What is the Regional Plan?

    The Regional Plan outlines where, when, and how we grow as a municipality. It provides HRM’s high level vision for land use and development, environmental protection, transportation, infrastructure such as water, solid waste and recreation, culture and heritage protection, and economic growth.  

    The Regional Plan aims to create healthy, connected communities, increase housing supply, protect open spaces and watercourses, ensure sufficient community services, and increase transportation options to improve movement of people and goods.

    What does the Regional Plan do?

    The Regional Plan is a powerful document that has a few purposes. The Regional Plan: 

    • Provides policy direction for planning at the regional and community level. This can range from regional policies that apply to everywhere in HRM to community level planning that affects the location of buildings, streets, and parks in different neighbourhoods.
    • Sets up region-wide land use by-law regulations. Land use by-law regulations are the rules for where and how we build.
    • Establishes the Municipality's intent to conduct future research programs or studies. Research and studies are how we make sound decisions that reflect best practices and facts. Background studies and community input are an important part of developing policy. 
    • Identifies programming or partnership opportunities. There are many issues that affect us at a Regional level - such as affordable housing and community health - that benefit from partnerships with other levels of government, organizations, and community groups to help advance diversity and inclusion, equitable and meaningful representation, and meeting everyone’s basic needs. 
    • Guides municipal operations. The Regional Plan helps to guide governance structures (how to manage and assign roles of HRM as an organization).

    Why is the Regional Plan being reviewed?

    The Regional Plan was first adopted in 2006 and last reviewed in 2014. Since that time the Municipality has experienced unprecedented growth and surpassed the population targets in the 2014 Plan. HRM now expects it may reach 1 million people by 2050. Therefore the Regional Plan needs to update its policies to allow for more housing, updated infrastructure and transportation systems to support a larger population, and environmental controls that respond to climate change and preserve our open spaces and water systems. 

    HRM has also adopted a number of Priority Plans since 2014 that provide detailed policy direction on several issues. The policies in these Priority Plans need to be incorporated into the Regional Plan. 

    What input are you looking for?

    The Regional Plan Review is a large project and is taking a phased approach. Some work has already happened, particularly in Phase 2 when HRM undertook public engagement to create the Themes and Directions report – a document that summarizes the public feedback received on Regional Plan themes. The Themes and Direction report was used to inform the revised document now being released for review, and reflects the earlier input from residents.

    HRM is now asking residents to review the updated Regional Plan and let us know if its content and policies reflect the earlier input received from the Themes and Directions engagement, as well as the direction from the Priorities Plans. 

    Did we get it right, is there anything we have missed, and are there changes you would suggest that help us achieve the Regional Plan’s vision to “enhance our quality of life by fostering the growth of healthy and vibrant communities, a strong and diverse economy, and sustainable environment”?

    How do I participate?

    There are a variety of ways that you will be able to participate in the Regional Plan review. Public engagement on phase 4 of the Regional Plan Review ran from July to October 2023 and is currently closed. Future engagement opportunities will be shared on this website, and you can contact staff at any time by emailing regionalplan@halifax.ca.

    What are the Priority Plans?

    Priority Plans provide detailed guidance, policies and actions on specific issues that are important to HRM’s growth. They set the long term direction for municipal decisions and investments, and may include regulations, programs, facilities or partnerships and associated budgetary requirements. The Priority Plans were created with significant public consultation and reflect the desires of residents, stakeholders and Regional Council. Click on the links below to learn more about the Priority Plans.

    The Priority Plans are: 

    •    Integrated Mobility Plan

    •    Halifax Green Network Plan

    •    HalifACT: Acting on Climate Change Together

    •    People Prosperity Planet: Halifax’s Inclusive Economic Strategy

    •    Sharing our Stories: HRM Culture and Heritage Priorities Plan