I got back late Sunday from Montreal, moved my daughter home for the year. She didn’t want to spend a year in an apartment going to school virtually. We are now in isolation for another nine days, so while many of you are enjoying the relaxation of many rules, you won’t see me at meetings or grabbing a coffee until July 5th or so!
I crossed two provincial borders and stopped for gas in a number of towns on the way up and down. I write briefly about it in the Coronavirus update, but spoiler – I am going to wear a mask inside stores and public spaces probably until we get a vaccine, and I share my reasons why.
Traffic Calming and Slow Streets.
I’ve had a lot of folks message asking for Slow Streets on their street. To be clear – the Slow Streets program is not a traffic calming program, it is a COVID-19 related program designed to create a connected network of streets with less through traffic, where any local cars know to be careful because walkers and cyclists will be using the road. The idea is to create a network of streets people can maintain physical (social) distancing on that connect to destinations, like shops, schools, parks, libraries.
So not every street needs to be in this, rather the goal is to connect neighbourhoods.
There will continue to be tweaks, and I expect to see some additions but given reduced traffic due to COVID-19, and no physical university in September, it is not anticipated that the Slow Streets program will materially increase traffic on nearby streets.
This is not to say I don’t think we need traffic calming, we do!
There are three ways to get traffic calming – the traffic calming program, the school program, and as a local street bikeway.
Traffic calming is for residential streets, not for arterials or collectors, though even there you may see some measures like curb extensions (bump-outs) like were done on Young around the Hydrostone, or at Vernon/Jubilee (Jubilee is an arterial). Most often you will see speed humps, which are cheapest and easiest to install. More on Traffic Calming here: https://www.halifax.ca/transportation/streets-sidewalks/road-safety/traffic-calming-for-safer-streets
Council this voted to spend $200,000 a year to put speed humps around schools in school speed zones, and it is being done where there is the most speeding first. It will take about 10-15 years to do them all.
You may also see traffic calming on Local Street Bikeways – such as on streets like Allan and Vernon, to slow cars down and make it safer for bikes.
And finally, a neighbourhood can ask to be assessed for traffic calming. If warranted you are added to the list.
The following list of roads are approved for calming in D7 by rank:
60 – Pepperell St – Vernon to Preston
86 – Point Pleasant Dr – Marginal to Fancklyn
110 – Wellington St – South to Inglis
115 – Young Ave – Inglis to Point Pleasant Park
116 – Cedar – Preston to Vernon
123 – Cornwall St – Oxford to Preston
150 – Henry St – Jubilee to Bliss
157 – Preston – Quinpool to Jubilee
158 – Francklyn – Pine Hill to Point Pleasant
169 – Fraser St – Waterloo to Robie
174 – Preston St – Jubilee to Payzant
187 – Roxton Rd – Bellevue Ave to Robie
When I was reviewing this I was pretty impressed – those are all streets with speeding and shortcutting problems. It will take a while to get to them all. There are stand-alone projects but most of these streets will get calming when they get repaved, which is good news for Young Ave and Wellington, both due in the next couple years, and bad news for Pepperell, which was paved just two years ago.
Park Improvements in District 7 Summer 2020
I’m pleased to let residents know that a number of exciting projects are going ahead this summer. Two that are generating a lot of interest are court and field improvements in Connrose Park and the renewal of the south or old side of the skate park in the Common.
Work has commenced renewing the aging southern part of the skate park. The northern part of the park is expected to stay open throughout construction. Construction access will be from pool building parking lot, along the walkway in to about the midpoint of the skate park. A temporary gravel ramp will be built from the walkway grade to the asphalt grade for construction access. There will be traffic control people on the site to direct pedestrians and skate park users. Barricades will be in place as required.”
Connrose Park is getting renewal of the tennis courts and work to improve the ballfield continues. The outfield fence has been improved and some high visibility protection added at the top of the fence to keep kids from getting cut if they leap for a fly ball. A batting cage is being installed, though the exact site is to be determined. It will not be placed next to the tennis court.
The batting cage was something that will compliment the dugouts that were installed a few years ago and the fence and field improvements this year.
There are too many other park improvements to list here but you should see work continue despite COVID on projects in most parks in the District. I am hoping to have a few announcements about schoolyards and playgrounds to share with you later this summer.
Hollis Street Bike Lane
Soon the Hollis St protected bike lane will be complete (pictured above)! If you’re cycling, enjoy the comfort and safety of a AAA (all ages and abilities) bike facility. If you’re driving, get comfortable with new measures, including no right turns on red onto Hollis: http://halifax.ca/hollis
Muffler Noise and Traffic Safety Act
I am getting a lot of complaints about muffler noise. I know it is annoying but the municipality is waiting on the Province to change the law, or rather adopt some regulations for the law they changed 2 years ago. Area MLA Labi Kousoulis wrote to me and said this “I checked with TIR they are still working through the regulations. The time frame remains the same they are about one year away from passing the regulation changes.” So unfortunately until these changes occur, there really is nothing the municipality or police can do.
