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All about District 7 – Halifax South Downtown, who represents us, and what services are available.

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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.”

Find out more about Waye here

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News & Updates

  • Community events, 21/22 paving, Coronavirus Update #42 restrictions lifted, vaccine roll out, programs and more

    Good day all! Today is a great day, actually. It appears that we have successfully navigated the potential community spread, gotten thing back under control, and the province is lifting many HRM specific restrictions tomorrow.  In addition, Premier Rankin and Dr Strang announce that all Nova Scotians should be able to receive their first shot of the vaccination by the end of June. Given reports that a single shot appears to be highly effective in terms of stopping serious illness and asymptomatic spread, this is really good news. We can expect some level of normalcy this summer. I urge you to consider that given it takes about four weeks for the shot to be effective, we will likely have to continue to wear masks and take precautions until sometime in July.  I put more information about the changes in restrictions and provincial and federal programs in the Coronavirus section near the end of this newsletter. I’m excited to share the news that Ronald McDonald house is looking to build a new purpose built facility on South Street.  Huddle wrote “A $3-million fundraising campaign has been launched to help build a new Ronald McDonald House in Halifax. The house provides a home away from home for Maritime families travelling to Halifax for hospital care. Leslie McLean, a co-chair of the fundraising campaign, said the new space will double the number of families they can support. “In recent years, the requests from families has far surpassed the size of the house that we have,” said McLean. “In fact, we’ve had to turn away one in three families, which has been devastating.” The Ronald McDonald House will go from supporting up to 18 families a night to 36 families. That works out to more than 1,200 families per year.” More here: https://huddle.today/3-million-campaign-launched-for-new-ronald-mcdonald-house-in-halifax/ Recently Hospice Halifax created an installation called the #HaliHeart on Spring Garden Road in front of the Halifax Public Library, and we want to invite you to show it some love! The #HaliHeart is meant to warm up the heart and community during the coldest months of the year this February and March, and keep our connections aglow despite our social distancing. Check Out The Global News Coverage Here: https://globalnews.ca/video/7642738/hospice-halifax-unveils-haliheart-installation-at-halifax-central-library Hospice Halifax had to get creative this year to raise awareness, and so we are asking you to help us by taking a photo with our #HaliHeart and posting to your social media! This is an easy way to support Hospice Halifax, and share the warmth with your networks.  I’ll be heading down this week to check it out! Finally, pleased to share the District 7 2021/22 road, sidewalk, and bike lane paving list.  Staff will make every effort to design, tender and construct in 2021; however, unforeseen circumstances may arise which could impact on the scheduling of the project, and potentially cause delays. It is r intention to complete this list in 2021; is an unexpected delay. We will keep you apprised if any issues arise concerning the timing of the projects as we make our way through the design/tendering phases. Street Recapitalization – paving, curbs Harbourview Dr – Young to Tower Oakland Rd – Robie to Studley (Integrated Traffic Calming) Spring Garden Rd – Queen to South Park (Multi-model/Streetscaping P&D) Asphalt Overlays Argyle St – Duke to Prince (we will get back to you on the timing) Blowers St – Granville to Market Cornwall St – Preston to Oxford (Integrated Traffic Calming) Market St – Blowers to Sackville Sidewalk Renewals Oakland Rd – Robie to Waterloo (N) Oakland Rd – Cartaret to Studley (N) Oakland Rd – Robie to Bellevue (S) AAA Bikeways Terminal Rd – Hollis to Lower Water Bridges CN South St Bridge Repair (more details below) Planer Patching Morris St – South Park to Lower Water South Park St – Inglis to South Crack Sealing Brunswick St – Cornwallis to Duke Cogswell Roundabout – North Park to North Park Cogswell St – Robie to North Park Cornwallis St – North Park to Barrington Cunard Roundabout – North Park to North Park Duke St – Brunswick to Upper Water Jubilee Rd – Vernon to Pryor Pepperell St – Robie to Oxford Prince St – Lower Water to Brunswick Queen St – Spring Garden to Sackville Queen St – Morris to Kent South St – Oxford to Le Marchant Summer St – Bell to Veterans Memorial Trollope St – Cogswell to Bell Public Meetings Halifax Regional Council – virtual meetings Tuesday, March 9th at 10:00 a.m Tuesday, March 23rd at 10:00 a.m. Agenda here: https://www.halifax.ca/city-hall/agendas-meetings-reports?category=127 Budget Committee – virtual meetings Wednesday, March 3rd at 9:30 a.m. Friday, March 5th at 9:30 a.m. (Contingency Date) Wednesday, March 10th at 9:30 a.m. Friday, March 12th at 9:30 a.m. (Contingency Date) Wednesday, March 24th at 9:30 a.m. Friday, March 26th at 9:30 a.m. (Contingency Date) Wednesday, March 31st at 9:30 a.m. Agendas here –  https://www.halifax.ca/city-hall/agendas-meetings-reports?category=1181 Halifax & West Community Council – virtual meetings Tuesday, March 30th at 6:00 p.m. Agenda here – https://www.halifax.ca/city-hall/agendas-meetings-reports?category=140 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. Community Events International Women’s Day | Monday March 8 2021, 10am to noon The Halifax Regional Municipality’s Office of Diversity & Inclusion/ANSAIO and Halifax Public Libraries are inviting residents to celebrate International Women’s Day 2021 virtually, on Monday, March 8. Co-hosted by Councillor Pamela Lovelace and Christine Qin Yang, the event’s keynote speaker will be Rajean Willis – a clinical social worker, writer, researcher and PhD candidate from Truro. The virtual event will also feature performances as well as a panel discussion around this year’s theme – Choose to Challenge: Women’s Resilience in the Time of COVID-19. Registration: All are welcome to register for this free virtual event on Zoom here. Following the event, a video recording will be available at: https://www.youtube.com/user/HRMNovaScotia  Learn more about International Women’s Day 2021 International Day for Elimination of Racial Discrimination | Sunday, March 21, 2021 This year, the International Day …read more…

