COVID-19 INFO

Find information, resources and updates regarding impacts of the State of Emergency in response to COVID-19

More on COVID-19

HOUSING CRISIS

Info on the housing crisis, what is being done now, and what your rights are.

More on housing

PARTICIPATORY BUDGETING 2022/23

Read about the 2021 District 7 Capital Grants. Participatory Budget deadlines coming soon!

More about PB in D7

Meet Waye, Councillor for District 7

Waye Mason on Argyle Street

 

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 and 2020 due in part to what Halifax Magazine referred to as his “relentless constituency work.”

Find out more about Waye here

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News & Updates

  • Housing crisis, students, elections, district capital, Centre Plan, important Public Hearings, more

    In This Issue My Council Update contains info about housing, student return, centre plan, elections, and district capital. Public Meetings and Hearing includes some engagements and two big public hearings regarding two large developments, one on Robie, one on Carlton/Robie/College.  Roadworks has for updates.  Community Events is starting still pretty light, but some good stuff in there. This issue ends with info on how to reach out and get help on municipal issues. Councillor Update The housing crisis continues to be the most pressing issue in our community. So many people are concerned about housing I’ve added a new section to my website https://wayemason.ca/housing and set up a new mailing list just for housing updates.  The first housing update went out to folks Monday.  If you want to know more, you can read it on my website here: https://wayemason.ca/2021/08/30/housing-update-1/ I will include links to Housing Updates in this district newsletter, but if you want to receive that email too, please go to https://wayemason.ca/housing and sign up. Residents should have received my paper newsletter this week.  In it I wrote: Because of the pandemic, this year’s return to school will be different. We will have two years worth of university students arriving at once, with no experience with living here and going to class. People are going to be teaching and learning face to face for the first time in a long time. Other neighbours are navigating returning to work, kids going to school, taking care of family, still worrying about getting sick, variants, and the neighbourhood welcoming the students back. It will be challenging! I continue to be so proud of how our community has faced these challenges, and while know it’s been a lot to carry, I have to ask you once again to reach for empathy and compassion while we navigate this next phase of this journey together. As I’ve said since March 2020, please help your neighbours (both new and old), lend a hand, be kind, and be patient. As you have no doubt noticed university students have returned in force to our neighbourhood.  One issue this time of year is garbage put out at the curb at the wrong time/day.  HRM has up to seven enforcement officers in these areas this September. The designated staff allow for more timely and consistent follow-up. Several cases have been created and remedied already. Solid waste has created a digital and physical flier for new students with the following info: Recycle Right by following the sorting guidelines provided by the municipality. Place materials curbside AFTER 7 p.m. the night before or by 7 a.m. the morning of collection. Materials must be secure (place in a garbage can if your bag is breaking). Stay within the limit – 6 bags/cans of garbage per residential house and 1 bulky item; 4 bags / cans of garbage per unit in small apartment buildings and 2 bulky items per building. AREA I – HALIFAX September 6 – September 10  Green Cart and Garbage September 13 – September 17 –  Green Cart & Recyclables September 20- September 24 Green Cart and Garbage Download the Halifax Recycles app. Use the Halifax Recycles mobile and web app to see what goes where and receive weekly notifications. The Provincial election ended with a new government and two new MLAs for District 7.   I’d like to congratulate Premier Houston and I look forward to working with him to address the urgent housing crisis in HRM, which I wrote to him about here.  Also welcome to Suzy Hanson as the Halifax Needham MLA, and Lisa Lachance as the new Citadel Sable Island MLA.  I will update my contact page when the new MLAs have their constituency offices set up. I also want to thank Lisa Roberts and Labi Kousoulis, our outgoing MLAs, for their service to our community. Please do not forget to vote in the Federal Election on or before September 20.  At this point the incumbent Andy Filmore (Liberal) is facing off against Lisa Roberts (NDP), (edit) Cameron Ells (Conservative), (edit2) Jo Ann Roberts (Green), Katie Campbell (Communist) and Alex Hebert (People’s Party).  For information about how to vote, visit Elections Canada: https://www.elections.ca/ In late June, Liam and I met virtually and approved the District 7 Capital Grant projects listed on my website here: https://wayemason.ca/pb, and all of these have reservations made or cheques mailed to them already! In addition to the applicants who came in through this year’s program, several projects over the last few years came in under budget or never took place, which had allowed some additional allocations to take place, which I’ve also listed. There will be a couple of additional projects funded in the Fall. I am really looking forward to bringing back in-person  voting and the fun of Participatory Budgeting in 2022/23 Center Plan Next Steps The Centre Plan is a planning process for the Regional Centre, including Peninsula Halifax and Dartmouth inside the Circumferential Highway. The Centre Plan is being developed in two phases, Package A – approved by Council in September of 2019, and Package B. The focus of Package B is on land-use policies for parks and community facilities, institutional areas, employment areas, and established residential areas. A key part of Package B is support for additional housing options through gentle density and missing middle housing. Centre Plan Adoption Process  Between April and July, a number of Community Councils and Committees of Council reviewed Centre Plan Package B and forwarded recommendations to Regional Council.  We would like to thank all the Committees for providing thoughtful feedback on the proposed Centre Plan, and in particular members of the Community Design Advisory Committee who guided the planning process over the past several years. Regional Council Approves Key Changes  On August 17, 2021, Regional Council provided direction to staff on changes to the proposed planning documents arising from the review process, including a number of site-specific zoning changes identified in the supplementary staff report.  All changes ratified by Council are available on the Committee of the Whole and Regional Council agendas with recorded video also available: Committee of the Whole Agenda (August 17, 2021) Ratified Motion (Item 14.2) Staff Presentation Next Steps The changes directed by Council will be incorporated into the planning documents and presented to […]

  • Election and housing, Halifax Common pool, Downtown Halifax Heritage conservation district, more.

