Participatory Budgeting Renewal Meeting this week, update on old downtown library site, more…

Great turnout at the student school strike for climate May 3 in front of City Hall.

Great turnout at the student school strike for climate May 3 in front of City Hall.

Just a very quick note regarding two things happening this week and next.

First is the Participatory Budgeting Renewal meeting taking place CORRECTED AGAIN Thursday, May 16th at the Central Library at 7:00 PM.  I’ve been talking about this meeting for a while and some folks asked me what the goal of the meeting is.

After six years, we have a number of questions we want to hear from you about.  Do we want to reduce the maximum grant from $20,000 to $15,000 or $10,000?  Do we want to have two streams, large grants and small, so smaller ($1-3K projects) have a better chance of getting funded?  Or would reducing the maximum create room?

And finally, there are more and more small asks coming in for a sign here or a hot water boiler there that are not the kind of thing that participatory budgeting works for – so do we want to set aside $19,000 dollars from the $94,000 a year for councillor discretion on smaller projects?  Some other districts in HRM that have adopted Participatory Budgeting have taken this approach.

Bringing Participatory Budgeting to HRM is something I am most proud of, so please do come to the meeting and have your say on how you want this money spent. 

The second item is there is that unfortunately some folks in the community are spreading misleading information about the future of Grafton Park, the site of the old downtown library.  I want to make it perfectly clear – the park is not for sale.  Council does not and never has wanted “to dispose of this public space and develop it, despite it being a mass grave.”  It is clear from every motion of Council on the matter that this statement is false, and I have asked the group to correct their communication.  Sadly, they continue to spread misinformation.

Council has been clear that the building itself should be saved if we can find someone who wants to use it, and so far in the five years we’ve been looking we’ve had a lot of folks kick the tires, but no one has been willing to commit.

There is a chance of a partnership with Dalhousie that could see the façade retained, the building expanded out the back and the top, and turned into office and educational space.  This could be a project completed by the municipality, or the land under the library could be leased to a developer, who would build the new facility and lease it back to the several potential partners.

EDIT – For further clarity – the building is also being assessed for possible heritage registration.  In the event it is not registered and there is no viable plan to renovate and occupy the building, Council has already voted to demolish the building and add that part the property to the renewed Grafton Park.

It is always disheartening when folks persist in sharing misleading information and I wanted to assure you that Halifax has no intention of selling this space.  If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact me.

Community Events

THIS WEEK Participatory Budgeting Rethink and Renewal 
Halifax Central Library | Thursday May 16, 7pm CORRECTED AGAIN
It’s been six great years of Participatory Budgeting, and it’s time to talk about what changes we may want to see to make it even better. I had hoped to have a meeting last Fall but we ran out of time, so I’ve decided to have a meeting in May and move the Participatory Budget vote to October. The program was designed by and for the community, and I want to hear what you think! Please join me Thursday, May 16th at the Central Library at 7:00 PM to provide your feedback. For more information, please visit

Halifax Attractions Week
May 11th-20th | Halifax Regional Municipality 
It’s back! Discover Halifax is putting on the 2nd Halifax Attractions Week May 11th-20th. This is a 9 day celebration of Halifax’s world-class attractions. There will be several participating attractions offering incredible deals on the best things to see and do in Halifax! New this year, the HFX Bucket List Pass. For a list on whose participating and more information, visit:

Free Access Evening – Discovery Centre
Wednesdays 5-8pm |Discovery Centre, 1215 Lower Water Street
Every Wednesday the Discovery Centre offers free admission between 5:00-8:00pm. Bring the kids and come learn, play and create! For more information, visit:

Got Your Back is hosting a 5k Fun Run/Walk – Supply Drop
Saturday, 25 May 2019 09:30-12:00 | Point Pleasant Park 5530 Point Pleasant Drive

Got Your Back is hosting a 5k Fun Run/Walk to support some of our community’s most vulnerable people. Instead of an Entry Fee, we will be collecting gift cards, bus tickets and personal hygiene supplies, to be delivered to local shelters in the Halifax Regional Municipality. Join us for some family fun and heart based community action! The Start and Finish will be located near the Lower Parking Lot, accessed by Point Pleasant Drive. Register now for your chance to win a prize.

Kitchen Party & Ceili Dance – a fundraiser for Spencer House
Friday, May  31st 7:30-9:30p.m | St. Andrew’s United Coburg Road at Robie & Coburg

Spencer House is throwing a Kitchen Party & Ceili Dance at St. Andrew’s United on Coburg Road, Halifax.  An evening of down-home Maritime food, music, dancing, fun, and  laughter… while helping support the extraordinary work of Spencer  House and our older adults of the HRM.  Hosted by the Maritime’s favourite Irish musician and comedian, Tony  Quinn, featuring award-winning Celtic folk fiddler and vocalist, Shannon  Quinn, and accomplished Irish duo Jimmy Sweeney & Kevin Roach.  Tickets are $25 ($30 at the door) available by contacting 902-421-6131  or Allison, at Check it out on Facebook.  See you at the Cèilidh!

How can we help?

Call my office
Call our office for assistance with your municipal issues. Just wanted to let you that for the time being you should contact my acting Council Coordinator Laura Nooyen her number is 902-490-7177 and her email is though she is off next week, so from March 18-22 Ken Benoit will be available at 902-490-7184 or

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

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:

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.

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: