E-News March 2019


Alderney Revitalization: Last week, HRM held a little ceremony in the Alderney pedway to celebrate the completion of recent renovations. I have been extremely pleased with how the Pedway project turned out. The Pedway was built to be a simple passage from Alderney Gate down to Alderney Landing and the Ferry Terminal. It ended up functioning as more than that as the bright space became an attractive place to stop and rest. The new Pedway builds on that success and has become a true gathering space. Every time I’m through there these days, there are people using it: people meeting, working, chatting, reading, eating lunch, kids playing, even one guy who regularly strums on his acoustic guitar there. It’s never empty. The Pedway project shows how valuable well designed public spaces can be and that, sometimes, it’s not a flashy new building that makes the difference, it’s making the most of what we already have.

I’m pleased to share that HRM is planning to continue the work that started in the Pedway. The draft 2019/2020 budget allocates funds to renovate Alderney’s main lobby. The big change being planned in that renovation that was revealed last week is the removal of the library’s glass curtain wall. Rather than wall it off, the library could spill out into the lobby. How libraries are used has changed with time and there really isn’t a good reason why the Library needs to have a hard separation from the rest of the public space. It will, of course, still be possible to close the library off from Alderney when the building is open, but the library isn’t, with some sort of moveable screen. It’ll be sort of like how stores close in a shopping mall. Renovation’s won’t go deep into the Library space, but may in the near future. The Library is currently preparing a capital plan that could see an extensive renovation of the Alderney branch in the early 2020s.

I’m excited to see the next phase of Alderney’s revitalization bring the magic created in the Pedway to the library and lobby.

Phase 2 of the Alderney revitalization project

Centre Plan: Draft number 2 of the long worked on and seemingly always delayed Centre Plan is almost done. The Centre Plan is HRM’s ambitious project to modernize land-use regulations in the Regional Centre. A lot of our existing rules date back to the 1970s! If there are no showstoppers, new Centre Plan rules for areas where HRM is expecting the bulk of the growth to go over the next 20 years will come into place this Fall. In District 5, these growth areas are Downtown Dartmouth, Portland Street by Maynard Lake, Grahams Grove, Wyse Road, Victoria Road near Albro Lake Road, and Pleasant Street by the old Sobeys.

The approval path for the new rules will be a long one. The Centre Plan needs to go through a total of five advisory boards, two community councils, three of Council’s standing committees, before finally getting to Regional Council for a public hearing. Requests for revisions are possible throughout and could add more time to the project. The intention is to have the Centre Plan in place this fall. The new draft will be made public in the next few weeks when it’s introduced at the Community Design Advisory Committee in April. So stay tuned if you’ve been following this big project.

Sidewalk Snowclearing: Photo Metro

Snow: With the temperature forecast to be above zero all week and the calendar closing in on mid-March, it has the feel of winter’s end out there. That doesn’t mean though that last week’s messiness is forgotten. I wanted to take a few minutes to speak to sidewalk snow clearing.

In District 5, snow clearing is largely done by our in-house staff. Municipal workers clear everything in District 5 except for Crichton Park and Manor Park. Southdale through Hawthorne, the Flower Streets, Downtown, Brightwood, Harbourview, Lancaster, and Dartmouth North are all done by in-house staff. It was a real struggle this past week. HRM does a good job of dealing with snow, but what is consistently challenging are storms that go snow/rain/freeze. The freeze part is hard to deal with and when there is enough snow in a short-period of time, it trips up both in-house staff and contractors. I will note that the nice part about our in-house staff is they continue to push until the job is done. When the going gets tough is when they really shine. While things weren’t great in Dartmouth last week, I didn’t see the same level of mess that was evident on social media from North End Halifax in the complaints I fielded.

