Community benefit agreements would help marginalized communities, says HRM councillor

·1 min read
In exchange for allowing development, community benefit agreements can specify what the impacted communities receive in return. (Al Bello/Getty Images - image credit)
In exchange for allowing development, community benefit agreements can specify what the impacted communities receive in return. (Al Bello/Getty Images - image credit)

Halifax regional council is considering instituting agreements that would allow communities to receive benefits in exchange for being impacted by development projects.

Coun. Iona Stoddard, who is behind the motion, said the agreements are a way of helping marginalized communities, such as Indigenous and Black Nova Scotian communities.

"It strengthens the planning process and it levels the playing field so that community will have more input on the basic needs of the community and the needs of the developer," said the councillor for Timberlea-Beechville-Clayton Park-Wedgewood.

Known as community benefit agreements, the benefits can include "training, employment opportunities and procurement from local businesses in the construction and development phase, affordable housing in the project itself, and broader community and environmental additions to the area such as green space, energy efficiency and child care," says a city staff report.

Council will vote Tuesday on a motion to have the province amend its charter to allow for the agreements.

Allowed in Ontario, B.C.

"CBAs increase community engagement and [build] trust by enabling the community to have influence over development projects," says the city's staff report.

It notes Ontario and B.C. have legislation allowing municipalities to have the agreements.

Stoddard said the agreements would be drawn up through the participation of a community, the city and the developer.

She said Black Nova Scotian and Indigenous communities have traditionally been left out of the development process.

"They need to be more involved and have these things … as part of the agreement so both sides can know what is coming and what's expected," said Stoddard.

MORE TOP STORIES

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting