News release

Special Planning Areas Identified, Province Invests in Planning Studies

Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister John Lohr has designated nine special planning areas in Halifax Regional Municipality for as many as 22,600 new residential units.

The designation allows the Minister to assume authority for development approvals in those areas as outlined in the Housing in the Halifax Regional Municipality Act.

The special planning areas are:

  • former Penhorn Mall lands, 950 units
  • Southdale/Mount Hope, 1,200 units
  • Bedford West 10, 1,300 units
  • Bedford West 1 and 12, 2,500 units
  • Port Wallace, up to 4,900 units
  • Indigo Shores, 150 building lots
  • Morris Lake expansion, 3,100 units
  • Dartmouth Crossing, 2,500 units
  • Sandy Lake, 6,000 units.

“The housing shortage is a major challenge across the province, but it is particularly severe in the Halifax region. We need to act now to address it,” said Minister Lohr. “These nine special planning areas could offer a significant number of new homes for people in the region and save months, even years, in approval time. I want to thank the municipality for its support and collaboration as we work on solutions.”

Projects are subject to required permitting, fees and regulatory requirements as specified within the Housing in the Halifax Regional Municipality Act.

The Province is also investing $2.3 million to enable the municipality to conduct critical environmental, land-use suitability, transportation and infrastructure studies to inform future planning and development decisions.

As well, a call for an independent third-party review of the barriers to housing development closed on March 22.

Recommendations to the Minister were provided by the Halifax Regional Municipality housing task force, led by former cabinet minister Geoff MacLellan. Members include Paul LaFleche, Deputy Minister for Municipal Affairs and Housing; Stephen MacIsaac, CEO of Housing Nova Scotia; Kelly Denty, the municipality’s Executive Director of Planning and Development; and Peter Duncan, the municipality’s Director of Infrastructure Planning.

Maps of the special planning areas and copies of the orders issued by the Minister are available at:


I am pleased that the nine areas announced today are within communities designated for growth through the municipal regional planning process, and that there are a number of other measures through which the Province of Nova Scotia is supporting Halifax Regional Municipality in providing solutions to the housing crisis. Mike Savage, Mayor, Halifax Regional Municipality

We’ve been absolutely laser-focused on finding solutions to add more housing in the Halifax region so all residents have a place to call home. The task force members have been committed to problem-solving from the start. It’s their hard work and co-operation that’s brought us so far. We’re energized and excited to continue this important work. Geoff MacLellan, Chair, Halifax Regional Municipality Housing Task Force

Quick Facts:

  • the Halifax Regional Municipality housing task force was appointed on November 25, 2021
  • since December, the task force has met with 31 developers, industry representatives and community agencies and 41 potential developments have been brought before the task force for consideration
  • the current housing deficit in the Halifax region is estimated to be at least 17,000 units and growing

Additional Resources:

News release – Province Announces Members of Panel on Housing:

Housing in the Halifax Regional Municipality Act:

A Healthy Nova Scotia: Solutions for Housing and Homelessness:

Mandate letter of the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing: