District 7 Update – info on housing and homelessness, new temporary shelter at the forum, taxes and assessment appeal, more

In this issue

My Council Update includes info on housing and homelessness, new temporary shelter at the forum, taxes and assessment appeal, and more.

Public Engagement section shows many upcoming Public Hearings, as well as Council and Budget meetings.  Roadworks have finally slowed down for winter. Community Events & Information includes some new events and volunteer awards nomination information on upcoming grant opportunities.

Councillor Update

Hi everyone, Happy New Year!

STORM PREPAREDNESS
Heavy rainfall and high winds are expected on Wednesday, January 10 this week. Be prepared for flooding and power outages. More info here: https://www.halifax.ca/fire-police/fire/emergency-management/emergency-preparedness/floods

NEW TEMPORARY SHELTER AT THE FORUM
Yesterday, the Province and the Halifax Regional Municipality are providing more options for people experiencing homelessness to come indoors this winter and receive wraparound services.

A new temporary emergency shelter will open Monday, January 22 located at 6210 Young Street in the Multi-Purpose Centre (attached to the Halifax Forum.) It will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, until August 31. More details can be found on halifax.ca.

Many staff from HRM, including those from Community Safety, Parks & Recreation, Property, Fleet & Environment have been involved in helping secure the new temporary emergency shelter. Our collaboration and partnership with the Province continues to help address homelessness in the region.

This shelter combined with the Wyse Road shelter and the soon-to-open Waverly Inn should provide safe shelter for everyone living in tents.  The provincial program to build tiny homes and Pallett Shelters (https://palletshelter.com/ )will add over 100 additional units with privacy, heat and power sometime in the next couple of months, creating needed new housing options.

ASSESSMENT INCREASE
You may have seen the media reports this morning stating that “in Halifax Regional Municipality the total assessment roll has increased 15.8 per cent over last year — residential at 17.5 per cent and commercial at 8.7 per cent.”

Approximately 68% of homes are under the assessment CAP program, so their assessment is limited to a (EDITED) 3.2% increase.

It’s a good time to remind readers what I wrote in 2022:

In plain English, HRM sets a target for the average tax bill increase, not the rate increase.  This means Council votes on the per-home impact, not the rate. Council does this before we are provided with an up-to-date assessment roll.  The rate is then set after the assessment comes in to match the tax bill increase.

If there is a huge assessment increase, HRM brings down the rate, to hit the target of the average tax bill.  (more here: https://wayemason.ca/2022/03/08/how-hrm-sets-the-tax-rate-focus-on-the-average-impact/ )

I expect that 17.5%/3.2% increase will mean an overall tax rate cut.

As the Herald wrote: Now that the assessments are in the mail, the clock is ticking for the appeal deadline, which is midnight on Feb. 8.

There are three levels for appealing an assessment: a PVSC assessor review, a Nova Scotia assessment appeal tribunal, and then the Utility and Review Board. Appeals must be signed and emailed, mailed or faxed.

KESHEN GOODMAN CLOSED FOR THREE WEEKS
Keshen Goodman Public Library will be closed for three weeks as part of a new phase in the ongoing renovations. The closure begins on Monday January 15 and continues through to Sunday February 4th. The renovations will include the installation of a rooftop mechanical unit and new shelving. Equipment will be moved into some of the reorganized spaces. Renovations will continue during March and April.

While Keshen Goodman is closed, there will be no book returns and all holds on books will be paused until the library opens again. Over the next few weeks you can continue to place holds for pick up at Keshen Goodman Public Library, but they will not be available until after the library reopens in early February. As an alternative, you could pick up holds at another branch. The deadline to return items borrowed from Keshen Goodman will be extended until after the closure. Limited service will resume at the library on February 5th, including access to:

  • Hold pick-ups and returns
  • Public computers
  • Free WiFi
  • Printers
  • Technology lending
  • A small collection for browsing

This might be a good time to explore the E-Library which is open 24/7. Your library card gives you access to digital books, audiobooks, magazines, newspapers, movies, music and more.  More info  here https://www.halifaxpubliclibraries.ca/online-resources/
https://www.halifaxpubliclibraries.ca/…/keshen-goodman…/

UPCOMING COUNCIL MEETING
At next today’s (Jan 9) meeting, Regional Council will debate whether to extend permitted hours of one type of construction noise from 8 pm to 9:30 pm (for concrete pouring and finishing only); we will discuss the annual progress report on climate actions in HalifACT (one third of the actions are on track); we will consider ways to restrict coastal infilling on the Northwest Arm; and we may discuss a staff report, seven years in the making, called “Sharing Our Stories: HRM’s Cultural and Heritage Plan”.

“Sharing Our Stories” has 44 recommendations and will interest anyone in HRM involved in the arts or heritage protection. The key goals of the plan are to strengthen citizens’ sense of belonging; to uphold the principles of Truth and Reconciliation; to support artists and performers; to steward our rich heritage and cultural resources; and to celebrate and promote our diverse cultures.

Some of the 44 actions include: updating and strengthening municipal and provincial heritage legislation; expanding the definitions of municipal heritage; developing a cultural facilities plan; recognizing Mi’kmaki on signs at major HRM entry points; enhancing access to community gardens; encouraging adaptive reuse of municipal heritage properties; developing an interpretive masterplan; and developing a regional archeology strategy.
To read the “Sharing Our Stories” report (scroll down to page 10): https://cdn.halifax.ca/…/regional…/240109rc1531iii.pdf

VOLUNTEER AWARDS
This week is the last chance to nominate volunteers for an HRM Volunteer Award. It’s a great way to recognize all the big-hearted people who keep our teams, SACSs, and other community organizations running. The deadline is January 11th and it’s simple to apply. Here’s a link with the form and details: https://www.halifax.ca/abou…/volunteering/volunteer-awards

APPLICATIONS FOR THE NEXT POET LAUREATE
Applications have been opened for the next municipal Poet Laureate. The Poet Laureate’s term will begin on April 1, 2024, and will end on March 31, 2027.

The municipal Poet Laureate is a resident poet, storyteller or spoken word artist who achieved excellence among their peers and whose work demonstrates connection with and relevance to the municipality’s citizens. Acting as an ambassador for poetry, literature and the arts – the Poet Laureate attends events across the region to promote and attract people to the literary world while representing the municipality. The position is intended to broadly reflect the interests, issues and perspectives of the varied communities and individuals of the Halifax region.

The Poet Laureate will receive an honorarium of $5,000 per year for their three-year mandate.

For more information and to apply, visit our website. Applications will remain open until Friday, Feb. 16, 2024.

That’s it for now!  Please be safe, be kind, and be patient,

Waye

 

 

Public Meetings, Hearings & Engagement

UPCOMING PUBLIC HEARINGS:

Case 2023-00462: Regional Centre Annual Plan Review 2023 to amend various sections of the Regional Centre Land Use By-law.

The public hearing will be held by Regional Centre Community Council on Wednesday, January 24, 2024 at 6:00 p.m. at the HEMDCC Meeting Space – 60 Alderney Drive, Dartmouth, NS.

View the staff reportGet more information on the case and how to participate in the public hearing.

This notice was posted to this site on January 2, 2024 in accordance with the requirements of the Halifax Regional Municipality Charter.

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Case 20218 – Application by Dexel Developments Limited to amend the Regional Centre Secondary Municipal Planning Strategy and to enter into a development agreement for lands located at Robie Street, Spring Garden Road, and Carlton Street, Halifax.

A Joint Public Hearing will be held by Halifax Regional Council and Halifax and West Community Council on Tuesday, January 23, 2024, at 6:00 p.m. at Halifax City Hall (Council Chamber), 3rd Floor, 1841 Argyle Street, Halifax, NS.

At the Joint Public Hearing, Halifax Regional Council will consider proposed amendments to the Regional Centre Secondary Municipal Planning Strategy to broaden the scope of enabling policies IM-43, IM-44, and IM-46 and Halifax and West Community Council will consider a proposed development agreement for a 30-storey mixed-use residential and commercial building on the southeast corner of the Robie Street and Spring Garden Road intersection, while rehabilitating four municipally registered heritage buildings on Carlton Street, Halifax.

View the staff reportGet more information on the case and how to participate in the public hearing.

This notice was posted to this site on December 19, 2023 in accordance with the requirements of the Halifax Regional Municipality Charter.
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Case PLPROJ-2023-01544 – Staff-led project to consider amendments to the Regional Centre Secondary Municipal Planning Strategy, the Halifax Municipal Planning Strategy, the Regional Centre Land Use By-law, and the Halifax Mainland Land Use By-law to restrict water lot infilling on the Northwest Arm in Halifax.

The public hearing will be held on Tuesday, January 9, 2024, at 6:00 p.m. at Halifax City Hall (Council Chamber), 1841 Argyle Street, Halifax, NS. View the staff reportGet more information on the planning project and how to participate in the public hearing.

This notice was posted to this site on December 14, 2023 in accordance with the requirements of the Halifax Regional Municipality Charter.

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Case 2023-00651 – Application by Sunrose Land Use Consulting, on behalf of the owner, to rezone the 8.75 acre vacant property located at 2 Marie Avenue, Halifax from R-1, R-2 and H Zones to P (Park & Institutional) Zone to accommodate a Shared Housing with Special Care Use (long-term care facility).

The public hearing will be held on Tuesday, January 16, 2024 at 6:00 p.m. at Halifax City Hall (Council Chamber), 1841 Argryle Street, Halifax, NS. View the staff reportGet more information on the case and how to participate in the public hearing.

This notice was posted to this site on December 14, 2023 in accordance with the requirements of the Halifax Regional Municipality Charter.

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Case 2023-00191 – Application by Brett and Lara Ryan to enter into a development agreement for a property located on Bellarosa Way, Halifax to allow a residential use on a property that does not abut a public street.

The public hearing will be held on Tuesday, January 16, 2024 at 6:00 p.m. at Halifax City Hall (Council Chamber), 1841 Argyle Street, Halifax, NS. View the staff reportGet more information on the case and how to participate in the public hearing.

This notice was posted to this site on December 6, 2023 in accordance with the requirements of the Halifax Regional Municipality Charter.

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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 1pm (Today)
  • Tuesday January 23 10am

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

 

Blue background with and orang graphic of a checklist and calculator, with the words budget participation 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

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, January 24 6pm 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.

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 closed roads and sidewalks in District 7

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

  • TOBIN ST from BARRINGTON ST to QUEEN ST
  • COGSWELL ST from MAYNARD ST to GOTTINGEN ST, starting on 2024-01-03 | View in 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:  https://www.halifax.ca/about-halifax/regional-community-planning/construction-projects/cogswell-district-redevelopment

Community Events and Info

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

Tamil Heritage Month Celebration
Saturday January 13th, 2024 11am to 8pm | Forum Multi Purpose Room, 2901 Windsor Street
January is recognized as Tamil Heritage Month, by the Government of Canada and is celebrated across the country, recognising the rich cultural heritage and contributions of the Tamil community to Canadian society. It provides an opportunity to celebrate and showcase the customs, traditions, art, music, dance, and cuisine of Tamil Culture and the traditional harvest festival, known as Pongal.  The proposed agenda for the event will include speeches/addresses, presentations, performances/participation from the Tamil Community Members, vendor displays, exhibits and cuisine.
Website: tnvm.ca
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=61550761275643
Insta: https://www.instagram.com/tnvmcare/
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/@tnvmcare

Fundraising Dinner & Live Music for Syrian refugee family of 5
Saturday, January 27 6:30pm |  Emmanuel Church, 322 Herring Cove Road
Join us for a heartwarming evening at Emmanuel Church in Spryfield, Halifax, NS, Canada. We are coming together to support a Syrian refugee family of 5 in need. Indulge in a delicious dinner while enjoying live music performances that will surely lift your spirits. Your presence will make a difference in their lives. Let’s show them that they are not alone in this new journey. Come and be a part of this amazing event! The children are aged 5, 3, and a newborn. Dinner will be provided by Tareks and includes your choice of Chicken Scewer Plate with Greek salad or a vegetarian option as well as Coffee or tea and a dessert. More info here: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/fundraising-dinner-silent-auction-live-music-for-syrian-refugee-family-tickets-776905002777?aff=oddtdtcreator

 

Community Grants Program 2024-25

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.

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.