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Centre Plan Update: District 5 Changes

HRM has released details on proposed changes to the Centre Plan. I would have included this in my E-Newsletter earlier this week, but I didn’t know this was going live until January’s edition was already sent. The proposed changes are significant enough to warrant a dedicated post, especially given that HRM is currently accepting public feedback.

Since about 2016, HRM has entered into a period of rapid growth. Population growth over the last few years has exceeded even the most optimistic planning projections and has been really unprecedented in Nova Scotia’s history. Growth brings opportunity, but it has also brought challenges, particularly in the housing market. HRM is currently short an estimated 20,000 units. This is a big problem for affordability and livability and, unfortunately, planning is only part of the picture. Interest rates, a lack of skilled labour, and supply chain issues are also having an impact and are preventing industry from meeting demand. Planning alone won’t fix this, but it’s part of the puzzle.

The federal government has been investing in housing directly through the Rapid Housing Program, which aims to create deeply affordable non-market housing. The feds also have an initative to boost market supply, the Housing Accelerator Program. Last year, HRM and the federal government reached an agreement in which the feds would provide funding to HRM through the Housing Accelerator Program to:

  • Streamline permitting process
  • Reduce upfront costs for permit applications
  • Facilitate non-residential conversions
  • Encourage development on transit corridors
  • Expedite development agreements for heritage properties
  • Program for small scale residential construction
  • Reduce permit fees for small scale residential
  • Pre-approved small scale residential building plans
  • Pre-approved small scale multiple unit residential building plans
  • Expand affordable housing grant program
  • Dedicate more surplus lands for affordable housing

For more details go to: District 5 Changes