District Boundary Review resident action required, Provincial Housing Panel, post Fiona recovery, more

In this issue

My Council Update includes info on Mi’kmaw History Month, Fiona recovery, District Boundary Review call for response from residents, Provincial Housing Panel, housing needs survey, residential commercial zone operating hours, and Centennial Pool reopens.

Public Meetings and Hearings has info on upcoming council meetings. Roadworks has a few updates though construction is winding down for the season.  Community Events contains some upcoming events, the HRM Volunteer Conference, and a number of grant deadlines for income challenged folks and not for profits that are coming up.


Councillor Update

Hello all,

Happy Mi’kmaq History Month! This year marks the 29th anniversary of Mi’kmaq History Month.  It actually started October 1st, and the usual flag-raising was delayed because of Fiona, as were so many thing, including this newsletter.  More on the month here: https://www.halifax.ca/about-halifax/diversity-inclusion/indigenous-services/mikmaq-history-month

I know  Fiona’s impacts still linger and folks still have limbs in street trees or branches to be collected.  This work will be going on for some time.  Please keep calling 311 to report issues, but know it will take a while to finish recovery.  More here:  https://www.halifax.ca/fire-police/fire/emergency-management/emergency-preparedness/severe-weather-events

I apologize for the delay in getting this update out.  After Fiona, doing six emergency updates in 8 days, and dealing with our own personal hurricane fallout, it’s just gotten away from me.  And that is an issue specifically because of the District Boundary Review happening in HRM and the fact that public engagement closes in five days! 

The Municipal Government Act requires that all municipalities in Nova Scotia conduct a review of the number and boundaries of polling districts in the municipality every 8 years. The most recent review was conducted in 2014 and the resulting district boundaries are currently in effect. Changes coming from this review will not come into effect until the 2024 Municipal Election.

The 2022 review is divided in two Phases. Phase 1 is now complete and determined the number of districts, which will stay at 16. Phase 2 is  about boundaries, and is now in progress. Here’s what has happened so far: https://bit.ly/3SMezGL

I support having a citizen panel make recommendations.  We don’t want to have politicians setting these boundaries, you end up with gerrymandering like you see in the USA.  In Canada Federally, Provincially and municipally we have arm’s length independent bodies that make boundaries, for good reasons!

My concerns with the proposed new District 7 (or as it is in the proposed boundaries District G) boundaries. 

I’ve outlined areas of concern on the map below.

District 7 and Proposed District G with areas of concern highlighted.

PURPLE: While I’ve loved representing my small part of the North End, the change to reunite the North End and put the boundary at Cogswell makes sense to me.
GREEN: the proposed boundary drives down Jubilee, splitting the Tree Streets neighbourhood in half, and I think that’s a problem
YELLOW: maintaining the boundary at Jubilee here means the Rosebank neighbourhood (historically Armdale) is split in half.  Kids around Connrose go to Tupper.

My view is that Tree Streets should either be in District I or District G but not split, and the Connrose area should go to District I if the Tree Streets go to District G.

Another consideration is where the Tree Streets boundary should be.  Splitting very intensely developing Quinpool down the middle of the street never made sense.  I have proposed Pepperell be made the boundary, not Quinpool, so the commercial District would all be in District I.

I have had a chance to speak against this at Community Council, and here is what I said: https://youtu.be/J9WzIqSBWgc?t=5898

Information on the work of the panel can be found here:   https://www.halifax.ca/city-hall/elections/district-boundary-review

Please submit your concerns regarding Phase Two of the District Boundary Review with the District Boundary Resident Review Panel by sending a written submission to the Municipal Clerks Office no later than Tuesday October 25, 2022.

Email – clerks@halifax.ca
Fax – 902.490.4208
Mail – Municipal Clerks Office, PO Box 1749, Halifax NS  B3J3A5

The Province released an independent report for the Provincially mandated Executive Panel on Housing in the HRM on barriers to effective and efficient housing development in the Halifax Regional Municipality.  You can read it here: https://novascotia.ca/housing-panel/docs/housing-development-barrier-review.pdf

I think Council and staff are very pleased to see that the recommendations of this independent report serve to validate the important work of the municipality. Most of the recommendations reflect work that is well underway and the municipality is confident that this work will be completed in a timely manner.

Significant work to boost the housing supply and support affordable housing has already been completed by the HRM.  This includes ongoing work on the Affordable Housing Work Plan, the approval of the Centre Plan in 2021, and the current review of the Regional Plan, which has been accelerated with anticipated completion for September 2023.

The municipality continues to take a multi-pronged approach to accelerate housing approvals and contribute to increasing the supply of housing in our region. At present, there are over 100,000 new housing units in the various planning and approval stages:

  • Year-to-date new units under permit – 10,000
  • Units under permit but not yet started – 3,500
  • Residential units being considered by various planning processes – 100,000

The Province has yet to release a meaningful, funded plan to create affordable and deeply affordable housing.

