November 6 was the second anniversary of my election to Council. I’ve spent a bit of time this week reflecting on what was promised, what we’ve accomplished, and what is yet to be done.
I’ve completed another report card reviewing the status of the 30 promises I made during the election. A lot of progress has been made, which you can read about on my website.
I feel pretty good about what we’ve done and the part I’ve had in the change of tone at Halifax Regional Council. The pace of change is increasing and a lot of the seeds that were planted in the year after the election are starting to show.
I want to highlight three things that happened that I am particularly proud of:
Clairmont Report – Council accepted and acted on the 2014 HRM Roundtable Review on public safety and violence. I felt that the last Council did not really act on the initial recommendations of the 2008 report. Big changes in direction have resulted – the Public Safety Office is now a part of municipal bureaucracy rather than the police force, meaning Council has a more active role in public safety. Council accepted that the municipality must have a voice and take action on a much broader list of community concerns that create and sustain safe and healthy communities. This is a huge change for Halifax, one I am most proud of.
Regional Plan Five Year Review – after much debate Council passed RP5, which strengthens our commitment to developing the urban centre while committing us to complete, walkable, transit serviced communities in the suburban areas. The number one goal of our transportation network is to support “viable alternatives to the single occupant vehicle”. A green belting priorities plan is going to be developed.
Arts Funding – the arts funding program has been established, with $300,000 the first year. An arts council for municipal arts will be established to distribute the funds in the coming year. Halifax is finally funding the arts in an appropriate way, catching up to every other city in Canada.
All three of these are the kind of big changes that have long term impact and are things we should be proud of!
My focus for the next year is on five areas – accessibility, downtown, the centre plan, parks and recreation, and transportation.
I will continue to work with my Council colleagues in support of their work in other issues. I want to specifically thank Mike Savage for his work on downtown and healthy communities, Jennifer Watts for her leadership on affordable housing, Steve Craig for his work on crosswalk safety and Halifax Water, and Lorelei Nicoll for her leadership on economic development. I’d also like to thank the many staff whose passion and energy take new ideas from councillors and turn them into action. Making Halifax a better city is truly a collective effort!
Thank you for your support these last two years. It is an honour to serve as your representative on Halifax Regional Council!
Community Garden (Cornwallis and Barrington) (TONIGHT)
Monday, November 10, 6:30-8pm, 2103 Gottingen, Johanna B. Oosterveld Centre
This meeting will discuss the pilot community garden at the corner of Cornwallis and Barrington. There will be some plots for community use, with much of the garden being used to grow food to feed the men staying at Metro Turning Point run by Shelter Nova Scotia.
Case 19595 – R-2A Zone Amendments, Halifax Peninsula Land Use Bylaw
Wednesday, November 26, 2014, 7pm
A public information meeting to discuss proposed changes. Staff have recently become aware of issues with the R-2A zone, as it does not restrict the number of bedrooms per unit, which could increase the population density of the area beyond what had previously been envisioned.
SNOW PREPAREDNESS: Winter is Coming
Even under the best of circumstances some property damage caused by snow-clearing equipment is unfortunately not unusual, especially during severe winters like the one Halifax experienced last year.
Here are some simple steps that residents and business owners can take before the snow starts to help protect your property and ensure clearing efforts go as safely and smoothly as possible:
- When doing fall clean up, look at trimming tree branches and shrubs that originate from your property that could obstruct visibility or access for snow-clearing equipment.
- If you know of similar issues with trees or plants on the municipal right-of-way, report those to 311 so staff can follow up before the winter comes.
- Planters, lawn decorations and any other portable objects near the sidewalk, on either side, should be removed before the winter.
- Items like sports equipment that may still be used should be safely stored when bad weather is in the forecast. These items can cause problems for street plows, but also sidewalk-clearing equipment when left between the curb and the edge of your property.
- Any permanent structures or objects too big to move should be marked with a reflector that will be visible above the snow to help crews identify obstacles.
- Vehicles that hang over or are parked on the sidewalk are prone to damage and become a dangerous obstacle for sidewalk crews. Residents are advised to secure off-street parking or risk being ticketed.
- Remember, between the curb and the sidewalk is often the only place that crews have to push the snow. Keeping this space clear enables faster and more efficient snow clearing.
- Residents and businesses are advised that they can be ticketed for clearing snow from their own driveway or property onto the street or sidewalk. This hampers clearing efforts for our crews and contractors.
- Some amount of damage during snow clearing is to be expected, especially when there is a lot of snow on the ground, visibility is bad or in older neighbourhoods that have narrower sidewalks.
- The municipality wants to assure residents that as in past years, damage to private property that has been reported and confirmed to be caused by snow-clearing equipment will be repaired by the responsible contractor or the municipality.
- Residents who sustain damage to their property or know of damage to municipal property should file a report by calling 311 or by filling out an online customer service form at https://apps.halifax.ca/311.
