E-News September 2018

Pan-Am on Lake Banook. Photo: Warren Wesson


Lake Banook Algae Update: As of September 12, HRM has lifted the blue green algae risk advisory for Lake Banook and Lake Micmac. Risk advisories are based on a number of factors, including test results, information regarding a bloom’s life-cycle, and visual confirmation of the presence of algae blooms. HRM has lifted the advisory because test results indicate that toxin levels are within safe limits, and because no new algae blooms have been observed since the end of August.

Losing several weeks of the summer swimming season on Lake Banook for the second year in a row was really unfortunate and affected a lot of people. The increase in closures at Birch Cove over the last few years has been primarily due to e-coli bacteria, but this year, algae was the main problem. E-coli is present in the guts of many animals including people, dogs and birds. Algae, on the other hand, is a naturally occurring part of the freshwater environment that can become an issue when conditions promote excessive growth. With an abundance of nutrients, heat and calm water, algae can form dense blooms, which release toxins when stressed.

Due to increases in closures at Birch Cove during the last several summers, HRM authorized a study of the lakes this year to try and get a better handle on what is going on. The work is focused on both bacteria and phosphorous (nutrients) so it should provide us with a good overview of the current health of Lake Banook and Lake Mic Mac as well as recommendations about how we can improve the lakes’ water quality. The study’s results should be available sometime this winter so there will be more to come on this issue.

As a reminder, supervised swimming at municipal beaches has ended for the season. Know your swimming limitations if you choose to swim in unsupervised water. Always swim with a buddy and adults should never leave children unsupervised in the water.

Lake Major Water Restrictions: The long hot summer has finally caught up to us. Last week, Halifax Water announced mandatory water restrictions for Dartmouth and surrounding communities that rely on Lake Major for their water supply. Outdoor watering of all kinds (lawns, gardens, carwash etc) is prohibited. Commercial businesses can continue to operate for now (forcing someone to close and layoff employees is quite disruptive and to be avoided if at all possible). The problem is really the weather. This summer has broken heat records and Shearwater has only recorded 38% of its normal rainfall. There is some rain in the forecast for this week, but Halifax Water indicates that it will take several days of steady rain to fully refill Lake Major.

A few people have asked me why restrictions are needed in Dartmouth and not in Halifax? The Dartmouth supply is more vulnerable because Lake Major is smaller than Pockwock Lake, and Halifax Water doesn’t have as much control over water levels in Lake Major. The old dam at Lake Major is currently being replaced, which should help during dry weather in the future. It’s true that the Halifax and Dartmouth water supplies are connected via a pipe on the Macdonald Bridge, but that pipe was never designed to move enough water to provide for all our needs. It’s there for an emergency supply, not for regular everyday use.

I know restrictions are a nuisance, but it’s important to preserve our water supply, especially since no one can say for sure what the weather has in store for us this fall. Last time that restrictions were placed on water usage in Dartmouth in 2016, residents reduced consumption by an average of 3 million liters a day, which is about 10% of the average daily demand. That’s no small feat and it made a big difference. I’m confident we can do it again so please minimize water usage until further notice. We can do this.

Ultra-class Zim Antwerp visiting Halifax in 2017. Photo: DJI Phantom

Port of Halifax Plan: If you missed it at the end of August, the Port of Halifax has released an overview of their plan for the Port’s future. The main challenge that the Port is facing is the need to handle ultra-class cargo ships (ships that carry more than 10,000 containers). Last year, the very first ultra-class cargo ship to visit Halifax, the Zim Antwerp, docked at the South End Container Terminal. Projections are that, unless Halifax is able to handle two of these big ships at same time, the Port won’t be competitive. This has national implications since the Port of Montreal’s location on the St. Lawrence means that it can’t handle ultra-class ships. If the Port of Halifax isn’t able to, Canada won’t have a competitive Atlantic port and we will be more dependent than ever on American ports.

The Port explored several options as part of their planning process, including relocating to Woodside. The pressing need for an additional ultra-class berth, logistical challenges, and the large costs associated with relocating means, however, that the Port has decided to expand the South End Container Terminal. This will be done in two-phases. Phase one will see infilling to the south of the existing terminal to allow the Port to quickly gain the capability to handle two ultra-class ships. Phase two will likely see the Port infill the finger piers to the north of Hal-term to create a permanent second birth for ultra-class ships.

While Dartmouth won’t be getting a container terminal, there is potential in the future for a cruise ship berth. The Port is looking to add another cruise berth and several options on the Dartmouth side are being considered. I have had several conversations with the Port about this possibility and, if done right, I believe it could be a real asset to Downtown Dartmouth. Expect to hear more about cruise options in the future as plans are further developed.

Alderney Landing Crosswalk Returns

Alderney Landing Crosswalk Returns: Sometimes in this job, it’s the little things that take a lot of time. Almost a year ago, it was pointed out to me that the crosswalk at Alderney Landing that crosses Ochterloney just before the tracks was almost completely faded away. What I thought would be a simple request to get some forgotten lines repainted proved to be much more complicated when staff informed me that the crosswalk hadn’t been repainted because the crosswalk had been officially removed several years ago. The paint had just taken a long time to fade!

The reason the crosswalk had been discontinued was because of its proximity to the railroad tracks, which results in it not fitting neatly into any of HRM’s standards. A mid-block crossing would normally require signage, but that isn’t possible here because it could interfere with the warning lights for the tracks. On the other hand, it’s a very busy spot and the tracks serve as a sort of speed bump to slow traffic. I did my own pedestrian count one Saturday morning and I counted just under 100 pedestrians crossing there over a one hour period. The Director of Transportation and Public Works agreed that the combination of the tracks, parking lot, high pedestrian demand, and its location near the end of Ochterloney Street make this a special one-of-a-kind location. Earlier this summer, he signed the traffic warrant to reinstate the crosswalk and, last week, the lines were repainted. I’m glad to have it back.

Participatory Budgeting: I’m pleased to share that I will once again be running a participatory budgeting process to award $50,000 of District 5’s capital fund. If you missed it last year, participatory budgeting allows residents to have a direct say in how district funds are spent. Community groups with an idea setup science fair style, and then residents vote on which projects they would like to see funded. Each resident has to pick five projects for their ballot to be valid to ensure it’s not just determined by who can pack the room with supporters. Community groups are eligible for up to $10,000 ($5,000 if you received funding last year). An information session for interested community groups will be held on Monday September 24 in the Helen Creighton Room at the Alderney Gate Library at 6:00 pm. Voting will take place at the Findlay Community Centre on Tuesday November 6. For more information, contact my constituency coordinator, Jenn Weagle at weaglej@halifax.ca

Parks Canada Helen Creighton Plaque

Helen Creighton National Recognition: Two weeks ago, the Historic Sites and Monuments Board officially designated Helen Creighton as a nationally significant person for her pioneering work to preserve traditional folk music and stories in the Maritimes, including our unofficial anthem, Farewell to Nova Scotia. The designation has come from the hard work of folks in the Dartmouth Heritage Museum Society and the Helen Creighton Society. The Dartmouth Heritage Museum operates out of Evergreen House, Creighton’s former home on Newcastle Street, and the plaque proclaiming her national significance will be installed there. It’s noteworthy that almost 95% of designations by the Historic Sites and Monuments Board come from suggestions from the public. So, if you have an idea for a designation, please submit it. Information on the process is available on the Historic Sites and Monuments Board site here.

Summer Weekly Green Cart Pick-up: With the end of summer upon us, green cart collection will be shifting back to its regular biweekly schedule. Weekly pickup ends on Friday, September 28. To ensure collection, residents are asked to place materials curbside the evening prior to collection day (collection can start as early as 7:00 am). For more information on the municipality’s solid waste management program visit the webpage here.

2018 Final Tax Bill: The 2018 Final Tax Bill is complete. Electronic billing through EPOST was sent out on September 14, 2018, as well as the mortgage account tax billings. Hard copy bills are being printed and mailed over the next few days. If you have any questions about your 2018 Final Tax Bill contact the Customer Care Centre by calling 311.

Historic Nova Scotia Seeks Dartmouth Stories: Historic Nova Scotia is looking for stories about the history of Dartmouth for their site/app. Historic Nova Scotia is a public history project that relies on contributions from interested parties, such as museums, archives, libraries, heritage organizations, and individuals, who wish to use the platform to tell historical stories. For more information, please contact info@historicnovascotia.ca or visit Historic Nova Scotia’s website here.

SAMoSA Study: The Dalhousie School of Planning and PLANifax have created a YouTube video on behalf of a research project SAMoSA study (Spatial Accessibility to Multitude of Services and Amenities study). This research project involves a survey for HRM residents 20 years of age and older. The youtube video explains how to participate in the survey, and summarizes what the study is all about.


Public Consultation:

Cogswell Redevelopment: Consultation on the design of the public spaces and on urban design rules for redevelopment of the Cogswell Interchange lands will take place in various locations throughout September. A multi-day design charrette will be held in late September (24-27, RSVP required). HRM is also carrying out an online survey, which includes the ability to drop a pin on the map, provide a comment, share a photo, and tell the team about requests for specific uses and amenities. Complete details on the plan and opportunities to provide input are available on the Cogswell Shape Your City page here. You can also read my blog entry from June 5’s Council meeting where Council set direction for the Cogswell here.

Advisory Committee for Accessibility Town Hall Meeting
Tuesday, September 25, 6:30 – 8:30pm
Dartmouth North Community Centre (Gymnasium), 105 Highfield Park Drive
HRM’s Advisory Committee for Accessibility will be holding a Town Hall Meeting to discuss and gather input on current projects relating to:

  • Corporate facility design and construction
  • Parks and recreation
  • Traffic and transportation
  • Winter operations
  • Accessible transit
  • Municipal compliance
  • 311 Citizen Contact Centre
  • Diversity and inclusion
  • Youth engagement

Sighted guides, ASL interpretation, and CART service will be provided. To RSVP, or for further information contact Liam MacSween, 902-490-6521 or macswel@halifax.ca


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.

Prince Albert/Glenwood Decision: Community Council approved the controversial development at the corner of Prince Albert Road and Glenwood Avenue at the start of September. It was probably the most difficult Council meeting I have ever been in, but I supported the project because it’s well-designed and is in Dartmouth’s best interests. I have provided a detailed write up on my rationale on my site. You can read it here

Council Update September 11
A short Council meeting with the end of the smoking debate (at least for now) as the main item. Also initiated bylaw changes to residential parking pass program. Read about it here



Cutting Across the Water: A Brief Look at Lake Banook
Dartmouth Heritage Museum, 26 Newcastle Street, Dartmouth
Cost: Adults $5 / Members and children under 12, free
Cutting Across the Water: A Brief Look at Lake Banook, is a new temporary exhibit at the Dartmouth Heritage Museum looking at Lake Banook, and its pivotal role in the sports and recreation. Cutting Across the Water provides a brief introduction on the canoe clubs that call Lake Banook home. Artifacts showcased include oars and paddles, trophies from Natal Day Regattas of years past, and a few curious items found beneath its waters. Cutting Across the Water is on display on the main level of Evergreen House. For more information checkout the Heritage Museum’s website here. 

MacPhee Centre for Creative Learning Fall Programs
September 17 (12 weeks)
50 Queen Street, Dartmouth 
Programs at the MacPhee Centre start September 17, 2018. If you haven’t registered yet, don’t worry because registration stays open for the whole 12 week term so you can join whenever you’re ready. Check out the Centre’s website here for more information on FREE programs for youth, including acting, podcasting, music, or saving the environment.

Step Up to Leadership Fall 2018
Wednesdays, September 19, 6:30 – 9:00 pm (9 week course)
Alderney Gate Public Library
HRM will be holding a free leadership development program for community volunteers. This course was developed by volunteers, for volunteers, and covers a wide range of topics to help develop leadership skills and build strong communities. To register, contact Devon Bundy at bundyd@halifax.ca or by calling 902-225-5806. In addition to the Alderney course offering, there will be a Tuesday option at Chocolate Lake Community Centre. 

Outdoor Acoustic Song Circle: Drop-in
Thursday, September 20, 7:00 – 8:45 pm
Dartmouth North Public Library, 105 Highfield Park Drive
Bring any instrument, your singing voice, plus copies of songs and guitar chords (if you have them). All can play together at the Outdoor Library in Dartmouth North.

