E-News January 2024


Sawmill River
As I wrote in December’s edition, all may have seemed quiet over the last little while on the Sawmill River project, but behind the scenes a lot has been in motion. Here’s the latest plan which shows the new bridge and road into Dartmouth Cove, an active transportation trail along Alderney/Prince Albert Road, new park space at what is now Mill Lane, a new pond at the foot of Starr Park/Canal Greenway, slimmed down versions of both Prince Albert Road and Alderney Drive, and Irishtown Road turned into a cul-du-sac.

Latest plan for the Sawmill River and some reconfigured Downtown Dartmouth streets (click to enlarge)

I really like what I’m seeing, especially the possibility of having an area alongside the new pond where people can get close to the water. That the river was at the bottom of a steep bank and therefore had to be fenced, was a frequent request for improvement in Phase 2. Phase 1 was more constrained in terms of space, but in Phase 2, there is space alongside Prince Albert Road where HRM and Halifax Water can hopefully do better.

HRM and Halifax Water will be holding two information sessions at the Findlay Community Centre tomorrow to go over the new design. Idea is to give folks a chance to ask questions and provide feedback in case there is anything that has been missed. Details on the Information Meeting for Phase 2 are as follows:

Findlay Community Centre
Wednesday, January 17, 2:00 – 4:00 pm
Wednesday, January 17, 7:00 – 9:00 pm

This is a pivotal project for Downtown Dartmouth. I’m excited to see that after many years of work, this project is very close to being tendered! The start of construction is a possibility in 2024!

Former St. Paul’s Church is Dartmouth’s Newest Shelter

Homelessness Crisis
The situation around homelessness in HRM continues to be challenging. It’s cold and there simply isn’t enough indoor space for everyone. The latest news is that HRM and the Province are working together to open a new shelter in Halifax at the Forum.

Shelters are a Provincial service and the Province typically contracts service providers, like 902 Man Up, to operate Nova Scotia’s various shelters. HRM is in a supporting role, assisting the Province with services to shelters such as garbage removal and building maintenance.

In the fall, I was pleased that the Province finalized arrangements to transform the old St. Paul’s Church on Windmill Road in District 5 into a shelter. With nearly 50 people living outdoors at Green Road and Geary Street, there were enough homeless folks in Dartmouth alone to fill the space. My concern has been that a single new shelter won’t provide enough space for everyone since there are also large numbers of people living outdoors in Halifax and Sackville. A single Dartmouth location wasn’t going to work! Discussions between HRM and the Province have been ongoing and I’m pleased that arrangements were finalized last week to transform the Halifax Forum’s Multipurpose Room into a new Halifax shelter.

Converting the Forum’s Multipurpose Room to a shelter will mean some disruptions to HRM programming, and some lost rental revenue, but there really isn’t much choice in the matter. People are living outside because there is nowhere for them to go and attempts to find a suitable space and a willing landlord on the Peninsula have failed. Taking over the Forum’s space isn’t a great option, but in the here and now, there isn’t really an alternative. I’m hoping that opening the Forum will take some of the pressure off of the shelter on Windmill Road as well, creating indoor space for some of the remaining folks who are still outside in Dartmouth.

Over the last few years, I haven’t made a secret of my frustrations with the Province around homelessness. I do have to give them some credit here though. There has been a fair bit of action over the last few months including the Forum, the shelter on Windmill Road, the tiny homes in Sackville, the announcement of some new public housing, bringing in pallet housing, and the deal to lease the old Waverley Inn. The Province seems to have finally woken up to the grim reality of the crisis and has taken some welcome action. It should have happened sooner, but better late than never. Hopefully the attention will be sustained because there is a lot more to do in terms of creating permanent affordable housing and a lot of root causes that rest with Provincial social services that need to be addressed. The best shelter or emergency space doesn’t replace the need for an actual home or make up for a lack of services for mental health, addiction, youth in care, public housing, and well-below poverty level assistance rates. Still, some credit is due for the welcome change in direction over the last few months.

HRM’s First Electric Bus. Photo: HRM

Electric Buses
HRM passed a major milestone in December with the delivery of HRM’s first electric bus. This isn’t a test model, it’s bus 1 of 60 that HRM is buying from Nova Bus.

