Winter is coming, holiday hours, snow and parking, budget, plastic bags, more

Hi folks,

I wanted to get another e-newsletter out before winter holidays start up.  While I’m going to be out from December 17 to January 3 and only periodically checking email, you can always call the council support office during the business day at 902-490-4050 and one of our excellent staff will be happy to assist.

In addition to some public meetings and events coming up I wanted to remind you that winter is coming (in case you missed it!) and briefly discuss the coming budget and plastic bags.

Winter is just around the corner so it’s more important than ever to be prepared for whatever the season may bring.

Residents are reminded to secure off-street parking for the winter months so snow plow operators can safely and efficiently clear the streets and sidewalks. When and where you park in the winter can have a big impact on clearing streets and sidewalks during a winter storm.

The overnight winter parking ban will be in place from December 15, 2018 to March 31, 2019. The ban will be enforced between 1:00a.m. and 6:00a.m., during declared weather events and extended clearing operations. The easiest way to know when the parking ban will be enforced is to register online for notifications. Residents can also request registration by calling 311.
Remember, after a weather event, streets are cleared on a priority basis, you can find out more about the service standards and your street’s priority level here. For the most up to date information before, during and after a winter storm, visit Halifax.ca/snow and follow us on Twitter @hfxgov.

The budget is also in the news. There has been a lot of buzz about the “$48 million gap” in the HRM operating budget, as well as concern that a lot of the visionary capital projects have disappeared from the draft budget.

On the operating side – the $48 million gap is pretty artificial – the only way that happens is if Council voted to lower the tax rate four years in a row, and freeze the average per home tax bill for four years. Our average tax bill increase the last 5 years has been 1.7% per year per dwelling. Because assessment goes up every year, we actually have to cut the tax rate each year to see the tax bill only go up 1.7% per dwelling.  If you project the budget out four years with a 1.7% (below CPI) rise the gap is down to 12.5 million.    

I committed to limit raising the tax bill by CPI or less each year. CPI this year is 2.1%. My only caveate is that if a major new project came along like commuter rail, or bus rapid transit, I would be willing to consider an additional targeted rate to fund those major projects.

On the capital side –  I don’t know why suddenly staff are proposing sidewalks, road paving, and bike lanes have their capital funding cut from historic levels. I won’t vote to gut these programs, though we have not had that debate at Council yet. We have done visionary work on complete communities, bus and bike ways, and safe streets for pedestrians, and I can’t support a budget wipes out those programs.

For the first time in the six years I have been here it is clear the coming budget debate will be difficult and take a long time and a lot of work. The budget process started four weeks ago but involved dozens of meetings over the next three months with a goal of getting the a budget passed by April 2019. We have a lot of time to understand the choices staff are proposing council make other decisions.  I look forward to hearing from you as we work on the budget for the next few months.

Finally I wanted to briefly update you on the plastic bag ban proposal.  Regional Council is being asked to consider a single use plastic shopping bag ban.  I support this.  While a provincial ban is preferable, Halifax along with the nine regional centres and several counties have all agreed to vote on a ban.  Right now almost 75% of the province’s population live in municipalities that are contemplating a ban.  I believe almost every major shopping area will be covered by this ban. 

If plastic shopping bags were banned just in Nova Scotia then 300-500 million bags a year will be kept out of the environment, reducing plastic in the biosphere and landfill and recycling costs.  Personally I want to go back to paper bags so I have something to put my compost in!

Thank you for another great year as your Councillor, and I look forward to getting back to work in the new year and continuing to work with you to make District 7 and Halifax an even better place to live and work.  Happy holidays!

