The province is introducing legislation to allow Halifax Regional Municipality to create more community benefits for its residents. John MacDonell, Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations, today, Dec. 5, introduced amendments to the Halifax Municipal Charter to allow HRM to expand the use of bonus zoning as a strategic planning tool. “Nova Scotians want strong, vibrant communities that offer the housing, services and amenities that they need,” said Mr. MacDonell. “These changes support this and ensure that HRM has the appropriate legislative framework and tools in place to better serve its citizens.” Bonus zoning, which aligns with Halifax By Design, had been limited to the downtown Halifax core. The tool secures community benefits in exchange for negotiating concessions with developers, most often the height of a building. Affordable housing must be part of bonus zoning, which can also be used to improve streetscapes, open spaces and parks. HRM requested the change to its Charter and will consult the public before using the planning tool. Halifax Regional Municipality was granted its own charter in 2009 to better respond to its unique needs as the largest municipality in Nova Scotia.