    In This Issue My Council Update is the election and housing, Halifax Common pool, Downtown Halifax Heritage conservation district, and vacation. Public Meetings and Hearing has the remaining meetings for the summer.  Roadworks has two updates.  Community Events is starting to fill up! This issue ends with info on how to reach out and get help on municipal issues. Councillor Update Ah, the provincial election! Last week I watched the Provincial election leader’s debate and it was great they talked about housing, but that format doesn’t really allow any depth to the answers.  We have immediate and urgent needs in HRM which need to be addressed in days and months, not years, and I didn’t hear any answers to that issue. So, I wrote the three leaders a letter with five questions about housing.  When I get the responses, I will do a blog about it end of next week. If you need info about how to vote, who is running, etc, I did a blog post about it. Sadly Halifax Commons Pool won’t open this year. There are safety concerns with the integrity of the pool, and it will not be opening this summer. With any luck, once the required repairs to the pool are completed, it may open next summer and would be able to bridge the time until the new Common’s Aquatic Centre opens. HRM has been able to secure free aquatic opportunities for everyone to enjoy, they are: Needham Pool July 26 – September 3 Monday – Friday: 2:00 – 300pm, 3:00 – 4:00pm, 5:00 – 6:00pm Sunday: 10:30 – 11:30am and 2:00 – 3:00pm In partnership with the YMCA, Greater Halifax – 5640 Sackville Street Monday August 2 – 12:30 – 2:00pm Monday, Wednesday, and Friday: August 4 – September 3 – 3:00 – 4:30 pm HRM Planning & Development wants to hear from you about the proposed Downtown Halifax Heritage Conservation District. Members of the public are encouraged to participate in this by visiting the website, learn about the proposed Downtown Halifax Heritage Conservation District, complete a survey, and share ideas. http://www.shapeyourcityhalifax.ca/downtown-halifax-heritage Lastly, I am taking two weeks off and I will be out of the office from August 8-22.  I will check in to do a blog on the leader’s responses and to participate in the August 17 Council meeting. Looking forward to a good long break!  While I am away, Liam will be happy to help you, his contact info is at the bottom of this newsletter. Public Meetings, Hearings & Engagement Public hearings are published 2-3 weeks before they take place and a list of upcoming hearings can be found here: https://www.halifax.ca/business/planning-development/public-hearings Halifax Regional Council – virtual meetings If you want to read reports coming to Regional Council (posted mid-day Friday prior to the Tuesday meeting) or to check the agenda. Upcoming meetings: Tuesday, August 17 at 10:00 a.m. Tuesday, September 7 at 10:00 a.m. Agendas here: https://www.halifax.ca/city-hall/agendas-meetings-reports?category=127 Halifax & West Community Council – virtual meetings 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. August 25, 6pm September 7, 6pm Agenda here – https://www.halifax.ca/city-hall/agendas-meetings-reports?category=140 Regional Centre Community Council – virtual meetings Community Council meets on monthly when needed regarding issues and appeals arising from the Centre Plan. Please check the webpage here for agendas (usually available a week before the meeting), locations, and times. No meeting is scheduled for August. Agenda here – https://www.halifax.ca/city-hall/community-councils/regional-centre-community-council Halifax Peninsula Planning Advisory Council Halifax 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. Upcoming meetings: August 23 4:30pm 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 Information about how to watch or participate in virtual meetings can be found on the agenda pages. Please confirm meeting dates and times on our website as dates and times are subject to change. Roadworks Update The following street closures or sidewalk disruptions have recently been added to the RoadWorks map FALKLAND ST from GOTTINGEN ST to CREIGHTON ST, starting on 2021-07- BRUNSWICK ST from CARMICHAEL ST to PRINCE ST, starting on 2021-07-21 You can find out road closure details on the HRM Roadworks map: https://www.halifax.ca/transportation/streets-sidewalks/RoadWorks Other Major Projects: South Street Bridge Rehabilitation Proposed Project – Canadian National Railway (CN) and Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM) are proceeding with bridge and roadway rehabilitation work on the arch bridge structure at South Street in 2021. The work will involve a major rehabilitation of the structure and reinstatement of the roadway. A detour route comprised of Beaufort Avenue, Oakland Road, and Rockcliffe Street will provide access to the South Street neighbourhood during construction. Contact the CN Public Inquiry Line at 1-888-888-5909 or at contact@cn.ca if you have any questions. Community Events Raffle 2021 – Win a Trip for Two to Sable Island (by helicopter) The deadline for purchasing tickets is midnight, August 31st | Online As of this writing, there are only 26 tickets left – so if you want to buy a ticket, do so before they run out!   Tickets are $50 (with a maximum of 400 tickets sold). Due to NS lottery regulations, tickets can only be sold/purchased in Nova Scotia. The draw will be held on Thursday September 2nd on the Halifax Waterfront at the Acadian Monument, Tall Ships Quay, and we hope to live stream the event on Facebook (follow us on Facebook for details). The trip takes place on Wednesday, October 6, 2021 (with October 7 as the backup date). There is also a 2nd prize of $1,000 and the 3rd prize of $500. This is a fundraiser for the Sable Island Institute – more info here https://sableislandinstitute.org/win-a-trip-for-two-to-sable-island/ Cunard Block Engagement to end September | Pop-Ups and Online A little work for more play. We’d like to know what you’d like to experience at the new CUNARD public spaces on the waterfront — it’s shaping up to be a playful space with and for people of all ages. Designed with and for people with […]

  • 2021 Provincial Election Resources NS House of Assembly

    2021 Provincial General Election The 41st Provincial General Election is underway in Nova Scotia. Election day will be Tuesday, August 17, 2021. This brief newsletter contains info on things you might want to consider while voting, boundary changes, who is running and how to find out more information, and how to vote. YOU CAN VOTE TODAY.  As we joke in NS, vote early, vote often!  But not the last part.  But vote before you head out on vacation, or back to work…. just do it! Things to consider It is always important to vote, but I think this is a really extremely important election for our district. With HRM changing and growing so quickly, it is important that all parties and all candidates are dialed in and focused on things we all need to maintain the quality of life and economic success of Halifax, now and in the future. Without a more supportive arrangement, where parties are willing to give Halifax the ability to do things that no other municipality may wish to do, Halifax will struggle, and you will see impacts in your everyday life.  A current example is a decades-long policy failure in housing, a provincial responsibility, that has resulted in so many people living in tents, with nowhere else to go. We need to make sure these issues are heard loud and clear! Housing – I’ve written extensively about the challenges in Nova Scotia and Halifax about housing. Most recent articles are here, here and here (and it’s been a topic on the website 70 times in the last 9 years). Questions I’m asking – Will the candidate support legislative change to give the municipality the power it needs to require affordable housing in large-scale private development?  Does the candidate support immediate and significant new capital and operating funding for the creation of housing and supportive housing. Does the candidate support funding and legislative change based on the Affordable Housing Commission Report? Climate change –  Our house is on fire. Questions I’m asking – what is the Candidates plan to meet and exceed the Paris goals?  How will the candidate’s party pay for this?  Will the candidate support Halifax’s nation leading climate plan, Halifact 2050, with policy, legislation, and funding? Transit investment – The city is growing, something we used to despair ever happening.  In order to grow fairly and successfully, we need to see massive changes in how we get around HRM, both in terms of Rapid Transit in the urban areas and community transit where the population can support it in the rural areas. Questions I’m asking – Does the candidate support full provincial participation in building the bus rapid transit plan?  Does the candidate support ongoing funding to transform HRMs bus fleet into Battery Electric Bus (BEB?). Will the candidate prioritize transit, walking, cycling, and car share over single-occupant vehicles and expanding the highway system, which only induces further demand and enables sprawl?   Boundary Changes Residents of District 7 should know that the boundaries of Halifax Citadel Sable Island, Halifax Chebucto and Halifax Needham shifted during the last redistricting.   The area between Cogswell and Duke/Rainne/Gottingen is now in Halifax Citadel Sable Island (not Halifax Needham). The area between Jubilee and Coburg from Robie to the North West arm is now in Halifax Citadel Sable Island (not Halifax Chebucto). I’ve updated the district map, shown below, and for this newsletter highlighted the areas that have moved into Citadel in purple. Who Is Running and More Info The following candidate list was taken from the Elections NS website 10am July 28.  The links are to the first page that popped in in search for each candidate.  Political handlers – do not email me and ask for this to be changed – fix your SEO, you are in an election! 28. Halifax Chebucto     Barraclough, Lily, Green Party – https://greenpartyns.ca/lily-barraclough-halifax-chebucto/ Burrill, Gary, NDP – https://www.nsndp.ca/about-gary Chisholm, John Wesley, PC Party – https://www.pcpartyns.ca/john_wesley_chisholm Kinley, Jackie, Liberal – https://www.facebook.com/chebuctojackie/ 29. Halifax Citadel-Sable Island     Hollis, Noah, Green Party – https://greenpartyns.ca/noah-hollis-halifax-citadel-sable-isand/ Kousoulis, Labi, Liberal – https://votelabi.ca/ Lachance, Lisa, NDP – https://www.lisalachance.ca/ndp Morgan, Sheri, PC Party   – https://www.pcpartyns.ca/sheri_morgan 30. Halifax Needham     Coady, Colin, Liberal – https://www.facebook.com/ColinCoadyHFX Ellis, Scott, PC Party – https://www.pcpartyns.ca/scott_ellis Hansen, Suzy, NDP – https://www.facebook.com/SuzyHalifaxNeedham/ Trappenberg, Kai, Green Party – https://greenpartyns.ca/ How to Vote The following voting information is from the Elections Nova Scotia Website. Election Day Tuesday, August 17, 2021 8am to 8pm Early Voting Options – Vote Early, Vote Safely! Before election day voters can vote safely at any returning office or early voting location in the province. Returning Office Open Mondays to Saturdays – Closed Sundays 9am to 6pm or until 8pm Thursday, August 12, and Friday, August 13 Vote safely at any Returning Office in Nova Scotia before election day. Advance Poll Saturday, August 7 to Saturday, August 14 9am to 6pm or until 8pm Thursday, August 12 and Friday, August 13 Closed Sunday You can vote safely at any early voting location in Nova Scotia Vote by Mail – Write-in Ballot Applications You can apply on-line for a write-in ballot to vote by mail. Apply online or ask someone you trust who is at least 18 years old to act as your agent and help you apply. By Mail Deadline: Saturday, August 7 – 6pm In Person and by agent: Saturday, August 14 – 6pm (out of district) Tuesday, August 17 – 3pm (in district) You can also make an appointment through your local returning office for a write-in ballot team to visit you at home to help you vote. Write-in ballots conducted every day except Sunday during hours the returning office is returning office is open.

