I hope you are staying well, or recovering very quickly, during this ongoing challenging time with the pandemic. There is a great deal going on at Regional Council regarding upcoming budget and taxes, the HalifACT climate change action plan, the housing crisis, small business taxes, and our affordable housing crisis. You may have also heard about the provincial government’s plan to expedite development in nine areas of HRM by limiting public consultation and eliminating Region Council’s final decision making in the development planning and approval process in these designated areas. I will address these items briefly in this update, but also in my future hard copy newsletter that will be mailed to all District 16 residents.
The hard copy newsletter, as was the case last year, will also provide an overview and schedule of Bedford Days 2022! The Committee is working hard to prepare an in-person Bedford Days, Rouge & Blanc, and Canada Day celebrations this year. Below will also find an overviews of the highlights of some of Regional Council’s recent meetings agendas.
HRM Budget 2022/23
I previously advised you that HRM senior management recommended an average increase on last years’ tax bill of 5.9%. This would include a 1.9% increase in HRM’s operating and capital spending (up from 0.9% last year in response to the pandemic). The remaining 3% of the proposed increase would be used to fund progress on the HalifACT climate action plan. Working with the Mayor, senior staff, and some Council colleagues the proposed overall increase request was reduced to 4.5%. Final debate is scheduled to take place on April 12th.
It is important to note that this proposed increase is on your overall property tax bill from last year. It is NOT in addition to any property assessment increase that you might have received! So for example if your assessment increased by 15%, this does not mean your tax bill will increase by 19.5%. The rate would be adjusted to result in your tax bill increase being 4.5%. An overview of the HalifACT Plan can be found by using the link below.
Planning and Development – Provincial Announcement
On March 25th the provincial government announced study funding and the fast tracking for development of nine areas in HRM. They stated that this is in response to our growth and the resulting housing shortage. Several of these nine areas are located within Bedford-Wentworth. These areas will no longer be addressed or voted on by HRM Regional Council. It appears that public consultation may be reduced or eliminated in these areas. However, the province has advised that the provincially appointed Housing Task Force will engage with HRM Planning & Development staff, follow existing HRM planning processes and policies, and will respect any environmental studies and also the HRM Regional Plan. Further, I have spoken on many occasions with the developers of West Bedford and Sandy Lake. They have committed to continue with their agreements with me to ensure that these developments include a significant expansion of Sandy Lake Park, additional protection for the lake, and approximately 50% of the cost of the critical infrastructure improvements required for things such as the Hammonds Plains Rd. I will continue to do all I can, within my now more limited empowerment, to see that this is the case!
More information on the province’s announcements can be found via the links below.
Regional Council Meeting Summaries
APRIL 5, 2022 – REGIONAL COUNCIL SUMMARY
- Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Qn_z89dWVg
Note: This meeting was held virtually.
- Meeting agenda with links to all Staff Reports: https://www.halifax.ca/city-hall/regional-council/april-5-2022-halifax-regional-council
-CONSIDERATION OF DEFERRED BUSINESS – March 22, 2022-
PASSED: PEOPLE. PLANET. PROSPERITY. HALIFAX’S INCLUSIVE ECONOMIC STRATEGY 2022-27
Regional Council has adopted People. Planet. Prosperity. Halifax’s Inclusive Economic Strategy 2022-27 as the new five-year economic strategy – a strategy with a vision of a prosperous, growing municipality that puts the wellbeing of people and the planet first. See a presentation about the strategy here: https://bit.ly/3x7PRIF
The Halifax region has undergone significant changes since the previous Halifax’s 2016-21 Economic Strategy was developed, including record population growth. The Inclusive Economic Strategy sets three strategic goals over the next five years, including:
1) Promoting and maximizing inclusive and sustainable growth;
2) Attracting, retaining and developing talent; and,
3) Making Halifax a better place to live and work.
These strategic goals are supported by objectives as well as actions to be implemented by both the municipality and Halifax Partnership. Public engagement included face-to-face discussions and group consultations, as well as resident input on Halifax Partnership’s website and the municipality’s 2021 Resident Survey. The strategy’s inclusive economic growth was informed by both the municipality’s Office of Diversity & Inclusion/ANSAIO and community engagement.
Ongoing engagement will continue to be fundamental for shaping a more inclusive municipality over the next five years and beyond. Read the staff report and learn more about the strategy for 2022-27 here (begins on p. 10): https://www.halifax.ca/media/77313
Deputy Mayor Lovelace tabled a petition on behalf of the United Cab Drivers Association of Halifax with 71 signatures entitled Protection of Owner Operated Vehicles for Hire Serving Airport Passengers. The Association is petitioning for airport licenses to be grandfathered, licenses should be issued to drivers currently serving customers at the airport and not only to brokers because this would discriminate against owner operators.
-CHIEF ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICER-
PASSED: INCREASE TO CONTRACT – PO 2070830546 – CONSULTING SERVICES FOR FORT NEEDHAM PARK WASHROOMS
Regional Council agreed on consent to approve an increase of $4,130 (net HST included) to PO 2070830546, Consulting Services for Fort Needham Park Washrooms, from Project No. CB210016 – Fort Needham Washrooms as outlined in the Financial Implications section of the staff report dated February 3, 2022.
