It’s been years in the making, and HRMbyDesign will face its final vote May 5.
Networking group Fusion Halifax already started pressuring Halifax Regional Council to approve the plan with a rally Wednesday at Grand Parade Square.
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“It focuses on development issues that we’ve never talked about before, like sustainability and green spaces and public art,” said Fusion director Tori Jarvis.
“It takes away from what we’ve been focusing on for the past 20 years, which is height versus heritage. It really has elevated the discussion.”
About 30 people turned up for the rally to support the plan, but it has not been without controversy. The Heritage Trust of Nova Scotia has vocally opposed the plan for doing too little to protect heritage, while some on the other side think it goes too far.
Fusion chair Alyson Queen said no plan can make everyone happy, but the proposal strikes a reasonable balance to help revitalize the downtown.
Halifax Chamber of Commerce chair Kim West said developments currently take too long to get approval. She said the new HRMbyDesign system will encourage more, smarter development.
“You can’t be taking two years, three years, sometimes four years to get a project through the regulatory approval process,” West said.
“We need to be much more nimble in terms of getting through the process so that we can get on with them while the opportunities are there.”
The plan has already been approved by the province but must pass a final vote by council. Urban Design project manager Andy Fillmore, who oversaw the creation of the plan, was happy to see the support.
“It was a very good day,” he said.