After two years of dismal reviews, the Halifax Chamber of Commerce has finally handed a positive report card to city hall for its efforts to speed up development in the municipality.
Chamber president Valerie Payn said that 70 per cent of the development applications presented to regional council in 2009 had been dealt within targeted time frames, earning the municipality a “green light” score for decision times on new projects.
The rating is part of the chamber’s annual Economic Strategy Scorecard, which measures HRM’s progress in 28 different economic categories, and awards red, yellow, or green lights based on the municipality’s performance in each category.
“Two years ago, (development application times) received the lowest possible score — two red lights,” Payn said.
“Last year, things improved and the city earned a yellow light, due to hiring new planners and establishing a pre-application process.”
Payn said the green light earned in 2009 represents a big step forward for a municipal government that has been notoriously sluggish when it comes to development.
“We have to ensure that we have a vibrant city core,” she said. “It belongs to all of us. Whether you live in Bedford, Sackville or wherever … the downtown area is where we go for banking, shopping, all of those things.”
The chamber’s full report is scheduled to be released to the public on Jan. 13.