Fort Needham Memorial Park is a 15.6-acre regional park located in the north end of the Halifax peninsula. It is the site of the Halifax Explosion Memorial Bell Tower, a monument completed in 1985 to commemorate the Halifax Explosion. The new washroom facility is being constructed as the final component of the Fort Needham Park Master Plan. The design of this public washroom facility supports gender neutral access and incorporates a very high level of accessibility to provide access for all ages and abilities.
PASSED: INCREASE TO CONTRACT, RFP-18-306 CONSULTING SERVICES – BR041- LUCASVILLE BRIDGE REHABILITATION DESIGN
Regional Council agreed on consent to increase to contract with Harbourside Engineering Consultants (Purchase Order No. 2070790796) for additional work from the original scope in the amount of $21,702 (net HST included) with funding from Project Account CR200003– Bridges, as outlined in the Financial Implications section of the staff report dated February 1, 2022.
The proposed work on the Lucasville Bridge is a significant investment. The original scope of work did not consider the addition of active transportation (AT) infrastructure as part of repair work, and no significant changes to the railing system were anticipated. AT infrastructure was to be addressed in future with a separate structure. However, based on the level of investment required, it is an opportune time to verify if the AT MUP can be added to the existing structure, by changing the cross section of the existing bridge.
PASSED: EXECUTION OF ASSIGNMENT AND ASSUMPTION AGREEMENT – GCR TIRES TO KAL TIRE
Regional Council agreed on consent to the assignment of the Municipality’s existing agreement with GCR Tire Centers to KalTire and direct the Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) to execute an assignment and assumption agreement to permit the assignment.
The Municipality has been informed that GCR Tire Centers has been purchased by Kal Tire. Kal Tire has requested that it be assigned the GCR agreement. One option year remains on the agreement.
PASSED: PERMANENT ENCROACHMENT OF A GROUND SIGN AT 3B BURLEY COURT, DARTMOUTH
Regional Council agreed on consent to approve a 1.2 m2 Encroachment License Application for a ground sign to be constructed within the HRM right-of-way at civic 3B Burley Court, Dartmouth.
PASSED: PERMANENT ENCROACHMENT OF A GROUND SIGN AT 750 PLEASANT STREET, DARTMOUTH
Regional Council approved a 3.1 m2 Encroachment License Application for a ground sign to be constructed within the HRM right-of-way at 750 Pleasant Street, Dartmouth.
PASSED: PROPOSED HOUSEKEEPING AMENDMENTS TO ADMINISTRATIVE ORDER 48, RESPECTING THE CREATION OF COMMUNITY COUNCIL, AND ADMINISTRATIVE ORDER 2019-011-GOV, THE DESIGN ADVISORY COMMITTEE
Regional Council adopted amendments to the amending Administrative Orders for Administrative Order Number 48, Respecting the Creation of Community Council Administrative Order, and Administrative Order Number 2019-011-GOV, Design Advisory Committee Administrative Order, as set out in Attachment B to the staff report dated March 7, 2022.
PASSED: REVIEW OF OTTER LAKE COMMUNITY MONITORING COMMITTEE
That Halifax Regional Council approved a motion to direct the CAO to request the Halifax Waste/Resource Society to work with HRM staff to develop mutually agreeable policies and protocols, and/or amendments to modernize the 1999 Community Monitoring Agreement, to address the financial, administrative and governance concerns identified and bring it up to acceptable standards.
This motion was amended to also include Regional Council directing the CAO to notify the CMC in writing, that the municipality plans to allocate the committee $42,500 in funding for the 2022-2023 fiscal year, rather than the requested amount of $90,000 on the basis that the municipality does not intend to fund the legal expenses of the committee nor the salary of an executive director.
The Community Monitoring Committee (CMC) was established by agreement with the Halifax Waste/Resource Society (HWRS) in 1999 to monitor the operations of the Otter Lake Waste Processing & Disposal Facility. It is a requirement of HRM’s operating approval issued by Nova Scotia Environment. The CMC consists of 15 members, 9 of which are appointed by the HWRS and 6 of which are appointed by HRM. A review of the Agreement and the CMC’s current practices indicates that it is, for the most part, structured and operating in accordance with the Province’s best practices Guide for the Formation and Operation of a Community Liaison Committee. There are, however, several areas of concern, including:
• Non-compliance with agreed upon quorum for meetings (resulting in the exclusion of HRM representation in decision-making)
• Lack of clarity with respect to the role and authority of the Executive Committee and Executive Director
• Inconsistent communications protocols
• Deviation from agreed upon expenditure processes
• Composition of CMC not as inclusive as it could be
Each of these issues can be rectified, either through the development of clearer policies and protocols, or through amendments to the Agreement. Further, HRM is currently seeking new volunteers to appoint to the CMC.
-AUDIT AND FINANCE STANDING COMMITTEE-
PASSED: FIRST READING PROPOSED BY-LAW T-706, AN AMENDMENT TO BY-LAW T-700, RESPECTING TAX DEFERRALS
Regional Council agreed on consent to give First Reading to By-Law T-706, amending By-Law T-700, the Tax Deferral By-law, as set out in Attachment 4 of the staff report dated February 17, 2022.
