In This Issue
My Council Update has information a housing & shelter update, North West Arm infill threat, Robie Street (QE2) hospital site noise test, Centennial Pool update, and bi-weekly blue bag collection.
Public Meetings and Hearing gives folks a heads up on some important upcoming public hearing dates, and dates for the rest of this summer’s Regional and Community Council meetings. Roadworks includes a few projects. Community Events includes an important fundraiser for Spencer House, Bastille Day, and sidewalk chalk placemaking kits. Coronavirus Update #48 has details on the phase 4 opening today. This issue ends with info on how to reach out and get help on municipal issues.
I wanted to start this update by sharing more information regarding our housing crisis, the structures in our parks, and the current controversies.
Most important to start – the folks in these shelters in parks are being offered hotels and then once in safe shelter, the structures are removed, and the Province has confirmed in writing they will keep folks in hotels until they find appropriate permanent housing. This is not to in any way to say hotels are a great solution, they are an interim solution. We need the Province to provide a clear roadmap to solving these issues.
If you have not read this blog yet, and if you want details about what HRM can do, and what we cannot do (because of Provincial law), and how we are almost done working through doing all the things we are able to do, please read this blog wrote about the current situation. This blog links to an older piece that details projects currently underway to make housing easier, faster, and less expensive.
This is not to say HRM is not working hard despite these constraints.
HRM is supporting projects through land and money. In the last year, our new direction resulted in a number of projects being supported. Last December HRM worked to help secure Federal funding and provide guarantees for three Rapid Housing Initiative projects (Adsum Women & Children transition housing for women and children 25 units, Mi’kmaq Native Friendship Centre Shelter 17 units, North End Community Health Association 10 units).
Council voted to sell land for $4.00 for 25 townhouses to be built by Affordable Housing Nova Scotia in Dartmouth North. HRM participated in enabling a coop with CMHC on Maitland with 57 units. While having been sold private, 10% (40-50 units) in the Bloomfield Property will be affordable housing, at the developer’s expense. All of these are HRM enabling Federal and Provincial investments and would be beyond HRMs fiscal capacity to lead or finance alone.
The municipality should have $1-1.5 million in density bonusing funds this year to hand out to Not-For-Profit Housing Providers. We have a motion from Councillor Cuttell to take some general revenue which may also happen. And today, a second, $13 million phase of Rapid Housing Initiative was announced.
Some recent news was the announcement the Province would fund and act on the Affordable Housing Commission report. I wrote a letter to the Premier this week acknowledging that, but then expanding on other needed next steps.
As I said in that first blog “The fact is these shelters and tents are not safe or appropriate housing. We must do better. We can’t let people live in unsafe structures. Hotels are a safe alternative.” Expanding the number of unheated, not to code shelters in parks, with no running water, no bathrooms, is not a solution. We need to do better.
Next week I hope to send the Premier, Housing Minister, and Community Service Minister with some detailed and costed proposals for the types of rapid housing we need to see right now.
You’ve may have heard that there is an application for a Federal Permit to in fill a large private lot in the North West Arm.
The governance of these water lots is complex and piecemeal due to their unique legal status as well as Canada’s constitutional dynamic. Permitting for infilling of these lots falls under federal jurisdiction and is regulated under the Navigable Waters Act and the Fisheries Act. Infill applications under the Navigable Waters Act assess impacts on navigation without an examination of broader risks. There is not yet a provincial environmental assessment associated with water lot infilling. Infilling is likewise outside the jurisdiction of municipalities, which are only able to regulate the use and development of the newly created ‘land’ that results from the infilling activity.
This patchwork of regulation and limited governmental coordination has resulted in a governance gap in which developers have been able to infill water lots along the Northwest Arm without adequate protections for broader public interests. In addition to reducing the surface water area of the Arm, the practice threatens water quality, strains coastal ecosystems, and damages fish habitat. Infilling also puts structures along our coastline at greater risk to the coastal impacts of climate change, such as sea-level rise, storm surge, coastal flooding and the increased frequency and intensity of weather events.
In 2007, HRM introduced a land-use bylaw to restrict the permitted use of infilled water lots to deter risky development. However, the practice of infilling along the Northwest Arm has continued despite these restrictions. Developers have sought to test the strength and boundaries of these municipal regulations in the absence of broader government coordination.
A month ago Council voted unanimously to send a letter to the Federal Minister per my request. MP Andy Filmore has publicly asked the Minister to pause approvals. I talked to Senator Kutcher last week and three NS Senators have been active on the file, and many Councillors including myself have sent letters to the Minister. I am hopeful our area MLAs will also write letters.
If you want to write a letter and express your support, the Ecology Action Centre has resources here that I urge you to visit: https://protectthenorthwestarm.com/
After much testing and examination staff believe they have found the location and reason for the major water leak at Centennial Pool.
The existing piping will be restored by applying a coating product to the inside of the piping. The vendor has been procured, materials ordered, and staff is scheduled. Target to complete by June 25.
Testing the pool with water and monitoring water levels started July 9. If the repair worked the pool could be open to the public on August 3 (assuming lifeguards in place). Staff are confident this will solve this issue, however, if this piping repair does not work a backup plan is in place. The alternative is replacing a section of the pool piping. Proposed schedule: which is much more work and could push reopening to November 6.
EDIT – NS Provincial Healthcare Infrastructure staff informed HRM regarding vibration testing that will take place this coming weekend.
As part of ongoing construction and preparation at the QE2 (Halifax Infirmary) site; vibration testing and monitoring will take place near the Robie Street entrance on Saturday, July 17 from 10am until midnight.
The testing will involve a 20 ton excavator doing 12 x 100 successive bucket drops and drilling 6 caisson test holes.
The test locations will be in the driveway adjacent the main entrance, well off the public right of way, but there will be noise continuing beyond the N-200 exemption time frame.
Some of the required testing will be directly adjacent to the operating MRI, thus the testing must take place outside of the MRI operating hours of 7am-7pm.
A reminder, while we are in weekly green cart collection of your organic waste is returning for July, August, and September, blue bag recyclable collection now occurs once every two weeks. Both changes came into effect on July 2, 2021.
Sign up for weekly collection reminders, get a refresher on what goes where, check out recycling tips and much more, here. You can also download the free Halifax Recycles app on your Android or iOS device to have waste info at the palm of your hand. And don’t forget to follow Halifax Recycles on Facebook!
Public Meetings, Hearings & Engagement
The following public hearings, regarding projects that are variously loved and hated, will be taking place in the next month or so. Dates are not confirmed yet.
The cases are
- Case 22927: Development Agreement for 2032-2050 Robie Street, Halifax
- Case 23186: Development Agreement to allow a multi-unit residential addition to a municipally registered heritage property at 1029 South Park Street, Halifax,
- Case 22115: Development Agreement to Allow a Multi-Unit Residential Building on a Registered Heritage Property at 2438 Gottingen Street, Halifax
- Case 20761: Development Agreement for lands fronting Robie Street, College Street, and Carlton Street, Halifax.
Public hearings are published 2-3 weeks before they take place and a list of upcoming hearings can be found here: https://www.halifax.ca/business/planning-development/public-hearings
Halifax Regional Council – virtual meetings
If you want to read reports coming to Regional Council (posted mid-day Friday prior to the Tuesday meeting) or to check the agenda. Upcoming meetings:
- Tuesday, July 20 at 10:00 a.m.
- Tuesday, August 17 at 10:00 a.m.
- Tuesday, September 7 at 10:00 a.m.
Halifax & West Community Council – virtual meetings
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.
- August 25, 6pm
- September 7, 6pm
Regional Centre Community Council – virtual meetings
Community Council meets on monthly when needed regarding issues and appeals arising from the Centre Plan. Please check the webpage here for agendas (usually available a week before the meeting), locations, and times.
- July 27 6pm
Halifax Peninsula Planning Advisory Council
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. Upcoming meetings:
- August 23 4:30pm
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
Information about how to watch or participate in virtual meetings can be found on the agenda pages. Please confirm meeting dates and times on our website as dates and times are subject to change.