The electrification of HRM’s bus fleet will begin with routes that operate out of the Ragged Lake Transit Garage. HRM recently undertook a major retrofit and expansion of Ragged Lake and it can now support electric buses. The Feds and Province helped pay for the Ragged Lake project and the Nova Bus order through the federal infrastructure program. The Feds contributed $45 million, the Province $37 million and HRM $30 million. To fully electrify HRM’s bus fleet, HRM will need to retrofit the Burnside Transit Centre, which is too small for the existing diesel bus fleet and isn’t set up to support electric charging. Hopefully, federal and provincial funding will also be available for that major project!

I have received a few questions about electric buses so I thought a FAQ would be in order:

Q: Why are we buying electric buses when our power grid depends on fossil fuels? Doesn’t that eliminate the environmental benefit?
A: The key thing to keep in mind is that an electric bus, even if it’s powered by fossil fuels, is still more efficient than a diesel bus. It’s still a net gain for the environment. The ideal, however, is an electric bus powered by clean electricity and Nova Scotia’s grid, unfortunately, does still include a lot of coal and natural gas.

Nova Scotia Power Energy Sources. Photo: NSP

Renewable energy generation, however, has been steadily growing and is making up an increasingly larger portion of our grid. If the Province and Nova Scotia Power deliver on the commitment to get to 80% renewables by 2030, the environmental benefit of electric buses in HRM will improve further still.

Q: Electric buses are more expensive. Why are you wasting tax money on them?
A: Let’s put aside the environmental benefits for a second. It’s true that electric buses do cost more upfront than diesel, but over their lifetime, they cost significantly less to operate in both fuel and maintenance. HRM is also not scrapping perfectly good diesel buses. HRM replaces buses that are at the end of their lifespan every year and the municipality expects that the new electric buses will replace diesel buses that were due for replacement anyway. What makes electric buses a very clear financial winner for HRM though is the federal and provincial funding. The funding from the other orders of government means that the municipality isn’t paying more than we would have if we had bought diesel, but we still get the ongoing operating savings. Electrification is good for the environment and good for the municipal pocketbook.

Q: I have heard Edmonton’s electric bus project has turned into a real mess. Could the same thing happen to HRM?
A: No. HRM has done on the ground testing to ensure that the electric buses that HRM is buying will perform in our climate and on our routes. A Nova Bus was brought here in February 2022 and Mother Nature obliged with -20 conditions to test it in. HRM was happy with how the bus performed. HRM has also learned from cities that are further ahead on electrification and has adopted measures to mitigate risk, including stocking replacement parts and engaging with key stakeholders, such as Nova Scotia Power. The company HRM is dealing with is also fundamentally different than the one that won Edmonton’s contract. Nova Bus has been operating since 1979 whereas Proterra was a relatively new company that had only built a few buses before it went bankrupt. Of the 199 buses that Proterra built, 60 of them were bought by Edmonton! Nova Bus is an entirely different company with a much bigger scale and track record. Nova Bus has orders for thousands of electric buses from all over North America. The two situations are fundamentally different.

Electrifying HRM’s bus fleet makes sense financially, and is good for the environment. Electrification will also make our urban streets, like Spring Garden Road, Gottingen, and Alderney Drive, much more pleasant places to be when the familiar rumble and fumes from diesel gives way to the hum of electric. This project is very much worth it.

HRM Fitness Centres
Recycling that New Year’s resolution to exercise yet again? Looking for a low-cost, low commitment option? Did you know that besides HRM’s big facilities like the Sportsplex, the municipality actually has a number of smaller fitness centres? It’s true. One of them is right here in District 5 at the Findlay Community Centre. The Findlay’s basement fitness centre has no frills, but it has basic cardio and weight equipment available for a low, low price and the community centre offers some group classes as well. It might be just the no-pressure solution to that perpetual resolution!

Membership TypeAdultYouth/SeniorsHousehold
One Month Paid in Full$25.50$19.13$45.90
Monthly Roll Over$25.50$19.13$45.90
Year Paid in Full$280.50$210.12$504.90
Day Pass$2.55$2.55N/A
10 Visit Pass$25.50$19.13N/A
Drop-in Programs$5.10$5.10$5.10

For a complete list of facilities, visit HRM’s website here.

Sue Goyette, HRM’s Current Poet Laureate

Poet Laureate Applications
HRM is seeking the municipality’s next Poet Laureate. The Poet Laureate is a resident poet, storyteller or spoken word artist whose work is recognized by their peers and is connected and relevant to HRM’s citizens. The Poet Laureate is an ambassador for poetry, literature and the arts, and attends events across HRM to promote and attract people to the arts. The position is intended to broadly reflect the interests, issues, and perspectives of HRM. 

The next Poet Laureate’s three year term will begin on April 1, 2024. The position includes a $5,000 per year honorarium. Applications are open until Tuesday, Feb. 16. For more information and to apply, visit HRM’s website here or contact Lindsay Cory, Community Developer – Public Art at lindsay.cory@halifax.ca or 902-456-8384.

Halifax Regional Police Recruitment
HRM is accepting applications for the police department’s fall 2024 cadet class. The 38 week course is offered out of the training school in Dartmouth. Graduates may be offered employment with Halifax Regional Police as full-time officers or as reserves depending on availability. The deadline to apply is February 28. For more information, visit HRM’s website here.

Summer Job Recruitment
Still with recruitment, HRM is launching it’s annual summer hiring drive for Parks and Rec. Parks and Rec hires for a range of positions from aquatics to recreational day camps. The jobs are ideal for students or young adults who like to work outdoors and with kids. Pay ranges from $17 – $20 an hour. For more information and to apply, visit HRM’s webpage here or visit one of HRM’s job fairs.

Community Grants
HRM is now accepting 2024 community grants applications. Non-profits can receive funding of up to $5,000 for a project grant or up to $25,000 for a capital grant. Funding is awarded by category: (1) arts and crafts, (2) diversity and inclusion, (3) environment, (4) emergency assistance and neighbourhood safety, (5) history, (6) housing, (7) leisure, and (8) recreation. Recipients from 2023 in and around District 5 included the South End Baptist Church, and the Dartmouth Crossing Speed Skating Club.

I would encourage all non-profits to take a look at the Community Grants program. It’s money that will be awarded to someone, why not you? You can check out the eligibility criteria in the program booklet online on the municipal grants page here. Applications are due by April 1!

District 5 Tree Pruning
You might see crews out and about over the next several weeks trimming trees. HRM’s regular cyclical pruning program is underway. HRM visits each street tree every seven years to do routine pruning. The goal of the proactive pruning program is to shape a tree’s canopy and address any issues that might be developing before they become problematic.

HRM’s tree pruning program primarily takes place in the winter because it’s easier to spot branches that are in poor shape when there aren’t leaves in the way, the trees are dormant lessening the stress of pruning, and there are no birds nesting in them. HRM visits each tree every seven years, but there will always be instances where the need for pruning and maintenance that doesn’t quite fit into that window. If you note issues with a tree, please still call it into 311.

Unsafe ice in 2023. Photo: CTV

Ice Thickness Testing Discontinued
HRM is ended it’s seasonal ice testing program. The reality is that the number of days that testing indicated lakes and ponds in HRM were safe to skate on has been steadily dwindling over the years. Last year, there wasn’t a single day where testing found safe conditions for outdoor skating anywhere in HRM. It’s not a good use of money ($24,000) or staff resources to test ice that is rarely, if ever, safe to skate on. Parks and Rec will redirect the cash and staff time into clearing snow and ice on park paths.

For anyone that still might be doubting the reality of climate change, consider that Dartmouth was once a place where ice was harvested, hockey may have been invented, and where the lakes were an integral part of winter recreation, even supporting horse and car races. Those days are well behind us now. Winter isn’t what it was.

Public Consultation

2024 Budget
The Process
The 2024 Budget deliberations are about to kick into gear in earnest at City Hall. Budget season is one of the busiest times in the municipal calendar because of how involved HRM’s budget making process is. It starts with Council giving staff direction to prepare a draft budget. Next, each department presents what the draft would mean in their area of responsibility. Council moves motions throughout the department presentations adding potential increases in spending or potential cuts to the budget adjustment list for further consideration. Once all the departments have finished their presentations, Council goes through everything that’s been added to the adjustment list to decide what’s in and what’s out. Final budget approval comes after the adjustment list, but the budget is typically more or less finished on adjustment day. Here’s the schedule for this year’s presentations:

