District Update – Wildfire Recovery, Monday Participatory Budget vote, New Common Pool, More.

In this issue

My Council Update includes info on wildfire recovery, rescheduled participatory budgeting, JRTA engagement, my travel schedule for the next couple of weeks, the new Common pool, and more.

Public Engagement includes info on JRTA regional transportation plan engagements and park lighting. Roadworks continues to amaze with the amount of work going on.  Community Events & Information shows it is AGM season.

Councillor Update

This week felt like it was 100 days long.

While the fires are contained, the impacts are just becoming clear and the recovery will be a long process.  Council was taken on a bus tour of the area earlier this week, and the damage was shocking.

It was good to see that my in-law’s home and neighbourhood still stands, it was hard to see that just 100m away was largely gone.

I’ll be reaching out the folks at the Waeg to see how I can assist in their plans to rebuild after the tragic fire there.  I am grateful for how quickly Halifax Fire, with support from other agencies especially Canadian Forces firefighting resources were able to knock that fire down.

Due to the huge demand on staff time during the recovery phase, most committee meetings have been cancelled or shortened.  I expect the standing and advisory committees will return to normal operation in July.

I am proud of the response of the municipality and province during this difficult time, though like every other disaster, there are lessons to learn.

On of the impacts of the fires is the rescheduling of the District 7 Participatory Budgeting to Monday, June 12th from 6:00 p.m. to 8:30 at the Lindsay Children’s Room Halifax Central Library.

Here are a few things to keep in mind:

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

To be eligible to vote on the projects you must live in District 7, and you can only vote in person.

District 7 

Project applicants are set up science fair style in the room ready to answer questions about their proposal.  Each ballot will have two sections on it and each voter must choose 4 different big projects and 2 different small projects for the ballot to be considered complete and to be counted.  Votes are not weighted (all 4 votes for big projects count equally).

Winners will be announced at the end of the night!  More info here:  https://wayemason.ca/pb

If you want to talk about how we can better connect HRM to the region around us, consider participating in the Joint Regional Transportation Agency engagements, more info below in the engagement section.

I’ll be out of town from Wednesday, June 14 to Friday, June 16 next week attending the Green Municipal Fund Council meetings in Ottawa, heading to Kingston to visit my Aunt and Nan, and then off to Toronto to participate in the Canadian Vote Summit 2023 on Monday, June 19 & Tuesday, June 20.  This means I’ll miss the June 20 Regional Council meeting.

I am a presenter about Participatory Budgeting in Halifax at CVS2023, which bills itself this way: Polarization. Participation. Trust. Our democracy faces serious challenges. On June 19 & 20, join community leaders, leading scholars and prominent policymakers to build a healthy, vibrant and inclusive democracy. It is going to take all of us. 

Since people ask, I always take Porter because turboprops are more fuel efficient on short trips and I’ll be taking the train in Ontario!

Finally, I had a tour of the new Common pool this week, and it was simply amazing. 

I know the vast majority of the public is really looking forward to this amazing community resource.  The picture above is of the pool.  The pool will have the capacity for 350 users at once, and the pool and changing rooms are fully accessible, which the old tiny pool certainly wasn’t.  There is also a new splash pad.

I am so excited for you all to see this beautiful public space, which should open sometime in early July, fingers crossed.

Please be safe, be kind, be patient,


Wildfire Update

State of Local Emergency – After a discussion with the Mayor and the municipal solicitor, the CAOs decided to allow the State of Local Emergency to lapse as of 4:30 pm today.   Sufficient powers and authority exist elsewhere that allows the municipality to manage the containment of a smaller evacuation zone.

Return of Property Owners in Phase 3 – It is HRMs intent to send an alert and PSA at 1:00 pm today to allow the majority of the residents in Phase 3 to return home.    With the release of the last large zone, HRM is switching to a more site-specific approach and will communicate with property owners by means other than emergency alerts.  The communication method used will depend on whether it is a street, a segment of a street or an individual property owner and may include PSA, direct email, posting to the internet, and social media.

Destroyed properties – HRM has begun the process of releasing properties to owners. Some properties may still be within the evacuation zone and as areas within this zone are lifted, properties will be released to their owners. HRM will work with residents on a return to view their respective sites in the coming days. Details on how to access their property to retrieve salvageable items will be shared as soon as possible.  The municipality has contracted Team Rubicon to provide assistance to those residents with destroyed or damaged properties. At the request of the resident, Team Rubicon will perform a search for items that may be recoverable. Staff expect this work to begin on June 18.

Community Hub – HRM establishing a community hub at the Upper Hammonds Plains Community Centre (711 Pockwock Road) to provide support and up-to-date information. The municipality will also be hosting a community meeting for residents whose homes have been destroyed or severely damaged on Monday, June 12 at 7 p.m. Team Rubicon will be on-site to answer questions.

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:

  • June 20, 10am (I will be away)

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, June 13 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 alternating with Regional Council. Please check the webpage here for agendas (usually available a week before the meeting), locations, and times.

  • Wednesday, June 28, 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 in 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 Engagement

Joint Regional Transportation Authority Pop Ups
June 16 from 9:30 a.m.- 12:30 p.m | Halifax Central Library and other locations

The new provincial Joint Regional Transportation Agency (JRTA) job is planning a safe, equitable and resilient regional transportation system that delivers sustainable growth and improved connections for Halifax and surrounding communities. The JRTA will be hosting pop-ups in May and June. Visit at your convenience, participate in a brief activity, ask questions and learn about the JRTA and the Regional Transportation Plan.  You can also engage online at https://engage.jrta.ca/

Park Lighting Survey
Online until June 11

Did you know? The Halifax Regional Municipality has over 900 parks in urban, suburban and rural settings that are used for a variety of recreation and leisure purposes. In some circumstances, parks are also locations through which people travel between destinations. While parks are typically used during daylight hours, park lighting needs to be considered to accommodate evening use as well. Currently, there is no formal process to evaluate when and where lighting might be installed, and which parks, or areas within parks, should be prioritized.

