Budget 2022/23, Tax Relief, District 7 capital projects, more

In this issue

My Council Update includes info on the Budget, financial relief for those that may require it, some of the projects coming in District 7 in 2022/23, and more.

Public Meetings and Hearings has info on upcoming council meetings. Roadworks is starting to heat up, with construction and paving starting. Community Events is starting to fill up with events and summer programs,  but please do not hesitate to email me with your community event listings to include in this update!


Councillor Update

Hello all, we are seeing hints of spring and the first buds on the trees in the District, and I certainly felt the weather on Saturday promised of more nice days to come!  Ides of April, indeed.

As you’ve seen in the media, Regional Council has approved the 2022/23 municipal budget of $1.1 billion – $925.7 million in total municipal expenditures, $180.2 million in provincial mandatory contributions, and a capital plan of $318.9 million.

The average residential and commercial property tax bill is increasing by 4.6 per cent. This means the average single-family home tax bill will increase by $94 in 2022/23 to $2,144. The tax rate on residential has in fact dropped, to reflect the increase in assessment, I wrote about how this works here.

In the 2020 election, I promised to ensure Halifax acted to support HalifACT, our climate change adaption and mitigation plan.  I wrote in part “Regional Council approved the HalifACT 2050: Acting on Climate Together climate action plan in June 2020, and now Council and residents have to dig deep to find the resources and funding to do our part.“

Of the 4.6 per cent increase, 3 per cent goes towards the Climate Action Tax, which will directly support HalifACT, the municipality’s long-term climate action plan. The Climate Action Tax will fund projects such as electric vehicles and buses, net-zero buildings, installing public electric vehicle chargers, and taking actions to improve the resiliency of communities and infrastructure against the impacts of climate change.

This last part is important and often overlooked. The cost of making roads safe and securing coastal infrastructure from stronger and more energetic storms is going to be significant.

The remaining 1.6 per cent increase will fund ongoing operations, public safety, maintenance and service improvements – such as the provincial road transfer – as well as strategic capital investments.

For more info on the budget:

Affordable Access graphic

Affordable Access Program

I recognize that times are tough for many and inflation is causing a lot of pain for folks, and the burden of this transition to a carbon-neutral future is not evenly shared.   Because of this, Council has expanded the eligibility for property tax relief on the municipality’s Affordable Access Program. Users only need one application to apply for:

  • Affordable Transit Pass (applications open mid-May and processed on a first-come, first-served basis)
  • Recreation programming funding (applications are open year-round with no deadline)
  • Property tax payment assistance (deadline of August 15 for an exemption on your final tax bill)

To learn more, to see if you qualify, or to apply, call 311 or visit www.halifax.ca/affordableaccess

What does the budget mean for District 7 this year?  Subject to contractor availability and other potential unforeseen circumstances which may arise and which could impact the scheduling of the project, and potentially cause delays, here is the list of road and other major projects for 2022/23:

Street Repaving
Dalhousie St – South to Beaufort
Oakland Rd – Studley to Beaufort (Integrated Traffic Calming)
Tower Rd – Inglis to Southwood (Integrated Traffic Calming)
Harbourview Dr – Young to Tower (Carry Forward)Asphalt Overlays
Mclean St – Inglis to Cul De Sac (Integrated Traffic Calming)
Tobin St – Barrington to Queen

South St – Queen to South Park

New Sidewalk
Dalhousie St – Beaufort to End of Existing

Sidewalk Renewals
Bellevue Ave (E) – Roxton to Beaufort
Bellevue Ave (E) – Belmont to Inglis
Bellevue Ave (W) – Oakland to Regina (Spot repairs)
Bellevue Ave (W) – Inglis to Roxton (Spot repairs)
Dalhousie St – South to Beaufort (Significant Spot Repairs)
Fraser St (N) – Robie to Davis
Lucknow St (W) – Rhuland to Inglis
Oakland Rd – Studley to Beaufort
Victoria Rd (N) – Queen to Inglis
Victoria Rd (N) – Queen to Bland (Spot repairs)

AAA Bikeways
Hollis St Phase 2 – Terminal to Barrington
Terminal Rd (Carryover)

BR73 Jubilee Rd CN Bridge (Rehabilitation)

Planer Patching
Oxford St – Quinpool to Coburg

Proposed Crack Sealing
Cambridge St – Pepperell to Jubilee
Chestnut St – Shirley to Coburg
Lilac St – Payzant to Coburg
Payzant Ave – Larch to Chestnut
Preston St – Quinpool to Payzant
Spring Garden Rd – Robie to Summer
Vernon St – Quinpool to Coburg