  • Wednesday, January 24 – Budget Direction and Capital Plan
  • Wednesday, January 31 – Corporate Services (CAO’s Office, Finance and Asset Management, Human Resources, Information Technology)
  • Friday, February 2 – Halifax Public Libraries
  • Wednesday, February 7 – Halifax Regional Police and RCMP
  • Friday, February 9 – Public Works
  • Tuesday, February 13 – Planning and Development
  • Wednesday, February 14 – Parks and Recreation
  • Wednesday, February 29 – Transit
  • Friday, March 1 – Fire
  • Wednesday, March 6 – Community Safety, Fiscal Services
  • Tuesday, April 2 – Budget Adjustment List
  • Tuesday, April 23 – Approval

At each budget meeting, there is an opportunity for the public to provide Council with input. Since virtually everything HRM does has some sort of budget impact, it’s really a very open-ended opportunity to come talk to Regional Council about almost anything. If you have something you want to pitch to Council, the best approach is to present on the day that the relevant department is before us. It doesn’t always happen, but I have seen budget presentations change outcomes. I would encourage anyone who is interested to attend. You can sign up or get more information by reaching out to the Clerk’s Department, at clerks@halifax.ca

The Context
I missed doing a Council write up in the lead up to Christmas on December’s budget direction so I thought I would provide some added context on where we are right now. You might have seen news stories about staff recommending a 9.7% increase in the tax bill for 2024, and that Council didn’t accept it. On a superficial level, that’s true, but the reality is a far more nuanced and complicated.

First, I want to be clear that 9.7% is the tax bill, not the tax rate. The tax bill is the combined impact of assessment changes and the rate. It’s how much more revenue HRM is forecasting it needs to balance. For most of the last decade, the tax bill has gone up, but because assessments have grown so rapidly, the actual tax rate has consistently been reduced. HRM talks about the tax bill because it’s a more transparent reflection of what the impact is on people’s wallets, but it’s not the tax rate. It’s not a double whammy of the rate going up 9.7% on top of assessment increases.

Staff are recommending a 9.7% increase in the bill because HRM’s costs are way up. Inflation is chewing into HRM’s bottom line, interest rates are raising borrowing costs, HRM’s labour costs go up every year, and we have a hole in the capital budget around paving. Unfortunately, costs are way up at the exact time that revenues are down. Deed transfer tax revenue is coming in less than projected, leaving a deficit in 2023 and deepening the 2024 hole even further. HRM’s options here are limited and terrible.

HRM Budget Shortfall of $105 million

Last year, Council tried to squeeze the recommended 8.0% down to 4.0% and quickly found that doing so would require painful cuts. These would be cuts that people would notice and when faced with that reality, Council opted not to proceed with many of them (you can see last year’s list of potential cuts here). The result was a final increase in the bill of 5.8%, thanks to a few benign reductions and a large one-time reduction in the paving budget. The problem now is nothing has materially changed since 2023. Council is not going to suddenly find services and programs that can be easily slashed. The easy cuts have all already been made. All that’s left is reductions that will have significant impacts.

So our situation is actually worse than just costs are up and revenues are down, it’s actually costs are up, revenues are down, and the only cuts available are painful and unpopular. Talk about an impossible situation! I don’t want to raise the tax bill 9.7%, but I don’t want to take an axe to core services either.

How does this all tie back to 9.7%? When 9.7% came to Council, Council balked. Many of my colleagues didn’t want to even pass 9.7% as a starting point for deliberations. So Councillor Outhit moved a motion to direct staff to prepare a budget based on Council’s priorities without setting a number. It was a bit of weird motion in that CAO basically indicated staff already planned to do that and the cost is 9.7%. The CAO’s commentary was essentially, 9.7% might change, but if Council wants it to change significantly, direction for a clear alternative would need to be given. Council didn’t do that. So what happened is folks who were uncomfortable with 9.7% voted for the amended motion since it was vague and didn’t actually say 9.7%, and those of us who don’t want to deeply cut city services with an artificially low number voted for it too to since it’s still basically the same thing. 9.7% won’t be the final number, but it’s not going to magically turn into 3% or 4%.

I don’t know how the 2024 budget will turn out, but this isn’t going to be an easy year and whatever the outcome is, whether it’s a large increase in the bill or deep cuts, it won’t be popular.

Reimaging Alderney Landing
Thursday, January 25, 5:30 – 8:30 pm
Alderney Landing

Alderney Landing has engaged Fathom Studios to develop a plan for a reinvigorated Alderney Landing. As part of the plan, Alderney is holding a public session next week. A light supper (soup or seafood chowder) will be provided. Please RSVP via Alderney’s website here.

