E-News October 2018

District 5 Participatory Budgeting at the Findlay Community Centre in 2017


Participatory Budgeting: Participatory Budgeting is returning to District 5 in November to allocate $50,000 in capital funds. Participatory budgeting allows residents to have a direct say in how money is spent. If you missed it last year, the way it works is community groups setup science fair style and every District 5 resident who attends, young and old, can cast a vote to help determine which projects receive funding. It’s a chance to have a direct say in what happens in the neighbourhood. This year’s vote will take place on Tuesday, November 6th at 6:00 pm in the gym of the Findlay Community Centre (26 Elliot Street).

Non-profit groups or organizations interested in participating could be eligible for up to $10,000 ($5,000 if they received funding through the process last year), but must submit an application for review before vote night to ensure the group and the project fits the District Capital policy. Applications can be obtained by contacting my Council Constituency Coordinator, Jenn Weagle at weaglej@halifax.ca or phone 902-490-6982. Applications are due Sunday, October 14th at midnight.

Please share this information with any non-profit community groups in District 5 you know of that may be interested in applying.

A leading pedestrian interval in action in New York. Photo: NYC Dept Transportation

Leading Pedestrian Intervals: I’m pleased to share that HRM will be piloting leading pedestrian intervals at several intersections this year, including Alderney and Ochterloney. A leading pedestrian interval is a traffic light that is programmed so that the walk signal comes on several seconds before vehicle traffic gets a green light. It gives pedestrians a head start, making them more likely to be seen by drivers and emphasizing that they have the right of way. Research suggests that leading pedestrian intervals can make busy intersections safer. They’re a relatively simple and cost-effective approach and the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) indicates they’re a good approach for use in intersections with high pedestrian and vehicle volumes with lots of turning traffic. I’m happy to see them being piloted in Downtown Dartmouth. An official public service announcement with a complete list of pilot locations will be released shortly.

Smoking Bylaw Changes: HRM is proceeding with the Nuisance Bylaw’s restrictions on smoking. Smoking and vaping of both tobacco and cannabis will be prohibited on all municipal property, except in designated areas, as of October 15. The prohibition includes the sidewalks. HRM is currently finalizing the initial roll out of designated smoking areas. A map of where this first batch of designated areas will be will be uploaded to halifax.ca shortly. There will also be a dedicated email address for requesting designated smoking areas. While I think HRM is making a mistake with this bylaw, Council has made its decision and we’re going to see what this looks like in reality. More to come on this from HRM over the next two weeks as we approach October 15.

Canal Greenway: HRM is moving forward with finalizing work on the Canal Greenway. A tender has been issued and heavy equipment will soon be on site to regrade the giant dirt pile at the corner of Prince Albert Road and Irishtown Road. Excess dirt will be removed, the site will be sodded, and the trail that follows the old inclined plane will be extended to Irishtown Road. The site will then be left alone until Phase 2 of the Sawmill River is ready to proceed. The timeline for Phase 2 is unknown at this time, but Halifax Water has tentatively targeted 2021. It could happen earlier or later depending on funding availability and how planning progresses. In the meantime, it’ll be nice to have a park alongside Prince Albert Road rather than the seemingly never-ending construction site of the last 15 or so years.

Resident’s painting the Findlay Wall. Photo: Findlay Wall

Placemaking Applications: HRM is accepting applications for its Placemaking program. The idea behind Placemaking is to involve the community in reimaginging and reinventing public spaces. It can involve art, or street fixtures like benches, or creating a community garden. The goal is to bring people together to create a sense of community around a project. Past Placemaking projects in HRM have included painting murals on intersections and, in District 5, the mural on the Findlay Community Centre’s back wall. HRM offers financial and non-financial support through the program so if you have an idea and some interested neighbours, checkout HRM’s placemaking page here. It would be great to see another project in District 5.

2019 Volunteer Awards – Nominations Open:  Applications for the 2019 Volunteer Awards are now open! Submit an application on behalf of an outstanding individual or group in our community. There are three award categories: adult, youth (ages 13-19), and community group. Deadline for applications is December 17, 2018. Recipients are announced during National Volunteer Week in April. Since being elected, I have attended both Volunteer Awards and it really is a lovely event. It’s a great way to showcase and thank volunteers for all the work they do to make our community a better place. I would encourage anyone who is inspired by someone in our community to nominate them. For the nomination application, or for more information go to Halifax.ca/volunteerawards or call 902-869-4202.

Emerald Ash Borer. Photo: University of New Hampshire

Emerald Ash Borer: Some bad news at the end of summer for our region’s ash trees, the Emerald Ash Borer has been found in DeWolf Park in Bedford. The Ash Borer is a hardy beetle that is native to Asia. It has no natural predators here and can easily survive freezing temperatures (has to go below -30 to start to impact this pest). The Borer spends most of its life feeding on Ash Trees. The Borer’s young grow-up safely feeding under the bark and then when the Borer matures into a beetle, it exits the tree, feeds on the leaves, mates, and the cycle starts again. The young Borer’s eventually kill the tree by cutting off the movement of nutrients.

Path of Emerald Ash Borer young easily visible underneath the bark. The destruction of the tree’s phloem layer eventually stops the movement of nutrients. Photo: Audobon Nature Centre

Unfortunately, our native ash trees have no natural defences to ward off the Borers and the parasites (fungus) and predators that keep Borer populations from growing into an infestation back in Asia aren’t present here. Emerald Ash Borer was first detected in Canada in Windsor, Ontario in 2002 and since then, it has steadily spread throughout Ontario, Quebec and Manitoba, killing over a million trees in Toronto alone. This year it was found for the first time in New Brunswick and now it’s here in Nova Scotia. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is currently doing follow-up work to determine if the Ash Borer is established here and how extensive the spread is. Given it’s steady movement outward from Michigan across North America, it seems likely the beetle is here to stay.

The one positive for us is in this gloomy news is that, unlike many cities in Ontario, Ash isn’t a significant part of our urban forest. Ash is generally less than 5% of the street canopy in HRM, although there are a few areas in Fairview where they’re more densely planted. They’ll be more to come on this in the form of a report to Council in the coming months.

Volunteer Opportunities: Interested in getting involved in municipal government? HRM is currently recruiting volunteers for 63 positions on 17 boards/committees. Below is the list:

  • Active Transportation Advisory Committee
  • Accessibility Advisory Committee
  • Audit Committee
  • Design Review Committee
  • Grants Committee
  • Halifax Regional Library Board
  • Halifax Regional Water Commission Board
  • Halifax Transit’s Accessible Transit Liaison Group
  • Halifax Peninsula Planning Advisory Committee
  • Heritage Advisory Committee
  • Investment Policy Advisory Committee
  • North West Planning Advisory Committee
  • Point Pleasant Park Advisory Committee
  • Regional Watersheds Advisory Board
  • Shubenacadie Canal Commission
  • Special Events Advisory Committee
  • Western Common Advisory Committee

Volunteering on a community board is a great way to influence decisions and get some first-hand experience in how government works. Applications are due by October 21. For more information and to apply online checkout the Municipal Clerk’s page here.

Restrictive Covenants: One of my favourite things about municipal government is that it’s non-partisan. I have the luxury of staying out of the sometimes divisive political battles that can characterize Province House and the House of Commons. Still, there are some issues that cross municipal and provincial lines and one that you mightn’t have heard of, but that can have a big impact on what happens in your neighbourhood are restrictive covenants. A restrictive covenant is a legally enforceable restriction on the use of land. They’re often used in new subdivisions to set standards over and above what planning bylaws require or by businesses that want to limit competition.

We have a prominent example of how restrictive covenants can be problematic here in Dartmouth. When Sobeys sold their old mall at the corner of Pleasant and Prince Arthur, they attached a restriction on the deed that prevents anyone else from opening a grocery store, drug store, or doctor’s office on the site for twenty years (the existing pharmacy was exempted from the restriction). Sobeys left for Baker Drive and in their wake they have legally created a food desert in Southdale’s neighbourhood centre. This is directly opposed to what HRM is trying to achieve in the Centre Plan, but there is nothing the municipality can do about it since property rights are a provincial responsibility.

Old Sobeys Mall, Pleasant Street

In that regard, I was very pleased to note that our MLA, Claudia Chender, introduced a private members bill which, if passed, would invalidate restrictive covenants that apply to food and health services. It’s a private members bill, so the odds of it making into law are low, but this strikes me as something that shouldn’t be a partisan issue, it’s just good policy. I’m sure there are more examples like Pleasant Street’s old mall around the Province. We shouldn’t allow good planning and essential services to be stifled by selfish anti-competitive practices. If you’re so inclined, it would be a good bill to write your MLA in support of.

HRM Green Cart Collection: With the arrival of October, weekly green cart collection is now at an end. Waste collection is now back onto its regular bi-weekly schedule. You can check the pickup type for your street here.

Streets Bylaw and Shrubs: With fall clean-up upon us and winter just around the corner, please remember that the Streets Bylaw makes the adjacent property owners responsible for the care and upkeep of trees and shrubs that encroach on the sidewalk. It’s the same bylaw that assigns responsibility for mowing the grass. It’s important to keep encroaching vegetation trimmed to ensure the public use of the sidewalk is unimpeded and for HRM’s snowclearing operations. I know the forsythia in my frontyard needs a trim and I encourage everyone else to take a look before winter sets in.


Public Consultation:

Downtown Dartmouth Plan Review
October 22, 6:00 – 8:30 pm (presentation at 6:3o pm)
Alderney Landing Market
Join the conversation around the Downtown Dartmouth Plan Review at the upcoming public open house on Monday, October 22, 2018 at the Alderney Landing Market. The new Downtown Dartmouth draft bylaws will apply to Downtown’s commercial core and the intent is for them to become law alongside the Centre Plan next year. The open house is a chance to provide feedback on draft land use policies and regulations. The draft regulations will be available online following the open house. To provide written feedback or meet with HRM Planning and Development staff about the proposed changes, please contact planhrm@halifax.ca before November 9, 2018.  Information on previous Downtown Dartmouth public engagement is available here. Information on Centre Plan Package A is available here.

Secondary Suites Survey
Today – November 1
HRM is seeking public input on amending planning rules throughout HRM to permit secondary and backyard suites. A secondary suite is an additional residential unit that is secondary to the main unit, such as a basement apartment. A backyard suite is an extra unit that’s not attached to the main building, such as an apartment above a garage. The Regional Plan supports secondary suites, but the specific policies and regulations in HRM’s various community plans and land use bylaws are inconsistent. HRM is looking at removing barriers in the various land use bylaws and has a survey available to gather public input. You can take the survey here.

Taxi Survey
Today – October 11
HRM is in the process of examining the taxi industry in our municipality. As part of an extensive report that is expected to return to Council in the next few months, HRM is consulting the public on taxi usage, service, gender diversity, and safety measures. You can take the survey here.


Council Updates:

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 September 18
A fairly routine Council meeting with new planning bylaws around cannabis production facilities and a new layout for Barrington Street north of North Street. Read about it here



Mi’kmaq History Month
Various Events
Mi’kmaq History Month is held every October. It is a time to recognize and celebrate Mi’kmaw culture and heritage, beginning with Treaty Day on October 1. Treaty Day commemorates the Treaty of 1752 between the people of Mi’kma’ki and the Crown. Mi’kma’ki is made up of all of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, and large areas of New Brunswick, the Gaspé Peninsula, and Newfoundland. The Treaty of 1752 was intended to show the Crown’s intentions to make peace, provide trading posts, and protect the land and way of life for the Mi’kmaw peopleCheck out http://mikmaqhistorymonth.ca/ for events, learning resources and more.

Super Saturdays: The Great Apple Taste Test
Saturday, October 6, 10:00 am – 2:00 pm
Alderney Gate Public Library
Honeycrisp apples were the winners last year. What one will be The Great Apple of 2018? Cast your vote for your favourite apple, and take part in our “food” scavenger hunt. Super Saturdays 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.

How the Cougar Came to Be Called the Ghost Cat/Ta’n Petalu Telui’tut Skite’kmujewe
Wednesday, October 10, 10:00 – 10:30am
Saturday, October 13, 10:00 – 10:30 am
Alderney Gate Public Library
New time! Based on the book by Michael James Isaac, this puppet show tells the story of Ajig, a young cougar who agrees to stop behaving like a cougar so that the other animals will accept him. But there is a price to pay for sacrificing part of his nature. All ages. Tickets will be given out 30 minutes before start time. The puppet show is part of Mi’kmaq History Month.

Optimal Aging Series – Canadian Mental Health Association
Wednesdays, October 10, 17, 24, 31, 6:30 – 8:00 pm
Cole Harbour Place, 51 Forest Hills Parkway
This Optimal Aging Series is free to healthy seniors 50 years old plus, and promotes mental health, positive thinking and social activity. For more information contact Carlye Higgins by email: education32@novascotia.cmha.ca or phone: 902-466-6600 ext. 208

The Notables
Wednesday, October 10, 7:30pm
Dartmouth Players Theatre, 33 Crichton Avenue
Cost: Pay what you can, space is limited
A night of timeless hits featuring Perla Canales-Deichler and Matthew Snow on vocals.

