District 7 Update – African Heritage Month, Participatory Budgeting 2024, 2024/25 capital projects, more

In this issue

My Council Update includes info on African Heritage Month, Participatory Budgeting 2024, District Boundary review, Keshen Goodman reopening, Capital Budget, JUSTFood Action Plan, Housing Accelerator Fund update, Snow Clearing Standards, and GMF meeting next week in Ottawa.

This issue also has the proposed Capital projects for District 7 for 2024/25

Public Engagement section shows Council and Budget meetings.  Roadworks info has been updated and Community Events & Information includes some new events and volunteer awards nomination information on upcoming grant opportunities.

Councillor Update

Hi everyone,

Hope you are doing well as we continue to dig out after a long snow storm!  Here is some non-snow related info for residents.

African Heritage Month

FEBRUARY IS AFRICAN HERITAGE MONTH
February is African Heritage Month. This year’s provincial theme, “Our Smiles, Our Joy, Our Resilience as African Nova Scotians,” encapsulates the enduring spirit and resilience demonstrated by people of African descent throughout the centuries in our province. Our smiles tell stories, share our joy, and symbolize our resilience. As we celebrate our heritage and culture, we also align with the final year of the United Nations’ International Decade for People of African Descent (DPAD) 2015-2024, aiming to strengthen global cooperation and increase awareness for people of African descent.

Nova Scotia boasts 52 historic African Nova Scotian communities, each with a profound and complex history spanning over two centuries. African Heritage Month provides a special opportunity to celebrate the culture, legacy, achievements, and contributions of our people, both past and present.

Residents are encouraged to take part in other events throughout the municipality celebrating African Heritage Month:

  • City Hall will be illuminated in black, green, and red in honour of African Heritage Month, from January 25 to February 1 and February 11 to 17.
  • Throughout February, the Downtown Halifax Business Commission will project light displays on the former Halifax Memorial Library Building at Grafton Park in celebration of African Heritage Month.
  • The Pan-African flag will be displayed at both the Burnside and Ragged Lake Transit Centres, as the weather permits, in honour of African Heritage Month.
  • Explore the African Heritage Month virtual portal, featuring programs that celebrate the African Nova Scotian community.

For more information, visit the municipality’s African Heritage Month website https://www.halifax.ca/about-halifax/diversity-inclusion/african-nova-scotian-affairs/african-heritage-month.

DISTRICT BOUNDARY REVIEW
The municipality has completed the District Boundary Review and unveiled new electoral district boundaries.  The short version is District 7’s population has gone up over the last ten years so the district will get smaller.  The boundary changes mean the Gottingen areas from Nora Bernard to Cogswell and the areas from Quinpool to Jubilee will be attached to District 8.

To learn more about the review process and to view the new district boundary maps, visit halifax.ca/boundaryreview

PARTICIPATORY BUDGETING MONDAY MAY 13
While this is an election year so the amount of money available for Participatory budgeting will be pro-rated, I’m going to go ahead with one more vote this year. I’m proud to have brought this to Halifax and I look forward to us having one more chance to get together and talk about how to best invest this money and make District 7 a better place.  The PB website will be updated shortly with application info and deadlines: https://wayemason.ca/pb/

KESHEN GOODMAN TO REOPEN MID-FEBRUARY
The much-missed Keshen Goodman Library will partially reopen on February 12, not February 5 as previously announced. Weather-related complications have delayed installation of large rooftop heating and cooling systems. Once that work is done a small section of the library will reopen with some programming and services such as holds pickup. The interior renovation is expected to take a few more months, with a full reopening planned for late spring. Keshen Goodman is the second most visited library in HRM, after Central.

COUNCIL AGENDA: CAPITAL PLAN AND FOOD SECURITY
Tomorrow Regional Council will vote on the Capital Budget. This year HRM will spend an estimated $309 million on roads and infrastructure, which is about $156 million less than previously expected. A number of larger projects had to be delayed due to labour shortages, supply chain issues or high inflation.

Although delaying projects eases budget pressures (and taxes) in the short term, it only makes things more difficult in future years, as population growth and other pressures build. Like many municipalities across Canada, HRM is struggling to make the necessary infrastructure investments needed for our growing population. HRM’s senior managers will develop a new strategy for financing large projects in 2025.

Also on Tuesday, Regional Council will discuss the JUSTFood Action Plan. In HRM, about 1 in 5 people live in a household that has trouble getting food on the table. HRM’s food insecurity rate is higher than the national average. The JUSTFood plan is aimed at helping more HRM residents get the healthy food they need.

The plan, developed by HRM, NS Health, Dalhousie University, Ecology Action Centre and other partners, recommends establishing the Halifax Food Council to set up social supermarkets (to provide healthy, discounted food) and circular food hubs (to divert and use food that might otherwise have gone to waste). There are also plans to set up a community orchard and expand community gardens.

For more on JUSTFood Halifax Action Plan:
https://cdn.halifax.ca/…/regional-council/240206rc1513.pdf

For the full Regional Council agenda:
https://www.halifax.ca/…/february-6-2024-halifax…

HOUSING ACCELERATOR FUND
Thank you for your feedback and thoughtful comments on the Housing Accelerator Fund proposals. I am getting a lot of questions, well over 50 emails so far and a number of phone calls.  I’m going to be reading and taking notes of all the contributions and making my own more formal contribution to staff before the deadline.  I will post it on my website at that time.

If you have not read it already, I wrote a very long post about the reasons for and what the proposed changes are: https://wayemason.ca/2024/01/29/district-7-update-centre-plan-update-and-district-7-changes/

I also wrote an opinion piece in the Herald about why these changes are important, and some significant change is needed.  I have also posted that on my site so it is out from behind the paywall:  https://wayemason.ca/2024/01/29/housing-accelerator-fund-changes-will-be-difficult-but-are-needed/

I encourage comments to HRM planners and Regional Council by February 16 through the Housing Accelerator Fund email address at HAF@halifax.ca. There will also be public hearings coming up in March or April. Once dates are announced I will share them.

SNOW CLEARING STANDARDS
We really got walloped with this snow storm.  A  reminder: if HRM gets more than 30 cm of snow, then snow clearing will take longer than standard times. Snow clearing standards start when the snow stops which was 5:30am Monday Feb 5.  Despite 84cm of snow with a little luck and continued daytime temps over 0C the standards if not met will be very close to being met.

For more on snow clearing:
https://www.halifax.ca/…/winter…/common-questions

GMF MEETINGS IN OTTAWA
I’ll be gone next week from Wednesday returning late Monday, attending the Green Municipal Fund (GMF) Council meeting in Ottawa.  I’m flying up and taking a sleeper car train back from Montreal, which is both green and knocks travelling in a sleeper car of my bucket list!  You can read more about GMF here.

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

Waye

Proposed District 7 Transportation and Parks & Recreation Capital Projects for 2024/25

Capital is business/government speak for planning for and building stuff.  Below are the sidewalk, traffic calming, pedestrian, bike, and parks and rec projects for 2024/25.  This list is subject to change until everything is finalized but don’t staff do not foresee anything major at this point.

District 7 – 2024/25 Planned Transportation Capital Work

Street Recapitalization (major paving)
Bauer St – Cogswell to Cornwallis
Coburg Rd – Oxford to End
Falkland St – Gottingen to Bauer
LeMarchant St – Watt to Coburg (Re-Instate Traffic Calming, Carryover)
Victoria Rd – Bland to Tower

Asphalt Overlays
Shirley St – Robie to Preston (Integrated Traffic Calming)
South St – LeMarchant to Oxford

AAA Bikeways
Brunswick Bikeway

Active Transportation
Coburg Rd – Oxford to Conrose Park (Multi-Use Pathway)

Traffic Management Projects
Traffic Calming

  • Young Ave
  • Pepperell St
  • Preston St
  • College St (school area)
  • Watt St (school area)