42 Canal Street
Thursday, March 7, 6:00 pm
Harbour East Community Council Chamber
60 Alderney Drive

Harbour East Community Council will hold a public hearing to consider a development agreement for 42 Canal Street in Dartmouth Cove. The land is part of the future growth node identified in the Centre Plan. The process for future growth nodes is a bit different than a traditional development agreement process that you might have seen before. Rather than a specific building design, development agreements in future growth nodes are used to set the layout for roads and public spaces and apply zoning. The proposal would be to apply the high-density CEN-2 zone to allow for two high-rises. HRM would also secure a public street connection from the end of the soon to be extended Dundas Street over to Maitland Street. For more information, check out the application page here.

Council Update

To keep you 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, November 14
Initiating bylaw changes to the Centre Plan to significantly restrict infilling in the Northwest Arm and what that might mean for similar concerns in Dartmouth Cove. Read about it here.


Downtown Dartmouth Ice Festival
January 26 – 28

Downtown Dartmouth’s Ice Festival returns at the end of January. The weekend festival includes ice carving, games, winter activities, specials at many Dartmouth businesses, live entertainment and music, and more. Visit the DDBC’s website here for more information.


  1. Thanks Sam for a good update. I like the plans for Sawmill Creek. Its good news but then I read your next piece on the budget. Is there any sense that money earmarked for this project will now be used for oh, let’s say Cogswell Exchange, the money pit? How secure is the funding for Sawmill Creek?

    Continuing on the subject of money, as a member of the public, as a tax payer and as a former civil servant it is still difficult for me to accept that with increased taxes, the amount of real estate turn over (deed transfer tax) and the increase in population that the Municipality is in a grave financial crunch. Obviously I don’t have the inside scoop but there is something wrong.

    • Hi Barry. The Sawmill project is pretty safe. Cogswell is already funded (debt) and Sawmill is in draft budget already. Has actually been for a few years. The big remaining hurdle is Halifax Water has to apply to the Utility and Review Board for it because it’s such a big project. Not sure the current status of that, but staff seem optimistic that approval will be secured.

      In terms of the budget, if we were budgeting by taking the lift from rising assessments there would be no problem at all. We would be awash in cash. We don’t budget that way. HRM looks at what the real out of pocket cost is relative to last year. Deed transfer tax revenue is actually down from its peaks.

      Deed Transfer Tax in HRM

  2. 1. HRM cannot cut Police or Fire budgets as HRM is growing and we already have issues with crime and crazy drivers,

    2. HRM cannot expect the urban stations to be staffed with volunteers when presently there are up 12 calls per day for motor vehicle collisions plus dealing with things that are far less preventable like medical calls and actual fires

    3 HRM cannot to force property owners to clear sidewalks (which is HRM property) in front of their properties when last year it was proposed that the 2 downtown areas get the service but not the rest of HRM . It would be a burden financially ($100) and plus went there is a dump greater 10 cm or there is an ice layer its additional pain while the property owner without sidewalk (HRM property) in front gets a break in their taxes. plus the fact that HRM is plowing the street extra wide for those crazy to go faster .HRM cannot download things on to taxpayers . There not enough support from HRM for pedestrian as it is and a disgrace that those taxpayer do not represented as it is like the people who drive cars or bicycles

    • We can certainly cut the police budget, they have yet to demonstrate why they continue to need increased funding year on year, when everyone else is generally expected to make sacrifices. They don’t prevent crime, the respond to it, and quite frankly, they don’t prioritize their targets correctly. At last year’s budget meeting, they presented that they issued 2700 driving violations for the year 2022… That’s 7 per day… I can sit at any intersection or stroad and watch 7 serious violations in less than 10m. I am not scared of being shot or stabbed. That stuff isn’t that random. I’m not scared of my property being stolen, as there is both insurance and the fact that they likely won’t do squat to find it (especially if it’s a bike, which to some is as vital as a car). I am more worried about dying at the hands of a reckless motorist who hasn’t been stopped because of lax enforcement. To be mowed down on a signalized crosswalk (look both ways only works for those with sight), or on a sidewalk, or in a building (See CBC Newfoundland for a story regarding a city councilor of Mount Pearl who was about to enter a Shoppers DM in St. John’s, whose first responder was an owner of a barbershop in Downtown St. John’s, whose shop was struck by cars speeding twice in 4 months… oh, that councilor lost a leg btw, and needs significant rehab).

