Dorian Clean-Up: It was a wild week in Nova Scotia with Hurricane Dorian arriving as the biggest storm since Juan. A few roofs came off buildings, trees came down everywhere, and a construction crane toppled over in Halifax. I’m pleased to say that we were very luck in District 5. Most of our power failures were restored within 24-48 hours and, although we lost trees, none of District 5’s streets looked anything like the havoc wrecked in South End Halifax and on the streets off Quinpool Road. Dartmouth dodged the worst of this one.
I have been quite impressed with the coordination and response of emergency services. Lessons were learned from Juan, which is important given the realities of climate change. Some impacts from climate change are already a given due to all the greenhouse gases emitted since the start of the industrial revolution. What we’re deciding right now as a collective human species by our actions is how bad climate change is going to be. We need to cut emissions, and since it’s too late to avoid climate change completely, we also need to be resilient and adaptive to face the world we’re creating. Being able to respond effectively to weather disasters and pull together as a community is part of that.
Some final Dorian practicalities. Please note that Dartmouth’s parks have reopened, but on the Halifax side, Victoria Park, the Public Gardens, Point Pleasant, and Camp Hill Cemetery are still closed. There are still some power failures in parts of rural HRM as well. It will still be at least several more days before things are fully back to normal.
If you are the proud owner of a new branch collection courtesy of Dorian, you can bundle up the debris and dispose of it curbside. Bundles have to weigh less than 75 lbs and be under 4 feet in length. These restrictions are because that’s what’s fits on the trucks and into HRM’s composting facility! HRM has increased the number of bundles that residents can put out from 5 to 10 for the next few weeks. There is a limit because the composting facilities, in just the first week of Dorian clean-up, are already nearing capacity. There is a lot of debris out there! If you have a huge tree to deal with that isn’t going to break-up easily into tidy little bundles, you could haul it out to one of the Halifax C&D sites (nearest one to District 5 is on Ross Road). There will be no cost to taking tree debris to the C&D sites as HRM is picking up the bill. Hours have been extended as well. HRM is looking at opening up other disposal sites as well to assist with the clean-up. Details in the latest PSA here.
Joffre Street Traffic Calming: I’m pleased to share that District 5’s first traffic calming project will be implemented this fall on Joffre Street. When HRM receives request for traffic calming on residential streets, the municipality deploys counters to get an objective measure of vehicle speeds and volumes. The municipality considers traffic calming when the recorded 85th percentile speed (the speed that only 15% of traffic is going faster than) is 40 km/hr or higher. Qualifying for traffic calming doesn’t mean a project is imminent though. HRM focuses implementation on the streets that have the highest recorded speeds, which on Joffre, was 56 km/hr. You can see the complete list of streets as it was at the start of this year’s construction season online here (Joffre was fourth on the list at the time).
The fact that speed is an issue on Joffre isn’t surprising given that the street is wide, straight, doesn’t have any traffic lights or stop signs, and doesn’t have a mature tree canopy. The streets design and conditions encourages speed. Since it’s not possible to put a police officer on Joffre 24/7, to address the speed issue requires design changes. What is planned is to narrow the street at all three crosswalks (Medford, Tremont, and the mid-block crossing by the Lakefront/Mountain Ash pathway). This will not only reduce speed, but will also reduce the distance that pedestrians have to cross. HRM will also be narrowing Joffre in two other places outside of the existing crosswalks to make sure we’re not leaving a long wide straightway. The pinch points will be in front of the Killam playground, and around #110. I’m hopeful that these improvements will make Joffre a safer street for everyone.
Active Transportation Funding: You may recall a joint funding announcement between the federal, provincial governments and HRM regarding active transportation funding back in August. The three orders of government have agreed to commit $25 million over the next three years to build out the cycling network envisioned in our Integrated Mobility Plan.
I want to underline how important this announcement is. During Council’s 2019 budget debate, one of the big challenges we faced in approving a long-range capital plan was how to pay for the various Integrated Mobility Plan projects. One of those IMP projects with no clear funding source is a connected grid of all ages and abilities bike routes throughout Peninsula Halifax and old Dartmouth. Basically, the plan is to build a network where cycling has the most potential to play a significant role in how people get around. This isn’t building for the community we have now, it’s an investment in what the future could be. It’s about providing people with choices in how they move around. The funding from the provincial and federal governments solves the how to pay for it question. It should make our capital debate for the 2020 budget much easier.
