E-News COVID Updates #12

As COVID restrictions continue to ease, transit is restoring additional service. Here are the changes coming for Monday, June 22:

  • Regular weekday schedule resumes on routes 1, 2, 3, 4, 8, 9, 14, 21, 28, 29, 39, 51, 53, 56, 58, 60, 61, 66, 68, 72, and 87
  • Regular service on the 123 and 135
  • Additional weekday trips on the 330 and 370

The Alderney Ferry resumed all day operations on a 30 minute schedule from 6:30 am to 10:00 pm last week. Woodside continues to operate on a 30 minute schedule during peak periods on weekdays. Effective immediately, transit is increasing the capacity of each ferry by 10 people. The new maximum number of passengers is 50.

Transit is working on a plan to resume fare collection, but for now, fare payment remains suspended.

Slow Streets. Photo Tim Krochak

HRM’s Slow Streets program is expanding with the addition of several new streets, including three more in Dartmouth. Starting today, Pine Street, Irishtown Road, and Queen Street are being designated as Slow Streets.

The idea of Slow Streets is to eliminate through traffic to create more space for pedestrians and cyclists. The initial selection of Slow Streets came from the Integrated Mobility Plan, specifically streets and corridors identified in the Plan for future active transportation projects. In Dartmouth that meant Dahlia, Slayter, and Chappell. The new streets, Pine, Irishtown, and Queen, are being added because they connect to that first batch, creating a larger Slow Streets network.

Dartmouth’s Slow Streets Network

In addition to adding more Slow Streets, HRM will also be increasing the number of local traffic only signs used to mark the Slow Streets network. I heard from several people who requested the intersection of Pine and Dahlia be marked and I also heard from residents around Slayter requesting that side streets that connect to Victoria be marked. Hopefully the addition of Pine to the Slow Streets program and some additional signage will make the existing Slow Streets work even better.

The Sportsplex’s reopening plan has been approved by the Province and details have now been released. The Sportsplex will reopen on June 24. The hours will be 8:00 am – 8:00 pm on weekdays. Weekend hours will follow in the future (announcement planned for July 3).

During the first phase of reopening, the track, fitness centre, racquetball and squash courts, fitness classes, and pickleball will be available. The gym will also be open for some family bubble activities. Washrooms will be open, but locker rooms won’t be. The pool and child minding will remain closed for now.

Access to the Sportsplex will be by pre-booked time slots only. If you show up without a booking, you’ll be turned away. Bookings on MyRec will go live at 9:00 am on June 22. For the first two weeks, only people who were members of the Sportsplex before it closed in March will be able to book a time slot. This is because the Sportsplex needs time to work through the new procedures with a smaller audience before they can confidently open things back up to the public as a whole. General public access will resume on July 6.

As of July 6, the Sportsplex will charge a limited fee. Each visit will cost $5 for the general public, $3 for past members, and $10 per family for gym bookings. The walking track will remain free. The Sportsplex won’t resume monthly billing for memberships until the facility fully reopens.

For more information on the Sportsplex’s reopening plan check out their FAQ and Re-Opening Guide.

Kiwanis Playground, Ferry Terminal Park. Photo: Hello Dartmouth

With the Province’s announcement yesterday, all municipal playgrounds have reopened. HRM staff are removing any caution tape that still remains on the equipment. Go play!

Summer Camps:
HRM has released details on what summer day camps are going to look like in COVID times. HRM had originally planned to not offer any day camps at all because of the restrictions around gatherings, and the challenge inherent in maintaining physical distancing among children. An added complication for HRM is that securing staff this year is also challenging.

What HRM has come up with is a limited program that will try to spread the greatly reduced camp capacity around. Camps will be available for children ages 6-12 in the morning or afternoon. The intent is to run camps, mainly outdoors, where it will be easier to maintain physical distancing. Mornings will run from 9:00 am – noon and afternoons from 1:30 pm – 4:30 pm. Kids will be divided into groups of seven with one leader per group. Each kid will be allowed to attend one morning or one afternoon per week. Moving to half-days and limiting kids to one camp a week allows HRM to maximize the number of participants.

HRM won’t be offering camps for pre-school children because the municipality isn’t confident that we can maintain physical distancing with the under six crowd. Virtual opportunities will be available for youth and young adults 13-24.

Registration for July’s camps begins June 23.

Green Cart Collection:
As part of managing the financial fallout of COVID-19, Council had to cut a lot of spending from HRM’s budget. One of the programs that was cut was weekly green cart pickup during the summer. Green carts will still be emptied of course, it’ll just be a biweekly rather than a weekly schedule. With summer heat, there is the potential that things could be smellier than usual. HRM is offering the following advice on minimizing odours:

  • Place wet food waste in boxboard, or wrap using one sheet of newspaper
  • Line both your mini-bin and green cart with a paper bag
  • Empty your mini-bin daily and place the green cart out for collection even if isn’t full
  • Food waste can be stored in the freezer until collection day
  • Store the green cart in a ventilated, shady location

HRM will also be running a series of free webinars on green bins and composting. The first one will take place this morning at 10:00 am. For more information and to join today’s webinar or future ones, visit HRM’s website here.