Public Meetings and Notices

Halifax Regional Council
Tuesday December 11th 10:00am | Halifax City Hall, Council Chambers
The next meeting of Halifax Regional Council will take place on Tuesday December 11th 10am at Halifax City Hall. 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

Joint HWCC, NWCC and HEMDCC Special Meeting
Tuesday December 11th 6:00-6:30pm | Halifax City Hall
This special joint meeting of Halifax & West, North West and Harbour East Marine Drive Community Councils will be taking place on Tuesday December 11th from 6-6:30pm. Agenda and reports are posted by noon the Friday prior to the meeting. To view the agenda for the upcoming meeting, visit: http://www.halifax.ca/council/agendasc/cagenda.php

Halifax & West Community Council
Wednesday December 12th 6:00-8:00pm | Halifax City Hall, Council Chambers
The next meeting of the Halifax and West Community Council will take place on Thursday December 12th 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 Planning & Economic Development Standing Committee
Thursday December 13th 10:00am-12:00pm | Halifax City Hall, Council Chambers
The next meeting of the Community Planning and Economic Development Standing Committee will take place on Thursday December 13th from 10am-12pm. To view the agenda for the upcoming meeting, visit: http://www.halifax.ca/council/agendasc/cagenda.php

Deadline for Volunteer Award Nominations
Monday December 17th | Halifax Regional Municipality
The deadline for the Volunteer Award nominations is Monday December 17th. Recipients are announced during National Volunteer Week in April. To access the nomination form, visit: https://www.halifax.ca/about-halifax/volunteering/volunteer-awards-halifax.  For more information, please contact Shawna Shirley at 902-869-4202 or e-mail shirles@halifax.ca.

Community Events

Christmas on the Grand Parade
Monday December 10th 7:00pm | St. Paul’s Anglican Church
The 6th annual Christmas on the Grand Parade will be taking place Monday December 10th at 7pm, inside St. Paul’s Anglican Church. Enjoy an evening of choral music, singing and readings with one of Halifax’s most historical buildings as the backdrop. This event is FREE and open to the public. For more information, visit: https://downtownhalifax.ca/event/christmas-grand-parade

FREE Halifax Job Fair
Tuesday December 11th 1:00-3:00pm | Delta Halifax Hotel, 1990 Barrington Street
Don’t miss the next Halifax Job Fair! Whether you are looking for work or a new career, there is something for everyone. This is a great opportunity to meet face-to-face with recruiters, HR managers, hiring companies and employment agencies. For more information, visit: https://downtownhalifax.ca/event/free-halifax-job-fair-december-11th

The Celtic Christmas Show
Friday December 14th 7:30pm | Alderney Landing Theatre, 2 Ochterloney Street
Enjoy the Celtic Christmas Show, a yearly tradition in Halifax. This year’s performers include the RCMP Pipes and Drums & Dancers, The Acadian Step Dancers, Scaip na Cleiti Dancers, Diaga Irish Dancers and musician Shannon Quinn. For more information, visit: https://www.familyfuncanada.com/halifax/the-celtic-christmas-show/

2019 New Year’s Day Levee
Tuesday January 9:30am | Halifax City Hall
Mayor Savage and members of Regional Council are inviting residents to join them in celebrating the arrival of 2019 at the annual New Year’s Levee. All residents are welcome to attend this holiday event. Light refreshments will be provided.

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
Call 311 toll-free from anywhere within the Halifax region. A friendly and knowledgeable agent can provide a wide variety of municipal information and services in over 150 languages. If you have a question about a municipal service, 311 is your one-stop-shop. Hours of operations are Monday to Friday 8 am to 8 pm, and Saturday & Sunday 9 am to 5:30 pm, though there is after hours urgent service (see below) The call centre is closed on Christmas and New Year’s Day.  Visit http://www.halifax.ca/311/  for more info.

311 – HRM after-hour urgent service

  • road maintenance issues such as sinkholes, traffic light problems, and street obstructions
  • plumbing or electrical issues at municipal facilities
  • animal services like an injured or found dog, or an aggressive animal
  • illegally parked vehicles

Always dial 911 in an emergency—when someone’s health, safety, or property is threatened, and when help is needed immediately.

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

Peninsula Planning Advisory Council Reports and Agendas
Peninsula Planning Advisory Committee meets once a month to discuss and provide feedback to council on planning proposals for the three districts on the peninsula. Please check the webpage for agendas (usually available a week before the meeting), locations and times:  https://www.halifax.ca/city-hall/boards-committees-commissions/h/halifax-peninsula-planning-advisory-committee






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