E-News October 2019

Participatory Budget 2018 at the Findlay Community Centre


2019 Participatory Budget: Participatory budgeting is returning to District 5 in November! Together, we will allocate $45,000 of District 5’s capital funds. The format will be the same as previous years, with non-profit community groups setting up science fair style on vote night to pitch their projects, and then residents voting for which ones they would like to see funded. To ensure a fair and equitable process, each resident has to pick five projects for their ballot to be valid. Non-profit community group are eligible for up to $10,000 ($5,000 if the group received funding through the process last year).

Voting will take place on Tuesday, November 5, 6:00 – 8:00 pm in the gym at the Findlay Community Centre. All District 5 residents are eligible to vote, including kids!

If you’re a non-profit community group that’s interested in participating, please get in touch with my coordinator Jenn Weagle. You can email Jenn at weaglej@halifax.ca or get in touch by phone at 902-490-6982. Projects must be pre-screened to ensure they comply with HRM’s District Capital Policy and are eligible for funding. An application form and letter will be required so talk to Jenn! The deadline for non-profit applications is Sunday, October 20 at midnight.

Community voulnteers at a park naturalization project in Portland, Oregon

Park Naturalization Pilot: HRM is looking at opportunities to naturalize sections of parks and underused green spaces. Naturalization is a process of transforming a heavily-manicured or degraded spaces into ones that reflect naturally-occurring plant species including flowering perennials, grasses, shrubs, and trees. When naturalization works, it can significantly improve biological diversity.

Other cities, such as Portland and Seattle, have established naturalization programs and a key ingredient of success is community buy in and stewardship. Parks is looking at two pilot projects right now, one in Halifax and one on the Dartmouth Common. The proposed naturalized project on the Common would be located in a bed that Park’s hasn’t had great success with. Parks is currently collecting input on this potential project. If you have any thoughts or would like to be involved please contact Penelope Kuhn at kuhnp@halifax.ca

Proposed Common naturalization site

Penhorn Lake: The old Penhorn Lake Washroom has served us for its last season. Demolition of the building will get underway in the next few weeks and will be complete by the end of November. The plan is to start construction of the new washroom early in the spring so that it can open in time for the 2020 swim season. This project was on the 2019/2020 budget’s B list so it wasn’t a sure thing that it would happen. I’m very pleased to see it proceeding.

Chadwick Street Redesign: The long miserable construction season is coming to a close on Chadwick Street. The road project is scheduled to wrap up by the end of October. Crews have started pouring the new sidewalk and curbs, which has prompted a number of emails to me about the width of the street. I know HRM held a public meeting to explain that the road would be shrinking to a 7 meter width, but I also get that there is a big difference between seeing that on a page, and actually experiencing reality of the change.

To refresh, when the project is done, Chadwick Street will be a consistent 7 meters. The National Association City Transportation Officials indicates that lane widths of 3 – 3.5 meters are safe for city streets, which means there is more than enough space to have two-lanes of traffic. Narrow lane widths have in fact been clearly shown to reduce traffic speeds, which is important as speed is the real threat on our roads. Checkout the research results below showing how, as lane width increases, so does traffic speed.

The redesigned Chadwick Street will still allow parking on the south side, except where there are existing parking restrictions (near the intersection with Pleasant and on the hill). What will happen when two vehicles approach each other and there is a parked car blocking most of the south side lane, is that the vehicle on the south side will yield. Once the oncoming vehicle has passed, they’ll take their turn to go around the parked car. This taking turns dance is a common situation on many of our older residential streets where parking is permitted on both sides and it really isn’t a source of accidents. Speed is.

The result of this project is that road safety on Chadwick Street is being dramatically improved. Not only has HRM created a sidewalk where it was previously judged impossible to put one in, but the traffic calming effect of a narrowed street and parked cars will significantly reduce speeds. I’m confident that this project will make the neighbourhood a much better place for everyone. Work should be complete by November.

