Update #40 – Participatory budgeting, Save Young Avenue, by-right explained, much more.

Thank you Peter Steeper for allowing me to use this photo.


Happy April 1st. No jokes from me, though I was tempted!

This newsletter contains info on Participatory Budgeting info meeting on Monday April 4,Save Young Avenue Monday April 18, a list of most of the capital projects that will happen in District 7 in the coming year (including paving and sidewalks).  But first I want to write a bit more about planning and land use.

Last newsletter I wrote about “by right” developments.  I got a great email from a resident asking me to explain what that means.

All property has some clearly defined rights or parameters – so for example you buy a lot in the rural area in what we call “open space natural resource” and you cannot subdivide, you can only build one house.  You buy in residential zone, you cannot build a commercial building.

If you buy a lot on the peninsula, a you have the rights that are allowed in that zone.  In many areas of the R2 zone, which includes Young Avenue, as long as a lot is 4000 square feet or larger, and has 40’ of frontage along the public road, you have the right to build a 35’ tall home.  The size of the home in square feet, and how far away it is from the property line, and how many bedrooms or habitable rooms it can have, that is all defined.  You have a right to build, and your neighbours are not allowed to say “we don’t want the house” or “we don’t like propose design” as long as those rules are met.

In commercial zones, you often have a right to build tall buildings already.  So sometimes when Council is allowing a municipal plan amendment, it is for good reasons.  The best example is in the Hydrostone park.

The truly awful building at Gottingen and Kaye (I mistakenly said Russell in the email of this newsletter!), with the 4” concrete wall all around it, that was allowed by right.  That is what the plan lets you build without going to Council for approval.

On the other end of Kaye a plan amendment allowed what I think is a better building, the one with the Starbucks in it, a modern building with nice commercial at the ground floor and faces the street with shops and doors and windows, a much better design.

This is why we need the Centre Plan – what you are allowed to build by right in a multistory building needs to be of a higher quality with clearer, better design rules.

Council can change rights.  It is legal to carefully reduce rights, as long as it is not done in away that is done specifically to financially benefit the municipality, for example.  There are many court cases that say that no compensation is required under most circumstances where you downzone a property.

For me, this another example of the “spot zoning” is what we are trying to stop.  We want a clear, unambiguous plan for Downtown, for the regional centre.  Any spot zoning potentially undermines the plans we have now, and hope to adopt this fall.  It needs to be carefully examined, whether it is to extend or reduce rights.

Next newsletter I’ll write more about the types of things I hope to see in the Centre Plan. For more info on the Centre Plan visit http://centreplan.ca

Here is a list of 2016/17 capital projects for District 7. I think this may be our best year in a decade for roads and parks. Very excited to see the streetcaping and paving on Barrington and Spring Garden!

Park / Rec
Gorsebrook Park – park signs, benches, realignment and grading of crusher dust paths, playground rehabilitation planning.
Inglis Park – trees trimmed, sign installed, community lead upgrades
Marlborough Park – crush dust path graded, trimming
Spencer Park – new signs for park, seniors centre, school parking/playground.  Possible upgrade of heating systems to heat pumps.
Conrose Park – batting cages installed at ball field
Commons Pool and Building planning 70,000
Grand Parade upgrades $1.1 million, stone wall, balustrades, plan development
Cornwallis Park –  $350,000 for phase 2 playground and retaining walls

Argyle/Grafton upgraded to pedestrian focused shared street – $10 million
Cogswell Interchange Plan – $3 million for to initiate project

Street Recapitalization
Cogswell St – Quinpool to Brunswick (Note: both sides from quinpool to north park)
Barrington St – Duke to Blowers – includes rehabilitation of sidewalks, brick paver replacement
Spring Garden Rd – Barrington to Summer
Preston St – Quinpool to Payzant

