Summer heat, Centre Plan, Rail shuttle & Windsor Street Exchange, more!

Lawrencetown Beach, HRM, NS
Lawrencetown Beach, HRM, NS

Hi all, hope you are enjoying the gorgeous weather that has finally arrived, just in time for festival season to start!

I am not one to complain about the heat, but make sure you stay cool, hydrate, don’t over do it, and take care of yourself. When there are heat alerts in Halifax, community spots are organizing to provide measures for those lacking a cool place to call their own. Water, sunscreen and hats available for those that need itMOSH, Adsum House, Salvation Army, Phoenix House, Ark Outreach, Street Navigator, Dal Social Work and Shelter NS all partner in this effort, with MOSH Halifax acting as the bullhorn on the internet. For info as situations unfold, follow MOSH on twitter: https://twitter.com/MOSHHalifax

Two weeks ago Regional Council directed staff to prepare the Centre Plan Package A for first reading in July and a public hearing, probably September 10. I am very excited to see this move to this stage.

There have been some opinion pieces published that the Centre Plan won’t matter because of all the buildings approved before it was adopted.  This is really not the case. In my opinion that before adoption Council may approve four buildings that are larger/taller/bigger than Centre Plan would have allowed. Four buildings that are larger or different than the large buildings that would have been allowed under the plan… four buildings out of 33 square km of development rights, out of hundreds of development sites.  I voted against three of them, but I still take this and call it a win.

The biggest victory for District 7 is that Council approved a FREEZE on considering development on Package B lands.  Yes you read that right. Sam Austin wrote: “As-of-right development can still occur in the Package B lands, but anything that requires a plan amendment won’t be entertained. That means any developer that was hoping to proceed with a plan amendment to turn a street that is established residential into a multi-unit building won’t be able to do so outside of the Centre Plan process. Existing applications will still be considered by Council, but a cutoff is being established.”  Read his Centre Plan blog here:  https://www.samaustin.ca/council-update-centre-plan-com-taxation-commuter-rail/

Having put a stop to site specific amendments is something we’ve been begging for in District 7 for 20 years, and it has finally happened!

The announcement regarding Federal funding for a rail shuttle and revamping Windsor Street Exchange is one of the most exciting things to come to Halifax in the last decade.  I was so excited about the project I did two videos about what it means and what it enables in terms of Bus Rapid Transit and active transportation.

Taken together with the HRM, Nova Scotia, Port and CN funding included, these two projects are larger than the Cogswell District project in scope and budget.  This isn’t just about reducing port related truck traffic in downtown, it is also about fixing the traffic snarls in the connection from the Peninsula to Bedford Highway and Fairview/Rockingham, bike and bus lanes through the exchange, and growing our vital port business.  I am very thankful that the Federal government has come through with funding for this important project.

The municipality has had years of extensive consultation around our marine industrial zones and the part rail has in growing the economy.  The 2014 Regional Plan protects marine industrial, as once you lose that harbourside land to apartments you cannot get it back.  The 2017 Integrated Mobility Plancall on HRM to retaining industrial zoning wherever direct rail or marine frontage is available, to facilitate goods movement by rail or water, and speaks to moving more goods by rail.  The 2016 Economic Plan calls Halifax’s ocean advantage one of the three pillars of our economy.  All of these plans had extensive consultation with thousands and thousands of participants.  All these plans recognize that the thousands of harbour related and marine industrial jobs and economic activity are essential to the economy of Halifax and Nova Scotia.

For their part CN will continue its partnership with the Halifax Port Authority and ongoing growth of the Halifax gateway. They wrote me to say “Work on the development of a new and integrated operations plan is underway, one that will notably decrease the intermodal container truck traffic in the downtown Halifax core. As the Port of Halifax is a 24/7 operation, that plan will also include communications to local residents and impact mitigation for local neighbourhoods.”

With this announcement the railway cut will continue as it is now, a privately owned rail corridor that has operated continuously and successfully adjacent to residential homes as an essential part of our ocean economy since the 1920s.

I have had a lot of questions from folks about AirB&B and short term rentals.  Sam Austin made a motion at Council about this, to bring in some modern, acceptable regulation. There are many layers to this as I don’t want to see a blanket ban. Some folks used short term rental to help create affordability (rent a room, rent the basement apartment, rent when you are away in the summer and school is out) and I think that is ok. But using short term rentals to get around zoning and run a commercial tourist operation in a residential zone is a different animal.

If you have a short term rental causing problems in your area, parties, noise, overcrowding, call 311 and ask for an inspector to come to investigate the appropriate land use of the property, and then please email me and let me know your reference number. We hope to have some clear rules soon, but in the mean time the first stage of knowing if we have a problem or not is to gather data, and we need people to call it in when there are issues.

