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Meet Waye, Councillor for District 7

Waye Mason is a community leader, entrepreneur, educator and Halifax Regional Councillor. Prior to his election as Councillor, Waye has grown businesses, led member organizations and developed the arts and culture sector in Nova Scotia for over two decades.

As a municipal councillor, Waye has championed bringing transparency and accountability to Halifax Regional Council. Waye first got elected to council in 2012 and was re-elected in 2016 due in part to what Halifax Magazine referred to as his “relentless constituency work.”

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News & Updates

  • Budget, Community News, Meetings, Coronavirus Update #40

    Hello and welcome to 2021.  Like you I have hopes for a better year than 2020, and despite the mess and horror south of our national border I still do. New Zealand, who has been one of the world leaders in strong controls and quick response to Coronavirus has no cases and has seen a remarkable and quick economic recovery.  New Zealand jobs market bounces back close to pre-pandemic levels – Country’s biggest job advertising website reports 19% growth in jobs, after remarkable economic recovery in December https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/jan/13/new-zealand-jobs-market-bounces-back-close-to-pre-pandemic-levels It is stories like this that both give me confidence we are taking the right approach in Nova Scotia and that recovery will be much faster than I feared even a few months ago. As vaccinations roll out and the weather warms, I am hoping for a more normal summer and a return to normalcy by the Fall. Until then we all will continue to do what we can stay safe, protect the vulnerable in our communities, and keep working as we can in these challenging times. Halifax’s new Regional Council has started our new budget process.  I appreciate all the emails I get about what you would and would not like to see in the next year.  The initial strategic direction report and presentation is here:  https://halifax.ca/city-hall/regional-council/january-13-2021-special-budget-committee-meeting I’ve had a number of complaints about some dogs in Point Pleasant Park not under control of their owners in the off-leash areas.  For those using Point Pleasant Park with their dogs, there is signage that clearly indicates where dogs are permitted off leash and where they are not. I ask all dog owners to review the rules they must follow when their dog is in an off-leash area.  These include that dogs must have current municipal tags, your dog must come to you when called, dogs must not interfere with other park users, and that aggressive dogs, female dogs in heat, and puppies under three months old are not permitted in off-leash areas. Full list of rules is here: https://www.halifax.ca/home-property/animal-services/halifax-leash-areas Not for profit groups are reminded the deadline for the Community Grants Program applications is March 31, 2021.   https://www.halifax.ca/business/doing-business-halifax/community-non-profit-resources/community-grants Finally, Did you know HRCE has Parent Navigators who can help students and their care givers with school related challenges?  Parent Navigator offer students, parents and guardians: Response to questions about supports available for students, parents and guardians Help for parents and guardians find and access services available in education, justice, health, community services and more Assistance with registration for all families; including new comers to the province or Canada Connections for families to the Students Services Team, Specialists or special program team facilitators Please contact: Missy Searl lsearl@hrce.ca Phone:  902 464-2000 x 4362 Stephen Somers ssomers@hrce.ca 902-464-2000 x 4361 Public Meetings Budget Committee (all Council) Wednesday, January 20, 2020, 10 am | Virtual Meeting Friday, January 29, 2020, 10 am | Virtual Meeting Wednesday, February 3, 2020, 10 am | Virtual Meeting Friday, February 5, 2020, 10 am | Virtual Meeting https://www.halifax.ca/city-hall/agendas-meetings-reports?category=1181 Halifax & West Community Council Tuesday, January 19, 2020, 6 pm | Virtual Meeting VIRTUAL PUBLIC HEARING – Case 22617 – Commercial garage at 207 and 209 Greenhead Road, Lakeside. VIRTUAL PUBLIC HEARING – Case 22978 – expansion to the existing residential care facility at 158 Greenhead Road, Lakeside https://www.halifax.ca/city-hall/agendas-meetings-reports?category=140 Halifax Regional Council Tuesday, January 26, 2020, 10 am | Virtual Meeting https://www.halifax.ca/city-hall/agendas-meetings-reports?category=127 Regional Centre Community Council Wednesday, January 27 2020, 6 pm | Virtual Meeting https://www.halifax.ca/city-hall/agendas-meetings-reports?category=1207 Roadworks Update The following street closures or sidewalk disruptions have recently been added to the RoadWorks map SACKVILLE ST from BARRINGTON ST to GRANVILLE ST, starting on 2020-09-19 SOUTH PARK ST from SACKVILLE ST to SPRING GARDEN RD, starting on 2020-09-17 SOUTH ST from QUEEN ST to SOUTH PARK ST, starting on 2021-01-14 You can find out road closure details on the HRM Roadworks map: https://www.halifax.ca/transportation/streets-sidewalks/RoadWorks Coronavirus Update #40 – economic impact of strong public health response, vaccination, government updates Below are the weekly COVID-19 government support / program tracker update(s) for the week of December 21 – January 8 that is being collated by HRM staff.  I will share these updates as I get them. Update on Nova Scotia’s COVID-19 Immunization Plan [January 5, 2020] – Province of Nova Scotia The province has released further details on the rollout of the COVID-19 Immunization Plan for Nova Scotia. The plan will roll out in 3 phases. Phase 1 is expected to run from January to April and will focus on front-line health-care workers closely involved in the COVID-19 response, residential care residents and staff, and seniors living in the community who are 80 years of age or older. Phase 2 is expected to begin in May and will include remaining health-care workers and essential workers. Phase 3 is expected to commence in the summer of 2021, and will include all Nova Scotians who are not part of the Phase 1 and 2 priority groups. Source. Additional Funding for the Canadian Red Cross [Update – December 23, 2020] – Government of Canada The government has announced an additional $70 million in funding to the Canada Red Cross to support ongoing COVID-19 relief efforts. This is in addition to the $100 million previously announced in May 2020. The additional funding will be provided prior to April 2021, and will be allocated as follows: $35 million for Red Cross personnel to support Outbreak Crisis Management activities; and, $35 million for testing-related activities led by the Red Cross COVID-19 Testing Assistance Response Teams (CTART). These resources are generally deployed in high priority areas hardest hit by the pandemic. Source. Additional Mental Health and Addictions Funding for NS First Nation Communities [December 23, 2020] – Province of Nova Scotia The province has announced $750,000 in new funding for Mi’kmaw communities and organizations across Nova Scotia for the provision of additional mental health and addictions support during COVID-19. The funding will be made available as $50,000 equal grants to each of the 13 Mi’kmaw communities across the province, as well as the Native Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselling Association and the …read more…

