The Sportsplex project is getting closer to the finish line. HRM and the contractor, Marco Group, have nailed down a revised schedule. Marco will turn the building over to HRM at the end of October and then Sportsplex staff will spend several weeks getting things up and running. In December, the public will get the chance to try out the new Sportsplex through a series of “Come Play with Us” events and tours. The Sportsplex will be fully operational with the pool, fitness centre and gym in January. Like last season, the rink and track will be available while work is underway on the rest of the building starting on September 10.
You may recall that HRM had originally targeted an early Fall reopening. Renovations always have a high degree of risk and, with the Sportsplex, the original schedule was thrown off by the need to remove more rock than anticipated. Additional repairs to building systems and inaccurate as-built drawings from the 1980s also added time to the project. My sense is that having the schedule slip by a few weeks isn’t unreasonable under the circumstances.
In other Sportsplex news, HRM has selected an artist for the public art component. HRM’s public art policy requires the municipality to commit 1% of a project’s construction cost to public art. This has meant a substantial public art opportunity at the Sportsplex. Through an open call for proposals, HRM received 33 submissions and the winner is Mi’kmaq artist Jordan Bennett. Bennett will complete a large wall-mounted piece for the main lobby as well as several smaller pieces for window glass throughout the building. Bennett’s art will be ready for the Sportsplex reopening in January. If you’re curious about what Bennett has in store, you can get a sense of his style from the portfolio on his website here.
Phase 1 of daylighting the Sawmill River is almost finished. The sidewalk along Ochterloney Street has been rebuilt and work trails and landscaping is well underway. The contractor is scheduled to wrap up in June. I have been very pleased with how Phase 1 of this project has turned out and I can’t wait to walk across the new bridge at Sullivan’s Pond.
I frequently get asked what happens next? When will Phase 2 (Irishtown Road to the Harbour) get underway? Halifax Water is targetting work for Phase 2 for the early 2020s, possibly 2021. Before anything can be finalized though, HRM needs to identify what the future design of the Portland/Alderney/Prince Albert intersection (aka the PAPA amongst HRM staff) will be. How much Halifax Water can daylight depends on how much space there is and that comes down to how much land HRM needs for streets. HRM has formed a project team and planning work is underway for PAPA and Dartmouth Cove. Expect to hear more about the design of this section of road over the coming months and years as HRM prepares for Phase 2 in the 2020s.
My perspective is that the PAPA intersection is very overbuilt considering the dominant traffic movement is left turns from Portland onto Alderney and right turns from Alderney onto Portland. There is some through traffic on Portland, but almost nothing on Prince Albert. With two lanes (Portland) feeding into four (Alderney) and little traffic in other directions, there is a lot of underused asphalt. The opportunity for Dartmouth is to slim the intersection to make way for river and an active transportation trail (missing link between the Harbour and Sullivan’s Pond/Banook/Shubie system). We have far more to gain from a river and trail than we do from leaving the asphalt as is. I’m eager to see what’s possible.
Each year HRM spends $25-$35 million on road recapitalization. I regard any paving project that is tearing into the guts of the underlying street as an opportunity to fix design issues and there is no shortage of those. Most issues stem from the tendency in previous eras to focus on moving cars first and foremost. Pedestrians and cyclists were often an afterthought and, as a result, there are decades worth of mistakes to undo out there.
I’m very hands on in this area in advocating for complete streets in District 5 and I have been delighted at how open HRM’s staff are to looking at alternative designs rather than just replicating what is already built. Last year, the biggest project in District 5 was rebuilding Prince Albert Road and as part of that project, the sidewalk by the Mic Mac Amateur Aquatic Club was extended to meet both the crosswalk and the entrance to Silver’s Hill Park. I was also able to remove from the paving list the four-lane section of Prince Albert Road from Sinclair to Braemar so that HRM can consider a redesign instead.
