Bells of City Hall, Paid Parking, Heritage, Coronavirus Update #35 + more

Hello all, back after a short but busy vacation. A lot to update you on.

Tomorrow, Wednesday, August 12, 2020, the municipality will begin a construction project at Halifax City Hall to reinstate two bells dating back to the mid-1800s to the early 1900s in the bell tower.

It is believed that either of these two bells were the original bells of the City Hall bell tower, prior to the Halifax Explosion. As a result of the Explosion, the bell tower was damaged, and the bells were removed and stored in a secure location with the intent to reinstate them in the future. These bells will replace the existing electronic chime system and will ring in two tones on the quarter-hour, half-hour and hour.

The idea of restoring these bells has been floating along since 1917.  There is a report from the 1980s where Mayor Wallace was convinced that the larger bell would be installed sometime that year. A few years ago I learned the bells were in storage from one of HRM’s heritage staff, Kellie McIvor, while we were giving a tour of City Hall.  I started to encourage staff to complete this work as the last bit of restoration of City Hall after the Halifax Explosion.  It will be amazing to hear the bells ringing once more, for the first time in 103 years.

More info here: has been created with information about the bells and their history.

I did an interview for the podcast Future Fix about HRM’s slow streets program. I think it turned out pretty well. They said they loved how I addressed some of the shortfalls of a crowd-sourced digital tool (like hearing from the voices who are used to being heard) and how the city plans on navigating that. You can listen here:

Larry Haiven wrote a great article about the many downfalls of our current heritage registration process.  Some of the challenges HRM controls, many more the province controls.  This needs to be an election issue provincially, or we will never get the Act change to allow for a holding bylaw for potential registrations, or a no demolition period in a potential Heritage Conservation District.  The municipality needs to change its’ public hearing process for heritage registrations.

Many of you have emailed me about the changes coming in paid parking. Beginning last week staff have begun the removal of meters and installation of new paid parking signage and required signposts in Dartmouth. The project will start on the outer perimeters of paid parking on the peninsula and work its way inward toward the core. The purpose of this approach is twofold; to reduce the loss of revenue and to balance the needs of local businesses.

A lot of people have seen the parking zone maps and thought that meant all on-street parking was going to become pay parking, and that is not so!  With a few exceptions of a few streets like Lower Water that have been waiting for paid parking for some time, only streets with meters will get the new system, any expansion is for the future on a case by case basis. More here:

Public Hearings and Engagement

Halifax and West Community Council
TONIGHT Tuesday August 11, 2020 6-8 p.m | Virtual Meeting.

The following public hearings are scheduled for this meeting:

  • Case 21730: Development Agreement for 205 Bedford Highway, Halifax
  • Case 22503 – 3575-3587 Percy St. & Joseph Howe Dr., Halifax

The virtual public hearings will be webcast. Residents may speak at the hearing by telephone, those wishing to speak should contact the Municipal Clerk’s office before 4:30 p.m. on August 10, 2020 at or 902.490.4210. For further information, please visit

Special Halifax Regional Council
August 18, 2020 – 10:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m | Virtual Meeting

This meeting will be webcast on  You can find the agenda, minutes and reports for Regional Council, and Committees of Council at

Centre Plan Package B
Public Engagement |  August 31, 2020

Package B is the part of Centre Plan that says what can be built in the neighborhoods 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. 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.  The surveys can be accessed from the Centre Plan webpage at  Any questions can be directed to or 311. The surveys will be open until August 31st.

Noise & Grade alteration bylaw review
Online Survey | Extended to August 31

HRM is considering modifications to Existing Municipal By-laws which could address quality of life issues that many of you have expressed to me over the last number of years.  There are currently two surveys available on this page: Grade Alteration and Stormwater Management By-Law Online Survey and the Construction Noise Survey.  Please take a moment to have your say.

Halifax Regional Council – Public Hearing Regarding Secondary Suites
Tuesday September 1, 2020 6pm and Thursday September 3, 2020 6pm if required

Council will hold a public hearing regarding a by-law to allow secondary suites (backyard and granny suites) in all areas of HRM, subject to building and lot size among other controls. More information here:

Events and News:

The library goes fine free!
Halifax Regional Library Board passed a motion at its last meeting to permanently remove overdue fines. Effective August 5, 2020, all overdue fines and fees will be cleared and library cardholders will be able to borrow materials without risk of accruing overdue fines.  The foundation of the public library is free and equitable service to all; however, we know that a library overdue fine can create a barrier to access. Removing this barrier gives everyone in our community lifelong access to the Library.

Election Info Update:
There was an error in my print newsletter, the copy for which came from an official source, but I apologize for the confusion. This year the election date is Oct 17th with advanced in-person voting taking place on October 10th and October 13th. My newsletter was incorrect, there will be no in-person advanced voting on October 6th. However electronic voting (voting online or by phone) does take open Oct 6th and runs until Oct 14th.  HRM is still looking to hire staff for the elections.  More info at

Coburg Road Bridge Rehabilitation
Canadian National Railway (CN) and Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM) are proceeding with bridge and roadway rehabilitation work on the arch bridge structure at Coburg Road in 2020. The work will involve a major rehabilitation of the structure and reinstatement of the roadway. A temporary bridge adjacent to the current bridge will provide access to neighbourhood during construction. Work has recently started on site and you will start to see noticeable changes in the next few weeks. All efforts will be taken to reduce the impact on your property during construction. During the construction parking access will be impacted in order to complete the work. Please contact the CN Public Inquiry Line at 1-888-888-5909 or at if you have any questions.

The following street closures or sidewalk disruptions have recently been added to the RoadWorks map

  • GEORGE ST from HOLLIS ST to BEDFORD ROW, starting on 2020-08-10
  • SALTER ST from BARRINGTON ST to GRANVILLE ST, starting on 2020-08-13
  • BRENTON ST from SPRING GARDEN RD to CLYDE ST, starting on 2020-08-06

You can find out road closure details on the HRM Roadworks map:

Family SOS Needs Your Help!
In 2019, thanks to the support and generosity of local residents, HRM-based business, and community representatives, more than 300 children were outfitted with boots, snow pants, coats, hats, and mittens through the Family SOS Snowsuit Fund. The support from you, your colleagues, and your constituents have made a real impact on the lives and the health of children and families in Nova Scotia. Family SOS wants to help you continue to build stronger families in Nova Scotia.
As you know, one cruel paradox of COVID-19 is that the burdens for marginalized families and children have increased at the same time that the capacity for traditional fundraising strategies has shrunk. However, as the first winter with COVID approaches, we know it will be especially important for children to be able to play, learn, and spend time outside. We also know there will soon be an urgent demand for warm winter clothing for a great many families who have suffered increased economic hardship in the midst of COVID.

You can take action to ensure that resources are available to clothe children with warm winter coats, boots, hats, and mittens. Help immediately by sharing all or part of the message provided below on all of your social media and public outreach platforms and encouraging others in your network to share widely.
Help Nova Scotia Families to Thrive! Purchase tickets for Family SOS Great Golf Adventure raffle

1 ticket for $25 or 5 tickets for $100 – Draw will be made on 18th August 2020  by The Honourable Arthur J. Leblanc ONS, QC at Government House

Prize Package includes a variety of double 18-hole golf passes to the following golf courses across Nova Scotia. That’s a minimum of 14 rounds of golf good for 2020/2021!

  • Sherwood Golf and Country Club
  • Granite Springs Golf Club
  • Truro Golf Club
  • Parrsboro Golf
  • Fox Harbour Resort
  • Brightwood Golf and Country Club
  • Lost Creek Golf Club

Coronavirus Update #35 – Transit Update, Physical Distancing when running and scooting

I really enjoyed my time off and made brief trips to the valley and the South Shore in between painting and renovating our house.  We are all enjoying our new found freedom to move around, and it is more important than ever to follow public health directions, especially masks, hand washing, and self-isolation if coming in from the rest of Canada or outside Canada.

Not to be too much of a downer, but this column in the Guardian about what it is like in Melbourne, Australia after the second wave hit is very depressing.
It outlines a state of being none of us want to experience, so let’s keep our guards up and work toward minimizing the spread if and when COVID is reintroduced into Nova Scotia.

Transit masks update
I’ve had some folks ask why drivers are letting people on without masks, or not wearing masks themselves.  Management shared this:

  • Consistent with public health direction we are not actively enforcing the usage of masks.  Instead, we are taking the approach of education and providing free masks to as many people as we can to remove that barrier.
  • Operators are required to wear masks when onboard as per public health direction.  If they have a medical reason for the exemption they may not be wearing one while driving.

How to wear a mask
Speaking of masks, Public Health posted “People with anxiety may feel uncomfortable wearing a mask at first. Try a few different masks to find one you’re comfortable with, and practice wearing it at home for short periods to get used to breathing normally in the mask” and posted a great graphic here.

Physical (social distancing) while running and scooting
I have also had a number of people write about runners or people on scooters getting within 2 meters of them while using the sidewalk.  Please remember that physical distancing rules apply, and it is really important to give people at lease 2 meters space, especially when breathing heavily from running, biking or manually scooting.  I think it is also probably a good idea for people to avoid taking exercise in busy areas with narrow sidewalks like Spring Garden or Barrington.