Nova Scotia to ensure that municipalities plan for efficient land use – Halifax


Nova Scotia will amend the province’s legislation governing municipalities as well as the Halifax Regional Charter as part of an attempt to ensure that municipalities plan for efficient land use.

The new amendments introduced on Tuesday will require municipalities to create land use plans to meet “specific thresholds” that “reflect a minimum threshold for land use planning,” according to the province’s press release announcing the legislation.

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According to the legislation itself, those requirements include clearly outlining the objectives of the municipality in terms of its physical, economic and social environment and its future use and development of its lands.

“Mandatory planning supports a consistent approach to land use and development across the province,” said Municipal Affairs Minister Chuck Porter in the press release.

Municipalities must also engage with neighbouring municipalities when amending or adopting a municipal planning strategy, and  the possibility of holding joint public hearings regarding a municipal planning strategy that could affect neighbouring municipalities.

The Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM) expressed some level of concern over the consulting aspect of the bill in a statement to Global News on Tuesday.


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“”We recognize the benefits of consultation with other municipalities and currently consult with other municipalities on issues of mutual interest,” Nick Ritcey, a spokesperson for the municipality, said in a statement. “However, mandated consultation can add delays and may not always be needed, as some issues are not relevant to all parties.”

If a municipality does not enact a plan or the plan does not meet the province’s standards, the municipal affairs minister will be authorized to request the council’s co-operation.

If all else fails, the Minister could even be able to establish an interim “planning area.”


The (HRM) says they’re not sure how the new legislation will impact the municipality as it’s their first time they’re seeing it.  The HRM did admit that the province consulted with them over the summer on possible changes to land use planning.

“In discussions with the province prior to and during consultations, both levels of government (HRM and the province) anticipated that the provisions on land use planning would not have a significant impact on the Halifax Regional Municipality, as we currently have a regional planning strategy for the whole municipality,” Ritcey said.

Under previous legislation municipalities in the province, as well as Halifax, were not required to develop a land use plan.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.





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