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School zone safety and Week in Review
Traffic safety is one of the top concerns councillors hear from residents and I’m dealing with lots of concerns about traffic in school zones in particular. Schools in Fairview, Clayton Park and Rockingham were built 50 years ago with the assumption most kids would be walking to school. Now kids are often driven to school by busy parents on their way to work. The impact of this social change? About twenty minutes of mayhem in the morning and twenty minutes of chaos in the afternoon when a rush of cars descends on school zones not designed for that purpose.
Consider those stuck in the middle, the crossing guards, who are doing their best to keep children safe. At the request of a crossing guard at Duc d'Anville Elementary, this week I provided some additional safety pylons to cordon off the No Stopping and No Parking areas and help keep the peace. Thanks Cherie for the suggestion!
This week at regional council we voted to have more councillor input into the hiring of the top traffic official in HRM; to have stronger enforcement and penalties for illegal dumping; and to have an independent review of HRM’s unique-in-Canada policing model (essentially, how well is it working to have two different forces: Halifax Regional Police and RCMP?). The policing review is expected to take 2 years.
At budget committee, the Executive Director of Planning and Development presented her budget and a request for additional staff to process permits for new housing and construction, now up to $1 billion a year in value. Adding planning staff will help advance some of HRM’s key strategies such as the regional plan update, a new focus on affordable housing, the Electric Vehicle Strategy, and the HalifACT climate plan. The CAO also asked for a $2.25 million budget increase to allow hiring staff across multiple departments, to be determined.
My view is it's the right time to add more staff, and a small increase in staff can make a big difference. Halifax is growing quickly, in size and popularity: we were just voted Best Community in Canada by Macleans magazine, so let's make sure we grow well:
Kathryn.Morse@Halifax.ca ... See MoreSee Less
More policing of cars running bus stop lights when they are letting children out would be really good, they aren't getting penalized enough!!!
I have found over the last year, folks are speeding up or down Clayton Park with much more frequency than in the past. Far too fast. There is a blind crest at Deepwood/Clayton Park/Southhill and for the neighbourhood kids who have to cross the street to get to school, or their bus bus stop, this is very unsafe. I would like to see traffic calming speed bumps put on this road like they did around Burton Ettinger. Drivers using Clayton Park to get to Duc d’Anville or the buildings at Clayton Park/Dunbrack need to realize this is a residential area. A yellow line down the centre of the road doesn’t make it an 80 km/hr highway.
More cones would be appreciated at Rockingham as well! Desperately needed and when parking enforcement comes out it only gets fixed for that day and people are back to parking on both sides of the street with no where to walk -- on a hill with no sidewalks.
We love Cherie-Lyn! So friendly 🙂
Wonderful, caring crossing guard!
Way to work with the community!
You're very welcome Kathryn! It's been great working with you. Just trying to keep all 'my' families safe!
Way to go Cherie! The Duc families are very lucky to have you!
Cherie is a great crossing guard. She is always so cheery and pleasant.
Finally,thank you Cathy.
Spring Cleaning and Week in Review
One of the surprises as a new councillor is how long it can take to get things done. The long term councillors assure me this is normal. They have projects they've been working on for 5 to 10 years or more. So that's why it was very satisfying this week to get some things done for District 10, even though they were small things.
In this photo, notice the granite barriers placed strategically along the path to Tremont Park. No more midnight drivers on the ball field! Some large trees near Fairview Heights School that had fallen halfway down during Dorian were cut down. And garbage containers were installed at six bus stops along Dutch Village Road and added to a regular daily maintenance schedule.
Many thanks to residents for bringing these spring cleaning requests to me and to HRM staff for doing the cutting and installing. As Councillor Mason likes to say, "It takes teamwork to make the dream work!"
This was a meeting-heavy week with Halifax and West Community Council, the Special Events Advisory Committee, Regional Council and an all- day budget meeting for Parks and Recreation. A few quick facts: HRM has 921 parks, maintains 6 million metres of grass, and offered 4000 recreation programs during the pandemic. Looking ahead, Parks and Rec will be working on its youth engagement plan, its playing field strategy, a plan for Blue Mountain Birch Cove Lakes, and special events to help with the post-Covid tourism recovery.
Enjoy the holiday weekend!
Kathryn.email@example.com ... See MoreSee Less
Happy to see the tress cut down around Fairview Heights as they posed a dangerous situation for students and community members walking in there. Now that they are cut down how long before cleaned up? I called HRM shortly after Hurricane Dorian so almost 2 years ago. I like to clean up in those areas around Earth Day. Hard to do when there are 10-12 trees down.
Thank you, Councillor. Quick question. We live very near the round building slated for demolition. This building has been vacant now for over two years and I have heard, via the grapevine, that several rodents have been seen in the parking lot raising some grave concern that the building is now a nesting place for them. Is there an HRM requirement for the new owners to exterminate and fumigate the properties before demolition? I worked on the south end of Hollis Street when the warehouses were demolished to make way for the Superstore and our office was overrun with rats looking for a new place to inhabit. It was a horrifying thing to live with for the first few month. I live in fear that the same could happen to our homes in close proximity to the building. Any information you can provide would be most appreciated.
I am hearing nothing but good things about you Kathryn!
Well done Kathryn...make a difference
Great update. Happy Easter to you and your family
A New Recreation Centre and Week in Review
The new St. Andrews Community Centre (3380 Barnstead Lane) is open and it’s beautiful! The centre has a large gym, a toddler/children’s gym, a dance space, meeting rooms, an arts and crafts room and a community kitchen. Because of Covid-19, St. Andrews opened so quietly many people haven’t seen it yet. The recreation centre is tucked away at the lower end of Bayers Road, a 5-10 minute walk from Dutch Village Road in Fairview. St Andrews Community Centre will be offering pickleball, yoga, fitness, quilting and other programs starting in April. For details call 902-490-4693.
The tour of St Andrews was a highlight this week not only because it's such a well designed building but also because it was the only time I left my home office this week! Thanks to the online magic of Teams and Zoom, I met with: Halifax Regional Police about community policing; with HRM planners about the suburban plan; and with the United Way about the pandemic support provided to 36,700 people in HRM through the Atlantic Compassion Fund: www.unitedwayhalifax.ca/atlantic-compassion-fund/.
Along with phone meetings with residents, I prepped for next week's council meeting, including Case 23245, a proposed six-story apartment project at Titus and Main Avenue that's in the early stages.
You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org ... See MoreSee Less
The gym is twice this big! The curtain happened to be across while I was touring the centre.
The kitchen is designed for classes and community events and opens onto a patio.
Is there going to be a seniors space? Something dedicated just for seniors is desperately needed here. I have tried to reach you on this issue.
What's New and Week in Review
Great news this week for walkers, hikers, and cyclists. The federal government announced $400 million for the first-ever dedicated active transportation fund in Canada. It’s aimed at new and expanded community pathways, pedestrian bridges and bike lanes. There aren't many details yet but Halifax’s mayor says the fund could help accelerate projects already underway and projects that “haven’t even been imagined yet”.
At council this week the Halifax Partnership shared its view of the post-Covid economic recovery. The Partnership’s Wendy Luther commented that Nova Scotia has become “world renowned” for our response to Covid-19, and seventeen companies have chosen to move to Nova Scotia in the past year. The Partnership is forecasting growth of 4% in 2022: halifaxpartnership.com/research-strategy/economic-response-and-recovery-plan/economy-covid-19-rec...
Budget meetings this week included Metro Transit and Halifax Water. What’s new? Your water bill will be arriving monthly, instead of quarterly, starting in April. Those water bills will help pay for improvements to water treatment plants, replacement of lead pipes, Harbour Solutions sewer upgrades and cybersecurity measures.
What’s new from Metro Transit? Metro Transit is working on ways for passengers to pay fares with their phones, and one third of routes will be changing in November. Metro Transit has also recently hired a Sustainable Fleet Analyst to start work on electrification of the fleet.
Outside of council and budget meetings, I was working with residents on by-law enforcement issues, traffic safety, and noise by-law exemptions for special events (summer’s coming!). Finally, I’d like to congratulate District 10 residents and winners of HRM’s 2020 Volunteer Award: Andrew Curran, Adora Fernando, Teresa Flinn and Amber Thornton. Well done!
Contact me at email@example.com ... See MoreSee Less
Week in Review: Fighting fires and climate change
A budget session with HRM’s Fire Chief Ken Stuebing was one of the highlights this week. Chief Stuebing presented the map below which shows where the fire service has been able to meet response time standards (blue dots) and where it hasn’t (red dots). The response time information will be used to adjust staffing levels and determine best locations for new fire stations. Halifax Regional Fire and Emergency (HRFE) is expanding its role: a 20-member team with HRFE is one of only six in Canada certified to do urban rescues involving collapsed buildings. HRFE is also helping out with Covid-19 testing and using drones to detect wild fires.
Another highlight was a presentation by HRM staff about the potential of green hydrogen as part of the municipality's climate adaptation plan:
Hydrogen fuel is made from water and can be used for both heating and transportation. Hydrogen fuel is non-polluting and could be created in Nova Scotia using wind power, making it clean and green. (The downside is cost. For example right now hydrogen buses are four times as expensive as diesel.) I thought hydrogen was the energy source we might be using in the 2040's but it's probably not that far in the future:
I'd like to say a special thanks to the resident who emailed me about cars driving on Tremont Park field. Luckily the field was frozen so no harm done, but HRM Parks and Rec staff are making sure that can't happen again. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org ... See MoreSee Less
these summaries are useful. Thank you for becoming a Councillor!
Thank you for the summary and your email on the trash bins this week!