Autumn High Tea Party
Friday, September 21, 2:00 – 4:00 pm
Dartmouth Seniors Service Centre, 45 Ochterloney Street
Cost: $8 for members, $10 for non-members
Dress up in your prettiest tea party outfit and join friends at the Dartmouth Senior Service Centre for an afternoon of tea, sweets, and a presentation on the history and etiquette of high tea. Call Cheryl at 902-465-5578 ext. 214 or email info@dartmouthseniors.ca for tickets.

Out of This World: Exploring Space with Local Scientists
Saturday, September 22, 2:00 – 3:00 pm
Woodlawn Public Library, 31 Eisener Blvd., Dartmouth
Are you curious about outer space? Want to learn how you can have a career studying the cosmos? Then make sure to join Women in Science and Engineering Atlantic (WISEatlantic) as they host local scientists who will showcase their space-related research, and discuss how they ended up with these awesome careers! WISEatlantic aims to empower girls to consider Science, Technology, Engineering and Math based careers by raising their awareness of the diversity of jobs within these fields. The goal is to counter gender stereotypes and enable girls to visualize themselves working in these fields. Light refreshments will be served. All are welcome to attend.

This event is part of Science Literacy Week and sponsored by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada.

Kiwanis International Youth Career Fair
Saturday, September 22, 2018  9:30 am – 4:00 pm
North Woodside Community Centre, 230 Pleasant Street
The youth career fair is a one-day event for youth in grades 9-12 from the Dartmouth area. Lunch and snacks will be provided. For more information and to register, please contact Charity DeLeon at 902-461-2513 ext 223 or at charity.deleon@halifax.ymca.ca

Dartmouth Colour Festival
Saturday, September 22, 2018 12:00 – 5:30 pm
Alderney Landing, 2 Ochterloney Street
Alderney Landing will be hosting the first “Dartmouth Colour Festival” which will feature colour, dance, and music. This free event is open to everyone so come and “Spread Love and Joy.” The Colour Festival will occur during the day and will align with Alderney Landing’s “Fire and Water Festival”

Monthly Maker’s Swap: September
Sunday, September 23, 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
Life School House, 315 Portland Street, Dartmouth
If you’re a Maker, the Life School House is holding monthly swaps. New Makers get first choice! September’s theme is wide-open. Homemade goodies have been a big hit and are always welcome. Bring your felted projects, your leather work, your garden signs and photography, but don’t forget delicious jams and jellies, salsa, breads, pickles, fermented foods and drinks, baked goods, pot pies, curries, and lasagnas! Whatever you make, you can bring. RSVP by leaving a note on the event page so that others know how much to bring. All are welcome.

Just Paddle It!
Sunday, September 23, 11:30 – 1:00 pm
Lake Banook
Cost: $40 general public, $20 ADCKC Club Member
The Atlantic Division of Canoe Kayak Canada will be holding a multi-sport paddling race for people of all ages and skill levels. The 3 kilometer course circuits the perimeter of Lake Banook. All watercraft (kayaks, outriggers, tripping canoes, sea kayaks, etc) are welcome in the race. If you can paddle it, you can race it.

Symphony Nova Scotia Free Concert
Sunday, September 23, 2:00 pm
Alderney Landing Theatre, 2 Ochterloney Street
Symphony Nova Scotia presents a free concert at Alderney Landing Theatre. The concert is part of Symphony Week, and is part of the nationwide celebration Culture Days. This will be Symphony Nova Scotia’s eighth year participating in Culture Days, an interactive, free-of-charge festival celebrating arts and culture from coast to coast to coast.

Celebrate Chinese Culture with the Confucius Institute
Sunday, September 23, 3:00 -4:00 pm
Woodlawn Public Library, 31 Eisener Boulevard
Visit the Woodlawn Public Library to take in traditional Chinese folk music performance. Hosted by the Confucius Institute at Saint Mary’ s University, presented by the Beijing Normal University Students Arts Troupe of China, and sponsored by the Beijing-based Office of Chinese Language Council International (Hanban) under the umbrella of global Confucius Institute projects.

Pleasant Woodside Neighbourhood Association – General meeting
Sunday, September 23, 1:00 -3:00 pm
North Woodside Community Centre, 230 Pleasant Street
Open meeting on matters of interest to area residents, businesses and community groups. Come get involved in making the North Woodside/Southdale area an even better place. Project and financial reports will be presented. Details on the event page.

