District 7 Newsletter #1, April 14 2013, inaugural edition!

Dear Residents and Friends,

This is my first email update since the election. If you received this email in error, please accept my apology, and unsubscribe by clicking here. If you have moved since the election or otherwise want to update your contact information click here. (web readers, you can sign up for the newsletter on the right!)

The newsletter contains short summaries around the following items:

  • Short update
  • My website – expenses, deposits on cans and bottles, and more!
  • Print Newsletter – call for pictures!
  • Anniversary of the death of Raymond Taavel
  • Central Common tennis court update
  • Gorsebrook arena update
  • Get Down On Barrington Street
  • Halifax Regional School Board Possible Review of Joseph Howe on hold
  • Halifax and West Community Council Meeting – April 22
  • Maritime Conservatory of Performing Arts 125th Anniversary Celebration – April 27
  • Common Roots Urban Farm Host Program
  • Survey for Digital Map for Accessibility
  • Summer Employment Opportunities in HRM
  • Contact My Office – we are here to serve you

Short Update – what have the first six months been like and why did this email take so long to get out?

In summary the first six months have been an amazing whirlwind. Thank you for your support and confidence!

Working in city hall has been a great and exhausting experience. I feel confident that the municipality is slowly starting to change, and the pace of that change is accelerating every day.  Of course, government moves slowly and changes are not always visible to start, but I think in time we will see the municipality shake off the legacy of the last decade and really start to become the city we all think it can and should be.

The email newsletter is late for a number of reasons, chief among them is that as an elected official I cannot by Nova Scotia law use a US based server to run this mailing list.  So no mailchimp or easy solution for me! I am pretty technically able when it comes to websites, but my workload as I settled into the job as councillor meant it took a while to put together a solution that protected citizens privacy, obeyed the law and that I was totally happy with.

HRM Council Support staff have been amazing, but HRM does not provide support for councillors personal communications, of which this email list is one.  Please accept my apology again for the time this took, but now that it is up and running it will be easy to pop out a newsletter every month or so.

I’d like to thank Councillor Jennifer Watts for letting me use material from her amazing email newsletters, and Constitiency Coordinator Lynn Matheson for helping collected stuff for this email and our print newsletter.

My website – expenses, deposits on cans and bottles, and more!

I’ve been regularly putting information up on my personal website, to let people know what I am up to, and where I stand on different issues that are important to our community and HRM.  There are articles up there about deposits on cans, school closures, Gorsebrook Park, and more!  Please check https://wayemason.ca and follow me on one or more of my social media channels to find out when I update the site: twitter, facebook, linkedin, or google plus.

I’ve also posted my expenses to date on the site in an effort to show a high degree of transparency and accountability.  I will be updating the expense section regularly.

Print Newsletter – call for pictures

My print newsletter was sent to 13,000 homes in the district in February.  If you did not receive it, please let me know.  If you have a great picture of our community you would like to submit for possible publishing in the next newsletter, please email my Constituency Coordinator Lynn Matheson at mathesl@halifax.ca and we would love to see it!

Anniversary of the death of Raymond Taavel

April 17th is the anniversary of the tragic and senseless death of Raymond Taavel.

To mark this event, sometime in the late afternoon on Tuesday the 16th the Pride flag will be raised in front of Halifax City Hall and fly until noon the 18th. Details of when this will occur will be made available via the HRM and my personal social media channels.

Halifax Pride has requested that on Wednesday, April 17th, 2013 individuals and businesses hang a rainbow flag in their window and join them in a quiet act of remembrance for our friend.  It is a small but meaningful gesture that will bring some solace and comfort to others, while turning a sad incident into an opportunity for solidarity and love.

Halifax Common Tennis Courts

A lot of people are wondering when the tennis courts will be completed.  The contractor ran out of good weather last year and is eager to complete the project as soon as possible.  The first order of business is to reinstate the temporary construction fence and clean-up around the perimeter of the site. The contractor will then double check the grades and regrade where necessary. The site is still soft underfoot as the frost is still coming out of the ground.

The contractors large asphalt plant is not yet up and running for the season. It is critical that we have warm temperatures when laying the asphalt. The specification says 10 degrees Celsius, and rising.  It has not been anywhere near warm enough yet, though hopefully it will be soon!

