The Staff Report was released yesterday. Here are some comments from OurHRM Alliance:
Our HRM Alliance fully endorses the staff report on the proposed amendments to the Regional Plan. It uses strong language to reject nearly all amendments. The report can be found here:
Here are the key points:
The report recommends against changing the Purcell’s Cove and Westphal Urban Reserve designations because there is already enough land prepared to be developed in those areas. Development there would also be “pre-mature” because more needs to be done to study the water and traffic impacts of development on those lands.
“Expanding the Porters Lake Rural Growth Centre Boundary at this time could undermine community options for achieving a more compact form of planned growth through the upcoming Secondary Planning Process for Porters Lake.”
Allowing development on new roads outside the growth centres (as proposed) “would allow for [low density] developments of unlimited scale outside designated rural growth centres which would undermine stated regional plan objectives to:
focus new growth in centres where supporting services and infrastructure are already available;
maintain the character of rural communities
direct growth so as to balance property rights and life-style opportunities with responsible fiscal and environmental management.
Staff defend policies that reduce the amount of development allowed “in environmentally sensitive areas such as at the headwaters of a lake system.” Outside of growth centres, 60% of land must be kept as open space in developments. In the new plan, land which developers cannot build on anyway does not count towards that 60%.
Making all of the Eastern Shore a “Comprehensive Development District” would “serve no practical purpose” and would be wasteful of staff resources. These designations are for large projects that need their own mini-planning. Implementing one for the whole region would require a huge investment of staff resources.
Staff suggest extending sewer to Fall River won’t be allowed provincially. As for water, it will cost $18 000 per resident. They explain how that could move forward on extending water as part of the “The Phase II River-lakes Secondary and Master Infrastructure Planning process.” The Alliance is not in principle against extending water if that is the desire of the community. We are concerned, however, that this cost may not reflect the long-term costs of upkeep and the strain on the surrounding system.
The existing parts of the Nature Ridge (Lake Echo) and Seven Lakes (Porter’s Lake) developments need not be grandfathered because they are already grandfathered. Staff did not look at grandfathering newer parts of the developments because the wording of the amendments did not ask them to.
If you oppose the amendments and support a strong Regional Plan, you are encouraged to attend council on Tuesday, May 20, at 10:00am. The agenda can be found here: