E-Newsletter October 2017

News

Sawmill River Project:
If you’ve been by Sullivan’s Pond lately, it’s been hard to miss the big hole sprawling across Ochterloney Street. Halifax Water has been making good progress on the Sawmill River Project, but we still have a ways to go. One thing that I have been worried about is what the end result will actually look like. Given that the river needs to be able to carry a 100 year storm and there is very limited space to fit it in, Halifax Water’s design is very engineered. I would have preferred a more naturalized waterway, but I can understand the difficulties that Halifax Water was facing. I was by the Pond the other day to check on progress and workers have started to install sections of the final surface. The pressed concrete has been prepared to mimic stone, giving the future waterway a bit of a canal-like appearance. I was pleasantly surprised with the result. Checkout the photo above.

The practicalities of living with the construction are of course challenging. The Ochterloney detour will be in place until at least December. Please keep in mind that Prince Albert Road from the Pond to Irishtown Road has been made residential permit parking only to accommodate the residents of Lock4 who have been cutoff from their underground garage. The permit only zone will be in place until Lock4 regains access to their underground parking garage. Parking enforcement is writing tickets when they find vehicles parked on Prince Albert Road without a permit. This project has been very hard on the residents of Lock4. Please don’t make it worse by taking their parking spots.

Despite the mess, businesses on Ochterloney in the detour area remain open. The project has hurt them though. These are local businesses and they’re part of our community. Consider stopping by to support them during these challenging weeks.

Lastly, the Sawmill River project is forcing some changes to both this year’s Remembrance Day and Tree Lighting events. With Ochterloney dug up and the lower half of Sullivan’s Pond being predominately a construction site, it’s unfortunately necessary to modify both events. I will share more information about both when plans are finalized.

Kindred Spirits being temporarily removed. Photo JP Blaq

Sidewalk Work Alderney Gate:
You may have noticed the construction work underway next to the Alderney Gate Library. HRM is carrying out repairs to the sidewalk and rebuilding drains. The plan is to preserve access to the ferry terminal from Portland Street throughout the project and work is expected to be wrapped up in November. To complete repairs, the bus shelter and statues “Kindred Spirits” had to be temporarily removed. Both the shelter and figures will be returned after the work is complete. HRM consulted with the artist, Dawn MacNutt, about the need to remove the art and its reinstallation. Her daughter described HRM’s efforts on Facebook as ”exceptionally sensitive and respectful of my mothers’ work.” I was glad to hear that staff took the time to do this right and that the artist is pleased with the efforts. I look forward to seeing “Kindred Spirits” back on display in a month or two.

Access-A-Bus:
Not everything that councillors do makes it into debate at City Hall or into the press. Sometimes we’re able to work things out with staff behind the scenes. I wanted to share one little victory that I’m particularly pleased with. Transit requires all Access-A-Bus riders to reapply to the program every three years. This is a bit of an administrative burden, but I can understand Transit’s need to ensure that personal information is periodically updated. One requirement though of reapplying that didn’t make any sense to me was the requirement for a doctor’s note for people who have a permanent disability. Getting a doctor’s note is a nuisance for most of us, but when your mobility isn’t the best, it’s even more so. Many people who are physically disabled are also underemployed and living on very limited income. The cost of at least $35 for a note is an extra burden and what’s the real point if their condition is permanent?

After I spoke to Transit about it they agreed to review the situation. Transit has since agreed that, in the future, an updated doctor’s note won’t be required if the previous doctor’s note identified the rider’s condition as permanent. Transit is updating their forms to reflect the change. It’s a small thing, but one that makes life easier for some of our most vulnerable citizens.

Placemaking project, Dublin Street. Photo: HRM

Neighbourhood Placemaking Applications October 30
HRM’s Neighbourhood Placemaking program is currently accepting appolications. The program provides guidance and support to community members interested in launching a project that brings together the community to create public art. Projects are meant to activate shared public spaces, creates a sense of place and build community. Past projects have included a number of painted intersections and, in District 5, the mural on the back of the Findlay Community Centre. Municipal staff can provide support to seek the approvals and work collaboratively with community members to design accessible, creative, and successful project plans. If you’re interested in applying, download the Neighbourhood Placemaking Application and Toolkit or contact Kate MacLennan for details. I would love to see more Placemaking Projects in District 5. This year’s application deadline is October 30.