Parks Improvements
Halifax Common Pool Reconstruction
Camp Hill Cemetery – fence restoration Phase 1
Peace and Friendship Park – consultation and redesign
Point Pleasant Park Shoreline Improvements – detailed design
LeMarchant‐St. Thomas School – sport field rehabilitation
South African War Memorial Fountain – rehabilitation, detailed design
Public Gardens – service upgrade

Crosswalk Upgrade to Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacons (RRFB)
Gottingen St at Falkland St
Barrington St at George St
Coburg Rd at Lord Dalhousie Dr
Beaufort Ave at Oakland Rd
Windsor St at Summit St

Installation of Accessible Pedestrian Signals
Spring Garden Rd at Summer St

There are some other street safety projects I hope to be able to announce in the coming weeks!

On the topic of road safety, please be advised that the following change is being made to the Oxford/Jubilee intersection:

The Halifax Regional Municipality is implementing a change to traffic operations at the signalized intersection of Oxford Street and Jubilee Road. Signage is anticipated to be installed this week which will restrict motorists from making a right turn from eastbound on Jubilee Road to southbound on Oxford Street when facing a red signal. This restriction is being implemented under the municipality’s Strategic Road Safety Plan, in response to a demonstrated, ongoing issue with vehicle collisions and conflicts with pedestrians in the crosswalk related to vehicles turning “right on red” at this particular leg of the intersection.

As members of the community that surrounds, interacts with and/or makes up Dalhousie University, neighbours’ insights and feedback are important to building mutual respect and goodwill in the shared community.

Dalhousie is seeking to start a different kind of discussion about how unsanctioned street parties and high-risk behaviour affects our community. There are numerous contributing factors, including student drinking /substance use, neighbourhood demographics, clustered student rentals, and social media-fuelled party culture. Impacts on the community include public drinking, substance use, property damage, noise disturbance, neighbourhood tensions, and misdirection of emergency response resources.

Dalhousie wants to open a dialogue. In late spring, they will hold a community co-creation day, facilitated by Inspiring Communities. This two-day session will be an opportunity for students, community members, university administrators and community partners to gather and constructively discuss addressing street party culture and build a roadmap for collaboration in the short and long term. Participants will identify a common agenda of work to strengthen community wellbeing and the role each of us can play in helping our community thrive.

Please take 10 minutes to complete this survey, which will help Dalhousie identify current experiences, concerns, and opportunities for action. Your responses will be anonymous and only aggregate data will be shared. This overall survey data will help us inform the design of the session and strategies moving forward.

This survey is intended for non-student neighbours in our shared community and there will be a separate engagement process for students.

Finally, there are many local networks and support services for refugees. As Canada continues to support Ukraine and the citizens escaping the ongoing horrific situation there, I want to share some resources for individuals who may be arriving in our area.

Thanks and stay safe,

Public Meetings, Hearings & Engagement

Halifax Regional Council – Halifax City Hall, Council Chambers
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, May 3, 10 am
● Tuesday, May 17, 10am
Agendas here: https://www.halifax.ca/city-hall/agendas-meetings-reports?category=127

Halifax & West Community Council – Halifax City Hall, Council Chambers
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.
● Tuesday, April 19, 2022, 6 pm
● Tuesday, May 10, 2022, 6 pm
Agenda here – https://www.halifax.ca/city-hall/agendas-meetings-reports?category=140

Regional Centre Community Council – Harbour East Marine Drive Room, Alderney Landing
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.
● Wednesday, April 27, 6 pm (if required)
● Wednesday, May 25, 6 pm (if required)
Agenda here – https://www.halifax.ca/city-hall/agendas-meetings-reports?category=140

Halifax Peninsula Planning Advisory Committee & Design Advisory Committee
The Nova Scotia government has suspended the meeting of planning advisory committees for three years, ending April 2025.

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.

