District 7 Update – D7 Participatory Budgeting vote May 13, more

In this issue

My Council Update includes info about the upcoming Participatory Budgeting vote, red dress day, the upcoming homelessness update, HRMs new Poet Laureate, potholes, the urgent Housing Accelerator Fund (HAF) proposed changes to land use and planning, and a reminder next weekend is the Bluenose Marathon.

Public Engagement section shows the likely date of the HAF proposed changes and upcoming open houses on Cogswell land use, as well as upcoming Council  meetings.  Roadworks info has been updated and Community Events & Information includes some new events, days and weeks of celebration and remembrance, and more on summer jobs!

Councillor Update

Hi everyone,

Today (Sunday May 5) is the day we wear red in support of the National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG).

According to the National Inquiry into MMIWG, Indigenous women and girls represented 16% of all female homicides in Canada. Service agencies estimate that of the trafficked or exploited women and girls they served, 51% of were Indigenous.
This day calls on each of us to speak out against the staggering rates of violence against Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQ+ people.

In recent years, red dresses have become a symbolic representation of the more than 1,000 MMIWG across Canada. According to tradition, red is the only colour spirits can see, and is a way of calling the spirits of those missing and murdered back to their loved ones. On May 5, wear red to not only honour the voices of these women and girls, but to show your support of survivors, community members and those affected by the intergenerational trauma of this ongoing issue.

To learn more about this important day, visit this website.

I want to acknowledge that May is also Asian Heritage Month and Jewish Heritage Month in Canada!

Residents of District 7 are invited to join me at the Lindsay Children’s Room at Halifax Central Library on Monday May 13 2024, from 6:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. to vote on which projects should receive support from District 7’s district capital for 2024-25.

PLEASE NOTE: In an election year, only $55,680 is available between April 1 and October,

There are 10 applications with a total application value of $74,000.

A tradition since 2013 (except during COVID) community members like you have proposed projects and made recommendations on how to spend district capital money, and then voted on what should be funded. This year $84,000 is available.

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.

This year’s projects and requests for funding are on the PB microsite.

Please share this invitation with your neighbours!  More info at https://wayemason.ca/pb

The growing tent encampments in HRM will be one of the main items on the agenda at Regional Council next week. After a brief improvement, the situation for the unhoused appears to be worsening once again. The number of people who have self-identified as homeless and have voluntarily added their names to a list for emergency housing (the “By Name List”) has grown to just over 1200.

According to the most recent staff report, demand for emergency housing is growing exponentially in HRM and continues to outpace the supply of shelter beds. Designated tent locations are once again overcapacity, and recently more than a dozen new tents have popped up in non-designated areas, including Grafton Street Park, Chocolate Lake Park, Halifax Common, Point Pleasant Park and behind the Portland Street Superstore. Designated locations have basic sanitation services provided by the municipality, undesignated locations do not.

There are a wide variety of reasons the unhoused population continues to grow: increased cost of rental housing; shortage of social housing; and insufficient access to addiction treatment or mental health services. Eighty-one of the one hundred Pallet shelters promised by the Province of Nova Scotia (which has responsibility for emergency housing) are still pending, so Council will discuss what to do in the meantime.

Link to the full May 7 Regional Council agenda and reports: https://www.halifax.ca/city-hall/regional-council/may-7-2024-halifax-regional-council

The municipality is pleased to announce that Anna Quon has been named the municipality’s ninth poet laureate.

The municipal poet laureate is a resident poet, storyteller or spoken word artist who has achieved excellence among their peers and whose work demonstrates connection with and relevance to the municipality’s citizens. Anna will serve as the municipality’s poet laureate until 2027.

Learn more here.

We had the kind of freeze/thaw winter that just wrecks the roads, and now that May is here pothole repair can begin in earnest. HRM crews monitor for potholes on our roads year-round, but it’s also important for residents to report potholes so that crews are aware of them and can work on getting them fixed.

On municipal roads, please call 311 or email contactus@311.halifax.ca. You can also fill out this online form here.

However, even within the municipality, the province is responsible for 100-series highways (and ramps/overpasses associated with these highways) and over half the roads HRM, mostly in rural Halifax. On provincially owned roads, please contact the TIR Operations Contact Centre (OCC): tir-occ@novascotia.ca or call 1-844-696-7737


Examples of development forms proposed in the hAF proposal


I’ve prepared a special newsletter about the proposed important and wide-reaching land use bylaw changes that will come before Council at a Public Hearing in late May, probably Tuesday, May 21, 2024 (to be confirmed).  I’ve made a couple of corrections to the website version of this document.

While we are heading to a public hearing and I am keeping an open mind, it is important that residents hear about these proposed changes and what amendments were made at Council.  Read more here: https://wayemason.ca/2024/05/02/district-7-update-revised-centre-plan-update-and-district-7-changes/

Bluenose Marathon weekend is coming up, and aside from the regular road closures on Saturday and Sunday, I wanted to remind folks that the marathon will include a segment on Point Pleasant on Sunday May 19. Bluenose folks were in the park letting people know today and I spoke to them while walking in to the Battle of the Atlantic Memorial this morning.  The marathon is 8am to 2pm on May 19, so please plan accordingly.

Thank you, take care, and talk soon!



Public Meetings, Hearings & Engagement

Housing Accelerator Fund Public Hearing
May 21 and subsequent dates (TBD) | Halifax Council Chambers, Halifax City Hall, Argyle Street

As I mentioned above, it seems likely that the public hearing on the proposed changes to land use in our neighbourhood will take place May 21.  I will send out a separate newsletter once the schedule and content for the hearing is confirmed.

Cogswell Lands Public Open Houses
May 22, 2-4pm and 7-9pm | Halifax Convention Centre Argyle Street.

There will be two public open houses for the Cogswell District Land Use Planning process. They will be held on May 22 from 2-4pm and 7-9pm at the Halifax Convention Centre, Room 604. Staff will be making a presentation outlining the planning process, followed by round table discussions with staff and members of the public.   More on the Cogswell Project here:  https://halifax.ca/cogswell

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 May 7, 10am
  • Tuesday May 21, 10am

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, May 14 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.

  • None scheduled at this time.

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

  • JUNE ST from CUNARD ST to END, starting on 2024-05-01
  • SARAH ST from MORAN ST to JUNE ST, starting on 2024-05-01
  • YOUNG AVE from ATLANTIC ST to SOUTHWOOD DR, starting on 2024-04-23
  • BEDFORD ROW from PRINCE ST to GEORGE ST, starting on 2024-04-23
  • ARGYLE ST from BLOWERS ST to SACKVILLE ST, starting on 2024-04-22
  • ARGYLE ST from SACKVILLE ST to PRINCE ST, starting on 2024-04-22
  • BRUNSWICK ST from ARTZ ST to UNIACKE ST, starting on 2024-04-22
  • SOUTH ST from SOUTH PARK ST to QUEEN ST, starting on 2024-04-15
  • MAYNARD ST from NORA BERNARD ST to FALKLAND ST, starting on 2024-04-16

A reminder – the summer closure of Argyle from Prince to Blowers is now taking place
Cogswell Construction Project – UPDATE
The most disruptive part of this will take place later this summer.  Barrington in front of Scotia Square will be closed, while the last of the old highway infrastructure is removed.  This will be a major disruption for cars and buses.

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

Wellness Funds Grant
Deadline May 6, 5pm

Each year, Nova Scotia Health Authority designates funds for each CHB in the province to distribute as Wellness Funds (WF). This fund is for non-profit groups working to improve health in their communities and must address the health priorities identified by the CHBs in their current community health plan. More: https://www.communityhealthboards.ns.ca/wf-intro

Mental Health Week
May 6 to 10

Mental Health Week is an opportunity to raise awareness about the importance of mental health for Canadians. Mental health is an essential part of overall health and well-being, and it is crucial to take care of our mental health just as we take care of our physical health. In Canada, mental health issues affect a significant number of individuals, with 1 in 5 Canadians experiencing a mental health problem or illness each year. During Mental Health Week, Canadians are encouraged to prioritize their mental health and to seek support if needed. By doing so, we can promote a healthier and more resilient society.  For more information visit https://cmha.ca/mental-health-week/

Municipal and CSAP Candidate Information Sessions
May 13- August 12, 2024 | Various Locations

Interested in running in the 2024 Municipal and Conseil scolaire acadien provincial (CSAP) Election? You’re invited to attend an upcoming candidate information session. The sessions will take place on the following dates:

  • Mon. May 13 | 2 and 6 p.m. | Halifax Central Library
  • Wed. May 29 | 6 p.m. | Musquodoboit Valley Bicentennial Theatre
  • Wed. June 5 | 6 p.m. | Virtual session on Zoom (register to elections@halifax.ca by June 4)
  • Thu. June 20 | 2 and 6 p.m. | Dartmouth North Community Centre
  • Wed. July 10 | 6 p.m. | Prospect Road Community Centre
  • Mon. August 12 | 6 p.m. | Henry G. Bauld Centre

Learn more here.