  • Public Gardens in winter Public meetings, community events, holiday hours and Coronavirus Update #39

    Long newsletter as this is the last one before the new year.  A lot of info about public meetings, COVID updates, community events, and the like follows. It’s been very busy here at the home office, and I’ve had trouble making the time to get this newsletter out, so I would like to thank Councillor Smith for putting his out Friday so I could borrow much of it today! 2020 has been a heck of a year, but I have to say I’ve never been prouder to be a Nova Scotian and to live in Halifax. I love living where the collective safety and the health of our neighbours is one of our most cherished values.  I thank you all for the sacrifices you have made this year and will continue to make until the vaccine is widely available. This holiday break is going to be hard on a lot of people who cannot see their family. As you are able, consider what you might do to help your neighbours, donate to charities, support those in need. As always, please be kind, be patient, and take care of each other. I look forward to seeing you in person at some point later in 2021! I am not sure how deep you have looked into our HalifACT Climate Change Action Plan?  I want to share with you a TEDx Talk that was hosted by HRM staffer Shannon Miedema who leads our small but mighty Climate Action Team. After watching this video I hope you will have a better understanding of our action plan and a deeper understanding of what we mean when we say Net-Zero. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ve1uXHUKjSo I’ll be out of the office from December 19 returning on January 4. During the break 311 will be open and Councillor Support office will be staffed Monday to Friday during office hours except for Christmas and New Years Day – the main line is 902-490-4050. Please have safe and happy holidays and a Merry Christmas. and see you in the new year. Public Meetings and Hearings Halifax and West Community Council Wednesday, December 9, 2020 6pm | Virtual Meeting Agenda includes consideration of Case 22332:  Municipal Planning Strategy and Land Use By-law Amendments for the R-4 Zone near Dunbrack Street, Halifax, Case 22851: Non-substantive amendments to an existing development agreement for 2250-2260 Maitland Street, Halifax – SECOND READING, Case 23219: Discharge Development Agreement for the property at 2215 Gottingen Street, Halifax, Case 22978:  Development Agreement for 158 Greenhead Road, Lakeside The agenda page for the Special Halifax and West Community Council on December 9 is now available on Halifax.ca – https://www.halifax.ca/city-hall/community-councils/december-9-2020-halifax-west-community-council-special Halifax Peninsula Planning Advisory Committee Monday, December 14, 4:30 | Virtual Meeting More info here: https://www.halifax.ca/city-hall/boards-committees-commissions/h/halifax-peninsula-planning-advisory-committee Halifax Regional Council Tuesday, December 15, 10am | Virtual Meeting More info here: https://www.halifax.ca/city-hall/regional-council Upcoming Meetings and Events Volunteer Awards Nomination Deadline Friday December 18, 2020 For those unaware of the program and celebration, the Volunteer Awards are an opportunity for the Mayor and Council to celebrate amazing volunteers in HRM’s communities during Volunteer Week. But before the awards ceremony happens, volunteers must be nominated. Nominations for the 2021 Volunteer Awards are due December 18, 2020. There are three categories: youth, adult and group. More info at https://halifax.ca/volunteerawards Windsor Street Exchange Project and potential community benefit Africville until 5 p.m. December 14, 2020 As part of the The Windsor Street Exchange Project , Halifax Regional Municipality would like to explore potential community benefits for the Africville community as it is in close proximity to the large project. individuals interested in lending their voice to this conversation are asked to complete an online survey available here. This survey includes 18 questions and may take 20-30 minutes to complete. You can skip questions you do not wish to answer.   The survey will be open until 5 p.m. December 14, 2020. https://www.shapeyourcityhalifax.ca/windsor-street-exchange-project Centre Plan Package B HRM is currently in the process of completing Centre Plan Package B is the second part of the Centre Plan that will replace all of the existing established residential zoning in Dartmouth inside the Circumferential, and Peninsula Halifax, create new zoning for Park and institutional areas, and update the Downtown Halifax Plan. To still be able to gather feedback from residents, the Centre Plan team has created a series of surveys. Fill out the surveys and provide feedback here. Planning staff are also available for small virtual meetings with neighbourhood groups. To schedule a meeting in November or December, please e-mail planhrm@halifax.ca. Winter 2020-21 Preparation Parking Ban starts Dec. 15, 2020 When and where you park in the winter can have a big impact on clearing streets and sidewalks during a winter storm. Residents are reminded to secure off-street parking for the winter months so that snow plow operators can safely and efficiently clear the streets and sidewalks. As in previous seasons, the overnight winter parking ban will be in place from Dec. 15, 2020 to Mar. 31, 2021. The ban will be enforced between 1 a.m. and 6 a.m., during declared weather events and extended clearing operations. Residents are also reminded that in addition to the overnight parking ban, Section 139 of the Nova Scotia Motor Vehicle Act states that tickets can be issued and vehicles can be towed any time, day or night, if they are parked in a manner that interferes with snow clearing. The easiest way to know when the parking ban will be enforced is to sign up for the municipality’s alert system, hfxALERT. For the most up to date information before, during and after a winter storm, visit Halifax.ca/snow and follow us on Twitter @hfxgov. Winter safety tips Never plow or shovel snow from your driveway onto the street or sidewalk. It is against By-Law S-300 and can cause serious problems for pedestrians, particularly those with mobility issues. Adjust your speed. Wet roads can freeze even if the air temperature is above zero. Never pass a plow when it is clearing snow from the road. Whiteout conditions are often created in the front of plows which reduces visibility and increases the chance of an accident. Have a survival kit in your vehicle. Children should not play in the …read more…