  • Housing and Shelter Update, North West Arm Infill, Hospital Noise Test, Cornonavirus Update #48 phase 4 info Halifax Harbour July 14 from ferry Rita Joe

    In This Issue My Council Update has information a housing & shelter update, North West Arm infill threat, Robie Street (QE2) hospital site noise test, Centennial Pool update, and bi-weekly blue bag collection. Public Meetings and Hearing gives folks a heads up on some important upcoming public hearing dates, and dates for the rest of this summer’s Regional and Community Council meetings.  Roadworks includes a few projects.  Community Events includes an important fundraiser for Spencer House, Bastille Day, and sidewalk chalk placemaking kits.  Coronavirus Update #48 has details on the phase 4 opening today. This issue ends with info on how to reach out and get help on municipal issues. Councillor Update I wanted to start this update by sharing more information regarding our housing crisis, the structures in our parks, and the current controversies.    Most important to start – the folks in these shelters in parks are being offered hotels and then once in safe shelter, the structures are removed, and the Province has confirmed in writing they will keep folks in hotels until they find appropriate permanent housing.  This is not to in any way to say hotels are a great solution, they are an interim solution.  We need the Province to provide a clear roadmap to solving these issues. If you have not read this blog yet, and if you want details about what HRM can do, and what we cannot do (because of Provincial law), and how we are almost done working through doing all the things we are able to do, please read this blog wrote about the current situation.  This blog links to an older piece that details projects currently underway to make housing easier, faster, and less expensive. This is not to say HRM is not working hard despite these constraints. HRM is supporting projects through land and money.  In the last year, our new direction resulted in a number of projects being supported.  Last December HRM worked to help secure Federal funding and provide guarantees for three Rapid Housing Initiative projects (Adsum Women & Children transition housing for women and children 25 units, Mi’kmaq Native Friendship Centre Shelter 17 units, North End Community Health Association 10 units). Council voted to sell land for $4.00 for 25 townhouses to be built by Affordable Housing Nova Scotia in Dartmouth North. HRM participated in enabling a coop with CMHC on Maitland with 57 units. While having been sold private, 10% (40-50 units) in the Bloomfield Property will be affordable housing, at the developer’s expense.   All of these are HRM enabling Federal and Provincial investments and would be beyond HRMs fiscal capacity to lead or finance alone. The municipality should have $1-1.5 million in density bonusing funds this year to hand out to Not-For-Profit Housing Providers.  We have a motion from Councillor Cuttell to take some general revenue which may also happen.  And today, a second, $13 million phase of Rapid Housing Initiative was announced. Some recent news was the announcement the Province would fund and act on the Affordable Housing Commission report.  I wrote a letter to the Premier this week acknowledging that, but then expanding on other needed next steps. As I said in that first blog “The fact is these shelters and tents are not safe or appropriate housing. We must do better. We can’t let people live in unsafe structures. Hotels are a safe alternative.” Expanding the number of unheated, not to code shelters in parks, with no running water, no bathrooms, is not a solution.  We need to do better. Next week I hope to send the Premier, Housing Minister, and Community Service Minister with some detailed and costed proposals for the types of rapid housing we need to see right now. You’ve may have heard that there is an application for a Federal Permit to in fill a large private lot in the North West Arm. The governance of these water lots is complex and piecemeal due to their unique legal status as well as Canada’s constitutional dynamic. Permitting for infilling of these lots falls under federal jurisdiction and is regulated under the Navigable Waters Act and the Fisheries Act. Infill applications under the Navigable Waters Act assess impacts on navigation without an examination of broader risks. There is not yet a provincial environmental assessment associated with water lot infilling. Infilling is likewise outside the jurisdiction of municipalities, which are only able to regulate the use and development of the newly created ‘land’ that results from the infilling activity. This patchwork of regulation and limited governmental coordination has resulted in a governance gap in which developers have been able to infill water lots along the Northwest Arm without adequate protections for broader public interests. In addition to reducing the surface water area of the Arm, the practice threatens water quality, strains coastal ecosystems, and damages fish habitat. Infilling also puts structures along our coastline at greater risk to the coastal impacts of climate change, such as sea-level rise, storm surge, coastal flooding and the increased frequency and intensity of weather events. In 2007, HRM introduced a land-use bylaw to restrict the permitted use of infilled water lots to deter risky development. However, the practice of infilling along the Northwest Arm has continued despite these restrictions. Developers have sought to test the strength and boundaries of these municipal regulations in the absence of broader government coordination. A month ago Council voted unanimously to send a letter to the Federal Minister per my request.  MP Andy Filmore has publicly asked the Minister to pause approvals.  I talked to Senator Kutcher last week and three NS Senators have been active on the file, and many Councillors including myself have sent letters to the Minister.  I am hopeful our area MLAs will also write letters. If you want to write a letter and express your support, the Ecology Action Centre has resources here that I urge you to visit:  https://protectthenorthwestarm.com/ After much testing and examination staff believe they have found the location and reason for the major water leak at Centennial Pool. The existing piping will be restored by applying a coating product to the inside of the piping. The vendor has been procured, materials […]

  • Ronald McDonald House, Summer Street Temporary One Way, Coronavirus Update #47, more

    In This Issue A couple of important things came in while I was sending Friday’s newsletter and I wanted to get them out to you right away.  This short issue contains info about public engagement opportunities for the New Ronald McDonald House information meeting, the provinces Climate Change Plan public engagement, Call for Artists for an African NS interpretive panel, and a new website for exploring current and proposed heritage conservation districts on the peninsula. Roadworks contains info about Summer Street by the museum becoming one way starting today for three weeks.  Coronavirus Update #47 has an update on NS Pension rules. This issue ends with info on how to reach out and get help on municipal issues. Public Meetings, Hearings & Engagement New Ronald McDonald House Information For the Public Tuesday, June 22nd, 7-8pm You’re invited to join MP Andy Fillmore, Councillor Waye Mason, and representatives from RMHC Atlantic for an information session on Tuesday, June 22nd (7-8pm) to learn more about our plans for a new Ronald McDonald House being built on South Street in Halifax, across from the Emergency Entrance of the IWK Health Centre. We look forward to sharing renderings of the new space, in addition to our plans as they relate to the construction of the building. We encourage all of those interested to attend and to bring your questions. Please RSVP to rsvp@rmhcatlantic.ca to confirm your attendance and to receive a link to our virtual meeting. Climate Change Plan for Clean Growth – Provincial Public Engagement | Ends July 26 You can help shape the province’s Climate Change Plan for Clean Growth and goals to fight climate change under Nova Scotia’s Sustainable Development Goals Act. The Sustainable Development Goals Act was established in 2019 to advance our province’s economic, social, and environmental wellbeing. The provincial government wants to hear from as many Nova Scotians as possible – your ideas and visions on these important topics will help form the government’s direction on this Act. Public engagement on this important topic is open until July 26! How to participate: •             Attend a virtual workshop: https://cleanfuture.ca/#publicworkshops •             Submit your own ideas: https://cleanfuture.ca/#writtensubmissions •             Answer survey questions: https://cleanfuture.ca/#formsubmissions •             Community groups can also host virtual workshops! https://cleanfuture.ca/#diyworkshops Call for Artists: African N.S. Interpretive Panel African Methodist Episcopal Church site | June 30 deadline for expression of interest, Deadline July 12 The Halifax Regional Municipality is looking for an artist from the African Nova Scotian community to assist in the development of an interpretive panel on the corner of Gottingen and Falkland Streets, formerly known as Squiggle Park. The interpretive panel is to reflect on the former use of the site as the African Methodist Episcopal Church (AMEZ) and the importance of the church and spirituality in the African Nova Scotian Community. The municipality would like to include an artistic rendering of the AMEZ church, and is looking for an artist who will work with the municipality and the African Nova Scotian community to create a meaningful design. More info here: https://www.halifax.ca/parks-recreation/arts-culture-heritage/opportunities-artists-halifax Explore the proposed Downtown Halifax Historic Districts online Pleased to announce the launch of the revamped Downtown Halifax Historic Districts Web Application using the new storyboard format, providing a photo, map location, and text about the architecture and history of a selection of historic properties in Downtown Halifax. All of this information is drawn from inventory sheets attached to the HCD Plans. Most of this research is already available to the public. It includes the three existing HCDs – Barrington Street, Old South Suburb, and Schmidtville – and adds the new proposed boundary for the Capital Area and presents an additional 22 properties in this area for a total of about 75 properties listed. See https://www.halifax.ca/home-property/heritage-properties/downtown-halifax-historic-neighbourhoods Roadworks Update On Monday morning, June 14th at 6am, Summer Street between Bell Road and Veterans Memorial Lane will be changing to “ONE-WAY SOUTHBOUND ONLY” for approximately 3 weeks. This is for the QE2 Redevelopment Project. Work details: Work within the street is required to facilitate the construction of a parkade for the Halifax Infirmary including installation of underground services by the Province of Nova Scotia. Halifax Transit will have northbound buses detouring left onto Veterans Memorial Lane to bypass work site. Coronavirus Update #47 – NS Pension Benefits Act update Amendments to the NS Pension Benefits Act [June 9, 2021] – Province of Nova Scotia The province has introduced amendments to the Pension Benefits Act and regulations which seek to respond to the financial challenges created by the pandemic by streamlining the process for Nova Scotians to access funds in locked-in retirement accounts. Under the changes, a person may be approved to unlock a portion of their retirement account funds due to: financial hardship if they expect less than $41,067 in income over the next 12 months; if they are in default on their mortgage or rent and face possible eviction; or for medical or dental expenses. The 2021 maximum withdrawal is $30,800 minus 75 per cent of the applicant’s anticipated total income for the 12-month period. There is no limit on how much may be removed for default on a mortgage or rent or for medical or dental expenses. The $116.65 government fee to process applications is also being eliminated. The changes come into effect July 1, 2021. Source. How can we help? 311 – HRM’s Call Centre HRM’s call centre is open 7 days a week, Monday to Friday 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday & Sunday 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. 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/ Call my office Call my office for assistance with your municipal issues. Please have your 311 reference number ready.  You can reach my Coordinator Liam MacSween during the business day, his phone number is 902-490-2012 and his email is macswel@Halifax.CA Reach out to me I’m always available to help residents.  Email is always better than a phone call, as I am often in […]