We want you to have a seat at the table. The Municipal Clerk’s Office is beginning a recruitment for volunteers to serve on boards/committees.  The recruitment officially began June 17, with a deadline of July 15. We are recruiting for 6 boards/committees with 19 positions in total:

  • Board of Police Commissioners
  • Shubenacadie Canal Commission
  • Police Diversity Working Group
  • Regional Watersheds Advisory Board
  • Taxi & Limousine Liaison Group
  • Western Common Advisory Committee

The Municipal Clerk’s Office goal is to present a diverse slate of candidates, that is reflective of HRM. If you know of any groups or organizations that HRM should be connecting with, please send me a note and the Clerks will reach out to them.

This link will take you to the full listing of boards/committees, background information, and the application form: https://www.halifax.ca/city-hall/boards-committees-commissions/volunteer-boards-committees

PUBLIC MEETINGS

Halifax & West Community Council 
Tuesday July 9, 2019 6pm | Halifax City Hall
Public hearings on Case 22005: Internal Residential Conversions in the Peninsula West Area 1 Schedule of the Land Use By-Law for Halifax Peninsula and Case 20417: Development Agreement for 2267 Brunswick Street, Halifax https://www.halifax.ca/city-hall/community-councils/july-9-2019-halifax-west-community-council

Special Halifax Regional Council – Public Hearings
Wednesday July 10, 2019, 6pm | Halifax City Hall
Three public hearings:

  • Rescheduled from two weeks ago – Case 20774 – Amendments to the Halifax Municipal Planning Strategy and Halifax Peninsula Land Use By-law, and a proposed development agreement to enable an eight storey building (plus penthouse) on the lands fronting Wellington Street, Halifax
  • Case 20159 – Amendments to the Halifax Municipal Planning Strategy and Halifax Peninsula Land Use By-law, and a proposed development agreement to enable re-development of an eight storey (plus penthouse) multiple dwelling at 5713 Victoria Road, Halifax
  • Case 20658 – Amendments to the Halifax Municipal Planning Strategy and Halifax Peninsula Land Use By-law, and a proposed development agreement for a large site with frontage onto Bayers Road and Young Street, Halifax

https://www.halifax.ca/city-hall/regional-council/july-10-2019-special-halifax-regional-council

Special Halifax Regional Council – Public Hearings
Mon, July 15, 6pm – 10pm | Halifax City Hall

  • Case 20520: Amend the Halifax Municipal Planning Strategy and Halifax Peninsula Land Use By-law to enable a development agreement for 6324 &6330 Quinpool Road.
  • Case 21115: Amend the Halifax Municipal Planning Strategy and Halifax Peninsula Land Use By-Law at 6290, 6298 and 6302 Quinpool Road, and at 6325 and 6331 Pepperell Street.

https://www.halifax.ca/business/planning-development/public-hearings

Halifax Regional Council
Tuesday July 16, 2019 time TBD | Halifax City Hall
Agenda TBD
https://www.halifax.ca/city-hall/agendas-meetings-reports

Halifax Peninsula Planning Advisory Committee
Monday July 22, 2019 4:30pm – 6:30pm
Agenda TBD
https://www.halifax.ca/city-hall/agendas-meetings-reports

COMMUNITY EVENTS

Urban Cycling courses
Various dates throughout the summer | various locations
The Halifax Cycling Coalition has partnered with Making Tracks to continue offering the popular Urban Cycling courses both in Halifax and Dartmouth. The course is 4-5 hours in length starting at 9 a.m. (10 a.m. if at Alderney Gate Public Library) and covers the basics of riding on city streets. Classes are capped at 6 participants to ensure a comprehensive learning experience for everyone. Do you know where to ride in an intersection? If you are allowed to pass cars on the right? How to avoid getting doored? We answer all of these questions and more in our Intro to Urban Cycling Course! This is a fun cycling course designed for people who want to expand on their knowledge, learn new skills, and gain the confidence to ride a bike in the city. https://ecologyaction.ca/urban-cycling

TD Halifax Jazz Festival 2019 
Tuesday July 9 – Sunday July 14 2019 | Halifax Waterfront and various locations.
The 33rd Annual TD Halifax Jazz Festival takes place July 9-14, 2019 on the Halifax waterfront and stages across the city! Festival passes are on sale now. Artists this year include First Aid Kit, Bahamas, Liebman/Murley Quartet (David Liebman, Mike Murley Music), Tim Baker, The Barr Brothers, and MANY more to be announced soon! https://www.facebook.com/events/368641293730602/

18th Annual Halifax Lebanese Festival
Thursday July 11 – Sunday July 14 2019 | Olympic Community Centre
Savour a taste of Lebanon in the heart of Halifax at the 18th Annual Lebanese Festival, proudly presented by TD! The four day festival will run from July 11th – 14th, 2019 at the Olympic Community Centre (Corner of Windsor and Cunard Streets). Relax while enjoying Authentic Lebanese Food, Traditional Dance Performances and a Live Lebanese Band.  Take in the exhibits and shop for handcrafted work at the Artisan Gift Shop or visit Al-Arz Cafe known for its coffee and baklava. Admission is FREE.  Yalla!

