In this issue
My Council Update includes info on recent work by HRM and Council, paid parking changes, Spring Garden transit-only plan, interim tax bill issues, on-street parking changes, and Lady Liberty Hong Kong visiting the Brewery Market on April 15.
Public Meetings and Hearings has info on meetings including requests for input on the proposed Downtown Heritage Conservation District. Roadworks has a few updates and information on the Jubilee Road bridge rehabilitation and required detours. Community Events & Information has information NAIG, Holocaust Remembrance Day, City Nature Challenge and more.
NOTE: My email newsletter does not mention the latest apparent arson attempt in the Public Gardens. At this point I have no new information but am talking to staff to find out what I can, do and determine what we are going to do about it.
It’s been a busy month! We received an update from our CAO Cathie O’Toole that outlined just some of the items before Council the last couple of weeks, and I wanted to share it with you:
- The JustFood Action Plan was approved.
- The Halifax Public Safety Strategy for 2023/24 – 2025/26 was approved and the Community Safety Department was launched.
- The Mi’kmaw Native Friendship Centre took an important step forward when Council approved the less-than-market value ($1.00) land sale.
- Phase 3 agreement for Rapid Housing Investment was approved for Brunswick Street next to Hope Cottage
- Interim Incentive or Bonus Zoning Program outside the Regional Centre was brought forward.
- Budget Committee approved the Budget Adjustment List and provided direction to staff to finalize the budget (Councillor Sam Austin has a great summary here)
- Council adopted By-Law R-400 Respecting Registration of Residential Rental Properties and Second Reading of Proposed By-Law M-202 re: Standards for Residential Occupancies
- HRM increased funding for African NS Road to Economic Property, a really important and African Nova Scotian lead economic development strategy.
- Council heard a progress update for the Economic Strategy
- Council adopted the municipal Playing Field Strategy
Some big pieces of work coming up include the Police Study which will be presented on April 25 and the Budget will be presented for final approval to Regional Council. I’ll try and keep you posted as things move forward.
Two other issues have caught a fair amount of attention in the last four weeks.
One is the introduction of paid parking on streets on Saturday. For my part, I was only supportive of a one-year delay, as was Mayor Savage, but we lost that vote. It will come into effect no sooner than June 1. That said, they charge for parking on Saturday in Lunenburg and every major city in Canada. In my opinion, this is normal and appropriate. My main concern was delaying it because of lingering covid impacts on business. Council narrowly voted the other way and I am at peace with it.
The second was the further delay of the Spring Garden transit-only plan. Staff went back to review how to better implement the pilot. The proposal was more and bigger, with different signage and some other things like closing certain lanes and variable message signs. The Transportation Standing Committee decided to send staff back with a blessing to plan for a more expensive solution that would be more likely to succeed. This will probably involve new signals and maybe gates.
Some folks continue to oppose this, but I still think this will ultimately be a good move for transit users, and for the street itself. While I’m disappointed at the delay, I think it is the right choice to “do it right.”
In the community events section, I included information about Lady Liberty Canada-wide tour at Sackville Landing, Lower Water Street | April 15 8 am – 1 pm. This statue is a replica of the statue raised by Hongkongers speaking out and defending democracy amidst the overpowering suppression from the state. I encourage everyone to support these brave folks who continue the struggle here in Canada.
On March 24, 2023 staff were made aware of two issues with the interim tax bill when receiving initial feedback from residents. These two issues are:
- Pre-authorized payment accounts that had an incorrect balance displayed. This was due to a system issue applying local improvement and solar city charges associated with those accounts. (I was one of these!) Revised bills will be sent to property owners with these updated balances starting on April 3rd. (I got mine on Thursday)
- Fire protection rate. There are 230 properties (churches and cemeteries) that were previously discounted from the fire protection charge in error. All impacted property owners will receive a mailed notice from the municipality explaining the issues above that impact them.
The Downtown Halifax Heritage Conservation District project draft bylaws and heritage design guidelines are available now and you have until April 19 to comment to staff. This proposal would create a single heritage district from Historic Properties an incorporate Barrington Street’s HCD and the Old South Suburb HCD. Having one plan for the entire downtown makes it easier to administer and clearer to users/property owners. More info here – https://www.shapeyourcityhalifax.ca/downtown-halifax-heritage The documents will remain on this website until Wednesday, April 19th, 2023. After this date, the documents will be submitted to the Heritage Advisory Committee and Regional Council for consideration at a Public Hearing and for adoption in the summer of 2023.