Ivy Weeding with the Oathill Lake Conservation Society
Thursday, October 11, 10:30 am (rain date October 11)
Oathill Lake Park between the Beckfoot and Oathill Lake Entrances
One of the best examples of citizen activism in HRM is the Oathill Lake Conservation Society. The Society monitors water quality in Oathill Lake and has carried out projects to improve the lake environment including the creation of an artificial wetland off Oathill Crescent and the installation of a pump to create turnover in the water column. The Society has been busily tackling invasvive species in the Park including knotweed, and multiflora rose. Their latest target is the English Ivy that is blanketing the woodland in the Park near the Beckfoot entrance. If you would like to lend a hand, bring spades, loppers, shears and brown paper yard waste bags. It’s recommended to cover your arms and legs to prevent other plants from scratching.


20th Annual Mosaic for Mental Health Art Exhibition & Sale
October 11 – October 28
The Craig Gallery, Alderney Landing
Now in its 20th year, the Mosaic for Mental Health Art Exhibition and Sale, a signature fundraiser for the Halifax-Dartmouth branch of the Canadian Mental Health Association, promotes mental health and supports the resilience, recovery and well-being of people living with mental illness. Artists of all ages and skill levels are invited to donate 6” x 6” works of art. The artwork is put on display and sold to raise awareness and support the social programs of our local CMHA.

The opening night reception for the 2018 Mosaic will take place on October 11th, 2018. There will be hundreds of Mosaic Art Tiles on sale for $25. The Mosaic tiles will continue to be on display and sold up until October 28th, 2018, including Nocturne, October 13th, 6 pm – midnight. There will also be silent auction pieces on display during the Exhibition.

Check out the Canadian Mental Health Association Halifax-Dartmouth website at https://cmhahaldart.ca for more details. You can also find them on social media @CMHAHalDart or by phoning 902 455-5445.

Nocturne 2018 – Nomadic Reciprocity
Saturday, October 13, 6:00 pm to midnight
Various locations in Halifax and Dartmouth
In 2018, Nocturne has partnered with the Aboriginal Curatorial Collective to bring NOMADIC RECIPROCITY curated by Raven Davis. They are excited to announce the 2018 festival line-up of artists. This list is just a taste of what will take place during this year’s festival and more announcements will be released as the days get closer. Visit online https://nocturnehalifax.ca/ for the 2018 artist line up, which includes links to the artists websites or places to learn more about each artists work. Their project names, descriptions and locations will be released throughout the days leading up to Nocturne 2018.  Follow Nocturne on our social media (@NocturneHalifax) as they gear up for the festival.

Flume House Opening Ceremony
Friday, October 19, 11:00 am
Flume House, Canal Greenway Park Prince Albert Road
Join the Shubenacadie Canal Commission for the opening ceremonies for the recreated Flume House in the Canal Greenway Park off Prince Albert Road. For more information contact the Commission at info@shubenacadiecanal.ca If you’re curious how the whole Marine Railway actually worked, the Commission has produced this great video that explains it.

Author Theresa Meuse: Family Storytime & Craft
Part of Mi’kmaq Heritage Month
Saturday, October 20, 2:00 – 3:00 pm
Alderney Gate Public Library
Join First Nations educator and advisor, Theresa Meuse for storytime, a rock-painting activity, and a sharing circle to round out this special family program celebrating Mi’kmaq Heritage Month. Theresa Meuse is the author of The Sharing Circle and L’nu’k:The PeopleChildren ages 5-13 and their families are welcome to attend.

Downtown Dartmouth Halloween Spooktacular
Saturday, October 20, 11:00 am – 1:00 pm
Downtown Dartmouth
Hosted by the Downtown Dartmouth Business Commission. Save the date for the Downtown Dartmouth Halloween Spooktacular! Details to come, but plan to join us for a family costume parade featuring free treats, cake, live music and much more.

Dartmouth Lions – Celebrity Roast 2018 – Buchanan Toast ‘n Roast
Saturday, October 20, 5:00 pm
Lions Club Hall, 65 Horne’s Road, Eastern Passage
Cost: Tickets are $70.00
Organized and hosted by Dartmouth Lions Club, an evening of good food, good fellowship, and entertainment, paying tribute to the Honourable John M. Buchanan, long time Premier of Nova Scotia, Senator, and 60 year member of the Nova Scotia Barristers Society. Beginning with a reception at 5:00 pm, followed by dinner at 6:00 pm, with music by ComeBack, the event is a fundraiser for Lions Club. Rollie Thornhill is Master of Ceremonies of the Toast ‘n’ Roast activities following the meal. A silent auction begins with the reception and runs till about 8:00 pm. There is to be a door prize and other draws. Dinner menu includes Chicken Cordon Bleu, with potato and vegetables, juice, roll, dessert, tea or coffee. Catering and bar services are being provided by the Eastern Passage – Cow Bay Lions. Tickets are available until Friday, October 12, through Snapd Tix, MLA Tim Halman’s Constituency office, or directly from the Lions Club via the Club Line: 902-800-5028 or Club e-mail: Dartmouth.NS.Lions@gmail.com

