Update #8 – residential licensing, healthy communities, parks and more!

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Hello and welcome to Update #8!

I’m going to start doing these newsletters a bit differently – start with a couple of opinion or blog type pieces and then get into the list of events and upcoming deadlines.  I will try and keep my observations short and to the point, but I want to facilitate discussion around issues facing us in HRM, whether it is an election year or not!

Residential licensing – Many of you may have read about my proposal to explore residential licensing in HRM for small unit buildings and converted homes.  This should be debated Oct 28 at Halifax and West Community Council.  The model I hope that HRM will implement is based on London ON.  Landlords there pay $55 a year for inspection. Illegal units, units that exceeded GFAR and bedroom limits would not be licensed, and the penalty for renting unlicensed units would be high.

The reasons to pursue licensing are many.  One is to make sure neighbours in District 7 do not have too many people living there and comply with the bylaws.  Some property owners have complained to me that they obey the law and there are no consequences for their competitors to break the law, creating problems for compliant owners that have to compete with illegal units.  I have high hopes for licensing, though there are other models staff will explore as well that may be as effective.  City of Kingston did a staff report on licensing here:   http://www.cityofkingston.ca/documents/10180/1126464/PLN-A1113-13081.pdf/a6374a13-39b8-4096-80d7-95d94ceae1cb

Conversation about health communities – Mayor Savage has consulting broadly with citizens and policy makers across HRM about building a healthy, liveable community.  I am very excited to participate in this discussion.  From my point of view, HRM has been extremely focused on a “minimalist approach” to municipal government, one that does not always lead to healthy communities with a high quality of life.  Talking about what HRM can and should do for healthy communities – be it  children, daycares, families, seniors, and build healthier complete communities going to be a significant and welcome departure from the past.  I will keep you updated as the conversation progresses, and I am sure citizens will have an opportunity to share their thoughts as this goes on.

Ideas needed – parks in District 7 – when we talk about parks in the district the ones that come to mind are always the big ones – Point Pleasant, Public Gardens, the Common.  I’d like to hear from you about Cornwallis Park, Conrose, Gorsebrook Park, and all the other small pocket parks like Queen & Green or Robie & Coburg.  I’d love to see neighbours of these parks start to meet informally and help decide what direction do we want to take in these parks?  From the idea of granite chess tables at Coburg/Robie to washrooms at Conrose and Gorsebrook to public drinking fountains being returned to our fair parks, I’d love to hear from you and help you organize around renewing and revitalizing these green spaces.  Please email me at waye.mason@halifax.ca and share your thoughts!

Updates & News:

Regional Plan Draft #3
The recommendation and final draft from staff for revisions to the Regional Municipal Planning Strategy is now online at:
http://www.halifax.ca/boardscom/October92013AgendaforCommunityDesignAdvisoryCommittee-HRM.html

Metro Transit Public Consultation – Oct. 15 extension
Metro Transit has begun a major consultation process to ask how the community values transit and how it should grow in the future.  The public consultations have taken place, but the web-based survey is open until Oct. 15. This is the first project to be hosted on the new HRM engagement hub website, http://shapeyourcityhalifax.ca/transit-service-plan   Submissions made at the events and through the website (either via the survey, through the Q&A tab, or though posts logged in the discussion forum) will be critical in helping establish the community’s goals and aspirations for the future of transit in the region, and will direct the development of the Metro Transit Five Year Service Plan.

Nocturne – Oct. 19
This event takes place October 19 from 6 pm to midnight in and around Halifax and downtown Dartmouth. For more information, visit: http://nocturnehalifax.ca/

Curbside Give Away Weekend – October 19 & 20, 2013
HRM is calling on residents to participate in Curbside Give Away Weekend. Help discover the “Hidden Treasures” in your neighbourhood, community, and city. It’s another way to RETHINK GARBAGE and protect our most precious treasure – our environment. It’s a great way to clear out outgrown and under-used household items – things that might be exactly what others are in looking for

  • Place re-usable household items at the curb in front of your home on Friday evening;
  • Only place items for “FREE” with “Free” stickers or signs on items ;
  • Remove leftover items from the curb by dusk on Sunday;
    • Consider donating unclaimed items charitable organizations;
    • Place any garbage for collection on your regular garbage day and week.

http://www.halifax.ca/wrms/CGAW.html

Solid Waste Resource Consultation – Oct. 24
A major public consultation process is now underway for HRM’s solid waste resource system.  There are several opportunities to learn more about the system, proposals for changes and to provide your opinions.  The next meeting in the Halifax area is Oct. 24 at the Halifax Forum, Maritime Hall from 7-9 pm.  There is information and a survey on the HRM Shape Your City portal:   http://shapeyourcityhalifax.ca/solid-waste-management

Halifax and West Community Council – Oct. 28
The next meeting of community council will take place on Mon. Oct. 28.  For information on the agenda go to: http://www.halifax.ca/Commcoun/west/index.html

