District 7 Update – info on housing and homelessness, annual report card, HalifACT Community Update 4, more

In this issue

My Council Update includes info on housing and homelessness, my annual report card, HRMs annual report card, HalifACT Community Update 4, and much more.

Public Engagement section shows upcoming Council and Budget meetings.  Roadworks continues to impact large sections of District 7. Community Events & Information has New Years info and also information on upcoming grant opportunities.

Councillor Update

Hi everyone,

A lot going on at City Hall and in Halifax for the last while, and I am forever grateful for the support from residents, the hard work and expert advice from municipal staff, the many many not-for-profits and volunteers contributing countless hours, and my colleagues on Council who work so hard to try and address the challenges we face.

While at times it can seem overwhelming, I see several signs of hope. Changes in planning and processing have increased processing speeds at HRM which helps with market supply.  The Province seems to be far more engaged with homelessness at a political level than they were even 4 months ago, and you are seeing needed support start to roll in for non-market supply like shelters and affordable housing.  We still have a long way to go but things are finally moving.

We are heading into budget in January.  This means in addition to my normal work and scheduled meetings I will have 2 all day budget meetings twice a week for most of January and February.  I apologize in advance for how my email and phone call response time will slow during this period!  More on how to participate in the budget discussion below

HOUSING AND HOMELESSNESS
Despite the signs of hope, winter is here and there is still not enough adequate indoor shelter for all people living in tents.  This crisis keeps expanding, and while some good work has been done with new shelters and supports, the speed with which the vulnerable population has grown has kept ahead of new programs.

There are some good news stories, like the hard work of folks to improve the conditions of those still in tents by providing Ice Fishing Tents in Grand Parade and soon other places.  HRM is providing power, smoke, and CO2 detectors to tents in Grand Parade, and electric heaters are being provided to reduce the chance of fire.

This is still a band-aid solution. I hope that soon, in days, there will be more announcements about additional shelters, enough that everyone in a tent can be moved into warm, safe, and appropriate housing. I hope for more announcements very soon.

You are able to read about HRM’s efforts to address this and support the Province here.

REPORT CARD
I have completed my last Report Card for this term, it is hard to believe three years have already passed!

In the 2020 election, I made 19 promises, and as I enter the last year of this term 14 are complete, 6 are underway and 1 is delayed past the promised implementation, but all are on track to be completed. More here.
2022/23 STRATEGIC PERFORMANCE REPORT
On the topic of report cards and transparency,  Halifax has released the 2022/23 Strategic Performance Report – the second annual report providing updates on the Strategic Priorities Plan 2021-25. The Strategic Performance Snapshot, the municipality’s public-facing dashboard with key performance indicators aligned to the Strategic Priorities Plan, has been updated with data for 2022/23.

The annual Strategic Performance Report highlights the municipality’s progress in delivering Regional Council’s priorities and the priorities of the administration in the governance and management of municipal services, staff and finances.

The following are some key highlights from the 2022/23 Strategic Performance Report:

  • The creation of the Community Safety business unit, allowing the consolidation of programs and activities in the areas of social policy, housing and homelessness, public safety and emergency management.
  • The implementation of the Framework for Addressing Homelessness, building on continued work with the Province of Nova Scotia and service providers to better coordinate resources and assistance to persons experiencing homelessness – including the creation of designated outdoor sheltering locations.
  • The continued commitment to key climate action deliverables, including transitioning municipal vehicles to electric, retrofitting municipal buildings to align with HalifACT guidelines and progressing towards decarbonizing the public transit fleet, with electric buses scheduled to be in service in Fall 2024.
  • The Cogswell District Project has entered its second phase of construction and will be complete by the end of 2025.
  • The development of the Draft Regional Plan – the municipality’s long-range region-wide plan for growth and development, which was presented for Regional Council review and public feedback.

For more information, visit halifax.ca/budget
HALIFACT COMMUNITY UPDATE 4
The HalifACT community updates provide snapshots of the municipality’s ongoing efforts to advance the goals set out in our long-term climate action plan. The latest update was released today.  Highlights include: Foreword on extreme flooding, A Call to Climate Action, municipal solar installations, electrifying the fleet, hosting The JUNOS, resilient retrofits pilot, building to Net Zero Exchange, and HCi3 supports the equitable transition to clean energy. You can read more here.

