Center Plan Policies Released

The city has released the policy directions portion of Center plan.The remaining portions of the plan will be released on the 19th and 26th in Public presentations. The Heritage and Culture section begins on P23.

I have Excerpted the heritage policies below.

There is reference to the Standards and Guidelines for Historic Places in Canada. In it Standard 11 states:

Conserve the heritage value and character-defining elements when creating any new additions to an historic place or any related new construction. Make the new work physically and visually compatible with, subordinate to and distinguishable from the historic place.

You can find the Standards and Guidelines for Historic Places in Canada Here. 

2.4 Culture & Heritage

The celebration and preservation of cultural heritage makes a vital contribution to good city building connecting citizens with a diverse and shared past. The wealth of historic resources and the range of traditional cultural activities that have evolved over time define the Centre’s distinctive maritime character.
Cultural heritage includes tangible resources and intangible traditions, values and beliefs. The protection of these assets enhances the character of the Centre’s urban districts and supports the valued diversity of its unique neighbourhoods. The preservation and celebration of the Centre’s cultural heritage contributes to the HRM’s goals for economic development and environmental sustainability and is integral to a planning approach that supports this value in all aspects of municipal planning in order to balance growth with the protection and enhancement of community character.
The Plan recognizes the important contribution its diverse and vibrant arts and cultural community makes to the vitality of the Regional Center and the character of the Municipality. Centre Plan policies will support a full range of cultural heritage preservation initiatives including protection of historic buildings and their adaptive re-use, support for community arts and cultural expressions and celebrations and the encouragement of the diversity of emerging artists that continue to shape the community’s future legacy.
Celebrating and preserving historic resources contributes to good city building by connecting people with the past, enhancing unique aspects of the urban character, and adding interest to the streetscape. At the same time, culture and historical legacies transcend physical buildings, and are sometimes best captured through public art, exhibitions and festivals, stories, and the beliefs and lived experience of the Regional Centre’s diverse residents. The Centre Plan recognizes the vitality that culture and heritage contribute to the Regional Centre, and includes policies that support historical preservation, sensitive adaptive re-use, cultural expression, as well as the community of artists and craftspeople that are helping shape the community’s future legacy.


  • To provide innovative and holistic heritage and land use planning policies to ensure community identified heritage values are considered in decisions affecting land use.
  • To develop an evidence-based inventory of potential heritage
  • properties in the Regional Centre to inform land use and development decisions affecting cultural heritage.
  • To enable the definition of potential heritage conservation districts and cultural landscapes within the Regional Centre.
  • To establish a range of monetary and nonmonetary incentives and develop partnerships for the encouragement of public and private sector investments in cultural heritage conservation and arts and culture initiatives.
  • To encourage and support the on-going growth of a diverse range of publicly accessible arts and cultural venues, cultural events and seasonal celebrations.

Policy Directions


The Regional Centre is a unique complex of military, commercial and residential precincts whose evolution spans over 250 years of settlement around Halifax Harbour, the historic Gateway to Canada. The citizens who built these districts brought their own distinct cultures and responded over time to a range of economic and social challenges that continue to be reflected today in the physical form and character of the Regional Centre’s many diverse neighbourhoods. Heritage policies address the need to ensure growth and change is accommodated and is compatible with the protection and enhancement of built form and the enhancement of community character, vitality and sense of place.
Application of Regulatory and Policy Tools
a)Ensure the consistent application of available regulatory and policy tools in order to balance the need for new development, adaptive re-use, and growth with heritage conservation values and the protection of community character.
Viewplane Protection
b)Continue to protect existing viewplanes and corridors.
Potential Heritage Properties, Heritage Conservation Districts,
and Cultural Landscapes
c) Consider potential heritage properties, heritage conservation districts, and cultural landscapes recommended by the Heritage Advisory Committee for protection under the Nova Scotia Heritage Properties Act.
Cultural Heritage Conservation
d) The Culture and Heritage Priorities Plan should, in accordance with Council’s direction at the time of its adoption, be the guiding document for the implementation of an evolving cultural heritage conservation program strategy for the Regional Centre.
Registration of Heritage Conservation Districts
e) Give priority consideration to registration of South Barrington (Old South District), Schmidtville and Historic Properties NHS as Heritage Conservation Districts under the Heritage Properties Act.
GIS Survey
f)In recognition of the high concentration of neighbourhoods developed prior to 1918 and ongoing growth pressures within the Regional Centre, undertake a GIS block survey of existing buildings, by age and historic use, to identify and prioritize potential heritage conservation districts and cultural landscapes for their consideration by Regional Council. As a first priority the Municipality should conduct a survey by block of buildings in Downtown Dartmouth and in contiguous areas of Halifax North End as outlined in the Urban Structure.
Identification and Registration of Potential Heritage Conservation
Districts and Cultural Landscapes
g)As a priority the Municipality should conduct block surveys within in the Regional Centre and prepare studies in accordance with the Heritage Properties Act for the future registration of Heritage Conservation Districts and Cultural Landscapes within areas identified to the left.
Partnerships with Educational Institutions
h)Actively seek mutually beneficial partnerships with senior educational institutions to undertake GIS-based historic resource block surveys of growth areas within the Regional Centre to identify potential heritage conservation districts and cultural landscapes.
Community Consultation
i)Consult with the diverse communities of the Regional Centre regarding the survey of potential heritage conservation districts and cultural  landscapes to jointly identify the diversity of community values.
j) Develop a publicly accessible inventory of potential Heritage Conservation Districts and Cultural Landscapes and their component physical structures and elements.
Heritage Conservation Initiatives
k)Investigate heritage conservation supports and initiatives that include, but are not limited to, grants for restoration, rehabilitation and enhancements within Heritage Conservation Districts and Cultural Landscapes, and community heritage interpretation initiatives.
Establishment of Cash Contributions for Density Bonus Provision
l)Support, within the Centre Plan Area, a cash contribution option for the provision of a negotiated Density Bonus under Development Agreement for development within or abutting Heritage Conservation Districts, where such Heritage Conservation Districts allow.
Adaptive Reuse and Height of New Construction
m)Support the adaptive re-use of Heritage Properties in accordance with the Standards and Guidelines for the Conservation of Historic Places in Canada and investigate the creation of an alternate standard to supersede Standard 11, stating that the height of new construction on or abutting a Heritage Property, within or outside of a Heritage Conservation District, is an important factor affecting the protection of a Heritage Property ‘s cultural value as defined in its Statement of Significance.
Statements of Significance
n)In recognition of the predominantly low to mid-rise character of Heritage Properties and Heritage Conservation Districts in the Regional Centre, revise the requirements for Statements of Heritage Significance to include a detailed description of the significance of a building’s scale and context.

Centre Plan

Centre Plan is Halifax’s overarching planning strategy for the urban core. Its goal is to consolidate and update the four existing plans that cover this area. Planifax offers a good overview of the Plan in their video below.

The city has a Centre Plan website at and also solicits feedback at

AGBANS is primarily concerned with Area 4 – Culture and Heritage.

Right now, a heritage building outside a heritage conservation district has no protection. A building owner can apply for a demolition permit, and in the third year after applying, is allowed to demolish the building as-of-right.

One possible way to address is to introduceland controls under the HRM Charter as part of the Centre Plan project. This would amend Provencal legislation and would allow the city to have more control on demolitions.

If you have feedback on Heritage issues that should be addressed in the Centre Plan, please leave a comment below.

AGBANS will be meeting with the city in September.