E-News June 2019

Dartmouth Waterfront open for day berths. Photo Develop NS


Alderney Waterfront: Sometime it’s the little things that add up. The plaza at the foot of Portland Street next to the Ferry Terminal has always been a pretty space, but it’s often quiet. This summer it’s going to be much more active thanks to two ideas that have come to fruition: day docking and food/drink.

Last month I wrote about how Develop Nova Scotia and HRM had reached an agreement to have Develop Nova Scotia take over management of the Alderney Wharf. With that agreement in place, the good news is confirmed, Develop Nova Scotia’s program of day berths is a go in Downtown Dartmouth. From now until October, the 90 foot floating dock at Alderney will be available for anyone registered with Develop NS to tie up for the day at no cost. Dock and dine or dock and shop is now possible in Downtown Dartmouth.

Develop Nova Scotia’s marine program also makes berth space available for free to visiting vessels that are likely to generate a public interest, such as tall ships. In exchange for the free berth, the visiting crew has to do some public engagement or tours. So we might also see some interesting vessels tie up at the Alderney wharf. For more information on Develop Nova Scotia’s marine program, checkout their page here.

Wooden Monkey no longer hidden away upstairs but down on the waterfront

The other change coming to Downtown Dartmouth’s waterfront is food and drink. The Wooden Monkey has reached an agreement with HRM to expand their restaurant into a relatively unused corner of the wharf just below their current patio. The Monkey’s Beer Garden idea has been in the works for the last two years and is ready to go this summer. With great views across the harbour, it’s likely to be popular. A great place to take in the scenery, and watch the boats and people come and go.

I’m very pleased that both of these changes have arrived together this summer.

Downtown Dartmouth Infrastructure Project: It was a pretty low-key meeting at Harbour East Community Council earlier this month. Although the agenda was light, staff provided an update on the Downtown Dartmouth Infrastructure Project. If you missed past discussions about the Infrastructure Project is, in a nutshell, it’s the combination of several major initiatives all clustered around Alderney Drive into one transformative project that includes:

  • Phase 2 of Sawmill River daylighting,
  • Redevelopment of Dartmouth Cove
  • Canal Greenway Park
  • Trans Canada Trail connection between the Harbour Trail and Sullivan’s Pond
  • Need for major repairs of Portland/Alderney/Prince Albert (PAPA) intersection

The focus of the planning work underway right now is sorting out a new street network that connects Dartmouth Cove and minimizes the amount of asphalt to free up land for the river and trail. Luckily for us, Alderney Drive is overbuilt. It was designed for a four-lane road system that was never completed and never will be at this point. Given that most traffic turns left from Portland or right onto Portland, there is space that can be reclaimed for other uses.

Since the last public update during the Downtown Dartmouth Centre Plan consultation back in the fall, staff have further refined the draft street network. Below is the latest:

The plan envisions extending Dundas Street into Dartmouth Cove via a new bridge over the Sawmill River. Alderney beyond the new intersection with Dundas will slim to one lane in each direction to make room for river and trail. Mill Lane and Canal Street will be closed off because they’re too close to the PAPA intersection to be particularly effective streets. They don’t work well as it is now, and definitely won’t if over 1,000 new residents move into Dartmouth Cove. The main change since the fall draft are tweaks to the PAPA layout. The intersection is now a regular four-way instead of two Ts (offsetted Prince Albert Road) that was being considered before. Irishtown Road will likely be closed off as part of this plan, creating more park space along the Canal Greenway.

I’m pleased with where staff are heading and the exciting news is it’s not likely to remain a concept on a shelf. Halifax Water is keen to finish the Sawmill River project, possibly as early as 2021. As a result, budget willing, HRM is hoping to build the Dundas Street Bridge next year! When it’s all done, the Downtown Dartmouth Infrastructure Project will be the largest municipal investment in Downtown Dartmouth since the Alderney complex was built. I’m very excited and pleased to see it progressing.

Northbrook Park Plan Update: The 2019 budget includes a sizable reinvestment in Northbrook Park. It’s a Park that is in need of a little love. The playground is old, the lighting is broken, benches have rotted away, and HRM has had to take down a number of mature trees that were at the end of their lives.

To get ready for a new Northbrook Park, HRM held an informal public meeting earlier this year to get ideas and feedback on what the future might look like. As a result of that meeting, the Northbrook project has expanded to take in the stretch of land running alongside the former Northbook School parking lot all the way up to Victoria Road and the abandoned ball field off Richmond. HRM is also exploring options to potentially improve the stream in the Park, including possibly daylighting the section that currently runs under the privately-owned lot that borders the Park that is slated to become an apartment building.

The result of the expanded scope and the potential miniature daylighting project is a package of work that is more than can be done in a single season so HRM will be phasing the project. Staff are still identifying all the elements that will proceed this year, but one portion that HRM doesn’t intend to wait on is a new playground. HRM is planning to install a new playground adjacent to the tennis courts on the former ball field off of Richmond Street. As part of the project, the rutted track through the old ball field will be turned into a proper pathway. Half the lawn next to the path will be kept as an informal open space to compliment the playground.

The playground’s change of location in the park is to make it less isolated, and to take advantage of the informal playfield. The new playground will also be much easier for HRM to maintain and patrol since it’ll be easily accessible from Richmond Street (getting maintenance into the current location is challenging). Below is the playground section of the Northbrook Plan. I’ll share the rest of the park plan when it’s ready.

Playground Work: Northbrook Park is the big park project in District 5 this year, but it’s not the only work that’s underway. The playground at the Clement Street Park at Clement and Hastings Streets is being replaced. Checkout the rendering of the new setup below:

Pine Street is also being worked on this year. The repairs in Pine Street Park are much more minor, but do include a new swing set, replacing the worn-out walkways and retaining walls, and installing one new bench. Pine Street Park may also see a new flower bed thanks to the efforts of the Downtown Dartmouth Monarch Project. The Monarch Project is a community-led gardening effort aimed at creating habitat for pollinators, particularly the monarch butterfly. You can follow them on facebook here).

Fairbanks – Geary Steps: Still with 2019’s construction projects, I’m pleased to share that the old wooden steps that connect the end of Fairbanks Street to St. Paul’s Cemetery and Geary Street are being replaced this year. The steps have been borderline dangerous for a few years now and the work is really needed. HRM looked at replacing the wooden steps with an series of at-grade switchbacks, but the conclusion was that installing a new set of wooden stairs was the best approach. So the stairs will be unavailable for a while, but what comes back will be very close to what’s there now. The tender for the new steps was awarded last week so work should get underway soon.

Filling in the bog off Lancaster. Photo: Graham Carter

The Bog and 20 Sea King Drive: A number of people have contacted me over the last few days asking what’s happening to the bog off Lancaster Drive. The property recently sold and last week the owner started to fill it in. Wetland alterations are controlled by the Province and an approval to infill the bog was given back when Sobeys was looking at building a grocery store on the site in 2014. Sobeys never ended up proceeding with the proposed commercial development and the property was listed for sale for a number of years. The new owner wants to develop a seniors focussed townhouse project and is proceeding with the previously approved Sobeys permit to fill in the bog to prepare the land for development. The rules around wetland alteration means that Sobeys had to pay compensation to create new wetland habitat elsewhere. For more details on the wetland alteration and the proposed development, which will require rezoning and an amendment to Dartmouth’s townhouse zone to proceed, visit HRM’s website here.

Summer Concert Series: The Downtown Dartmouth Sullivan’s Pond Concert Series is back for another season. Outdoor shows start at 2 pm every Sunday at the Sullivan’s Pond Bandshell. All concerts are free and suitable for all ages. Bring your own lawn chair and dress for the weather.

The concerts, apart from Natal Day and Canada Day, are organized by the Downtown Dartmouth Business Commission and the main sponsor is Weldon McInnis. I also dedicate a portion of District 5’s ad promo funds to the event.

In the event of poor weather conditions, the Downtown Dartmouth Business Commission will post a cancellation notice on their facebook page on Sunday monring. Below is a list of the scheduled performances.

