Coming up on a month for some folks in terms of working from home.
A good friend of mine expressed the feelings many of us have this way on Facebook: “Hey anyone else feel like they are trapped in an eternal present with no past or future?” I have also heard our circumstances described as “groundhog day” like. My wife said to me two days ago “I am working hard to make sure I can take the whole long weekend off” and I just looked at her silently until we both started laughing… stuck at home working or stuck at home not working is still stuck at home!
I share this because we are all feeling it… these are stressful, difficult, and hard times for all. You are not alone if you are feeling stressed. If you or someone you know needs help or someone to talk to there are a lot of mental health resources on this page https://wayemason.ca/coronavirus/resources-for-individuals-and-families/taking-care-of-yourself/
If you are able, the Mental Health Association of Nova Scotia is in urgent need of financial support. More information here https://www.halifaxtoday.ca/local-news/mental-health-association-launches-covid-19-fundraiser-to-keep-up-with-alarming-increase-in-demand-for-support-in-nova-scotia-2233395
Two quick non-COVID related issues to remind us there are other things in the world.
First is the Province has proposed a significantly different design to address the parking garage on Summer Street. You can read about that here https://www.thechronicleherald.ca/news/local/provinces-revised-site-plan-for-infirmary-goes-to-halifax-council-435046/
It is a less damaging plan than the province originally proposed, but it isn’t great, I don’t want anyone to think I love it. It is set back from Bell Road, and is 40% smaller than what was previously proposed, and no longer needs municipal land and won’t damage Lancers or Wanderers grounds.
Ultimately this is a test of the province’s ability to build a quality building in an urban setting. As I said in the Herald: ‘“That’s important for them because they are about to spend $1 billion building hospitals at the VG and Halifax Infirmary sites,” Mason said. “We need to see that this building, the first one they’ll build, gives us confidence that they are going to build buildings that are going to add to the city, not ruin the city. I am very hopeful that they will rise to the occasion.”’
The municipality can’t stop the province from building here. All we are being asked is to allow a pedway to go across Summer Street. I am going to support that, with some reluctance. I will say the province has not done any public engagement on this new, substantially changed plan and they should, they owe the public that, but that is up to them.
I am going to take this as a win because it no longer hurts existing uses. Is this perfect? No. Is it better? Yes.
There is a weather warning for Thursday/Friday.
Environment Canada says it will be very windy and wet and even some snow Thursday night and Friday with maximum wind gusts of 70 km/h except 90 along the coast. The key news is that we can expect large waves and pounding surf, and elevated water levels likely exceeding high astronomical tide. Shore or beach erosion and damage to coastal infrastructure is possible in vulnerable areas along Digby and Yarmouth counties, and along the South Shore. More here. https://weather.gc.ca/warnings/report_e.html?ns1#175119658886226148202004070506ws1171cwhx
Social Distance Slide
Please enjoy yet another musical take on the Premier’s “Stay The Blazes Home” comment – https://soundcloud.com/socialdistanceslide/social-distance-slide
Student Moving Day
I’ve had emails from people justifiably concerned about the May 1 “student moving day” waste already starting to appear around the district. Staff say:
- staff reached out to Dalhousie to see if they are still planning to coordinate a special collection event to coincide with students moving out (Friday, May 1 or Sat, May 2) – we have not heard back yet
- staff reached out to Municipal Compliance – they confirmed that they will be undertaking their annual student move out blitz the weeks of April 27 and May 4 to bring enforcement action against property owners that have accumulated waste
- Regular garbage collection is planned for Monday, May 4
Many charities have shutdown operations and even sites like Kijiji are urging users to only purchase essential items. This means more items will end up being landfilled that are normally donated/reused.
If you are moving, you are reminded to follow guidelines for solid waste at the curb, and landlords are reminded that they are responsible for dealing with items that are rejected from collection. More here https://www.halifax.ca/home-property/garbage-recycling-green-cart
I have two new options for delivering food to your door. One is the https://thewarehousemarket.ca, a new option in HRM for home delivery or secure pick up from Nova Scotia producers.
The second is a beautiful new resource created to help local businesses, producers and farmers survive this difficult time. Visit https://hrmfood.wixsite.com/foodshare
Park or not park
Here is way to find out if a space you may want to walk through is a park or not: https://www.halifax.ca/recreation/parks-trails-gardens/parks-outdoor-spaces
Staffing and services at HRM
The Chief Administrative Officer of Halifax has provided this statement I wanted to share with you: “During these difficult times, and as a responsible public sector employer, we continue to look at our Human Resources to ensure they align with services we are providing. The municipality takes its role of financial stewardship very seriously and there is no greater trust than safeguarding the money that taxpayers pay us for the provision of services.”
The CAO is assessing the impact of COVID-19 on our budget. His team is currently evaluating those impacts and potential scenarios to offset them. At the beginning of the Council meeting last week the CAO made the comment that the budget was being recast as part of his opening remarks and that work is underway.
The CAO will not be providing any further responses to the public on staffing questions until he has made final decisions and those impacted are notified before Regional Council and others are advised.