I’m pleased that this year includes more improvements and one of them is already going out to tender: Sinclair Street. Sinclair is one of the worst streets in District 5 in terms of condition and it’s in dire need of repairs. The plan is to tear up the street this summer and rebuild it like what was done on Prince Albert Road last year. The part that I’m really pleased with is the project includes extending the sidewalk that abruptly ends at Berwick Street. When work is done, the sidewalk will reach the viewing stands at Silver’s Hill Park. Besides linking the sidewalk to the Park, the sidewalk extension will take in the #62 bus stop. No more waiting for the #62 in the mud and snow on an unfinished shoulder. The one downside is that Sinclair will be a construction site for several months this year. Expect delays.
Canada Day 2018
You might recall that last year both the Canada Day concert and fireworks were relocated from Alderney Landing and the Harbour to the Halifax Common. The show moved because HRM received special Canada 150 funding. The federal dollars allowed HRM to put on a bigger event than is usually the case and Alderney Landing was too small to accommodate the resulting crowd. It’s not feasible to expect thousands to move from concert site to another location for fireworks: the fireworks go where the crowd is. I’m pleased to share that with the special 150 circumstances not in play for 2018, the Canada Day concert is returning to Alderney. This year’s performance will feature Allan Rayman, T. Thomason, Alfie, Mo Kenney and Skratch Bastid. The fireworks will be back in their usual spot over the Harbour.
Big Lift Strikes Back
The Big Lift returns at the end of June. Halifax Harbour Bridges will need to close the Macdonald Bridge to complete work, which will include the installation of platforms under the Bridge deck for maintenance workers. The Bridge Commission hasn’t finalized the exact schedule yet, but the expectation is that the closures will last for 8-10 weeks.
Point Pleasant Park Weekend Bicycling
Point Pleasant Park is one of the most popular parks in HRM, but cyclists have been barred from using it on weekends and holidays. Last year HRM allowed cycling in Point Pleasant Park at all times on a trial basis. Feedback on the trial has been positive and no issues were identified so HRM has decided to make the change permanent. Cyclists are now welcome in Point Pleasant on weekends and holidays.
This year’s Curbside Giveaway is just two weeks away. The Giveaway will occur on June 2-3, rain or shine. To participate, simply place items at the curb with a free sign on them. The Curbside Giveaway is a great way to clean out the basement or garage and reduce our environmental footprint by diverting reusable household goods from the landfill. I have an old stroller, a leaf shredder, and a glider ready to go out. Good luck to everyone in finding treasure out there!
HRM has a new poet laureate: Dr. Afua Cooper. The poet laureate serves as an ambassador and advocate for literacy, literature and the arts. The poet is appointed for two years and provides readings at civic and community events. Dr. Cooper has been a spoken word artist for 30 years, has a PHD from the University of Toronto, and is part of the faculty at Dalhousie University where she launched Dal’s Black and African Diaspora Studies program. Dr. Cooper has written five books, including the national bestseller The Hanging of Angelique: The Untold Story of Slavery in Canada and the Burning of Old Montreal. Dr. Cooper takes over from Rebecca Thomas and is HRM’s seventh poet laureate. You can hear some of Dr. Cooper’s poetry below
Traffic Safety Act
The Nova Scotia government is proposing to replace the outdated Motor Vehicle Act with a new Traffic Safety Act. The original Motor Vehicle Act was written in the early 1900s and, although it has been amended many times, it has not been rewritten since the 1920s. The Motor Vehicle Act, and its proposed replacement, the Traffic Safety Act, govern and regulate the registration and identification of motor vehicles, vehicle and equipment standards and the use of highways and roads. This includes driver’s licenses, the registration and inspection of vehicles, traffic laws and equipment standards. The Province is consulting with key stakeholders (HRM will be providing detailed input) and is encouraging the general public to provide feedback online here.