The following street closures or sidewalk disruptions have recently been added to the RoadWorks map
- NEW CUNARD ST from GOTTINGEN ST to CREIGHTON ST, starting on 2021-07-10
- NEW ROBIE ST from ROXTON RD to ROXTON RD, starting on 2021-07-19
You can find out road closure details on the HRM Roadworks map:
Other Major Projects:
South Street Bridge Rehabilitation Proposed Project – Canadian National Railway (CN) and Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM) are proceeding with bridge and roadway rehabilitation work on the arch bridge structure at South Street in 2021. The work will involve a major rehabilitation of the structure and reinstatement of the roadway. A detour route comprised of Beaufort Avenue, Oakland Road, and Rockcliffe Street will provide access to the South Street neighbourhood during construction. Contact the CN Public Inquiry Line at 1-888-888-5909 or at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.
Cathedral Lane, University Avenue & South Park Street Sewer Separation Project – May to early December 2021. Halifax Water will be undertaking a project to upgrade infrastructure on South Park Street, University Avenue and Cathedral Lane. The project will include the installation of a new separate storm sewer and sections of water main. This work was planned for 2020, but delayed to 2021 so both phases of the project could be completed all at once. In order to complete this work as quickly as possible, limiting the length of the disruption, work will take place simultaneously on Cathedral Lane and South Park Street. More info and contacts here: http://halifaxwater.ca/project/cathedral-ln-south-park-st-sewer-separation
Spencer House Fourth annual Give65 Event | right now!
There are $5000 in matching grants available, so your gift will have twice the impact. To have the best chance of receiving matching grants, we encourage you to make your gift as soon as possible today by visiting https://www.give65.ca/spencerhouseseniors and clicking the green “donate now” button.
This 65-hour event presented by Home Instead Charities allows senior-serving, charitable organizations like Spencer House the opportunity to raise funds online for the programs and services helping older adults in our community. That means your donation stays right here in Halifax. Your support will enable us to reach out to more of our senior friends and neighbours in our community like Phyllis, Claire, and Kathryn by providing a safe and stable space for them to thrive as they age in place. Thank you for supporting Spencer House and the aging folks we serve. Without your generosity, we wouldn’t be able to provide our program and services that are making a difference.
Celebrating Bastille Day – Customs and Traditions, Speak-Dating and a Petanque Tournament | July 14, 2021 at 6:00 pm.
As part of the French National Day celebrations, Alliance Française Halifax-Dartmouth (AFH) launched Les rendez-vous du bon temps, activities that will be organized throughout the year to share French customs and traditions in a friendly and fun atmosphere.
As part of this first event, AFH invited the French, Francophone, Francophile and Anglophone community to create lanterns at home and with their families in order to present them during a special Speak-Dating for the French National Holiday that will take place online on July 14, 2021 at 6:00 pm. This meeting will be an opportunity for each participant to show their creations, to learn more about the tradition of the torchlight retreat and also to have a good time chatting in French.
The celebrations will continue on Saturday, July 17, 2021 with the Alliance Française Halifax’s annual petanque tournament. For over 10 years, AFH has invited the Haligonian community to spend a day outdoors and participate in the tournament. The tournament will begin at 2:00 pm and is expected to end around 5:00 pm. Registration is open and gift certificates from Ratinaud French Cuisine and LF Bakery will be given to the winning teams !
July 14, 2021 – 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm: Speak Dating + Torchlight Retreat
On line, free and open to all
July 17, 2021 – 2:00pm – 5:00pm: Annual Petanque Tournament
Dingle Playground, 260 Dingle Road, Halifax, Tournament registration (before July 15 – 6:00 pm): $7.00 per person ($5.00 for AFH members and students): https://forms.office.com/r/PxKWgFvJbV
More information available at www.afhalifax.ca
Neighbourhood Placemaking Chalk Kits | Available now
Placemaking kits with sidewalk chalk to get creative with your neighbours! Regular Neighbourhood Placemaking projects are on hold for 2020 and 2021 during restrictions related to COVID-19. In the meantime, we’re excited to offer a series of neighbourhood Together Apart Kits.
These kits provide ways to bring neighbours together through shared community-focused activities while remaining physically distant. We will offer a series of four sequential kits leading up to the restart of the full Neighbourhood Placemaking program in October 2021.
