Welcome Liam, Policing, Centre Plan Package B, Coronavirus Update #29

Hi all,

I wanted to share some changes in our (virtual) City Hall office. As you know since Melody got promoted I’ve had Lucille Walsh filling in with Laura Nooyen covering at patches as my Constituency Coordinator.

Lucille said goodbye to us the week before last, and went back to retirement, she says for real this time but that is not a bet I would place money on!  I wish her all the best and will miss her, and I am sure Laura is relieved that a new permanent staffer has been hired.

I am very pleased to announce that my new Constituency Coordinator is Liam MacSween. Many of you know Liam from the Municipal Clerk’s Office, where he has been had a number of high profile roles. He was my coordinator for a time when I chaired a standing committee, and I could not be more pleased to have Liam as council support staff.

Liam can be reached at 902-490-2012 or by email at macswel@Halifax.CA.

Liam was hired just in time because I am taking a week off to recharge, do some work on the house, and spend time with my family.  I will be out of the office Monday June 15 , though Friday June 20 inclusive I will be unable to checking emails or voice mails.

If you need assistance please contact Liam for any pressing issues, otherwise call 311 for routine municipal matters. In an emergency always call 911.

There will be no newsletter next week while I am away.

Policing

I would like to thank you all for your emails and phone calls over the last few weeks regarding policing, community safety, and the armored recovery vehicle.

This is just another waypoint on a long journey towards justice and safe communities in HRM.  I promised at that last Council meeting I will bring a notice of motion on June 23 regarding some of the many issues that have been raised in the last few weeks.

I want to assure you that this is not a kneejerk reaction, nor is it too little too late. Halifax as a community has been on a path for some time toward reforming policing and community safety.  In addition to the Wortley report on street checks, there were many recommendations in the 2013 Clairmont report on public safety.

We have well reasoned, researched and community consulted reports that have been guiding us for some time, but what is clear is we need to move more quickly and move from study and small steps to broader actions and concrete changes.

It is true we have faced documented cases of systemic racism and bias in policing in Halifax, this cannot be denied.  It is also true that our senior police leadership has supported for decades a community-based approach to addressing the roots of crime, as well as mental health team types response as an alternative to the police response.  It is also true that the police are members of this community and the majority of officers want to see these issues of trust and bias addressed.

All this is to say this will not be easy but the work we are about to undertake the next months and years is important, it will be difficult, and is absolutely necessary if we want a community where all members have equal justice under the law.

I wanted to share with you this video – Mayor Mike Savage Addresses Anti-Black Racism

Centre Plan Package B

Package B is the part of Centre Plan that says what can be built in the neighbourhoods full of wood-framed single-family homes and multi-units.  It also talks about the industrial, park, institutional zones, but a huge issue will be “what is R1 and R2 going to change into?”  So for many of you, this will be the change that says what your neighbors might be able to do for the foreseeable future.  So it is really important to get involved, especially as a homeowner.

Staff are launching a series of online surveys to gather feedback on the draft Centre Plan – Package B documents.   As you know, the Municipality suspended all Centre Plan in-person public engagement activities based on public health recommendations around physical distancing and it remains unclear at this time when it will be safe to resume public meetings.   In the meantime, staff are enhancing on-line engagement opportunities by promoting a series of surveys.

The surveys represent the key themes in Centre Plan Package B.  Members of the public can complete all surveys, or select those of greatest interest to them.  Each survey contains some background information, but for those who wish to dig-in deeper we also included links to an introductory video, additional summary fact sheets, presentations, an interactive map, and the full planning documents.

The surveys can be accessed from the Centre Plan webpage at www.centreplan.ca.  Any questions can be directed to planhrm@halifax.ca or 311. The surveys will be open until August 31st.

Roadworks

The following street closures or sidewalk disruptions have recently been added to the RoadWorks map in or near your district
•    TOWER RD from SOUTH ST to INGLIS ST, starting on 2020-06-04
•    PEPPERELL ST from VERNON ST to ROBIE ST, starting on 2020-06-13
•    TOWER RD from SOUTH ST to INGLIS ST, starting on 2020-06-09
•    STUDLEY AVE from SOUTH ST to OAKLAND RD, starting on 2020-06-11
•    STUDLEY AVE from SOUTH ST to OAKLAND RD, starting on 2020-06-15

You can find out road closure details on the HRM Roadworks map: https://www.halifax.ca/transportation/streets-sidewalks/RoadWorks

Coronavirus Update #29 – Masks, Summer Programs & Rec, Still Looking for Lifeguards, Playgrounds, More Slow Streets

Modified Summer Camps update

Pending the confirmation of recreation safety measures provided by public health, the municipality is planning to offer modified summer day camps beginning July 13 through to August 28. Once public health guidelines for day camps are confirmed and the municipality’s plans meet those requirements, camps will be offered at select facilities during the following sessions:

Weekday mornings camp: one week of three-hour morning sessions from 9 a.m. to noon.