-ENVIRONMENT AND SUSTAINABILITY STANDING COMMITTEE-
PASSED: INCORPORATING THE WILDLIFECORRIDOR LANDSCAPE DESIGN CHARETTE REPORT
Regional Council agreed on consent to direct the CAO to prepare a staff report regarding incorporating the Wildlife Corridor Landscape Design Charette Report findings within the Green Network Plan. See more about this report here (p. 4): https://bit.ly/3DJQcma
-EXECUTIVE STANDING COMMITTEE-
PASSED: 2022 DISTRICT BOUNDARY REVIEW – PHASE ONE
Regional Council agreed on consent to extend the time for the Executive Standing Committee to bring forward a recommendation to Regional Council regarding Phase I of the District Boundary Review to June 14, 2022.
PASSED: HALIFACT AND THE IMPACTS OF CLIMATE CHANGE ON WOMEN AND CHILDREN
Regional Council approved an amended motion to fully fund and implement HalifACT in accordance with HRM yearly budget considerations and process, and to direct the CAO to prepare a staff report that considers the disproportionate impacts of climate change on women and children and develop a mitigation strategy. This was put forward to Regional Council from the Women’s Advisory Committee.
-BOARD OF POLICE COMMISSIONERS-
PASSED: DEVELOPMENT OF BUDGET REVIEW AND APPROVAL PROCESS FOR HALIFAX REGIONAL POLICE BUDGET
Regional Council approved a motion to direct the CAO to provide a staff report to develop an operational and capital budget review and approval process for the Halifax Regional Police, including public consultation and associated timelines, for the 2023/24 fiscal year in compliance with the Police Act. This motion also directs the CAO to provide a staff report regarding the Board’s jurisdiction under the Police Act, including as it relates to the review and approval of the annual Halifax Regional Police budget proposal under Section 53 of the Police Act.
PASSED: LESS THAN MARKET VALUE LEASE: CANOE TO THE SEA SOCIETY, 10 NOWLAN STREET, DARTMOUTH
Regional Council approved a motion to enter into a Less Than Market Value Lease Agreement with Canoe to the Sea Society for a portion of PID 00094318 at 10 Nowlan Street, Dartmouth, and authorize the Mayor and Municipal Clerk to execute the Lease.
-HERITAGE ADVISORY COMMITTEE-
PASSED: CASE H00532 – 2022 / 2023 HERITAGE INCENTIVES PROGRAM
Regional Council approved the proposed grants to the properties listed in Attachment A of the January 27, 2022 staff report (see p.6, here: https://bit.ly/3KfaarC) and the potential grant to the property listed in Attachment D (5675 North St – see p. 20, here: https://bit.ly/3KfaarC), conditional upon the applicants’ compliance with Sections 29 through 35 of Administrative Order Number 2014-002-ADM, pending approval of the 2022/2023 budget.
-MEMBERS OF COUNCIL-
PASSED: COUNCILLOR CUTTELL – COMMUNITY BENEFIT PROGRAM FOR OTTER LAKE WASTE PROCESS AND DISPOSAL FACILITY
Regional Council approved a motion to direct the CAO to provide a staff report evaluating a potential Community Benefit Program and Enhanced Maintenance Program for the communities immediately surrounding the Otter Lake Waste Processing and Disposal Facility based upon the potential avoided costs from the deactivation of the Front End Processor and Waste Stabilization Facility (FEP/WSF), and based upon the estimate that the facility may operate for another twenty-five years.
With the removal of ICI waste, the introduction of the green cart and recycling programs, and now the expected EPR program, the amount of waste going into the landfill annually has been significantly reduced. As a result, the lifespan of the landfill has been extended another twenty-five years, and possibly more.
Where the surrounding communities expected the closure of the landfill in 2023, they are now being asked to continue hosting the landfill. In recognition of this, and the cost savings from the deactivation of the FEP/WSF, a community benefit and enhanced maintenance program would ensure the communities around the landfill are compensated for this ongoing land use that services the entire municipality, and that the communities are clear of litter and debris that can result from garbage hauling to the site.
PASSED: DEPUTY MAYOR LOVELACE
Regional Council approved a motion to direct the CAO to provide a staff report on revising the budget approval process timeline for area rate business plans to align more effectively with the municipality’s business unit budget process to permit community associations opportunities to plan future area rate projects more appropriately and incorporate them into the upcoming fiscal year.
MARCH 22, 2022 – REGIONAL COUNCIL SUMMARY
- Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w5WU2BjROZY
- Meeting agenda with links to all Staff Reports: https://www.halifax.ca/city-hall/regional-council/march-22-2022-halifax-regional-council
-MOTIONS OF RESCISSION – January 10, 2017-
Passed: Regional Council approved a motion to rescind part 2 of Item 14.1.4 from the January 10, 2017 Regional Council meeting which requested a staff report as follows: “Dependent upon the response from DND, direct staff to determine requirements to cease whistling operations at the railway grade crossings on Hines Road and Howard Avenue and initiate the process of coordination among HRM, DND and the railway operator to enable whistle cessation at the identified locations.”
Councillor Kent noted she believes this was a motion of former Councillor, Mr. Karsten. She noted that as she has lived in this community for a long time, she feels there is a great value to still having the whistle. It is a street safety scenario and she has not heard of concerns with it.
-CHIEF ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICER (CAO)-
Passed: INCREASE TO CONTRACT – PURCHASE ORDER (PO) 2070834773 FOR CONSULTING SERVICES FOR THE DARTMOUTH NORTH LIBRARY AND KESHEN GOODMAN LIBRARY INTERIOR RENOVATION
Regional Council agreed to approve an increase to the contract with Fathom Studio for $49,427 with funding from Project No. CB190010 Keshen Goodman Library Renovations.Supplementary effort was required by Fathom Studio and sub-consultants to complete several additional design services for the Library renovation that were not included in the initial scope of work.
Passed: FIRST READING PROPOSED BY-LAW C-1200, RESPECTING COMMERCIAL DEVELOPMENT DISTRICTS – COMMERCIAL ASSESSMENT AVERAGING PROGRAM AND BY-LAW
Staff presentation by Andre MacNeil, Senior Financial Consultant, HRM Financial Planning
Regional Council approved a motion to give First Reading By-law C-1200, the Commercial Development Districts By-law. On July 16, 2019, Halifax Regional Council directed the CAO to develop and return to Regional Council for its consideration a by-law to phase-in commercial tax bills that uses a three-yearrolling assessment average and is targeted towards properties with assessment growth more than 5% above the HRM average. On May 4, 2021 Council further directed the CAO to implement commercial assessment averaging, starting in fiscal year 2022/23 with 2021/22 as the base year.
The purpose of the Commercial Assessment Averaging program is to reduce the impact on property owners (and their tenants) of unexpected spikes in commercial assessments. The program is intended to support the principles of increasing stability and improving predictability for commercial property owners.
Passed: HRM ASSET NAMES – JUNE 1 TO OCTOBER 31, 2021
The municipality’s Commemorative Naming allows any person or group to apply for a commemorative name for HRM assets, particularly streets, parks or buildings. Regional Council approved 18 asset naming applications received between June 1 and October 31, 2021.
Regional Council agreed on consent to approve the addition of Alvena Cain, Beechville Park, Mark Smith, Rae’s Awareness, Amalamek, Atoqwa’su, Kastik, Kuow, Lentuk, Patuo’qn, Plamipkl, Skokomul, Suoman, Tupsi, Wasoqiman, Wowkwis to the existing HRM Commemorative Names List. Council also approved the renaming of Big Hubley Lake Drive Bike Park to Kai Matthews Bike Park, 366 Big Hubley Lake Drive, in memory of Kai Matthews. Further, Council approved the placement of the Jumpstart Playground name to the future playground at the George Dixon Centre Park at 2502 Brunswick St, Halifax.
Passed: SPRING 2022 TEMPORARY BORROWING RESOLUTION AND DEBENTURE
Regional Council agreed on consent to:
- Approve a Temporary Borrowing Resolution of $197,418,785 for financing of current debt-funded projects in-progress from the 2022/23 and prior capital budgets, as set out in Attachment A of the staff report dated February 16, 2022;
- Approve a Temporary Borrowing Resolution of $41,590,106 for financing of the debt-funded projects from previous capital budgets which have reached substantial completion and eligible for Spring 2022 Debenture Issue application; and,
- Authorize the Mayor and Municipal Clerk to sign the Resolution for Pre-Approval of Debenture Issuance, subject to interest rate confirmation not to exceed 4.0%, to enable the Halifax Regional Municipality to issue a 10-year debenture of $41,590,106.
The NS Municipal Funding Corporation provides debt financing for municipalities in Nova Scotia and require both municipal council and Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing approvals as a prerequisite to issuing debentures. By requesting Ministerial approval for a Temporary Borrowing Resolution (TBR), Regional Council is acting on their previous approval of debt financing for specific capital projects. The Temporary Borrowing Resolution acts as a pre-approval authority for the municipality’s ability to support this form of funding. TheDepartment of Municipal Affairs will review the borrowing request against eligibility definitions and the municipality’s debt service ratio. Once approved, HRM can participate in the Nova Scotia Municipal Finance Corporation’s (MFC) debenture issue.
Passed: ICIP GREEN ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY STREAM FUNDING APPLICATION
Regional Council approved a motion to endorse the following capital projects (outlined in more detail here: https://bit.ly/3iqUTaS):
- Sawmill River Daylighting/Renewal Phase 2 (stormwater)
- Lake Major Pumping Station Renewal and New Intake (drinking water)
- Cole Harbour Rd near John Stewart Dr HRM (stormwater)
- Highway 101 Landfill Gas System (solid waste & remediation)
As part of this, Council directs the CAO to submit these projects for funding consideration under the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program’s Green Environmental Quality Streamand authorize the CAO to enter into any contribution agreements that may be required should the Municipality be approved for funding under the program.