The Province of Nova Scotia has created a survey to ask residents to provide feedback on housing needs. What are the housing needs of Nova Scotians? What housing challenges have communities been facing? Where does housing need to be built across the province?

The online survey, open from October 3 to December 4, is part of a provincewide housing needs assessment that will help identify gaps in current and projected housing requirements and guide future housing policy and initiatives.

Take the online survey now to share about the needs of your household and how your current housing is or isn’t meeting your needs: https://www.surveymonkey.ca/r/nshousingneeds

For more information about the Nova Scotia Housing Needs Assessment Online Survey visit www.nshousingneeds.ca.

I’ve gotten many emails on all sides of the discussion about proposed time of day operating hours for residential commercial zones.  This feedback is good, the reason we have first and then second readings on a bylaw is to make sure the public can have its say.

The question of what is reasonable in terms of commercial activities that are taking place in a residential zone has no simple black-and-white answer.  We want corner stores and pharmacies and other services in residential zones, but this is not a more permissive commercial main street.

I’ve talked to the mayor and staff, and the second reading has been delayed, so staff can produce a memo with more info than the staff report had in it.

I’ve met with the Convenience Industry Council of Canada and will meet with owners with the express goal of exploring what solutions might be considered.  We need a plan to deal with the very real problem of noise and disruption generated by these businesses in a residential zone.

I am open to any reasonable suggestion and if a new approach can be considered we can talk about that at Council.

Finally, after much work, Centennial Pool had a soft reopening shortly after the hurricane.  The pool is no longer leaking (knock on wood).  Last update on their Facebook was that after the Oct 10th Thanksgiving holiday, the pool will be open for lane swims as well as swim teams and other contract rentals. Aquacise classes were to resume on October 17th.  It’s been a long road but glad to have the pool finally open.

Thanks, stay safe, be kind,


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, October 25th, 10 am
  • Tuesday, November 8th, 10 am
  • Tuesday, November 22th, 10 am

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 alternating with Regional Council. Please check the webpage here for agendas (usually available a week before the meeting), locations, and times.

  • Tuesday, November 15, 6 pm (if required)

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, November 23, 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 and most forms of public engagement on planning 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

Roadworks Update

ROadworks Map Showing Closed Streets and Sidewalks Oct 20 2022

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

  • SPRING GARDEN RD from BIRMINGHAM ST to QUEEN ST, starting on 2022-09-06
  • SOUTH PARK ST from MORRIS AVE to CLYDE ST, starting on 2022-07-12
  • UNIVERSITY AVE from CATHEDRAL LANE to SOUTH PARK ST, starting on 2022-09-01
  • PARKHILL RD from DINGLE RD to MARINE DR, starting on 2022-10-22
  • BLOWERS ST from GRAFTON ST to BARRINGTON ST, starting on 2022-10-24
  • GRANVILLE ST from SACKVILLE ST to BLOWERS ST, starting on 2022-10-22
  • HARBOURVIEW from TOWER RD to YOUNG AVE starting on 2022-6-2
  • RAMP COGS-3C RAMP from RAMP COGS-3B RAMP to HOLLIS ST, starting on 2022-08-17
  • RAMP COGS-5 RAMP from BARRINGTON ST to RAMP COGS-3C RAMP, starting on 2022-08-17

You can find out road closure details on the HRM Roadworks map:https://www.halifax.ca/transportation/streets-siewalks/RoadWorks

Cogswell Construction Project
This major construction project, one of the biggest HRM has ever undertaken, is well underway.  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, which has been delayed until 2023.

Community Events and Info

HRM Urban-Forest Tours District 7
Rescheduled to October 22, 10am | Meet at Central Library

Halifax Tree Project, led by Peter Duinker (Professor Emeritus, Dalhousie University), is collaborating with HRM Councillors to offer guided tours of the urban forests in various HRM Council Districts. The aim of the tours is to give citizens a chance to learn more about the trees in the city and to discuss their views on urban-forest management. Dr. Duinker will lead each tour with the assistance of HRM Urban Forestry staff and the Councillor for the District. The tours are about two hours in length and the itinerary is designed for a short, easy walk from a central starting point. There will be no driving between sites – just walking and discussing the streets and parks we visit. Unless the weather is really inclement, the tours will proceed rain or shine.
No need to register – just show up at the starting point on the date and time indicated. Dress for the weather and wear good walking shoes. In the meantime, you might enjoy reading various articles about the HRM urban forest on the Halifax Tree Project website (www.halifaxtreeproject.com) and the HRM Urban Forestry website (https://www.halifax.ca/transportation/streets-sidewalks/urban-forestry).

