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On the phone with community guardian Nick Horne, District 13

“We should be focusing on all of HRM to incentivize development of low-cost housing.”

by

SHARON JOYCE
  • Sharon Joyce
Nick Horne first started getting engaged in the community when an asphalt plant wanted to move in close to his home in Westwood Hills. He and other residents were opposed to the idea. “I led that fight,” Horne says. “And from that, I joined the HRM Planning Advisory Committee, which continued to get me engaged on issues such as sustainable development and affordable housing.” Getting even more engaged, this election he’s running for the District 13 (Hammonds Plains–St. Margarets) council seat.

Raised in Beaverbank and having lived in Upper Tantallon for 13 years, Horne thinks “it’s a wonderful place to raise a family,” but he wants to make it even better. “I want to ensure that our community grows in a healthy way and remains looking and feeling like home.”

He worked on the planning advisory committee for five years, and thinks the experience he gained will be beneficial to him if he’s elected. “It’s taught me how to notice when things are missing and ask for those things,” he says. “And I feel that that experience will be needed due to our affordable housing crisis and our real estate development boom that is currently happening.”

When speaking to residents of the district, he hears about sustainable development and the lack of low-cost housing in Hammonds Plain and St. Margarets Bay. He says council’s recent approval of secondary and backyard suites may be a step to alleviating the high cost of housing, but a better plan would be to “level the value playing field for developers.” He says these developers should be given incentives for building lower-cost houses alongside market-rate houses.

Horne would also like to expand the density bonusing program, extending it from the downtown core where it’s currently available, to the rural areas of the municipality. “We should be focusing on all of HRM to incentivize development of low-cost housing.”

On the campaign trail, he’s also heard about traffic issues and speeding. “They’re a little bit easier to fix than a housing crisis,” he says.

He’s running because he felt called to run. Horne’s afraid the sort of major development that’s happened in recent years around Larry Uteck Boulevard might spread to areas—such as District 13—that don’t have the roads to support it. “If we don’t have a councillor in that seat that has the experience needed to effectively and sustainably grow the region, then development might get out of control,” he says.

“Halifax has squandered its industrial land inventory over the last 20 or 25 years, turning Bayers Lake Industrial Park into a shopping mall.”

Horne is chair of the St. Margarets Bay Stewardship Association, and if he’s elected to council, he says he’ll be the same kind of leader he is right now. “I’ll definitely keep fostering that collaborative nature of our community and definitely supporting them in any way I can.”

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