Traffic Signal Upgrade

  • Oxford St at Jubilee Rd

New Crosswalk with Pedestrian Activated Beacons

  • Robie St at Binney St (RA-5)

RRFB Crosswalk Upgrade

  • Coburg Rd at Larch St
  • Jubilee Rd at Walnut St
  • South St at Dalplex (Civic 6260)

Planer Patching (light top coat of paving) & Crack Sealing
Locations TBD

District 7 – 2024/25 Planned Parks and Rec Capital Work

  • Gorsebrook Park – playing field rehabilitation design
  • South African War Memorial Found Rehabilitation design
  • Peace and Friendship Park – consultation and redesign
  • Point Pleasant Park – shoreline improvements design
  • Camp Hill Cemetery – phase 2 and phase 3 fence restoration
  • Halifax Central Common – skatepark design
  • Point Pleasant Park – new playground
  • Temporary SJAM / Watt Street School – playground replacement

 

Public Meetings, Hearings & Engagement

Halifax Regional Council – Halifax City Hall, Council Chambers or Virtual.
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 Feb 6 (today) 1pm (VIRTUAL)
  • Tuesday Feb 13 6 pm (Special Meeting)

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

As the Halifax is well into 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

  • Wednesday, Feb. 7 (Contingency: Friday, Feb. 9) – Business Unit and Budget Presentation: Halifax Regional Police; RCMP – AGENDA
  • Friday, Feb. 9 (Contingency: Tuesday, Feb. 13) – Business Unit and Budget Presentation: Public Works – AGENDA
  • Tuesday, Feb. 13 (Contingency: Wednesday, Feb. 14) – Business Unit and Budget Presentation: Planning & Development
  • Wednesday, Feb. 14 (Contingency: Wednesday, Feb. 28) – Business Unit and Budget Presentation: Parks & Recreation
  • Wednesday, Feb. 28 (Contingency: Friday, March 1) – Business Unit and Budget Presentation: Halifax Transit
  • Friday, March 1 (Contingency: Wednesday, March 6) – Business Unit and Budget Presentation: Halifax Regional Fire & Emergency
  • Wednesday, March 6 (Contingency: Friday, March 8) – Business Unit and Budget Presentation: Community Safety; Fiscal
  • Tuesday, April 2 (Contingency: Wednesday, April 3) – Budget Adjustment List (BAL) Review
  • Tuesday, April 23 (Contingency: Tuesday, April 30) – Budget Approval

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 Feb 12 6pm

Agenda here – https://www.halifax.ca/city-hall/agendas-meetings-reports?category=140
HWCC, HEMDCC & NWCC Special Joint Meeting
Tuesday, February 20, 2024 from 18:00 to 20:00 | Council Chambers, Halifax City Hall

A joint public hearing to consider the proposed amendments in Case 2023-01049: Suburban Planning Area Land Use By-law amendments to Interim Bonus Zoning Requirements for Applicable Plan Amendment Applications to applicable Land Use By-laws will be held concurrently with Harbour East – East Marine Drive Community Council and North West Community Council.  More info 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, Feb 22 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.

 

Roadworks Update

Roadworks map showing construction on roads and sidewalks

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

  • CEDAR ST from ROBIE ST to HENRY ST, starting on 2024-01-30
  • BIRMINGHAM ST from SPRING GARDEN RD to CLYDE ST, starting on 2024-02-01
  • MAITLAND ST from NORA BERNARD ST to PRINCE WILLIAM ST, starting on 2024-02-01
  • SOUTH ST from SOUTH PARK ST to QUEEN ST, starting on 2024-01-24
  • PORTLAND PL from MAITLAND ST to GOTTINGEN ST, starting on 2024-01-27
  • GRANVILLE ST from PRINCE ST to SACKVILLE ST, starting on 2024-01-18

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

Community Access Program (CAP)
Starts Feb 12, 2024 | Online Application

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 cap@ilns.ca or 902-453-0004.

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

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.