On-street Parking Permits changed on April 1. Changes include introducing a digital permit sys, a new second parking permit per residence option and expanded parking exemptions for carshare permits. Permit fees have also changed:
- annual resident parking permits will be $75 annually
- residences can add a second annual resident parking permit for an additional $175
- annually eight commuter parking zones will see fee increases, while seven zones will see a decrease in fees
- visitor parking permits that are immediately valid for one day, two days or seven days will now be available for purchase
- carshare permit holders can now park at any on-street parking locations new streamlined process for purchasing visitor permits
More info here: https://www.halifax.ca/transportation/parking/parking-permits
Finally, it is less than 100 days before the start of the 2023 North American Indigenous Games! Three months from now, Kjipuktuk will welcome over 5,000 Indigenous athletes, managers and coaches across 16 different sports from all across Turtle Island representing over 750 Nations. Sport. Culture. Legacy. NAIG is one of the largest games in North America, larger than the Canada Games. For more info visit www.naig2023.com
That’s all for now,
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
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
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)
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)
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 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
Downtown Halifax Heritage Conservation District project update
April 19 deadline for comment
Please note, as of March 9th, 2023, the draft Heritage Conservation District Plan and By-Law, Heritage Design Guidelines, and Regional Centre Plan & Land Use By-law amendments package are available for review and download here – https://www.shapeyourcityhalifax.ca/downtown-halifax-heritage. The documents will remain on this website until Wednesday, April 19th, 2023. After this date, the documents will be submitted to the Heritage Advisory Committee and Regional Council for consideration at a Public Hearing and for adoption in the summer of 2023.
The following street closures or sidewalk disruptions have recently been added to the RoadWorks map
- COLLEGE ST from SUMMER ST to CATHEDRAL LANE, starting on 2023-04-13 | View in RoadWorks Map
- JUBILEE RD from FAIRFIELD AVE to BLOOMINGDALE TERR, starting on 2023-04-17 | View in RoadWorks Map
- SOUTH ARMCRESCENT ST from QUINPOOL RD to FIRST ST, starting on 2023-04-11 | View in RoadWorks Map
- CHESTNUT ST from COBURG RD to JUBILEE RD, starting on 2023-04-05 | View in RoadWorks Map
- JENNINGS ST from OXFORD ST to PRESTON ST, starting on 2023-04-04 | View in RoadWorks Map
- QUEEN ST from SPRING GARDEN RD to CLYDE ST, starting on 2023-04-10 | View in RoadWorks Map
- TOBIN ST from BARRINGTON ST to QUEEN ST, starting on 2023-03-27 | View in RoadWorks Map
You can find out road closure details on the HRM Roadworks map:https://www.halifax.ca/transportation/streets-sidewalks/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 – Updated
Canadian National Railways (CN) and Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM) are proceeding with bridge and roadway rehabilitation work on Jubilee Road in April 2023. The work will include rehabilitation of the arch bridge structure, full replacement of the roadway, railing, and sidewalks as well as work to the water and wastewater services. Construction is planned to last for seven months during which time no pedestrian or vehicular traffic will be permitted.
All efforts will be taken to reduce the impact to your property during construction. Parking access may be impacted during construction to complete the work. Further notice of impacts for driveway access will be given at the time of construction. During construction, water and wastewater services will be maintained to your homes however there will be short periods when water service is temporarily disrupted. Some residents will be connected to a temporary water system for the duration of construction.
The contractor will notify residents directly in advance of temporary water installation and provide 2 days notices of short-term water service disruptions. Updates will also be provided on HRMs webpage at halifax.ca/cnbridgesrehabilitation. If you have any tenants at this address, please forward a copy of this letter for their information.
Please contact CN at 1-888-888-5909 or at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.
Community Events and Info
May 2023 | HRM
This year HRM Solid Waste Resources will be issuing a Litterati challenge in each municipal electoral district to see which district’s residents can pick up the most pieces of litter. Residents can join the new Electoral District Challenges by downloading the app and searching their municipal district number, plus the word “Cleanup.” (e.g. District 1 Cleanup). Residents can also join using the code “HRM” with their district number (e.g., HRM1). In June 2023, zero waste prize kits will be awarded to the top three litter collectors in each district for the month of May. In October 2023, a second round of prizes will be awarded to the top three litter collectors in each district for the timeframe of April 1 to September 30, 2023. Information on municipal electoral districts can be found by visiting our website.
Alternatively, residents can join our ongoing CLEANHRM challenge using the join code CLEANHRM. Using the Litterati mobile app and joining a HRM challenge will enable the municipality to collect information on litter hot spots and makeup and will help inform future initiatives to mitigate litter in our communities! Over 26,061 pieces of litter were collected through HRM’s Litterati challenges last year. For additional sessions throughout the spring, summer and fall, or to get more information on Litterati, residents are encouraged to follow Halifax Recycles or visit halifax.ca/litterati
Active Transportation Grants Program
Spring Summer Intake Deadline April 14, Fall Winter Deadline October 13, 2023 | Online
Halifax Regional Municipality is pleased to launch the 2023 – 2024 Active Transportation Education and Promotion Grant Program. Active Transportation (AT) Education and Promotion Grants are intended to support projects to increase the number of people walking, bicycling and rolling and improve the safety of people using these modes. Grants range from under $1000 to over $5000, For information on eligibility and application visit https://www.halifax.ca/transportation/cycling-walking/active-transportation-grants-program
Lady Liberty Canada-wide tour – Halifax
Brewery Market, Lower Water Street | April 15 8 am – 1 pm
Lady Liberty Hong Kong is a symbol of the unparalleled bravery of Hongkongers in speaking out and defending democracy amidst the overpowering suppression from the state. Though the original statue was destroyed, the spirit remains. The statue is a reminder of why we are here and who we are. The replica of the statue is currently making its tour across Canada to connect the Hong Konger Diaspora communities from coast to coast. The Lady Liberty Hong Kong will be on display on April 15th at the Halifax Brewery Market respectively. The organizers hope to use the statue on both to raise awareness of Hong Kong’s 47 democrats’ national security trial and the others who are being persecuted. We also hope to use this statue as a reminder of our cause, and cultural continuity and to meet others in the community as Hong Kong diasporas in Nova Scotia. More info https://facebook.com/events/s/lady-liberty-canada-wide-tour-/562150942684881/ and https://www.facebook.com/HalifaxHK/
Holocaust Remembrance Day, Yom HaShoah
Monday, April 17th, 2023, at 6:30 p.m., at the Halifax Central Library, Paul O’Regan Hall
The central theme for Holocaust Remembrance Day 2023 is Jewish Resistance during the Holocaust: Marking 80 Years since the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. The guest speaker is Holocaust survivor Israel Unger, in conversation with Olga Milosevich, retired CBC Radio Broadcaster. Israel Unger was born in 1938 in Tarnow, Poland, and immigrated to Canada in 1951. Unger and his family hid for two years in an attic crawl space above the Dagnan flour mill in Tarnow. Their stove was the chimney that went up through the attic; their windows were cracks in the wall. The program begins at 6:30 p.m. and will include a candle-lighting ceremony, book signing, and reception to follow the conversation with Israel Unger. Please R.S.V.P. if you are attending: email@example.com
The City Nature Challenge
April 28-May 1 | Region Wide
The CNC is a fun, simple, and family-friendly event that’s easy to execute, by simply encouraging people to get out and take part. Using a digital camera or the free downloadable app found at iNaturalist.ca, people can search for and document their local biodiversity simply by taking pictures and uploading them through the app or online at iNaturalist.ca. It’s a wonderful way to get the community involved in a “citizen science” event that contributes to an international database of biodiversity. More Info Here https://www.citynaturechallenge.org
Living Nova Scotia Community Access Program
Begins May 16, 2023 | Onsite Learning Opportunity
Independent Living Nova Scotia’s (ILNS) Community Access Program (CAP) is a 9-week pre-employment program perfect for anyone who is
- 18-24 years old
- Living in the Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM)
- Wanting to connect with their community
- Looking to develop life and employment skills
Those interested can apply for CAP at the following link: https://ilns.ca/cap/ or get in touch with program staff at firstname.lastname@example.org or 902-453-0004
North American Indigenous Games (NAIG)
July 15-23 | Various Venues
It is less than 100 days the start of the 2023 North American Indigenous Games! Three months from now, Kjipuktuk will welcome over 5,000 Indigenous athletes, managers and coaches across 16 different sports from all across Turtle Island representing over 750 Nations. Sport. Culture. Legacy. NAIG is one of the largest games in North America, larger than the Canada Games. For more info visit www.naig2023.com
Service Canada Supports Communities
Does someone in your community need help with Employment Insurance (EI), Canada Pension Plan (CPP), Old Age Security (OAS), and more? Are you or one of your community members a person with a disability or need extra support to get Service Canada benefits and services? Access support online at https://eservices.canada.ca/en/service/ Does someone in your community need a Social Insurance Number or confirmation of their SIN? Access help at https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/services/sin.html
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 (https://www.nspickmeup.ca). 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:
- Placing the materials curbside to be collected on your next garbage collection day if it does not exceed curbside bag limits.
- 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.
- 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 email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.halifax.ca/litter.
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 the office have your 311 reference number ready. Vicki Palmeter is my Constituency Coordinator. Vicki can be reached by email at Victoria.email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org or call 902.430.7822