Media Release – 11 Oct. 2016


Councillors who accepted donations from developers consistently voted in favour of discretionary planning applications, resulting in millions of dollars of additional development rights being awarded to developers.

(Halifax) The Willow Tree Group continues to show why development in HRM should be a matter of interest during this Halifax Regional Municipality election.

The group calculated the “lift” (the increase in real estate value) that HRM Council conferred to three developers by approving their discretionary planning applications – applications to build taller, more dense developments than current laws allow. By the group’s calculations, the total “lift” on these three cases alone was over $13 million.

The group then analyzed how individual members of Council voted on these three applications, as well as a proposal to enable the city to deal with the onslaught of development proposals that are being rushed through in advance of the Centre Plan. The voting record shows a clear correlation between support for these development applications and acceptance of campaign donations from developers in the 2012 election.

According to Willow Tree Group member Andrea Arbic, “Our analysis makes it shockingly clear that members of Council who accepted donations from developers consistently voted in favour of discretionary planning applications that increased the value of projects’ development rights, despite strong opposition to the projects from local residents. On the other hand, councillors who did not accept donations from developers consistently voted against these proposals.” This pattern was also evident in Council’s vote on proposed Interim Development Controls.

For more details on this development “lift” and how it was calculated, as well as the Willow Tree Group’s analysis of the voting record, please see:



Andrea Arbic • Tel: 902 802-1277 • Email:

Willow Tree Group •