SNOW SEASON
It’s winter again!  HRM has service standards for streets, sidewalks, and bus stops and the timing varies depending on the priority level. The municipality prioritizes commonly used streets, bus routes and roads that provide access to hospitals and schools.  When the snow stops, operators work as quickly and safely to have all the roads cleared by 24 hours and major roads and bus routes within 12 hours.

Before contacting 311 about snow clearing, please ensure the service timelines for your area have expired. You can find detailed information about snow-clearing service timelines on the interactive map or in the “when should clearing be complete?” section on the website (www.halifax.ca/snow).

If your street or sidewalk has not been cleared by the indicated time in each chart, please e-mail ContactUs@311.halifax.ca or call 311 so crews can be dispatched to address the issue. If an emergency vehicle needs to access a street, staff dispatch a plow immediately to that street.

Residents should note that in snowfalls greater than 30 centimeters or in blizzard conditions, more time may be needed to complete clearing. The same exception may apply when there are rapidly changing weather conditions. Crews will continue working until all streets and sidewalks are clear and safe. Of course, some roads are taken care of by the province, depending on where you live. Provincial road information can be found here: https://novascotia.ca/tran/winter/losmap.asp

WINTER PARKING
The municipal overnight winter parking ban is in effect annually from Dec. 15 to Mar. 31. The ban is enforced from 1 a.m. to 6 a.m. during declared weather events and snow removal operations only. Sign up for hfxALERT notifications to receive important updates from the municipality, including Winter Parking Ban notifications: www.halifax.ca/fire-police/fire/emergency-management/hfxalert

For more information on service standards, winter parking, and winter’s impacts across our municipality, visit: halifax.ca/snow or keep up to date on clearing operations and municipal service updates via @hfxgov on Twitter (X).

RESIDENTIAL SPEED LIMIT DROPS IN SOUTH END NEAR POINT PLEASANT
Residents that speed limits will be reduced from 50 km/h to 40 km/h in the residential area near Point Pleasant Park. The impacted streets are highlighted in the attached map and include the areas south of the CN rail bridges, including the following:

  • Tower Road
  • Harbourview Drive
  • Ogilvie Street
  • Point Pleasant Drive
  • Pine Hill Drive
  • Pine Hill Crescent
  • Grant Street
  • Stanhope Street
  • Fays Lane
  • MacLeod Drive
  • Campbell Drive
  • Francklyn Street
  • McColloch Court
  • Bilton Lane
  • Emscote Drive
  • Inglewood Drive
  • Balmoral Road
  • Chain Rock Drive
  • Crows Nest Drive

Young Avenue is not included as the speed limit posted has to reflect the average speed of travel given conditions, which means Young is too straight and wide and cars speed on it but the good news is speed humps are going in next summer.  This could allow lowering Young as well.

HOLIDAY HOURS
Final note – I’ll be off from December 16 to January 3 for winter break. Please email Vicki Palmeter at Victoria.Palmeter@halifax.ca or call her at 902-490-4050 if you need immediate support.  Always call 311 for routine municipal issues, and call 911 during an emergency.

I wish you and yours a safe, joyous, and relaxing holiday season!

Happy holidays, bonne fête, and wli nuelewi aq & pusu’l puna’ne, and all the best in 2024, please be safe, be kind, be patient, and have a great winter break,

Waye

 

 

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 January 9 10am
  • Tuesday January 23 10am

Agendas here: https://www.halifax.ca/city-hall/agendas-meetings-reports?category=127

 

Blue background with a yellow graphic of a clip board dollar signs on it, and a calculator in front.  Words say "Budget commitee, Virtual Participation Available"

Budget Committee – Halifax City Hall, Council Chambers
Regional Council has begun the 2024/25 municipal budget process by presenting the 2024/25 Budget Direction on Nov. 28, 2023.

As the Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM) gears up for its upcoming budget deliberations, the importance of resident participation cannot be overstated. The municipal budget is not just a financial plan; it’s a reflection of community priorities, needs, and aspirations. When residents actively engage in the budget process, they contribute to the shaping of policies and the allocation of resources that directly impact their daily lives.

Learn more about the 2024/2025 Municipal Budget here: https://www.halifax.ca/city-hall/budget-finances/budget.

Would you like to speak during Public Participation?  There are two opportunities to sign up as a speaker for in-person Public Participation:

Option 1: Register in advance
Zoom is available as an option for pre-registered speakers only.

  • Contact the Municipal Clerk’s Office no later than 4:30 p.m. the day before the next Budget Committee 2023 meeting:
  • Send an email to clerks@halifax.ca If you’re signing up via email and you don’t receive a response from us within one business day, phone our office at 902.490.4210 to confirm receipt. Please ensure you check your email’s junk/spam folder regularly.
  •  Phone 902.490.4210 (Mon-Fri, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.)
  •  Fax 902.490.4208 and include a call back phone number or email.

Option 2: During the meeting
During the meeting, after all the pre-registered speakers have been called, the Chair will call three times to ask if there is anyone else present who would like to speak. If you are present in the meeting room you can indicate your wish to speak at that time.

PLEASE NOTE:  All Budget Committee meetings will be audio and/or video recorded for the purpose of creating a record of the proceedings.   If you do not wish to be recorded, do not sign up to speak; you can provide a written submission via clerks@halifax.ca.

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 January 16 6pm 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.

  • January meeting TBD

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.

Virtual Public Participation now available
We’ve introduced virtual public participation for in-person meetings held in Council Chamber as of November 14. This option is now available for any meetings taking place in Council Chamber where there is an opportunity for the public to speak, including meetings of Budget Committee. This is in addition to a livestream of all meetings, which is available on the municipality’s YouTube channel

Those who wish to participate virtually must register in advance by 4:30 p.m. the business day before the meeting. For more information, visit our website (https://www.halifax.ca/city-hall/agendas-meetings-reports.)

Roadworks Update

Map of District 7 with red and purple lines over streets and sidewalks with closures.

Projects continue to be started: You can find out road closure details on the HRM Roadworks map:https://www.halifax.ca/transportation/streets-sidewalks/RoadWorks

  • AGRICOLA ST from WEST ST to WOODILL ST, starting on 2023-12-14
  • SARAH ST from AGRICOLA ST to MORAN ST, starting on 2023-12-14
  • HARRIS ST from AGRICOLA ST to MAYNARD ST, starting on 2023-12-14
  • QUINPOOL RD from MACDONALD ST to ARMDALE ROT, starting on 2023-12-08
  • GRANVILLE ST from SACKVILLE ST to PRINCE ST, starting on 2023-12-06
  • COGSWELL ST from BRUNSWICK ST to COGSWELL ST, starting on 2023-11-29
  • SPRING GARDEN RD from QUEEN ST to SOUTH PARK ST, starting on 2023-12-01 SOUTH ST from SOUTH PARK ST to QUEEN ST, starting on 2023-12-02

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 – Project approaching completion
The CN bridge Rehabilitation and water/sewer main renewal project is coming to a completion.  The remaining sidewalks are being poured this week and the street and at least one sidewalk will be opened by end of day on Friday December 15.  The other sidewalk may be tarped for a couple of days depending on weather and curing of the concrete.

Updates will also be provided on HRMs webpage at halifax.ca/cnbridgesrehabilitation. Please contact CN at 1-888-888-5909 or at contact@cn.ca if you have any questions.

Community Events and Info

NEW YEARS AT THE OVAL – COME CELEBRATE 2024 TOGETHER
Sunday December 31, 11pm – 1am | Emera Oval, Cogswell Street

The Halifax Regional Municipality is inviting residents to its annual live New Year’s Eve celebrations, taking place on Sunday, Dec. 31  at the Emera Oval, located at the Halifax Commons 5775 Cogswell St, from 11:00 pm to 1:00 am.  This will be the first time the municipal New Year’s Eve concert and national broadcast are taking place at the Oval.

This free event will include a live TV broadcast on Eastlink Community TV.  More info here.

Please note, the City Hall New Years Levee has been cancelled.  A donation has been made to North End Community Health instead.