Redesigned Hawthorne/Prince Albert

Hawthorne Street Traffic Calming: Still with traffic calming, road design, and safety. HRM’s going to shortly be implementing a small project on Hawthorne Street at the intersection with Prince Albert Road. Hawthorne Street is a residential street, but it’s also often used as a shortcut. Due to complaints from area resident’s, HRM assessed Hawthorne for possible traffic calming. The way traffic calming works in HRM is that the municipality measures speed and volume on candidate streets to generate a list. Where a street ranks on the list depends on the objectively measured speed and volume. Streets at the top of the list get traffic calming projects first. The process takes the politics out of it. Councillors determine how much money is available for the traffic calming program at budget time, but we don’t have the ability to cherry pick which streets get projects based on who makes the most noise. You can view the traffic calming list as it was in February online here.

While resources are concentrated on the streets with the highest recorded speeds, HRM does look for opportunities to integrate traffic calming with other projects. When Hawthorne was assessed the recorded 85th percentile speed (speed that just 15% of traffic is going faster than) was 46 km/hr, which means the street is currently around #40 on the list. Although Hawthorne isn’t at the top, HRM is replacing the traffic lights at the intersection of Hawthorne and Prince Albert. The light replacement gives the municipality an opportunity to improve that particular section of the street as part of the project.

The existing traffic lights, which are hanging on utility poles, are outdated and are really not ideally setup. The plan is to install new lights and reconfigure the intersection to also implement some traffic calming and accessible curbs. The redesigned intersection will have dedicated traffic lights, and extended curbs. The part that might raise a few eyebrows is the left turning lanes on Hawthorne Street will be eliminated (left turn lanes on Prince Albert Road will remain). The removal of the left turn lane will reduce crossing distances for pedestrians, and will help discourage short-cutting on Hawthorne. There will be some additional wait times for motorists who get stuck behind left-turning vehicles, but HRM’s assessment is that there isn’t a problem with vehicles clearing this intersection during a light cycle and the additional delay that is sometimes experienced will be minor. The tender for this work is currently open to bidders.

New Sackville Councillor: Regional Council has a new councillor joining us on October 22. Paul Russell was victorious in the Sackville byelection. Russell is a former school board representative who has been involved in a lot of community projects in Sackville over the years. Russel received 30.5% of the vote. Turnout was 22.5%. Congratulations to Paul and thanks to all the candidates who ran. If anyone thought coming into Council in the middle of a mandate was easy, Paul’s first official meeting will feature the stadium discussion. No pressure Paul!

Woodside Ferry Terminal Revamp Sneak Peak by Abbott Brown Architects

Woodside Ferry Repairs: Major repairs to our long suffering Woodside Ferry Terminal are about to get underway. Council rearranged some of the funding for this project just a few weeks ago to get started on the elevators asap. Anyone who uses Woodside knows the existing elevator is undersized for passengers, especially if you’re travelling with a bicycle or stroller. The other major problem is the escalators spend as much time broken as they do running. The problem is the escalators are at the end of their life and are unreliable. They’re so old that parts are no longer made, which means when something breaks it, takes weeks to get things working again. It’s a major nuisance. While not affecting people who use the building yet, the exterior cladding is also failing. The Terminal has served us well, but it’s time for a major refresh.

The coming project will be a total revamp of the building. The first phase that started this week will see the demolition of the old elevator and the installation of two new full-sized ones. Work on the elevators has now begun and is expected to last until March. Once the new elevators are in place, Phase 2 of the project will get underway, which will include new escalators, new electrical and mechanical systems, new washrooms, and redesigned security kiosk, lobby and waiting areas. Phase 2 will take all of 2020 and part of 2021 to complete.

Ferry service will be maintained throughout this two year project, but the Terminal will be construction site so it won’t be business as usual. When it’s done, we’ll basically have an almost new ferry terminal. Short-term pain for long-term gain.

New steps on the Fairbanks – Geary path

Fairbanks Steps: The new steps that provide a pedestrian connection from Fairbanks to Geary Street via the cemetery are open! Great to see this neighbourhood walking route back in action. Hopefully the new stairs will serve us as well as the old ones did.

hfxALERT: HRM has launched a new mass notification system, hfxALERT. hfxALERT will be used strictly for municipal notifications. Notifications that could be sent out on hfxALERT could include urgent emergency messages, such as evacuations, or more routine messages such as winter parking ban announcements. hfxALERT will distribute notifications via email, automated phone messages, texts, or on the mobile app. Mobile app users will get geographically related notifications relevant to where they are in the municipality. You can sign up for hfxALERT on the municipal website here or download the app

Public Consultation:

Dundas Street concept designs

Dartmouth Cove Bridge Design
Wednesday, October 9 – Wednesday, October 23
If you were out at the market pre-Dorian or at Switch you might have come across members of HRM’s project team for the Downtown Dartmouth Infrastructure Project (now being simply called the Dartmouth Cove Project). The Dartmouth Cove Project encompasses several significant city building intiatives including:

  1. Extending Dundas Street into Dartmouth Cove to enable redevelopment
  2. Building a multi-use trail along Alderney Drive to link the Harbour Trail to Sullivan’s Pond via Alderney and Starr Park
  3. Redesigning the Portland/Alderney/Prince Albert intersection
  4. Phase 2 of daylighting the Sawmill River

The project team has been gathering feedback on design options for the new Dundas Bridge. There is a survey up on the Shape Your City that you can take here that asks about the Bridge design and potential options for moving pedestrians in the area. You can take the survey and checkout the preliminary plan for the area here. Survey will be up for approximately two weeks.

Rosedale Avenue proposal

Rosedale and Floral Avenue Development
Wednesday, October 30, 7:00 pm
Stairs Memorial Church
44 Hester Street

HRM will be holding a public information meeting for a proposed development off Rosedale Avenue (site isn’t far from the Wyse Road Sobeys). The large irregular shaped site fronts on Rosedale and Floral Avenue’s cul-du-sac. It also borders properties on Fraser and Hester. The developer is proposing to concentrate density on the large site into two towers of 9 and 10 storeys, while keeping the rest of the development low (4 storeys), and leaving a large green space through the centre of the property and along the Hester boundary.

Please note that although Package A of the Centre Plan is now binding, this proposal is being considered under the pre-Centre Plan rules. This is because the application was completed before the Centre Plan Public Hearing was advertised. Under the new Centre Plan, the property is zoned higher order residential, which would allow the developer to build several six storey buildings, which means the developer has two potential paths to pursue. There is going to be an interesting community discussion around whether allowing for more height in exchange for keeping more of the site as open space and low (four storeys rather than six) is a worthwhile trade-off compared to the Centre Plan’s as-of-right option that would allow more of the site to be covered with six storey buildings. You can find out more about the proposal online here.

Landscape/site plan Rosedale Avenue

Council Updates:

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, September 17, 24, and October 8: I got behind this past month on my updates and had to write an omnibus catch-all update for three meetings. Stadium, affordable housing, Centre Plan, youth transit pilot, EV vehicles and pet waste all in one place. Read about it here.


Open Skates
October – Spring (various times)
Zatzman Sportsplex

With the arrival of Fall, Open Skates are back at the Zatzman Sportsplex. The skate schedule started on October 1 and there is a chance to skate every day except Sunday (times vary). Visit the Sportsplex’s website for the full schedule. Cost is $3 per person or $10 per family. Free for members.

Reel Family Movie Night – Casper
Friday, October 11, 7:00 pm
Alderney Landing Theatre
Come dressed in your favourite Halloween costume for a free community movie. Tickets available at the Alderney Landing Box Office and Scotiabank on Portland Street.

Super Saturdays: The Great Apple Taste Test
Saturday, October 12, 10:00 am – 1:00 pm
Alderney Gate Public Library
Honeycrisp apples were the winners last year and the year before. Will they defend the crown and be The Great Apple of 2019? Cast your vote for your favourite and take part in the Library’s “food” scavenger hunt. For me, it’s Ambrosia or bust!

The Great Apple Taste Test is part of the Library’s Super Saturdays where are all about hands-on activities or experiences that will be fun for both kids and grown-ups alike. It is a day to play games, unleash your inner artist, and experiment with technology.

Mi’kmaq History Month Puppet Show: The Lost Teachings
Saturday, October 12, 10:30 – 11:00 am
Alderney Gate Public Library
The Lost Teachings is a story about the importance of the seven teachings, wisdom, respect, love, honesty, humility, courage and truth and how interconnected they are in achieving balance, harmony and peace for individuals and society as a whole. The show is based on the book The Lost Teachings by Michael James Isaac. Tickets will be given out 30 minutes before start time. Ages 3+

21st Annual Walk Against Violence
Wednesday, October 16, 6:30 pm
60 Farrell Street (Boys and Girls Club)

Come out for Dartmouth North’s annual walk against violence. The walk will depart from the Boys and Girls Club on Farrell Street and will stop in Jason MacCullough Park. Leave your porch light on to show support. Donations to the Jason MacCullough Memorial Scholarship fund gratefully accepted.

