Curbing HRM Urban Sprawl ‘Essential’

Environmentalists to deliver Carmichael lecture tonight on city’s growth

By BILL POWER Business Reporter, Chronicle Herald

Halifax runs the risk of becoming the Detroit of Canada’s East Coast if it doesn’t get tough about suburban sprawl, environmentalist David Donnelly said Wednesday.

"The government of Ontario has learned the hard way that one of the greatest Ponzi schemes out there is for developers to stick a subdivision out in the middle of nowhere and then get somebody else to pay for services," said Donnelly.

Donnelly and Bruce Lourie, an ecology activist and writer, will discuss urban sprawl and why it matters to the downtown core at the 10th Anniversary Carmichael Lecture, presented by the Downtown Halifax Business Commission in partnership with the Ecology Action Centre.

The lecture is scheduled to begin tonight at 6 p.m. at the Atlantic ballroom at the Westin Nova Scotian. The event is free and open to the public.

Donnelly and Lourie were instrumental is establishing the Greater Toronto Area’s greenbelt, which is expected to have a major impact on how that city reinvigorates its downtown.

Donnelly said in an interview Halifax must establish a boundary for urban growth and enforce it, otherwise developers are going to continue looking further afield where their costs are cheaper.

"A clear line for urban development is essential," he said. "Otherwise cities are forced to finance infrastructure in remote areas while their inner cores continue to deteriorate."

The situation in Detroit is a good example of how a deteriorating core can depress the entire community, he said.

A review of the Halifax Regional Municipality regional plan is scheduled for 2011.

"As HRM continues to grow, so the challenges of balancing downtown revitalization, regional growth, transportation and environmental and economic sustainability," Paul MacKinnon, the business commission’s executive director, said in a news release on the lecture.

Kate Carmichael was executive director of the commission and died in 2001. This year’s lecture marks the 10th anniversary of her passing.


Chronicle Herald online:

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