Mamma Mia! Free Screening
Friday July 12 20:30 | Halifax Public Gardens
FIN Outdoor summer movie series is thrilled to present the “Summer of Sing-Alongs!”  On July 12th at dusk, scheduled for 9 pm, find us in the Halifax Public Gardens for a FREE screening of MAMMA MIA!  Don’t forget:

  • To bring a blanket or chair
  • To dress for the weather
  • A donation for Feed Nova Scotia

“The story of a bride-to-be trying to find her real father told using hit songs by the popular 1970s group ABBA.”  Gates will open 30 Minutes prior to each screening. The event will use the garden’s main entrance. This screening is FREE and open to the public. LIMITED CAPACITY Please check for weather updates and cancellations by tuning into C100 FM – Today’s Best Music and by visiting our website http://www.finoutdoor.ca

Halifax Pride Festival
July 18-28, 2019 | Various locations around HRM 
2019 marks the 32th year of the Halifax Pride Festival. Everyone is invited to come out and experience the variety of colourful shows and events happening in Downtown Halifax! The Halifax Pride Festival is Canada’s fourth largest Pride Festival, and is a celebration highlighting the unique character of our diverse community. The Pride Parade will take place Saturday, July 20th from 1pm-3pm. For a full list of events, please visit http://www.halifaxpride.com

Nova Multifest – 2019
Friday July 19 – Sunday July 21 | Alderney Landing, Dartmouth
Join us at Alderney Landing [Dartmouth Waterfront] for our 2nd Annual Nova Multifest to celebrate our province’s rich tapestry of culture and diversity. More details will be coming soon. For more info email us at contact@multifestns.ca or Visit http://multifestns.ca/

2019 Afrifest
Friday, 19 July 2019 from 12:00-11:00pm | Sackville Landing, Lower Water Street
Annual African Festival of Arts and Culture, showcasing Master drummers, from Burkina Faso, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Senegal, Jazz, traditional dances, food, arts and craft vendors.
https://www.facebook.com/events/305918186757231/

2019 motionball Marathon of Sport Halifax
Saturday July 20 08:30am | Oval at the Commons
What is Marathon of Sport? Marathon of Sport is an inclusive day of sport, fun, and community giving where groups of friends, family and colleagues Team up with local Special Olympics athletes and play a variety of sports such as soccer, football, basketball, benchball, ultimate frisbee and more! Included in your Team registration, each participant will receive: an Under Armour t-shirt, motionball hat, Pita Pit lunch, Powerade, a ticket to the Marathon of Sport after-party, fundraising incentives, and most importantly, a chance to play with the proud Special Olympics athletes who motionball supports! Please email cassie@motionball.com for more info.

SPH & QEH – It’s A 90’s Reunion!
Saturday July 20 2019 | Rail Birds Billiards & Lounge 3200 Kempt Rd
The SPH/QEH 90’s reunion will bring together those who graduated in a time before social media.  A time when getting together meant running the streets, hanging out in the basement or just showing up to a house party you just heard about! We all know that although Saint Pat’s and QEH had a strong rivalry, we also had a significant bond with friendships, relationships and even siblings (I had 3 sisters graduate from QEH), bridging the gap between the schools and lasting decades after our schools disappeared from the Halifax landscape.  This event is a way to reconnect, remember and celebrate the good ‘ol days! https://www.facebook.com/events/338644586893613/

Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives = Employment Standards Report Launch
Thursday August 1, 2019, 10am | Halifax Central Library 
All are welcome to the launch of CCPA Employment Standards report on August 1st, 10:00am at Halifax Central Library (room 301). The report provides an examination of how Nova Scotia’s protections for workers stack up against other provinces and territories in Canada. Speakers and additional details will be announced on the Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/events/429023224363724/

HOW CAN WE HELP?

Call my office
Call our office for assistance with your municipal issues. Contact my Constituency Coordinator Melody Campbell by phone 902-490-2012 or email melody.campbell@halifax.ca or contact me directly. The best way to reach me is via email at my city email – waye.mason@halifax.ca or you can call my direct line at 902-490-8462.

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 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 please visit http://www.halifax.ca/311/

Regional Council Reports and Agendas
If you want to read reports coming to Regional Council (posted mid-day Friday prior to the Tuesday meeting) or to check the agenda please go to: https://www.halifax.ca/city-hall/regional-council

Halifax and West Community Council Reports and Agendas
Community Council meets on Tuesday evenings that alternate with Regional Council. Please check the webpage here for agendas (usually available a week before the meeting), locations and times. https://www.halifax.ca/city-hall/community-councils/halifax-west-community-council

Peninsula Planning Advisory Council Reports and Agendas
Peninsula Planning Advisory Committee meets once a month to discuss and provide feedback to council on planning proposals for the three districts on the peninsula. Please check the webpage for agendas (usually available a week before the meeting), locations and times: https://www.halifax.ca/city-hall/boards-committees-commissions/h/halifax-peninsula-planning-advisory-committee