Lancaster/Woodland Avenue Apartment Proposal
May 29, Bicentennial School
First Baptist Church owns the vacant property at the corner of Lancaster Drive and Woodland Avenue. The Church is selling their historic location in Downtown Dartmouth and plans to construct a new church on the property. The land is larger than 1st Baptist requires for their project and the Church is applying to rezone their excess lands adjacent to Highway 118 to R-3 to allow two 5-6 storey apartment buildings. The new church is an as-of-right project, the applications concerns the apartment buildings. A public information meeting will be held on Tuesday May 29 at 7:00 pm at Bicentennial School on Victoria Road. The proposal will be presented and they’ll be an opportunity for the public to provide feedback. Council will not make a decision on the project on May 29, that will come later at a future public hearing. More information available here.
King’s Wharf Revised Development Agreement
May 30, Christ Church Parish Hall
Fares and Company Developments has applied to make substantive amendments to the existing development agreement for King’s Wharf. The revised design includes changes to building heights, street layout and public spaces in future phases of the King’s Wharf project. A public information meeting will be held on Wednesday May 30 at 7:00 pm in the Christ Church Parish Hall on Dundas Street. The proposal will be presented and they’ll be an opportunity for the public to provide feedback. Council will not make a decision on the project on May 30, that will come later at a future public hearing. More information available here.
Residents on Elmwood, Hester, Haig, Henry and Stairs streets will be getting letters from HRM on whether to create a mix of two-hour and residential permit parking only on one side of each street. This option is being presented to residents due to frequent complaints about workers at the new DND research centre at the corner of Windmill and Stairs taking up all the available on-street parking in the area. The advantage of the proposed residential permit system is that it ensures that half of the parking on each street will be reserved for residents who live there. The main disadvantage is that a permit costs $30 a year. If a majority of residents on each block vote in favour of parking limitations, they will be implemented by August 1. Please vote.
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 27/April 10
A two-part update covering off two Council meetings where we looked at the Convention Centre’s business case, allowing secondary suites throughout HRM, backyard chickens and the code of conduct for elected officials. Read about it here
Council Update April 24
The conclusion of the 2018/2019 budget plus what’s the deal with flyers? Read about it here
Council Update May 8
Home in Dartmouth Crossing, local street bikeways, grants for heritage houses and a tempest in a teapot over the HRM commemorative naming process. Read about it here
Dartmouth North Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Halifax Programs
Registration for 2018 Dartmouth North Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Halifax summer camps and 2018-19 early morning and after school programs at the Farrell Street location is open. Information about Boys and Girls Club programs can be found on their new website: https://www.bgcgh.ca/our-programs/. Questions can be directed to Lisa Reid at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 902-435-9922.
Harbour View Elementary – Seeking Volunteers
25 Alfred Street
Harbour View Elementary is looking for volunteers to help prepare box lunches. The lunch program provides a free lunch to students twice a week. If you’re interested in hearing more and possibly giving some of your time to help, please call the school at 902-464-2051.
Dartmouth Crusaders Swim Club
The Dartmouth Crusaders Swim Club will be returning to the Dartmouth Sportsplex when it re-opens. They’re coming home and are looking forward to welcoming both former Crusaders back to the team and new members. Registration for prior members will take place mid-June and dates for new members to come and try swimming with the team will be posted to the Crusader’s web site and facebook page soon. The Crusaders can be contacted at www.dartmouthcrusaders.com, facebook.com/dartmouthcrusaders , or email@example.com. See you at the pool!
Craig Gallery – Carlos Gomez – Erotic Landscapes
May 3 – June 3
Alderney Landing, 2 Ochterloney Street
Carlos Gomez is a Colombian artist that specializes in printmaking, drawing and painting. He studied fine arts in Colombia and Canada and completed a diploma in wax techniques in Mexico. He has had several group and solo shows in all three countries. Carlos currently splits his time between his printmaking studio in Colombia and painting in Dartmouth. In 2016 he was the recipient of the Main and Station Paper Award and has completed various artist residencies. He is also developing an international artist residency program at his studio Plancha Perdida in Villeta, Colombia. Erotic Landscapes is Carlos’ first show in Dartmouth, NS and he is proud to share his work with our community.
