifax Regional Municipality, Regional Planning office, 2nd Floor, 40 Alderney Drive, PO Box 1749, Halifax, NS B3J 3A5

  • Share information on research and best practices with the staff team
  • Request to meet with staff (We will do our best to accommodate all requests subject to staff availability. All meetings will be logged in the public engagement summary report)
  • Contact your local councillor

Stakeholder meetings with key groups and organizations will take place throughout the public consultation program as requests are received.

Engaging with Government

We are also actively engaging with other levels of government, including First Nation governments.

RP+5 Public Opinion Survey

An on-line survey provided an another opportunity to be part of this process and more than 460 citizens provided input. The survey was open for about one month (and closed on May 15th). The survey was organized around the five themes of the review. The results will be part of the community engagement record and will inform changes to the Regional Plan.

Summary of Phases 1 and 2 Public Consultation

A report about all RP+5 engagement activities and public comments for RP+5 will be submitted to the Community Design Advisory Committee (CDAC) and will be posted online.

In the interim, a record of all comments received during public consultation either by e-mail, regular mail, social media, or as part of the public opinion survey can be found below. The comments are presented in their raw form, as they were received. The survey results can be accessed either in summary or in full. A summary of Phases 1 and 2 engagement activities is also provided, and an overview of "What we Heard".



RP+5 Public Consultation Phase 3

Phase 3I of public consultation is taking place this June.  Several events are planned, including 3 stakeholder group sessions, 3 public open houses and one final open house combined with a town-hall style public meeting.

There are also other ways to provide your input, including written comments by email or social media.

Stay informed through the communication channels listed at the bottom of this page and email us to get on the electronic mailing list.

All comments about the key issues being considered as a part of the Plan's 5-year review will be captured for the record and reviewed/ considered in the final edits to the draft Regional Plan before it goes to Regional Council in late summer/early fall (Phase 4).



RP+5 Public Consultation Phase 4

Phase 4, the Public Hearing, is expected to take place in fall 2013. Information about the Public Hearing - dates, times, how to get involved, etc. will be posted once confirmed.

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RP+5 Kick Off... March 2012

Cal Brook presenting at RP+5 kick off eventOn March 1, 2012 HRM kicked off the Regional Plan 5 Year Review and the first phase of the Centre Plan process. Architect and Planner Calvin Brook was the guest speaker. Cal spoke on the City of Toronto Avenues Plan and Mid-Rise Buildings Study.

Presentations by HRM Urban Design Project Manager, Andy Fillmore and a panel of local experts rounded out the evening.


Cal Brook Presentation Part I (PDF)

Cal Brook Presentation Part II (PDF)

Cal Brook Presentation Part III (PDF)

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RP+5 Themes...

child with bookHRM is sustainable!
Our future growth and development must focus on continuous improvement of our environmental, economic, social and cultural sustainability. This must include standards for low impact "green" development, ensuring that new development pays its fair share to protect the tax rate, expanded tools for the provision of housing affordability and heritage protection, support for cultural programs, controlling overall resource and energy consumption, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.


alderneyHRM is vibrant!
Our Regional Centre holds enormous potential for new residential and commercial growth in areas that enjoy already established and paid-for infrastructure and services. New land use policies, bylaws, and design guidelines are required to ensure high quality growth of the appropriate density and scale. New incentives such as streamlined development approval processes, tax incentives, and density bonusing should be used to attract development to the Regional Centre to achieve the Regional Plan's urban growth targets. The goal is to significantly increase opportunities to live and work in the Regional Centre while providing robust new tools to protect neighbourhood character and scale.


HRM is livable!
Suburban areas have enjoyed enormous prosperity and growth over the past several decades. Because this growth is expected to continue we need to focus on improving community design standards. New design standards will lead to more attractive and sustainable ("green") communities and will result in more beautiful, walkable and complete communities. Rural areas too, will benefit from new design standards. In both suburban and rural areas there will be a focus on directing new growth to areas where infrastructure and services already exist.


cyclistHRM is mobile!
Directing growth to appropriate areas based on existing infrastructure and services (i.e. growth centres and corridors) must be a primary consideration. Growth areas must be supported and reinforced by an appropriately designed transit service and active transportation network. There must be a continued focus on improving the experience of transit users, expanding the transit service in appropriate areas with the appropriate equipment, and maximizing ridership, while minimizing single-occupant vehicle commuting. Investment in active transportation and car-sharing options will be supported wherever possible to help provide alternatives to vehicle ownership.




HRM is prosperous!
A coordinated and integrated approach towards achieving sustainable and balanced growth will preserve the environment, provide improved transit service, promote compact, well-planned, vibrant and healthy communities, and maintain a strong economy. A Regional Plan responsive to emerging challenges and ready to seize opportunities will help to ensure prosperity for the region and its citizens. To that end, key elements of the HRM Economic Strategy will be incorporated into the Regional Plan.

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Process and Timeline...

On February 9, 2012, Regional Council's Community Planning and Economic Development (CPED) Standing Committee approved the Public Engagement and Communications Plan and a revised timeline [report 4MB] to undertake the review process.

Commencement of Regional Plan 5 Year Review...

The Regional Plan, adopted by Council in 2006, forms a comprehensive guide for the future growth and development of HRM. It presents a coordinated and integrated approach for achieving sustainable and balanced growth in a way intended to preserve the environment, maintain a strong economy, emphasize the provision of transit services, and promote communities that would be compact, well planned, vibrant and healthy. The Plan remains a strong and well-conceived blueprint for growth.

However, understanding that conditions change over time, the Regional Plan was written as a living document intended to be responsive to emerging challenges and opportunities. It therefore contains within it a mechanism requiring that it be formally reviewed and updated every five years. The first of these 5 year reviews ("RP+5") was initiated by Council on October 4, 2011 and is expected to run until September, 2012. Because the overall policy framework and intent of the 2006 Plan remains sound, the review is proposed to be an issue-based process as opposed to a rewrite of the entire document.

Read more about the Regional Plan 5 Year Review.

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HRM Planning in the News...

The October 2011 initiation of both the Regional Plan 5 Year Review (RP+5), and the HRMbyDesign Centre Plan was very timely. It coincided perfectly with the announcement that The Irving Shipyard in Halifax had won the National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy bid to build the next generation of ships for the Canadian Navy - a 30 year contract worth an estimated 25 billion dollars. The shipbuilding contract will create economic and population growth that accelerates our need to be smart about planning our city for a sustainable future. The topic of the Ships contract's impact on city planning has begun to emerge in the media. This site will provide a consolidated location for such stories.

Business Voice - Halifax Chamber of Commerce monthly magazine

HRMbyDesign Centre Plan - Preparing for the Future

Impact of Shipbuilding Contract on HRM

Chronicle Herald

Impacts of Shipbuilding Contract on City Planning - 21-Oct-11

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Contact Us...

Twitter: @PlanHRM



Mail: Halifax Regional Municipality, Regional Planning Office, 2nd Floor,

40 Alderney Drive, PO Box 1749, Halifax, NS B3J 3A5

Council Committee: Community Design Advisory Committee