Councillor Waye Mason

District 7, Halifax South Downtown

Halifax, N.S.

B3J 3A5                                                                                                                                                                 

Via email:  waye.mason@halifax.ca

Please accept this letter on behalf of the board of directors and the membership of UDI (Urban Development Institute) of Nova Scotia as well as the Investment Property Owners Association of Nova Scotia.  Today, more than ever, climate change is not just a talking point, but something that we all need to work towards solving. 

Many recent announcements from both the provincial government as well as HRM’s own HalifACT 2050 mandate, are attempting to move towards net zero energy buildings.  With that in mind, the development community ask that you review and consider the following proposal:  Allow private developers to implement renewable energy technologies in their own buildings by incentivizing the use of the post bonus density values as found in the Centre Plan Section XII of the land use bylaw in their own developments. 

Two methods have been proposed and the language surrounding them, can be found in Appendices A and B.  This wording is directly from the land use by-law.  Appendix A contemplates the use of 90% of the post bonus density fees towards the allocation to renewable technology within the development, with corresponding language changed.  Appendix B contemplates 40%, again with the corresponding wording, as found in the Appendix.

UDI would like to recommend that 90% of the value be the choice for the following reasons:

  1. It is extremely expensive to implement, and the payback periods are much longer than typical payback thresholds required for investment.  Even at 90%, it is difficult to contemplate all monies used will cover the cost. 
  2. This will incentivize developers more and more, to invest in the reduction of Green House Gas Emissions and create a green city.
  3. Saving Heritage Buildings and their preservation is critical.  Saving our planet is equally critical.  If the value of 90% of the fee towards a heritage building is justified, then surely, 90% towards a green renewable building project is also justified.
  4. Federal and provincial incentive programs for renewable energy sources have shut out commercial and multi-unit residential projects, instead strongly favouring single family homes, resulting in little or no take-up in these sectors.
  5. This creates a bigger public benefit overall.  The concept that public art or other forms of public benefit as noted in section 229 of the land use by-law, are present, is not lost on the development community.  It is verifiable.  However, as important as those initiatives are, they are not as critical to our overall welfare as a city and a region as this initiative.  So much so, that it requires special attention.

I leave you and members of Regional Council with this thought in mind.  Imagine a city where the majority of its developers are building greener buildings and marketed to the world as a green city.  How many cities can make this claim and have their development community back it.  This is an opportunity we should not pass up.

Respectfully Yours,

Stephen Adams, Executive Director, UDI

Alex Halef, Board Member, BANC Group

Ben Young, Board Member, Southwest Properties

Peter Polley, Board Member, PolyCorp

C: Members of Regional Council

    Eric Lucic, Divisional Lead of Regional Planning