“Immediate and decisive action” is required to prevent a “hollowing out” of downtown Halifax, according to municipal staff.
Capital Ideas, a staff report coming before Halifax regional council tomorrow, recommends forming a committee to address the municipality’s declining urban core.
The Strategic Urban Partnership, comprised of both business and public stakeholders, will report back to council in six months.
“We need to start really focusing in on the hub theory of HRMbyDesign,” said Downtown Coun. Dawn Sloane.
“It’s time to allow condos and businesses to be built in the downtown … (and) how we can make that work beneficially for all.”
According to Sloane, the partnership’s value lays in bringing the other levels of government on board with the goals set out in HRMbyDesign, the municipality’s publicly consulted urban planning policy.
The “regional core,” defined as peninsular Halifax and most of Dartmouth, accounts for half of one per cent of HRM’s area, but is home to a third of the population and half of the municipality’s jobs.
HRM’s five-year Regional Plan identified 800 “opportunity sites” for development throughout the regional core. According to the report, there are 51 acres of vacant land in downtown Halifax alone.