On February 3, 2022 the Nova Scotia Department of Municipal Affairs and Housing (DMAH) issued a call
for applications for infrastructure projects under the Green Environmental Quality Stream of the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program (ICIP). The standard funding structure of each ICIP award subsidizes eligible capital project costs by 73.33%; 40% from the federal government and 33.33% from the provincial government. The remaining 26.67% of project costs are the responsibility of the municipality to fund. Approval to receive ICIP funding for capital projects under the Green Environmental Stream provides 73.33% of the projects’ current municipal funding to be reallocated to other high priority infrastructure opportunities.
Passed: AMENDMENTS TO ADMINISTRATIVE ORDER ONE, THE PROCEDURE OF COUNCIL ADMINISTRATIVE ORDER – PROCEDURES FOR VIRTUAL MEETINGS AND ENGAGEMENT
Regional Council approved a motion to adopt amendments to Administrative Order One, the Procedure of the Council Administrative Order, and Administrative Order 2020-009-ADM, the Covid-19 Administrative Order, as set out in Attachment 2 of the staff report dated March 8, 2022.
On April 19, 2021, the Province passed Bill 98 which added section 16A to the Charter. This section requires that a procedural policy be approved by the Council to allow for virtual meetings of Council, Community Councils or any other committee of Council meeting. With these amendments agreed upon, virtual meetings can continue to be held for some bodies who choose to have it moving forward.
-AUDIT AND FINANCE STANDING COMMITTEE-
Passed: ICIP CONTRIBUTION AGREEMENT COMMUNITY BUILDING RETROFITS
Regional Council agreed to approve amendments to the Capital Budget for multi-year funding for capital account CB190008 – Energy Efficiency Initiatives, for HRM Community Building Retrofits as outlined in the Financial Implications section of the staff report dated February 24, 2022; and to increase capital account CB190008 – Energy Efficiency Initiatives by $1,539,930 with funding from the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program in 2021/22, with no net impact to the net budget.
Passed: $15 MINIMUM WAGE AND LIVING WAGE FOR HRM EMPLOYEES
Regional Council has directed municipal staff to prepare a report on the possible financial impact of implementing a $15 minimum wage for all municipal employees. This wage increase would apply to all employees, including those working in public libraries and multi-district facilities – regardless of employment status.
The report is expected to inform the 2023-24 budget process, with an aim for implementation beginning no later than April 1, 2023. In addition, municipal staff will provide a report on the possible financial impact of implementing a living wage for all municipal employees. This report would inform the 2023-24 budget process, with implementation beginning no later than April 1, 2024.
-EXECUTIVE STANDING COMMITTEE-
Passed: ACCESSIBILITY IMPACT SECTION OF STAFF REPORTS
Regional Council agreed to direct the CAO, through the Office of Diversity and Inclusion/African Nova Scotian Affairs Integration Office (ANSAIO), to develop diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility guidelines for all staff reports, rather than create a specific accessibility impact section. The goal of these guidelines is to ensure that diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility are considered at all stages of the report-writing process.
-HALIFAX AND WEST COMMUNITY COUNCIL-
Passed: CASE 23166 – MUNICIPAL PLANNING STRATEGY AMENDMENTS FOR 7 MCINTOSH STREET, HALIFAX
Regional Council agreed to give First Reading to consider the proposed amendments to the Halifax Municipal Planning Strategy and the Halifax Mainland Land Use By-law to redesignate and rezone a portion of 7 McIntosh Street, Halifax from the Institutional Designation to the High-Density Residential Designation, and from the Park and Institutional (P) Zone to the Multiple Dwelling (R-4) Zone, and schedule a public hearing.
-HERITAGE ADVISORY COMMITTEE-
Passed: CASE H00523 – REQUEST TO INCLUDE THE ROCKING STONE AND KIDSTON LAKE PARK, HALIFAX IN THE REGISTRY OF HERITAGE PROPERTY FOR THE HALIFAX REGIONAL MUNICIPALITY
Regional Council agreed on consent to set a date for a heritage hearing to consider the inclusion of the Rocking Stone site at PID# 00307462 in Kidston Lake Park, Halifax in the Registry of Heritage Property for the Halifax Regional Municipality, as shown on Map 1 of the February 3, 2022 staff report, as a municipal heritage area under the Heritage Property Act.
-MEMBERS OF COUNCIL-
Passed: COUNCILLOR DEAGLE GAMMON – EXISTING ACCESS-A-BUS SERVICE AREA IN DISTRICT 1
Regional Council approved a motion to direct the CAO to provide a staff report to review the existing Access-A-Bus service area which is limited to 1000 m from a bus stop, and for the report to include options (including timeframes) for extending this boundary, as well as the financial implications and impact to service of any extension.
Currently, Access A Bus may travel 1000m (1km) outside a conventional stop. There are some
riders who have been grandfathered in the system and are traveling beyond this measurement, thereby
creating inequities. From the Perrin Drive Park and Ride, 1km would take you just to the end of the access road only. The vison of Access A Bus is defined as Clients are the Top Priority. A review of this service boundary will support persons with disability who are dependent on this service.