Asphalt Overlays, Planer Patching, Crack Sealing
South Park St – University to Sackville
Cornwallis St – Barrington to North Park
Gottingen St – Rainnie to Cornwallis
Inglis St – South Park to Tower
Robie St N/S – Quinpool to Jubilee
Tower Rd – Inglis to Southwood
Granville St – George to Sackville
Inglis St – Robie to Beaufort
Oxford St – Quinpool to South
South St – Queen to South Park
Gottingen St – Rainnie to Cornwallis
Inglis St – South Park to Tower
Robie St N/S – Quinpool to Jubilee
Tower Rd – Inglis to Southwood

Sidewalk Renewals
Spring Garden Rd – Martello to Summer (E)
Preston St – Watt to Payzant (E)
Preston St – Quinpool to Pepperell (E/W)
Cogswell St – North Park to Robie (S)

Active Transportation
Morris St – University Bike Lane Planning
South Park St – Bike Lanes
Upper Water St Bicycle Connection between Barrington Greenway & Hollis Bike Lane Planning

Regional Trails
Halifax Urban Greenway Plan for Alignment

Retaining Walls
Oakland Rd (Design Only)


District 7 Participatory Budgeting Idea Swap and Information Session | Monday April 4, Thursday April 14
I encourage the community to come out and provide input on how to spend each district’s 2016-2017 capital budget of $54, 833*. Participatory budgeting allows residents, including children, to help choose which projects receive funding and help build stronger communities. Residents of districts 7 & 8 are encouraged to come out to one of the two idea swap and information sessions to learn more about the participatory budgeting process and help generate ideas for community projects.  If you cannot attend the District 7 meeting April 4, you can go to the District 8 meeting April 14.

District 7: Monday, April 4th 7-8:30pm | Halifax Central Library, Lindsay Children’s Room
District 8: Thursday, April 14 7-8:30pm | Italian Cultural Centre, 2629 Agricola Street

Residents can attend either session, as the information covered will be the same. For more information, please visit http://wayemason.ca/2016/02/03/announcing-district-7-participatory-budgeting-2016/

*Because 2016/17 is an election year, only part of the total $94,000 in capital funding is available until after October 16, 2016. The remainder will be disbursed after the election.

Case 18322 1460-1474 Seymour Street and 6124 Coburg Road, Halifax | Tuesday April 5 6pm, City Hall
A joint public hearing will be held by Regional Council and Halifax and West Community Council on Tuesday April 5, 2016, at 6:00 p.m. at Halifax City Hall (Council Chambers), 3rd Floor, 1841 Argyle Street, Halifax, NS.http://www.halifax.ca/planning/applications/case18322details.php

Save Young Avenue | Monday April 18, 7pm, Lindsay Children’s Room, Halifax Central Library.
Residents are invited to attend a meeting regarding Young Avenue.  Development pressure threatens to see several of the historic mansions on Young Avenue torn down and the land developed as smaller homes.  Waye Mason & Save Young Avenue host this meeting where the Save Young Avenue group will present the history of the street, Jennifer Chapman from HRM staff will present about what is allowed in the zone now, and what kind of changes have been done to moderate development in in other parts of the district, with a Q&A and planning discussion to follow.

We are looking for people to join us who have an interest in emergency planning in the downtown and south endWe continue to work on establishing a formal Joint Emergency Management(JEM) team. This is a community-based volunteer organization that works with HRM’s EMO (Emergency Measures Organization). This is great way for involved citizens to educate friends, family and neighbours in preparedness for emergencies. JEM’s motto is “neighbours helping neighbours”. During emergencies, residents in affected communities need to be prepared to help themselves and to assist others. Come join us! More info at http://wayemason.ca/jem

Upcoming meeting schedule – Halifax Central Library, 7:00 p.m.