Nova Scotia Nature Trust Annual Dinner & Auction
Thursday, October 17, 6:00 pm
Cunard Centre, Halifax
You’ll not want to miss this year’s Annual Dinner and Auction fundraiser for the Nova Scotia Nature Trust! It will be a spectacular celebration of 25 years of land conservation. 2019 promises to be a truly historic year, with more land saved than ever before. The Nature Trust is thrilled to share that 3-time Juno Award nominee Jenn Grant will be the special guest for the Anniversary Dinner.

Tickets are $175 each, tables of 10 for $1,750 and can be purchased online at nsnt.ca or by phone 902-422-1886.

Dartmouth Heritage Museum Antiques Roadshow with Rosemary Beckett & Jim Hewey
Saturday, October 19, 1:00 – 3:30 pm
Evergreen House, 26 Newcastle Street,
The Dartmouth Heritage Museum Society will be hosting an antique’s road show. This is your chance to bring in treasured items to be appraised by qualified appraisers Rosemary Beckett and Jim Hewey.

Interested in participating? The Museum recommends you pre-register for the event and let them know how many items you plan to bring. The maximum per person is three items. The cost is $10 per item, which also includes light refreshments (tea, coffee & assorted sweets).

If you simply want to come see what this event is all about without getting anything assessed, entry is free, but refreshments are $2.

If you can’t commit ahead of time, payment will be accepted at the door. You will be given a designated number that will be called when the appraisers are ready to view your items.

Email info@dartmouthmuseum.ca for more information.

Nocturne: Art at Night Festival 2019
Saturday, October 19, 6:00 pm – midnight
Various Locations in Halifax & Dartmouth
Nocturne: Art at Night celebrates contemporary professional art in our community. The festival and programming uses art as a catalyst for connection and provides access to art and wonder without any barriers. Portland Street in Downtown Dartmouth will be an official installation for Nocturne, with the brand new neon mural at the corner of Portland Street and Victoria Road lighting up the night. The theme this year on Portland is Electric Avenue! There will be creative light-themed installations on Portland Street on every block from Alderney Drive to Victoria Road.

For information on participating artists and art installations, or to sign up to volunteer, visit nocturnehalifax.ca

An Afternoon of Music at the Dartmouth Heritage Museum
Sunday, October 20, 3:00 – 5:00 pm
Evergreen House
26 Newcastle Street
Visit the Museum for an afternoon of music!
Basso Nova Cello Bass Quartet Presents: The Classics and the Two Freddys, Catherine Little, Colin Matthews and Jamie McLaren- cellos, and Max Kasper- Bass.

Suggested Donation: $20. Pay at the door or through eventbrite.com

Email catherinelittlemusic@gmail.com or text 902-579-2027 to reserve your ticket.

Community Shredding Event
Monday, October 21, noon – 1:30 pm
Downtown Dartmouth Business Commission
163 Portland Street
Have old documents kicking around? Don’t know where to get rid of them? The Downtown Dartmouth Business Commission has you covered. Bring your papers to the DDBC’s parking at the corner of Victoria Road and Portland Street. You can leave them with the Commission or stay to watch the satisfying shred.  If you have questions, email info@downtowndartmouth.ca or call 902-466-2997.

Six Primrose film screening
Tuesday, October 22, 6:00 – 7:00 pm
Dartmouth North Community Food Centre,
6 Primrose Street, Unit 140
Join the Food Centre for a free evening screening of the feature documentary film Six Primrose, by Dartmouth’s own Truefaux Films. The film shares the stories of individuals connected with the Dartmouth North Community Food Centre. Space is limited so please RSVP to save your seat. Popcorn, coffee and tea will be served. Doors open at 5:45 pm.