Moose Hide Campaign Day
May 16

Moose Hide Campaign Day is on May 16, and is a day of ceremony where all Canadians are called to join together to take a stand against violence towards women and children and to take practical steps for our collective journey of reconciliation. It is an Indigenous-led grassroots movement of men, boys and all Canadians – standing up to end violence against women and children.  You can join the Halifax walk on May 16 by gathering at Grand Parade starting at noon. The walk will be starting at Peace and Friendship Park in front of the Westin Hotel on Hollis Street. Walking along Barrington Street. More information can be found by visiting their website.

Emergency Preparedness Week
May 6 to 11 | Various Locations

Are you and your family equipped to handle any unexpected situations that may arise? Residents have a big role to play when it comes to ensuring their own safety. If an emergency happens in your community, it may take emergency workers some time to get to you. You should be prepared to take care of yourself and your family for a minimum of 72 hours. This week serves as a great reminder to get prepared by:

  • Checking your 72-hour emergency kit
  • Knowing your key contacts
  • Knowing the support services available in your area
  • Where to find accurate information to stay informed

To stay informed about emergencies and operations, residents are encouraged to sign up for hfxALERT, the municipality’s mass notification system. Subscribers may receive urgent and non-urgent notifications

International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia
May 17 | Various Locations

The International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia is recognized annually on May 17 as it was on this day in 1990 that homosexuality was declassified as a mental disorder by the World Health Organization. Everyone has the right to be wholly themselves and we all share a responsibility to actively promote equity, diversity and inclusion and to stand against the prejudice, discrimination, stigma, hostility and violence experienced by the 2SLGBTQ+ community. More info here: https://www.unfpa.org/events/international-day-against-homophobia-transphobia-and-biphobia

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

Canada Summer Jobs 2023
Available Now | Online

Youth 15-30 can now apply for the federal government’s Canada Summer Jobs program, as the hiring period for 2023 has launched! This is your chance to gain experience and put your skills to use to help your community! Canada Summer Jobs aims to help younger Canadians develop the skills and experience to transition successfully into the labour market.  Keep an eye out here for the many opportunities that will be posted here:
https://www.jobbank.gc.ca/youth. New jobs will be added regularly as they are approved for funding by the Canada Summer Jobs program.

Get your taxes done at a free tax clinic – Government of Canada
Do you need help with your tax return? You may be eligible for help at a free tax clinic if you have a modest income and a simple tax situation. A free tax clinic is a place where eligible people can get their tax returns done for free by volunteers. They are hosted by community organizations across Canada through the Community Volunteer Income Tax Program (CVITP) and the Income Tax Assistance – Volunteer Program (ITAVP) in Quebec. For more info visit https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/tax/individuals/community-volunteer-income-tax-program/need-a-hand-complete-your-tax-return.html

The Election Office is hiring!
The Election Office is currently recruiting for eight full-time, temporary Election Area Officers!  Are you passionate about democracy and eager to play an important role in your community? Join the municipality’s Election Office, where you’ll have the opportunity to play a direct role in ensuring a fair, accessible and efficient 2024 Municipal and Conseil scolaire acadien provincial (CSAP) Election.  Read the job description and apply here.  More information about the upcoming election can be found by visiting our website.

The municipality is offering paid 18-month internships for new graduates interested in a career in municipal public service. The Bridging the Gap program provides training and development opportunities to candidates who have graduated from a recognized post-secondary institution within the last 24 months including those who are scheduled to graduate before the internship start date. The program is designed to provide experiential learning and maximum professional exposure to interns in their chosen field of study, while exploring the benefits of working for the municipality. Candidates will learn about government policy, operations, administration, services and planning. Additional information about the Bridging the Gap program can be found at halifax.ca/bridgingthegap.

Are you a student or young adult looking for a summer job that offers more than minimum wage? Check out the variety of opportunities available with Parks & Recreation. We offer:

  • Fun work culture
  • Wage ranges from $17-$20 per hour
  • Free evenings and weekends (for specific jobs)
  • Interesting jobs in aquatics, inclusion and recreation
  • Limited travel with jobs available in urban, suburban and rural communities
  • Opportunity to work outdoors and in an environment that promotes health, wellness and physical activity

For more information, visit our website https://www.halifax.ca/about-halifax/employment/seasonal-youth-employment-recreation.

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.

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.ht

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.