Update #14 – Participatory Budgeting report, public hearings, events and updates

District 7 Participatory Budgeting Meeting a Success!

Peninsula South Downtown residents gathered over the past month to debate, discuss, and decide which projects will receive 2014-2015 District 7 capital funding. The process, called Participatory Budgeting, invites District residents to participate in the allocation of public funds. Each HRM Councillor is allocated $94,000 to use in his or her community to support the purchase of property, the construction of a facility, re-modeling, expansion of a facility or purchase of equipment. The goal is to ensure the funds are accessible to the whole community and provide benefit to many.

This year, over 260 residents participated in the discussion with project sponsors and voted throughout the course of the evening, up from about 120 in 2013. Each resident was provided a ballot and invited to vote on five projects. Of the 15 proposals received, residents voted to provide full funding for three projects: Shelter NS received $20,000 for a community garden, Halifax Music Co-op was successful in obtaining $36,462 for an exciting venue upgrade, and Gorsebrook Junior High School Parent Teacher Association community garden project received $30,000. The Metro Non-Profit Housing Association received partial funding of $7,500 for basement upgrades at for the Morris House. Proposals will now be reviewed by HRM staff and pending policy and due diligence by staff, organizations should receive their funding in two to four weeks.

Thank you to everyone who submitted proposals and took the time to come out and vote! Details on how to participate in the 2015-2016 process will be available next February.

District 8 Funds to Support Great Community Projects
Each year, councillors receive $94,000 for capital projects in their district.  In the past Councillor Watts has allocated these funds in response to community requests and in consultation with HRM staff.  This year, she will follow my lead by using a process of participatory budgeting that will give local groups the opportunity to submit projects in a public process that are then voted on by residents of District 8.  The benefits of this process are that it encourages great ideas to come forward from local groups, builds community support and collaboration, makes distribution of these funds more transparent, and gives local residents a direct say in how they want District 8 funds spent.

For further information, please email: jennifer.watts@halifax.ca  or contact: Lynn Matheson, 490-7177 or lynn.matheson@halifax.ca. Or visit:www.facebook.com/district8participatorybudget

Wellington Place and Nova Centre Public Hearings – tomorrow (April 29, 2014 6pm)

Tomorrow’s Regional Council meeting is a big one, starting 10am, and including several important issues.  At 6pm tomorrow, Regional Council will hold two key public hearings, one regarding proposed changes to the proposed Nova Centre complex & possible closure of Grafton Street, the other regarding Wellington Street. 

I wrote a piece in the Chronicle Herald about what is under discussion tomorrow, and what is not.  You can read it here:  http://thechronicleherald.ca/opinion/1203133-convention-centre-debate-must-move-on

Citizens are invited to submit their thoughts on either or both public hearings, either by emailing your thoughts to clerks@halifax.ca (for distribution to Council and the public record) or you can come to Regional Council at 6pm and make a presentation for no more than 5 minutes.

For more information about what is under discussion regarding the Nova Centre – Case 18708

For info about Wellington Street – Case

Provincial Agencies, Boards, & Commissions

The Province of Nova Scotia needs men and women from all walks of life to serve the public on Nova Scotia’s adjudicative and non-adjudicative agencies, boards, & commissions (ABCs).What are ABCs? ABCs are provincial organizations established by statute or regulation. Most board members are appointed to ABCs by Ministerial appointment or Order in Council.

There are many opportunities to volunteer, but I personally feel there is an urgent need for applicants to the Metropolitan Regional Housing Authority board of directors.

Please consider applying for one of these positions:


More updates:

Street Cleaning Program – April 14

HRM’s annual Street Cleaning Program went into effect on Peninsular Halifax on April 14. HRM’s Municipal Operations team delivers a substantial street cleaning program to wash away any remaining salt and brine, and to ensure the streets are kept reasonably clear of debris for motorists, cyclists and pedestrians. As a preventative measure, the program also helps decrease the amount of debris and sediment entering the storm drain system.
Street cleaning on Peninsular Halifax takes place on weekdays between the hours of 12:05 a.m. and 8 a.m., to minimize the impact on daytime traffic and parking effective between April and November. HRM advises residents to find off-street parking on the days their neighbourhood is being serviced. If not, their vehicles may be ticketed. Crews cycle through the neighbourhoods, so residents should refer to on-street parking signage for their service day. For more information, visithttp://www.halifax.ca/municipalops/Infrastructure/StreetSweeping.html.