The challenge for HRM and other municipalities that’s not going away is winter is not what it once was. CBC/Radio Canada recently compiled weather data from the last several decades from across the country and results are consistent: winter in Canada is warmer, with fewer snow days. We’re down two full weeks of snow cover in Halifax since the 1950s. In Montreal, they’ve been using double the amount of salt and grit because the temperature is yo-yoing around zero much more frequently, creating icy sidewalk conditions. Ottawa this winter has been experiencing their own version of our awful winter of 2015 when ice became attached to everything. We’re not alone in our challenges and misery.

Ottawa trying out icebreaking sidewalk equipment. This winter has been their version of Halifax’s 2015 with ice frozen to everything

Given that climate change is going to mean more snow/rain/freeze storms and fewer old-fashioned snowstorms, we’re left with the difficult question of what to do about it. There are of course various options, but broadly speaking, it really comes down to three choices:

  1. We invest heavily in snow-clearing so that there is more gear and bodies to quickly remove snow. No one chose to leave the sidewalks in a mess last week, there simply wasn’t the capacity to deal with it. That would probably be wasted over-capacity in most storms, but it would ensure we’re better able to deal with snow/rain/freeze storms before the freeze part locks everything up. This would likely mean some sort of significant tax increase as my expectation is multi-millions would be needed (0.3% tax bill increase equals about $1,000,000).
  2. We ask residents to take a more active part, either by handing sidewalk clearing on the Peninsula back to residents (no way would I support doing so in Dartmouth) or by asking residents to lend a hand when the forecast looks particularly dodgy, like how Halifax Water does with catch-basins.
  3. We could accept the status-quo, which means that when snow/rain/freeze hits, the municipality is going to be a mess for several days.

No easy options on this issue. If there were easy solutions it would have been fixed by now! Unfortunately, the status-quo isn’t working well either since having the sidewalks unsafe for days fills up the emergency room with falls and disproportionately affects people with mobility challenges.

I also personally don’t think giving sidewalks back to residents is much of a solution. I remember living at the end of Quinpool Road in the early 2000s and walking to Dal on sidewalks that were 90% perfect and 10% completely untouched. They were often like that for days-and-days too because of the particulars challenges around enforcement (get a complaint, issue an order, come back to find order hasn’t been followed, then finally clear and bill). Asking residents to clear sidewalks is fine if you’re able-bodied, work a regular 9-5 job, or have the money to pay someone to do it for you. For a lot of other people, it’s not so simple. Turning things over to residents feels like trading one set of problems for another set rather than being a real solution.

A report on sidewalk snow clearing is coming to Council this year. We’ll see what we can do to make the service better. Whatever comes forward, it’s not going to be easy or cheap.

Quinpool Road Bridge. Photo: CBC

Quinpool Shutdown: It’s going to be an inconvenient summer for anyone who uses Quinpool Road. The bridge across the rail cut is at the end of its life and needs extensive work. The good news is that HRM and CN, after years of acrimony, are proceeding with the needed work. The bad news is that the work can’t be done while the bridge is open to traffic. The result is that the bridge will be closed from April 1 to mid-August, cutting Quinpool Road in half. Through traffic will have to detour onto Chebucto Road and Connaught Avenue, except for cyclists and pedestrians who will be free to use Armview Avenue/Tupper Grove/Prince Arthur Street. This is going to be disruptive, but there is no way to avoid it.

Sportsplex Board: Have an interest in how the new Zatzman Sportsplex is run? The community board that manages the Sportsplex for HRM is recruiting. There are five upcoming openings for three year terms that need to be filled. The Board is interested in people with a legal background, with young families, women or people from other under represented groups, and people who have a strong technical background in data security. The Board meets once a month early in the morning (7:30 am, Thursdays) and the total time committment (meeting, preparation, consultation, etc) is about 4-5 hours a month. For more information, contact Max Chauvin at chauvim@halifax.ca. Applications are due March 15, at 4:00 pm

Camp Courage Applications: Last call for Camp Courage, this summer’s unique all-girls first responder camp. Camp Courage is an eight-day female mentoring camp that brings together 24 teens between the ages of 15-19, who are curious about a career as a firefighter, police officer, or paramedic. The award-winning camp is held every second year and shows teens they too can excel in these traditionally male-dominated professions. More than 60 camp graduates have moved into careers as a first responder since the camp was founded 13 years ago. Many credit Camp Courage for showing them the path to become a firefighter, police officer, or paramedic. While the one-of-a-kind camp shows girls what it takes to be a first responder, the ultimate goal is for the young women to develop a sense of empowerment and build the confidence to believe they can achieve any goal, career, or dream they desire.

The camp is free but applicants must write an essay describing how they would improve a less fortunate person’s life, or their community. Applications for the July 7-14 camp are due on March 31. For more information on the camp and how to apply, visit the camp website at www.campcourage.ca Click here to see the camp’s wall of fame.

Community Grants: It’s also last call for HRM’s community grants program, the municipality’s largest non-profit program. 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 2018 in District 5 included the Dartmouth District Pipe Band, MacPhee Centre, Easter Seals, Banook Canoe Club, Big Brothers Big Sisters, St. George’s Tennis Club, and the Mic Mac Amateur Aquatic 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 checkout the eligibility criteria in the program booklet online on the municipal grants page here. Community Grant applications are due on March 31.

Step Up to Leadership: HRM’s Step Up to Leadership program is starting its spring session at the end of March. Step Up to Leadership is a program aimed at developing leadership skills in community volunteers. The Program covers a range of topics including, personality types, planning, team work and group dynamics, diversity, communications and conflict resolution, how to create a non-profit, legal and practical concerns of being a board member in a non-profit, effective meetings, and public speaking. I was able to attend the graduation for the Fall’s session at Alderney and everyone in attendance seemed to find the program valuable. The nine-session program will be offered in Sackville on Tuesday and at Graham Creighton Junior High on Wednesdays. For more information, contact Devon Bundy at 902-225-5806 or at bundyd@halifax.ca

Northwood Adult Day Program: Northwood is expanding their adult day program to Dartmouth. Northwood’s Adult Day Programs provide people who are living with dementia with a stimulating social environment and a welcome break for folks who provide care at home. The Day Program will be run out of Northwood’s space at 130 Eileen Stubbs Avenue in Burnside at a cost of $26 per day (half day rates also available). For more information, contact Northwood at 902-454-9706

Nova Scotia Nature Trust Appeal: The Nova Scotia Nature Trust is seeking to raise $750,000 by March 31 to preserve 15 properties totalling over 3,000 acres throughout the Province. Included in their campaign are some crucial lands for HRM, the 100 Wild Islands on the Eastern Shore. The time pressure comes from the Nature Trust’s hope of taking advantage of the federal government’s Quick Start Program. If the Trust raises the $750,000, the feds will provide matching funds at a 4:1 ratio. $750,000 becomes $3,000,000 more for land conservation! For more information or to support the Trust, visit their site here.

Public Consultation:

Alderney Landing Strategic Plan
Wednesday March 27, 5:30 – 8:30 pm
Alderney Landing Theatre

HRM’s revitalization of the Ferry Terminal, Pedway, and, soon, the Lobby, isn’t the only thing a foot at Alderney. The Alderney Landing Board is preparing a new strategic plan to guide Alderny Landing’s current and future endeavours. The Alderney Landing Board manages the market, theatre, gallery and the outdoor events space and puts on a number of programs that are part of the seasonal rhythm of life in Dartmouth. This your chance to provide feedback on what should happen with this vitally important public space.

Granville Park and Mall

Cogswell Showcase
Thursday March 14, 10:00 am – 3:00 pm
Scotia Square

The Cogswell team will be at Scotia Square to present the recently approved 90% design for the new district. This is your chance to talk directly with HRM staff working on this project and to clarify any questions about the new design. Additional consultation will take place in the near future on the land-use plan for Cogswell: the what will we build there and what design criteria will be used question is still to be answered.

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, March 5: Extension of the Barrington Greenway north to Devonshire, plans for a new community centre in Sheet Harbour, a kitchen for Hope Blooms, Common Roots Farm on the move, and additional land purchases are likely coming for Blue Mountain Birch Cove. Read about it here.

Council Update, February 26: Approval of the Cogswell 90% plan, decisions on the budget’s optional list, and failure to launch for a new approach to recreational facilities fees. Read about it here.

Council Update, February 12: Budget deliberations resulted in the completion of the options list, taxi reform, the disposal of the Gray Arena property, and Access-a-Bus improvements. Read about it here.


Public Good Society of Dartmouth – Annual General Meeting
Thursday, March 14, 10:00am
100 Ochterloney Street (Corner of Ochterloney and Victoria)

Please join us for the Public Good Society of Dartmouth AGM. Parking available in the Back parking lot (off of Victoria Rd). Entrance to the Church at the back door, or off Ochterloney Street (glass doors). All welcome.

Dartmouth Seniors Service Centre St. Patty’s Day Lunch
Thursday, March 14, 12:00pm
Dartmouth Seniors Service Centre, 45 Ochterloney

Join the Dartmouth Seniors Service Centre and friends for Bangers and Mash with Irish Gravy, Green Peas, Potato Bread, and Shamrock Parfait (White Cake, Lime Jell-O, and Pistachio Pudding)! Tickets are $10 for members, $12 for non-members. For more information, call 902-465-5578 x 213 or drop by the centre to get your tickets between 9am and 3 pm.

24th March Break Kids/Teens Chess Tournament
Saturday, March 16, 9:00am – 3:30pm
Alderney Gate Public Library, 90 Alderney Drive

Kids and teens are welcome to enter the 24th annual March Break Chess Tournament at the Alderney Library. If you’re an old pro with a rating you will play against others in the same category. No rating? You’ll play against people roughly the same age as you. All players will receive an official scholastic chess rating at the end of the tournament. This tournament offers 3 levels of play – novice, intermediate, and advanced. 

Alderney Ideas Seminar: Trees and the Global Forestf
Monday, March 18, 1:30 – 2:30pm
Monday, April 1, 1:30 – 2:30 pm
Alderney Gate Public Library, 90 Alderney Drive

Join the library for their seminar series where a different topic will be discussed through a 20 minute video lecture. The goal is colaborative where learning will occur not just from the lecture but from the insights from other participants.

Dartmouth Crusaders Practice
Monday, March 18 – March 22, 5:00 – 6:30pm
Zatzman Sportsplex

After a long wait, the Dartmouth Crusaders swim team has returned home to the Sportsplex. The team is looking for new members and is welcoming anyone who is interested to join in on a free practice to see what the swim team is all about. This is an excellent opportunity to try it out and see if it’s a good fit for your kid. Contact dartcrusaders@eastlink.ca to schedule a time to work with the Crusader’s coaches. Swimmers should have Kid 6 or equivalent.

Dartmouth North Neighbourhood Watch
Wednesday, March 20, 7:00pm
Farrel Hall, 276 Windmill Road

The Dartmouth North Neighbourhood Watch meets once a month and is an opportunity for the community to hear directly from our police and politicians (Tony Mancini and I often attend) on whatever issues you might have of concern. All are welcome.

Live Reading – Dartmouth Seniors Service Centre
Thursday, March 21, 12:30pm
Dartmouth Seniors Service Centre, 45 Ochterloney

Join the Seniors Service Centre for a free live reading of stories from “The Best American Short Stories 2018.” Shawn from Halifax Public Libraries will be the guest reader.

Farrell Benevolent Society Annual General Meeting
Thursday, March 21, 6:00pm
Farrell Hall, 276 Windmill Road

This is your hall. Come share your voice. Everyone welcome.

