Maynard Lake Trail: Just off Portland Street, Maynard Lake is one of District 5’s gems. It’s not well known outside the neighbourhood, but there is actually a pathway that runs along the lake on HRM’s property. Most of the path is not maintained and is fairly wild, but the part that runs from the beach at Lakefront to Connor Street has been loosely maintained by the municipality over the years. While the path is well-used by folks in the neighbourhood, the ground is marshy and Knotweed keeps trying to close it off.
To try and address some of the issues, I met with our Park’s Superintendent for Dartmouth on site back in the summer. Staff looked at the situation and felt that we could use in-house resources during the shoulder season to put down a proper gravel trail, which will provide both drier ground to walk on and push back some of the encroaching Knotweed. Staff started work a few weeks ago, but are stopped right now due to wet conditions (HRM needs a few dry days before we can bring in more gravel). HRM is hoping to have the improved trail work complete before winter sets in.
I’m very pleased to see this relatively low-cost, but potentially quite useful improvement to Maynard Lake Park.
Portland Street Brick Repairs: In other good news, HRM has started the process of completing much needed maintenance on Portland Street. The Portland streetscape was installed back in 2008, which really wasn’t all that long ago. It looks a lot older than it actually is! The problem is that HRM never set aside any resources for routine maintenance. The brickwork and tiled planters looked great on day one, but without money for ongoing repairs, they’ve steadily deteriorated. It’s well past time for some basic maintenance.
For the last two budget cycles, I have been pushing staff to put some resources into repairs on Portland Street. I took both the current and previous Director of Transportation and Public Works to the street and both agreed it wasn’t in acceptable condition. Persistence has paid off. Last year the planters were painted black to cover up the broken tiles, and, this year, HRM has gotten started on fixing the sidewalks.
At the bottom of the hill near the intersection of Alderney and Prince Albert, HRM had poured new concrete pads to replace two badly deteriorated sections where water routinely pooled on the sidewalk and where there were abandoned tree wells. The decision to go with concrete on this portion of the street rather than replace the brick was made because it was in the worst overall condition, it’ll likely get torn up again in the near future as part of the next phase of the Sawmill River project, and it’s right at the entrance to the business district, meaning that the interruption of the streetscape is minimal. Farther up Portland Street, staff intend to replace the broken bricks and reset the surface elevations so that the bricks are flush with the sidewalks and curbs. This work will have the added benefit of removing the weeds that have grown up through the gaps.
Staff aren’t sure how far they’ll get this season given that the work is being done by in-house staff who are about to switch over to winter duties. Regardless of how far they get in dying days of 2019, they’ll be back at it again in 2020. Hopefully, after 2-3 years of consistent attention, Portland will once again look its best.
Wyse Road Bus Shelter: If you shop at the Wyse Road Sobeys, you might have noticed the new concrete pad being installed next to the bus stop out front. No it’s not a cart corral! I’m pleased to share that this busy bus stop is finally getting a shelter.
When I was elected, one of the projects that Gloria asked me to keep an eye on was the push to get a bus shelter in front of Sobeys. With the arrival of Sobeys, this previously quiet bus stop has become a lot busier. Last year, a local resident actually submitted a petition with 409 signatures asking for a shelter here!
Although the need for a shelter has been quite clear, unfortunately, the process of getting one installed has been lengthy because HRM didn’t have enough land to fit it in. To make things work, HRM needed a small portion of Sobeys’ property. HRM got permission from Sobeys late last year, which meant that the shelter went onto this year’s construction list. The concrete base was installed a few weeks ago and the hope is to have a physical shelter installed before the snow flies in December. The days of standing in the rain with groceries on Wyse Road are coming to an end!
Tree Lighting: I have had a few people ask about why the Dartmouth Tree Lighting hasn’t returned to Sullivan’s Pond now that Phase 1 of the Sawmill River Project has been completed. The Tree Lighting is organized by a committee of community volunteers. Factors that fed into the Committee’s decision to remain at Alderney include:
- There is a Xmas market at Alderney and combining the market and tree lighting allows both events to offer more than either could by themselves (food, additional activities like the carousel, etc)
- There are no challenges at Alderney Landing in closing streets and rerouting buses
- Alderney has a solid paved surface, which is very helpful in the event of wet weather conditions
- Alderney has heated indoor spaces where people can warm up if it’s cold or wet, and bathrooms
- The electrical equipment at Sullivan’s Pond and stage site was lost during the daylighting project and it’s not clear how the tree lighting could be reorganized to fit the new space, whereas Alderney has everything built in and tons of space
- Fireworks can still happen at Alderney over the harbour and there are no ducks trapped in a small space to terrify
- Costs are less at Alderney, meaning the limited event dollars go further
- Reviews of the tree lighting at Alderney have been, generally, positive over the last two years
In every way except one Alderney is a better venue for the tree lighting. The one thing that Alderney doesn’t have is all the years of community tradition. It’s very much a head versus heart debate. The result of that debate is that the Committee has concluded that Alderney is the best choice for this growing community celebration.
Sullivan’s Pond Geese: I was deeply saddened to hear about the attack on Willow Webb by a goose at Sullivan’s Pond at the end of October. Ms Webb is an 87 year old women who is a well-known fixture on the walking trails around the Pond and Lake Banook. She moves with a walker and was knocked over during the attack, breaking several bones. In response to the incident, HRM moved up the date for the geese to be brought to their winter retreat at Hope for Wildlife (they normally go at the start of December rather than in November).
There have been geese at Sullivan’s Pond for decades and they’ve become symbols in the community. I well understand that they bring a lot of joy to many people. The Pond, however, is a public park that is bordered by two senior buildings (Eastwood and Edgemere) and another building (1 Oak) that is almost an unofficial senior’s residence. It’s a place that needs to be safe for everyone, not just the young and spry who can outrun or fend off winged attackers.
The geese that people know from recent years have been quite gentle and there haven’t been complaints about aggressive behaviour or any similar incidents to what happened to Ms. Webb. So what changed? The one big difference is this year HRM, added four new geese to the older flock of six. The suspicion is that one of the newer flock members is taking their role as protector a little too seriously. While at Hope for Wildlife this winter, Hope will have the chance to assess whether all the geese are suited to returning to Sullivan’s Pond and advise HRM accordingly.
Given that HRM has been able to safely keep geese in the Pond up until now, and that they’re well-loved by many, my preference is to continue keeping them at the Pond if we can be reasonably sure that it’s safe to do so. No decisions have been made yet, but I’m hopeful that the six original geese, who have been quite docile over the years, will be back. It’s an open question as to whether all of the younger geese will join them. Their temperament may just not be a good fit for the space.
Participatory Budgeting Results: District 5’s Participatory Budget process for 2019 is complete. In total, 423 people cast a ballot to determine how $50,000 in district capital funds were awarded. You can review the list of non-profit recipients here. Thanks to everyone who took part.
A quick note about participatory budgeting in 2020. The municipal election will take place in October, which will impact the event. During the election period, Councillors aren’t permitted to award district capital funds and since the election falls halfway through the fiscal year, HRM also holds back half of each district’s total funding allocation. That makes doing participatory budgeting before October 17 challenging.
I have been quite pleased with how participatory budgeting has worked in District 5 and I intend to carry on using the process. My plan, if I’m reelected, is to hold 2020’s participatory budget vote after the election when District 5’s full funding will be available and when I will actually have the authority to allocate money to community groups. So 2020’s participatory budget vote will occur several weeks later than it has over the last three years towards the end of November.
Nature Trust Blue Mountain Birch Cove: One of the highest profile park projects in HRM got a boost from the non-profit sector earlier this month. The Nature Trust of Nova Scotia announced at their annual gala dinner that they’ve reached a deal to acquire a portion of land in the Blue Mountain Birch Cove area. The parcel is located on the western edge of the proposed protected area and contains three headwater lakes, bogs, and forest. The land is significant in that it links together two previously separated pieces of Provincially protected property. Combined with HRM’s recent purchases in 2018 and 2019, and it really has been a good few years for Blue Mountain Birch Cove. The Nature Trust’s deal isn’t done yet as they need to raise $2.1 million to purchase the property. To learn more about the Trust’s efforts or to provide support visit their website here.
HalifACT Catalogue: HRM’s climate change plan, HalifACT 2050, crossed a major milestone this month with the release of the Actions Catalogue. The Catalogue is a list of potential actions that the municipality and stakeholders could take to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that are being considered for inclusion in the municipal climate change plan. As part of the Catalogue release, HRM is also conducting a survey. You can checkout the Catalogue and take the survey here. Staff are aiming to finalize HRM’s Climate Change Plan over the winter and then present to Council in the spring.
Ferry Crew: Back in October one of transit’s routine ferry crossing became anything but routine. A passenger went over the side and the crew had to spring into rescue mode. The captain carefully steered the ferry as close as possible while the rest of the crew deployed the life saving equipment. In the end, the passenger was unable to get back on board on his own and the ferry’s engineer had to go in after him. All ended well with no injuries.
I said it at Council, but I want to again highlight the professionalism of the crew. Without their quick actions, the outcome could have been tragic. It goes to show how everything can change in an instance. We’re very fortunate to have the professional staff that do more than just get us back and forth on time, they’re also trained to keep us safe in the rare event of an emergency. Global had a great interview with the ferry crew that you can watch here. Well done to all.
Municipal Boards and Committees: HRM is seeking volunteers to serve on various municipal boards and committees. The following volunteer positions are open
- Community Monitoring Committee (landfill): 2 positions
- Halifax Regional Library board: 1 position
- Shubenacadie Canal Commission: 1 position
- Active Transportation Advisory Committee: 2 positions
- Community Design Advisory Committee: 7 positions
- Design Review Committee: 5 positions
- Grants Committee: 3 positions
- Investment Policy Advisory Committee: 1 position
- Halifax Peninsula Planning Advisory Committee: 4 positions
- Heritage Advisory Committee: 6 positions
- North West Planning Advisory Committee: 4 positions
- Point Pleasant Park Advisory Committee: 4 positions
- Regional Watershed Advisory Board: 3 positions
- Taxi and Limousine Liaison Group: 5 positions
- Western Common Advisory Committee: 6 positions
Short-term Rental Survey
Now – November 30
HRM is seeking input from residents on short-term rental accommodations, like Air BNB, VRBO and Home and Away. While the Province regulates tourist licensing and taxation, HRM manages land-use planning, meaning that both orders of government have responsibility for short-term rentals. Currently, HRM treats short-term rentals as a tourist accommodation use, which means they’re not permitted in most residential zones. This isn’t because HRM made a concerted decision not to allow short-term rentals, it’s because our zoning bylaws were drafted when the concept didn’t exist.
Since HRM bylaw enforcement is complaint-based, and a lengthy process, short-term rentals have proliferated despite the fact that they’re usually not legal land uses. Concerns are being raised about the impact that the increase in short-term rentals is having on the housing market and existing neighbourhoods (recently released McGill study). Council will be looking at options to regulate short-term rentals in the future. The survey is an opportunity to provide input into this developing issue. Take the survey here.
Dartmouth North Policing Town Hall
Wednesday, November 20, 7:00 pm
Farrell Hall, 276 Windmill Road
Prior to November’s Dartmouth North Neighbourhood Watch meeting on Wednesday, Councillor Mancini has organized a town hall on policing. Join him and our new Chief of Police, Dan Kinsella, to learn about community policing, traffic enforcement, and crime reduction (I won’t be able to attend as it coincides with the Oathill Lake Society AGM).
Integrated Mobility Plan Survey:
Now – November 29
HRM’s Integrated Mobility Plan was approved by Council in December 2017 and is approaching its second birthday. HRM has committed in the IMP to provide more choice in how we move around and to increase the proportion of people that use sustainable transportation. Some transformational projects have been completed already including HRM’s first true all ages and abilities bike lane on South Park Street, and the Gottingen Street bus lane. On the IMP’s second birthday, HRM is asking for input to gauge satisfaction levels with existing sustainable transportation options (transit, cycling, walking). The survey is an opportunity to provide feedback and for HRM to better understand what motivates mode choice and set priorities accordingly. Take the survey online here.
Public Information Meeting, Twin Lakes
Monday, November 25, 7:00 pm
Mic Mac AAC, 192 Prince Albert Road
Twin Lakes has applied to substantially amend their existing development agreement for their property at Prince Albert and Bartlin Roads. The existing development agreement was approved in 2006 and allows for a 12 storey residential building to be built at the crest of the hill near Alderney Elementary. The revised plan from Twin Lakes proposes to double the size of the development by adding a second tower, but they also want to move the whole development from the crest of the hill down to front directly on Prince Albert Road. For more information on this substantial revision visit the application’s website here.
Public Informationg Meeting, Kingswood
Wednesday, November 27, 7:00 pm
Alderney Gate Library
Armour group, the owner of both the Kings Wood and Kings Arm developments on Mic Mac Boulevard, has applied to add a 15 storey apartment building to the area. The new building would be located to the north of Kings Wood by the intersection of Mic Mac Boulevard and Horizon Court. For more information on the proposal, checkout application’s website here.
Public Hearing, Sea King / Lancaster Townhouse Development
Thursday, December 5, 6:00 pm
Harbour East Council Chamber, Alderney Gate (opposite the library)
WSP has applied to rezone the large parcel of vacant land at the intersection of Lancaster Drive and Woodland Avenue from R-1 to the townhouse zone. The applicant also proposes to increase Dartmouth’s townhouse zone’s allowable lot coverage from 35% to 55%. The requested rezoning is to enable a senior’s townhouse development on the site. The public hearing in which Council will make a decision on this application will take place on December 5. For more information, see the staff recommendation report here and the project’s website here.
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 5 and 19: Two meetings in one update. What’s going on with the Port Wallace development in District 6, free menstrual products at HRM facilities, the Findlay Community Centre as a potential heritage building, planning fees, and rerouting Route 91. Read about it here.
Council Update, October 22: My motion to reject Schooner Sports proposed stadium at Shannon Park and what the narrow Council vote means for the future, plus boulevard gardening. Read about it here.
Old Habits – New work by Lee Cripps
November 6 – December 1
The Craig Gallery, Alderney Landing, 2 Ochterloney Street
A new art installation at the Craig exploring the new rise in femininity, feminine power, and the residual tension that remains between old and new ideals- which are still being defined.
This Does Not Authorize Re-Entry – Work by Jenny Shi
November 6 – December 1
The Craig Gallery at Alderney Landing, 2 Ochterloney Street
This Does Not Authorize Re-Entry marks the end of artist Jenny Shi’s ten-year period living in Canada as a temporary resident. They take this opportunity to explore and reflect upon the process of navigating through the Canadian Immigration system.
Oathill Lake Conservation Society AGM
Wednesday, November 20, 7:00 – 9:00 pm
Room 101, Findlay Community Centre, 26 Elliot Street
Join the Oathill Lake Society for their annual general meeting from 7-9 pm on Wednesday, November 20th. Come and learn about the work the Oathill Lake Conservation Society is doing to protect the ecology of Oathill Lake.
Annual memberships will be available for purchase. This money goes to the Society’s various projects and to maintain equipment for conservation work.
The Long Weekend by Norm Foster
November 21 – November 30
Dartmouth Players, 33 Crichton Avenue
In this latest theatre production by Dartmouth Players, the truth and lies of a friendship come to the surface during a long weekend visit between two couples, Max & Wynn and Abby & Roger. There is plenty of passive aggression, laugh out loud performances and a few surprises in this classic comedy of manners by Norm Foster, Canada’s most successful playwright.
Starring: Kristin Ross as Wynn, Brad Morrison as Max, Rayna Smith-Camp as Abby, and Jon MacIntyre as Roger.
Tickets available online through online or by phoning 1-888-311-9090
Dartmouth Makers Winter Market
Friday, November 22, 5:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Saturday, November 23, 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Christ Church Parish Hall, 61 Dundas Street
Fifty-eight amazing Makers together in Downtown Dartmouth. It’s the best in holiday shopping…local, handmade, and beautifully crafted. Jewelry, Ceramics, Stationary, Prints, Apparel, Textiles, Home Decor, Cosmetics, with lots of Food and more. Admission is free
Super Saturdays: Paper Bag Puppets
Saturday, November 23, 10:00 am – 1:00 pm
(Puppet Show: Morris Has a Cold at 10:30)
Alderney Gate Public Library, 60 Alderney Drive
Super Saturdays at the library is all about hands-on activities or experiences that will be fun for both kids and grown-ups alike. It is your day to play games, unleash your inner artist, and experiment with technology. This weekend, come make a paper-bag puppet, then take in a puppet show. Tickets for the puppet show will be given out at 10 am. Free and all ages.