I need to update and let you know the information I shared on scooters a month ago is incorrect. Police have been in discussion for a while now with the HRM Traffic Authority and City Legal about the use of the e-scooters. Basically you can’t roller skate or skateboard on a street or roadway and you must wear a helmet on a scooter, skateboard, inline skates, roller skates, and other devices wherever you ride them.
An amendment to the Motor Vehicle Act was sought in 2003, at that time to deal with scooters and in-line skates, it was rewritten but never proclaimed. When I wrote that scooters were not allowed on the road, we all thought it had been proclaimed. Police and city legal are trying to find out why it was never made law, hoping it was a simple oversight.
Since the revisions to the MVA were never proclaimed there is no authority for a municipality to ban or control the use of scooters, in line skates, roller skates or other devices from the roadway. Since 2003, we have seen technology change drastically, there has been an amendment to include “personal transporters” but that speaks directly and only to devices such as Segways. The Act doesn’t speak to sidewalks or bike lanes at all. Legal is currently looking to give us a definition of a bike lane and the subsequent legality of the use of scooters, etc in them.
I wish I had better answers, but both scooters and mufflers require action by the province. You can find out who your MLA is and how to contact them here: https://wayemason.ca/district-7/
Public Hearings and Meetings
Public Information Session – The Governor 1441 Hollis Street
Monday June 29 7pm-9pm | Online
A pre-application has been submitted for a Substantive Site Plan Approval for The Governor. More information on the development can be found HERE https://killamreit.com/sites/default/files/Gov%20Plaza%20Posters-09June2020.pdf
The public comment period is now open for this application. A virtual Public Open House is being held on Monday June 29, 2020 from 7:00pm – 9:00pm. Instruction and information on public access for the Open House will be posted on this website.
Alternatively, public comment can be provided by calling WSP Canada Inc. at 902-536-0913, or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org Please note that the deadline for public comment is Monday, July 13, 2020.
Please join the meeting from your computer, tablet or smartphone.
You can also dial in using your phone Canada: +1 (647) 497-9373 Access Code: 932-665-933
Hike for Hospice
Saturday June 27, 2020 | Virtual
Hike for Hospice program has gone virtual. Members of the public can sign up as an individual or as a team and fundraise amongst their friends, families and coworkers in support of Hospice Halifax and it’s operations. Come event day on June 27, the participants will go on a hike in their own communities and share their experience online with the hashtag #hike4hospicehalifax.
For more info on the event, please visit: https://www.canadahelps.org/en/charities/hospice-society-of-greater-halifax/p2p/hike4hospicehalifax/
Virtual Canada Day Celebrations
Wednesday July 1, 2020 | Online
Join in the municipality’s first virtual Canada Day celebrations!
Halifax was selected by Canadian Heritage and CBC to take part in a national virtual Canada Day celebration, and will be featured as part of the Ottawa national coverage – showcasing our people, city, and community.
This year marks the 153rd anniversary of the founding of Canada and with physical distancing measures and gathering limitations remaining in place, the Halifax Regional Municipality will be hosting celebrations with contests, music performances, and activities for the whole family.
The broadcast will begin with activities from Bedford Days featuring music and entertainment for all ages.
Premiering on YouTube and Eastlink Community TV at 7pm
- Joel Plaskett Emergency – Full Concert Performance
- Reeny Smith
- Mo Kenney
- Owen O Sound Lee
- and Ben Caplan
More surprise guests and special moments including a Piece created by Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 – Mawita’nej (gather).
Whether you tune in from the living room or with your smartphones by the backyard bonfire, let us provide the music and great Canadian stories to keep your bbq rocking.
Also, for the first time ever Ottawa’s Canada Day Celebrations are going Coast to Coast to Coast. CBC will be doing a daytime family broadcast at 1pm AST and an evening program at 9pm AST. You’ll have to wait and see what Halifax has planned for this special moment!
CENTRE Plan Package B Surveys
Until August 31st | Online
The surveys are still online! Have your say about the farthest-reaching changes to how our community will grow and change in over 50 years. 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 email@example.com or 311. The surveys will be open until August 31st.
Coronavirus Update #30 – Biweekly updates, Provincial Restrictions, Transit, Rec, and Legal Aid for those facing eviction
As I said above I drove to Montreal and back and stopped in a number of places for gas, coffee, and biology. I always wore a mask when out of the van, and I wore a disposable glove when pumping gas. I had a medical grade sanitizer my wife bought at a pharmacy to clean my hands every time I got back in the car. I brought three days’ worth of food in a cooler and tried not to leave the van or hotels, which all had kitchenettes. I was super paranoid.
No one outside of Montreal and Halifax was wearing a mask and physical (social) distancing was minimal. People looked at me funny for wearing a mask. I wanted to joke on the return leg “I was in Montreal 6 hours ago, do you WANT me to take my mask off?”
This freaks me out. Folks the pandemic is not over. Case growth is out of control internationally. The USA is a basketcase. We cannot go “back to normal” and pretend it is fine. Until there is a vaccine or medical treatment we need to remain vigilant and take precautions.
For me, that means limiting trips to “need to dos” not “want to dos” and making sure I am wearing a mask if I am going into a store, public space, or taking transit. It means having washing my hands a lot and carrying hand sanitizer.
