Lake Banook Blue Green Algae: This summer has brought a fresh challenge for Lake Banook: blue green algae. Blue green algae is a naturally occurring algae. It usually isn’t a problem, but with enough nutrients and heat it can form dense blooms. Given the aquatic weed growth in Banook and the prevalence of e-coli in recent summers, there seems to be a good supply of nutrients in the lakes. Throw in the warmest summer on record and the result this year has been good conditions for blue green algae.
Unfortunately, when blue green algae gets stressed, it can produce toxins that are harmful to people and animals. Symptoms can include itchy skin, watery eyes, headaches, fever, diarrhea, abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting. Young children are at greater risk, but for most people it’s a nuisance. For pets though, it can be deadly. It’s important to not let your dog drink or play in water where algae is present.
HRM collected samples when blooms were first spotted on Lake Banook and they have been sent off for testing. Results were expected last week, but, unfortunately, there have been delays in the laboratory in Alberta. Test results are just a snapshot in time though. HRM’s advice is that no one should swim in any waterway when algae blooms are present. Unfortunately, consultants working on HRM’s Pollution Control Study spotted additional blooms on the lake on Wednesday last week so HRM’s advisory will remain in place.
Since the algae issue arose, the question has been put to me a few times about why the paddling clubs are still active on the lake? First, HRM doesn’t have the ability to close lakes. HRM simply issues advisories so that all lake users can make their own decisions about the risk involved. Second, while it may appear to be business as usual, I know the paddling clubs have taken this very seriously. Swimming lessons have been cancelled, they’ve closed their beaches, and restrictions have been put in place on what boats the young kids can go out in (young kids being more likely to tip). Everything that I have seen from the clubs has demonstrated a reasoned approach to the risk. Ending paddling on Banook completely would be overkill.
Losing half the swimming season on Lake Banook for the second year in a row is really disheartening. I know it has a big impact on a lot of people, my own family included. HRM currently has a Pollution Control Study underway to look at Lake Banook and Lake Mic Mac. Results are due back this year, which should give us a better idea of what’s going on in the lakes and, importantly, what we can do about it.
Transit Tickets: If you were on social media at all over the last few weeks, you probably caught the news that Halifax Transit is retiring our tiny old pink tickets and replacing them with a larger “bill sized” version. The tickets are being replaced as part of a phased modernization of the fare collection system. It’s the last big piece of Transit’s technology upgrades. So far, most of the tech work has been behind the scenes including routing and scheduling software and the installation of automated vehicle locators on the buses. The farebox is the last big piece of the technology upgrade and it’s probably the most challenging because it has a significant impact on the day-to-day experience for riders.
Halifax Transit’s original plan was to install new fareboxes and introduce smart payment options, like cards or phones, at the same time. Do it all at once. After discussing the approach with vendors, however, it became clear that the complexity involved of doing everything at once simply wasn’t doable. Transit has been forced to break the work into two phases. Upgrading the farebox is a necessary first step to getting to smart payment options like reloadable cards, credit cards, or phone payment.
While the new machines have the capability to incorporate smart payment, they’re not designed for special sized paper tickets. They’re designed to accept cash for fare payment, which means feeding them paper that’s not bill sized increases the chances of errors and jams. The larger format tickets won’t be a problem in the long-run because, once smart payment options are available, ticket use will dramatically decline. Unfortunately, the result is an awkward in between period where smart payment isn’t available and many people are still reliant on tickets. So that’s the explanation for the admittedly silly size. It’s a temporary nuisance. The new tickets are due to arrive in late 2018 or early 2019 with the new fareboxes to follow shortly after.
Bowles Arena Sale: The sale of the Bowles Arena has been completed and the sale price is now publicly available. The rink was sold for $1,395,000 to the adjacent property owner, Atlantic Varsity. You may recall from my past Council Updates that the Bowles was subject to a right-of-first refusal in favour of the adjacent property owner. The right gave the owner the chance to purchase the rink at market value before it could be offered to anyone else. The adjacent owner exercised their right and the $1,395,000 purchase price was established as market value by hiring an independent third-party appraiser.
The good news from the sale is that, as reported by CBC, the private school intends to use the rink as part of their athletic programs. The school will make unused rink time available for community rentals and they intend to develop the vacant lot next door to create a complete campus with indoor field space for baseball and soccer. I know the outcome is disappointing for the Dartmouth Curling Club who had hoped to make the Bowles their new home, but, that possibility was never really in the cards because of the 2012 right-of-first refusal. The failure on HRM’s part was not advising the Club of the right-of-first refusal sooner. Given that the Bowles was never going to be available for community groups to purchase, I’m pleased that the sale to the adjacent owner has resulted in an outcome that keeps the rink in active use. A far better end than having the facility demolished and the site redeveloped for industrial use.
