Municipal Affairs Minister Derek Mombourquette introduced amendments to the Halifax Regional Municipality Charter today, March 8, that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and create more vibrant neighbourhoods. The changes cover two areas: a district energy system for the Cogswell redevelopment area incentive or bonus zoning throughout the Halifax Regional Municipality “We are pleased to support the Halifax Regional Municipality request for these changes, which reflect their strategic priorities for healthy, livable communities and social development,” said Mr. Mombourquette. One set of amendments will allow for incentive or bonus zoning in all areas of the Halifax Regional Municipality. Currently, this is only permitted in the Centre Plan area. Bonus zoning is a planning tool that allows a municipality to grant extra height or width to a building in return for public benefits such as affordable housing, streetscaping and green space. The second set of amendments will give the Halifax Regional Municipality the authority to require that any future development in the Cogswell redevelopment area be connected to a district energy system. These systems supply heating and cooling to multiple buildings from either a centralized plant or several interconnected but distributed plants. The system would be owned and operated by the Halifax Regional Water Commission. It would use steam generated from the nearby wastewater treatment plant to generate heat and cooling for buildings in the Cogswell redevelopment and contribute to a decrease in greenhouse gas emissions. “We anticipate these welcome changes, as requested by council, will further our efforts to sustainably grow the Halifax region and foster innovative responses to real challenges like housing affordability and environmental stewardship,” said Halifax Regional Municipality Mayor Mike Savage.