Surprise. Halifax isn’t anti-growth after all.
New survey results commissioned by the Greater Halifax Partnership show 72 per cent of residents believe economic growth over the past 10 to 15 years has been good for the city. Only four per cent said growth was bad for the community.
“That’s great news,” said Stephen Dempsey, president and CEO of the partnership. “That’s a lot of unanimity around a very important aspect of our community.”
Dempsey said the need to study the issue sprang from a misperception that Halifax is opposed to developing the downtown.
“It’s a small, vocal, well-organized minority that seems to think economic growth is not a good thing. They tend to be older, sometimes retired people,” he said.
The survey showed most people believe they will benefit from future growth and development in the downtown.
Another myth dispelled by the study is Haligonians fear tall buildings. In fact, 55 per cent of people who support growth OKed buildings with 10 or more storeys. Sixty-eight per cent liked the idea of four to 10 storey buildings.
Dempsey said he was shocked that most people said they would rather invest in the downtown than their own neighbourhood.
A “deeply concerning” issue the poll raised was 18- to 34-year-olds feel they haven’t benefited as much from economic growth over the past 10 to 15 years.
“If you’re in that age group, you’re probably mobile,” Dempsey said. “And if you’re mobile you will probably go to some place where you will benefit from economic growth. So the message in that is: We need to make sure our downtown grows.”
Halifax-based Bristol Omnifacts conducted the survey, polling 1,400 Halifax residents over the age of 18 by telephone.