Update #1 – Canadian Martyrs, Young Ave, Centre Plan, Grammar School, Stormwater fee, and more…



Thank you so much to the voters in Halifax South Downtown for giving me your support and your trust.  Thank you for re-electing me as Councillor for District 7.

During the campaign I made 30 promises regarding priorities that matter to you – things like protecting heritage buildings, preventing destructive development and solving parking issues in our neighbourhoods. I was at at City Hall today already working to putting these plans in motion.

I look forward to working with Mayor Savage and my colleagues on Council both new and old to get to work on these issues.

I heard a lot about two specific issues while knocking on doors:

Canadian Martyrs development – there is a lot concern about the proposal by Ashcroft to build two 25+ story towers on the former Canadian Martyrs Church site.  This development proposal is out of scale, damaging to our neighbourhood, and does not meet the goals for our community that have been approved by Council.

I have been fighting against this proposal since it first crossed my desk four months ago.  I’ve worked with the President of Saint Mary’s, concerned community leaders, members of the SMU Board, and members of the church congregation to find any avenue to block this development.   No one wants to see this development go ahead.  HRM has turned down the proposal, but Ashcroft has appealed to the NS Utility and Review Board.

I have been talking to Labi Kousoulis, area MLA, to discuss what additional steps the provincial government might be able to take to ensure that this project cannot go ahead.

Water tax issue – Back eight months ago Council voted to take the storm water charge off the Halifax Water bill and put it on taxes. Having storm water on the water bill was unfair as it meant people with no other relationship with Halifax Water (no ditch, no water, no sewer) were getting a bill.

The storm water charge is not related to a property; it is related to covering the cost of the water running off of HRMs road network into the storm water system.  Because Halifax Water is an arm’s length utility they charge HRM to handle water coming off of the road network, just like an private land owner pays.

What was not clear at the time was the issue of storage spaces and parking lots with separate deed and title.  Analysis shows that there are about 1000 of these getting the tax applied.  I made a motion at the last Council meeting of Regional Council to start the process to remove the ROW fee from these properties and to review the structure of condo charges.

I felt it was better for residents and fairer given the nature of what it was being charged for that the fee stand on its own and be a flat fee.  In this case I felt it made sense, though I am not convinced by any stretch that all taxes should be flat fees!

I made a motion Oct 4 to review the fee which passed, which will likely lead to cancelling it on parking and storage, and looks at the condo vs apartment issue.  This should come back in November or December.


HRM Centre Plan: Objectives and Policies Public Launch Event
October 19, 2016 | Spatz Theatre
HRM’s Centre Plan will be the first comprehensive plan the municipality has had in several decades to guide development in the Regional Centre, serving as a blueprint for smart development. Join us to learn more about the proposed objectives and policies in the Centre Plan related to the urban structure of the regional centre. This includes the arrangement of physical elements like buildings, streets and public spaces, and the size, shape and design of the elements in the urban centre. For more information, please visithttp://centreplan.ca/

Planning Advisory Committee Meeting
October 24, 2016 | Halifax Hall, Halifax City Hall

Case 20405 – Application by Halifax Grammar School to amend the Halifax MPS and LUB  – An application has been received from Halifax Grammar School to amend the Halifax Municipal Planning Strategy (MPS) and the Halifax Peninsula Land Use By-law (LUB) to permit an expansion of the Tower Road campus of the Halifax Grammar School. An MPS amendment is needed because the applicant wishes to expand the existing school building and parking area on lands currently designated Medium Density Residential (MDR) and zoned R-1 (Single Family Residential). A change to the Height Precinct policy is also requested. http://www.halifax.ca/boardscom/D78PAC/161024d78pac-agenda.php

Young Avenue By-Law Amendments
November 2, 2016 | location TBD

Case 20854 – Amendments to the Halifax Peninsula Land Use By-law to protect the character and form of Young Avenue – Land use by-law amendments for Young Avenue Public Information Meetinghttp://www.halifax.ca/planning/applications/Case20854details.php


2017 Volunteer Award nominations now open
Do you know an amazing volunteer, individual or group making a difference in your community? Each year the Mayor and Regional Council recognize the extraordinary contributions of individuals and groups who volunteer their time and skills to provide services and programs in municipal communities. The 2017 Volunteer Award nominations are now open, so nominate an outstanding individual or group today! Nomination deadline is December 16, 2016. For more information, visithttp://www.halifax.ca/volunteerservices/awards/index.php

Halifax Pop Explosion
Oct 19-22 | Various locations
HPX is the Halifax Pop Explosion, an annual festival that presents over 150 artists, comedians and speakers, in more than 15 venues across the city. HPX has a long-standing tradition of presenting the best in new and innovative music from across Canada and the world. HPX bolsters the music presentation with a Music Conference, comedy shows, a Zine Fair as well as other partnered events and parties. http://halifaxpopexplosion.com