  • Coronavirus Update 38 – the second wave hits our shores

    This update was posted in the afternoon of November 24, 2020. The situation is rapidly changing. Please check the Canada, Nova Scotia and Halifax websites for the most up to date information. You can also check out my recently updated COVID-19 resources, with information on current Government Response, Individuals & Families, Business as well as Links to Resources including key social media to follow. Coronavirus Update 38 – the second wave hits our shores. Hi all, As you are probably aware that today the government of Nova Scotia announced new measures to help control the spread of Coronavirus. I have included both the provincial and Halifax press releases below but in short: New rules announced for Halifax- the following are closed for at least 2 weeks. Restaurants, bars (delivery still allowed) Gyms, yoga, etc Casinos Museums, Libraries Everyone at a gathering over 5 will be fined $1000 not just the host. Thank you Dr. Strang & Premier for responding to D7 resident’s concerns! I encourage residents to call police non-emergency 902.490.5020 to report public health order violations. I support everything I am hearing from Dr Strang and the Premier McNeil around these new restrictions.  Based on other provinces’ slow response, this is more than I expected and is actually pretty much everything I hoped for. You many remember me repeatedly talking over the last 8 months about the Hammer and the Dance.  We are now dancing like lives depend on it. Steps like this are what we need to stop this second wave. Before I get to the details I have two things to say. Don’t look for loopholes.  Like any other minimum standard, what the government announced today is the least you should do. Do more, if you can. So this means – don’t go to the house in Chester, or the cottage, or your mum’s place in the country, if you are lucky enough to have those things. Don’t drive to the valley for the day to eat and do some shopping. Don’t skirt the gathering limits. If we all really really stay away from each other we will see the numbers move in the right direction in 10-14 days. But we all need to do our part. No one is special, no one is exempt. That said, do what you have to do. Go to the doctors, go to school, go to work, but wash your hands, wear a mask, maintain physical distance, and install the app on your phone.https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/coronavirus-disease-covid-19/covid-alert.html And finally, as Dr Strang said today “Turn your fear and anxiety around and say ‘what am I gonna do to bring a sense of control for myself and a sense of control for my community’?” We have a lot of people in need in our community. Businesses desperate for an order for delivery, charities who need cash to help those in need, international and even Canadian students who are going to be stuck here for the holidays, seniors and others who are cut off from their families. What can you do to ease another’s burden? I urge you to think about what help you can offer, as you are able, to help support others in our community. Together we will get through this. I had a lot of other non-covid stuff to put in a newsletter but I’m going to hold that until later this week, as much of it is likely to change as events cancel. Be kind, be patient, and take care of each other. COVID APP ISSUE If you use an Android phone, the covidalert app has an important update that you might have to manually install from the Google app store. This is very important because it looks like, despite the little green thumbs-up, the app hasn’t been checking for exposures on many Android systems. The update is supposed to address this. Go into Google Play, click on installed apps, and check to make sure you have the latest version. Nova Scotia – New Restrictions to Reduce Spread of COVID-19 To turn the tide of COVID-19 infections in Nova Scotia, Premier Stephen McNeil and Dr. Robert Strang, chief medical officer of health, announced new restrictions in Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM) and across the province today, Nov. 24. “We need to flip the switch on COVID-19 right now,” said Premier McNeil. “COVID-19 is moving quickly in Halifax, and we need to stop it from spreading further into Nova Scotia. We must bring COVID-19 under control before our health system is overwhelmed and it infects our most vulnerable citizens. Stopping the spread is fully up to us.” New restrictions will come into force at 12:01 a.m. on Thursday, Nov. 26, and continue for two weeks until midnight Dec. 9, with a possibility of extension. Nova Scotians are being asked to avoid non-essential travel: in and out of western and central HRM (which is defined as HRM from Hubbards to, and including, Porters Lake and the communities up to Elmsdale and Mount Uniacke in Hants County – see https://novascotia.ca/coronavirus/ for boundaries). to other Atlantic provinces The following will apply to the parts of western and central HRM: the gathering limit in public is five (or up to the number of members of an immediate family in a household) mandatory masking now applies to common areas of multi-unit residential buildings, such as apartment buildings and condos restaurants and licenced establishments are closed for in-person dining but may provide take-out or delivery retail stores must restrict shoppers and staff to 25 per cent or less of allowable capacity wineries, distilleries and breweries cannot hold tastings or in-person dining and must follow retail rules in their stores (delivery and curbside pickup allowed) organized sports, recreational, athletic, arts and cultural activities, faith-based activities are paused profit and non-profit fitness and recreational facilities closed libraries and museums are closed, including the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia the casino and First Nations gaming establishments are closed stronger enforcement of illegal gatherings, including ticketing of all attendees (total fine of $1,000) Schools, after-school programs and childcare will remain open while certain personal services businesses such as hairstylists, estheticians …read more…

  • Poppy on wall at Vimy Remembrance Day, Centre Plan consultation, Rapid Housing initiative & more