The second reason why the active transportation funding agreement is significant is because of the Province’s commitment. Up until now, our Provincial government hasn’t provided much funding or support for active transportation. Active transportation projects have been regarded as the municipality’s responsibility (see Burnside Expressway where a $200+ million project doesn’t include any active transportation improvements). Getting the Province to agree to commit $8.25 million towards the IMP’s cycling network is a big step forward.
Solving how to pay for the cycling network promised in the Integrated Mobility Plan is a key step towards actually delivering on a network of protected bike lanes throughout Halifax and Dartmouth by 2022. I’m very pleased with this commitment.
Starr Park Pathway Fix: Sometimes, it’s the little things that matter. If you’ve visited Starr Park by the replica railcar next to the recently daylighted Sawmill River, you’ve probably noticed that the park layout makes no sense. The railcar sits right in the middle of the path with no way around it. How did this come to be?
The railcar is a replica of the ones that were used to move boats from the Harbour to Sullivan’s Pond in the 1860s (to see how the system worked, checkout this interpretative video online here). The railcar has to sit in the middle of the path because the path is more than just a path, it’s actually the route of the old marine railway (the inclined plane). It needs to go there as part of the interpretation of the site, which is how we were left with the odd situation of a path that just stops in front of a wooden railcar. It didn’t take long after the fence from Phase 1 of the Sawmill River project came down for well-established muddy ruts to form on either side of the railcar from all the people detouring around it. The good news is that those muddy ruts are no more. HRM has turned those desire lines into proper paved pathways. You can now clearly walk through Starr Park from Irishtown Road to Ochterloney. Nice to see this small, but needed fix completed.
Voluntary Water Restrictions: It might seem counter-intuitive given the weather we had over the weekend, but voluntary water restrictions remain in place in Dartmouth. Dorian added 26 cms to Lake Major, but the water supply is still below its seasonal normals, which means Halifax Water is asking people to, for example, not water outdoor plants or wash cars.
This is the third time in the last four years that there have been summer restrictions at Lake Major. This mainly due to having warmer and drier summers than has been the historic normal. Halifax Water will be better able to manage hot dry conditions next year because construction on a replacement dam at Lake Major finished just a few weeks ago. The new dam will raise the level of Lake Major and will allow Halifax Water to adjust the outflow rate as needed, something that wasn’t possible with the old dam.
Although the new dam was finished a few weeks ago, its completion was too late to stop Lake Major from being drawn down and to avoid restrictions this year. We need rain to fill the Lake Major up before the effect of the new dam will be felt. Hopefully this will break the recent cycle of water restrictions being a regular part of summer in Dartmouth.
Tax Relief for Non-Profits: It’s that time of year again for non-profits, it’s time to apply for HRM’s property tax relief program for the 2020-2021 year. Non-profits have to apply to renew their status each year and there is always someone who, for whatever reason, doesn’t get their paperwork done and ends up paying a penalty. If you’re an executive director or a board member of a non-profit that owns property, this is your cue to make sure that organization isn’t you! Applications for new properties are due by November 30 and renewals for properties that are already in the program are due by March 31, but really why wait till March when you can get it done now. Applications are available online here.
All-HRM 9-12 Theatrical Production: This year, Dartmouth High will host the All-HRM Christmas production. Students from 9-12 who have an interest in all areas of theater production from across HRM are welcome to participate. There will be a meeting for interested parents and students at Dartmouth High on September 18 at 6:00. The production is free to participants and is made possible by HRM’s supplementary education funding program. For more information, email David Zinck at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Step-Up to Leadership: HRM’s Step Up to Leadership program is starting its fall session at the Findlay Community Centre on September 18. This nine week course is a program aimed at developing leadership skills in community volunteers. The program covers a range of topics including, personality types, planning, team work and group dynamics, diversity, communications and conflict resolution, how to create a non-profit, legal and practical concerns of being a board member in a non-profit, effective meetings, and public speaking. I was able to attend the graduation for the Fall’s session at Alderney last year and everyone in attendance seemed to find the program valuable. For more information, contact Devon Bundy at 902-225-5806 or at email@example.com
Centre Plan Public Hearing
September 17, 6:00 pm
Halifax City Hall
Our long awaited Centre Plan is heading for a public hearing next week. The Centre Plan will replace the old planning documents for Peninsula Halifax and Dartmouth inside the Circumferential that are in desperate need of updating. The Plan identifies where growth will go, where it won’t, and what form it will take. It has been divided into two sections, Package A (the growth areas) and Package B (industrial and established residential). Package A is what is currently finished and will be before Council for consideration on Tuesday.
