Coronavirus Update 22, May 4 2020 | parks this weekend, 1029 Tower Road news, walking and biking update, more

This update was posted in the afternoon of May 4, 2020. The situation is changing by the hour. Please check the CanadaNova Scotia and Halifax websites for the most up to date information.

You can also check out my COVID-19 resources, with information on current Government ResponseIndividuals & FamiliesBusiness as well as Links to Resources including key social media to follow.

For the most part, residents appear to have maintained social distancing over the weekend with the parks newly reopened.  

Some places saw too many folks driving to them, and some had some interesting challenges, like how a 3:20 pm Friday provincial announcement created some operational challenges for park staff, but mostly I think it went well.

Remember – do not drive to a park or wilderness area or trailhead to go for a walk or bike (edit – I was really writing this for residents of District 7, but if you have mobility issues or live where you have to drive to get to a park, please do so!).  Please stay in your neighborhood, and enjoy your nearby facilities for now. If the infection rate continues to go down, we can hope for further relaxation of these rules in the coming days and weeks.

I was really pleased that the Province of Nova Scotia offered short term financing to municipalities last week, but a lot of questions remain.

Municipalities in Nova Scotia cannot legally give targeted support that is limited to some types of residents or businesses (for example those deeply impacted by COVID) and municipalities are not legally allowed to provide grants or financial supports under any circumstance.
Municipalities are working hard to try and get the ability to do deeper targeted deferrals and other tools to support residents from the Province, and after 8 weeks of negotiating the Province has not yet agreed to anything.

At this point businesses that are experiencing trouble paying their taxes have two options – 1) ask for a payment plan with HRM 2) write the Minister of Business and ask for financial relief.

We hope for more, soon, but at this time the municipality is unable to do more without the province enabling that help through legislation or emergency orders.

Something that has been the focus of a lot of discussions is about what kind of steps Halifax can and will take to make streets safer for bikers and pedestrians as we try and maintain social distancing in a more open economy over the 12-18 months.

I voted for C. Cleary’s motion to explore rolling out our cycling minimum grid faster, and I spoke about the importance of making sidewalks wider where appropriate in more congested areas.

It seems likely that the capital budget (what we are building) this year will continue unchanged, and that means this was already a good year for bike and AT construction. On the books for this year is:

  • Macdonald Bridge bikeway connectors, Dartmouth Side (Lyle, Shore, Falkner)
  • Wyse Road protected bike lanes
  • North End local street bikeway on Leaman / Drummond
  • South Park Street protected bike lane (Spring Garden to Sackville)
  • Hollis Street protected bike lane

This is 1.9 km of local street bikeway and 2.65km of protected lanes this year, which is great news! I would know we will have to have more temporary measures for pedestrians and cyclists added on top, and a lot of that is going to come down to how the recast post-covid-19 budget looks in terms of staff to do the work.  We also want to make sure next year’s permanent bike and pedestrian facilities are finished the design phase and are ready for construction for next year.

Future of 1029 Tower Road

1029 Tower Road

I’ve had some emails about the work happening right now at 1029 Tower Road. This property is also known as the Lucy Maud Montgomery Cottage (EDIT though possibly incorrectly – a reader wrote  “is no connection between 1029 Tower and Maud Montgomery. [this] started this without any proof from her journals and fantasized about it. If anything Young Avenue is the Spofford Avenue in Anne of the Island.”) and that is listed on the National Trust For Canada Top 10 Endangered Buildings.

I’ve certainly fielded a lot of calls and emails about this over the last 18+ months since it was proposed for de-registration and demolition. I’d worked with one property owner that wanted to move it, another that was going to move it onto their property and make it a garage, still another that wanted do move it off the peninsula entirely. Municipal staff had also been working with the owners on what options they might have but the future looked bleak.

So it great pleasure that I can now tell you that the owner preparing and submitting a Heritage DA application for this property. Their application proposal involves the following:

  • Keeping and restoring the existing heritage building on the property
  • Rotating the heritage home 90 degrees to face Tower Road
  • Removing the existing rear addition and constructing a new rear addition once the building is rotated.
  • Siting the heritage building on the northern half of the property with a small courtyard in front of it
  • Building a separate context-sensitive multiple-unit dwelling on the southern half of the property. The new multi is 3.5 storeys tall and will contain 10-12 residential units.

Drawings of the proposal should be available in a couple of weeks, I will share them when I get them. While this still needs to go through a public hearing process and I will keep an open mind I am excited to see a commitment to rehabilitating this property being brought forward!

Don’t flush your wipes (or masks, or gloves, or or or)
Residents are reminded to bag your garbage, don’t flush it!  Flushing so called “flushable” wipes, disposable gloves, dental floss, hygiene products, condoms, facial tissues, paper towels and more can lead to sewer backups involving expensive repairs. Help raise awareness of these issues by putting these posters up for residents, renters, and other people using the washrooms in your building(s) to see.

Alderney Market Online
The operators of the market have temporarily moved the Alderney Landing Farmers’ Market online.  You can still buy local while respecting social distancing and isolation. Peruse their vendor products on this website, purchase your items in just a few clicks.  All orders received by Thursday at 12:00 noon ADT can be picked up on Saturday following the below schedule.  A delivery option is also available upon checkout. Any orders after Thursday at 12:00 noon will be added to the following Saturday’s list.

Why the Coronavirus Is So Confusing
A resident sent me this link, saying I might find it useful.  The article is long but talks about a lot of the issues we are all facing, billing itself as “A guide to making sense of a problem that is now too big for any one person to fully comprehend”

The Imagine Project – COVID-19 Edition
To close, I wanted to share this video of Halifax Regional Arts students in a  virtual performance of Imagine by John Lennon.  HRA is funded by the supplementary funding program of HRM.  Mr. Nathan Beeler shared this, and I share his thanks to Kenzie and Elisabeth for the video.  It is amazing.  For more info on Halifax Regional Arts visit