Housing Crisis

  • Housing Update #1 Future Site of Compass Coop Housing Project

    To say that the last two weeks have not gone as I imagined would be a huge understatement.  In case you missed it, I made the following statement after the events of a week ago Wednesday: Statement on Housing Crisis and Police Response to the Removal of Shelters What took place this week in Halifax has made it more clear than ever that we have an urgent housing problem to solve. What happened this week made me sick to my stomach. The lack of homes for vulnerable residents is the result of years of neglect from previous Provincial governments. For the last nine years, I’ve been working on this and lobbying the Province to do more. I continue to believe that the municipality should take back housing from the Province, assuming the funding comes with it. It has been depressing and frustrating to watch the situation between protestors and police. None of us wanted to see events unfold the way they did this week. I don’t want anyone to be hurt or suffer and I appeal for calm. I have heard the concerns about the policing approach and some officer’s lack of name tags and wearing thin blue line badges. This is unacceptable and this will be reviewed by the appropriate bodies, the Board of Police Commissioners, (edit) NS Police Commission, and possibly SiRT. I do however feel that tents and temporary shelters in parks are not the answer and better options are now available from the Province. HRM’s decision to do this was built on the Province’s commitment to providing both immediate, temporary accommodations (hotel) and long-term stable housing. I understand that this may not have been made available to all of the people involved yesterday, and I will work to connect them with provincial housing support workers to ensure they can access housing options as was intended. I want to expand on two points: One is I acknowledge HRMs communication on this has been less than great. People want to know what the end goals are. People don’t want to feel talked down to and mislead. People living in tents want to sleep believing that police will not show up at 6 a.m. and evict them. Every day residents, both for and against any actions HRM has taken, don’t know where this ends. It is frustrating to you, and it is frustrating to me. For my part, while this crisis continues and while there are no other reasonable housing options folks want to take, I cannot support further removals of tents. That said, I feel large-scale encampments and structures are problematic and can’t be considered. I have asked staff, that for the interim, while housing is built, or safe to code temporary structures are set up, that we should aim to keep the number of tents at each site down to 4-5 tents, and no closer than 75m from a playground, childcare centre, or school, or some similar set of common-sense guidelines. I am hoping we get some public policy clarity shortly. The second is that HRM was struggling to deliver what we promised was going to happen.  When I wrote that statement it was not clear how many gaps there were in terms of delivering on the promised alternatives for these vulnerable people. I now believe HRM doesn’t have the staff and structures in place to assure ourselves that housing or hotels were available for the folks. HRM doesn’t have the infrastructure and processes to make sure that when HRM is told stuff is going to happen by others, specifically the Province, that it is really going to happen. These vulnerable people were unable to get into hotels, people are being kicked out of hotels over lack of funds to keep them there, the whole thing is an unacceptable mess, and runs contrary to what staff has been telling Councillors would happen over these last several months. And yes, I am going to keep saying HRM has to do the work of holding the Province to account for not doing their job. HRM also has to hold ourselves accountable for where we failed. We simply didn’t have the ability to ensure that the coordination was taking place, and connections were being made between our staff, the province, and the service agencies.  The last two weeks are going to mean a big change in the way HRM does things. We are going to need social workers, we are going to need coordinators, we are going to need a staff task force that does nothing but finding solutions to the housing crisis that protects the most vulnerable. I still don’t think HRM can step in and just do the Province’s job without them transferring a pile of money, and a pile of legal responsibility. What we really need to do right now is build capacity to know what is happening, what should be done, and the best way to do it. This is something that HRM simply doesn’t have right now. I’m still here working every day to try and get people into adequate housing, and some of that work is outlined below. What happens next? There are a number of things happening or that are about to happen to try and make sure that there is real and adequate alternatives for folks living rough. Crisis Housing Funding (Mayor Savage August 31) – Emergency motion to address the needs of the unhoused population and authorize the CAO to spend accordingly to progress emergency interim shelter opportunities. Motion providers authorization for spending above current budget, with Council direction to continue to work collaboratively with community partners and other orders of government to meet housing affordability needs more broadly. More here – https://wayemason.ca/2021/08/30/mayor-savage-crisis-housing-motion A Lived Experience Advisory Committee on Homelessness (Councillor Lovelace August 31) – Established a committee made up of those directly impacted by homelessness on a First Voice committee, to Regional Council with valuable insight directly from those with first-hand experience with homelessness. There is significant academic research […]

  • Letter to Premier-Elect Houston Regarding Halifax’s Housing Crisis Letter to Tim Houston

