E-Newsletter February 2018


Alderney Ferry Schedule Change
The Alderney ferry schedule changed this week. As of Tuesday, Halifax Transit is providing 15-minute weekday service in both directions, beginning at 7:00 am from Dartmouth and 7:15 am from Halifax.  Service between 8:00 pm and 11:30 pm will move from 15 minute to 30-minute intervals.

This pilot program is a legacy of the Big Lift. During the Big Lift, HRM hired an additional ferry crew to increase the frequency on weekday evenings and add new service on Sundays. Ridership increased significantly in response, growing by almost 50%. The Sunday service has been particularly popular. With the Big Lift basically complete, Transit has repositioned the extra crew to the daytime where the demand is greatest. Essentially, transit has moved 3.5 hours of ferry service from the evening to fill the gap in 15 minute service that existed in the middle of the day.

This service is a pilot project. The cost of running the ferry for each crew is about $550,000 a year. Council voted to keep the extra crew in 2017/2018 and this year I was once again able to add that cost to the budget options list for Council’s consideration. The vote this time around though was a narrow one, passing 7-6. It’s a challenging budget year with flat assessments and rising labour costs, particularly in police and fire. In that context, some of my Council colleagues are concerned about the ferry’s cost.

The growth in ridership over the last two years and the additional revenue that the ferry brings in makes a strong case for continuing the expanded service. I’m hopeful that Council will vote to keep the extra ferry shift when we go over the budget options on March 28. If Council doesn’t allocate the funds on March 28, the ferry hours will be reduced to what they were pre-Big Lift (15 minute service only during rush hour and no service on Sunday morning or evening). It would be a pennywise, but pound foolish decision in my opinion.

Morse code on the Vincent Coleman. Photo Sean Dewitt, Haligonia

New Ferry Joins the Fleet
Halifax Transit’s newest ferry, the Vincent Coleman, arrived in Halifax late last month. The fourth of five new ferries constructed at the A.F. Theriault & Son Ltd. Boatyard in Meteghan, NS, the vessel will be ready for public use in March. Stay tuned for official launch information.

You might notice if you’re on the dock down at Alderney that embedded beneath the Vincent Coleman’s name is a line of morse code. The code is there to honour Vince Coleman’s heroic efforts to stop an incoming train just before the Halifax Explosion. A really nice touch that acknowledges the sacrifice made by the man the ferry is named after.

Areas included in the Centre Plan’s Package A

Centre Plan Package A
Public consultation on the Centre Plan is about to ramp up again. Council adopted the Centre Plan’s high-level policy direction back in June and, this Friday, the next phase of the Centre Plan process gets underway with the release of draft land-use regulations. The regulations are what will turn the high-level policy direction into actual zoning requirements that shape development.

The Centre Plan regulations are coming out in two sets, Package A and Package B. Package A is what’s being released on Friday and it focuses on areas where HRM is planning for growth. In the Centre Plan lingo, growth areas are the Centres, Corridors, Higher Order Residential and Future Growth Nodes. In Dartmouth, this means Wyse Road, Grahams Grove, Pleasant Street around the old Sobeys, Portland Street by Maynard Lake, Victoria Road near Albro Lake Road, Penhorn Mall, Shannon Park, Highfield, and existing apartment clusters like Maplehurst.

A number of engagement sessions for Package A have been scheduled over the next few months, including three Open House sessions in Dartmouth:

  • March 22, 2018 @ 6:00-8:00 pm – NSCC Ivany (Waterfront) Campus, 80 Mawiomi Place, Dartmouth
  • March 28, 2018 @ 1:00-3:00 pm & 6:00-8:00 pm – Mic Mac Aquatic Club, 192 Prince Albert Road, Dartmouth
  • April 5, 2018 @ 1:00-3:00 pm (lobby) & 6:00-8:00 pm (multi-purpose room), Dartmouth North Community Centre, 105 Highfield Park Drive, Dartmouth.

When it’s released this Friday take a look at the information contained in Package A. What works for you? What is missing? What needs modification? If you can’t make a session in person, HRM will have online options to capture your comments. Go to https://www.shapeyourcityhalifax.ca/centre-plan to learn more.