Passed: MAYOR SAVAGE – FUNDING FOR UKRAINE HUMANITARIAN RELIEF
Regional Council approved a motion to direct the CAO tocommit up to $50,000 in support of humanitarian relief efforts in Ukraine as a result of the invasion by Russia. This also includes direction to prepare a staff report to identify a source for these funds and a receiving relief organization based on engagement with local representatives of the Ukrainian community. Staff will return to Council with a recommendation. Mayor Savage said that we all want to do more; it is is important to the Ukrainian community that when we say we stand with Ukraine, it is more than just waving the flag.
Passed: COUNCILLOR AUSTIN – GRANT REQUEST HOUSING TRUST OF NOVA SCOTIA
Regional Council approved a motion to direct the CAO to provide a staff report on a one-time grant to the Housing Trust of Nova Scotia to support the purchase of a portfolio of affordable buildings. The intent of the grant would be to offset the deed transfer tax that will be owed as part of the Trust’s acquisition.
-PUBLIC HEARING – 6:00 p.m.-
Passed: WAVERLEY INN SUBSTANTIAL ALTERATION TO THE CONTRIBUTING HERITAGE RESOURCE AT 1266 BARRINGTON STREET, HALIFAX
Staff presentation by Jesse Morton, HRM Planner
Following a public hearing with several speakers and a presentation, Regional Council approved a motion to adopt the substantial alterations to the contributing heritage resource, the Waverley Inn, at 1266 Barrington Street, Halifax in accordance with By-law H-800 (the Old South Suburb Heritage Conservation District Bylaw). ZZap, on behalf of Sterling Inn Limited, has applied to rehabilitate the original Waverley Inn, remove its rear wing, and integrate the contributing heritage resource into a modern 10-storey inn development. The Waverley Inn is identified as a contributing heritage resource and is subject to a heritage review when new work is proposed.
Approved: PHOTO ENFORCEMENT FEASIBILITY STUDY
Regional Council approved a motion to direct the CAO to develop a program of photo enforcement in anticipation of the eventual proclamation of the Traffic Safety Act and in accordance with the recommendations set out in the January 2022 consulting report prepared by Stewart Solutions Inc.
Approved: HRM – HALIFAX PORT AUTHORITY FISH PASSAGE PROJECT, DARTMOUTH
Regional Council agreed on consent to direct the CAO toinclude work to the Hawthorne Street culvert in the Capital Budget for 2024/25 and facilitate the Halifax Port Authority’s project to construct fish passage around the Banook Lock at no net cost to the Municipality.
Approved: AWARD – INCREASE TO PO# (PURCHASE ORDER) 2070869233 EMERGENCY MICHELIN TIRE PROCUREMENT
Regional Council agreed on consent to approve an increase to PO#2070869233 for procurement of Michelin tires in the amount of $22,539.07.
Approved: AFRICVILLE VISIONING PROCESS UPDATE
Regional Council approved a motion direct the CAO, through the Office of Diversity and Inclusion/African Nova Scotian Affairs Integration Office, to work with community partners to conduct phase one of a three-phased Africville visioning process. Phase one consists of a public engagement process in partnership with Africville descendants, Africville-focused organizations and community partners. Once this is completed, a report will be presented to Regional Council.
Approved: 2020/21 SUPPLEMENTARY EDUCATION FUNDING
Regional Council approved a motion to direct the Chief Administrative Officer to reduce the 2021/22 payment to Halifax Regional Centre for Education (HRCE) for Supplementary Education funding by $205,601 and instead allocate that amount to the Emergency Housing Fund as a contingency to purchase, install and maintain modular units at two sites and to address suitable temporary housing to address needs of unhoused residents. The amount of $205,601 was a surplus amount, unused by HRCE.
Approved: AWARD – NO. 21-415, PRIVATE ON DEMAND ACCESSIBLE TRANSPORTATION SERVICE
Regional Council has awarded SeniorsTransit Inc. with a three-year contract to provide Private On Demand Accessible Transportation Services. The contract will have a maximum life-cycle cost of $1,805,013 (net HST included) with funding from the Halifax Transit 2022/23 proposed operating budget. The objective of this service is to provide an on-demand transportation service for passengers who are unable to utilize a conventional taxi that is comparable to the experience of passengers accessing conventional taxi services. This requires that vehicles are available, clients are able to book a trip ondemand, vehicles are dispatched in a comparable timeframe as conventional taxis, and passengers are charged the same rates.
Approved: TRUE NORTH CRESCENT – RAPID HOUSING INITIATIVE FUNDING
Regional Council approved a motion to authorize the CAO to negotiate an agreement with Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) and the Affordable Housing Association of Nova Scotia (AHANS) for the development and use of 80 True North Crescent, Dartmouth for affordable housing.
This also authorizes the CAO to amend the agreements between the Municipality and AHANS for the sale, development and use of 64, 67, 80, and 91 True North Crescent to facilitate and support the development of affordable housing on the lands.
Approved: FORGIVING SIDEWALK CAFÉ FEES 2022
Regional Council approved a motion to forgive sidewalk café fees for 2022. The Municipality wishes to provide support to assist restaurant and café proprietors with economic recovery from COVID-19 by providing relief of the sidewalk café fee.