Youthworx Program
Deadline Oct 24 | Apply Online

The Youth Worx Program is happening this fall! The deadline to apply for this program has been extended to October 24th. Youth Worx provides youth who face barriers to employment with training and mentorship in a supportive environment Program participants will gain hands-on work experience operating the Youth Worx Café in the Sackville Sports Stadium and delivering and repairing green carts on behalf of the municipality. You will participate in job readiness workshops to improve your employability skills. To learn more or apply: Visit www.halifax.ca/YouthWorx

HRM’s Annual Volunteer Conference
November 18th | DoubleTree by Hilton, 101 Wyse Rd

The conference is an opportunity for volunteers to connect, celebrate, and learn relevant skills to build stronger volunteer capacity throughout the municipality. Delegates representing a variety of organizations and causes will participate in two training workshops and networking activities and enjoy a keynote speech and seated meal. This year’s workshops will cover topics like grant opportunities, diversity and inclusion in the volunteer sector, collaboration as power, connecting with youth, marketing your organization, fundraising, volunteer recruitment and retention, community event planning, engaging your community, healthy board practices, rural perspectives in volunteerism, and improving accessibility in the volunteer sector. Learn more and register at halifax.ca/volunteerconference

Tax Relief for Non-Profit Organizations Program
Deadline November 30 | Apply Online

HRM’s Tax Relief for Non-Profit Organizations Program is now open for application to be considered in next year’s program (2023). Be sure to apply by the deadline of Wednesday, November 30th, 2022. This program can help some non-profit organizations reduce their annual property tax under Administrative Order 2014-001-ADM the Tax Relief for Non-Profit Organizations Program. Learn more about eligibility and find the application form online at the bottom of this webpage: https://www.halifax.ca/business/doing-business-halifax/tax-relief-non-profit-organizations Applications can be mailed (see the address on the webpage noted above), e-mailed, or dropped off at any HRM Customer Service Centre. Questions? Please reach out to the program’s designated email address at: nonprofittax@halifax.ca.

Applications Open for Heating Assistance Rebate Program
Open Now to March 31, 2023  | Online

Help with home heating costs is now available for Nova Scotians living on low incomes. Applications for the Heating Assistance Rebate Program (HARP) open today, October 17, for the 2022-23 heating season.
The annual program provides a rebate of up to $200 to eligible low-income Nova Scotians who pay for their own heat.
“We know that heating costs can be a financial strain for Nova Scotians, especially those with a low income,” said Colton LeBlanc, Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Internal Services. “The Heating Assistance Rebate Program is once again here to help with home heating costs. We would encourage all eligible Nova Scotians to take advantage of the program and apply.” The income threshold to qualify for the program is $29,000 for single-income households and $44,000 for family-income households.  https://beta.novascotia.ca/apply-heating-assistance-rebate-heating-assistance-rebate-program

2023 HRM Volunteer Award nominations are now open
Deadline Friday, January 6, 2023, | Online

Do you know an outstanding volunteer who gives back to your community? You can give them the recognition they deserve! Nominate an adult, youth, or group for the 2023 HRM Volunteer Awards. The deadline for nominations is Friday, Jan. 6, 2023  The HRM Volunteer Awards is an annual event that puts a spotlight on residents who have made a difference in their community by donating their time and skills to various programs and services. Successful nominees will be notified in March and will be invited to attend an awards ceremony during National Volunteer Week, taking place from April 16 to April 22, 2023. Let’s show appreciation for the work that volunteers do to help build stronger, healthier, and more supportive communities. Thank you, volunteers!  Nomination forms and detailed nomination criteria are available now: www.halifax.ca/volunteerawards

HRM YMCA Senior Snow Removal Program
Applications Open Now

The snow removal program is available to seniors (65 years of age or older) and persons with disabilities in the Halifax region who also meet the criteria below. The program applies to residential properties only – commercial properties are ineligible. Participants must reside in a single dwelling home which is owned or rented. The total gross household income of all people living on the premises must not exceed $32,000 The program is NOT available to landlords.  https://ymcahfx.ca/communityymca/ymca-senior-snow-removal/

Expanded Seniors Care Grant Open for Applications
Available Now 

Older Nova Scotians can now apply for grants to help with the cost of household chores, healthcare services and home heating. The Seniors Care Grant program provides up to $500 to help support eligible seniors to live well at home. People applying for the grant are also able to apply for a new, one-time grant of $250 to help with heating costs.  The Seniors Care Grant helps cover the costs of services such as snow removal, small repairs, lawn care, transportation, and grocery and medication delivery. The list of eligible expenses has been expanded this year to include phone and internet costs, and health services like eye exams, dental work, mental health supports, physical therapy and foot care. The new $250 home heating grant is available to eligible Nova Scotians 65 and older, including people who have already received money through the Seniors Care Grant or Heating Assistance Rebate Program in the past year. The grant is available for the cost of furnace oil, natural gas, propane, firewood, wood pellets and electricity.

More information about the grants, including how to apply, who is eligible and eligible services is available:
— at the program website: https://beta.novascotia.ca/apply-help-household-healthcare-and-home-heating-costs-seniors-care-grant
— by email: seniorsgrant@novascotia.ca
— by calling toll-free: 1-800-670-4357.

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

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

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: 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 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.