    Hello all, I wanted to let you know about Remembrance Day tomorrow in District 7. The event at the Cenotaph in Grand Parade has been reduced to 50 people. The public is asked to stay home. The event at Sailors Memorial, which I normally attend, is canceled. I do not have an update on the Province House, RA Park or Camp Hill memorials, but as I said in my last newsletter the Legion has recommended that memorials be canceled or limited this year due to COVID. For your safety and the safety of others, please stay home and watch the national memorial on your TV. I think the news the last couple of days of new cases and new potential exposure has made all of us nervous.   There is a long list of sites in Halifax and Dartmouth over the last week that folks are asked to be concerned about, and in some cases get tested regardless of how they may feel.  The several press releases can be found here: http://www.nshealth.ca/news It is very important that we be vigilant and take all precautions – wear a mask, maintain 2m distance, wash our hands frequently, download the app. If we make sure that we follow public health guidance, and reduce opportunities for exposure and spread, we can get this minor outbreak under control. I shared the article “The Hammer and the Dance” with you a number of months ago. We are going to have outbreaks and we are going to have to put out these small fires, so all is not lost. Visit covid-self-assessment.novascotia.ca/ to do a self-assessment if in the past 48 hours you have had or you are currently experiencing: fever or cough (new or worsening) OR two or more of the following symptoms (new or worsening): sore throat runny nose headache shortness of breath You can also call 811 if you don’t have online access or if you have other symptoms that concern you. Please remember: To self-isolate until you receive 811 advice on next steps. Do not go directly to a COVID-19 assessment centre without being directed to do so by 811. I’ve had a number of emails concerned about HRM’s plan to buy up to 150 diesel buses. Rather than repeat his good work, I’ll link to Sam Austin’s blog from April regarding our plans to rapidly transition to EV bus.  He wrote in part: “This isn’t a procurement issue. It’s not that some imagined short-sighted bureaucrat doesn’t want to pay the upfront cost of electric. The problem is, HRM doesn’t have the infrastructure in place at the transit garages to operate an electric fleet. We can buy the buses, the problem is we can’t run them.” We have a plan to electrify the fleet, and it is not cheap, and we expect Provincial funding to be announced soon. I do not expect HRM to buy all 150 diesel buses.  You can read Sam’s blog here. Last week there was an exciting announcement regarding the Federal Rapid Housing Initiative.  The Rapid Housing Initiative (RHI) provides funding to expedite the delivery of affordable housing units to vulnerable people and populations targeted under the National Housing Strategy (NHS), especially those affected by COVID-19. Funding is available through two separate streams. For the first stream, RHI will expedite funds to municipalities with the highest need. For the second stream, an application portal will be open to governments, Indigenous governing bodies and organizations, and non-profit organizations where applications will be prioritized based on the strength of the application. The critical piece is that the $8.7 million for HRM for this initiative targets rapid housing and delivery of units within 12 months. Municipal staff has reached out to affordable housing providers to identify partners and establish projects that could benefit from this new funding initiative. Final note – starting today the Lower Water Street Tactical Bikeway. This project will begin installation towards the end of this week, with line painting happening overnight, and bollards being installed within those lines the following day. Planters will also be included along the corridor, however, they will be installed under a separate contract in the coming weeks. These planters will be maintained year-round. This project will provide an opportunity to test and evaluate a new street design and configuration that will ultimately help inform the functional design options under consideration. More info here: https://www.halifax.ca/about-halifax/regional-community-planning/transportation-planning/street-improvement-pilot-projects Public Meetings & Engagement Centre Plan Package B – Seeking Your Feedback on Established Residential Neighbourhoods – Virtual Public Meetings The Centre Plan is a planning process for peninsular Halifax and Dartmouth within the boundaries of the Circumferential Highway that will help shape the future of development. As you may know the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the Centre Plan Package B public engagement process and project timeline. We are pleased to be able to provide additional feedback and community engagement opportunities with a focus on established residential neighborhoods. The centreplan.ca website provides access to all draft planning documents, an interactive map, and fact sheets. New fact sheets were recently added to compare existing and proposed zoning rules in established residential areas.  All feedback will be summarized in a “What We Heard” report, provided to Council, and considered in revisions to the draft Plan and Land Use By-law. Interested in planning issues in your neighbourhood? Join Centre Plan planning staff for one of three virtual public consultation meetings using Microsoft Teams Live Event: Monday, November 16 from 10:30 a.m. to 12 noon. Monday, November 23 from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. Thursday, November 26, 2020 from 12 noon – 1:30 p.m. Here’s how you can participate: Watch the live event online and participate through the online chat Call into the meeting and listen via your phone. Register to speak through the phone line by 3 p.m. the day before each meeting. View the participation instructions here.  All three meetings will include the same presentation. Small Group Meetings Planning staff are also available for small virtual or in-person meetings with neighbourhood groups. To schedule a meeting in November or December, please e-mail planhrm@halifax.ca.  The …read more…