Dartmouth on TV: You may run into film crews in Downtown Dartmouth this week. Filming for the new CBC legal drama, Diggstown, will be taking place on Portland Street, Shore Road, and Alderney. Diggstown follows Marcie Diggs who gives up corporate law to return home and become a legal aid lawyer. The neat part about the show is that Dartmouth isn’t standing in for some other place, the show is actually set here. Dartmouth being Dartmouth. For more information about Diggstown, you can read CBC’s short preview here.
Hal-Con Art Opportunity: Hal-con is pleased to be hosting its first Fantasy Art Exhibition Series this Fall. Art will be on display at the Central Library (Sept 24-Oct 7), Hal-Con (Oct 26-28), and in Dartmouth at the Dart Gallery (Nov 1-15). Anyone can submit a work in one of the three themes: (1) what inspires you (2) community portraits, (3) dreams. The deadline for submissions is August 31. For more details, checkout Hal-Con’s site here.
Prince Albert Road/Glenwood Development
September 6, 6:00 pm
Mic Mac Amateur Aquatic Club
The September meeting of Harbour East – Marine Drive Community Council will be held at the Mic Mac Amateur Aquatic Club instead of its usual space in Alderney Gate in order to accommodate a public hearing for the revised development proposal at the corner of Prince Albert Road and Glenwood Avenue. This proposal has a lengthy backstory. It started as a 15 storey building that was rejected by Council back in 2012. It was then redesigned as a 10 storey building, that then became 9, and is now down to 8 (7 plus penthouse). I wrote about it when it came to Council back in December and about the rezoning and rejection of the the 9 storey version. You can read those blog entries here and here. Anyone who wishes to address Council about this development can do so on September 6th. You can read the staff report here.
Consultation on the design of the public spaces and on urban design rules for redevelopment of the Cogswell Interchange lands will take place in various locations throughout September. The handiest venue for District 5 is the Alderney Farmers’ Market this Saturday. If you can’t make it to the market, there will also be pop-up opportunities in September at the Sunnyside Mall, Cole Harbour Place, North by Night Market on Gottingen, Tantallon Public Library, Keshen Goodman Library, and the Spryfield Farmer’s Market. A multi-day design charrette will also be held in late September (24-27). Complete details on the plan and opportunities to provide input are available on the Cogswell Shape Your City page here. You can also read my blog entry from June 5’s Council meeting where Council set direction for the Cogswell here.
HRM is seeking feedback on citizen priorities and thoughts on the municipality’s various programs and services. The survey has been sent to 12,000 randomly selected households and now it has been made available online for anyone who wants to provide input. You can fill it out here.
Village on Main Surveys
The Main Street Business Improvement District is carrying out a number of surveys to gather public feedback as they move forward with their Age Friendly Community Plan. The surveys cover a variety of topics from housing, to transportation, to public spaces. You can fill them out here.
To keep you better informed about what is going on at Council, I’m writing a regular blog after each meeting. Each of my entries is about what I saw as noteworthy from a District 5 perspective and my views on the issues. We might not always agree, but I think it’s important to provide a record of how I voted and why.
Council Update August
I fell a bit behind on my blog this summer so this update is a combination of our July 31 and August 14 meetings. Some items of note included the Forum, Affordable Housing Workplan, and the Green Network Plan. Read about it here
Council Update July 30
A special entry I did in advance of our July 31 meeting to explain my change of heart around the changes to HRM’s Nuisance Bylaw. Read about it here
Council Update July 17
My original thoughts behind the Nuisance Bylaw changes. The “before I realized what a large part the designated smoking areas will play” edition, plus stadium staff report request, Road Safety Plan and more. Read about it here
Dartmouth Senior Citizens Club
Findlay Community Centre, 11 Eliot Street
The Dartmouth Senior Citizens Club on Elliot Street offers a variety of weekly programs including knitting and croche (1:00 Tuesdays), crib (1:00 Fridays) and bingo (1:00 Mondays).
Touch Tank Shell Painting
August 29, 3:00 – 6:30 pm
Touch Tank, Alderney Landing
Last chance to take part in shell painting and other crafts at the Touch Tank. A donation of $2/person gets admission to the Hut and a shell to paint. The Tank is open Wednesday – Sunday and will close on Labour Day for the season. Still time to be one of the over 7,000 who visited the Touch Tank this year.
Avengers Infinity War
August 31, 7:30 – 11:00 pm
Dartmouth North Outdoor Library, 105 Highfield Park Drive
They’ll be an outdoor showing of the Avengers and bbq at the Dartmouth North Library on Friday. BBQ will begin at 7:30 and the Avengers will start at 9:00. The Halifax Pop Explosion will be on hand to provide music during the BBQ.
Sullivan’s Pond Concert Series:
Sundays until September 16, 2:00 pm
Sullivan’s Pond Bandshell
There is still time to catch the Sullivan’s Pond concert series. Three more concerts on Sundays to carry us through to mid-Setpember. Thanks to the Downtown Dartmouth Business Commission for organizing the summer concert series and to Weldon MacInnes and the other sponsors for stepping forward to make this part of summer in Dartmouth happen. Listing of bands below:
- September 2: Jazz Drive – Jazz
- September 9: Global Centric – Brass Band
- September 16: Marcell Symods as Slick & Slide – covers with style 70’s to modern day music
For more information, please call 902-466-2997
The Princess Bride
September 2, 8:00 pm
Christ Church, 61 Dundas Street
The last outdoor movie night at Christ Church will feature the cult classic, The Princess Bride. Admission is free, but a donation to the food bank is greatly appreciated.
Cole Harbour Harvest Festival
Cole Harbour Place
Lots going on in Cole Harbour on Saturday the 8th as the 11th annual Harvest Festival takes place. Festival beings with a parade down Cumberland/Forest Hills Parkway, and includes a market, music, fireworks and entertainment.
Dartmouth North Corn Boil
September 8, 1:30 – 3:30 am
Albro Lake Beach
The last of the politician summer circuit, Susan LeBlanc will host a community corn boil at Albro Lake Beach on September 8. Corn, hot dogs and cake. RSVPs appreciated by calling 902-463-6670 or emailing susanleblancMLA@bellaliant.com.
September 8, 8:00 pm
Findlay Community Centre, 26 Elliot Street
Another end of summer outdoor movie opportunity. The Findlay Wall presents the kids movie Sing. Admission is free.
September 10, 2:00 – 4:00 pm
Alderney Gate Library
A biographical drama about Philippe Petit who walked on a tightrope between the twin towers or the World Trade Centre in New York. Admission is free.
The Dragon Who Lived Downstairs
September 12, 10:00 – 10:30 am
Alderney Gate Library
A puppet show that demonstrates that not all dragons are wicked, some are kind. Perfect for preschoolers and the young at heart. Free admission, tickets are given out 30 minutes in advance.
2018 Pan American Canoe Sprint Championships
September 13 – 16
The Pan American Canoe Sprint Championships will take place on Lake Banook this September. 250 athletes from 20 different countries plus support staff will gather to compete in Dartmouth for this Pan American Games qualifier and Paracanoe championship. It’ll no doubt be a lively couple of days on the Lake.
Walk for Seniors
September 15, 9:00 am – noon
Dartmouth Senior’s Service Centre, 45 Ochterloney Street
The Dartmouth Senior Service Centre’s fourth annual walk for senior’s will take place on September 15th. Walkers will set out from the Centre on Ochterloney. For information you can contact the Centre at email@example.com
Bluedrop Slo Pitch Tournament
September 15, 8:00 am – 7:00 pm
Carl Morash Field, 5 Mount Hope Avenue
Bluedrop’s annual slo pitch tournament will take place in September. The tournament brings together teams from various local businesses for a fun day of team building and baseball. The event is a fundraiser for the North Dartmouth Outreach Resource Centre Society. To enter a team, donate or sponsor the event please contact Dan Didham at firstname.lastname@example.org
September 15, 8:00 am – 11:00 pm
North Woodside Community Centre, 230 Pleasant Street
The 60s, 70s and 80s are alive and well at the North Woodside Community Centre. Door prizes, snacks, bar service. Admission is $10 and tickets can be purchased by phone at 902-463-9276. For more information, email email@example.com.
Evergreen Writers Group
September 19, 10:15 am – 12:15 pm
Alderney Gate Library
The third Wednesday of each month is the time that the Evergreen Writers Group gathers together at the Alderney Gate Library for discussion, feedback, guest speakers and workshops for aspiring writers.
Dartmouth Colour Festival
September 22, 12:00 – 5:30 pm
Alderney Landing is launching a new event, the Dartmouth Colour Festival. Come play with colours, dance, enjoy music and play games. Free admission.