Fall is here, notes on CFL stadium, events, more

Wil Brewer received an honourary membership in the Ontario Guild of Town Criers before the start of Council this week (we don’t normally dress like this, for the record).

Hello folks,

It’s been a very busy month in District 7 and City Hall, from changes to residential parking permits to setting a public hearing for the Ben’s Bread site, and lots in between.  Some very good park news with the new Gorsebrook Park playground being officially opened and the stage/seating area in Cornwallis Park being completed.  Most paving will be done in the next while, and hopefully snow stays away until January again!

My schedule has not slowed down, and throwing Deputy Mayor on top of being a busy Councillor has meant a lot of travel and a lot of extra meetings.  As much as I have enjoyed working closely with Mayor Savage and his team my term as Deputy Mayor ends November 13 and I am both sad and relieved.   

My work and travel schedule won’t slow down though!

I was pleased to be nominated as President of the Nova Scotia Federation of Municipalities this week.  The confirmation vote will take place at the AGM next week.  NSFM represents all municipalities in Nova Scotia and the role will see me travelling to both provincial and federal meetings.  I’m excited and honoured to be trusted to represent Nova Scotia’s municipalities, and honoured to serve with Councillor Bill Karsten, who will be President of Federation of Canadian Municipalities next year.  Halifax provides service and leadership across the country and it makes me proud.

I wanted to give a brief update about the CFL stadium proposal.  I have gotten a lot of emails along the lines of “how could you” when people saw the unanimous vote for a staff report. 

First thing to clear up, I wasn’t there.  I was at an NSFM/Provincial Minister roundtable with the finance, justice, municipal, TIR, energy and environment Ministers.  That meeting broke up and I got back to the Council meeting moments after the vote.

How would I have voted?  I am hugely skeptical of stadiums.  I’ve written extensively about the economics and often false promises made about them.  I know that tax increment financing creates no significant new development and therefore no tax value you would not have gotten anyway (Bill Black wrote about that better than I can).   We have a lot of other things to spend money on.

Had I been there, I would have said I will never support ongoing support for maintenance or operating.  This cannot be structured like the Nova Centre deal.  If HRM is going to help pay to build a stadium it needs to be a one time payment toward the capital cost of construction, and it needs to be the same size, give or take, as the amount of money we’ve already talked about investing in a community, 15,000 seat stadium, and it has to have contractual guarantees of community access. 

I don’t love the TIF model at the best of times, but it is especially weird to trumpet a TIF at Shannon Park, where the redevelopment plan is well underway and HRM is going to get development and taxes out of that site stadium or no stadium.

I am also concerned that the province appears to be considering hotel and taxi taxes to pay for their section.  Until I hear otherwise from those industries I am against that, absolutely against it.  Hotels already have a plan to increase their room tax and use the money for marketing, and taxi industry has concerns as well.

I am not concerned about making the stadium itself tax exempt.  Venues don’t pay tax, anywhere.  Neptune has a tax deal.  Cohn has a tax deal.  If the municipality built a community stadium, it would not pay taxes to itself.  

I might have voted for a staff report so we could get clear answers about all these items. I am not sure, it would have been one of those votes where you are listening to councillors and deciding based on every scrap of info right down to the last moment. I know some councilors who were leaning strongly no who in the end voted for a report, so I may have changed my mind too.

I have a very narrow window that I could possibly maybe support a stadium, but I approach this with a huge dose of skepticism, and am interested to see if the stadium can possibly be viable without much more than I could support.  I don’t think it can but I am willing to be surprised.

I WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU!  What are the circumstances under which you would support a stadium, if any at all?

Thanks, enjoy the fall!


Public Meetings and Notices

Point Pleasant Park Advisory Committee
Thursday November 1 4:30-6:30pm | Halifax City Hall, Halifax Hall
The next meeting of the Point Pleasant Park Advisory Committee will take place on Thursday November 1st at 4:30pm at Halifax City Hall. To the view the agenda for the upcoming meeting, visit: http://www.halifax.ca/council/agendasc/cagenda.php

Halifax Regional Council
Tuesday November 13 9:00am | Halifax Marriott Harbourfront Hotel, 1919 Upper Water Street
The next meeting of Halifax Regional Council will take place on Tuesday November 13th at 9:00am at the Halifax Marriott Harbourfront Hotel. Agenda and reports are posted by noon on Friday prior to the meeting date and are available at http://www.halifax.ca/council/agendasc/cagenda.php

Halifax & West Community Council
Wednesday November 14 6:00-8:00pm | Halifax City Hall, Halifax Hall
The next meeting of the Halifax and West Community Council will take place on Wednesday November 14th at 6:00pm at Halifax City Hall. To view the agenda for the upcoming meeting, visit: http://www.halifax.ca/council/agendasc/cagenda.php