    Tim Houston Premier-elect, Province of Nova Scotia c/o PC Nova Scotia Party 5151 George St – Suite 1402 Halifax, NS B3J 2T3 August 25, 2021 Dear Mr Houston, Congratulations on the firm and unequivocal win to you and all your candidates, staff and volunteers. I know how hard you all campaigned and you have now reaped the rewards. As Premier-Elect, I want to assure you that as always I stand ready to work with you, the provincial government, and your caucus on areas of mutual concern. We all want Halifax and Nova Scotia residents to have more opportunities, a brighter future, and to know all orders of government are working together for them. Today though, I wanted to write you specifically about the ongoing housing crisis in HRM. I have listened carefully to your words and read your campaign promises and I feel we have far more common ground than that which separates us. We both support the Affordable Housing Commission (AHC) report recommendations, but there are immediate and pressing issues that it will not be able to address. Given our joint support for the AHC report, I am glad you’ve committed to convening the AHC and stakeholders immediately upon your swearing-in.  I hope one of the objectives will to recommend short-term solutions that will bridge the pandemic rent control measures and market impact to the rapid implementation of AHC report recommendations. I want to drill down into a few points I hope you and your future Housing Minister will discuss at the proposed summit once cabinet is sworn in. The first is the need for extraordinary and immediate action to address the current lack of affordable SROs, one-bedrooms, or bachelors in HRM. Ultimately none of us want people tenting or living in temporary structures, but in order for this to change, there must be viable and affordable alternatives. While hotels have been offered to many folks living rough in order to bridge the gap there needs to be something the service providers can count on.This requires innovative and quick solutions to create safe, private rooms, in a variety of configurations and for a variety of users and needs. Some could simply rental housing, some will need wrap-around services. I wrote about some of the options in my Letter to the Leaders July 29, 2021.Fully funded programs in partnership with service providers, designed by service providers, needs to be implemented.HRM can provide land and other supports to get these rooms open, but some of the capital and all of the operating needs to come from your currently under-resourced and over budgeted housing division.   Secondly, I would like you to consider the case for interim rent control measures. What has changed the last five years is that some large REITs and other publicly listed companies have come into the Halifax market and are overpaying dramatically for property here. In one example, if you ask local developers, a large national REIT paid substantially more for a portfolio of low-income apartment buildings, between 30-50% over any reasonable valuation, than any normal investor would consider. How are they going to pay the financing on that purchase? They will implement 50% rent increases. Don’t take my word for it, talk to any other person with a deeper knowledge of our housing market, you will find a consistent story in a certain subset of purchases.Any kind of rent measure should allow reasonable rent increases, for inflation, sudden costs spikes, and even unexpected and justifiable capital expenses. But measures to stop reported 20-110% rent increases for no other reason than because they can? The government has a moral and ethical requirement to step in and moderate this. It needs to be calibrated to support the construction of new units, and can be reviewed if and when the market reaches an equilibrium of supply and demand, but it will stop predators from buying existing occupied units and overvaluing and destabilizing Nova Scotia’s housing market. Third and finally, you have said that you are open to my proposal that control of housing is returned to HRM, and for this I applaud you. There is a housing crisis throughout this province, but Halifax has specific and unique urban housing issues. Of major cities, only Halifax and Winnipeg do not deliver housing on behalf of their province.Council has voted to request the Province transfer of the responsibilities of Housing Nova Scotia in the Halifax region, including Metro Regional Housing Authority (MRHA), Preston Area Housing Fund, and other not-for-profits to the Municipality, and fund this transfer through property tax redirected from mandatory contribuitions. This would allow funding to grow as assessment grows.Moving forward, HRM and the Province would also need to develop an equitable approach for provincial participation and cost-sharing in Federal housing and regionally significant housing programs.The key is that this must be a collaborative approach with long-term and sustainable funding transferred with the responsibility. I urge you to convene the Affordable Housing Commission to discuss these three issues and make recommendations on prompt actions your new Minister will be able to bring to address this crisis. Mr. Premier-elect, our citizens need us to rise to the occasion and take several rapid and unprecedented steps. I look forward to working with you and your team to deliver this needed relief. Thank you, Waye Mason Councillor | Le Conseiller | Wunaqapeme’j District 7 Halifax South Downtown +1-902-430-7822 waye.mason@halifax.ca      

  • Motion for Council to Consider: That Halifax Regional Council request a staff report and recommendations with respect to the establishment of a “Lived Experience Advisory Committee on Homelessness for HRM” designed collaboratively with community partners. This report and recommendations must be based on the principle that systemic problems need systemic solutions inclusive of those most impacted by homelessness. Reason: Homelessness is Halifax has reached the point of crisis. Decisions are being made without the most important voices in the decision-making process – those directly impacted by homelessness. Community groups and organizations are working to address this issue, some collectively, others individually, and HRM is working with community partners including the provincial government to assist those impact by the housing crisis. A Lived Experience Advisory Committee on Homelessness would provide Regional Council with valuable insight directly from those with first-hand experience with homelessness. There is significant academic research indicating the immense value of including the viewpoints of people with lived experience in social policy development. Outcome Sought: A staff report on recommendations to establish a “Lived Experience Advisory Committee on Homelessness for HRM”.  

  • That Halifax Regional Council Waive the Rules of Order to suspend the notice provisions associated with motions and: To Direct the CAO to implement a range of emergency supportive housing and emergency shelter accommodations for those who are unhoused in collaboration with and based on feedback from community-based social services providers and the Province of Nova Scotia to address immediate and emergent needs including measures such as the fit-up of spaces for temporary accommodations, renting of hotel and other spaces and further, and to coordinate and collaborate with community-based social services providers and the Province of Nova Scotia in that respect; Direct that the CAO be authorized to spend up to $500,000 from Fiscal Services in respect of addressing these needs, and report on the use of said funds quarterly at a minimum; and, Further direct the CAO to work with Department of Community Services and community service providers on a needs-analysis including determining how many people are unhoused, how many of them are currently tenting or occupying other forms of shelter within parks and other public lands in Halifax Regional Municipality and how many can be accommodated in a safer manner. Reason: Emergency need to address needs of unhoused population and authorize the CAO to spend accordingly to progress emergency interim shelter opportunities. Outcome Sought: Authorization for spending as per above alongside Council directive to continue to work collaboratively with community partners and other orders of government to meet housing affordability needs more broadly.

Blog

  • Provincial Election Tuesday August 17

    Nova Scotians will be going to the polls for a general provincial election on Tuesday, August 17. Residents of District 7 should know that the boundaries of Halifax Citadel Sable Island, Halifax Chebucto and Halifax Needham shifted during the last redistricting.   The area between Cogswell and Duke/Rainne/Gottingen is now in Halifax Citadel Sable Island (not Halifax Needham). The area between Jubilee and Coburg from Robie to the North West arm is now in Halifax Citadel Sable Island (not Halifax Chebucto). I’ve updated the district map, shown below, and on the about page.  For more information about how and where to vote, visit Elections NS – https://www.electionsnovascotia.ca/ I will publish links to all candidates on an election blog sometime in the next couple days and share that via my newsletter.  