      The failure to enforce traffic laws costs our economy millions, probably billions, a year due to the Ripples of the various issues poor diving causes.

      First, there is the the time and money lost due to congestion when collisions occur (Ignoring special environmental factors that would likely be classified a true accident – because anything else is a sparkling collision due to factor x). The city grinds to a halt when there’s a collision or many, cuz like pringles, once you pop, you can’t stop… affecting people on buses – who matter more than people in cars for every reason possible.

      We are very much a farming city (given the number of farmers markets) as much as we are a fishing city. Time is freshness, especially when dealing with international sales. Then think of everything else in the supply chain.

      Second is health, in various senses. We can start with the minute, where having to deal with such motorists can lead to high blood pressure, and unfavourable emotional responses. This obviously has effects to oneself, but it’s passed on, with other emotions added, to passengers of the vehicle. In incidents of road rage, the effects are passed on to another motorist, their possible passengers, and anyone else who is witness to it. All of these things have measurable economic impacts, especially if it leads to hospitalisation or death. Because families, right? Ripples, as I was saying.

      Then there is noise pollution (especially motorcycles in areas with a corridor of tall buildings that choose to rev their engines to validate themselves), which again leads down the high blood pressure route, but adds auditory issues as well, both in damage, but in simple ability to have a conversation (More on this later). For those with auditory processing disorders, or conditions like autism (again, I know, not everyone, but it is a thing), these noises can be quite unpleasant, and may prevent or dissuade people from engaging in such spaces. For those with heightened sense of hearing due to other factors, such as hearing aids if cranked up too high (You forget sometimes to turn it down, right? – I do it with my headphones [I was also prescribed hearing aids, so I have experience])
      All of these are lost dollars, lost networking opportunities, lost employment opportunities. Millions of dollars in potential, especially on the autistic side of things)

      This one will be short, as it will be covered in detail later, inhibition of positive health measures, i.e., active transportation as an option. Whilst I acknowledge the city is trying to increase options for those outside a personal motor vehicle, the options aren’t all that great, not connected, and coming too slowly (Look, council is going to get opposition anyways, generally but people with feelings instead of actual valid concerns – their job is to do what’s in the best interest of the population, not necessarily what they want, and as such, should just ignore them – obviously address valid concerns, but loss of parking isn’t one of them – you bought the expensive toy, you should have a place on your property for it, it should not subsidized storage for those who chose to use a generally wasteful method of transport for the majority of people’s actual life styles), until people feel safe (that’s generally indicated by number of children or families using it), people won’t… which contributes to each of problems listed above, and to be listed below.

      Finally the most obvious, which is why it’s last – air pollution. Speeding burns more fuel, which means more pollution. Same applies to particulate matter from tires (Remember, this is scaled over literally thousands of people – Using figures scaled from recent pilot projects in Mount Pearl and Paradise NL for speed cameras and the results they generated – multiplied by vehicle trips). This affects those with lung capacity issues, lung issues or bronchial issues. Also raises blood pressure.

      So, over all, increasing risk of heart attack or stroke on those 3 points alone.
      Now, we examine societally issues as a whole

      People are always saying “Kids don’t play outside anymore”, and the reason given is generally “Because it’s not safe”, and I concur… But it’s not the boogey-monster of the ’80s that many of a certain population think it is (Child abduction and stuff – Stay alert, stay safe! And outro Teddy Ruxpin PSAs come to mind). It’s motorists. A child is much more likely to die at the hands of a motorist in Canada than most anything else, either inside a vehicle themselves (due to car centric design) or outside, with more than one dying in their driveway because the vehicle, likely a modern pickup or an SUV, due to height, getting crushed (That last part is a vehicle design issue and not a criminal issue, but it needed to be said.). As such kids don’t or can’t walk or bike as much anymore (Car-centric design is a prison for the unautoed), which both stifles the child’s freedom, which over the longer term generally robs them of opportunities to grow, resulting in poor mental health. Yes, there are buses, but can’t go to the beach on a bus. Then there is the mental health of the parent. The scheduling, the juggling, trying to organise everything from the basic like just getting to school on time, to after-school things, to weekend things, to… you get the idea. Now make it harder because single parent. Not enforcing motorists for traffic violations leads to all of these future impacts. Which all cost time and money. Which was touched on above referencing families feeling safe biking.

      As noted above in the Noise pollution section. Failure to enforce existing noise pollution laws has an economic impact. Dense areas are particularly sensitive to Noise Pollution.

