Young Ave update, Gorsebrook Park, geosmin, more

What a couple of weeks eh?

First off, a huge thank you to the Young Avenue District Heritage Conservation Society, the Park to Park Community Association, the NS Heritage Trust, the Local Council of Women Halifax, and every other group and individual who rallied so quickly last week to save Young Avenue.

From an unexpected notice of motion on November 26 to the withdrawal of the motion December 3, hundreds of people called councillors, sent in letters, signed petitions, and mobilized the community. You are all amazing, thank you!

I was pleased the Councillor Adams withdrew his motion, and that it was clear most of the Council would not support reopening the discussion about Young Avenue. As I pointed out in my all points bulletin last week outlining the issue, we already had the discussion. The community already said what they want, and the public process had concluded just two years ago.

This really was the first big test of the Centre Plan, and I am glad that we won and the lower density character of the neighbourhood continues to be protected. Centre Plan is a pretty explicit trade off – we are allowing significant dense buildings on some corridors and centres, but we are only allowing appropriate intensification in others, to protect those neighbourhoods.

One out of four of HRM’s residents live in the regional centre. Folks from Crichton Park to Westmount, from Albro Lake to the South End all deserve certainty and consistency from their municipal government. I am glad to see the planning upheld.

It is important we stay engaged with the final public consultations on Centre Plan Package B, which will take place in new year, and we push hard to make sure it is adopted in September. This is our best path to sanity in planning and development.

Again thank you all.

A number of people concerned about the Gorsebrook Park plan who contacted me last week. I asked Council to defer a decision until January. The report is here, and I would love to get an email from you about your thoughts. I think the plan has a lot of good points, but I see some areas of concern. Let me know what you think.

Some folks have had issues with the smell of their water and are concerned about water quality. Once again geosmin is in the Pockwock water supply. Geosmin is a harmless, naturally occurring compound produced by bacteria in soil and algae found in surface water (lakes, rivers, stream, dams). Geosmin produces an earthy, musty-type odour/taste, like that of overturned rich soils, and is present in foods such as beets, spinach, and mushrooms. Some customers served by Pockwock are noticing geosmin in their tap water. The Pockwock water supply serves customers in Halifax, Bedford, Sackville, Fall River, Waverley, and Timberlea. Again, this is harmless. More information can be found here:

I wanted to thank you all for your support and patience this last year while I served as President of the Nova Scotia Federation of Municipalities (NSFM). My term ended second week of November. I loved being president and serving all Nova Scotians and representing all of our municipalities, but I am also loving being back to just one job, Councillor!

The week after my term ended I went to Vietnam to represent NSFM and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities at the Association of Cities of Vietnam (ACVN) annual conference. I was a keynote speaker and spoke about land registry, property assessment, and property tax in Nova Scotia. It was a whirlwind four days and the work was very valuable I think both for the ACVN and for Canada.

I was really impressed with the work Canada and FCM are doing to assist in both process modernization (like the land registry) and other projects around methane capture and source separation at landfills to help Vietnam hit their carbon goals. I was honoured to do my part for this important initiative. The Vietnamese were great hosts and I learned a lot too.

This will be my last email newsletter before the new year. I will be taking some time off from December 14 to New Years, though I will be checking emails and there will be staff at the Council Support office every work day except Christmas Day and New Years. Please call 902.490.4050 if you have any pressing issues, otherwise call 311 for routine municipal matters.

I wish you and yours a merry Christmas and happy holidays!


Budget Committee
Thursday, December 5, 9:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. | Halifax City Hall 1841 Argyle Street

Budget committee to discuss the 2020/21 Capital Budget Recommendation and Integrated Mobility Plan and Infrastructure Projects. Agenda and reports can be found here:

Halifax and West Community Council
Wednesday, December 11, 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. | Halifax City Hall 1841 Argyle Street
Agenda will be available online Friday before the meeting:


Halifax Lights Festival
Saturday November 30 – Saturday December 7th | Various Locations

Bright lights, holiday shopping, family fun, warm drinks, delicious food and festive entertainment await at the Downtown Halifax Business Commission’s Lights Festival. There’s something for everyone including photos with Santa, visits from princesses and superheroes, The Big Sing, live ice-sculpting, science demonstrations, an interactive light show, a silent dance party, chilli warm-up, and a petting zoo. For more information see their website:

Winter Social with the Halifax Peninsula Community Health Team
Friday, December 6 from 2:00 – 4:00 p.m. | 6080 Young Street, Suite 105

Join the Halifax Peninsula Community Health Team for a casual event with light snacks, tea, coffee, and friendly conversation. Connect with the team and others in your community and learn more about what the Community Health Team is offering in our area.

NSCAD Holiday Pop-Up
Friday December 6 5:00 p.m. – December 7 4:00 p.m. | Art Bar + Projects 1873 Granville St.

NSCAD will be hosting their Holiday Pop-Up – a show and sale of art, craft and design created by NSCAD students! See the Facebook Page for more information:

Halifax Vintage Christmas Show
Friday, December 6 – Sunday December 8 | 1566 Barrington St.
Shop sustainable and beautiful gifts at the Curio Collective’s Vintage Christmas Show. 30 local antique and vintage vendors will be in attendance so you’re sure to find that one-of-a-kind piece. Check out more detail here:

Halifax Thunderbirds vs New York Riptide
Saturday, December 7th 7:00 – 9:30 p.m. | Scotiabank Centre

Come cheer on your Halifax Thunderbirds at their home opener against the New York Riptide. More information and tickets can be found here:

Christmas on the Grand Parade
Monday December 9th, 7:00 p.m. | St. Paul’s Anglican Church

Join in for a free evening of choral music, singing, and readings with one of Halifax’s most historic buildings as a backdrop. The evening will feature the St. Paul’s Senior Choir and Junior Choir, as well as the Bedford Brass Quintet.

Don We Now Our Gay Apparel
Thursday December 12 and Saturday December 14, 7:30 p.m. | St. Andrews United Church 6036 Coburg Rd.
The Halifax Gay Men’s Chorus are presenting two performances of their seasonal holiday celebration, Don We Now Our Gay Apparel. Tickets are $50 for patrons (available only online), $25 regular and $20 for students, seniors and the underwaged. Learn more on their website:

Central Library 5 Birthday Celebrations
Saturday, December 14 9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. | Central Library
The Central Library opened on December 13th, 2014 and now we celebrate their 5 year anniversary. Join them in celebrating the last five years in this unique space that has truly exemplified our library’s mission to create outstanding experiences for our community. See their website for more detail:

Emera Oval Open for Public Skating
Monday December 16 | Halifax Common
The Emera Oval offers free rentals of helmets, hockey skates, figure skates, speed skates, sledges and snowshoes. Check out the public skating schedule here:

Volunteer Award Nomination Deadline
December 18
Nominate an outstanding individual, group or youth from your community for the 2020 Volunteer Awards. Winners will be announced in April. You can find the form on our website:

New Years Eve 2019
Tuesday December 31 10:45 – midnight | Grand Parade
Grand Parade will play host to a Live television broadcast this year. Ring in the new year with your best friends and family Downtown Halifax. Once again we have two incredible Canadian Artists and midnight Fireworks. Join us at the largest outdoor New Year’s Eve celebration in Atlantic Canada with musical performances by  (corrected) Maximum Overdrive and Famba. We’ll also have a DJ before the show starts and some free giveaways.

New Years Levey
Wednesday January 1 9:30-11am | Halifax City Hall, Argyle Entrance
Mayor Mike 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.


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

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: