Long newsletter as this is the last one before the new year. A lot of info about public meetings, COVID updates, community events, and the like follows.
It’s been very busy here at the home office, and I’ve had trouble making the time to get this newsletter out, so I would like to thank Councillor Smith for putting his out Friday so I could borrow much of it today!
2020 has been a heck of a year, but I have to say I’ve never been prouder to be a Nova Scotian and to live in Halifax.
I love living where the collective safety and the health of our neighbours is one of our most cherished values. I thank you all for the sacrifices you have made this year and will continue to make until the vaccine is widely available.
This holiday break is going to be hard on a lot of people who cannot see their family. As you are able, consider what you might do to help your neighbours, donate to charities, support those in need.
As always, please be kind, be patient, and take care of each other.
I look forward to seeing you in person at some point later in 2021!
I am not sure how deep you have looked into our HalifACT Climate Change Action Plan? I want to share with you a TEDx Talk that was hosted by HRM staffer Shannon Miedema who leads our small but mighty Climate Action Team.
After watching this video I hope you will have a better understanding of our action plan and a deeper understanding of what we mean when we say Net-Zero. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ve1uXHUKjSo
I’ll be out of the office from December 19 returning on January 4. During the break 311 will be open and Councillor Support office will be staffed Monday to Friday during office hours except for Christmas and New Years Day – the main line is 902-490-4050.
Please have safe and happy holidays and a Merry Christmas. and see you in the new year.
Public Meetings and Hearings
Halifax and West Community Council
Wednesday, December 9, 2020 6pm | Virtual Meeting
Agenda includes consideration of Case 22332: Municipal Planning Strategy and Land Use By-law Amendments for the R-4 Zone near Dunbrack Street, Halifax, Case 22851: Non-substantive amendments to an existing development agreement for 2250-2260 Maitland Street, Halifax – SECOND READING, Case 23219: Discharge Development Agreement for the property at 2215 Gottingen Street, Halifax, Case 22978: Development Agreement for 158 Greenhead Road, Lakeside
The agenda page for the Special Halifax and West Community Council on December 9 is now available on Halifax.ca – https://www.halifax.ca/city-hall/community-councils/december-9-2020-halifax-west-community-council-special
Halifax Peninsula Planning Advisory Committee
Monday, December 14, 4:30 | Virtual Meeting
More info here: https://www.halifax.ca/city-hall/boards-committees-commissions/h/halifax-peninsula-planning-advisory-committee
Halifax Regional Council
Tuesday, December 15, 10am | Virtual Meeting
More info here: https://www.halifax.ca/city-hall/regional-council
Upcoming Meetings and Events
Volunteer Awards Nomination Deadline
Friday December 18, 2020
For those unaware of the program and celebration, the Volunteer Awards are an opportunity for the Mayor and Council to celebrate amazing volunteers in HRM’s communities during Volunteer Week. But before the awards ceremony happens, volunteers must be nominated.
Nominations for the 2021 Volunteer Awards are due December 18, 2020. There are three categories: youth, adult and group. More info at https://halifax.ca/volunteerawards
Windsor Street Exchange Project and potential community benefit Africville
until 5 p.m. December 14, 2020
As part of the The Windsor Street Exchange Project , Halifax Regional Municipality would like to explore potential community benefits for the Africville community as it is in close proximity to the large project. individuals interested in lending their voice to this conversation are asked to complete an online survey available here.
This survey includes 18 questions and may take 20-30 minutes to complete. You can skip questions you do not wish to answer. The survey will be open until 5 p.m. December 14, 2020.
Centre Plan Package B
HRM is currently in the process of completing Centre Plan Package B is the second part of the Centre Plan that will replace all of the existing established residential zoning in Dartmouth inside the Circumferential, and Peninsula Halifax, create new zoning for Park and institutional areas, and update the Downtown Halifax Plan.
To still be able to gather feedback from residents, the Centre Plan team has created a series of surveys. Fill out the surveys and provide feedback here.
Planning staff are also available for small virtual meetings with neighbourhood groups. To schedule a meeting in November or December, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Winter 2020-21 Preparation
Parking Ban starts Dec. 15, 2020
When and where you park in the winter can have a big impact on clearing streets and sidewalks during a winter storm. Residents are reminded to secure off-street parking for the winter months so that snow plow operators can safely and efficiently clear the streets and sidewalks. As in previous seasons, the overnight winter parking ban will be in place from Dec. 15, 2020 to Mar. 31, 2021. The ban will be enforced between 1 a.m. and 6 a.m., during declared weather events and extended clearing operations. Residents are also reminded that in addition to the overnight parking ban, Section 139 of the Nova Scotia Motor Vehicle Act states that tickets can be issued and vehicles can be towed any time, day or night, if they are parked in a manner that interferes with snow clearing.
The easiest way to know when the parking ban will be enforced is to sign up for the municipality’s alert system, hfxALERT.
Winter safety tips
- Never plow or shovel snow from your driveway onto the street or sidewalk. It is against By-Law S-300 and can cause serious problems for pedestrians, particularly those with mobility issues.
- Adjust your speed. Wet roads can freeze even if the air temperature is above zero.
- Never pass a plow when it is clearing snow from the road. Whiteout conditions are often created in the front of plows which reduces visibility and increases the chance of an accident.
- Have a survival kit in your vehicle.
- Children should not play in the snow along the side of the road or anywhere a snow plow is likely to operate.
The 2020 Halifax Christmas Tree Lighting (a special virtual event) and Holiday Projection Show
The 2020 Halifax Christmas Tree Lighting event has been cancelled due to COVID-19 virus concerns, but you can still learn The Story of the Grand Parade Christmas Tree!
Check out the video: https://youtu.be/crnQQR6x9h0
Holiday Projection Show
The shows began on Saturday, November 28th, and finish on Saturday, January 1st, 2021. Every night of the week from 4:30 p.m. to 9:45 p.m. a magical holiday projection and light show will take place in the Grand Parade next to City Hall on the trees, the Christmas tree and the City Hall building. Each evening the show will take place on the hour, quarter past, half past and a quarter to the hour. Example: 5 p.m. 5:15 p.m. 5:30 p.m. 5:45 pm
Playing Field Strategy
Help shape the municipal Playing Field Strategy by sharing your feedback through our online survey. The municipality is developing a Playing Field Strategy to guide the planning and development of playing fields over the next 15 years to meet community needs across the region.
The strategy will include an examination of:
- Sports fields – all weather and natural grass sport fields, often used for soccer, football, rugby, and ultimate frisbee, among others
- Ball diamonds – often used for sports like baseball, softball, slo-pitch, and fastpitch
Road Safety Dashboard
Provides residents with updates regarding the actions outlined in the Strategic Road Safety Framework. Track the progress the municipality is making as we work together to accomplish our Toward Zero goal.
Coronavirus update #39 – details and impacts during the second wave
I’m realy pleased with how HRM and Nova Scotia has by and large embraced the directions of Dr Strang and accepted this now 3 week pause to help bring our COVID-19 back to zero.
Our collective commitment to community health and safety was noticed in a Maclean’s article “Community buy-in critical to Nova Scotia’s ‘magnificent’ handling of pandemic – Volunteers at pop-up test sites, restaurants asking for a stop to in-person dining. Nova Scotians have rallied to bring the second wave under control.” https://www.macleans.ca/society/health/community-buy-in-critical-to-nova-scotias-magnificent-handling-of-pandemic/
Let’s keep it up, and hope we can return to the relaxed but on our guard new normal by December 16.
I am sure many residents saw this, bit I want to thank Dalhousie for sending this email to all staff and students last week, this is something many of you were asking for: “While we recognize the vast majority of our students are following Public Health directives, we wanted to remind students that there can be severe consequences for not doing your part in keeping our community safe. This includes being accountable for your choices both on and off campus. In addition to significant fines issued by our local police authority, our Code of Student Conduct will be used to the fullest extent possible to address deliberate disregard of Public Health directives.”
We have witnessed over the last two weeks the growing number of Covid-19 cases in Nova Scotia. The government of Nova Scotia announced new measures to help control the spread of the Covid-19 virus. Some of these measures include Nova Scotians being asked to avoid non-essential travel in and out of western and central HRM (which is defined as HRM from Hubbards to, and including, Porters Lake and the communities up to Elmsdale and Mount Uniacke in Hants County).
- Gathering limit in public is now no more than five (or up to the number of members of an immediate family in a household)
- mandatory masking now applies to common areas of multi-unit residential buildings, such as apartment buildings and condos
- restaurants and licenced establishments are closed for in-person dining but may provide take-out or delivery
Parking in Downtown
In response to the recent temporary closures due to the recent spike in COVID-19 cases and in recognition of the importance to support local business; parking services is implementing “First 15 minutes free” at all parking spots in the Municipality.
Effective Wednesday, December 2, all residents using HotSpot or a pay station will receive the first 15 minutes of their parking session free in any zone. This is being done to facilitate short-term loading and pick-ups at restaurants and local businesses. This is a pilot program and is in addition to other Mobility Response Plan initiatives including the introduction earlier this year of ten 15-minute loading/parking spaces across the region. The following outlines the already in place short term loading spaces:
• Spring Garden Road (south side, between South Park and Brenton)
• Clyde Street (north side, just west of Queen Street)
• Dresden Row (east side, between Spring Garden and Artillery Place)
• South Park Street (east side, between Clyde and Spring Garden)
• Portland Street (north side, between King and Prince)
• Portland Street (south side, between Dundas and Victoria)
• Prince Street (east side, near Portland Street)
• King Street (west side, between Ochterloney and Queen)
• Alderney Drive (east side, between Portland and Queen)
• Charles Street (north side, between John and Agricola)
A notice of motion for December 1 and subsequent staff report outlining changes to AO15 to facilitate such approvals will be coming to Regional Council on December 15.
HRM Facility bookings and recreation programming
The Halifax Regional Municipality continues to monitor and respond to the rapidly evolving effects of COVID-19. The following is an update on municipal services. As directed by the province, new public health guidelines will take effect in the Halifax Regional Municipality inside the boundaries of Hubbards, Mount Uniacke, Elmsdale and Porters Lake. Recreation programming, partner facilities, gyms & pools. With the closure of municipal recreation centres, pools and gymnasiums in the affected area, all recreation programming is cancelled for the rest of the fall season in those facilities. A further announcement on winter programming will be made in consultation with public health.
There are many resources available to residents stay updated with the constantly changing information and measures taking place to control the spread of Covid-19 and to help residents stay informed and safe. I will list some below:
- Covid-19 Alert app: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/coronavirus-disease-covid-19/covid-alert.html
- Covid-19 self-assessment https://covid-self-assessment.novascotia.ca/
- COVID-19 testing and online booking, https://novascotia.ca/coronavirus/symptoms-and-testing/
- Government of Canada https://canada.ca/coronavirus
- Province of Nova Scotia https://novascotia.ca/coronavirus/
- Halifax Regional Municipality https://halifax.ca/coronavirus
Update on Libraries
Halifax Public Libraries suspended all in person visits and adjusted services at 13 branches located in the Central Zone on Nov 25th
Library materials will continue to be borrowed. Community members may request specific items or ask for general selections. Curbside pick-up is available at all branch locations during the regularly scheduled open hours of the branch. Items can be returned to any branch location and all of our book drops remain open.
In addition to picking up materials, Library staff are offering as much service as possible curbside. This includes printing documents, distributing activity packs for different age groups (from preschool to seniors), free menstrual products, information services, technology support, general support and referrals.
Technology Lending & Wi-Fi
The Library is lending chrome books curbside for members of the public to use either outside or to take home for the day.
How can we help?
Call my office
Call my office for assistance with your municipal issues. You can reach my Coordinator Liam MacSween during the business day, his phone number is 902-490-2012 and his email is macswel@Halifax.CA
311 – HRM’s Call Centre
HRM’s call centre is open 7 days a week, Monday to Friday 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday & Sunday 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. to respond to routine inquiries and complaints from HRM residents. Please use this service since it helps HRM keep track of issues that are of concern for residents (missed solid waste pickup, sidewalks not cleared, transit info or complaints, etc.) For more information please visit http://www.halifax.ca/311
RoadWorks Map (Sidewalk/street Closures & Disruptions)
View the RoadWorks map to see current and upcoming sidewalk and street closures.
Sign up for hfxALERT
hfxALERT is our mass notification system for the municipality, keeping residents informed about emergencies and operations updates. Sign up here
Regional Council Reports and Agendas
If you want to read reports coming to Regional Council (posted mid-day Friday prior to the Tuesday meeting) or to check the agenda please go to: https://www.halifax.ca/city-hall/regional-counci
Halifax and West Community Council Reports and Agendas
Community Council meets on Tuesday evenings that alternate with Regional Council. Please check the webpage here for agendas (usually available a week before the meeting), locations and times. https://www.halifax.ca/city-hall/community-councils/halifax-west-community-council
Halifax Peninsula Planning Advisory Council Reports and Agendas
Halifax Peninsula Planning Advisory Committee meets once a month to discuss and provide feedback to council on planning proposals for the three districts on the peninsula. Please check the webpage for agendas (usually available a week before the meeting), locations and times: https://www.halifax.ca/city-hall/boards-committees-commissions/h/halifax-peninsula-planning-advisory-committee