Dealing with Depression
Thursday, November 28, 6:30 – 8:00 pm
Alderney Gate Public Library, 60 Alderney Drive
Come to the library to talk about important mental health discussion around the following questions:
- How do I know if I have depression?
- What are depression symptoms and warning signs?
- Why do people become depressed?
- Are there different types of depression?
- Would depression look differently in adolescents versus adults?
- How do I get relief from depression?
Presenter Dr. Sadek is an Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Dalhousie University and Director of the Atlantic ADHD Center in Dartmouth.
Saturday, November 30, 9:00 am – noon
New Apostolic Church, 151 Joffre Street
The New Apostolic Church will be hosting a pancake breakfast in support of Feed Nova Scotia. All are welcome.
Christmas Full of Caring
Sunday, December 1, 4:00 pm (silent auction) 6:00 pm (dinner)
Double Tree, 101 Wyse Road
For 25 years Christmas Full of Caring has been an annual fundraiser in Dartmouth to raise funds for Margaret’s House on Ochterloney Street. Tickets are $60 for an adult and $20 for kids under 12. To purchase tickets contact Patty at 902-497-0906 or to donate items or services to the silent auction contact Ann at 902-469-3218
Dartmouth Historical Association Remembrance Ceremony
Friday, December 6, 11:00 am
Mont Blanc Cannon Park (corner of Albro Lake Road and Pinecrest Drive)
Join members of the Dartmouth Historical Association as we mark the anniversary of the Halifax Explosion and remember its impact on Dartmouth. After the ceremony, light refreshments will be served at the Dartmouth Heritage Museum on Newcastle Street.
TD Dartmouth Christmas Tree Lighting
Saturday, December 7, 4:30-5:50 pm
Alderney Landing, 2 Ochterloney Street
This free family-friendly event will include the lighting of the tree, fireworks, hot chocolate and cookies, train rides, a visit from Santa Claus and live entertainment.
Shubie Park Tree Lighting
Sunday, December 8, 4-5:30 pm
Fairbanks Centre, 54 Locks Road, Dartmouth
Hosted by Deputy Mayor Tony Mancini and the Shubenacadie Canal Commission. Marshmallow roasting, hot drinks and treats, live festive music, and fireworks!
Christmas Lights Tour
Wednesday, December 18, 5:30 – 8:00 pm
Dartmouth Seniors Service Centre
Join the Seniors Service Centre for a tour of the best Christmas lights on display in the HRM. Thousands of staples, tie wraps and bulbs for all those ooh’s and aah’s this season! Festive hot chocolate and dessert will be served at 5:30 pm. Bus leaves at 6:00 pm sharp. Limit of 36 seats available, so book early. Tickets are $20 for members, $25 for non-members.
Call 902-465-5578 before December 13th to reserve a ticket.
Reel Family Movie Night
Friday, December 20, 7:00 pm – 10:00 pm
Alderney Landing Theatre, 2nd floor, 2 Ochterloney Street
Alderney Landing and Scotiabank present the Scotiabank Reel Family Movie Night on December 20th with How the Grinch Stole Christmas. This is a free family event held in the theatre at Alderney Landing. Tickets available starting December 9, 2019 at Alderney Landing, Scotiabank Portland Street, Downtown Dartmouth Business Commission, #buylocal (Business TBA), Celtic Corner, and Strange Adventures Portland Street. There will be concessions available with all proceeds going towards supporting more movie nights.
Brought to you by Alderney Landing, Scotiabank, C100 FM – Today’s Best Music, The Chronicle Herald, Downtown Dartmouth Business Commission, B’Y Local, Celtic Corner, and Strange Adventures – Dartmouth