Halifax Community Health Board Member Recruitment Deadline – April 30
The Halifax Community Health Board is recruiting for new Board Members. Becoming a Community Health Board Member is an excellent opportunity to be involved in supporting health in our communities. The following are key criteria for board members: must be a resident of the Halifax Peninsula or Fairview; willing to make a three year volunteer commitment and attend regular monthly meetings (the second Tuesday of each month, 5:15pm -7:30pm) and additional events; respect the full scope of diversity (i.e., gender, age, race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation); have an understanding of and commitment to community involvement; and have knowledge of health issues and/or a willingness to learn. Deadline for applications is April 30. For more information about the Halifax Community Health Board visithttp://www.cdha.nshealth.ca/involving-patients-citizens/community-health-boards or call 487-0571.

Halifax and West Community Council Meeting: North End Public Hearings – May 6
Meeting of community council will be on Tuesday May 6 at 7 pm at Halifax City Hall. The agenda will be posted about one week prior to the meeting at:http://www.halifax.ca/Commcoun/west/index.html
Public hearings for 2 north end developments will be heard at this meeting:

  1. Case 18555 The subject properties are located on the corner of Bilby Street and Isleville Street. The proposed development consists of a 37-unit residential building (4 townhouse-style units and 33 units on the upper floors) with a total height of 8 storeys (~80 feet). Driveway access to the site is proposed from Bilby Street which leads to an internal grade level parking area and two levels of underground parking. For further information:http://www.halifax.ca/planning/applications/Case18555Details.php
  2. Case 18591 The subject properties are located at 5530-5532 Bilby Street. The proposed development consists of a 30-unit residential building with a total height of 8 storeys (~80 feet). Driveway access to the site is proposed from Bilby Street which leads to an internal grade level parking area and two levels of underground parking. For more info:http://www.halifax.ca/planning/applications/Case18591Details.php

I Love Local Hfx “Open City” – May 10
Another great way to enjoy Halifax and support local business – Open City. For more details:http://www.ilovelocalhfx.ca/v1/

Former St Pat’s High School Disposal Process Meeting – May 21
As councillor for the district I will be hosting a community meeting to provide information on the disposal process for the former St Pat’s High School, 6067 Quinpool Rd. The meeting will include a staff presentation on the current state of the property and the disposal process under Administrative Order 50 and provide an opportunity for the public to provide feedback to council on prospective uses. The meeting will take place on Wed. May 21 at 7:00 pm at the Maritime Hall, Halifax Forum (by the Bingo Hall).

HRM Bike Week 2014: June 6-15
HRM Bike Week 2014 is from June 6 – 15. For more information, visitwww.halifax.ca/bikeweek.

Curbside Giveaway – June 7-8
The aim of this weekend event is to reduce the amount of garbage ending up in HRM’s landfill by diverting unwanted items to be re-used. For more info:http://www.halifax.ca/wrms/CGAW.html

Doors Open Halifax– June 7-8
The mandate of Doors Open Halifax is to make available to the general public, free access to buildings of historical, contemporary or architectural significance and to generate interest in our built environment. This is a great event– for more info:http://doorsopenhalifax.com/

HRM Website Redevelopment
HRM is undertaking the development of a web strategy and road map to guide the transformation of the Halifax.ca website. HRM is looking for folks who use the Halifax.ca website and would like to see changes to it. You do not need a technical background- just some ideas about the current website and what you would like to see in the future. The request is to have interested citizens participate in a workshop. If you are interested let me know and I will forward your name and you will be contacted by staff.

New Payment Option for HRM Property Tax Bills
Property Tax Accounts may be paid online by major credit card using a third-party service provider. Third-party providers charge a fee for their service. The only provider that currently offers the credit card method to HRM is listed below for your convenience:www.plastiq.com (Property Tax Accounts Only). For more information:http://www.halifax.ca/revenue/cashman/PaymentOptions.html

Community Energy Plan Review/Solar City
A Community Energy Plan is a local-level planning process that aims to improve the sustainability of how we produce and use energy. Here is the link to our current plan. HRM is in the process of updating our Community Energy Plan that will outline actions HRM will take to promote energy efficiency and renewable energy in our community over the next 5 years. Roughly, $1.7 billion dollars is spent annually on energy within HRM. The updated plan will go to Council for approval, and forms part of the Regional Plan. For more information and to take part in the survey please go to:http://shapeyourcityhalifax.ca/community-energy-plan

HRM is pleased announce that it is opening its Solar City Program to a limited number of new registrants beginning Monday, March 3. Residents can register on line at:www.halifax.ca/solarcity. The program allows eligible homeowners in HRM to finance solar water heating systems through the municipality.