Demolitions, Common, Housing updates, more

In this issue

My Council Update includes some updates on the demolitions in our community, the proposed soccer stadium, info on Spring Garden, Lower Water, Peninsula complete streets engagement in July, tax billing system upgrade, and more.

Public Meetings and Hearings has info on upcoming council meetings. Roadworks is very busy, though the CN Bridge has been delayed to 2023.  Community Events shows the start of summer events eason is upon us!  Please do not hesitate to email me with your community event listings to include in this update!

Councillor Update

Hello all,

First of all, congrats to all the high school grads about to walk across the stage this year.  It’s been a huge challenge and disappointment for all of you to complete your three years in high school during 2.5 years of lockdowns and worry.  I look forward to applauding each and every one of the Citadel grads next week at the Forum, and really sincerely say to all grads at all schools “the best is yet to come!”

I’ve had a number of emails asking about the demolitions on Robie and Coburg, and I wanted to share my thoughts.

The first thing I want to say is I feel the Centre Plan’s ER2, ER3 and corridors in HR and COR do represent what the majority of residents think is appropriate in this neighbourhood.

It is simply misleading at best and an outright lie at worst to claim “we don’t see the public’s interest being reflected in the decisions that the city is making.”  During the long, six-year engagement on Centre Plan, we heard from a lot of folks with specific concerns and issues around established residential neighbourhoods and also protecting heritage, which resulted in many changes to the plan. The addition of Five Corners, Creighton Fields, Fort Massey, South Park/Victoria and Young Ave as candidate heritage districts all came because of citizen engagement.  Unique controls like having the old North End and the Hydrostones under an 8m height limit prior to adopting the HCD came from this process.  Additional controls in special areas (Grant Street, Oakland Road) were layered on where ER1 or ER2 was not, by itself, enough.

The Centre Plan changed again and again during its long and intensive consultative process, but some folks wanted no change at all. I want to be clear, I did not hear requests for a Heritage Conservation District in the area west of Robie, which is my neighbourhood.  I’ve lived on Vernon Street for 28 years.

The ER2 zone is very deliberately set to be based on the old R2.  I feel strongly that this zoning represents what I want on my street and what we want in our neighbourhood.  Personally, my house was built in 1904, but I would resist most strongly a heritage designation on my neighbourhood, street, or home.  My house has aluminum siding, and vinyl windows and the envelope has been altered at least seven times in 110 years.  Most folks want to continue to have flexibility in how they renovate and adapt their homes.

ER2, like R2 before it, provides the protection we need while allowing the neighbourhood to continue to evolve and change in this way as family size, style and design, and a dozen other parameters change. I wrote about the now adopted ER zones, heritage and special areas in this post:

This leaves us with the second issue, which is the corridors in Centre Plan and that someone is known as Halifax’s worst landlord, Mr. Tsimikilis and his brother, are tearing down so many things to create salable larger lots on these corridors.  While I agree this is not ideal and extremely frustrating, it is his approach and not the end result that I object to, and I do not think these actions invalidate the goal of increased density on the corridors and do not invalidate the Centre Plan.

Density along Robie and Coburg makes tons of sense.  These are busy roads with a lot of transit. This is where density belongs. The design manual (read it here) means they should look a lot like a newer building in Montreal, 3.5 stories tall, walk up entrances, etc, on Coburg and Robie to Jubilee.  An example of what these could look like (but each building would be different) can be seen in what the back of the Ted on Pepperell is going to look like:

The Ted facing Pepperell Street

This is what we wanted in Centre Plan, but just not like this, with houses coming down before permits are issued…  another developer with a plan to redevelop a few lots at a time and move straight to construction would obviously be preferable.

Unfortunately, I believe that Mr. Tsimikilis accelerated his demolition plans BECAUSE of the heritage application submitted for the area.  He wouldn’t be doing this so quickly if he didn’t think that it might take the rights he has under CP away from him, and he had done that before – the application to register the Fram house on Young Ave, which I supported, resulted in immediate demolition.

So this brings us to the third issue – should demolition permits be voted on by Council, should they be invalidated or denied if a potential heritage property registration is submitted?  I do not think so.

The Provincial Building Code Act requires municipalities to employ statutory officers known as Building Officials, who are appointed by Council to carry out the statutory role under that Act.  The demolitions section under that act allows the Minister and Council to create policy around demolition, but a Building Official is required to issue the permit if the conditions are met.  Demolition permits do not come to Council.

