HRM Council, 1 PM Tuesday, December 3rd, Halifax City Hall
After two years hard work by the OurHRM Alliance, tomorrow the rubber meets the road. Since last fall’s municipal election when vote-hungry candidates eagerly supported the 50 membership-based organization’s Seven Solutions, tomorrow, Tuesday, for the first time, Regional Council will openly debate the final draft of the supposedly ameliorated Regional Plan.
“The Plan’s first five years saw us totally miss our growth targets – 25% urban, 50% suburban, and 25% rural. Millions of taxpayer dollars were squandered providing services to far flung development,” says the Alliance’s Tristan Cleveland. “Two years ago we proposed Greenbelting and six other solutions to put this city back on track. Now, will Council listen to the people of HRM or not. That’s the question.”
Tomorrow’s meeting will be charged. After an open revolt by their Community Design Advisory Committee (CDAC), which wrote a scathing report on this latest draft, Deputy Chief of Police Bill Moore was brought in to mediate between CDAC and HRM Staff. The committee distilled their complaints down to 29 recommendations, and last Friday, November 29th, Staff responded by dismissing most though not all of CDAC’s suggestions.
Now the Alliance has reviewed the CDAC report, the Staff report, and the Plan’s latest draft. “Will our Seven Solutions make it into the revised Plan,” Cleveland asks, “or will the municipality continue down the very path which led us to the missed targets?”
Representing business associations, health organizations, communities, groups focused on better transportation, recreation, and protecting the environment, the Alliance is a true “citizen’s congress”. Designed to make HRM a healthier, more liveable “community of communities” its Seven Solutions are:
1. Create a Greenbelting system.
2. Invest in the downtown and growth centres.
3. Prioritize investment in transit and active transportation.
4. Set measures to ensure we hit our growth targets.
5. Establish development charges so that growth pays for itself.
6. Protect our water resources.
7. Commit to measurables to evaluate the plan.