Try Lawn Bowls – Free Lessons Dartmouth Lawn Bowls Club
May 14 – June 2, 2:00 – 5:00 pm
Dartmouth Lawn Bowls Club, 2 Mount Hope Avenue
Come try lawn bowling this Summer! The Dartmouth Lawn Bowls Club will be holding Free Lessons Days from May 14-June 2nd. Visit the club to try this all ages sport and learn a bit about what is going on at the Club. The Club will also have a special Try It Day on June 2nd from 2-5pm as part of National Bowls Day. For more information or if you have any questions, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the website.
Backyard Compost Workshop
May 23, 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Findlay Community Centre, 26 Elliot Street
HRM will be holding a series of free workshops on backyard composting May – July. Each workshop will teach participants how to build and maintain their own backyard composter. The Dartmouth workshop will take place at the Findlay Community Centre on May 23. If you’re not able to make the Findlay workshop, they’ll be other opportunities including the Captain William Spry Community Centre (May 30, 7:00 – 8:00 pm), Halifax Garden Festival in Victoria Park (June 16, 10:30 – 11:30 am), and the Tantallon Public Library (July 4, 7:00 – 8:00 pm).
Dartmouth Heritage Museum Society AGM and Lecture
May 23, 7:00 pm
Christ Church Parish Hall, 61 Dundas Street
The Dartmouth Heritage Museum Society will be holding their Annual General Meeting on May 23 at Christ Church Parish Hall in Downtown Dartmouth. The AGM is paired with a talk by Dartmouth historian David Jones on Lake Banook history and archaeology. Learn about the Society and some local history.
Downtown Dartmouth Food Crawl
Thursday May 24, 5:00 – 7:00 pm
B’y Local Dartmouth presents the latest Downtown Dartmouth Food Crawl. The Crawl will take place on Thursday May 24th from 5-7 pm. Follow the map, make your way around Downtown and stop at any of the participating restaurants to grab their featured takeout item. Food items range from samples of awesome regular menu items, to special creations only available during the food crawl. All items are under $10. Cash is appreciated. Food Crawl maps are available at participating shops in Downtown Dartmouth.
Campaign School for Women 2018
May 25 – 27
Mount Saint Vincent University, 166 Bedford Highway
The Nova Scotia Advisory Council on the Status of Women is hosting Campaign School for Women: Leaders in Action at Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax from May 25-27. The purpose of the campaign school is to increase the numbers and diversity of women in leadership. The program prepares graduates to run for public office, organize campaigns, or pursue non-elected political roles. More information can be found at the following link: https://www.regonline.com/builder/site/Default.aspx?EventID=2274669
The Dartmouth Makers Spring Market
May 25, 5:00 pm – 9:00 pm
May 26, 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
Christ Church Parish Hall, 61 Dundas Street
Put a Spring in your step and support local talent and independent small business at the Dartmouth Makers Spring Market. The market will feature 58 amazing makers in one amazing space. Jewellery, Ceramics, Stationary, Prints, Apparel, Textiles, Home Decor, Cosmetics, with lots of food and more. Free admission
Saturday Acoustic Jam
May 26, 2018, 2:00 – 4:00 pm
Alderney Gate Library, 60 Alderney Drive,
Budding and experienced musicians are invited to join a monthly musical gathering. All types of acoustic instruments and people with all skill levels are welcome to share their music with others. Bring copies of songs, including guitar chords, if possible, so that other participants can join in. Please bring your own instrument, your singing voice, or just your admiration for good music.
Oathill Lake Conservation Society Spring Clean Up
May 26, 9:30 am
Walking trail by the Lake’s Outfall (off Lorne Drive)
The Oathill Lake Society will be hosting their annual clean up. Come help clean up wayward trash along the lake’s shoreline and trail. Time commitment is 45 minutes to an hour with coffee and treats as a reward. Thanks to Clean Nova Scotia for providing the garbage bags and gloves. Any questions contact Iain MacLeod email@example.com 902-497-9167
The Cuban Sessions – La Peña
May 27, 2018 – 12 noon to 3:00 pm
Alderney Landing, 2 Ochterloney Street
Marcel Amores and Plan Ashé bring Cuban music to life at the Alderney Landing Sunday market. Come enjoy a vibrant live performance with M.A.P.A and groove with salsa dancing Andres Dauyon on a Sunday afternoon Cuban style matinee. Experience Cuban culture and food O-Cubano Cafe and Catering, dance, sing, play and learn. A perfect family outing. Give what you want (suggested contribution $5).