I support two changes to demolition permits.  As far as housing unit replacement goes, I think HRM can work with the Province to make it so you can’t get a demolition permit in the serviced urban area until you have a permit to build the replacement housing issued. This is a reasonable control that other jurisdictions have in place.

I also think that once a heritage process has been initiated at Council (registration or an HCD) that yes, for a period of time, probably 2 years, demolition permits should not be issued, or held in abeyance. HRM has asked the Province to make these changes, and I continue to remind the Province of this.

I don’t think the simple act of submitting an untested heritage registration should stop demolition.  I see far too many ways for that to be abused.

This leads us to the fourth issue I see, which is that, unlike the corridors, Dalhousie University shouldn’t tear down housing when it’s zoned for what’s already there, especially when Halifax is not going to let them build anything but what’s already there, which is ER2 zoned residential.  No landlord, including Dalhousie, should think that rezoning is easy, fast, or likely, just a year after Centre Plan was adopted.

I continue to work on the issues that are within municipal control and reach out to the province to push for changes that I think are required.

The historic bleachers on the Wanderers Grounds, early 20th Century.

Another issue generating emails is the owner of the Halifax Wanderers calling for a stadium on the Wanderer’s Grounds.

I’ve had no contact with him at all about this, as near as I can tell he just got excited and said stuff to the media.  No secret backroom deal has been contemplated here, rather it was wishful thinking by the team owner.

The next step for this block of the central Common is the detailed planning exercise that HRM committed to for the whole block from the new, ugly, and unfortunate Provincial parking garage, through the museum site and the Lancers site, to the Wanderer’s field, lawn bowling club, and Power House on the corner.  That engagement will be very public and talk about how to balance all the different users and uses for this block of the Common.

I will point out though that the 1994 plan that was being waved about by some the last two weeks says “The whole Wanderer’s Grounds and Bell Road block should, over the long term, remain under city control and be consolidated for a multi-purpose all-season public area which includes athletic events, special events, concerts, public gatherings, and general public use. (emphasis added)

A redesign of the entire block based on the long term concept referred to in Policy 5.1 should be prepared. This design should have the flexibility to accommodate existing uses in the shorter term and possible expansion with relocation of some existing uses over the longer term. Ongoing plans, improvements and changes to existing facilities should fit into the design for the entire block prepared under Policy 5.2. The· Wanderer’s Grounds will continue to be used for athletic events, along with cultural and special events over the long term.”  (pg 33-34)

In addition to HFX Wanderers FC, in 2019 (the last year before COVID) – Rugby Fest, NSSL Soccer Finals, Youth Soccer Jamboree and, University Soccer SMU v DAL all used Wanderers Grounds.  The field is now and will continue to be, available for rental for games of all types by all users.

I feel quite confident that the historic and continuing use of Wanderers for sports and events makes sense and is supported by both the old and new Common plans. I do not think enclosing the field with concrete walls is supported!  Any changes will have to be discussed widely and examined carefully.  I look forward to the public consultation around how we achieve these visions.  You can read the old plan here, and the new plan here. 

Transit is set to do some construction work at their Upper Water St Terminal. This means HRM is taking away some parking near the Queen’s Marque to accommodate a temporary transit stop. Because it is adjacent to a bike lane, staff will have to put up some “bikes yield to pedestrian” signage so cyclists are aware that transit users will be crossing the bike lane as they load and offload.  The last time HRM did something similar some mistook the signage to indicate that pedestrians could walk on the bike lane which is not the case. This will happen in a week.  Things will go back to normal when the Water St terminal is done being repaved.

I have two notes on Spring Garden Road.

The Bus-only Pilot will begin on Monday, July 4 and run until June 2023. Spring Garden Road, from Queen to South Park streets, will be bus-only from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. each day (including weekends). Vehicle access will be maintained on Spring Garden southbound on Birmingham Street, northbound on Dresden Row and northbound on Brenton Street (left turn required at Spring Garden) from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. each day. Clyde Street will be converted to a two-way street, between South Park and Brenton streets, to support area circulation.  Cyclists and pedestrians will continue to have access to the street at all times.

On construction work and plantings – The landscaping that was first installed did not meet HRM’s standards for planting. Staff have been in discussion with the contractor to remedy the situation and increase the standard of product. This has caused a slight delay as additional material was required. However, this is still HRM’s priority for completion, and staff are working with the contractor to swiftly get back to the installation and finalize all the landscaping to a high standard.