Approved: ASSIGNMENT OF CONTRACT FOR RFP (REQUEST FOR PROPOSAL) 19-058 – HOUSEHOLD SPECIAL WASTE SERVICES
Regional Council agreed to consent to the assignment of the Municipality’s existing contract with Terrapure Environmental for RFP 19-058 – Household Special Waste Services to GFL Environmental Services Inc.
Approved: HRM AFFORDABLE HOUSING GRANT PROGRAM UPDATE AND ADDITIONAL FUNDING REQUEST FOR COMPASS NS
Regional Council has allocated a $415,245 increase in the total funding allocated to the 2021/22 Affordable Housing Grant Program in support of an affordable housing project at 2095-2219 Maitland Street in Halifax. Compass NS, a registered non-profit focused on developing co-operative housing throughout Nova Scotia, will develop the project and will provide 56 new affordable housing units.
Approved: RAPID HOUSING INITIATIVE – HOUSING NOVA SCOTIA FUNDING
Regional Council approved a motion to authorize the CAO to negotiate and execute Contribution Agreements with Housing NS and the third party non-profit recipients of the Rapid Housing Initiative, to receive and distribute Provincial capital and operational funding to support the affordable housing developments funded through the Rapid Housing Initiative Cities Stream.
Approved: AWARD – 22-1024, ALTERNATIVE PROCUREMENT – BROAD STREET (NORTH) ROUNDABOUT
Regional Council agreed on consent to approve an unbudgeted reserve withdrawal of $1,350,000 from the Capital Fund Reserve –Q526, a budget increase of $3,250,000 to capital account CTU01006 – Bedford West Oversizing and to award Alternative Procurement 22-1024 for the design and construction of a roundabout at the intersection of Larry UteckBoulevard and Broad Street (North) through an Alternative Procurement to West Bedford Holdings Limited at a maximum value of $3,250,000.
Approved: 2021/2022 WRITE OFF OF UNCOLLECTIBLE ACCOUNTS
Regional Council agreed on consent to write off the following out of the books of account: The real property tax accounts in the amount of $74,879.10 comprised of $43,334.19 principal and $31,544.91 interest, the general revenue accounts in the amount of $9,593.37 comprised of $9,552.68 principal and $40.69 interest, the recreation accounts in the amount of $26,124.15 comprised of $26,124.15 principal
Approved: MANAGEMENT OF SOLID WASTE OPERATIONS AUDIT – ACTION PLAN
Regional Council approved a motion to direct the CAO to prepare a staff report regarding an action plan to address the recommendations outlined in the Management of Solid Waste Operations Audit report within one year.
Approved: HOTEL ASSOCIATION OF NOVA SCOTIA PROPOSAL – TOURISM MARKETING AND EVENT LEADERSHIP FOR HRM
Regional Council has signed a non-binding memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Hotel Association of Nova Scotia to provide Discover Halifax with $250,000 per year for the next three years.
Discover Halifax takes on a leadership role in the attraction and selling of events on behalf of the municipality. Beginning in fiscal 2022/2023, funds will be used to enhance tourism marketing and event leadership services through destination development programs.
Approved: FORMALIZING RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN HRM & “EVERY ONE EVERY DAY KJIPUKTUK – HALIFAX”
Regional Council approved a motion to direct the CAO to prepare a staff report with recommendations on formalizing the relationship between Halifax Regional Municipality and the Mi’kmaq Native Friendship Centre with the intent to support the advancement of “Every One Every Day Kjipuktuk-Halifax.”
Approved: NOURISH NOVA SCOTIA
Regional Council approved HRM endorsement of the Coalition for Healthy School Food’s call for development of a universal, cost-shared, healthy school food program for Canada. This endorsement does not have any municipal financial implications as it involves federal funding.
Approved: DECLINING WATER LEVELS IN WILLIAMS LAKE
Regional Council agreed on consent to request that the Mayor write a letter to the Province requesting that the Williams Lake Dam be assumed by a provincial body and repaired or replaced to address its impact on declining water levels in Williams Lake or that the Province revisit its position on granting permits or agreements
February 15, 2022 – Committee of the Whole & Regional Council
Committee of the Whole:
SMALL BUSINESS DEFINITION AND COMMERCIAL TAXATION OPTIONS
Staff reports and research have been provided to Regional Council since 2015 when a comprehensive
report was completed on different tax options for “small” businesses. The report was a culmination of
business and industry surveys, literature reviews and independent analysis of different potential tax
adjustments. Of the multitude of small business taxation options considered by staff and Regional Council since 2015, it was narrowed down to three possible recommendations:
- Tax Relief to BID areas that have taxes above the BID average
- Tiered Tax Relief for Small Properties
- Tiered Tax Relief combined with Tax Zones
i) Staff Presentation:
Bruce Fisher, Director of Financial Policy & Planninghighlighted the three options, and highlighted other key points when considering commercial taxation:
- Taxes are significant for all firms, and the commercial tax rated is nearly 3x the residential tax rate.