The kits are designed to bring neighbours together for a common purpose while staying physically distant. The kits aren’t intended for individual use, but as a way for neighbours to enjoy a group project together – while safely apart. More info here: http://www.halifax.ca/placemaking
Coronavirus Update #45 – phase 4 details
I’d like to the Chamber of Commerce summary of Phase 4 details – Effective 8:00 AM on Wednesday, July 14, the following restrictions are being eased province wide:
- informal gatherings with their household members and social bubbles have a maximum of 25 indoors or 50 outdoors
- faith gatherings, weddings, funerals and associated receptions and visitation hosted by a recognized business or organization can have 50 per cent capacity to a maximum of 150 people indoors or 250 people outdoors
- restaurants, licensed establishments and casinos continue to operate with existing mask and distancing rules; there can be up to 25 people per table; customers can go to the bar to order; establishments can return to their normal service hours; they can have performers following the limit for arts and culture performances
- events hosted by a recognized business or organization can have 50 per cent capacity to a maximum of 150 people indoors or 250 people outdoors; organizers need a plan following guidelines for events
- people can follow the informal gathering limit for dancing together at events and at bars or restaurants, with distance between groups; the indoor limit applies to dancing indoors and on patios at bars or restaurants
- all retail stores can operate at maximum capacity following public health measures
- meetings and training hosted by a recognized business or organization can have 50 per cent capacity to a maximum of 150 people indoors or 250 people outdoors
Recreation & Sport:
- fitness and recreation facilities such as gyms, yoga studios, pools and arenas can operate at maximum capacity with public health measures in place, including distancing and masks
- a wide variety of recreation and leisure businesses and organizations, such as dance classes, music lessons, escape rooms and indoor play spaces, can operate at maximum capacity with public health measures in place, including distancing and masks
- organized sports practices, games, league play, competition and recreation programs can involve up to 25 people indoors and 50 people outdoors without physical distancing; tournaments are allowed when they are run by or affiliated with a provincial sport organization, following their Return to Sport plan
- audiences follow the gathering limits for events hosted by a recognized business or organization
- day camps can operate with 30 campers per group plus staff and volunteers, following the day camp guidelines
- masks are no longer required for children age 12 and under in child-care settings, including day camps and overnight camps
- masks are no longer required at outdoor public places where it may be difficult to maintain physical distance, such as markets, playgrounds and parks
Arts & Culture:
- professional and amateur arts and culture rehearsals and performances can involve up to 25 people indoors and 50 outdoors without physical distancing
- audiences follow the gathering limits for events hosted by a recognized business or organization
- museums, libraries and the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia can open at maximum capacity with public health measures in place, including distancing and masks
- all long-term care residents can leave the facility to visit indoor and outdoor public places like parks, stores and restaurants
- fully vaccinated residents can have visitors in their rooms and visit their family’s home, including overnight stays
- residents who are not fully vaccinated can have visitors in designated indoor visitation areas
To make these changes easier to understand we’ve created a Reopening Safely in Nova Scotia graphic that displays the phases, and the changes that come with each milestone. You can see the updated graphic here. For full details on Phase 4, click here.
Has it been a while since you were on an airplane? Me too. While there are no changes to the Nova Scotia border in Phase 4, fully vaccinated Canadians can still travel domestically and return to Nova Scotia with no quarantine. Our friends at the Halifax Stanfield International Airport have put together a checklist of items that you need to know before arriving at the airport for you next trip!
Read the checklist here.
TOURISM RELIEF FUND
Just Announced! The Tourism Relief Fund, administered by Canada’s regional development agencies and Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED), supports tourism businesses and organizations to adapt their operations to meet public health requirements while investing in products and services to facilitate their future growth. With a budget of $500 million over two years (ending March 31, 2023), including $50 million specifically dedicated to Indigenous tourism initiatives and $15 million for national initiatives, this fund will position Canada to be a destination of choice when domestic and international travel is once again safe by:
- empowering tourism businesses to create new or enhance existing tourism experiences and products to attract more local and domestic visitors; and
- helping the sector reposition itself to welcome international visitors by providing the best Canadian tourism experiences we have to offer the world.
Learn more about the Tourism Relief Fund, find out if you’re eligible and apply here.
How can we help?
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/
Call my office
Call my office for assistance with your municipal issues. Please have your 311 reference number ready. 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
Reach out to me
I’m always available to help residents. Email is always better than a phone call, as I am often in meetings and much of the time I cannot answer the phone. If Liam or 311 cannot assist you, please email me at email@example.com or call 902.430.7822