  • June 16 The Phenomenal Action Figures
  • June 23 Soul Relations
  • June 30 Global Centric Brass Band
  • July 1 Canada Day Concert featuring The Rock A Barons and The BBQ Kings
  • July 7 Alex Vaughan
  • July 14 Rhapsody Quintet
  • July 21 Nadia Moore
  • July 28 David Goyetche Red Lions
  • August 4 Dartmouth Community Band
  • August 5 Natal Day at Sullivan’s Pond
  • August 11 Morgan Davis
  • August 18 Quiet Hill
  • August 25 Farm Team
  • September 1 Ced, Marty & Dave
  • September 8 Thomas Stajcer

Shubenacadie Marine Railway: Still with summer fun, guided tours of the Shubenacadie Canal Marine Railway will be offered every Saturday throughout July from 12-4 pm. Between 1861 and 1871, the marine railway carried boats and barges overland between Dartmouth Cove and Sullivan’s Pond. Boats could then travel all the way to the Bay of Fundy through the Shubenacadie Canal. The recently completed main building is a modern replica of the flume house that powered the railway, featuring full-scale recreations of the gears and machinery that made the system run. Tours are free of charge, but donations to the Shubenacadie Canal Commission are welcome.

Accompanying the tours will be live and local music. Below is the schedule

  • July 6 – Aucoin Duo: Celtic fiddle and piano duo
  • July 13 – Riley and Chloe: Irish Celtic fiddle and piano duo
  • July 20 – Brian Hiltz:  Hiltz plays the hit, 50’s covers too modern day hits
  • July 27 – Up with Gaelic! Traditional Cape Breton/Scottish Gaelic fiddling tradition

Woodside Ferry Terminal: HRM will be starting a two year process this year to upgrade the aging Woodside Ferry Terminal. The building is in need of a major refresh and many of its core systems (elevator and escalator) are prone to breakdowns. Design work is well underway and soon work will begin in the terminal, starting with the elevators. The old undersized elevator will be replaced with two new elevators that have much more depth. The new ones should easily fit a bike for anyone arriving at the terminal on two wheels, something that the old elevator really couldn’t do.

Additional parking to be added to Woodside Ferry Terminal Park and Ride

Still with the Woodside Ferry Terminal, the 515 space park and ride lot is at capacity and has been for a while. Building a garage would be expensive and transit’s focus right now is on encouraging more complete transit trips. A garage isn’t in the cards anytime soon.

Back in the fall, when work was underway on nearby Atlantic Street, the shortage of parking at Woodside really became an issue since some commuters park on street on Atlantic. A resident who wrote to me about it pointed out that there is a section of the Woodside parking lot that, for some reason, has always been marked off as no parking. Her ask was why couldn’t we remove the parking restrictions to add at least a few more spaces? I’m pleased to share that staff agreed (they couldn’t clearly figure out why it was no parking to start with). If it hasn’t been done already, new parking lines will be painted in the back northwest corner in the near future. It’s not going to drastically change the situation at the Woodside Ferry Terminal, but it does make a few more spaces available.

Boards and Committees Call for Volunteers: HRM is seeking volunteers for several advisory boards and committees. The municipal government is the most accessible level of government and the services that HRM provides affects our day-to-day lives in a very direct way. Community participation in municipal boards and committees is an essential part of that accessibility and I encourage anyone with an interest to apply.

HRM is focused on making its boards and committees more reflective of the communities it represents. As such, applications are encouraged from rural residents, women, youth aged 18-25, and diverse citizens. Terms are generally for 1-2 years and are volunteer (unpaid) positions. Boards and committees typically meet once a month.

The deadline for applications is Monday, July 15 at 11:59 p.m. Below is a list of the volunteer opportunities (and the number of positions currently open):

  • Board of Police Commissioners (2 positions)
  • Shubenacadie Canal Commission (1 position)
  • Police Diversity Working Group (4 positions)
  • Regional Watersheds Advisory Board (1 position)
  • Taxi & Limousine Liaison Group (10 positions)
  • Western Common Advisory Committee (1 position)

For more information visit HRM’s Boards and Committee’s site here or call the Municipal Clerk’s Office at 902-490-4210 during regular business hours, Monday to Friday.