In Dartmouth, Package A identifies Downtown Dartmouth, and Wyse Road as areas that can support significant growth while also indicating that Grahams Grove, Portland Street by Maynard Lake, Pleasant Street by the old Sobeys mall, and Victoria Road near the intersection with Albro Lake Road can accommodate additional density. Shannon Park, Dartmouth Cove, Mic Mac Mall, and Penhorn are also envisioned as clusters of new developement, the exact details of which will be subject to future master planning. You can review the Centre Plan online here.
At Tuesday’s public hearing, the planning department will present the plan, and then any members of the public will have five minutes to present their views to Council. This is your last chance to have input into Package A. At the end of the public hearing, Council will make a decision on whether to adopt, amend or reject the Plan. Last call for Package A.
September 3 – 30
As part of the 2020/2021 budget process, HRM is hosting a series of pop-up consultations during September. There is also a survey available on Shape Your City. To take the survey and get a schedule of pop up opportunities, visit the Budget’s shapeyourcity page here. The survey will be available until the 30th.
Council hasn’t met since my August e-news (on summer recess). The next meeting will be next week on September 17.
Walk for Seniors
Saturday, September 14, 10:00 am – noon
Dartmouth Seniors Service Centre
Join the Dartmouth Seniors Service Centre for their fundraising walk. This gentle stroll around Sullivan’s Pond helps raise money for the Centre’s various offerings and their meals on wheels program.
Zatzman Sportsplex Fall Kickoff
Saturday, September 14, 10:00 am – 2:00 pm
110 Wyse Road, Zatzman Sportsplex
While January 1st marks a new *calendar* year, we all know the fresh, “new start” feeling that September brings. An opportunity to set new goals and try new things. With that in mind, the Zatzman Sportsplex will be hosting an open house. Free swims, contests, activities in the gymnasium, a facility-wide scavenger hunt and more! Come try out the new Zatzman Sportsplex
Saturday, September 14, 10:00 am – 2:00 pm
Come down to Alderney Landing tomorrow for the 5th annual Colour Festival. This event features face painting, balloon artist, bouncy castles, vendors, games and more. Free entry.
Just Paddle It
Saturday, September 14, 11:30 am – 2:30 pm
Aquatic Division Canoe Kayak Canada
34 Boathouse Lane
The finale in this year’s Just Paddle It race series on Lake Banook. This fun race series invites people of all ages and abilities to bring whatever craft they have down for a race around Banook. Whatever your boat, just paddle it. Cost is $30 for non-club members, $15 for social club members, and $0 for competitive club members
Fire and Water Festival
Saturday, September 14, 6:00 – 10:00 pm
Still with Alderney, Saturday evening will see the Fire and Water Festival light up the night. Illuminated sculptures, flaming food, camp fires, performers, blacksmiths, music, story telling, and hands on art. The festival will include with a pyro show over the sculptures at 10:00 pm.
Southdale Neighbourhood Party
Sunday, September 15, 2:00 – 4:00 pm
If you live in the Southdale area join your neighbours for the annual Southdale Neighbourhood Party. Milverton Road will be closed. A great opportunity to let the kids run around, reconnect with neighbours, and make new friends.
Art of City Building Conference
September 15 – 17
Halifax Central Library (plus various other locations)
One of the largest free planning conferences is coming up next week. This free conference brings in experts from all around the world and is an amazing opportunity to explore planning issues from a variety of perspectives. This year’s conference theme is “Moving People.” The conference is free, but space is limited so registration in advance is recommended. If all else fails, there will be a limited number of tickets available at the door. For full details, visit the conference’s website here.
Dartmouth North Neighbourhood Watch
Wednesday, September 18, 7:00 – 9:00
276 Windmill Road (Farrell Hall)
With summer disappearing, the Dartmouth North Neigbbourhood Watch is back. The Neighbourhood Watch offers residents a chance to engage directly with each other and our police force on issues surrounding crime. The Neighbourhood Watch is also a defacto town hall for Councillor Mancini and I as discussion often veers into community issues. The Watch meets every third Wednesday at Farrell Hall.
Talk Like A Pirate Day
Thursday, September 19, 3:00 – 4:30 pm
Ahoy mateys. Visit the Alderney Library for Talk Like a Pirate Day. The library will have a treasure hunt, an author reading, and refreshments. A great outing for the younger hands of your crew.
New Apostolic Church Ice Cream Social
Sunday, September 22, 11:30 am – 1:00 pm
151 Joffre Street
The New Apostolic Church will be holding an ice cream social. All are welcome to attend and proceeds are going to support the Feeding Others of Dartmouth Society (Margaret’s House).