Gorsebrook Park and Arena update

There is no real news since I posted a piece on my website back in February, other than to say I am very hopeful that this project may go ahead.  As I wrote then:

It is proposed for the former PMQ lands between Wellington and APSEA, which is currently a parking lot and was slated for an expansion of the IWK that they no longer need.  It will not impact the Gorsebrook park directly – it may impact the APSEA property a bit.  But it simply isn’t at the point that there are drawings or even a plan, let me explain where it is at, and where it will go.

I feel strongly that a 2 pad with some community rooms will HRM, Dalhousie and SMU as tenants will be a huge step towards providing adequate HRM recreation space in Peninsula South, and will be a concrete step that will see us actually addressing our recreation needs in our community.

For more info read here: https://wayemason.ca/2013/02/06/some-details-on-the-possible-gorsebrook-arena/

Get Down On Barrington – citizens clean up downtown!

In March over 100 people gathered with two days notice to help clean a block of Barrington Street. Armed with brooms, music, sidewalk chalk and the help of local Fire Fighters they spruced up the block in front of Grand Parade. Stemming from the success of the first event, another ‘Get Down’ took place in April and another hundred people came out!  For more information on the next “Get Down” event, like this Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/GetDownHfx

End of Halifax Regional School Board’s Possible Review of Joseph Howe.

As we are all aware, Joseph Howe was put up for school review and possible closure by the HRSB.  Joseph Howe catchment area is split between District 7 and District 8, and Councillor Watts and I have been watching the situation closely.  Luckily the provincial government allowed the school boards to stop the school review process for this year.  I wrote to HRSB Chair Gin Yee about the review process in this letter, and I will ensure that any new information is shared via website, social media, and this newsletter. https://wayemason.ca/2013/03/26/letter-to-hrsb-regarding-school-closures-promises-made-joe-howe-how-we-can-do-better-together/

Halifax and West Community Council Meeting – April 22

The next community council meeting will be held on Monday April 22 at 7 pm at Halifax City Hall.  The agenda is available on line at  http://www.halifax.ca/Commcoun/west/index.html about a week prior to the meeting.

Maritime Conservatory of Performing Arts 125th Anniversary Celebration – April 27

MCPA is celebrating their 125th anniversary with CABARET 125 on Saturday April 27 at the MCPA at 8 pm.  The Cabaret will be held at the Lilian Piercey concert hall in the Maritime Conservatory building – 6199 Chebucto Road. The featured performers are Maria Osende Flamenco Company and Janice Jackson soprano & Barbara Pritchard piano. The ticket price is $50. Enjoy a wonderful evening of food, great entertainment, a fabulous silent auction and a cash bar.  For more info call 423-6995.

Common Roots Urban Farm Host Program

Common Roots Urban Farm (located at corner of Robie and Bell Rd – former Queen Elizabeth High School site) requires Host volunteers to greet visitors and give information about the Common Roots project, while helping to complete some necessary farm tasks including maintaining the daily records of participation and activities. If you are friendly, approachable, excited to be outside every week and interested in food, gardening, farming and community development, you might consider Hosting on the Farm. For more information,contact Berni Duda at (902) 473-4179 or berni.duda@cdha.nshealth.ca

Survey for Digital Map for Accessibility

A group of residents is interested in developing a digital map to provide accessibility information about HRM with the aim of improving residents’ confidence to make it to destinations without unexpected problems.   Things to be considered include if a bus is accessible, the quality of the sidewalks on a route, where construction is currently taking place, the grade or steepness of the streets, whether the destination has an accessible entrance, the quality of bike paths, and/or the safety of intersections. The goal is to conveniently provide this information in a user-friendly map to make HRM more inclusive.   The designers need help to ensure this map is designed to satisfy users’ needs. Please click one of the links below or call 902 999 6012 to take part in the survey.  The survey takes about 5 minutes and asks about your experiences getting around HRM. http://www.jamiecnewman.com/accessibility-map-survey.html     or      https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/Q9FPQZ7

Summer Employment Opportunities in HRM

HRM is now accepting applications (deadlines range from March 5 to April 21) for summer employment. Please go to the following website for more information on summer recreation positions:  http://www.halifax.ca/rec/employment.html

Need Help? My office is here to serve you.

There are many ways to get the help you need. The 311 Website is fast, effective and your requests and orders are trackable online. The 311 phone service is also trackable by using the tracking number you will be provided at the end of your call. http://halifax.ca/311/

Of course, you can also call our office for assistance with your municipal issues. Please contact my Constituency Coordinator Lynn Matheson at mathesl@halifax.ca or by calling 902.490.7177.

You can also contact me directly: waye.mason@halifax.ca or call 902-490-8462