Public Consultation:

HalifACT 2050
Earlier this year, HRM declared a climate emergency due to the looming threat that climate change poses to all of us. HRM is currently preparing a long-range emissions reduction plan, HalifACT 2050. Over the summer, the HalifACT team will be holding pop-up consultations at various events. This weekend they’ll be at the Portland Estates and Hills Fun Day and then they’ll be at Bedford Days on June 27. If you can’t meet them in person, there is also an online survey that you can complete here.

In the fall, HalifACT will present low-carbon options for the municipality to consider and there will be formal public consultation. The goal is to have a technical paper completed by the winter and then a plan before Council in the spring of 2020.

Council Update:

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, June 4: To fund or not to fund the Bus Stop Theatre (answer was a qualified yes), a roadside memorials policy, and changes to the coming year’s snow contracts. Read about it here.

Council Update, May 14 and 21: A combined entry for two meetings covering HRM’s new Aquatic Strategy, the new flyer bylaw, funding for Switch Open Streets, the demise of parking meters, and improvements to heritage protection. Read about it here


Mawita’jik Competition Powwow
Friday and Saturday June 21-22
Mi’kmaw Native Friendship Centre
Zatzman Sportsplex

110, Wyse RoadThe Mi’kmaw Native Friendship Centre is marking National Aboriginal Peoples Day at the Sportsplex with a showcase of traditional dance, song, drumming and food. This free event is open to the public from 6-10 Friday and 11-6 Saturday. All are welcome.

  • Head Male Dancer: Bert Mitchell, Little Black River, Manitoba
  • Head Female Dancer: Denise Mitchell, Connie River, Newfoundland
  • MC: Michael R Denny, Eskasoni, Unama’ki
  • Host Drum: Stoney Bear Singers, Eskasoni, Unama’ki

Dartmouth Senior Services Centre 50’s Concert
Saturday, June 22, 2:00 – 4:00 pm
45 Ochterloney Street

Everyone loves 50’s music! Join this special event as DSCC’s choir entertains for fun and a great time that will have you dancing in you chair. Bring friends or meet new ones at this great event. Tickets are on sale now. Contact the Centre at 902-465-5578.

Victoria Road United Baptist Anniversary Celebrations
Saturday, June 22 and Sunday June 23
36 Victoria Road, Dartmouth

Victoria Road United Baptist is celebrating its 175th anniversary this weekend. The church will be celebrating with a turkey dinner at the Dartmouth North Community Centre on Saturday at 6:00 p.m. There will be special guests and entertainment. Tickets are $17.50 each. Contact the church for details by phoning 902-469-8576. Sunday will have a special anniversary service at 11 a.m. with the VRUBC choir and at 3:00 pm with guest speaker Rev. Dr. Rhonda Britton from New Horizons Baptist Church. Music will be provided by their choir. Refreshments to follow. All welcome!

Free Farrell Street Park Community Barbecue
Sunday, June 23, noon – 2:00 pm
Farrel Street Park

Come celebrate the opening of the new Farrell Street Park. Bouncy castles, emergency crews, and fun for the whole family! Sponsored by HRM, Glow the Event Store, Nova Scotia Power, and Sobeys

Dartmouth Seniors Service Centre Annual General Meeting
Monday, June 24, 1:00 – 3:00 pm
45 Ochterloney Street

Come engage with the Seniors Service Centre on June 24 as they discuss the great work the Centre has done over the past year and what the future holds. Refreshments and sweets will be served at this FREE event. Join your friends!

Halifax Regional Library Board – Annual Meeting
Tuesday, June 25, 5:00 pm
Paul O’Regan Hall, Halifax Central Library

Come celebrate the library’s achievements of 2018-19 and honour the Board Impact Award recipients. All are welcome.

Mic Mac AAC Open House
June 26 – 27, 10:00 am
192 Prince Albert Road

The Mic Mac Amateur Aquatic Club is holding an open house. Anyone, member or not, who is interested in trying out some of the Club’s boats is welcome to attend. Free BBQ to follow.

Demetreous Lane Garden Party and Clean-up
Thursday, June 27, 11:30 am – 4:00 pm
27 Demetreous Lane

Come help get Demetreous Lane’s new community garden going and help the community clean-up any litter that’s collected over the winter months.