Additionally, minor construction work at the South Park and Spring Garden intersection to put in the accessible tactile strips at the curb ramps. Traffic and pedestrians will still be able to access the area, however, there may be some delays. Ongoing repair to pavers and other finishing work is ongoing – again any work that will create disruptions to traffic is required to happen overnight.

Residents should be aware that a week ago the Halifax Port Authority released its 50-Year Plan, which looks at port planning to 2070 and the various benchmarks that will trigger expansion projects.  “Our goal is to build smart, in a way that is financially and environmentally sustainable, and that complements our surrounding community,” said Captain Allan Gray, President and CEO, Halifax Port Authority. “We are preparing now to ensure our assets are ready for where the industry is going, not just where it’s at currently. This includes our landside infrastructure, digital systems, and people. Containerized cargo and cruise will be the drivers of port-related growth over the next 50 years. By 2070, the Port of Halifax could be handling 1,600,000 TEU and upwards of 2.4 million cruise passengers a year. To capture the full potential of these markets, infrastructure will need to be developed in a way that is complimentary to the needs of the surrounding community.” The full 50-Year Plan is available on the One Port City website Monday.

HRM is in the final few weeks of preparations for phase 2 engagement for the Peninsula South complete streets project. Phase 2 will launch the first week of July and continue to the end of July

  • Engagement activities will include:
    • An online, interactive map on the “Social Pinpoint” platform that will allow participants to review and comment on eight complete street concepts
    • Virtual, small group discussions the week of July 18-22
    • A short survey on Shape Your City
    • Pop-up sessions during the last two weeks of July
    • Virtual meetings with stakeholders
  • In addition to the interactive map, project information and the complete street concepts will be communicated to the public via 4 short videosand other materials posted to the project’s SYC page

More information about the engagement activities will be posted to SYC next week:

Residents should know that the municipality is upgrading the tax billing system, which means that the system upgrade requires a data freeze from Thursday, July 7 at 8:30 a.m. until Monday, July 11 at 7:30 a.m., while the old system is decommissioned and the new one is brought online.  Tax billing info will not be available during this transition.

Finally, I’ll be taking some time off after July 1st, returning the week of July 11, 2022.  During that time my Coordinator Vicki will be happy to assist, contact information is at the end of this email.

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, June 28, 10 am
● Tuesday, July 12, 10 am
● Tuesday, August 9, 10 am
Agendas here:

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, July 19 2022, 6 pm
Agenda here –

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, June 22, 6 pm
Agenda here –

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:

Roadworks Update

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

  • 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:

Jubilee Road CN Bridge
CN and HRM are coordinating the rehabilitation of this bridge, which has been delayed until 2023.


Housing Update #6

I recently sent my last standalone housing update – I’m going to include a housing update section in these District Update newsletters.  It means I can get more regular updates out more clearly on the topic.

Modular update & Halifax Community Meeting date has been set. The public is invited to meet with Out of the Cold staff about the operation of the Halifax modulars. The meeting will take place at the North Branch library on Gottingen, Thursday July 14 at 6pm. 

To read my most recent housing update, click here:

Community Events and Info

Housing Clinic
Monday and Thursday Mornings | Halifax Central Library, Spring Garden Road

Welcome Housing hosts Housing Clinics for those experiencing housing percarity every Monday and Thursday in June from 9-12am, except on June 16

Summer Events in the Public Gardens

10:30 AM to 11:15 AM until August 30, 2022

Every TUESDAY, June 28 to July 26, 6:30 to 8:00 PM

Every THURSDAY,  June 30 to July 28
June 30     Bella Trio                      4:30 – 6:00 PM
July 7        Adam LeBlanc Trio        6:30  – 8:00 PM
July 14      Festive Music                 6:30  – 8:00 PM
July 21      KLM Trio                        6:30  – 8:00 PM
July 28      Vladimir Sitnikov Trio    6:30  – 8:00 PM

Every FRIDAY,  July 8 to July 29     8:45 to 11:15 PM

July 8          My Life Without Me, 2003   (Rated 14A)
July 15        Away From Her, 2006         (Rated PG)
July 22:       Take This Waltz, 2011        (Rated 18A)
July 29:       Stories We Tell, 2012         (Rated PG)

Every SUNDAY, July 3 to mid-September 2 to 4 PM

JAZZ DRIVE IN CONCERT                      
SATURDAY,  July 9       2:00 to 4:00 PM
Light Jazz, Pop, Swing

CHILDREN’S NATURE PROGRAM by Natural Resources Education Centre
July 6, 30, 27. August 3, 11, 17   10:30 AM–1:30 PM
Hands-on activities for children – nature, biodiversity, species at risk