Discover Solar 2019 – Demystifying Solar Electricity for Nova Scotia Homes
Thursday, October 24, 6:00 – 8:00 pm
Alderney Gate Public Library
Solar Nova Scotia is a not for profit organization formed in 1980. They will be offering a presentation designed to demystify photovoltaics for home owners interested in investing in their own supply of low emission electricity. For more information, visit Solar Nova Scotia.

Dartmouth Handcrafters Guild Christmas Craft Show 2019
Friday, October 25 noon to Sunday, October 27 4:00 pm
Zatzman Sportsplex
The first “BIG” Christmas show of the season, featuring juried handcrafts. Over 150 crafters on two levels. Net proceeds from this not for profit show are returned to charities in our community. Since it’s creation, the Guild has donated $215,000 to local charities. Hours for the weekend show are as follows:

October 25 noon – 9:00 pm,
Oct 26 10:00 am – 8:00 pm,
Oct 27 10:00 am – 4:00 pm

Admission is $6.00 and is good for entire weekend. Two for one admission after 5:00 pm on Saturday. Visit the Guild’s website for more information.

Light up the Lake in Dartmouth
Saturday, November 2, 5:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Mic Mac AAC,
192 Prince Albert Road

The sixth annual light up the Lake run will take place the first weekend of November. This fun 5 km run/walk is an out and back route alongside Lake Banook. Headlamps, hot chocolate, and meals for all. Wear purple and glow-in-the-dark items and stick around for the fireworks finale. All ages and abilities welcome. For more information on registration and the run, visit the event site here

Pleasant Woodside Neighbourhood Meet & Greet
Thursday, November 7, 6:30 – 9:30 pm
Woodside Tavern,
209 Pleasant St, Dartmouth
The Pleasant Woodside Neighbourhood Association is headed to the Tavern for a little neighbourhood get together. Stop in for supper, a drink, a little snack, or just to chat. Members from the Board will be in and out throughout the night if there’s anything you’d like to discuss.

Christmas at the Lake
Saturday, November 9, 10:00 am – 3:00 pm
Mic Mac AAC
192 Prince Albert Road

Pop by the Mic Mac Amateur Aquatic Club for a Christmas craft fair. Over 30 local vendors will be present. Admission is free.

Dartmouth Seniors Service Centre – 43rd Anniversary Recognition Dinner
Thursday, November 14, 6:00 – 9:00 pm
Dartmouth Seniors Service Centre
45 Ochterloney St, Dartmouth
Join the Centre for their premier fundraising event as they celebrate the exceptional efforts and outstanding contributions of the many people who make the Senior’s Service Centre a success. Tickets are on sale now. Reserve by November 12. $55 per ticket or $500 for a table of 10. Call 902-465-5578 ext 213 to reserve a ticket.


  1. Hawthrone St.
    The news letter mentions 48 km/hr is the 85th percentile for speed on Hawthrone. Lovely that Prince Albert Rd is getting bump outs. Lets move down the block to Erskine at Hawthrone – at 30 km/hr school zone where kids and families play year round at the Hawthrone School Park. The intersection at Erskine was recently redone so why wasn’t bump out added to that intersection? Wouldn’t HRM want to lower the speeds in the school zone; at a park used frequently, and where it is shown cars are speeding? You are aware that according to TIR the 30 kn/hr law applies all year round , 24/7 when children are present on the school property?
    Why were curb bump outs added at Erskine and Hawthrone with all sidewalk repaving that is taking place?

    • Hi Eric. The sidewalk work was a simple renewal of broken pads. It is a very small project. I was surprised to see the curbs being fully redone around three sides of the intersection. I know that in other spots where I have asked the slope of the street is often a barrier to extending when we’re not redoing the whole street (drainage issues). Ultimately, our challenge is that we’ve built our cities for cars for 50-60 years and we’re not going to undo all of that overnight. There is a balance to be struck in terms of allowing for some routine repair versus remodeling. HRM needs to target retrofits, but we also really need to get the Red Book updated so that things like curb extensions aren’t a special thing, but basic design everywhere.

      The block from Hawthorne to Portland hasn’t had a speed measurement taken. A parent asked about it back at the start of September and I have asked to get a speed reading. We’ll see what it reveals. If there is a major issue on that block, we can always double back with a tactical urbanism intervention since that program is now getting off the ground in HRM.

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