Placemaking Program Application Deadline – Oct. 31
The Placemaking Program provides guidance and support to community members who are interested in hosting a street painting project in their neighbourhood’s intersection. HRM provides staff support to seek necessary approvals and works collaboratively with community members to design accessible, creative and successful project plans. HRM also provides staff support for project painting days. For more information and an application: www.halifax.ca/Culture/CommunityArts/Placemaking.html

Police Consultation on Strategic Plan – October 31
Halifax Regional Police has launched the REenvision Project, an initiative designed to help HRP develop its 10-year strategic plan. Throughout October, citizens will have the opportunity to voice their opinions on a number of topics: their perception of crime in HRM; the role they want HRP to play in the community; the services and approaches to policing that are currently working, need improvement or are lacking altogether; their level of trust in police; and what HRP can do to increase or sustain that level of trust. Citizens and employees can also provide input through and online survey, social media, email and traditional mail.

Visit  www.halifax.ca/reenvisionhrp for a link to the external survey, email address, and a link to the Facebook event/discussion.  To mail in comments, please address them to Halifax Regional Police, 1975 Gottingen Street, Halifax, Nova Scotia, B3J 2H1

October Trail Challenge – Oct. 31
During the month of October individuals, families, community groups or school are encouraged to walk, hike, bike trails in the Halifax Region.  Great prizes are offered in this challenge.  The Trail Challenge runs from October 1st – October 31, 2013. For more information on how to participate please go to:  www.halifax.ca/trails

Hal-Con Halloween Parade – Nov. 2
Hal-Con is a sci-fi and fantasy group that is organizing a Halloween Parade on Nov. 2 that starts at Victoria Park at 11 am.  Their convention is Nov. 8-10.  For more info: www.hal-con.com

HRM Volunteer Conference – Nov. 22 – 23
HRM is hosting the 13th Volunteer Conference on November 22 and 23 at the Dartmouth Harbourview Holiday Inn.  Sessions will include social media, volunteer recruitment, program planning, conflict resolution, funding strategies, building community and going green.  For more information on the program and how to register, visit http://halifax.ca/volunteerservices/VolunteerConference.html or call 490-1946

Update on Roundabout Projects at North Park Intersections
The next phase of public consultation for the roundabout projects will take place in November.  For an update on the Roundabout projects at North Park intersections, please go to:
http://www.halifax.ca/shapeyourcity/NorthParkIntersectionRedesign.html

Barrington Street Benches Project: Ideas and Design Charrette
District 7 residents voted to provide $20,000 in funding for benches on Barrigton Street during the District 7 participatory budget process. Fusion Halifax and the Downtown Halifax Business Commission (DHBC) submitted the idea to upgrade the wooden benches and planters along the former Birks building site on Barrington Street. Fusion and the DHBC, with the help of public engagement experts Co*Lab,
are hosting an Ideas and Design Charrette at 6:30pm on October 15, 2013 at The Hub (2nd Floor, 1673
Barrington Street). If you are unable to attend the charrette, you are encouraged to send design ideas to BarringtonBenches@gmail.com. For more information, please visit http://www.barringtonpost.ca/benches-project/

Disputing a Parking Ticket
Residents often contact my office about parking tickets. As Councillor, I am not able to intervene as HRM has a process in place. You can appeal your parking ticket by requesting an administrative review for specific violations. Request for review must be made within 14 days of the ticket being issued. Please visit http://www.halifax.ca/ParkingEnforcement/Dispute.php for more information.

If you feel there are mitigating circumstances, these matters must be heard by the Provincial Court. If you choose this option, you will receive a “Notice to Appear” to attend court to make a plea. If for any reason the registered owner cannot attend on the arraignment date, a friend or relative may enter a plea on your behalf. A new date and time for the trial will be set at this time.

Snow Removal for Seniors and Persons with Disabilities
The snow removal program is available to seniors (65 years of age or older) and persons with disabilities in Halifax Regional Municipality. The program applies to residential properties only.  Deadline for applications is Dec 1 or when the program reaches capacity.  For further information:  http://www.halifax.ca/services/seniorssnow.html or call 311.

Sidewalk Snow Clearing
Local sidewalks on the peninsula will now be cleared by HRM.  The standard for clearing of snow will be 12 hours for main arterials, 18 hours for school routes and bus routes and 36 hours for residential streets.  It is anticipated that most streets will be cleared within the standards.

311 – HRM’s Call Centre
HRM’s call centre is open 7 days/week from 7 am to 11 pm to respond to routine inquiries and complaints.  Please use this service since it helps HRM track issues, i.e. missed solid waste pickup, sidewalks not cleared, transit info or complaints, etc.  For more information on the service, please visit: http://www.halifax.ca/311/

MORE INFO:

My office is here to serve you: http://wayemason.ca/reach-out/
See what I am doing to represent you: http://wayemason.ca/calendar/

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