Update #10 – snow clearing, December activities, holiday hours

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Happy Holidays!
December is a busy month with many special events and holidays celebrated. Whatever holiday you are celebrating, I hope that you are able to share with friends and family. As the new year approaches, I look back at 2013 as a great year of learning for me. As Councillor for District 7, it has been my honour and privilege to not only represent you, but to meet and collaborate with many of you. All the best in 2014!

Holiday Hours
If you require assistance from Monday December 23rd, to
Monday January 6th please call 311, or 490 4050 for the Council Support Office for service.

Snow Clearing and this weekend’s storm
I have received an overwhelming number of calls, emails and social media communications about the state of the roads and sidewalks in the district.  I agree, the sidewalks and roads were terrible and still are!

I do not blame HRM staff.  I doubt there is anything anyone could have done that would have resulted in better road conditions Monday morning.

Why do I think that?  Because I did shovel my sidewalk before I went to bed Sunday, and I did shovel my driveway, and when I woke up I had a sheet of ice just like everywhere else in the city.  Shovelling didn’t make a difference.

We had perfect conditions for a heavy glaze of slushy rain that froze quickly.  I don’t blame the contractors or municipal crews.  We live in Canada, we live by the sea, our coastal weather shifts quickly.  These things happen.

I know there are lots of other concerns – streets and sidewalks missed entirely, the amount of salt being used, damage to lawns and flowerbeds from the sidewalk plows.  Please keep calling 311 and my office about these issues.   Please record any damages and later – after the snow has stopped falling and the snow storm is over – call 311.  HRM and its contractors will take responsibility for the damages.

Finally – the discussion is still ongoing.  We will see how sidewalk clearing works under more normal snow tonight and this coming weekend, and Council can re-evaluate whether to continue sidewalk snow removal on the peninsula in 2014/15.

Snow Clearing  general info
The adjusted enforcement was first adopted in 2011/2012, replacing the nightly 1 a.m to 7 a.m ban that had been in place during the previous winter season. This approach offers more flexibility to those who are most affected by the ban, such as shift workers, residents without a driveway, and business owners, without compromising HRM’s snow and ice clearing operations.

Residents are advised to prepare for the winter season now by securing off-street parking for when the overnight parking ban is in effect.  Everyone is reminded that provincial legislation (Section 139 of the Motor Vehicle Act) requires that people remove their vehicles from the streets, day or night, in the event of a snow or ice event. Vehicles obstructing snow clearing or winter maintenance operations can be removed at the owner’s cost, regardless of the time or date. Weather conditions and clearing operations will determine how long an overnight ban will be enforced. Please do not assume that since the snow has stopped that the ban has been lifted.

Residents can receive timely messages, throughout the winter season, about the status of overnight winter parking bans. Subscribe to HRM’s CityWatch program to receive phone, email and/or text messages by filling out an online registration form atwww.halifax.ca/snow/parkingban. Requests to receive notifications can also be made by emailing contacthrm@halifax.ca or calling 311.

In addition to CityWatch notifications, HRM will issue public service announcements to the media when the ban will be enforced and when it has been lifted, and information will be posted on www.halifax.ca/snow and HRM’s Twitter account, @hfxgov. Residents can also call 311 for up-to-date information on the status of overnight winter parking bans.  For more information on HRM’s street and sidewalk snow clearing service standards, priority streets, salt management strategies and more, please visitwww.halifax.ca/snow.

Shape Your Budget
Residents are invited to contribute to the 2014 Budget Consultation process by sharing thoughts on service priorities and the municipal tax dollars is allocated. A new online tool provides a glimpse into how budget is balanced. It simulates adjusting the municipal tax dollars allocated to various services like transit, parks and policing to see the potential impact this has on both service delivery and the overall budget. To participate, visit: http://halifaxtax.budgetallocator.com/

Central Library Construction Update
•                Installation of the skylight started in October and is ongoing.
•                Installation of the exterior glass curtain wall is nearly complete. This glass is highly specialized with Low E glazing and frit patterns. Each piece is carefully inspected prior to installation. Therefore, any spots where there is missing glass or plywood, is due to deficient panels.
•                Tender packages for millwork, wood flooring, theatre systems, lighting, and audio visual equipment are closed and awarded.
•                Painting of walls and ceilings continues throughout the building.
•                The construction of the public plazas in the front and the back of the building is on-going.
•                Perimeter fencing will remain in place until spring 2014.
•                The tender for the cafés has been issued and can be found on the Government of Nova Scotia website:  https://www.gov.ns.ca/tenders/tenders/ns-tenders.aspx

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

HRM Volunteer Awards
Each year Halifax Regional Municipality, the Mayor and Regional Council recognize the extraordinary contributions of individuals and groups who volunteer their time and skills to provide services and programs in our communities. Individuals or groups can be nominated by filling out the HRM Nomination Form. The deadline has been extended to Friday, December 20.http://www.halifax.ca/volunteerservices/awards/index.html

Open Data App Contest
As part of the Open Data Pilot Project, HRM is launching Apps4Halifax to encourage the meaningful and productive use of the released datasets to improve citizen engagement and enhance transparency. Vote now for your favourite:http://www.apps4halifax.ca/ Deadline is January 6, 2014.

New Year’s Eve
Don’t forget New Year’s Eve in Grand Parade – this year, David Myles, Willie Stratton& The Boarding PartyBlueberry Grunt, and Asia and NuGruv will be performing with fireworks at midnight. http://www.halifax.ca/newyearseve/index.html

Seniors’ College Association of Nova Scotia Information Session 
Seniors’ College Association of Nova Scotia, a registered non-profit organization provides non-credit academic courses to people age 50+. For more information, an information session will be held Thursday, January 9 at 1:30 p.m. at the Bloomfield Centre, 2786 Agricola Street. Visit:  www.thescans.ca

HRM on Social Media       
Connect and stay current through HRM’s official social media channels and RSS feeds. A current list can be found here: http://www.halifax.ca/socialmedia/

311 – HRM’s Citizen Contact Centre
HRM’s Citizen Contact Centre is open seven days/week from 7 am to 11 pm to respond to routine inquiries and complaints from HRM residents.  Please use this service since it helps HRM keep track of issues that are of concern for residents (missed solid waste pickup, sidewalks not cleared, transit info or complaints, etc.)  For more information on the service please go to: http://www.halifax.ca/311/

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