I hope that those of you that like snow are enjoying our latest snowfall. For those of you that are not so keen on snow, we certainly have had an easy winter so far in regard to snow! I was overall very pleased with snow removal from the streets and sidewalks in our District. I did report a couple of concerns, and I encourage you to contact me with your feedback.
Regional Council will be meeting this week and I have provided a link below to the full agenda. Community Council meetings, Budget meetings, Public Information Meetings on proposed developments, Planning Advisory Committee meetings, and the various Standing Committee meetings continue to be held virtually. I will discuss the upcoming Budget below.
I am also including below some recent public service announcements from HRM and from HRP that I shared last week via Facebook and Twitter.
Budget and Budget Process
Regional Council has begun reviewing the proposed capital and operating budgets for 2021/22. This process will take several months and the sessions can be viewed online. Residents are also welcome to speak prior to these sessions.
Staff has recommended an overall increase of 1.9% on both the residential and commercial tax bills. This is not a done deal and a number of my colleagues and I are working on ways to reduce or avoid this proposed increased. As you may recall, I am particularly concerned over the impact of any tax increase to small businesses, and also the impact on the hospitality and tourism sectors that have been hit so hard by the pandemic. Unfortunately, we still do not have the ability to shift the tax burden within the commercial tax base from small business to larger and national / international businesses. In addition, I do not support the concept of shifting more burden from the overall commercial tax base to the residential tax base.
Regional Council Agenda Link
Update from HRM Parks & Recreation
In consultation with public health, capacity at the Emera Oval will be increasing to 240 skaters per skate time effective Wednesday, Jan. 27.
Skaters can now arrive within 30-minutes of their skate time to check-in. With this increased capacity, physical distancing may not always be possible. Non-medical masks will now be mandatory at all times, including on the ice surface.
In addition to the 48-hour rolling registration coming in to effect on Monday, Jan. 25, these changes aim to assist more residents in accessing skate times.
Staff will continue to work with Public Health to assess and adjust protocols as needed to balance demand and the safety of all participants and staff.
For more information, visit http://halifax.ca/skateHRM
Public Service Announcement
Residents urged to stay off frozen lakes and ponds until ice testing resumes
The Halifax Regional Municipality is advising residents that it is not currently safe to be on frozen lakes and ponds as there is noticeable thin ice and open water in many lakes across the region.
The municipality’s ice thickness testing program has not begun for the 2020/21 winter season as it is not yet safe for staff to be on the ice. Each year the municipality provides weekly reports on ice thickness testing undertaken on more than 70 lakes throughout the region. This testing will resume when conditions allow.
Residents are asked to take safety precautions for themselves and their families by avoiding any recreation activities on frozen lakes and ponds, including walking, snowmobiling, and skating until ice thickness testing resumes.
The Canadian Red Cross recommends that ice be at least 15 centimeters thick for individual skating, and at least 20 centimeters thick for group skating. Extreme caution is advised in areas where streams flow into and out of lakes. It is also important to note that ice conditions may vary over the entire surface of lakes and are subject to change with weather conditions.
Halifax Regional Police
Media Release -Intersection Safety Month – tips
January is intersection safety month and Halifax Regional Police is sharing some tips to help make intersections safer for all road users.
Road safety is everyone’s responsibility. Whether you’re driving, walking, cycling or rolling, everyone has a role to play in making intersections safer by:
- Slow down when approaching intersections
- Following traffic regulations
- Being mindful of other road users
- Avoiding distractions
- Exercising caution
- Remaining watchful of changing road and weather conditions
- Use additional caution when snowbanks are present as they can obscure sightlines
- Make sure there is enough space between your vehicle and the vehicle ahead of you.
- As you approach an intersection, look left and right to scan your surroundings.
- Come to a full stop at stop signs and red lights.
- When approaching an amber or yellow light you must stop if you can do so safely.
- If the light is green, scan left and right before proceeding through the intersection or entering the intersection to make a left or right turn.
- Do shoulder checks, mirror checks and use signals before turning. When turning right do a double shoulder check for cyclists.
- Yield to pedestrians at intersections. Crosswalks exist on all legs of an intersection, whether marked or unmarked. Turning vehicles at signalized intersections must yield to pedestrians crossing on the walk signal.
- If the intersection doesn’t have traffic lights, drivers must yield to pedestrians waiting to cross or when they’re already in a crosswalk.
- Drivers must wait until pedestrians are completely across the road before proceeding.
- Look both ways, try to make eye contact with motorists and walk across only when it is safe to do so.
- When available always take advantage of marked crosswalks.
- It’s the law to use the overhead flashing light at crosswalks. Make sure to press the button where it is available.
- Consider wearing bright colours or reflective clothing when walking in the evening, at dusk or dawn and when the weather conditions make visibility poor.
- Use hand signals to let other road users know your intentions at intersections.
- If you decide to cross the street using pedestrian signals, get off your bicycle and walk it across the street.
- Approach intersections with caution and look for vehicles slowing down to turn right.
- Consider wearing or applying bright colours and applying additional reflective materials or lights to your bicycle.
- Always wear your certified helmet.
Let’s all work together to make intersections safer for everyone.
Have a good week, and as always please let me know if you have questions, concerns or ideas!