  • Crisis shelters, Cogswell, COVID Recovery tracker & Coronavirus Update #41

    Hello all, a couple of quick notes today, With heavy snow and rain expected tomorrow (Feb. 2), Halifax Water has asked residents to help the stormwater in your area make its way into one of the 24,000 catchbasins throughout HRM by safely clearing snow, ice, and debris from a catchbasin near you. Find your nearest catchbasins here: https://halifaxwater.ca/fire-hydrants-catchbasins  Recently there has been a lot of discussion about the ‘crisis shelters’ that have started to appear in parks around the municipality, including this story on Global about it last week. I want to emphasize that the Halifax Regional Municipality takes an empathy-based human rights approach to homeless encampments that recognizes the human dignity of people experiencing homelessness. The municipality will not force the eviction of residents from homeless encampments unless and until their need for adequate housing is met. The response to homeless encampments is collaborative and community-based, working with partners, to find adequate housing solutions for encampment residents. Individuals experiencing homelessness will not be evicted while HRM seeks to identify alternative options for adequate housing. While the installation of structures, including temporary shelters, on municipal property is not permitted without approval, the municipality hopes to work with Halifax Mutual Aid to identify alternative options for those experiencing homelessness. Ultimately the Province is responsible for housing in Nova Scotia. MLA Lisa Roberts did an excellent job of summarising the issues in a blog late last week. https://www.lisarobertsmla.ca/blog/2021/1/26/cvksoeas2xiyg9fe75y4lvv2mnvo1d.  I urge the Province take immediate steps to place all unhoused people and place them in our empty hotels, and to ensure adequate shelter, single-room occupancies, and below-market housing are available. In the meantime, the municipality makes public safety a priority for all residents, including those experiencing homelessness. For more information on the municipality’s approach to homelessness and homeless encampments please visit our website: https://www.halifax.ca/about-halifax/regional-community-planning/public-safety#encampments You may have heard in the media that Cogswell tender has been issued.  What does this really mean? This is a huge step forward toward fixing some of the worst planning decisions from the 60s and 70s. The Cogswell District Project is one of the largest city-building projects in the history of Halifax and Nova Scotia. The work should be awarded by the end of summer 2021. Construction is anticipated to begin in the fall of 2021. As set out in Administrative Order 2020-004-ADM, adopted by Council in July of 2020, staff has identified social procurement opportunities to include contract requirements in the tender that aim to achieve social benefits/impact, specifically regarding workforce development and supplier diversity. Staff has been engaging with the Mi’kmaw and African Nova Scotian communities, as well as the construction industry to determine what can practically be achieved in this regard. High quality dedicated cycling lanes, multi-use trails, new parks and open spaces, a reimagined transit hub, and a significant central urban square will transform this vehicle-centric area into a livable pedestrian-friendly area for people to live, work, and play. I am very pleased that this project is finally moving to construction!  More info here: https://www.halifax.ca/about-halifax/regional-community-planning/construction-projects/cogswell-district What impacts has COVID-19 had on Halifax’s economy?  