Media Release
Date January 30, 2004
For immediate release

International urban expert challenges thinking behind HRM land freeze

Wendell Cox says rationing land “defies logic…in a region thirsting for growth”

HALIFAX — A highly respected international consultant in both urban demographic and transportation issues says the thinking behind Halifax Regional Municipality’s freeze on development is outmoded and ill-advised, stating, “The last thing that Halifax needs is growth controls.”

In January, in an effort to restrict development while a regional plan is sketched out, the city imposed restrictions on subdivision development in for 90 days. During that time the city will draw up a moratorium that is expected to last for 18 months until a regional plan is approved.

Wendell Cox, an internationally respected urban policy consultant said, “It defies logic to vote in favour of rationing land in a region that is thirsting for growth. While I am sure the move is well intentioned, it is a pity that the HRM council has been beguiled by a very bad set of ideas that sound good, but aren’t. The strategy they have been advised to pursue will in fact defeat the objectives they hope to reach.”

“We all know what happens when you ration anything — the price goes up. And this new announcement by HRM is clearly intended to ration the supply of land for development within HRM’s jurisdiction. This is a misguided strategy that will refuse opportunity to Nova Scotians who will be denied home ownership and the equity accumulation that accrues as a result. People with average household incomes, will be seriously hurt by this action. For the poor, it puts home ownership totally out of reach. This sort of bureaucratic meddling is a recipe for going backward, economically and socially.”

Mr. Cox is preparing for a luncheon talk to be delivered in Halifax on February 23rd at the Casino Nova Scotia Hotel entitled “Smart Growth – How urban planners threaten the quality of life in our cities”. AIMS will be releasing an accompanying paper in conjunction with the Frontier Centre for Public Policy. Mr. Cox has consulted for public transit authorities in the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, and for numerous public policy organizations. Mr. Cox served three years as the Director of Public Policy at the American Legislative Exchange Council and is a visiting professor at the Conservatoire National des Arts et Metiers in Paris.