Blog Posts

  • Market alone will not solve the housing crisis

    This article originally appeared in the Chronicle Herald. That Halifax and Nova Scotia have an affordable housing crisis is not breaking news, and it is good to see the province announce the formation of an Affordable Housing Commission, with a mandate to recommend strategies and actions within six months. While this process plays out, Halifax needs to continue to take rapid actions where it can, while demanding new and long-delayed tools from the province. The province needs to either get back into building new units or give housing and funding to Halifax and get out of the way. Halifax has experienced five years of unprecedented population and economic growth. While this is welcome, it has increased stress on an already expensive housing market. COVID has made this bad situation worse, with impacts ranging from distancing rules, halving capacity in homeless shelters, to an already in-trouble housing market made worse by the great many people choosing to move here, perceiving safety. The 2015 Halifax Housing and Homelessness Partnership study showed 20 per cent of residents cannot afford market price rental housing. Halifax’s population has grown nine per cent over the last five years. The number of people who need below-market housing continues to grow with the population, and the number of affordable units has not grown with demand. The market will not solve this problem. Unlike many municipalities in much of the rest of the country, housing in Nova Scotia is delivered by the province. Many other provinces chose to fund municipalities to deliver housing, but that has not been the case in Nova Scotia since 1996. As a result, the Metro Regional Housing Authority is a provincial entity and new affordable units are almost exclusively built at the direction of the province while most federal money goes to the province, not to Halifax. Halifax and Winnipeg are the only two major cities in Canada that do not deliver housing directly. In 2018, Halifax voted in favour of my motion asking the province to give the responsibility for housing back to the municipality. That discussion is still being had. Despite not directly delivering housing, Halifax has been trying to effect change where it can, following its Affordable Housing Work Plan. Halifax has approved a program for affordable housing built by not-for-profits and funded by developer-paid “density bonus” money. HRM has waived “municipal construction fees” for non-profit affordable housing, and worked to reduce red tape by removing barriers on the development of secondary suites. The municipality has also improved regulations regarding single-room occupancies while working to ensure programming in vulnerable neighbourhoods. The municipality is also starting to identify appropriate surplus municipal lands for use in affordable housing projects, such as the recent sale of lands in North Dartmouth for $1 to the Affordable Housing Nova Scotia society. By April, the work plan should be complete when council removes barriers to the development of special-care facilities and implements policy for registration of residential rentals. Halifax has identified other lots for affordable housing that are the right scale for not-for-profit groups. Larger lots like St. Pat’s High or Bloomfield are too big for quick and successful affordable developments and have instead been sold for development. This will capture significant density bonus funds for investment in affordable projects. Halifax could do more if the province provides the necessary tools the municipality has long asked for. Most important among these tools is inclusionary zoning, which would allow the municipality to require that most new and some renovated residential developments include some affordable homes. Without this, the municipality cannot influence or control any rental pricing. Other tools that have been requested include asking the province to complete the enforcement regulations for the affordable-housing provisions in the Halifax Charter. Without this, the municipality cannot hold developers to any commitment to include affordable housing in a development. There are other tools the province could provide, such as simpler mechanisms to ensure affordable housing stays affordable, like targeted rent control on designated units, the ability to require a developer covenant affordability on deed, and no-net-loss provisions that require maintenance or replacement of affordable units. The current reverse-mortgage model for guaranteeing affordability is too short and complicated to be tenable. While the recently announced temporary measures for rent control are important, we need a long-term strategy. Who really thinks rent increases of 20-100 per cent in one year is ever fair? The province needs to ban these unfair practices and provide financial incentives to avoid renovictions. Most importantly, the province must increase Income Assistance rental rates which have not kept up with inflation and are nowhere near meeting the costs of rent and basic necessities. With provincial support, we can have more shelters, more supportive housing, and build more housing for people requiring below-market housing. Together, one way or the other, the province and Halifax can rapidly develop and implement programs that will improve the quality of life for so many vulnerable citizens. It’s time to stop talking, and start building. Waye Mason is a Halifax regional councillor representing District 7 (Halifax South Downtown).