HRM Bike Week will take place June 1-10. Bike Week is an annual event to promote cycling in HRM. Free ferry trips for cyclists, yoga, several group bike rides (including the mayor’s), workshops, and much more. Complete schedule of events available here https://www.halifax.ca/transportation/cycling-walking/bike-week/schedule-events
Back to the Sea Touch Tank
June 2, 9:00 – 5:00 pm
Alderney Landing, 2 Ochterloney Street
The Back to the Sea Society’s Touch Tank is returning to Alderney Landing for another season. The grand opening of the Touch Tank will be on June 2. Kelp cutting at 9:00 pm, Harbour clean up at 10:00 am, capped off with an appearance of Rainea the mermaid at 1:00 – 2:30 pm. Facepainting and other activities too. Come and see some of the amazing sea critters that live right here in Halifax Harbour.
Doors Open Halifax 2018 – Seeking Volunteers
June 2-3, Various Locations
Doors Open Halifax is looking for volunteers for this year’s event on June 2-3. The mandate of Doors Open Halifax is to make available to the general public, free access to buildings of historical, contemporary or architectural significance and to generate interest in our built environment. This year’s Doors Open features 30 venues including two sites in Dartmouth: Alderney Landing Theatre and the NSCC Ivany (Waterfront) Campus. For more information visit their website: https://doorsopenhalifax.com/
June 2, Sackville Sports Stadium and Emera Oval
June 3, Findlay Community Centre
REC Day is an annual event to engage residents with free recreation activities across the municipality. This event will include activities for all ages and abilities, welcoming all to participate. More information can be found at the following link: website
Dartmouth General Hospital Foundation Dinner
June 2, 5:00 pm
With work still underway at the Sportsplex, the Dartmouth General Hospital Foundation’s annual dinner and auction will be shifting to the Halifax Forum this year. The lobster dinner and auction is a chance to meet up with friends and enjoy some great food in support of the Dartmouth General Hospital. Tickets are $125.
Village on Main Tribute Parade to Veterans and Festival
June 2, 11:00 am – 2:00 pm
Stevens Road to Sobeys Parking Lot via Tacoma Drive
The Village on Main Street Business Improvement District will hold their annual tribute to veterans parade and festival on June 2. The parade will begin at 11:00 am at the Stevens Road United Baptist Church and will proceed down Tacoma Drive to the Sobeys parking lot. Following the parade and a short ceremony, the Tribute Festival will kickoff. Festivities in the Sobeys parking lot will include free activities including bouncy castle, face painting, balloon animals, games, food trucks, and a visit by the fire department.
June 3, 12:00 – 4:00 pm
Switch is returning on June 3. Two kilometers of street (Portland and Prince Albert) will be closed to cars in Downtown Dartmouth to make way for feet, bikes, games, food and entertainment. Come and enjoy the biggest street party going and experience our streets in a whole new way.
Dartmouth Visual Arts Society
June 6 – July 8 (opening June 6, 5:00 – 7:00 pm)
Craig Gallery, 2 Ochterloney Street
The Dartmouth Visual Arts Society will be opening their annual show on June 6 at the Craig Gallery. The DVAS’s show features a wide variety of local Dartmouth artists. The theme of this year’s show is “In the Wild,” an open concept theme feature paintings about nature, the cosmos, human antics, etc. For me, the DVAS is one of the highlights of the Craig each year. The wide variety of works by local Dartmouth artists provides a mix of styles and perspectives. There is always a lot of talent on display.