This article, this study, and the WHO all say masks are essential in stopping the spread. (EDIT – after I sent this I noticed that today the provinces press release said this “Dr. Strang now recommends that all Nova Scotians wear a non-medical mask in situations where distancing may not be able to be kept, such as in stores, on public transit, or at gatherings.”)
I want to avoid or minimize a second wave, and the way to do that is masking up in Home Depot or Superstore or grabbing a coffee from Other Bean.
Be smart, stay safe, and consider others. This ain’t over, and our current liberty is dependent on us keeping the virus from gaining the upper hand. Please, consider wearing a mask.
Below is a brief summary of municipal updates, but the complete set of updates can be found, as always, at halifax.ca/coronavirus
Beginning in early July, Halifax Transit will start the installation of temporary polycarbonate shields on conventional buses, to help reduce the spread of the virus.
The shields will be installed next to the bus operators and will act as a physical barrier to promote safe distancing.
Halifax Transit staff designed the shields to meet the unique requirements of each style of Halifax Transit bus. The installation process is expected to take a few weeks to complete.
Buses and ferries continue to operate on a reduced schedule.
Fare collection remains suspended until further notice, however, the polycarbonate shields will allow for the safe reintroduction of fare collection in the future.
As service levels increase and the volume of passengers grows, we recognize there will be challenges to maintaining physical distancing on buses and ferries. In support of public health recommendations, we are strongly encouraging all Halifax Transit riders to wear masks when possible. Those who are feeling ill should not use any transit service until their health returns to normal.
Pools and Splashpads
The municipality will be reviewing the details of today’s announcement by the province regarding further lifting of public health restrictions. Staff will be reviewing these new guidelines and establishing a phased plan for reopening that meets all public health requirements. At this time, all municipally operated pools will remain closed until further notice. More information on the potential reopening of pools, both indoor and outdoor, will be issued in the coming days.
Municipal partner recreation facilities (i.e. Canada Games Centre, Cole Harbour Place, Zatzman Sportsplex, etc.) have started the first phase of reopening. Please contact each facility directly for information about pool re-opening dates and protocols.
The following splashpads will reopen on Monday, June 29:
• Halifax Common
• George Dixon Centre
• Isleville Street
The Sackville (Kinsmen) splashpad is under repair and will be reopening July 6. Due to construction in the area, the Bayers-Westwood splashpad is anticipated to open in mid-July.
As a reminder, all municipal beaches are open and lifeguards will be onsite from July 6 to August 31.
Group sizes with sports, park facilities and events
With newly lifted restrictions on group sizes for gatherings, staff are reviewing current restrictions and assessing the impact for all facilities and programs.
July day camp registration is currently underway, and there will be no changes for these camps. Staff will assess whether it is possible to increase the number of spots for August day camps.
Group gathering public health restrictions outside of your group of 10 still apply to all sport fields, sport courts, ball diamonds and playgrounds. Physical distancing should continue to be maintained, and residents are reminded to follow all public health directives.
Fitness Centres at the following municipal facilities will open on Monday, July 6, 2020:
• Captain William Spry Community Centre
• Sackville Sports Stadium
• Musquodobit Harbour Recreation Centre
These locations were approved to open as they are the largest municipally-operated fitness facilities. All other fitness centres will remain closed until further notice, and staff will share reopening plans with the public once they are confirmed.
Lifeguards and Beaches
As an update to the return of lifeguards to beaches this summer, we are pleased to announce that after a thorough recruitment and training process, we will have sufficient lifeguards to meet our required numbers for beaches, with one exception. At this point, we have been unsuccessful in recruiting lifeguards for Malay Falls Beach. This location is traditionally challenging for recruitment and does not tend attract a lot of swimmers. Staff will continue to work on options to see if we can get someone who is interested in guarding that site. If it is not possible to find lifeguards for that location, there will be signage about swimming at your own risk at that location, as well as all other sites.
Lifeguards will be stationed at municipal beaches from July 6 to August 31. All municipal lifeguards hold National Lifeguard certification and are equipped with a variety of emergency supplies to help with first aid and water rescues.
For more information, visit halifax.ca/summeraquatics
Are you facing COVID-19 related rental arrears?
The Dalhousie Legal Aid Service (DLAS) is looking to hear from tenants who owe rental arrears due to Covid-19 related loss of income.
On June 23 2020, Kevin Russell, Executive Director of the Investment Property Owners Association of Nova Scotia, estimated that landlords will file around 1500 applications on residential tenancy matters once the Province effectively lifts the eviction ban. The ban will be lifted when Access Nova Scotia locations are reopened, which could happen any day now.
IPOANS opposes an extension to the eviction ban because the landlord industry, whose contribution to Nova Scotia’s GDP in 2016 was more than $1.3 billion, has lost an estimated $12.5 million in revenue this year.
Landlords want to end the eviction ban – but at what cost?
DLAS wants to hear from you, tenants whose income has be reduced as a result of Covid-19!
Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 902-423-8105 if you are facing the possibility of a COVID-19 related eviction and are willing to share your story with the public.