News release

New Legislation to Establish Halifax Charter

The challenges and opportunities faced by Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM) have led the province today, May 23, to introduce legislation providing HRM with its own charter.

Also being introduced today, under a separate act, are amendments that deal with Halifax By Design.

"It makes sense for Halifax, as the province's largest city, its economic engine, and its capital, to have its own charter legislation," said Jamie Muir, Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations. "The charter will allow government to be more flexible and responsive to HRM's evolving needs, especially around growth, development, and economic opportunities."

The charter takes municipal powers in general, and HRM in particular, under the current Municipal Government Act and places them into a separate new act.

In addition, it includes:

  • a change to the requirement for ministerial approval of long-term commitments from $100,000 to $500,000;
  • provisions to form district councils; and
  • a requirement to consult before future amendments.

The charter also provides for the appointment of an HRM auditor general to help ensure accountability and transparency for residents of HRM.

Halifax By Design amendments will result in new planning tools that will provide more certainty for citizens, the development industry and municipal council.

The amendments will:

  • enable HRM council to appoint a design review committee to approve architectural design and other characteristics of new development in downtown; and
  • clarify provisions relating to bonus and incentive zoning that enables developers to contribute a public amenity, such as a park, improvements to the streetscape, and affordable housing.

The Halifax charter legislation is in response to a request by HRM. Currently, all Nova Scotia municipalities, including HRM, are governed by the Municipal Government Act. Parts of the act will continue to apply to HRM such as sections dealing with Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, deed transfer tax, and municipal affairs.

FOR BROADCAST USE:

The challenges and opportunities faced by Halifax Regional Municipality have led the province today, (May 23rd) to introduce legislation providing the municipality with its own charter.

Jamie Muir, Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations, says the charter will allow government to be more flexible and responsive to H-R-M's evolving needs, especially around growth, development, and economic opportunities.

Amendments to the charter regarding Halifax By Design were also introduced.

Halifax charter legislation is in response to a request by H-R-M. Currently, H-R-M is governed by the Municipal Government Act.

-30-

Media Contact:

Donna Chislett
Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations 902-424-6336 Cell: 902-440-5007 E-mail: