Yesterday saw some really significant votes at Regional Council that I think show the Municipality is serious about making significant change and our community a better place. Council voted to accept the North Central Community Council Association proposal to purchase St Pats/Alex School and create a community centre, pending final negotiations and a public hearing. Council also voted to go ahead with taking down the Cogswell interchange, move forward with 22nd Commerce Square, and take action to set up an expert group to advise on a Municipal Alcohol Policy.
I think it could be argued that the most important thing accomplished yesterday, and that HRM might do this year, was accept the recommendations of the Mayor and Council Review of Task Force on Violence and Public Safety, referred to as the Clairmont report, all 380+ pages of it!
Your elected officials voted to set up a Public Safety Office on the civilian side of HRM, taking it out of the regional police force. This is a huge change, where accountability for the wide range of issues that impact public safety – drug crime, affordable housing, education, sexualized violence, and much more – will now be issues that are full embraced as Regional Council’s responsibility. I strongly support this change. What is interesting to me is how little media coverage this got. This is a serious change in how HRM acts to advocate and plan for safe, healthy and vibrant communities, and I am delighted that Council has accepted this challenge and responsibility.
THREE IMPORTANT PUBLIC MEETINGS:
Former St Pat’s High School Disposal Process Meeting – Wednesday, May 21
Councillor Jennifer Watts will be hosting a community meeting to provide information on the disposal process for the former St Pat’s High School, 6067 Quinpool Road. The meeting will include a staff presentation on the current state of the property, the disposal process under Administrative Order 50 and provide an opportunity for the public to provide feedback on prospective uses. The meeting will take place on Wednesday, May 21 at 7:00 pm at the Maritime Hall, Halifax Forum (by the Bingo Hall).
Cornwallis Park Renewal Concept Plan Open House – Wednesday, May 28
As Councillor for the area, I will be hosting an open house to provide a first view of the concept plan to renew Cornwallis Park. This plan, based on the publicly-consulted 2005 Master Plan, will be presented and next steps discussed. This significant park, which anchors the southend, has become somewhat shabby over the years and it’s time to breathe new life into it. We will also discuss the train station playground! Meeting starts 7pm at takes place in the Atlantic Room of the Westin Hotel.
Permanent Oval Building open house – Thursday, June 5
At long last the plans for the permanent building at Oval on the North Common will be revealed! Come and see what the future holds for this important fixture in our community. Meeting will take place at the Atlantica Hotel, time TBC but probably 7pm. More info coming soon.
International Day Against Homophobia & Transphobia – May 14
The 2014 event will be held on Wednesday, May 14th at 6 p.m. at Victoria Park (corner of Spring Garden and South Park). For more information: http://nsrap.ca/community/may17
Bluenose Marathon Weekend – May 16-18
Walk, run and/or cheer on participants in the 2014 Bluenose Marathon events that include the Doctors NS Youth Run. For more information on how to participate or road closure information go to: http://bluenosemarathon.com/
Public Gardens Tea Party Fundraiser – May 19
Victoria Day Tea Party at the Lord Nelson Hotel, May 19th from 2pm-5pm including tea, mini-sandwiches and desserts. If you’re feeling the mood, come out in your best Victorian finery, and treat yourself to a self-guided tour of the Public Gardens. Tickets are $15 in advance and can be purchased at Horticultural Hall in the gardens, or at http://www.halifaxpublicgardens.ca/ All funds go to support the Halifax Public Gardens.
Regional Plan Debate – May 20
Regional Council will debate the final draft of the proposed regional plan prior to the setting of a date for a public hearing. If you want to read the proposal is will be posted on Friday afternoon prior to the Tuesday meeting – please click here.
Greenhouse Open House – May 24
On Saturday, May 24 the greenhouses at 5711 Sackville Street will be open from 9-3. Visit http://halifax.ca/tpw/ for more details and information on other National Public Works Week events.
Community Energy Plan – 2014 Review
HRM is updating its Community Energy Plan and seeking your input. A Community Energy Plan is a local-level planning process that aims to improve the sustainability of how we produce and use energy. The updated Community Energy Plan will outline actions to promote energy efficiency and renewable energy in our community over the next five years. The updated plan will go to Council for approval and form part of the Regional Plan.
As part of the public engagement, a number of community events will be held over the coming months. Residents are invited to visit HRM’s community engagement hub to learn more about the review and take part in the discussion: http://shapeyourcityhalifax.ca/community-energy-plan
For more information. call Shannon, Environmental Performance Officer at 490-3665.
HUGA Trailside Clean-up
The Halifax Urban Greenway Association is holding a community trailside clean-up session on Saturday, May 17th, 10 a.m. to noon. The purpose is to remove fallen limbs and small trees, as well as deadwood. We will be having a company chip the piles we create. Clean Nova Scotia is providing some work gloves, but it would be a good idea to bring a pair. A couple of tree-limbing saws would also be useful. Meet 10 a.m. at the Belmont-on-the-Arm entrance on Beaufort Avenue.
The Halifax Regional School Board, the provincial Department of Health and Wellness and Halifax Regional Municipality are offering families the opportunity to come and play, free of charge. School-aged children and youth, along with their parents, are welcome to play tag, kick-ball, or skip rope, to keep active. Visit:
Needham Open Gym – Saturdays from 11am-1pm until May 31
George Dixon Open Gym – Saturdays from 2-3pm until May 31
Needham Pool Open Swims – Thursdays from 5-6pm no end date (continues through summer)
Summer at the Oval on the Halifax North Common
Beginning in June, there is free family fun seven days a week at the Oval including free inline/roller skating (the Oval has skates & protective gear to borrow), special events and learn to bike lessons. Inline skating for school groups will also be offered in June. If you have your own gear you can use the Oval during unscheduled hours too. For schedule and event information call 490-2347 or visit www.skatehrm.ca
Trees will be planted in the area of Connaught Avenue in the boulevards starting in the next week or so. The tree planting is guided by the Urban Forest Master Plan, which can be found here: http://www.halifax.ca/RealPropertyPlanning/UFMP/. In addition to the master plan planting, trees will be planted to replace those that are damaged or died.
Who to Call?
If you have a question about municipal services, please call the Citizen Contact Centre at 311. If you make a request for a service such as a pothole to be filled, please ask for the file number. This will make it easier to follow up with the Citizen Contact Centre.
In addition to 311, the following numbers may be useful:
211 Human, social and health-related Information and referral services
411 Local directory assistance
511 Road conditions information service (including Halifax Harbour Bridges)
611 Telephone repair service
711 Message relay service (MRS) for individuals who are hearing and/or speech impaired
811 Non-urgent health care telephone triage service