      The beauty of dense areas like that is because of the pedestrian experiences. People (in general, yes, I know not every one…) like to sit, chat, linger. They like to talk. It why we travel to Europe and ouh and ahh… All of this generates “vibe”, and money.
      When places have a good vibe, they get popular… more money. These are generally pedestrianized or personal vehicle restricted areas. Purposefully loud vehicles kill that vibe. Cities aren’t loud, the anti-socialites are.

      Gonna take a quick detour because it relates.
      When Halifax piloted and crashed the bus only SGR because of lack of enforcement, they also killed potential vibe and therefore loss of income. The common questions that come up regarding pedestrianization, because people can’t think of a solution… or consider how it’s done else where because we’re different and special, we’re HRM… are:

      1. What about delivery drivers? Well, there are side streets, and bikes [Toronto is crazy with eBike Delivery – this causes some other issues, but the effects in comparison are a reasonable trade off until they can get things better sorted as it was kinda sudden].

      2. What about disabled people? Response: What about thèm? Being lazy isn’t being disabled. The only time people bring up disabled people is if they don’t want to walk from a parking spot. They never take in to consideration of accessibility in any other sphere, whether it be access to sidewalks (or wider sidewalks)… especially when they park on them… bike lanes – they are flatter than sidewalks not having a rollercoaster of ups and downs depending on number of drops – also there and handcycles as well for longer distances… also the same demographic to denounce bike lanes too… It doesn’t consider those with disabilities that prevent people from driving be it physical or mental, and the financial implications those disabilities cause… For the comparatively few blue card holders in comparison, certainly exceptions can be made (so long as card fraud is also enforced as it ruins it for everybody)

      3. Business owners: We’ll lose customers. This is false almost always false. Also, just because they are a business “owner” doesn’t mean they know anything, it’s not a title that should be used to validate a concern. Only concrete facts should be addressed.
      Also in a similar demographic that is likely to violate traffic laws, amongst other things.

      But back on point… If HRP and RCMP are refusing to enforce traffic violations, they are costing taxpayers untold millions in potential economic benefits. Things that end up being a preventative, and help further encourage pedestrian and non-car transportation.
      So yeah, totally cut their budget and/or, and make them focus on the biggest, most costly issue in the city, traffic violations.

      (Note: I didn’t cover the following topics as I felt the response was already long and kinda unwieldly, parking enforcement especially delivery and food truck spots, loss of fines of potential fines, after-market window tinting and visibility relating to motorist-to-everyone-else interactions such as a pedestrian trying to see if they’ve been seen, and obscure plate covers for reporting purposes)

      The End, I guess.

  3. Tree Pruning the trees in the Brightwood area again are a hazard to the power infrastructure and properties , one that caused power outages I reperted to HRM and they ignored it

  4. Sam I went to the Sawmill River Info session yesterday. It has apparently been re-branded as Sawmill Creek, AKA as a smooth medium bodied merlot with a hint of black currant and soft oak.

    Also I saw you on TV throwing ice in the lake.

    Thank you for your good work!

    • Thanks! I’m glad Halifax Water isn’t calling it the Sullivan’s Pond Storm Sewer replacement anymore. A smooth merlot is a better fit 🙂

      • Theyn need to deal with the flooding that occurs during heavy rainfall at the bottom of Maple Street

  5. I understand the desire to repurpose the cost of the ice testing program, but I fear that in the absence of any information it will result in people going through the ice. Along with some of the announcements I saw about ending the program was an infographic with minimum thicknesses for safe usage — how will anyone know how thick the ice is without any kind of testing?

    I have wondered if there could be a more “predictive” approach to the testing, where testing is only conducted when it is presumed that the ice might be approaching a safe thickness, based on a combination of climatological data and previous/current weather conditions. I’m not a lake ice expert (though I do have a lot of experience with sea ice), but I suspect that a crude ice growth model could be used to feed HRM with a threshold to determine when to start testing. This is definitely a bit of an academic pursuit, but there is a wealth of experience at NS universities who could contribute to this with expertise, students, equipment, etc.

    Of course one of the impacts of a warming climate is going to be less ice on average (fewer days, thinner, etc), but another wrinkle in the equation is that the variability is likely going to increase. So we might yet have some “extreme” (formerly normal) years when the lakes freeze for 2-3 months and there is lots of opportunity for skating/recreation.

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