People, Planet, and Prosperity

People, Planet, and Prosperity

< Back to Articles | Topics: Working for you | Published: February 1, 2024

As we look ahead into 2024, it’s time to take stock and resolve to take on the year ahead with renewed spirit and commitment.

This is also the last year for this Council term. I continue to be impressed by the earnest desire of my Council colleagues to represent their communities and find a principled position that advances the common good in a sea of competing interests and a time of increased political polarization.

When this Council took office in 2020, we were clear about our priorities: a prosperous economy; communities that are safe and inclusive; integrated mobility, including enhanced transit and cycling; and the environment. We committed to advancing these priorities through a Strategic Priorities Plan that holds us to account on our progress. The experiences of the past year have reinforced the need for this clear vision, married with tangible actions, to improve the well-being of our residents and communities.

We’ve been tested by unprecedented fires, floods, and storms, which have demonstrated how we come together in times of need, and how our Emergency Management team, first responders, and others from throughout the municipality work tirelessly to keep our communities safe. Despite the challenges thrown our way, we made sustained progress in 2023 with more to achieve in 2024.

Extensive infrastructure investments are underway as the Cogswell District Project takes shape (with an eye toward completion in 2025) and we are investing further in the Rapid Transit Strategy. The municipality continues to be a leader in environmental action. In November, I had the pleasure of sharing our HalifACT climate plan at COP28, where Bloomberg Philanthropies hosted mayors from around the world for a local climate action summit.

Our plan recognizes that cities, as holders of major infrastructure and centres of population, can ill afford to sit back and wait on the policies of other orders of government. We are transitioning more municipal vehicles to electric, retrofitting municipal buildings to meet our environmental commitments, and working to decarbonize the Halifax Transit fleet, with electric buses scheduled to be in service later this year. Additionally, we also look forward to more work on a new Regional Plan as we prepare to responsibly manage the continued growth of the HRM while we cross the half-million population mark.

The municipality is poised to receive $79.3 million through the federal Housing Accelerator Fund, which will shape housing development and community growth for generations to come. Among the earliest Canadian cities to receive approval under this program, Halifax was able to demonstrate a determination to planning responsively and reducing approval times for a diversity of housing types — connected to transit — and with a focus on increased density; consistent with our work in recent years to accommodate a growing population and our desire to build communities that encourage growth.

The housing and homelessness crisis remain at our doorstep and will require our ongoing attention. Governments and the community sector are working toward solutions, from getting new housing built, to providing the simplest of shelter to the most vulnerable. We remain committed to getting more people under a safe, supportive roof in the year ahead.

We are a fast-growing municipality, one of the fastest in Canada. Our economic development plan — People, Planet, Prosperity — reflects the idea that as we harness growth and encourage achievement, we can also work to build more opportunity for more people, while still respecting our planet and continuing to grow.

< Back to Articles | Topics: Working for you

Stay Connected

Subscribe to our weekly e-newsletter and receive important updates on Halifax Chamber events, Member benefits and advocacy news.

Hear from Premier Tim Houston