Or

Weekday afternoons camp: one week of three-hour afternoon sessions from 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

The half-day camp option allows the municipality to maximize the number of participants while following public health protocol and ensuring safe physical distancing. More information on registration and summer camp details will be issued in the coming days once guidelines have been set by public health.

Most camp activities will be provided in an outdoor setting to help maintain provincial physical distancing protocol. If the weather does not permit outdoor activities, then camps will be moved indoors, unless it has been designated as an exclusively outdoor camp.

Camps are planned for children between the ages of six and 12.

Please note: Camps for pre-school aged children will not be offered this summer due to difficulty enforcing physical distancing requirements for this age group. Virtual opportunities will be available for youth (aged 13-24) during the summer. These opportunities will include but are not limited to: employment skills (preparing your resumé), conversations on the environment, conversations on the upcoming municipal election, and the youth services plan committee. The Youth Leadership program will not be offered this summer due to group gathering requirements and health restrictions.

Recreation facilities

  • Municipal partner recreation facilities (i.e. Canada Games Centre, Cole Harbour Place, Halifax Forum, St. Margaret’s Centre, RBC Centre, Zatzman Sportsplex, etc.) are beginning to reopen to members and clients over the coming weeks.
  • Other facilities will open in the coming weeks as reopening plans are finalized.
  • Please contact each facility directly for information about their opening dates and new procedures.

In addition to planning for day camps, the municipality will be offering additional drop-in recreation opportunities for children and parents/guardians:

REC Van 

  • The REC Van is filled with equipment for activities and sports, bringing free recreation straight to local parks and green spaces.
  • This year, the REC Van is being expanded to two vehicles running throughout the municipality.
  • All equipment will be thoroughly cleaned after each use.
  • Schedule information will be updated in the coming weeks on www.halifax.ca/recreation/programs-activities/rec-van

Outdoor recreation – Adventure Earth Centre

  • The Adventure Earth Centre will be offering a number of outdoor programs to encourage residents to get outside, including Guided Adventure Trail Walks, ‘Hug a Tree’ safety-based training, a drop-in ‘Learn-to-fish’ program and a variety of other outdoor activities.
  • These programs will be offered in a variety of different locations throughout the region.
  • More information will be updated in the coming weeks on https://www.halifax.ca/recreation/facilities-fields/rec-centres/adventure-earth-centre 

Still Looking for Lifeguards – extended to June 15

HRM is currently recruiting for qualified Beach Lifeguards for supervised beaches throughout the municipality.   If you have the following qualifications, you are encouraged to apply:

  • National Lifeguard Service Award, Standard First Aid, CPR
  • Certified in NLS Waterfront
  • Certified in AED

Please visit our website to apply:  https://www.halifax.ca/about-halifax/employment/work-halifax-regional-municipality.  Applications will be received up to midnight, June 15th.

Playgrounds

Playgrounds continue to be closed by Provincial order.  If the tape has been removed, it was not by HRM staff. I know it is hard but keeping those surfaces clean is pretty much impossible, so continue to keep your kids off the playgrounds.  Provincial restrictions here: https://novascotia.ca/coronavirus/what-it-means-for-nova-scotians/#recreation-restrictions

More Slow Streets

As part of Phase Two of our COVID-19 Mobility Response, “slow streets” are being installed along a number of streets in central Halifax/old North End from Cogswell to Almon.  The streets will be announced later next week.

In addition, the widening on Spring Garden has been returned (it was removed for the protest) and Argyle has been closed to cars for the rest of the summer.  Thank you to Paul MacKinnon at Downtown Halifax and the area businesses for supporting the closure.

When you get down there, you will see a really remarkable change to the building with Durty Nelly’s in it.  Here is a really stunning before and after shot that lets you see the restoration of the mid-century modern building exterior, with a new facade on the bar that I think looks great.  Thanks to everyone involved in these projects:

Measures put in place as part of Halifax’ Mobility Response Plan (Slow Streets, expanded sidewalks) have been added to our RoadWorks map – they are the streets / areas marked in orange: http://halifax.ca/roadworks

Do you have an idea for additional actions to help residents move safely through the region? Drop a pin on the map https://shapeyourcityhalifax.ca/mobilityresponse & tell us why you think adaptations are needed. Your valuable feedback will help staff determine the next steps for making temp changes to streets.