  • Wednesday, April 27th – Creative Lab Room
  • Wednesday, May 25th – Creative Lab Room


World Autism Awareness Day – April 2nd
April is World Autism Awareness month and April 2nd is World Autism Awareness Day. Autism Nova Scotia’s mandate is to build community capacity to enhance understanding, acceptance, and inclusion of families and individuals living with Autism Spectrum Disorder across our province. This April 2nd, wear blue, light up your home or office in blue and help raise awareness of Autism. For more information, please visithttp://autismnovascotia.ca/autism-awareness-month

Cybersecurity for Activists Workshop
Saturday, April 2, 2016 2-4pm | Halifax Central Library
The Radical Imagination Project and Trade School Halifax will offer a workshop on tools and tips for activists looking to protect themselves and their work through cybersecurity, privacy and digital protection measures. A laptop is not required, but encouraged. For more information, please visit http://www.tradeschool.coop/halifax/class/cybersecurity-activists/

Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity
Saturday, April 2, 2016 7pm | Carbon Arc Cinema
The Cannes Lions Awards celebrate excellency and creativity in television advertising, attracting some twelve-thousand industry professionals each year. Carbon Arc will screen a selection of bronze, silver, gold and grand prix-winning commercials in collaborations with The Globe and Mail. For more information, visit http://carbonarc.ca/event/cannes-lions-international-festival-of-creativity/
100in1 Halifax
Wednesday, April 6, 6-8pm | Halifax Central library, Creative Lab
100in1Day is a festival celebrating citizen-driven action that will have 100+ community initiatives taking place on June 4th 2016 all around Halifax. This information session is a chance to find out more about the event and to brainstorm collectively about action ideas that make our city a better place to live. For more information, please visithttps://www.100in1day.ca/

Bike Week Events and Grants Deadline – April 8th
This year’s Bike Week will be held from June 3-12 and the theme is “Connecting Communities”. If you are interested in registering a Bike Week event and would like to apply for a grant, the deadline is April 8, 2016. For more information, please visithttp://www.halifax.ca/bikeweek/Scheduleofevents.php

April 16-17, 2016 | St. Agnes Church Hall, 6903 Mumford Road
l’Arche Halifax’s 6th annual sale will feature a variety of artwork by local artists at affordable prices for viewing and purchase. Proceeds of the sale will be used in support of the work of l’Arche Halifax, an international organization that supports people with developmental disabilities. For more information, please visithttp://www.larchehalifax.org/events/annual-art-show/

Halifax and West Community Council
Tuesday, April 19, 2016 6pm | Council Chambers, City Hall
The next meeting of the Halifax and West Community Council will take place on Tuesday, April 19 at 6pm in Council Chambers at City Hall, 1841 Argyle Street. Please visithttp://www.halifax.ca/commcoun/west/ for Council agenda and minutes.

2016 Starfish Student Art Awards
Thursday, April 21, 2016 7-9pm | NSCAD Port Campus
The Starfish Student Art Awards celebrate the excellence of NSCAD’s best and brightest, incorporating an art exhibition, gala, and art sale of student works. Of the ten student finalists, one will be awarded the Starfish award. For more information or to purchase tickets, visithttp://nscad.ca/en/home/galleriesevents/starfishstudentartawards/default.aspx

Halifax Comedy Fest
April 27-30, 2016 | Various locations around HRM
The Halifax Comedy Fest is one of the most successful, longest running festivals in Canada. Over 4 days, comedians from all over North America showcase their acts on 14 stages across the city. This year has a fantastic line-up – full event details and schedule is available at http://halifaxcomedyfest.ca/#comedians

19th Annual Battle of the Atlantic Memorial Concert
Tuesday, April 26, 2016 7pm | Spatz Theatre
Celebrate the 70th anniversary of the end of WWII with an evening of wartime and contemporary music from The Stadacona Band, Liz Rigney, Alsu Kamalieva, Michelle Durling and the Halifax Regional School Board Choir. For more information on tickets, visithttp://spatztheatre.tickethalifax.com/events/32083002/battle-of-the-atlantic-memorial-concert

Open Heart Farming Poetry Call for Submissions – Deadline April 29
Residents of Nova Scotia are invited to submit poems on the themes of farming and all things food-related for the fifth annual issue of Open Heart Farming. Poems should not exceed 28 lines in length and 43 spaces wide. Please include one or two paragraphs about yourself, any personal connections to the themes, and where you live in Nova Scotia. Submissions can be emailed to openheartfarming@gmail.com. For more information about Open Heart Farming poetry, visit www.ohforgery.com.