  • Hurricane Teddy Update 2

    NOAA has updated their tracking (next Env. Canada is 3pm) and they now predict 90-100% likelihood of tropical storm-force winds on the whole Atlantic coast of Nova Scotia. https://www.nhc.noaa.gov/graphics_at5.shtml?start#contents Hurricane Teddy is on track to Hit Nova Scotia starting in just a few hours. It is important residents take this storm seriously, and take precautions. Given current tracking, it appears Teddy is going to wallop the entire Atlantic coast of Nova Scotia. With the size of the storm, the strength of the winds and how slowly it is moving means it is going to hit Halifax hard, and you can expect significant disruption for the next 24-36 hours. It will almost certainly not be safe to leave your home by late this afternoon, and as you can see from the graphic above we will have significant wind and rain impacts until tomorrow morning some time. Please follow http://twitter.com/hfxgov (corrected link) have a battery operated radio ready to go to listen to local radio. Should we end up getting hit by a serious storm, please help your neighbours, lend a hand, be kind, and be patient. Continue to call 911 in an emergency. Call 311 for downed trees and flooding. Call NSPI for power for downed lines 877-428-6004. It is not too late to take some of the steps to prepare I outlined in my last update here: Follow my EMO twitter list here: https://twitter.com/WayeMason/lists/emo-yhz HRM Updates here: https://www.halifax.ca/fire-police/fire/emergency-management/hurricanes Provincial updates here: https://novascotia.ca/alerts/hurricane-teddy/ HRM Emergency Operations Centre is stood up and the information I’ve gotten is: Any disruption in municipal services for today and tomorrow have been announced (see below) and ongoing updates regarding municipal service levels will be issued as information becomes available Winds are currently 31 knots (57 km/h) just off our coast, and anticipated to pick up in the coming hours Hurricane Teddy has been downgraded to Cat 1 (from Cat 2) and is transitioning to a powerful post tropical storm Very powerful swells can expect to cause life threating surf and rip current conditions Storm is now moving very slowly which means extended rain and wind over the Halifax region, and increased winds on shore Initial impacts of storm expected by midday Tuesday, with peak period late Tuesday/ early Wednesday; impacts of storm currently expected to remain in the region until at least noon on Wednesday Rainfall: heavy, with accumulation up to 130 mm Winds: 90km/h sustained and gusts up to 120 km/h Public warnings were issued yesterday by Environment Canada The following is the public service announcement shared by HRM today. Hurricane Teddy update and service impacts Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2020 (Halifax, NS) – The Halifax Regional Municipality is advising residents of the following updates and impacts to municipal services as a result of the Hurricane Teddy. The following information is correct as of 11:30 a.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 22. Weather Update: Heavy rain with accumulation up to 130 mm and sustained high winds of 90km/h and gusts up to 120 km/h are expected to begin Tuesday afternoon, and continue overnight into Wednesday. High storm surges are expected, and all residents should stay away from all areas of the coast or any low-lying areas. Be ready to move inland or to higher ground. The largest threat to homes and property is flying debris. Please move umbrellas and patio furniture inside and remove anything that high winds could pick up such as garbage containers/bags, flower pots, toys etc. All election signage should also be removed. Halifax Transit Halifax Transit ferry service is being suspended as of approximately 2:30 p.m. today and a further announcement will be made on service resuming on Wednesday. Bus and Access-A-Bus service will continue to be monitored and a further update will be provided as the storm progresses. The last ferry from Halifax to Alderney will run at 2:15 p.m. The last ferry from Halifax to Woodside will run at 2:22 p.m. Parks & Recreation Municipal sports fields, all-weather fields, tracks and baseball diamonds will be closed today and all bookings have been cancelled. An announcement on reopening will be made once the impacts to these facilities have been resolved. Due to safety concerns, residents are advised to avoid visiting municipal parks until the storm has passed and potential damage, including downed trees, has been addressed. The status of recreation facilities is also being monitored as the storm progresses. Please call ahead to your local recreation centre for updates. Solid Waste Curbside collection of garbage, organics, and recyclables is cancelled for Wednesday, Sept. 23 and is rescheduled for Saturday, Sept. 26. The household special waste depot for Saturday, Sept. 26 is cancelled, and is expected to resume on the following Saturday, Oct. 3.  For further schedule details visit our website at: www.halifax.ca/HSWDepot. Residents and commercial solid waste haulers are also advised that the following facilities will be closed on Wednesday, September 23: The public drop off at the Otter Lake Waste Facility at 600 Otter Lake Drive (the transfer station will remain open for commercial haulers) The Materials Recycling Facility at 20 Horseshoe Lake Drive The Composting Facilities at 80 Gloria McCluskey Avenue in Burnside and 61 Evergreen Place in Goodwood The rural refuse depot located at 21611 Highway 7 in Sheet Harbour For further information on solid waste, visit www.halifax.ca/recycle Please visit halifax.ca/hurricanes or follow @hfxgov on Twitter for all storm-related updates.