Author Reading: Threads in the Acadian Fabric by Simone Poirier-Bures
Tuesday, October 23, 7:00 – 8:30pm
Alderney Gate Public Library
Threads in the Acadian Fabric is a historical memoir that tells the story of the author’s paternal family, her line of ancestors that stretches back to the first Poirier who arrived from France and settled in Port Royal in the 1640s. Poirier-Bures places the lives of each ancestor in the context of the political and historical events of the time, thus, providing insight into the collective Acadian experience as well as that of individual families.   

Dartmouth Handcrafters Guild Christmas Craft Festival
Friday, October 26 – Sunday, October 28
Dartmouth Sportsplex
The Dartmouth Handcrafters Guild is excited to return to the Dartmouth Sportsplex. The Dartmouth Sportsplex has been home to the Dartmouth Handcrafters Guild Christmas Craft Festival since 1974, with the exception of 2017 due to renovations. They are looking forward to being back in the rink in the same location with many returning craftspeople in their same spots as they were in 2016. There will also be many “new” craftspeople with exciting gifts for that especially hard to buy for person. The show is juried by experienced board members, assuring high quality handmade crafts from 170 craftspeople. This is the first major craft festival of the holiday season.

The Dartmouth Handcrafters Guild is a not for profit show that takes pride in giving back to the community a portion of the net proceeds from the show. Since 2009, the Guild has donated over $208,000 to various local charities. For more information, visit www.handcraftersguild.ca.

Theatre Production: Chasing Champions – The Sam Langford Story
October 25 & 26 – 8pm; October 27 – 2pm & 8pm
Alderney Landing Theatre
Cost: Adult $30 & Student/children $10
Jacob Sampson and a small ensemble cast bring to life the boxing world of the 1910s and 20s; the danger and reward of surviving by your fists, and breaking the mould society has set for you. Chasing Champions takes you on the journey of Sam Langford’s boxing career, using flashbacks and a flexible timeline to explore the fighter’s life as a child in Nova Scotia and the experiences that forged one of the greatest fighters who ever lived.

Chasing Champions is a physical experience that brings the audience into training and the ring, from the corner to the mat, and pays tribute to a great man who was almost forgotten. Chasing Champions was created by Ship’s Company Theatre in 2016 and went on to win six Theatre Nova Scotia Merritt Awards, including Outstanding New Play and Outstanding Production.


Rita Joe Ferry Dedication
Friday, October 26, 2:00 pm
Alderney Ferry Terminal

More than 11,000 votes were cast over 10 days in the spring of 2017 to name two new Halifax Transit Ferries. The names chosen were Vincent Coleman and Rita Joe. The Vincent Coleman Ferry was dedicated on March 14th and has been in operation since that time. Rita Joe is a cultural icon and considered to be the “poet laureate” of the Mi’kmaq people. Her poem “I Lost My Talk” is a powerful reflection on her feelings about the disconnection from her language while at a Nova Scotia residential school. The Rita Joe Ferry will be dedicated at 2:00 p.m. on October 26th at the Alderney Ferry Terminal, Dartmouth.

2018 Volunteer Conference
November 16 – 17
Atlantica Hotel, 1980 Robie Street, Halifax
Registration for the 18th annual Volunteer Conference is now open, with special early bird rates available until Friday, October 26th. The conference, which offers a wide selection of interactive and informative workshops, provides residents with an opportunity to participate in training, networking and learning opportunities – all designed to help people become more effective in their work and strengthen the volunteer capacity of the municipality. This year’s keynote speaker is the Honourable Joanne Bernard, ECNS, President and CEO of Easter Seals Nova Scotia. To register or for more information visit Halifax.ca/volconference

1 Comment

  1. Sam, the news re leading pedestrian intervals is immensely frustrating. We’ve had these in some locations for ages already – there’s one on Young Street. Why more delay with rolling these out? They are a tried and tested method for reducing pedestrian collisions – Transport Canada, the CCTMA and NACTO recommend their use and they have been implemented in many North American cities widely. Years, decades even of accident stats tell us the turning traffic at intersections is the number one cause of traffic hitting pedestrians here. We need this to end now, not after a prolonged and needless trial of a proven remedy.

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