For all information and to access the survey, visit https://www.shapeyourcityhalifax.ca/park-lighting-strategy.

Roadworks Update

Map of road work in District 7

A c ouple more projects added:

  • CORNWALL ST from OXFORD ST to PRESTON ST, starting on 2023-06-11
  • WRIGHT AVE from MORRIS ST to END, starting on 2023-06-12
  • HOLLIS ST from BARRINGTON ST to SOUTH ST, starting on 2023-06-06
  • CHERRY ST from VERNON ST to ROBIE ST, starting on 2023-06-14

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.

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 contact@cn.ca if you have any questions.

Community Events and Info

North by Night Market
June 9th, 7:00pm – 10:00pm | The Local back patio + 2037 Gottingen Street

The first North by Night Market of the summer is happening this Friday! DJ dance party, good eats, vintage finds, local artisans and an all around good time! Support your local economy and get to know your community better; the North by Night Market is the perfect opportunity to kick off Halifax’s fantastic summer season. Nearby businesses may also offer in-store deals or specials and/or stay open later!

NEBA Annual General Meeting: June 19, 2023
Monday, June 19, 2023, 5pm – 7pm | The Marquee Ballroom (2037 Gottingen Street)

Members of the North End Business Association are invited to the NEBA 12th Annual General Meeting. Limited seating. Registration required. Please R.S.V.P. to info@gonorthhalifax.com by June 14, 2023 Refreshments will be provided.

Spring Garden AGM 
Tuesday, June 20, 2023, 9:30 a.m. | BMO Community Room, Halifax Central Library 5440 Spring Garden Road

There will be light refreshments and beverages provided. Following the AGM businesses and community members will have the opportunity to mingle and network. You can view the 2021 AGM minutes and this year’s agenda on our website.  To register please email: Sandra@springgardenarea.com

Test Drive an Electric Vehicle
Various Locations

The municipality is partnering with Next Ride and the Clean Foundation to host 18 free electric vehicle test drive events in communities throughout the municipality between May and July, 2023. Our team will be on hand to answer questions and share information about electric vehicles, available rebates and what to expect from the municipality’s electric vehicle strategy.

Secure your spot by registering for a free test drive event near you in advance. Limited walk-in spots will be available. Links to register will become available approximately two weeks before each event. To register, visit Next Ride’s webpage and scroll down to find our municipal test drive events as they become available. You can see the full list of event dates and locations by visiting https://www.halifax.ca/about-halifax/energy-environment/electric-vehicle-strategy?fbclid=IwAR2rf0h0t30BJFGWe5_ThJgf_2kcVjW9n8cMJKPM3tKavD4EhWaUizUYrMA .

Spring 2023 Gritty to Pretty
Applications Open | Online

The Downtown Halifax Business Commission (DHBC) has launched a call for submissions for the Spring 2023 Gritty to Pretty Placemaking Program. The 8th edition of this program will once again include our standard Open Grant and Mural Grant, as well as our Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour (BIPOC) Muraland Open Grants. We are also proud to reopen our Façade Lighting Grant as part of this call out.
To be considered for DHBC funding, applicants are asked to submit a completed application form which can be found on our website at www.downtownhalifax.ca/grittytopretty. Additional documents that describe and support funding requests are encouraged. The deadline to apply for all five grants is Thursday, June 15, 2023.

Learn-to-row for girls, non-binary, BIPOC, newcomer, and queer youth
Register Now | Halifax Rowing Club at St Mary’s Boat Club

The Halifax Rowing Club has funding from ParticipACTION Canada to offer 8 youth free Learn-to-Row classes and a whole summer of rowing, free of charge, plus coverage of transportation costs (bus tickets). We are hoping to engage girls, non-binary, BIPOC, newcomer, and queer youth and would very much appreciate if you would spread the word! To register, go to:  https://freeonlinesurveys.com/s/dpQXSo7v

HRM LakeWatchers
July 1 – August 31 | Lakes near you

Get involved in monitoring the quality of our local lakes! The municipality’s LakeWatchers program launched last year and is a great way to help keep our lakes safe and clean. The program will involve community teams to:

  • Conduct environmental monitoring in 76 lakes across the municipality.
  • Collect data, such as pH levels, to inform future actions to maintain/improve a lake’s health.
  • Share data with residents through future staff reports to Regional Council and through the municipality’s Open Data Portal (https://catalogue-hrm.opendata.arcgis.com/)

You can get involved!  Data collection will take place twice yearly through a year through internal sampling (staff or contractors) and/or trained community teams, called LakeWatchers. The municipality will leverage existing water quality community groups and welcomes new volunteers to collect data in support of this program.  Interested in getting involved? Learn more: https://halifax.ca/lakewatchers

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

Natal Day 2023
August 7, 2023 | Halifax Regional Municipality

Mark your calendars for Natal Day! Registration is now open for participants in the annual Natal Day parade! As part of the municipality’s Natal Day weekend programming, residents are invited to participate in the Halifax-Dartmouth Natal Day parade on Monday, August 7, 2023.  The parade will begin at Novalea Drive in Halifax at 10 a.m. and will conclude at Maple Street in Dartmouth. A maximum of 55 entries will be permitted to participate, so register soon!  halifax.ca

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:

  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 wasteless@halifax.ca 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 wasteless@halifax.ca or visit www.halifax.ca/litter.

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 the office 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.