June 07, 2021
Halifax Regional Municipality Auditor General
PO Box 1749, Halifax, NS B3J 3A5
Re- Review of HRM Planning’s public consultative process as a Charter matter
On August 4, 2020 the Friends of the Halifax Common (FHC) sent a letter requesting the HRM Auditor General conduct a review of the HRM Planning Department’s public engagement process and outcomes with respect to HRM Planning and Council votes. As evidence FHC
included ten specific case studies, prepared and submitted by citizen and community groups impacted by development issues; examples of the failure of the HRM process to ensure the rights guaranteed in the Charter.
Since that time, the situation has worsened. The HRM Planning Department, has, for example, continued with the development of the Centre Plan at a time when, due to COVID 19, quality public engagement is impossible, yet the plan will irrevocably change life in Centre Plan areas for years to come.
Any ‘public participation’ has been pretty much limited to the Centre Plan Team giving the citizens a chance to see what has been decided, a continuation of the negative and disappointing experiences of the citizens cited in our August 2020 letter.
In another instance; this past week two HRM citizen advisory committees were meeting to discuss reports on the Centre Plan. Citizens at large can participate in these meetings only by request several days prior but may make submissions in writing. Unfortunately, notice of these two Wednesday meetings was not received by email until Tuesday afternoon leaving no time either to ask to present or meet the 4pm deadline for submissions.
Attached is yet another case study of the difficulty citizens have in contributing to the planning of their city, this time from citizens living in the North and Oxford neighbourhood.
Because both the ongoing Centre Plan process and the continuing issues in neighbourhoods like Oxford and North Street are so serious, we ask that you please give this issue consideration as soon as possible. We look forward to hearing from you.
Beverly W. Miller, Co-chair
And Friends of Halifax Common Board of Directors,