Blue background graphic with the words Community Grants Program Applications Now Open - this program provides cash grants to registered non-profit organizations and charities.

Community Grants Program 2024-25
Deadline April 1, 2024

Halifax Regional Municipality’s Community Grants Program will begin accepting applications from registered non-profits and charities located within Halifax Regional Municipality. The Program will open January 3, 2024, for the 2024-2025 program. The application deadline is April 1, 2024. Application forms and program guidebooks are available from:

Organizations considering an application to the Program are encouraged to review the guidebook.  For further information, please email  nonprofitgrants@halifax.ca or call 902.497.0479

Winter 2023 Rec Registration
Open Now | Online

Registration has opened for winter recreation programs.
Parks & Recreation offers a variety of innovative, cost-effective programming led by local, passionate instructors in a welcoming environment. Programming is offered in a variety of fields – including health, wellness, outdoor and artistic – and is available for residents of all ages and abilities.   Many programs are available at residents’ local community centres, limiting travel time, and the Recreation Affordable Access Program provides discounted recreation opportunities for children, youth and adults in financial need.  Registration for winter recreation programming opened today, Wednesday, Dec. 6 at 10 a.m. Registration for winter aquatics and skating programming will open on Thursday, Dec. 7 at 10 a.m.
A full list of all programs can be found on halifax.ca/rec. Residents can register through their MyRec account.

The 2024 Volunteer Award Nominations are OPEN
Due January 11, 2024

Each year the Mayor and Halifax Regional Council recognize the extraordinary contributions of outstanding individuals and groups who volunteer their time and skills to provide services and programs in our communities. This annual event puts a spotlight on amazing people who give of their time in our Municipality.  There are three categories in which to nominate deserving volunteers: Youth, Adult, or Group. You can download the form or nominate online. Learn more at https://www.halifax.ca/about-halifax/volunteering/volunteer-awards.

Service Canada Supports Communities Online
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.htm

Coastal properties owners: your feedback is wanted.
Virtual, Ongoing

Nova Scotia is feeling the impacts of climate change. Stronger and more frequent storms, coastal flooding and erosion, rising sea levels, storm surge and warming ocean temperatures are all having an effect on the province’s coastline. Coastal property owners are invited to share their ideas on how to safeguard our coastline, including natural areas, homes, buildings and people, from the effects of climate change. We need to re-think how we develop our coastline to better protect our homes, communities, natural areas and each other. You can participate by taking the survey and learning more information by visiting https://novascotia.ca/climate-change-coastal-protection-consultation/.

Seniors Snow Removal Program
Applications Open Now
There’s no denying it – winter is on its way. There is a snow removal program available for seniors (ages 65 and older) and persons with disabilities to help ensure safe access to your home. The Senior Snow Removal is a YMCA program provided in partnership with Halifax Regional Municipality, and oversees the clearing of front and back steps, walkways, ramps, and access to fuel tanks. Please note that the program does not include driveway clearing. Those 65+ or persons with disabilities must also meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • the participant must reside in a single dwelling home which is owned or rented;
  • the participant, also including all individuals who live on the premises aged eighteen or older, must not exceed a total gross household income of $32,000, and;
  • the participant may not be a landlord.

The Senior Snow Removal operates on a first-come, first-serve basis. When maximum capacity is reached, the program will come to a close and individuals will be placed on a waitlist. Call 902-483-3678 for more information. You can download the 2023/2024 application package online by visiting: https://ymcahfx.ca/communityymca/ymca-senior-snow-removal/

Help Identify hazards, risks and vulnerabilities in our communities (HRVA)
Underway Now

Are you concerned about how emergencies and disasters could impact your community The municipality is seeking input from residents on hazards, risks and vulnerabilities across communities. Feedback will inform the development of a comprehensive Hazard, Risk and Vulnerability Assessment. For complete details, visit: shapeyourcityhalifax.ca/hrva.
HRM Affordable Housing Grant Program
Open Now

Are you a non-profit or charitable organization looking for financial help with the development, renovation or purchase (including land) of affordable housing units? Be sure to apply for the 2023 Affordable Housing Grant Program. The program is now accepting applications until December 1, 2023. Apply and learn more here: https://brnw.ch/21wDdwB

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.