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Southdale-Mount Hope Special Planning Area Amendment Order

made under Section 16 of the

Housing in the Halifax Regional Municipality Act

S.N.S. 2021, c. 21

N.S. Reg. 238/2022 (effective October 18, 2022)

Whereas the Southdale-Mount Hope Special Planning Area Order, N.S. Reg. 63/2022, was made on March 24, 2022, and designated the Southdale-Mount Hope Special Planning Area;

Whereas the Executive Panel on Housing in the Halifax Regional Municipality has recommended amendments to the Regional Centre Secondary Municipal Planning Strategy;

And whereas I am satisfied that the recommended amendments are necessary to advance the purpose of the Housing in the Halifax Regional Municipality Act;

Therefore, I order the following:


1.       The Regional Centre Secondary Municipal Planning Strategy is amended by adding the text bolded below into Section “2.9 Future Growth Node Designation”, immediately after clause (n) of Policy F-11 and prior to 2.10 Institutional Employment Designation Southdale Lands


The Southdale Lands are adjacent to Highway 111, Mount Hope Avenue interchange, 101 Research Drive, and the terminus of Lynn Drive, in Dartmouth. The majority of the area is undeveloped and consists of woodland and a large wetland. This Future Growth Node was designated as a “Special Planning Area” by the Province of Nova Scotia in 2022.


The Woodside Vision and Action Plan, approved in principle by Regional Council in 2012, identified the need for residential development in a manner sensitive to the wetland and forested areas. Informed by additional master planning and community engagement completed under this Plan’s Future Growth Node policies, the Southdale Lands are intended to develop as a compact, walkable residential community that prioritizes pedestrians, supports access to transit, and protects the wetland. The entire site can accommodate approximately 1,875 residential units as well as employment, commercial and institutional uses to support the new, complete community. Area[s] 1 and 2 are envisioned to accommodate approximately 875 residential units in total, with Area 3 envisioned to accommodate approximately 1,000 residential units.


Sensitivity to the importance of the wetland is a key policy objective. Future development will maintain the existing wetland and vegetated watercourse buffer around the wetland as protected open space and include stormwater management measures to protect water quality and to infiltrate runoff. The development will balance the need for a multi-use pathway, servicing and road network requirements with these objectives.


The Southdale Lands will be connected to the surrounding area by new public streets with sidewalks, a multi-use pathway and pedestrian pathways. Three areas are identified in this Future Growth Node on Map 25:


                 Area 1: this area abuts Highway 111, the wetland, the Woodside Industrial Park, Lynn Drive, and Maple Ridge Estates. Predominantly low-rise residential development is supported in this area, with some mid-rise, mixed-use buildings supported on strategic sites. A mix of housing types including “ground oriented” units and multi-unit dwellings is supported in this area. Residential blocks will be connected by new streets, a multi-use pathway, and other pathways and trails. The wetland and adjacent watercourse buffer will be protected as open space. The area will also feature a public park as a focal point, and a new public street and multi-use path connection to Gaston Road is envisioned to support access to transit and the surrounding community.


                 Area 2: this area abuts Highway 111, Mount Hope Avenue, the Woodside Industrial Park, and the wetland. Tall mid-rise, mixed-use development is supported in this area. A vegetated buffer will be required next to the wetland. The area will be connected to the rest of the development and surrounding community by a public street, a trail, and Mount Hope Avenue. Public transit is envisioned to connect this area to Area 1 and the Woodside Ferry, and pedestrian and cyclist safety will be considered as a priority in the design of Mount Hope street crossing. Land use and built form transitions will mitigate potential conflicts with the adjacent highway interchange and Woodside Industrial Park.


                 Area 3: this area abuts the wetland, Fenwick Street, Dartmouth South Academy public school, Research Drive and the Woodside Industrial Park. Area 3 is divided into two sub-areas, Sub-area 3A and Sub-area 3B, to recognize different development potential. Low-rise to tall-mid-rise development is supported in this area that transitions to existing established residential neighbourhoods, and Dartmouth South Academy School. The area is intended to allow for residential uses while encouraging opportunities for employment and mixed uses. The wetland and adjacent watercourse buffer will be protected as open space and include trail connections to the surrounding areas. The area will be connected to Area 2, the nearby neighbourhood and school through active transportation connections, and by a public street that connect[s] the Woodside Industrial Park to Fenwick Street.


It is envisioned that Area 1 and Area 2 will proceed under one development agreement, while Area 3 may proceed under a separate development agreement.


Policy F-12


When considering one or more Development Agreements for the Southdale Future Growth Node, Council shall consider the following:


          1.      That the transportation network within the site prioritizes pedestrian safety and comfort, walking, the easy use of mobility devices, cycling, and transit use, by creating a street and pedestrian pathway network as generally shown on Map 25;


           2.      Site and building design that supports a compact, mixed-use neighbourhood, with built forms and land uses as generally shown on Map 25 and by:


                   (i)      generally meeting the built form and land use regulations as set out in the Land Use By-law,


                   (ii)     building and open space design that complements parks and open spaces and contributes to an active and vibrant public realm;


                   (iii)    identifying strategic view terminus sites to enhance prominent sites;


                   (iv)    providing pedestrian-oriented site and building design including a walkable transportation network and buildings with prominent pedestrian-oriented entrances; and


                   (v)     permitting a mix of uses.


          3.      New parks and public spaces that enhance the public realm and provide access to recreational opportunities and open space by:


                   (i)      locating parks and open spaces as focal points for the community to support the retention of natural space adjacent to the wetland, as generally shown on Map 25; and


                   (ii)     providing space for a mix of programmed and passive activities, naturalized areas that support stormwater objectives, and connections to existing active transportation networks and the wetland via paths and trails.