Halifax Partnership has set up a tracker to show us the challenges and our progress in recovering. COVID-19 has brought a sea change and created new economic conditions across the globe and here in Halifax. This Tracker examines the economic toll of the pandemic, Halifax’s pace of recovery, and our resilience in the face of ongoing COVID developments. There may be lingering effects of the pandemic and more economic uncertainty from the second wave of COVID cases across the country. It is important to note that while there are deep and abiding challenges for certain sectors of the economy, particularly hospitality (hotels and restaurants, some retail), the economic recovery has been surprisingly strong, and more people are employed now than a year ago.  Collectively, we need to work to support those sectors that need it, address the gender gap, and work to ensure a fair and equitable recovery.  More here: https://halifaxpartnership.com/research-strategy/economic-response-and-recovery-plan/economy-covid-19-recovery/ Public Meetings Halifax Regional Council Tuesday, February 9, 2020, 10 am | Virtual Meeting VIRTUAL PUBLIC HEARING – Case 23285 – Application by HRM and the Mi’kmaq Native Friendship Centre to amend the Regional Municipal Planning Strategy and Halifax Peninsula Land Use By-law to allow the development of an emergency shelter, shared housing use, multiple unit residential use and community facility use at 5853 College Street, Halifax. A virtual public hearing will be webcast and may be viewed online. Get more information about how to participate in the virtual meeting. https://www.halifax.ca/city-hall/agendas-meetings-reports?category=127 Budget Committee (all Council) Wednesday February 10, Friday February 12, Wednesday February 17, Friday February 19 2020, 10 am | Virtual Meeting https://www.halifax.ca/city-hall/agendas-meetings-reports?category=1181 Halifax & West Community Council Tuesday, February 16, 2020, 6 pm | Virtual Meeting https://www.halifax.ca/city-hall/agendas-meetings-reports?category=140 Roadworks Update The following street closures or sidewalk disruptions have recently been added to the RoadWorks map HUNTER ST from CHARLES ST to CUNARD ST, starting on 2021-01-28 CUNARD ST from HUNTER ST to CLIFTON ST, starting on 2021-01-28 Note – a temporarily marked crosswalk has been installed on South Street between Queen St and South Park St. This was done to provide pedestrian passage around a development encroachment for new construction on the south side of the street which necessitated the closure of that sidewalk. The crosswalk will remain in place until the development encroachment is removed towards the end of the project You can find out road closure details on the HRM Roadworks map: https://www.halifax.ca/transportation/streets-sidewalks/RoadWorks Coronavirus Update #41 – income tax emergency benefits Below are the weekly COVID-19 government support/program tracker update(s) for the week of January 18 – January 22. It has been a relatively quiet week. If you have any questions or would like a copy of the updated tracking sheet, please let me know. Temporary Amendments to the Income Tax Act for COVID-19 Emergency Income Benefits [January 19, 2021] – Government of Canada The government has announced that it will introduce temporary amendments to the Income Tax Act to align tax rules for those receiving regular EI benefits, and those receiving other federal COVID-19 emergency income benefits, such as the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB). Currently, EI and …read more…

  • 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…

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…