Ecology Action Centre Perfect World Fundraiser
Sunday, September 22, 7:00 – 10:00 pm
40 Alderney Drive, Wooden Monkey
Come support the Ecology Action Centre’s main fundraiser at the Wooden Monkey on the Dartmouth Waterfront. Food, entertainment, music, and a silent auction. Tickets are $100 and can be purchased online here.
The Ocean Microbiome
Tuesday, September 24, 7:00 – 8:30 pm
As part of science literacy week, the Alderney Library is partnering with the Royal Canadian Institute of Science to present a talk on plastics and pollution in our oceans. How is human behaviour affecting the ocean’s smallest creatures? What does that mean for the heal of the oceans? This is your chance to explore this topic with experts who are working on the issue here in Nova Scotia.
The McLaughlin 4-Miler
Sunday, September 29, 8:15 am
10 Hawthorne Street, Hawthorn Elementary
The fourth year for the McLaughlin 4-Miler. This four mile road race is aimed at increasing mental health awareness and eliminating stigma. Route goes around Banook and Sullivan’s Pond. Cost is $26 – $28.
Glow in the Park
Saturday, September 28, 6:00 pm
Sir Sanford Fleming Park
Join HRM’s Parks and Recreation team as they kick-off the fall season with the Glow in the Park run in Sir Sanford Fleming Park. There is a family fun run/walk, a dance zone, camp fires, face painting, and colour powder all along the route. Concludes with a small fireworks display at 8:45.
Saturday, September 28, 5:00 – 6:00 pm (12 weeks)
With the reopening of the Zatzman Sportsplex, the Banook Lakers are returning home. The Lakers is a swim program made up of all ages and is led by one of the Dartmouth Crusaders coaches. Swimmers have the chance to refine their technique and get a good workout. Register online here.
Goodness Grows 10th Anniversary
Sunday, September 29, 1:00 – 3:00 pm (raindate October 6)
Findlay Community Centre
The Goodness Grows Community Garden will be holding a party to celebrate the garden’s 10th anniversary. Former and current gardeners, family, friends, neighbours, and supporters are invited to attend to mark the milestone. They’ll be live music, cake, and refreshments. It’s a bring your own mug event.
South Park Bike Lane Bonanza
Sunday, September 29, 9:00 am – noon
Victoria Park, Halifax
Bicycle Nova Scotia, the Halifax Cycling Coalition and the Ecology Action Centre are throwing a party in Victoria Park to celebrate the completion of HRM’s first major protected bike lane. Come join in the fun, assuming the crane that has forced HRM to close Victoria Park and the block of South Park Street in front of the Park has been removed by then of course.
Mamma Mia! The Movie Sing Along
Friday, October 4, 1:00 – 2:45 pm
Here we go again! If you missed Mamma Mia in the Public Gardens this summer, there will be a public screening at the Alderney Library on Friday afternoon.
October 4 – 30
Alderney’s popular haunted house makes its return at the start of October and will be open various days throughout October. For full details visit Alderney’s webpage here.
Cole Harbour Public Library 10th Anniversary
Saturday, October 5 (cake at 1:00pm)
Halifax Public Libraries
2019 marks the Cole Harbour Library’s 30th anniversary and the Library is throwing a birthday party to celebrate. Visit the Cole Harbour branch for fun, food, music, cake and more.
Dartmouth Crusaders 50th Anniversary
Saturday, October 5, 1:00 – 4:00pm
Banook Canoe Club
The Dartmouth Crusaders will be celebrating their 50th anniversary this year. Come join the club as they mark this milestone and look forward to 50 more!
The Art of Chinese Paper Cutting
Saturday, October 5, 2:30 – 3:30
Come learn the basics of Chinese paper crafts with staff from the Confucius Institute
Harbourview Residents Association Fall Meeting
Monday, October 7, 7:00 – 9:00 pm
Helen Creighton Room, Alderney Library
The Harbourview Residents Association (neighbourhood centred around Fairbanks Street) will hold their fall meeting in the Helen Creighton Room at the Alderney Library on October 4. The meeting is an opportunity for residents to ask me questions, plan for Association activities, and get information from Halifax Police’s community response officer for Downtown Dartmouth.
Festival of Hope
Thursday, October 10, 11:30am – 2:00pm
Mental Health Community
Learn about the resources and services that support mental wellness and mental health in our community. It’s a chance for service providers to come together to share, network, and learn from each other. This the festival’s 11th year.
Making the Most of Your Food Dollar
Thursday, October 10, 2:00 – 4:00 pm
The library has partnered with the Dartmouth Community Health Team to present a workshop on eating healthy on a tight budget. Learn how to get more value and nutrition for your money at home, in the grocery store, and in the community. Recipes and resources will be provided as takeaways.