Public hearings
Public hearings are published 2-3 weeks before they take place. There are no public hearings posted at this time. A list of upcoming hearings can be found here: https://www.halifax.ca/business/planning-development/public-hearings

Have your say: Blue Mountain-Birch Cove Lakes Regional Park
Wednesday, April 13 at 7 p.m | Virtual
Residents are invited to attend a VIRTUAL public engagement session on the proposed Blue Mountain-Birch Cove Lakes Regional Park. The Blue Mountain-Birch Cove Lakes area is being explored as part of Parks Canada’s National Urban Parks program (https://www.pc.gc.ca/en/pun-nup). This opportunity builds on the past work of the municipality, the Province of Nova Scotia, and local advocates in advancing the vision for this site.  This public engagement will help inform the municipality and its partners on key issues identified with the park’s potential development. For more information on the Blue Mountain-Birch Cove Lakes Regional Park, visit: https://bit.ly/37FWmrA  Register here: https://bit.ly/3KFFmAn

Have your say:  Halifax Forum Redevelopment Open House
Tuesday, April 19, 6-8 pm | Halifax Forum Maritime Hall
Plans are in the works to redevelop the Halifax Forum, and your input can help shape these plans. What’s been proposed so far?
● The preserved façade of Halifax Forum Arena
● Two ice surfaces
● Multipurpose and event space
● An expansive concourse to support facility connectivity and programming
● A new greenspace
● Parking for approximately 150 vehicles.
So, what do you think? See the plans in detail and share your thoughts by filling out the online survey: https://www.shapeyourcityhalifax.ca/halifax-forum-redevelopment

Volunteer For Boards and Committees
Deadline April 20 at midnight | Online Application
HRM is still seeking applications for volunteers to serve on a variety of municipal boards, committees, and commissions.  Municipal boards, committees, and commissions consist of councillors, residents, and industry representatives. These groups provide recommendations to Regional Council, community council, or standing committees, and serve as an important part of the decision-making process. There are many opportunities available for individuals of all types of backgrounds and interest areas, and meeting schedules/format vary between committees.  Check out www.halifax.ca/serve to view all opportunities and to learn more. Or, contact serve@halifax.ca or call 902-490-4210.

Participate in the HRM District Boundary Review
Deadline Monday, April 25 | Online
All residents can have a say in the municipality’s future governance structure and number of municipal councillors, and future district boundaries. Public consultations to seek input have now begun for Phase One of the 2022 District Boundary Review process. The process will review the number of councillors (in Phase 1 – open now) and later, the boundaries for each polling district (in Phase 2).  There are many ways to share your feedback, including an online survey open until April 25th: https://www.narrativeresearchsurveys.ca/S2/87/G470747/
Learn about the other ways to provide feedback here: https://www.halifax.ca/city-hall/elections/district-boundary-review

Urban Forest Survey
May 1, 2022 | Online
Residents are invited to participate in an online survey about the municipality’s urban forest and the work the municipality does to grow and protect it. The urban forest includes all trees in the municipality ranging from street trees to those in sidewalk planters, to those growing in parks and natural areas. The survey is designed to help staff better understand what aspects of the urban forest are important to residents and help inform decisions on future program priorities designed to improve municipal services such as tree pruning, planting and removal as part of the Urban Forest Master Plan. The survey will be available until May 1, 2022.

Roadworks Update

The following street closures or sidewalk disruptions have recently been added to the RoadWorks map
● GOTTINGEN ST from CUNARD ST to CORNWALLIS ST, starting on 2022-04-09
● ROBIE ST from CHERRY ST to ROBIE ST, starting on 2022-04-25
● ROBIE ST from WILLIAMS ST to ROBIE ST, starting on 2022-04-25
● ROBIE ST from ROBIE ST to ROBIE ST, starting on 2022-04-25
● ROBIE ST from CEDAR ST to ROBIE ST, starting on 2022-04-25
● COGSWELL 1 outbound lane closed
You can find out road closure details on the HRM Roadworks map:

Cogswell Construction Project
This major construction project, one of the biggest HRM has ever undertaken, has begun.  Construction will take three years.  More info can be found here:  https://www.halifax.ca/about-halifax/regional-community-planning/construction-projects/cogswell-district-redevelopment

Jubilee Road CN Bridge
CN and HRM are coordinating the rehabilitation of this bridge set to begin in the summer of this year (targeting July). While the start of construction is some time off, at this time CN is required to begin site preparation starting with the removal of trees at the site that is necessary to remove to begin construction. Tree removal is set to begin Monday of next week, and only the trees that need to be removed will be removed. The trees that will be removed are only on CN property and before we leave

Members of the public can reach out to CN directly on this project by contacting CN’s Public Inquiry Line at 1-888-888-5909 or at contact@cn.ca. Prior to construction and the subsequent closure of the bridge, CN will be working with HRM to notify those residents who are in proximity to the site. That outreach would likely be in June of this year. More here https://www.halifax.ca/transportation/transportation-projects/cn-bridges-rehabilitation-project