  • Hurricane Teddy Update 1

    Hurricane Teddy is approaching Nova Scotia and while this morning it appears to be tracking to the northeast of central Halifax, in our recent experience hurricanes seem to ‘make up their minds’ when they are in sight of land. The direction the storm takes could see it land anywhere from Sambro to Canso right now, so it is important to be prepared. This post contains the official HRM update, NS Power update, and a list of practical things you can do to personally prepare, lovingly crowdsourced from my friends on Facebook. Also, note that election signs will be removed and not reinstated until the storm has passed to reduce the likelihood of flying debris. Please follow http://halifax.ca/hfxgov, have a battery operated radio ready to go to listen to local radio. Should we end up getting hit by a serious storm, please help your neighbours, lend a hand, be kind, and be patient. Continue to call 911 in an emergency. Call 311 for downed trees and flooding. Call NSPI for power for downed lines 877-428-6004. Follow my EMO twitter list here: https://twitter.com/WayeMason/lists/emo-yhz HRM Updates here: https://www.halifax.ca/fire-police/fire/emergency-management/hurricanes Provincial updates here: https://novascotia.ca/alerts/hurricane-teddy/ Halifax EMO Update The Halifax Regional Municipality is advising residents to prepare in advance for the possible effects of Hurricane Teddy, expected to arrive in the Halifax region early next week. The largest threat to homes and property is flying debris. Please move umbrellas and patio furniture inside and remove anything that high winds could pick up such as garbage containers/bags, flower pots, toys, temporary signage, sports equipment, and any other objects located near the right of way. To reduce the likelihood of flooding, residents who are able to do so safely are asked to clear debris from catch basins located near their property prior to the storm. If you live on the coast or in a low-lying area near the coast, be ready to move inland or to higher ground in the event of a significant storm. Those responsible for construction sites and other outdoor work spaces where significant debris may be present are urged to ensure their sites are clear of loose debris that could create a public safety concern. Municipal staff will begin removing all barrels and barricades currently in place on designated ‘slow streets’ as part of the municipality’s Mobility Response Plan. The ‘slow streets’ were expected to remain in place until Sept. 30, however, due to anticipated high winds, they will be removed early and will not be reinstated. Any municipal service level adjustments, including transit, solid waste collection and parks and recreation, will be communicated to the public with as much advanced notice as possible. Safety is the municipality’s top priority. The Halifax Regional Municipality’s Emergency Management Division will be monitoring weather forecasts in the coming days as Hurricane Teddy heads for our region. To learn about hurricane preparedness and how to keep your family safe, visit halifax.ca/fire-police/fire/emergency-management/hurricanes. Residents are urged to sign-up for hfxALERT, the municipality’s mass notification system. Subscribers will receive urgent and non-urgent public alerts by phone, email or text. Sign up here.https://www.halifax.ca/fire-police/fire/emergency-management/hfxalert Please visit Halifax.ca or follow @hfxgov on Twitter for all storm-related updates. NS Power Update Nova Scotia Power is mobilizing personnel and resources in advance of Hurricane Teddy’s expected arrival in Nova Scotia on Tuesday. “We have been closely monitoring Hurricane Teddy for several days and taking steps to prepare,” said Matt Drover, Nova Scotia Power’s storm lead. “Based on the recent weather forecasts and the tropical storm models, we will be opening the Emergency Operations Centre on Sunday to ensure proper plans are in place and crews and contactors are secured in advance of potential storm impacts.   We are taking every precaution and will be ready to respond to Hurricane Teddy.” Nova Scotia Power is activating its Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) at noon on Sunday to plan and prepare to manage its storm response. The EOC provides centralized coordination for outage restoration planning and response as well as liaison with the Nova Scotia Emergency Management Office (EMO).  It is staffed with employees representing all aspects of the company. Customer Safety Nova Scotia Power encourages customers to plan for their safety. Some tips include having an emergency kit that includes flashlights, a battery-powered radio and fresh water, ensuring backup generators are installed properly outdoors, and charging electronic devices. If you lose power, turn off and unplug electrical equipment, such as televisions and computers to prevent damage when power is restored. Visit www.nspower.ca/stormready for a full list of safety and storm preparedness tips. Some Practical Recommendations for Storm Preparedness Clean: – do your laundry, especially kids clothes, towels, underwear – make sure all dishes are done – take a shower – clean to the room where you will mostly hang out if the power goes out. Makes for a better experience if you are waiting out the storm. Food and drink: – Pre-grind your whole bean coffee (if you are fancy, that is) – Cook and bake in preparation, example hard-cooked eggs – Canned & shelf stable food and snacks – ice packs or bottles of water or plastic containers in the freezer, and deep freeze if you have one. Idea is to fill all available space now so it freezes solid and will stay cold longer. – stash of BBQ-able meat in the kitchen freezer so won’t have to open the deep freeze if you have one – Make the fridge colder than usual so it stays colder longer – make a big pot of soup/stew/chowder that can be re-heated on the wood stove/bbq/coleman – if you are able make sure you have some way to cook that does not require electricity – stove for camping, bbq, etc – lots and lots of buckets of water (more important on a well, very unlikely to be needed on city water)- Check pet supply food Life with no power: – flashlights, tea lights, but careful with candles as they can be a fire hazzard – tether any BBQ to the railing & tie-down patio furniture or bring indoors/shed – …read more…