  • Proposed changes to residential zoning, Centre Plan Package B

    Forgive the very long post, but homeowners and residents of District 7 need to be aware of the proposed changes to our zoning. I am excited by these proposals, and want to hear from you about your thoughts!   The goal of the Centre Plan has always been to put development where it made sense, on busy corridors with good transit and which have sewer and water capacity and nearby parks, and to protect the character of our residential neighbourhoods while continuing to allow “gentle density”. The Centre Plan draft in 2017 proposed 16% of the regional centres’ population growth taking place in established residential neighbourhoods and small apartments (higher order residential) on corridors. This can be achieved with the proposal below, with minimal impact on the feel of these neighbourhoods.  I have done my best to explain the proposed changes in what follows. Gentle density is density that can occur without the kind of disruption we have seen some of the internal conversions overloaded with bedrooms and residents bring to our streets. It’s about smaller units in backyard and basement suites, but available to a broader range of properties, not just those with large lots. I think that the proposal to standardize the approach in ER-1 and Er-2 with more modest multi-unit rights regardless of lot size makes a lot of sense. I described this to some residents not as an upzoning or downzoning but a “side zoning”. It is achieving the same intent as the current rules in a clearer to understand, and less impactful way. Overall I am very impressed with the proposal for rezoning District 7’s established residential neighbourhoods. Both the R1 and R2 zones that we’ve had since the late 70s/early 80s are complicated and allow significant rights, often based on lot size or other considerations, and I think removing those makes sense. I see edits and concerns specifically around Young Avenue and a few minor changes to zoning here and there, but overall I am very pleased.  It is not perfect! I have a laundry list of things to tweak.  But it is I think very good. So for those that want the details, here is my take on the changes. There is a map here you can use to follow along with what is proposed in your neighbourhood: https://www.arcgis.com/apps/InformationLookup/index.html?appid=00a11a2ea9aa487382eb7a6473e6c33c Currently, R-1 has lot size minimums of 12.2 meters (40’) and 371 square meters (4000sf), and currently allows 1 unit buildings, or conversions of existing homes from before 1982 to up to 3 units 6-8 bedrooms with minimum unit sizes of 93 square meters (1000 square feet), and lot coverage of 35%., and allows either a backyard and basement suite, which counts toward total units in a conversion. ER-1 is proposed to replace this (except on some streets where ER-3 is proposed, see below) with a minimum lot size 325 square meters (3500 square feet), with a minimum lot frontage of 10.7 meters (35 feet), and allows 1 unit, + backyard or basement suite, lot coverage 40%, with the following exceptions:                              Lot Size          Frontage         Side Yard       Coverage Young Ave Area         743 sm            24.4m              10% to 3m       35% Grant Street Area        275 sm             n/a                   1.5m                35% Armview Area            743 sm             n/a                   4.5m                n/a Oakland Road Area    464 sm             15.2m              10% to 2m       n/a Armview Area             743 sm             n/a                  4.5m                  n/a The current R1-A zone is rolled into the ER-1 but it’s specific protections expand from around Regina Terrace to the whole of the Robie/South/Beaufort area, transformed into the Oakland Road Special Area, maintains front year, back yard, side yard rules (see above) Currently R-2 requires frontages and lot size as small as of 9.1 meters (30 feet) and 3300sf for a single unit dwelling up to 18.2 meters (60 feet) of frontage and 6000sf for a 4 unit in Peninsula Centre (South to QuinpooL). R-2 in Peninsula Centre currently a very permissive zone which currently allows wide range from 1 to up to 4 units in both new and converted buildings, but only on lots with higher width and size of the lot (for example 60’ frontage and 6000 sf for 4 units.) This zone also allows 2 unit conversions in any house unchanged since 1950. R-2 is proposed to be replaced by the ER-2 zone (except on some main streets where ER-3 would apply, see below), and ER-2 would standardize the approach regardless of lot size and frontage. Minimum lot size rises to 325sm (3500sf), frontage to 10.7m/35’. It means lots must be slightly larger to allow single family homes (though undersize lots that already exist are grandfathered) and all lots could built a 1 or 2 unit or duplex + backyard or basement suite, lot coverage 40%. The proposed ER3 zone is a more intensive residential zone, which has applied to many streets along busy roads with bus routes, where development has already been more intense. This zone requires a minimum lot size 325 square meters (3500 square feet), 10.7 meters (35 feet) of frontage, and allows a 1, 2, 3 unit or duplex, + backyard or basement suite, lot coverage 40%, sideyard 1.25 meters (4.1 feet), except 3 meters (9.8 feet) for townhouse block. The current R2A zone which allows large boxy conversions out the back of old Victorians would no longer be used. The proposed Victoria Heritage Conservation Districts (HCD) will better control development on South Park and Tower Road, allowing staff, Council, and the public to be involved in what may and may not be allowed to occur. Much of this will be zoned ER1, some ER3. See more below on HCDs. The current RC1 zone, which allows local commercial and enabled the unfortunate late-night pizza sold to 3am at Jubilee/Preston will no longer be used. Current commercial use will be grandfathered, new commercial use will […]

  • 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 – […]