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Friends of Halifax Common request a review of HRM's public consultation process

The non-profit community group says HRM council and planning staff have failed under the Halifax charter to provide meaningful public participation in planning matters
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Friends of Halifax Common says HRM council and planning staff have failed under the Halifax charter to provide meaningful public participation in planning matters.  

The non-profit community group has written to the HRM auditor general, requesting a review of the municipality's public consultation process. 

Peggy Cameron is co-chair of Friends of Halifax Common, and says over the years it has had various negative experiences with public consultation.

"It feels like a number of things go wrong where citizens are ignored, there is a pre-determined agenda, or for whatever reason the best interest of the citizens that are directly affected are not being represented by the decisions being made by staff and council," she says. 

She says the group is not alone. 

"We went beyond our own experience to see what the experience of other groups were, and we found similar findings," she says. 

The group has provided 10 case studies from individual citizens representing various volunteer community groups documenting their experience with HRM's public consultation process. 

Some of those groups include Young Avenue District Heritage Conservation, Halifax Military Heritage Preservation Society, Development Options Halifax, and Willow Tree Group.

Cameron says public consultation should be an important part of the policy-making process.

"When you have a democratic society the participation of citizens is what decisions made by government should be based upon," she says. 

The group continues to wait for a response. 

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