2016 City Harvest
October 22, 2016 | Various locations
Come out and experience the best in local food, shopping and services in Halifax – all while supporting locally owned and operated businesses. Many businesses and restaurants will be offering deals and specials, and it’s an excellent opportunity to get out and experience your city. For more information including a full list of vendors, visithttp://www.ilovelocalhfx.ca/v1/

Neighbourhood Placemaking Program Application Deadline: October 28
Neighbourhood Placemaking provides guidance and support to community members interested in hosting a project in their neighbourhood. This could be an intersection painting, the building of benches for a local gathering space, a community garden, or any idea that brings community members together to create public art that gives a sense of place and community building. The program provides staff support and resources for these projects.  For more information and to access applications and toolkits please visithttp://www.halifax.ca/culture/communityarts/placemaking.php

Diwali Night 2016 – Festival of Lights
October 29, 2016 5-11pm | McInnis Room, Dalhousie University
Diwali is a festival of lights in which people light up their diya’s (oil lamps) signifying the victory of light over darkness or good over evil, knowledge over ignorance, hope over despair. The event will feature traditional Indian cuisine, cultural performances, and an after party. Hosted by the Indian Festivals Club of Nova Scotia. For more information visithttps://www.facebook.com/events/1589752047995199/ or email ifcns.canada@gmail.com

Nova Scotia and Permanent Residency Immigration Information Session
November 1, 2016 3-5pm | Sir Charles Tupper Medical Building, Theatre B
Are you an international student who wants to stay in Nova Scotia and eventually become a permanent resident? This is an information session on the Nova Scotia Nominee Program (NSNP) and will include sessions on pathways to nomination under the NSNP, quota and processing times, potential new programs and streams for international students and graduates, and more. For more information, please visithttps://www.facebook.com/events/106639446474259/

Bryant Terry on Food Justice: Poverty, Politics and Public Health
November 3 2016 7:30-9pm | Seaport Farmers Market
Join Bryant Terry, a critically-acclaimed author, chef, and social justice advocate for a free public talk exploring the relationship between food, law, and justice. Presented by the Schulich School of Law. For more information, please visithttps://www.facebook.com/events/1784466125130744/

Christmas at the Forum
November 4-6, 2016 | Halifax Forum
This annual holiday tradition should not be missed! Affectionately known as “The Big One”, the show has a reputation for presenting the largest, most diverse selection of quality crafts and art, creating a joyous and festive atmosphere for the last 39 years. Christmas at the forum features crafts from local artisans, food, arts, antiques and lots of door prizes. The event runs Friday 10am-9pm, Saturday 10am-9pm, and Sunday 10am-5pm. For more information, visit http://www.christmasattheforum.com/

Hal-Con 2016
November 4-6, 2016 | World Trade and Convention Centre + Scotiabank Centre
Hal-Con is the largest sci-fi, fantasy, and gaming convention in Atlantic Canada, encompassing the full-spectrum of geekdom including comic books, science fiction, fantasy, gaming, cyberpunk, steampunk, renaissance, anime, and anything else of the fantastical. The gathering includes music, stage shows, small social gaming circles, and the chance to rub elbows with the famous and infamous of geek pop-culture. For more information, visit http://www.hal-con.com/

Rogers Hometown Hockey
November 5-6, 2016 | Alderney Landing
Canada’s ultimate hockey festival is coming back to Halifax November 5-6th, 2016. Every stop on the tour features two days of activities including music, NHL Alumni, local heroes, and entertainment for families to enjoy. Hosted live onsite by Ron MacLean and Tara Sloan, the festival is headlined by an NHL game every Sunday. For more information, visithttp://www.hometownhockey.com/news/7253/

Halifax Regional Council: First meeting of new Council
November 8, 2016 | Halifax City Hall, Council Chambers
The first meeting of the new Halifax Regional Council will take place on Tuesday, November 8, 2016. All meetings are open to the public and broadcast live on Eastlink TV. Agenda, reports and minutes can be found by visitinghttp://www.halifax.ca/council/agendasc/cagenda.php

Remembrance Day Ceremonies
November 11, 2016
Remembrance Day is of particular significant to Halifax, which not only served an important role in both the great wars, but also currently stands as Canada’s largest Canadian Forces Base. The Remembrance Day parade and ceremony in downtown Halifax will begin at 11am at Grand Parade under the direction of the Royal Canadian Legion Zone 14. For a full list of Remembrance Day ceremonies taking place November 11th, visit http://www.destinationhalifax.com/content/remembrance-day-ceremonies-halifax