Solar City Installation. Photo: HRM

Solar City Program Extended Until 2019
HRM has extended the Solar City Program until 2019. First launched in 2012, Solar City promotes the use of solar energy by providing low-cost, long-term financing that is tied to property, not individuals. Originally solar hot water were the only systems that were eligible under Solar City, but the program has since grown to include solar hot air and solar photovoltaic (power generation). The program is open to residents, not for profits, community groups, and places of worship. You can apply online here.

The major benefit of Solar City is that financing is done through a Local Improvement Charge. The charge is paid back through the tax bill, which means that the cost stays with the property. This approach solves the market problem that otherwise exists from people not wanting to invest in solar because of a large upfront expense that they won’t benefit fully from if they end up moving.

The Solar City program has resulted in the installation of over 400 solar projects in HRM and for a few years made Halifax the number one solar market in Canada. Hopefully the expansion beyond solar hot water does the same thing again in 2018 and 2019.

2018-2020 Poet Laureate
HRM is seeking nominations for its next Poet Laureate. The Poet Laureate’s role is to promote poetry, language, and the arts throughout the Halifax region. The Poet Laureate will be a resident poet, storyteller, or spoken word artist who has been recognized for achieving excellence in the field and whose body of work demonstrates connection with and relevance to, the citizens of the municipality. Past Laureate’s include El Jones and Rebecca Thomas.

The Poet Laureate will participate in activities, programs, and events that demonstrate the positive impact of literature, poetry, and spoken word. They will present poems or presentations at select municipal events and Regional Council meetings, participate on the selection committee for the succeeding Poet Laureate, and liaise with municipal staff on a regular basis, including providing a written report on their experience after their term.

The deadline for nominations for this two year term is Friday, Feb. 23, 2018.  For more information visit https://www.halifax.ca/recreation/arts-culture-heritage/opportunities-artists-halifax

Halifax Regional Police Launches New Peace Bond Navigator Program
Individuals applying for a peace bond through the Provincial Court in Halifax and Dartmouth can now access support from Halifax Regional Police (HRP) Victim Services. The Peace Bond Navigator Program was launched as a pilot in late January. Victim Services volunteers will provide peace bond applicants with information on the process, assistance in completing the forms, and ongoing emotional support.

Mobile Food Market. Photo: Global

Mobile Food Market wins 2018 IPAC/Deloitte Public Sector Leadership Award
Halifax’s Mobile Food Market received national recognition last week, winning silver in the IPAC/Deloitte Public Sector Leadership Awards for its innovative, collaborative approach to addressing food insecurity.

The Mobile Food Market came out of the Mayor’s “Conversation on Healthy, Livable Communities.” It’s a shared project of Halifax Regional Municipality, Public Health, Partners for Care, the Ecology Action Centre, United Way Halifax, the Atlantic Superstore, and Elmridge Farm Ltd. The market relies on a Halifax Transit bus to bring fresh, healthy and affordable fruits and vegetables to five communities that do not have easy access to a grocery store and that have a high proportion of people who struggle with food access (seniors, immigrants, single parent families, low income etc). During the winter, to avoid idling a bus, produce packs are delivered directly to recreation centres in the five communities.

You can find out more about the Mobile Market here.

Solutions Learning Centre
I had the chance in January to tour Solutions Learning in Woodside and attend the Centre’s graduation. Solutions Learning provides free programs to adults who are facing barriers in finding employment. We all come with different strengthes and weaknesses, but the world doesn’t always account for that. Lots of square pegs and round holes. Solutions Learning helps to bridge the gap by offering:

  • Free employment programs (food, environment, general office)
  • A monthly allowance to ensure income isn’t a barrier
  • Resume help and free certifications, (F/A, WHIMIS, Food Handlers, and more)
  • One-on-one instruction to prepare students to get their GED

The Centre is a great resources. If you or someone you know needs a little bit of extra help, call Solutions Learning Centre (902)468.1320 or visit https://sollc.ca/ to learn more.

Community Grants Program 2018-2019
The Community Grants Program awards project-specific cash grants to registered non-profit organizations and charities located in HRM. The Program is open for 2018 applications from January 4 to March 31, 2018.

For more information the Community Grants Program Guidebook is available online at www.halifax.ca/business/doing-business-halifax/community-grants.

For general inquiries or assistance with completing an application please contact the Grants & Contributions Office at (902)490.7310 or email nonprofitgrants@halifax.ca.