Community Events

Chaos to Canvas: An Evening with Maxwell Smart, Author and Holocaust Survivor
Thursday November 1, 7:00pm| Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21
As part of the 15th Annual Holocaust Education Week, this Thursday evening at Pier 21 at 7:00pm. Guest speaker and Holocaust survivor Maxwell Smart of Montreal will discuss his journey from liberation to life as a successful painter and art gallery owner. A reception will follow. This event is FREE. For more information, visit: www.holocausteducation.ca

Open Heart Forgery Poetry Reading
November 3, 2018, 2pm to 4pm | Daily Grind Café, 1479 Birmingham St, Halifax

Open Heart Forgery is a free monthly journal of poems & lyrics that aims to energize Halifax writers from the grass roots up. Created in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, and read everywhere. https://ohforgery.com/

STEMFest 2018 – Public Talk with Jay Ingram
Saturday November 3, 7:00-8:00pm| Halifax Convention Centre, 1650 Argyle Street
Can we live 200 years? Take in a talk with Jay Ingram at the Halifax Convention Centre on Saturday November 3rd from 7:00-8:00pm. Jay Ingram will discuss the extraordinary and continuing rise in human life expectancy and its controversies. This event is FREE; however, space is limited. For more information and registration, visit: https://stemfest2018.ca/

SCANS Presents: Domestic Architecture in Nova Scotia, 1764 to 1923
Tuesday November 6 10:00am-12:00pm | Halifax Central Library, Paul O’Regan Hall
Take in a lecture on Tuesday November 6th from 10:00am-12:00pm at the Halifax Central Library with architect Allen Penney as he examines twelve houses in the Nova Scotia Museum collection. This lecture will cover their owners, main function, construction and design influences. This will also inform on the history of Nova Scotia and why these houses are still standing. For more information, visit: https://halifax.bibliocommons.com/events/search/fq=branch_location_id:(SGA)/event/5b481f14f0f0ea350097f908

Halifax Camerata Singers Feature Star Soprano Jane Archibald in Annelies
Sunday November 11  7:30pm | Shaar Shalom Synagogue
The award-winning Halifax Camerata Singers kick off their 32nd season with Annelies, a choral work based on The Diary of Anne Frank, on Remembrance Day evening, Sunday, November 11th at 7:30pm at Shaar Shalom Synagogue. This moving performance features the choir with Nova Scotia star soprano Jane Archibald in the title role of Anne Frank, as well as Symphony Nova Scotia musicians Shimon Walt, cello, Jennifer Jones, violin, Graham Lord, clarinet with Lynette Wahlstrom on piano.
 To purchase tickets or find out more about the Camerata Singers’ season, please visit their website www.halifaxcamerata.org.  It’s expected that this performance will sell out so concertgoers are advised to purchase tickets early through Ticket Halifax dot com, or in person at The Coast, 2309 Maynard Street, in Halifax.
Concertgoers are asked please not to bring any food into the synagogue.

Before the Leaves Turn: A Remembrance Day Performance
Sunday November 11 1:00-2:00pm & 4:00-5:00pm | Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21
Check out Before the Leaves Turn, by Jamie Bradley on Sunday November 11th with performances at 1:00pm and 4:00pm. This show is set in a small town inspired by Sackville, New Brunswick during the span of the First World War. Presented by three actors, this reading will introduce the audience to two families who are experiencing the highs and lows of these difficult years. To reserve your seat and confirm attendance, visit: https://beforetheleavesturn.eventbrite.ca

The Chronicle Harold Parade of Lights
Saturday November 17 6:00-8:00pm | Spring Garden Road
The 23rd Annual Chronicle Harold Parade of Lights will take place on Saturday November 17th from 6:00-8:00pm. The parade begins on Upper Water Street, south of the CFB Halifax Dockyard, continues down Barrington Street, up Spring Garden Road and then turns left down South Park Street. The parade then turns right onto University Avenue, past the IWK and ends at the corner of University Avenue and Robie Street. For more information, visit: http://www.springgardenarea.com/events/

Help and more info

Call my office
Call our office for assistance with your municipal issues. Contact my Constituency Coordinator Melody Campbell by phone 902-490-2012 or email melody.campbell@halifax.ca or contact me directly. The best way to reach me is via email at my city email – waye.mason@halifax.ca or you can call my direct line at 902-490-8462.

311 – HRM’s Call Centre
HRM’s call centre is open 7 days/week from 7 am to 11 pm to respond to routine inquiries and complaints from HRM residents. Please use this service since it helps HRM keep track of issues that are of concern for residents (missed solid waste pickup, sidewalks not cleared, transit info or complaints, etc.) For more information please visit http://www.halifax.ca/311/

Regional Council Reports and Agendas
If you want to read reports coming to Regional Council (posted mid-day Friday prior to the Tuesday meeting) or to check the agenda please go to:  https://www.halifax.ca/city-hall/regional-council

Halifax and West Community Council Reports and Agendas
Community Council meets on Tuesday evenings that alternate with Regional Council. Please check the webpage here for agendas (usually available a week before the meeting), locations and times. https://www.halifax.ca/city-hall/community-councils/halifax-west-community-council