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This was an especially meeting-heavy week with the setting of priorities for the budget and a regional council meeting on Tuesday. Here's a link for council highlights, which included the elimination of transit fares for children 12 and under (please note the date should read Jan 12, 2021):
Did you know that Halifax is one of Canada's fastest-growing cities? Between 2016 and 2020 HRM grew from 414,000 to 448,500. Although there are many benefits of population growth, it also brings increased demands for city services like parks, libraries, roads, public transit, water and sewer, garbage collection, fire protection and police protection. To address those needs and wants, HRM council will be considering an increase in taxes: $38 annually for the average house (assessed at $250,000). The proposed tax increase, and the most critical services to provide, will be the key budget considerations for council for the next three months.
Other than council and budget meetings, last week I attended online briefing sessions about how property assessments are done (anyone wanting to appeal their assessment has until Feb 11). I also attended the Mayor's Economic Round Table on the green economy and adapting to climate change, organized by Halifax Partnership. Later in the week I met with HRM's pedestrian safety staff, planning staff, and Parks and Recreation managers to work on issues specific to District 10.
One of the highlights this week was meeting HRM resident Alex Smith, a child advocate and founder of the blog Playgroundology (playgroundology.wordpress.com/ ). I share his view that kid-friendly communities can be better for everyone.
Thank you for the calls and messages. For quickest response, please email me at Kathryn.Morse@halifax.ca. ... See MoreSee Less
Thanks for these updates, much appreciated.
If you are increasing residential taxes please ensure commercial is increased at 2 x residential rate, and double for the developers. Business that can show hardship should be only business getting property tax assistance. And can we please become people centric not car. My street is more like a race track than a residential street. Thank you!
Kathryn Morse Councillor District 10 Halifax-Bedford Basin West updated their cover photo.
2 weeks ago
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Happy New Year everyone. It's hard to believe this time last year we'd barely heard of Covid-19. Now 2020 is history, we have a vaccine on the way and there's light at the end of the pandemic tunnel. This week I'm also feeling extra appreciative of the peace and order we enjoy in Canada, Nova Scotia and HRM.
Looking ahead, 2021 is going to be a foundational kind of year in HRM because the regional plan is up for renewal. The plan will set priorities for the next 5 years and beyond. It will determine where the municipality grows, the infrastructure we invest in (improved parks? more sidewalks? electric buses?) and how we adapt to our growing population and the changing climate.
I've spent the past week reading reports to get ready for the first council meeting of 2021 which has a very full agenda:
Of interest to residents of District 10 will be the First Reading for Case 22332, the proposed apartment at 210-214 Willett Street. A public hearing for this development will be scheduled at a later date.
Last week I had several online meetings with HRM staff about active transportation and ways to green the city. I was also in touch with about a dozen District 10 residents to help address neighbourhood concerns such as on-street parking, litter and garbage, and a proposed hotel development.
I would like to thank residents of Evans Avenue for contacting me just before Christmas about an incident involving three large dogs running loose. Since then I have been in regular communication with HRM staff about their investigation. I will have more to say about this soon, once the investigation wraps up. ... See MoreSee Less
Thank you for the update
At some time I hope that you will look into the speeding of cars between Tremont and the Kearney Lake Road on the Bedford Highway. It is very often like a race track especially going towards Bedford. It is very concerning.
This week at council we kicked off the budget season with a long discussion about money. How much money does HRM need? Where will the money come from? And what/who will council spend it on and when?
Halifax is one of the fastest growing cities in Canada. HRM's finance staff advised council that to meet our growing population's growing expectations we need to change they way we do budgets. Instead of annual budgeting we will need to do a multi-year budgeting. This change will enable better planning for larger, longer-term projects. Multi-year budgeting may also help HRM qualify for federal infrastructure funding, to purchase electric buses for example. The wrangling over the budget begins in January.
Otherwise I spent last week meeting with board members from Friends of Blue Mountain Birch Cove Lakes (thanks to the Friends for this photo), participating in Tuesday's council meeting, introducing plannning amendments for 210-214 Willett Street at Halifax and West Community Council, in briefings with HRM staff about legal and financial services, meeting with Halifax Regional Police about enforcement of speeding in District 10, and responding to residents about snow clearing.
If you'd like more details about the upcoming budget process, here's a good summary from The Coast:
www.thecoast.ca/halifax/halifax-regional-council-talks-budget-at-its-last-meeting-of-2020/Content... ... See MoreSee Less
If you like to support local causes--here's a good one: Duc d'Anville Elementary is collecting snow pants, socks and boots for students in need. Duc d'Anville is a growing multi-cultural school, with many students who have have recently arrived in Canada. Donations of gift cards (Walmart, Sobeys) would also be greatly appreciated. For more details please contact vice principal Rachael Webster at (902) 457-8940. ... See MoreSee Less
Recognize this corner? It's Willett and Dunbrack, showing the new apartment building proposed for the site. The project will replace the round tower (and some low rise units) at 210 Willett, vacant since 2018. In its place: two 17-story towers with a total of between 500-540 rental units, more than double the previous number.
With HRM expected to reach half a million people by 2030, we're going to need more housing, and if we're going to avoid sprawl, we'll need denser housing. This project is dense and designed with a low car future in mind: residents will be able to walk to nearby stores and amenities and they'll also have a Bus Rapid Transit stop just outside their door. I spent many hours this week wrestling over this project with my council colleagues, HRM planners, and the developer, and it's not over yet.
The project will go to Halifax and West Community Council once again on Wednesday night and then on to Regional Council for public hearing and approval in January. A more detailed plan for the Willett and Dunbrack area will be developed for public consultation at a later date.
For more details:
Other highlights last week: I spoke to staff at the Mobile Food Market, Clayton Developments, and the Halifax Partnership, participated in the first meeting of the Environment and Sustainability Standing Committee, and had briefings from HRM staff about improvements to Dutch Village Road, scheduled for 2022. ... See MoreSee Less
There is no need to develop this site as it's proposed. There are already high rises on nearby Washmill Lake Dr; this just doesn't suit to neighborhood. If Halifax wants high density, put it downtown or consider the single family residences in adjoining areas. Also, consider the overcrowded schools that will need to take on the added children.
A monster of a building. Kathryn Morse Councillor District 10 Halifax-Bedford Basin West, what is being done to ensure there is enough onsite parking for tenants? Neighbouring streets already of tenants from existing buildings parking in in them, and I don't want to live in a parking lot.
Looks and sounds exciting. I can’t wait for the development to start!
Major issue with school overcrowding. And where are the residents & their visitors going to park? On our residential streets - and in the winter? On a different note, the trash will increase as well - I've asked 3 times for trash bins along Dunbrack because of littering, and not 1 bin has been added. At least put them at bustops for the needles!
So this is what we were kicked out of the building for.
I now know why large companies rebrand themselves ,I guess progress is here to stay ,Kathryn than you for your effort but it seems council is determined to grow and we only have so much to say .Schools are packed now ,Dunbrack is now a race track ....