If you want to know what building is going up beside your favourite downtown Halifax eatery, or what development is planned for a downtown Dartmouth corner, there's now a quick way to find out.
Last week the non-profit Planning & Halifax Design Centre (PDC) launched a website highlighting development proposals, projects, plans and studies currently underway in the metropolitan area of HRM.
The colour coded online map at http://pdcentre.ca/construction-site/ makes it easy for anyone with access to a computer to see what projects are planned, approved, under construction, or recently completed.
Click on a project and a tab takes you to a separate page where further details are provided.
"The Planning & Design Centre's mandate is very much about providing greater access to information for people to really understand the policy and design process in Halifax," explained PDC operations director Ross Soward.
"We talk a great deal about the need to understand (development) from a holistic view rather than one project at a time."
The PDC started seriously mulling the idea of starting the website last fall. Several interns were able to help with the early research, and the PDC spent the last four months getting everything ready for last week's official web launch.
"It was not necessarily finding new information, a lot of it was public information, but we aggregated it to make it easier for people to find," Soward said.
Feedback to the new site has been extremely positive, Soward said. Days after the launch he was still receiving numerous daily emails from people previously unknown to him expressing their thanks.
"I think it's about trying to get beyond the speculation and myth and innuendo (about development)," Soward said. "There's a repository, it's all in one place and is easily accessible, intuitive, and easy for the general public to understand."
Although the current focus is downtown and peninsular Halifax in addition to downtown Dartmouth, Soward said they may eventually consider expanding to include other HRM growth communities.
Developers are also being encouraged to participate by including their projects on the map to promote their projects and provide information to residents.
"The idea moving forward is to be able to develop a relationship with developers so they can upload details of projects themselves," Soward said. "We want the development community to get as excited about this as we are."