HRM Adopts Piecemeal Halifax Common Master Plan – No Legal Protection

The Halifax Common Master Plan Review and Implementation Plan was adopted by HRM Council on January 23, 2024. In February 2022 HRM Council directed staff to undertake further public consultation and review as the masterplan process begun in 2017. The public had not seen the plan since pre Covid and had little awareness of it. HRM staff chose to not host any public information or consultation sessions but sought feed back via a Shape Your City on-line survey for 9 months.
The presentation to HRM Council by HRM staff Carol Kodiak Roberts begins at 4:37. Council comments begin with Waye Mason at 4:48. Most of the discussion is around the stadium. HRM Staff are awkward in their answers. Councillor Mancini is excited. Councillor Patty Cuttell gives the best insight to “All winners no losers,” (5:06)

Comments: The Masterplan intends to provide planning, management and development of open space on the Halifax Common but without legislative teeth. Yet to come is the plan for the Wanderers Block. While the public were broadly supportive of the Plan, council/staff ignore and gut the direction of the 1994 Halifax Common Master Plan. HRM does not plan for the entire Halifax Common, seek legislative protection, prioritize recapture or retention or protection of public open green space. And punts the plan for the Wanderers Block down the field. As predicted by FHC more competition for less space leaves the ‘tenant stakeholders’ (?!) Halifax Lancers, Public Gardens, Lawn Bowlers, HRM Depot struggling for their individual interests. Added to the mix is the HRM Council enthusiasm for a 10,000, $40million publicly funded stadium for the private, for-profit Wanderers Club that will privatize use of the previously fully enthusiastically used amateur playing field. 

 The Councillors’ concerns were the reduction of baseball diamonds, the skate park but with the majority of discussion was on the stadium. The functional plan for the Wanderers Block will look at the private proponent’s stadium design to see it can fit in the space. This is without considering the financial piece or as the response to Councillor Patty Cuttel’s question, it does not consider if there are other, better locations.