Good Food Crusaders Benefit Night at Dartmouth Players
Monday March 25, 8:00pm
Sawmill Playhouse, 33 Crichton Avenue

Join the Good Food Crusaders and the Dartmouth Players for a Benefit Night dedicated to our Blue Nose team, the Good Food Crusaders. Come see a preview of The Fighting Days, by Dartmouth playwright Wendy Lill and support our team at the same time! Tickets are $15.

About the play: The women’s suffrage movement of the early 1900s was a testament to the sacrifice of women to get the right to vote. A newspaper editor Francis Marion Beynon becomes friends with famed suffragette Nellie McClung. While the two women fight together to get women the vote (which they accomplished in Manitoba in 1916), the First World War splits them on the issues of conscription – and whether immigrant women should be allowed to vote as well as British and Canadian-born “Empire women”.

Production runs March 28-April 13. For ticket and other information, visit http://dartmouthplayers.ns.ca/purchase-tickets/

A Musical Evening with Donald MacLennan and Friends
Tuesday, March 26, 7:00 – 8:00pm
Alderney Gate Public Library, 90 Alderney Drive

Come to the library for an evening of jazz music with award winning violinist, singer, and composer Donald MacLennan.

March Business Links 2019
Wednesday, March 27, 8:30am
MacPhee Centre for Creative Learning, 50 Queen

Business Links is the Downtown Dartmouth Business Commission’s monthly networking opportunity held over morning coffee. BusinessLinks are held on the 4th Wednesday of each month. If you would like to attend, admission is a business card; all are welcome! For more information or to RSVP contact the DDBC Office 902.466.2997 or info@downtowndartmouth.ca

MacPhee Centre for Creative Learning Annual General Meeting
Wednesday, March 27, 6:00pm
MacPhee Centre for Creative Learning, 50 Queen Street

Come join the learn about the MacPhee Centre’s successes and goals for 2019. The AGM will be followed by a Free Youth-Led Wax Seal Workshop from 7:00-8:30pm. Supported by NSCAD School of Extended Studies Artists in Residence, Emily Lawrence and Jenny Shi.

Hawaiian Night – Dartmouth Seniors Service Centre
Friday, March 29, 5:30 – 9:00pm
Dartmouth Seniors Service Centre, 45 Ochterloney

Dartmouth Seniors Service Centre presents Hawaiian Night! Join the Centre for Hawaiian-style Appetizers, Games, & Prizes PLUS a movie: “Blue Hawaii” starring Elvis Presley and Joan Blackman. Tickets: $10 members | $12 non-members. Call: 902-465-5578 x 213

Halifax Regional Police Seniors’ Home Safety Workshop
Thursday, April 4, 1:00 – 3:00pm
58 Tacoma Drive, Dartmouth (Community Wellness Centre)

This workshop is for seniors 55+ and their families who want to learn how to reduce seniors’ risks of accidents, injuries and victimization. Please join the Halifax Regional Police and senior volunteers for tips on frauds & scams, elder abuse, property crime prevention, and general safety inside and outside the home. For registration call 902-490-6976 or email millerde@halifax.ca

Dartmouth Seniors Service Centre Open House
Saturday, April 6, 10:00am – 12:00pm
Dartmouth Seniors Service Centre, 45 Ochterloney

Join the Dartmouth Seniors Service Centre for their annual Open House! The Dartmouth Seniors Service Centre has been a fixture in the Dartmouth community for over 40 years. Come on in and see what they offer.

Master Composter Recycler Program
May 1-29, Wednesdays 6:00 – 8:00pm and Saturdays 9:00 – noon
Citadel Recreation Centre (Citadel High School) Room 101, 1955 Trollope Street, Halifax

The Master Composter Recycler is a free four week program that trains 20 people in hands-on workshops and tours on how to reduce waste through backyard composting and other at-home solutions. Program is open to all residents interested in becoming champions for waste diversion in their community. For more information, visit the HRM website page here. Registration can be done by emailing wasteless@halifax.ca

1 Comment

  1. The pedway was not only a means to travel through but had many uses when we were the Government of Dartmouth. We had announcements there, book reading, dancing and other uses.

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