Downtown Dartmouth Business Links
Wesnesday, September 26, 8:30-9:30 am
East Coast Credit Union, 155 Ochterloney Street
BusinessLinks is a monthly networking opportunity held over morning coffee on the fourth Wednesday of each month. If you would like to attend, admission is a business card. If your organization would like to host BusinessLinks, please contact the Downtown Dartmouth Business Commission office at 902-466-2997 or info@downtowndartmouth.ca

Community Tea
Friday, September 28, 10:00 – 11:30am
Alderney Gate Public Library
Join Library staff, friends, and your community for a steaming cup of tea. Bring your crafty creations and spend the morning enjoying our rejuvenated sky-lit foyer.

Reduce Isolation and Loneliness for Seniors
Friday, September 28, 2018 9:00 am – 12:00 pm
Dartmouth East Community Centre, 50 Caledonia Road
Social isolation and loneliness has been identified as a major concern affecting personal well-being, health, health care costs, and the economy. The Dartmouth-Cole Harbour Seniors Group and the Dartmouth Seniors Service Centre are sponsoring a forum on the issue at the Dartmouth East Community Centre. Speakers will include Angus Campbell, Care Givers NS, Anne Corbin, Community Links, and Jennie Theriault, VON Volunteer Visiting Program. The presentations will be followed by round table discussions where the audience can share their views and explore ideas to address the concept of seniors’ loneliness and isolation. Coffee, tea and light refreshments will be provided. Space is limited, register for this free forum at: n.s.seniors.group@gmail.com

Hopscotch Festival Halifax 2018
September 28-30
Ferry Terminal Park
Atlantic Canada’s longest lasting hip hop and youth-focused festival returns! Known for celebrating the four elements of hip hop and bringing international artists to share the stage alongside our incredible local arts community, Hopscotch is constantly aiming to push the boundaries creatively. The all ages main event will feature Brother Ali, Murstake and will take place on Saturday, September 29, from 4:00 – 10:00pm at Ferry Terminal Park. Free entry before 5:00 pm. Advance tickets $10, $20 at the door. Tickets can be purchased online here. The first 1,000 to click “Going” on the Facebook site will be entered to win 2 VIP Backstage passes to all Hopscotch events.

Cultural Showcase
Saturday, September 29, 1:00 – 4:00 pm
Woodlawn Public Library, 31 Eisener Boulevard
Visit the Woodlawn Public Library for a celebration of our community’s cultures. The Library is hosting an afternoon of performances, dancing, drumming, and food tastings from around the world. All are welcome to come and celebrate.

Third Annual McLaughlin 4-Miler
Sunday, September 30, 8:15 am – 11:15 am
Hawthorn Elementary School
Cost: $29
A 4 mile road race in the heart of Dartmouth that perimeters Banook Lake and loops around Sullivan’s Pond. Run, walk, volunteer or donate to help break the ice around the conversation of mental illness. For more information, checkout the facebook event page

Talk by David Jones – History of Fort Clarence
Presented by the Industrial Heritage Society of Nova Scotia
Monday, October 1, 7:30 pm
Maritime Museum of the Atlantic, Lower Water Street, Halifax
Industrial Heritage Nova Scotia is opening its 2018-19 free public lecture series on October 1. The first talk will be by Dartmouth’s David Jones, who will delve into the history of Fort Clarence. Fort Clarence once stood on the site of the Imperial Oil Refinery in Dartmouth. All are welcome to attend.

Dartmouth Community Concert Association – 62nd Season
Saturday, October 13, 7:30 pm
Woodlawn United Church
The Dartmouth Community Concert Association is kicking off its 62nd season with Les Songes. The Concert Association is a non-profit society dedicated to presenting quality entertainment at an affordable price. This year’s season features five performances. A $60 membership to the Association provides access to all five concerts ($125 for a family). For information visit the Community Concert box office here or check out this year’s program here.

Saturday, October 13, 6:00 pm – midnight
Downtown Dartmouth/Halifax
Downtown Dartmouth and Halifax will bustle into the evening on Saturday October 13 as Nocturne brings art to the streets. One of the can’t miss festivals of the year. Complete guide for 2018 is released Thursday the week before.