Municipal Budget Consultation
Each year the municipal operating and capital budgets are presented to, debated, and approved by Regional Council. The municipal budget determines spending priorities and service delivery for residents. Regional Council is now in the midst of preparing the 2018/2019 budget.  Residents are encouraged to highlight their priorities through the Budget Allocator tool, which lets citizens share their thoughts on how tax dollars should be spent.

You can watch or listen to business unit budget presentations at upcoming Council meetings, and citizens are given an opportunity to speak directly to Regional Council at these meetings.

For more information on the budget process and ways to have your say, go to https://www.shapeyourcityhalifax.ca/hfxtax2018


To keep you better informed about what is going on at Council, I’m writing a regular blog after council meetings. 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 January 30
Probably the most talked about Council meeting of my 1.5 years on the job. The meeting in which we voted to take down the Cornwallis statue. You can read my take here


Alderney Library Community Tea
Friday, February 23, 2018 @ 10 – 11:30 am
Alderney Gate Public Library, 60 Alderney Drive, Dartmouth
Join Library staff, friends, and your community for a steaming cup of tea. Bring your crafty creations and spend the morning enjoying the beautiful harbour view.

For information on this event and other programs available through the Halifax Public Libraries visit http://www.halifaxpubliclibraries.ca/programs.html

Fishful Thinking: Ceramic Sulpture by Nancy Roberts
Until February 24, 2018
The Craig Gallery, Alderney Landing
Nancy Robert’s opening at the Craig Gallery. “… fish towers say something about exuberance and abundance. On encounter and on a surface level, they seem to make people happy. The implied watery medium relates to the unconscious (in some schools of psychology), and gives us the idea of our teeming unconscious lives. A tower of dry, fossil-like fish speaks to past lives, busyness stilled.”

For more information on programs and events at the Craig Gallery visit http://www.alderneylanding.com/gallery/index.html

The Journey – Awakening the Spirit through Music, Movement & Story
Presented by the Nova Scotia Youth Orchestra & The Healing and Cancer Foundation
Saturday, February 24 @7:30 pm – Spatz Theatre
Sunday, February 25 @7:30 pm – Alderney Landing
A fundraiser exploring the connections between music, mind, body and spirit. There will be music by Beethoven, Fauré, Brahms and Leonard Cohen. Stories by Dr Robert Rutledge and Dr Timothy Walker.
Featuring students from the Conservatory School of Dance, professional training program under the direction of Diana Rutherford.

For more details contact the Nova Scotia Youth Orchestra at info@novascotiayouthorchestra.com
or 902.423.5984.

Business Links – Downtown Dartmouth Business Commission
Wednesday, February 28, 2018 @ 8:30 – 9:30 am
Change Management Professions, 2 Prince Albert Road, Suite 100. Everyone is welcome; admission is a business card. Coffee and pastries served. For more information and to confirm your attendance contact 902.466.2997 or info@downtowndartmouth.ca

Shining the Light by Janso Isso
Until February 28, 2018
MacPhee Centre for Creative Learning, 50 Queen Street, Dartmouth
Kurdish artist and Dartmouth resident JANSO ISSO is pleased to present a collection of his latest work in a show he calls “Shining the Light”, which will run from January 29 until February 28 at the MacPhee Centre. All works are for sale. Gallery hours are 2:30 until 4 pm Monday-Friday, or by chance. To learn more about this unique artist, please check out his website www.jansoisso.ca. For more information on programs and events at the MacPhee Centre visit http://macpheecentre.ca/.

Peacha Kucha: Streets
February 28, 2018 8:00 pm
Seven Bays Bouldering, Gottingen Street
As part of Dalhousie annual planning conference, a Peacha Kucha night focussing on streets will be held at Seven Bays Bouldering on Gottingen Street. Peacha Kucha is a Japanese presentation format. Each presenter has 20 slides and each slide is shown for 20 seconds. It’s not your typical dry powerpoint presentation.

Shift: The Dalhousie School of Planning Conference
March 1-3
Dalhousie School of Planning, Spring Garden Road
Every year Dalhousie’s School of Planning hosts a free conference. The conference is put together by the planning school’s students and focuses on a different topic each year. This year’s theme is streets. You can find the conference schedule and speakers here.