Return of participatory budgeting, 2023 annual report card, more

In this issue

My Council Update includes info on HRMs annual budget process and recent Council news, participatory budgeting, my annual report card, the house collapse on Carelton and College, Neptune’s new season, and the war in Ukraine. Housing Update #12 provides info on the recent Rapid Housing project approved by council, short-term rental registration, and the rental registry/M200 bylaw next steps.

Public Meetings and Hearings has info on meetings starting in 2023. Roadworks has a few updates.  Community Events & Information has information about the Great Nova Scotia Pick Me Up.


Councillor Update

Hello all,

Just a short note today.  The good news is that the budget has progressed to the point that the big business unit (department) presentations are over as of today.  This means I’ll have more time for meetings with residents. The Budget Committee will meet next on March 29 to review all the additions and deletions that have been suggested and finalize the budget for the year.  If you want to read an exhaustive summary of what has been debated so far, I’d suggest going over to Councillor Sam Austin’s blog, where he breaks down each meeting.  I’ll share the budget document once it is made public and as always I look forward to your input.

We also had an outstanding meeting of Regional Council this week, with a lot of big things landing on Tuesday.  The biggest for me was the approval of the sale of 1940 Gottingen Street (Old Red Cross property) to be the site of the new Mi’kmaw Native Friendship Centre. Among other items Council also approved staff coming back with a plan and costs to allow for hybrid in-person and virtual council meetings at City Hall, Part A of the JustFOOD: Action Plan for the Halifax Region, a new Halifax Public Safety Strategy which will be an integral piece of retasking the police, approved funding under the Rapid Housing Initiative Round 3 for new affordable housing development (more below), and the new regional Playing Field Strategy (you can read about any of these here)

For the first time since COVID please join me on Wednesday, May 31 to participate in the return of the District 7 Participatory Budgeting Vote.

Each district has a budget of $94,000 for a District Capital Fund for permanent projects in the community that provide widespread community benefit. Since 2013, except during COVID, community members just like you have proposed projects made recommendations on how to spend this money and voted on what should be funded.

All residents of District 7 – including children – are invited to come and help choose projects that will help build a stronger community! We are practising a different way to make decisions about how to spend public money in our neighbourhood.

For application info, deadlines and more, visit

Each year (give or take a couple months) I produce a report card to update residents on how I am doing on the various election promises I made.  My 2023 Report card is now published In the 2020 election, I made 19 promises, and two years into this term 13 were complete, 4 are underway, 1 is incomplete and 1 will, frustratingly, not be met.

I’ve had a couple of emails and done a few interviews about the heritage home that collapsed while being lifted at Carelton and College. I don;t know what happened, but when the Department of Labour completed the investigation I will share that information with you.  When the lift was underway, the road around the site was already closed, thank goodness. The biggest risk to life or injury was the crane operator, who had to be freed from the cab and was thankfully not injured.  CBC wrote about it here.

I’ve seen some comments that the development should now be cancelled or that the developer will somehow benefit from the destruction of this building. I think the latter could not be further from the truth. This collapse means the site is under a stop work order, and also means the development agreement will need to be modified in some way (which takes a lot of time), and during that time there are questions about what work can and should continue on the site.

This incident is nothing but straight cost, uncertainty and delay for this project, and the loss of the building is a tragedy on every level, for the community and for building needed housing. When more is known about the incident, and what the next steps may be in terms of planning, I will happily share it.

I’m going to take a departure from straight municipal business here and put in a plug for Neptune Theatre’s new season. If you missed the release last week, it’s simply impressive to see Neptune truly roar back after a couple of tough years.  Jeremy Webb, Neptune’s Artistic Director has every reason to be smug right now! I have a soft spot for Neptune, I think the first professional show I saw in a theatre was Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat in the 80s.  I remember my Nan and Mum, who had season tickets for decades, were really excited about the lead, maybe it was David Cassidy?  I remember the show was very good, and this season looks to be simply outstanding. I look forward to taking in as much as possible, and I encourage you to do the same!  Check out Neptune’s packages here –

Friday, February 24 marked one year since Russia’s illegal and immoral invasion of Ukraine was launched.  This violation of international law has resulted in tens of thousands of deaths and tremendous suffering.  On the anniversary, Halifax flew the Ukrainian flag in Grand Parade (pictured above), lit City Hall in the colours of that flag, and a vigil for Ukraine was held in Grand Parade.    I stand with Ukraine, and I support the response the Government of Canada has taken in response to this war, and I urge the government to continue to make every effort to support Ukraine in its fight for freedom.

I’m going to take a couple of days off next week to recharge, and I wish all the parents of school age kids out there the very best during March break, may the odds ever be in your favour!

That’s all for now,


Housing Update #12

On Tuesday Council approved the submission of a housing proposal by the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul (SSVP) for the third Phase of the Federal Rapid Housing initiative.  SSVP is proposing the development of a 38-unit residential building with on-site support services at 2445 Brunswick Street in Central Halifax. The property is located close to transit routes and to several services and amenities including Hope Cottage and the North End Community Health Centre (NECHC).

