Halifax in brief

Founded by the British in 1749, Halifax Regional Municipality is now Nova Scotia’s largest and most diverse municipality. It is home to more than 43% of the province’s population. The Municipality has significantly sized suburban and rural areas, in addition to a large urban mix. Its geography includes a coastal region encompassing more than 400 kilometers of shoreline, the fertile farmlands in the Musquodoboit Valley, and the suburban communities of Sackville and Cole Harbour. Halifax’s historic downtown areas lie on both sides of the world’s second largest natural harbour.

Sustainability profile

Halifax’s Regional Plan, adopted in 2006, aims to enhance the Region’s quality of life by fostering the growth of healthy and vibrant communities, a strong and diverse economy, and a sustainable environment. This Plan seeks to address the needs of all sectors of HRM, recognizing the diversity of its citizens, community and geography, and:

  • Provide a framework which leads to predictable, fair, cost-effective and timely decision-making;
  • Support development of the regional economy;
  • Preserve and promote cultural, historical, and natural assets;
  • Support the Regional Centre as the focus for economic, cultural and residential activities;
  • Manage development to effectively use land, energy, infrastructure, and public services and facilities;
  • Ensure the protection of open space, wilderness, natural beauty and sensitive environmental areas; and
  • Develop integrated transportation systems in conjunction with the above principles

 Thematic priorities for the exchange

Resilience and Adaptation: Halifax is interested in strengthening the integration of volunteer disaster response activities with community planning as part of its objective to foster a successful harmonization of community plans. Halifax intends to participate in this project with disaster response, academic, and planning stakeholders in order to catalyze its approach and look to successful examples in Europe to emulate.

Ecosystem services: Halifax is developing environmental policies and methods to mitigate the accelerated eutrophication affecting many of its lakes and continue examining the risks of wildfires at the urban / wildland interface to ensure a sustainable future for its urban forest. Halifax is interested in discussing with other cities ways to better incorporate information on ecosystems and the impacts of increasing community resiliency in planning policy and community engagement.

Low-carbon development: Halifax aims to make significant improvements in energy security, renewable technology, and environmental emissions over the next 10 years. The Municipality has also been successfully reducing its greenhouse gas emissions, but a great challenge in furthering this reduction is strongly related to Halifax’s amalgamated rural communities, which are expected to grow further. The Municipality must examine how to achieve the same objectives in a rural context – looking at land use planning, development policy, and transportation policy. Halifax is interested in learning about the low carbon development strategies of similar communities.