To learn more about these events and more visit

The Trouble with Demolitions – Protecting Affordability, Character & the Climate
Wednesday, June 22, 7pm – 8pm with Q&A | Virtual

Who: Peggy Cameron, Hadrian Laing & William Breckenridge will virtually show the high-priced impacts when buildings are demolished before their end of life. Then they’ll give examples of better solutions for adding density that helps protect affordability, character & the climate.
Where: Via Zoom – Register here:

Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo
June 25-July 2, 2022 | Scotiabank Centre
The Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo is the world’s largest annual indoor show and features bagpipes, highland dancers, and military traditions as well as modern acts including acrobatics, contemporary dancing, and trampoline routines. There is truly something for everyone at this family-friendly event. For more information and tickets, please visit

Robie Street Neighbourhood Guided Tour – Problems Vs. Solutions
Saturday, June 25, 10 am – 11:30 (Sunday rain date) | Meet at Robie and Williams

Meet at Robie and Williams and walk to North Street with Peggy Cameron & William Breckenridge to look at good examples of buildings that have been added on to, repurposed and in-filled, all without demolitions. And imagine more!

KANA’TA: Canada Day 2022
July 1, 2022 | Various locations around HRM
Join us for KANA’TA: Canada Day 2022 celebrations on Friday, July 1, 2022. This new, re-envisioned format for Canada Day offers a variety of new and refreshed cultural, musical, and family-oriented events to enjoy.  Developed in close collaboration with Indigenous communities, KANA’TA: Canada Day 2022 offers programming that honours the traditions of the Mi’kmaw Nation and celebrates pan-Indigenous communities that call the municipality home. KANA’TA: Canada Day 2022 programming will include Mawio’mi on the Commons, the Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo Canada Day Parade, a Dartmouth Summer Sunshine Series free concert, and a KANA’TA x Grand Oasis Festival free concert – featuring co-headliners Neon Dreams and Crown Lands, supported by Drives The Common Man, DeeDee Austin, and Eastern Eagle. The KANA’TA x Grand Oasis Festival concert event will be hosted by Garratt Gloade, and free passes are available at KANA’TA: Canada Day 2022 will also offer three separate, community-based fireworks and pyrotechnics shows in Halifax, Dartmouth, and Bedford. See the schedule below for details. The Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 and the Halifax Citadel National Historic site will be offering free admission on Friday, July 1. Halifax Transit will be offering free transit service on Friday, July 1, as part of the municipality’s Free Fares Fridays & Free Sail Saturdays program. For a full schedule of all the events, please visit

Halifax TD Jazz Festival
July 13-17, 2022 | Various locations around HRM
The TD Halifax Jazz Festival is back with artists from around the world bringing the sounds of jazz to the city streets. This year promises to be bigger and better than ever! With stages across Halifax, there is sure to be something for everyone. Featured performers include Perfume Genius, Tank & the Bangas, Half Moon Run, and Molly Johnson. For more information and full schedule of events, please visit

Halifax Pride Festival
July 14-24 2022 | Various locations around HRM
2022 marks the return of the Halifax Pride Festival. Everyone is invited to come out and experience the variety of colourful shows and events happening in Downtown Halifax! The Halifax Pride Festival is Canada’s fourth largest Pride Festival, and is a celebration highlighting the unique character of our diverse community. The Pride Parade will take place Saturday, July 16th starting at 12pm. For a full list of events, please visit or call 902-431-1194.

Halifax Pride Flag Raising
Thursday July 15 202 5pm | Halifax Grand Parade
Join Mayor Savage and members of the Halifax Pride Festival for the official launch of the 2022 Halifax Pride Festival with our annual flag-raising ceremony, featuring a variety of speakers sharing their thoughts on the importance and history of Pride. The event will take place in Grand Parade Square with special remarks by 2022 Pride Ambassador, Tuma Young. Join us as we reconnect and kick off another joyous Pride Festival.

Sudanese Live Music in Halifax
August 20, 2022 7pm to midnight | Halifax Tower Hotel, 15 Lakelands Blvd

Featuring Sharief Elfehail & Waleed Abdulhamid. Ticket sales for this Sudenese live musical concert in Halifax are now open.  $30 in advance, free for children under 10. Cash bar available.  For tickets contact 514-531-9984.

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

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 to residents. More info here:

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 Constituency Coordinator. Vicki can be reached by email at 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 or call 902.430.7822.