          4.      That environmental protection and climate resiliency objectives are supported by:


                   (i)      protecting and preserving the on-site wetland and required watercourse buffer as passive open space by applying a Protected Area Zone and considering municipal ownership of the wetland and buffer space;


                   (ii)     creating a site-specific approach to the watercourse buffer which, under certain conditions, exceeds the required watercourse buffer width under the Land Use By-law while providing flexibility for construction near challenging grades, reinstated slopes, trails and stormwater management;


                   (iii)    reinstating native vegetation in any areas of the watercourse buffer removed during the construction of public roads, trails, utilities and infrastructure;


                   (iv)    developing water quality objectives for the design of on-site stormwater management with the goal of maintaining wetland function;


                   (v)     ensuring that any roads through the wetland allow for the throughflow of water and maintain wetland functions as identified in the baseline Wetland Ecosystem Services Protocol (WESP) assessment;


                   (vi)    a landscaping plan that supports stormwater capture and filtration, natural vegetation retention, and the tree canopy targets of the Urban Forest Master Plan;


                   (vii)   minimizing impermeable surfaces to support stormwater management and to infiltrate runoff;


                   (viii)  managing the effects of the urban heat island effect by reducing hard surfaces, providing landscaping near buildings and in parking areas, encouraging tree retention; and


                   (ix)    providing educational signage or commemorative features on-site containing information on wetlands, climate change, environmental stewardship or the area’s history.


          5.      Supporting housing needs in the municipality by:


                   (i)      requiring a mix of housing types including semi-detached, four-unit, townhomes and mid-rise to tall mid-rise multi-unit dwellings;


                   (ii)     allowing for reduced lot frontage, lot area, yards, setbacks and parking requirements;


                   (iii)    permitting variations to built form requirements in the land use by-law for maximum building dimensions, streetwalls, ground floor requirements and grade-related dwelling units to support compact, ground-oriented development;


                   (iv)    permitting a portion of the required incentive or bonus zoning public benefit to be provided as on-site affordable housing or land contributions; and


                   (v)     collaborating with other levels of government and the private sector on delivering specific housing outcomes.


          6.      That Area 1:


                   (i)      consists primarily of low-rise residential uses with mid-rise mixed-use development permitted on select sites that meet the maximum height requirements of Canadian Forces Base Shearwater Airfield Zoning Regulations;


                   (ii)     includes variation in the design of low-density dwellings;


                   (iii)    provides a landscaped buffer between Highway 111 and the development;


                   (iv)    provides built-form transitions to adjacent development in existing neighbourhoods;


                   (v)     manages surface parking and driveways to prioritize pedestrian movement and safety; and


                   (vi)    provides pedestrian access to the wetland for passive recreation.


          7.      That Area 2:


                   (i)      consists of mid-rise to tall mid-rise buildings that meet the maximum height requirements of Canadian Forces Base Shearwater Airfield Zoning Regulations;


                   (ii)     creates a gateway to the development by orienting buildings towards the street and locating buildings close to the streetline;


                   (iii)    includes a public road connection between Area 1 and Mount Hope Avenue; and


                   (iv)    mitigates potential land use conflicts with Highway 111 and nearby industrial uses with through landscaped buffers and setbacks.


          8.      That Area 3:


                   (i)      consists of low-rise buildings near Dartmouth South Academy and nearby neighbourhoods and mid-rise to tall mid-rise buildings closer to the Woodside Industrial Park


                   (ii)     provides a culture and heritage assessment that identifies and evaluates culture and heritage resources located on or adjacent to the lands;


                   (iii)    provides neighbourhood-supportive uses to increase walkability, provide goods and services to residents and offer employment opportunities by permitting a mix of uses in all multi-unit buildings;


                   (iv)    manages potential conflicts between the Woodside Industrial Park and residential buildings through controls of building design, landscaped buffers, and setbacks;


                   (v)     requires height transitions to adjacent low-rise neighbourhoods;


                   (vi)    consists of approximately 750 units in Sub-area 3A, and approximately 250 units in Sub-area 3B; and


                   (vii)   phases development to ensure that a public road connection and public parkland dedication, as shown on Map 25, are provided in early phases of the development, allowing only limited subdivision and development without the public road connection and parkland dedication.


2.       Insert “Map 25: Future Growth Node Land Use Concept – Southdale Lands” immediately following “Map 24: Site A and Site B – Spring Garden Road and Robie Street Special Area”

This order is effective on and after the date of this order.

Dated and made October 18, 2022, at Halifax, Halifax Regional Municipality, Province of Nova Scotia.

sgd. John Lohr

Honourable John Lohr

Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing



Legislative History
Reference Tables

Southdale-Mount Hope Special Planning Area Amendment Order

N.S. Reg. 238/2022

Housing in the Halifax Regional Municipality Act

Note:  The information in these tables does not form part of the regulations and is compiled by the Office of the Registrar of Regulations for reference only.

Source Law

The current consolidation of the Southdale-Mount Hope Special Planning Area Amendment Order made under the Housing in the Halifax Regional Municipality Act includes all of the following regulations:


In force

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Royal Gazette
Part II Issue


Oct 18, 2022

date specified

Nov 4, 2022

















The following regulations are not yet in force and are not included in the current consolidation:


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fc. = fee change
ra. = reassigned

rep. = repealed
rs. = repealed and substituted

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