Dragon Boat Drop-in
Fridays, June – August, 6:00 pm
Grahams Grove

Ever wanted to try Dragon Boating? Dragon Boats East is hosting free drop-ins on Friday evenings for the summer. It’s your chance to get out on the lakes and try something new. To register and for more information visit Dragon Boats East here.

Canada Day Weekend
Friday – Monday, June 28 – July 1
Various Locations

Canada Day is just around the corner and they’ll be the usual collection of community events going on from the kickoff fireworks and concert at Dartmouth Crossing, pancake breakfasts, free entry to Citadel Hill, the tattoo parade, family fun on the Halifax Common, a free concert at Sullivan’s Pond, and of course the free concert and fireworks at Alderney Landing. This year’s concert will feature international headliner, A-Trak. For a comlete listing visit Discover Halifax’s page here.

Epic Canadian
Sunday, July 1
Grahams Grove

Also happening on Canada Day is Dartmouth’s Epic Canadian race. The 10 km gets rolling at 8:00 am and is followed by the 5 km at 9:00 am. For complete details, visit Epic’s site here.

Summer Reading Club Kick-Off Party
Wednesday, July 3, 10:30 – 11:30
Alderney Gate Library

School will be out, but that doesn’t mean the joy of reading needs to take two months off. Come visit the Alderney Library to sign-up your little reader for the Summer Reading Club. Treats and activities to accompany the kick-off.

Mayor’s Bike Ride
Thursday, July 4, 3:00 – 5:00 pm
Acadia Park, Sackville
The Mayor’s Bike Ride has been rescheduled for July 4. Come join Mayor Savage, Regional Councillors, HRM staff and members of the public for a community bike ride. This year’s ride will go from Acadia Park along the Little Sackville River Greenway before returning to Acadia Park. Reception to follow the ride.

Lantern Festival
Saturday, July 6, 6:00 -10:00 pm
Sullivan’s Pond

Ticketed Event
A new event is planned for Sullivan’s Pond this year, a Lantern Festival. The Lantern Festival is a put on by a private company, based in Utah and has occurred before in various American cities. This will be the first time it has been held in Canada. Attendees can grab a bite at the food trucks, enjoy music, and other entertainment, and decorate a floating lantern. The lanterns will be launched at sunset and will stay lit for approximately one hour. For ticket info visit the festival’s site here.

Please note, I have received a few questions about this event. The Lantern Festival has been reviewed by HRM’s special events task force and has gone through all the appropriate permissions to use the Pond. Organizers will be responsible for clean-up and will remove all the lanterns at the conclusion of the event. Lanterns won’t have free-range of the Pond. They will be contained with a buoy system so as to not get swept downstream.

Switch Dartmouth New Date
August 25, noon – 4:00 pm
Portland Street – Prince Albert Road

Switch Dartmouth’s June date was rained out, but Dartmouth’s favourite street party will go ahead on a rescheduled Sunday later this summer. Come to Downtown Dartmouth for a wonderful afternoon of free fun for all ages – live music, bouncy castles, demonstrations, activities, etc. Specials and promos from downtown Dartmouth businesses plus community BBQ’s and food trucks on site. Full schedule of performers to come. My thanks to the Switch Open Streets organizers and the Downtown Dartmouth Business Commission for scheduling an alternative date.


  1. Good to see lots of sensible initiatives and good works getting set to move forward, especially the Alderney Waterfront and Downtown Infrastructure Renewal activities.

    As for the ‘climate change emergency’ declaration, it’s reassuring to know that Council will not let any headline-grabbing virtue-signalling exercise pass by without embrace. Even when there is evidence to the contary. https://business.financialpost.com/opinion/ross-mckitrick-apocalyptic-rhetoric-about-extreme-weather-keeps-ramping-up-but-experts-say-theres-no-emergency

    • I wouldn’t say there is evidence to the contrary, at least nothing credible. It’s hard to associate one specific weather event to climate change and there is arguments to be had as to how bad it’ll be and how quickly, but the scientific consensus is clear: climate change is real, we’re the cause, and if we do nothing our future will be more painful and turbulent.

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