Sportsplex Track and Rink:
The Sportsplex renovation is moving along. The project is, so far, on schedule meaning the Sportsplex should fully reopen in Fall 2018. The rink is currently open and will remain open for the winter season. It will close again in April. Along with the rink, the track is once again available for public use. You can find the tracks hours on the Sportsplex website here. Cost is $5 per visit or 10 visits for $25. Please note that locker rooms are unavailable so dress accordingly before you leave home.

Crossing Guard Recruitment
The Halifax Regional Police are looking for part time crossing guards. If you are passionate about safety and enjoy working outdoors check out more details about this posting here.

National Fire Prevention Week
This year’s national fire prevention week’s theme is “Every Second Counts: Plan 2 Ways Out.” Halifax Regional Fire and Emergency is encouraging residents to take some time this week to develop a fire escape plan for their home.

Seniors and Persons with Disabilities Snow Removal Program
The YMCA and HRM are partnering to offer their Senior and Persons with Disabilities Snow Removal assistance program again this year. The snow removal program offers assistance to clear the front and back steps, walkways, ramps and fuel tanks for seniors (age 65+) or individuals with disabilities who meet the eligibility and low-income criteria. To find out more about this program and how to apply, please contact the YMCA at 902-483-3678. This program is first come first serve so contact them sooner rather than later.

Road Construction Project Updates
It has been a busy year for road construction in Dartmouth. The construction is necessary, but it also causes traffic headaches. Work on Newcastle Street and the Atlantic Street sidewalk is expected to be completed by the end of this month. Work on Prince Albert from Hawthorne to Chittick should be completed by mid-November. If all goes according to schedule, the Sawmill River project will finish in December and Ochterloney Street will reopen. That timeline though has a lot more risk involved given the complexity of the Sawmill River project.

Between the Bridges SPAN Projects
If you have an idea that promotes community pride or neighbourhood safety, but need help getting it off the ground, Between the Bridges may be able to help. The Strengths-People-Action-Neighbourhoods (SPAN) program is there to help you develop your ideas, connect with others, and provide funding. Contact Community Coordinator Matt Spurway for details.

Council Updates

To keep you better informed about what is going on at Council, I’m writing a regular blog after each council 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 October 17, 2017
A relatively short Council meeting where we set in motion important changes to HRM’s procedures for neighbourhood Traffic Calming and voted to ask the Province to put in place the tools to deal with loud motorcycles. Read about it here

Council update October 3, 2017
At this meeting we decided how to proceed with the expert panel on the Cornwallis question, I put forward a motion to look at prohibiting feeding wildlife (backyard bird feeders excepted) and Council looked at a review of HRM’s long-term capital plan. Read about it here.

Events

Mi’Kmaq History Month
October is Mi’kmaq History Month, a time to participate in community activities and events sharing and showcasing Mi’kmaq history. From advancements in transportation, harvesting and medical technologies, to environmental conservation, the wisdom and teachings of the Mi’kmaq are a fundamental part of Canadian and Nova Scotia culture. You can find a full calendar of events here.

Brightwood Community Fall Mix & Mingle Night
Saturday October 21st, 5:30 p.m.
Brightwood Golf and Country Club lounge
Stop by the Brightwood Golf and Country Club lounge Saturday October 21st between 5:30 – 7:00 p.m. to meet and socialize with your neighbours then stick around for trivia or refreshments available after 7. See their facebook page for more information.

Dartmouth Community Concert Association 61st Season
The Dartmouth Community Concert Association will be opening their 61st Season on Saturday, October 21 with the Elora Singers. Visit their website for more details and tickets.

Dartmouth Senior Center Fall Fair
Saturday October 21st, 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Dartmouth Seniors Center
Check out an assortment of handmade goods, knits, artwork, wood working and baked goods at the Dartmouth Seniors Center Fall Fair. Refreshments available from the canteen and admission price is by donation. Check out their website for more information.

Living on the Edge Event
Monday October 23rd, 6:00 – 8:30 p.m.
Halifax Forum, Maritime Hall
Through the Poverty Solutions Strategy development, United Way Halifax and HRM are engaging the community to ensure issues of poverty are understood from urban and rural perspectives and to identify the solutions that can have the biggest impact. An increased understanding about barriers faced by those living on the edge of poverty is a crucial goal of this engagement. Join the United Way for this powerful simulation where you will experience a deeper understanding of how poverty is affecting individuals and families here in Halifax. Space is limited, register today. I participated in the simulation a few months back and found it to be extremely eye-opening. I highly recommend it.