The development will be for those who are homeless or who are at risk of becoming homeless and will prioritize individuals/households from the By-Name List. At least 25% will be prioritized for women and 15% of the units will be prioritized for African Nova Scotian or Urban Indigenous individuals/households. The goal is to open this development by November 1, 2024.

The property is zoned HR-1 (High Order Residential-1) in the Regional Centre Land Use By-law which allows the development of a multiple-unit dwelling. The site abuts two municipally registered heritage properties (2461-2463 Brunswick Street and Hope Cottage at 2435 Brunswick Street). As such, the final building design must comply with the Heritage Design Requirements for the area.

Since my last email, Regional Council debated and passed the Short Term Rental bylaw.  Implementing the bylaw was delayed until September 1, to allow time for short-term rental operators who may be impacted by these changes to adjust their operations.  It is important to note that being registered with the Province, or being in operation before the bylaw was adopted, does not “grandfather” short-term rentals that will no longer be allowed under the new bylaw.

Rental registration should come to Council on April 4 for second reading.  I’ve met with some folks from IPOANS about their concerns, and I will be sharing my answers with them and then putting them out in a newsletter before we get to the second reading.  I think most of their concerns have been, or can be addressed, except perhaps the wish to not have a rental registry.   I will continue to work to deliver a rental registry, which I think is critical to the long-term management of rental stock in Halifax.

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, March 7, 10 am
  • Tuesday, March 21, 10 am
  • Tuesday, April 4, 10 am

Agendas here:

Budget Committee – Halifax City Hall, Council Chambers
If you want to read reports coming to Budget (posted mid-day Friday prior to the Tuesday meeting) or to check the agenda. Upcoming meetings

  • March 29, 9:30 am – Budget reconciliation and final recommendation.
  • March 31, 9:30 am – if required

Agendas here:

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, March 27, 6 pm (if required)

Agenda here –

Regional Centre Community Council – Harbour East Marine Drive Room, Alderney Landing
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.

  • Wednesday, March 22, 6 pm (if required)

Agenda here –

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:

Roadworks Update

Map of road and sidewalk closures in District 7

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

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, is well underway.  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.

Community Events and Info

Picture of garbage on the boardwalk at Alderney Landing with the text Let's Be Clear, Litter Does Not Belong Here
Great Nova Scotia Pick Me Up
Everywhere | Register today

Residents and groups looking to clean up litter in their communities can access programs supported by HRM Solid Waste Resources. Between the months of April to November, residents of Halifax can register with the Great Nova Scotia Pick Me Up (GNSPMU) by visiting their website ( GNSPMU is coordinated by Divert Nova Scotia and is supported in part by HRM. Upon registration, residents can pick up their free litter cleanup kit, which consists of litter bags and nitrile gloves, at their local Halifax Public Library or at one of the three Customer Service Centers located throughout HRM.

In addition to providing litter kits, HRM also provides three different disposal options for residents participating in the GNSPMU program. These disposal options include:

  1. Placing the materials curbside to be collected on your next garbage collection day if it does not exceed curbside bag limits.
  2. Taking the materials directly to the Otter Lake landfill for disposal. HRM will waive tipping fees for any groups or residents who are registered with the GNSPMU.
  3. Residents can also get the materials picked by HRM road operations. Residents who choose this disposal option must contact 311 two weeks prior to their litter clean-up date to help ensure that the materials are collected.

Residents and groups who are looking to complete litter cleanups during the winter months can contact directly to access litter kits and to arrange for pickup from their cleanup event.  If you have any additional questions about litter programs they can contact or visit

Try Tennis
Saturday March 11 3-4pm | Sobeys Atlantic Tennis Centre

Free tennis for girls 9-10 years old, limited space available- sign up early!  Email to register –

Nominations for Halifax Urban Design Awards
March 10, 2023 | Online

The municipality is calling for submissions to the Urban Design Awards – a celebration of urban design excellence in the Halifax region.  To qualify for an award, projects must have been completed after January 1, 2018, and meet one of the nine following awards categories (each with different eligibility requirements for award selection):

  • Urban Design Plans
  • Urban Architecture
  • Landscape Architecture and Civic Design Projects
  • Urban Elements
  • Housing Solutions
  • Community Connections and Initiatives
  • Heritage Restoration Projects
  • Heritage Adaptive Re-use Projects
  • Student Projects

The submission fee is $345 (including taxes) but is waived for non-profit and student projects. A panel of four independent jurors will evaluate the submissions, and an awards ceremony will take place on Monday, June 26, 2023, at the Halifax Central Library.  For more information or to submit an application, please visit the website ( ) or contact The submission deadline is March 10, 2023.

HRM Community Grants Program
Open now, closes March 31, 2023 | Online

The program provides annual cash grants to registered non-profit organizations and charities located throughout the region. There are two types of grants: a project grant of up to $5,000 OR a capital grant of up to $25,000. Applicants should review the Program Guidebook prior to submitting an application, for more information please check out the website:

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.

Community Gardens
Deadline April 30, 2023 | Online

Interested in creating a community garden? Submit your application by March 30, 2023. Find program information and application forms here:

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.

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:
— by email:
— 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:

Call my office
Call my office for assistance with your municipal issues. Please try 311 first, and when you call the office 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.