- By working together, we can ensure we’re all better prepared for whatever this winter may bring.
Rainmen Basketball Games
Beginning November 7, 2014 | Scotiabank Centre
For the entire month of November, kids 12 years old and under get FREE admission to Rainmen Basketball games when accompanied by an adult. Limit 2 youth tickets per adult. Visit www.rainmenbasketball.ca for more details.
Open Discussion Night: Presented by the HRM Chapter of the Schizophrenia Society of Nova Scotia
November 10, 2014 – 7:00pm | Room 1243A, Halifax Infirmary, QEII Health Sciences Centre
An evening to discuss and share ideas, thoughts, issues and concerns relating to mental illness and addiction. For more information, visit http://openpockets.com/SSNS/
Concert of Remembrance: 100th Anniversary of 1914
November 11, 2014- 7:00pm | Rockingham Church
An evening of music and remembrance featuring the Senior and Men’s Choirs of Rockingham United Church.
2014 ACORN Conference and Trade Show
November 12, 2014 | various locations
Join the Atlantic Canadian Organic Regional Network (ACORN) from November 12-14th, for ‘Honouring Our Roots, Sowing Our Future’–ACORN’s 15th Annual Conference and Trade Show. Visit http://www.acornorganic.org/conference/ for more details.
Halifax Cycling Coalition Birthday Party
November 13, 2014 – 7:00pm | The Bus Stop Theatre
Halifax Cycling Coalition’s 7th birthday party is on November 13th at 7pm at the Bus Stop Theatre. There will be the Halifax Bike Awards and a celebration of seven years of cycling advocacy. For more info: http://cyclehalifax.ca/2014/10/turning-7/
Story-tellers Circle: “On the Briny Ocean Tossed”
November 13, 2014 – 7:00pm | The Nook on Gottingen
Join Linda Winham and Patricia Dickson of the Storytellers Circle of Halifax for an evening of stories of ship wrecks and perils. Admittance is by free-will donation.
Holiday Parade of Lights 2014
November 15, 2014 – 6:00pm
For more information on The Parade, visit http://holidayparadeoflights.ca/
27th Annual Cunard Christmas Craft Fair
November 15, 2014 – 9:00am | Cunard Junior High School
Shop from a variety of professional crafters. There will be a great selection of merchandise from fine jewelry to baked goods. General Admission: $3.00.
HRM Volunteer Conference
November 21-22, 2014 | Harbourview Holiday Inn, Dartmouth
This is a great conference for volunteers. In its 14th year, the Volunteer Conference gives residents an opportunity to participate in training, networking and learning that help them become more effective in their work and provide strong volunteer capacity in the region. Registration is now open: http://www.halifax.ca/volunteerservices/VolunteerConference.php
Nova Scotia Designer Crafts Council
November 21, 2014 | Cunard Centre
Come check out the Christmas 2014 designer craft show. Visit www.nsdcc.ns.ca for more details.
Grand Parade Tree Lighting
November 22, 2014 – 6:00pm
A great family event! For more details: http://www.halifax.ca/events/HRMChristmasTreeLighting.php
The 10th Annual Youth Project Live Auction and Brunch
November 23, 2014 – 11:00am | The Lord Nelson Hotel
A fundraiser to help support LGBTQ youth across Nova Scotia. For more information, visit www.youthproject.ns.ca
Keep in Touch
There are many ways to reach us to get the help you need:
1. Call 311 first for most municipal issues. 311 is open 7 am to 11 pm seven days/week. Be sure to ask the agent for a file number (for follow-up). By calling 311, your request is put in a queue and prioritized. It also provides a record of what concerns come forward, which is helpful for planning.
2. Contact my office. Call our office for assistance with your municipal issues. Please contact my Council Constituency Coordinator, Lynn Matheson at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 902.490.7177.
3. Contact me directly. The best way to reach me is via email – email@example.com or you can call my direct line at 902-490-8462.
I’m usually in meetings 85% of the business day, so calls usually go to voicemail. Email really is better. Social media (twitter, facebook, google plus, etc) is great, but please send issues and questions to my email, that way everything comes into one place – and also Lynn can read my emails and respond, but she can’t see my social media messaging!
4. Sign up for my email list: http://wayemason.ca/
STAY CONNECTED, STAY INFORMED
Follow these social media channels to keep up to date:
HRM website: http://halifax.ca
HRM twitter: http://twitter.com/hfxgov
google plus: https://plus.google.com/102848045441298131401/
OTHER IMPORTANT NUMBERS
Other political contacts (school board, provincial, federal) can be found here
Police/Fire Emergency – 911
Councillor Support Office – 490-4050
Police (non-emergency) – 490-5020
Fire (non-emergency) – 490-5530
Halifax Water Emergency – 490-6940