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My comments on the draft Common Master Plan

I submitted this as an email to staff as a part of the ongoing review and creation of a Common Master Plan. You should comment too!  More info here at Shapeyourcity. This is a great plan for a great space and I love the direction.  In no way take my many comments as a rejection of all this great work! But it is a plan and a space worthy of serious thought and input. It – read more –

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Cenotaph and Afghan War dates

In this blog I am sharing the email I have developed that summarizes why Council has made the correct decision regarding the Afghan War dates on the Cenotaph in Grand Parade. I think it is unfortunate that we are debating this for the third time on Tuesday. Thank you for the email. It is not the first I have received, so I have assembled this response to try and cover off on the varied concerns – read more –

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MYTHBUSTERS – are rural assessments hiding urban/suburban average assessed values in HRM?

During this year’s budget debate some folks on twitter convinced some councillors of the following myth – the average assessment in HRM was artificially low because the rural home values were bringing down the average, hiding how high taxes in the urban/suburban assessments were becoming. I asked staff to review this and they found the urban service average is $249,900 (this is for the urban and suburban area on the map above), only slightly higher – read more –

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Poor state of sidewalk snow removal

I wanted post a quick note to acknowledge the poor state of sidewalks in Halifax right now. The quality of snow removal this last storm has not been acceptable. The standards the municipality has adopted for sidewalk snow clearing are not very good, allowing up to a day and a half before residential sidewalks have to be cleared, and this week even those weak standards have not been met. This has to change. While the – read more –

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Cogswell Notes – June 2018

Note: These are my speaking notes from the Council meeting where the 60% design was approved. I am posting them because I find it interesting how the Gehl report, available this week, pretty much lines up with the concerns that were being raised at Council a year and a half ago. Resources: I put all the Cogswell Reports together in one place so they are available in this dropbox folder. Very excited to see this – read more –

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An update on smoking and cannabis

I’ve been sending variations on this post as an email to people who have contacted me with questions but I wanted to share it more broadly: I understand the concerns I hear from the public about the proposed rules around smoking in public places. Really, Halifax has done a horrible job communicating what the intent of the by-law changes and more importantly how we see them being enforced. The two biggest complaints I have heard – read more –

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A quick update on the CFL stadium discussion

A quick update on the CFL stadium discussion. I will vote for a staff report, because there are options that may be worth exploring and we are not committed to anything, and this means future discussions are public. Under no circumstance is HRM considering building and operating a stadium, but we are being asked to help pay for it if it happens. What form that support could be is still an open question. My support – read more –

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Council Motion regarding bullying, sexual harassment, and racial discrimination

I was pleased to move the following and see it adopted unanimously last night.  More on the discussion here. That Halifax Regional Council expresses support for the actions and response from the Chief Administrative Officer, June 11, 2018, regarding HRM’s commitment to a safe workplace, responding to the Employment Systems Review and the Human Rights Commission report, and; That the Chief Administrative Officer be directed to provide quarterly public progress reports to Regional Council, subject – read more –

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For the record

The following apologies were accepted by Council today and complaints against me dismissed.  The dashes are where the HRM Privacy Office has redacted the apology to protect the identity of the complainant. Apology 1 – While I admit I have at times let my strong feelings about this issue influence the way I have expressed my disagreement, my sincere intention is not to speak against Councillor Whitman as a person or a colleague but to – read more –

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Cornwallis Committee Timeline

  October 3, 2017 – Regional Council adopts administrative order to establish Cornwallis Committee, requests names from the Assembly, Mayor writes the Chief’s to request six names. November 9 – letter received from the Assembly by Mayor’s office, forwarded to Clerk’s Office November 20 2017 – is received by HRM Government Relations (GREA) from the Clerk’s Office with the Assembly’s nominees. December 1 2017 – a potential issue is identified by GREA staff working on – read more –

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Housing Motion and Speaking Notes

Today I moved a motion that I hope results in a really deep dive into whether the municipality should resume administering affordable housing on behalf of the province.  Below is the motion, and my speaking notes (check against delivery).   The motion, now passed at committee, goes to Regional Council for debate. Motion as amended (check against approved report) (passed 5 to 1): That the Community Planning and Economic Development Standing Committee recommend that Halifax Regional – read more –

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Car Noise – Feedback to Allnovascotia UPDATED

I know a lot of residents are concerned about vehicle noise and the disruption the renewed use of after market mufflers is causing.  Unfortunately there are very limited effective tools right now to issue tickets.  I wrote a short note updating Allnovascotia owner David Bentley in response to his editorial yesterday, but ANS didn’t publish it.  Because so many people are have questions about these issues I’m posting it here. UPDATE – just recieved this – read more –

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Sidewalks in downtown, an update

Let’s face it, the unusually high number of construction projects have made parts of downtown a challenge to navigate and enjoy this summer. For my own sanity I put together a list of projects underway right now in the downtown core (1 square km from Cogswell to the Superstore, waterfront to South Park) with anticipated dates that the sidewalk will be back, with no scaffolding over it. Note – these are approximate!  Other projects will – read more –