NDP Leader Claudia Chender (Submitted photo)

HALIFAX: Nova Scotia has a shortage of thousands of homes, and experts say that by 2030 we need 70,000 new units, 33,000 of which need to be affordable. People across the province are struggling to find homes they can afford.

The price to buy a home has skyrocketed, and the rental vacancy rate in HRM and across the province has dropped dramatically in recent years.

In a release, the NSNDP said it has a plan to work proactively with municipalities to tax developers who are allowing lots that should be housing to sit empty. 

“Across the HRM and in communities throughout Nova Scotia people are sleeping in tents and RVs because there is simply nowhere accessible and affordable for them to live,” said NDP Leader Claudia Chender. “At the same time, we have sites like Bloomfield and St. Pat’s Alexandra School that are sitting empty.


The Houston government cannot ignore this issue any longer and must do everything possible to ensure more affordable housing is available for Nova Scotians.” 

The NSNDP will table legislation that would enable municipalities to levy tax on vacant lots that are zoned for residential development but where developers are delaying builds.

As the housing crisis accelerates, it is more and more obvious that developers should not be able to sit on properties like St. Pat’s and Bloomfield for extended periods.

Sam Krawec lives in the North End of Halifax and is concerned about the Bloomfield site being left vacant.

“I live nearby and can tell you that walking by this property in the middle of my community almost every day and knowing it’s vacant when there are so many people who need housing is extremely frustrating,” said Krawec.


“We need action to build social housing and if developers would rather leave a property empty than make space for the homes we need, then our community and government should do something about that.” 

The NDP say without a change in legislation from the provincial government, municipalities are not able to implement this kind of policy. A tax on vacant properties would encourage the development of these lands into much-needed housing.

The revenues of this tax would be required to be allocated to affordable housing initiatives, added the N.S. NDP.