All Things Apple with Noggins Corner Farm Market and Chef Glover
Monday, October 23rd, 10:30 a.m.
Alderney Gate Public Library
Drop in to the library for a Tastes Like Home program all about apples. Sample a variety of fresh apples and take the opportunity to ask staff of Noggins Corner Farm Market your apple questions. The Library will also have special guest, Chef Emily Glover, on hand making tasty apple treats.

PLATA AGM
Wednesday October 25th 7:00 p.m.
Location TBD
The Penhorn Lake Area Trails Association will be holding their AGM on October 25th. Location and details will be posted on their facebook page.

Over the Line: A Conversation about Race, Place and the Environment
October 26th and 27th
Dalhousie University and Halifax Central Library
The ENRICH Project and Dalhousie University have partnered to offer a keynote lecture and symposium aiming to engage in a more inclusive conversation about the social justice dimensions of the environment. This is a free event and will also be streamed through Facebook Live. For more information see their website.

Downtown Dartmouth Halloween Spooktacular
Saturday October 28th, 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Portland Street
Come celebrate Halloween in Downtown Dartmouth. The annual kids costume parade will start at 11:00 and will go from Ferry Terminal Park up Portland Street to the Downtown Dartmouth Business Commission Office on the corner of Portland and Victoria. A Halloween Parking Lot Party to follow the parade with bouncy castles, cake, games and more. The first 350 kids will receive a treat bag and adults in costume will be entered to win one of three $50 gift certificates.

Halifax Regional Police to Hold Voluntary Surrender
Saturday October 28, 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Captain William Spry Community Centre
Halifax Regional Police (HRP) are holding their second Voluntary Surrender event. Voluntary Surrender enables people with outstanding warrants for non-violent offences to resolve the warrants in a neutral environment, avoiding arrest at home, in front of their family and children, at work or during a traffic stop. People who attend Voluntary Surrender will have their warrants resolved, which means police will no longer be looking to arrest them, and, in most cases, the warrant will be replaced with a court date. Legal Aid lawyers will be on-site to provide counsel and referral information for various community services and supports will also be available. More details can be found here.

Craft Fair
Sunday October 29th, 1:30 – 4:30 p.m.
Dartmouth North Community Centre
Check out Handmade Goods of Dartmouth North’s craft fair on Sunday October 29th, November 26th or December 17th to find some great locally made items for everyone on your holiday gift list. You can also book a table for just $5 by calling 902-490-5900.

East Coast Dance Academy Halloween Family Dance
Sunday October 29th, 2:00 – 5:00 p.m.
East Coast Dance Academy
The East Coast Dance Academy will be hosting a fundraising dance with prizes, treats, carnival games and dancing. Bring your family and friends for some dancing fun and games. More details available on their website.

Bluenose Ghost Festival
Alderney Landing will be hosting the Bluenose Ghost Festival with a Fear The Darkness Haunted House, simulated casket ride, walking tour of the Geary Street Cemetery and the Free Food and Folklore Festival. See their website for a full schedule and details.

Participatory Budget Vote Night
Tuesday November 7th 6:00 p.m. – 8:15 p.m.
Findlay Community Centre
On November 7th we will be giving away $50,000 in District Capital funds to local community groups that are planning some exciting new projects in our area. You and your family are invited to have your say by casting a vote for the community projects you feel are most deserving. Stop by the Findlay Community Centre between 6:00 p.m. and 8:15 p.m. to learn more about the eligible projects and vote to support the projects you like the most. All District 5 residents are welcome to attend and participate in the vote night, so bring the whole family. If you have any questions, contact my coordinator Laura Nooyen at nooyela@halifax.ca or 902-490-6982. I will be posting the projects on my website as preview a week in advance.

Dartmouth Players Performance
The Dartmouth Players will be performing “GLORIOUS! The True Story of Florence Foster Jenkins, the Worst Singer in the World” by Peter Quilter. Shows will be held from November 9th – 25th and you can find more details and tickets here.

Volunteer Conference
November 17 – 18th
DoubleTree Hilton
The HRM volunteer conference is an opportunity to empower and celebrate the amazing work of volunteers. Participate in training, networking and a community showcase by attending the conference on November 17th and 18th at the DoubleTree by Hilton in Dartmouth. Get more information about the schedule and register today on our website.

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  1. E-Newsletter November 2017 – Sam Austin

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