Community Events and Info

The HRM Small Business Resources Virtual Information Session
April 19 (today) 6:30pm | Virtual
Do you know any aspiring or existing small to medium size business owners in Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM) and the surrounding area that would benefit from learning what is available to help them start or expand their business? Opportunity Place – Nova Scotia Works will be hosting their second ever The HRM Small Business Resources Virtual Information Session. Current List of Organizations to Speak: Aboriginal Peoples Training & Employment Commission (APTEC), Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA), Black Business Initiative (BBI), CBDC Bluewater, Centre for Entrepreneurship Education and Development (CEED), Centre for Women in Business (CWB), CNIB, Halifax Partnership, Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia (ISANS), Labour, Skills, and Immigration – Immigration and Population Growth Branch, Labour, Skills, and Immigration – Workplace Education & Training., Labour, Skills, and Immigration – Youth and Strategic Initiatives, Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency (NSAA), Nova Scotia Business Inc. (NSBI), Nova Scotia Works, RISE.  Register today on Eventbrite: – https://lnkd.in/dXR_WrK4  OR call 902.864.7520 or email employers@opportunityplace.ca

CN vegetation control
Now to October 22 | CN rail right of way
CN remains committed to running its railway safely and efficiently and building a level of trust and collaboration with the communities where we do business.  To that end, we are reaching out to advise you of our vegetation control activities in your area between April and October 2022. A regularly updated schedule is available at www.cn.ca/vegetation

Stories and Mi’kmaq Legends with Leonard Paul
Sunday, April 24, 2022, 7:30-10:30 | St. Andrew’s United, Coburg
Join us for the 2nd concert in our 35th anniversary season, as Camerata presents Stories and Mi’kmaq Legends, celebrating the art of Truro visual artist Leonard Paul (www.leonardpaul.com) on Saturday/Sunday, March 12-13. A graduate of the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design and Acadia University, Leonard Paul is a painter specializing in high realism whose work is inspired by his ancestors and traditions; he is descended from a line of great Chiefs. His work has been awarded the Governor General’s Medal, and he’s received funding from the Canada Council for the Arts. Nova Scotia school choirs will join Camerata virtually for this performance when another new work by Laura Hawley will be premiered. The audience is invited to join the choir and Board for the anniversary cake following the Saturday evening concert. https://www.facebook.com/events/406485677702914/

Discover the Adventure Earth Centre .
Registration opens 10:00 am on April 27
The Adventure Earth Centre is offering a variety of outdoor recreation programming this summer!
● Overnight Camps at Camp Mockingee
● Day Camps at Shubie Park
● Day Camps at Fleming Park

Visit https://www.halifax.ca/aec or https://www.facebook.com/hfxaec to learn more about these outdoor, interactive summer programs, and visit https://www.halifax.ca/myrec to register!

Suellen Murray Educational Bursary
Deadline April 30
Suellen Murray loved the Halifax Public Gardens and walked through on her way to work in the Department of Health each day. It had particular meaning and joy for her during the three years after her diagnosis of a brain tumour. In 2014, Dr T.J. (Jock) and Janet Murray, Suellen’s parents, and her husband, Byron Rafuse, established a $1000 annual bursary to recognise her love of the Gardens and to encourage and support educational activities related to this very special space in our city. For more info: https://www.halifaxpublicgardens.ca/suellen-murray-educational-bursary

District Capital Funding Grants
Applications close May 30 | Online
Residents and community non-profit groups in District 7 will be invited to apply for a District Capital Funding grant. There are two project streams – a big projects category that funds up to $10,000 and a small project category that will fund up to $5,000 or less. District Capital Funds are for permanent projects that provide publicly accessible benefits in the community and that provide widespread community benefit. Priority is given to projects that are intergenerational or focused on youth or seniors, and which work to address equity, inclusion, and systemic racism in our community. Projects must provide the broadest public benefit, and meet all HRM policies and guidelines. The deadline for submission is Monday, May 30, 2022, more info here: https://wayemason.ca/pb/

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. More info here: https://www.halifax.ca/home/311

Call my office
Call my office for assistance with your municipal issues. Please try 311 first, and when you call have your 311 reference number ready. Vicki Palmeter is my new Constituency Coordinator. Vicki can be reached by email at Victoria.palmeter@halifax.ca or by phone at 902-490-2012.

Call or email 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 Victoria or 311 cannot assist you, please email me at waye.mason@halifax.ca or call 902.430.7822.