- The status quo is a simple system: Assessment x Tax Rate = Tax Bill.
- Tax bills increase with property value.
- Commercial tax has only a few tax rates:
o The commercial general tax rate is the same ($2.953) for all Urban and Suburban HRM
o There is a separate general tax rate ($2.616) for Rural HRM
o There are separate Area Tax Rates for Mandatory Provincial Costs ($0.341), Supplementary Education (.063) and Hydrants (.037).
- As it comes to property tax, the purpose is a “wealth tax.”The premise is that the assessment correlates to wealth/ability to pay. However, many factors affect assessments, including value of land, condition of building, size/quality of building, municipal services, and location. Value – and thus taxes – vary by building type.
- Tax is paid by commercial building owner but often included in rent or lease.
- Properties are reassessed every year.
- ii) Public Participation:
- Jim Cormier (Retail Council of Canada)
- Mathieu Malliet (Building Owners and Managers Association)
- Tim Rissesco (Downtown Dartmouth Business Commission)
Paul MacKinnon (CEO of Downtown Halifax Business Commission)
Michelle Champniss (Sackville Business Association)
- Ann-Louise McKinnon (Centrecorp Management – Property management representing Dartmouth Crossing)
While Tiered Tax Relief for Small Properties (Option 2) was recommended by staff, Committee of the Whole voted against that option and instead voted in favour of Option 3 as follows:
Committee of the Whole approved a motion to direct the CAO to draft an administrative order to implement Tax Relief for properties as per Option 3 (as described in the Discussion section of the staff report dated November 16, 2021) effective with the commencement of the 2023/24 fiscal year, and return to Council with the resulting draft for its consideration; and, review the program following the 2023 final tax bill and report back to Council.
More details on Option 3: Tiered Tax Relief combined with Tax Zones:
Finance staff have scoped out five potential commercial tax zones for discussion.
The five zones are:
- High Density, which reflects the area of the Downtown Halifax Business Improvement District,
- Business Parks, with retail focus,
- Industrial, covering industrial parks,
- Small-Medium Enterprise (SME), all commercial properties not in the other zones, and,
- Rural, which includes all properties in the current “rural” general tax area.
This option uses boundaries for established business and industrial parks in the Halifax region as the
starting point. Industrial or business parks that have predominantly retail and commercial office space and often include big box outlets are referred to as “Business Park” in this option. The remainder of business and industrial parks are classified as “Industrial.”
In practice, however, most of the parks have a mix of uses – as well as a mix of sizes of businesses that own and lease properties in the parks. The planning rules allows that mix. One challenge in determining and maintaining boundaries for this taxation approach is that the economic conditions are changing and the types of properties in the specific business parks are likely to change, as well. HRM Planning is currently reviewing and updating the zoning for several of these parks.
HALIFAX WATER 2022/23 BUSINESS PLAN
– Report [PDF]
– Presentation [PDF] – Presentation by Halifax Water’s General Manager, Cathie O’Toole
Regional Council has agreed to endorse the 2022/23 Annual Business Plan of Halifax Water as described in the attached document as Appendix A of the report dated February 8, 2022.
Halifax Water sets out a framework for annual reporting by Halifax Water to Regional Council, including a presentation of the annual business plan. The business plan and budgets for 2022/23 reflect a five-year business plan and other long-term plans approved by the Halifax Water Board and the NSUARB.
For 2022/23, Halifax Water will focus on overall sustainability to improve its financial position and
organizational capacity to ensure that they can meet the service demands of its current and future
customers. The key drivers include the challenges caused by growth, aging infrastructure, as well as the
costs of environmental compliance and protection.
For this fiscal year, Halifax Water will also increase its focus on environmental sustainability. This includes the implementation of a corporate-wide Environmental Management System (EMS), the completion of a Climate Action Plan (CAP) and continuing to ensure that major initiatives anticipate future environmental requirements and changing environmental conditions. For 2022/23, these major initiatives will include the Water Supply Enhancement Program, Water Safety Plan, Wastewater Treatment Facility Study, andBiosolids project.
Many of these are multi-year initiatives, but 2022/23 will be an important year of finalizing plans, studies and programs that will impact the utility and better serve customers for years to come.
Halifax Water will be increasing the sustainability and capacity of its workforce by adding several new positions in areas that support capital project delivery, climate change, and stormwater service delivery. In addition to increasing their staffing complement, it will continue to focus on the physical and psychological health of Halifax Water employees as it continuesto adjust to changing risks and public health requirementsrelated to COVID-19.
For Halifax Water, the vast majority of their activities require cooperation and collaboration from multiple business units and workgroups. Instead of focusing on departments or departmental and individual goals, Halifax Water is now concentrating on corporate goals that clarify what they need to work on together – as a team. These goals are now included in its strategic initiatives and programs under four pillars:
- Health, safety, and environment
- Financial and regulatory accountability
- Operational excellence
View the complete Halifax Water 2022/23 business plan here:
DISTRICT BOUNDARY RESIDENT REVIEW PANEL – HONORARIUMS – SUPPLEMENTARY REPORT
Regional Council approved a motion to reimburse the members of the District Boundary Resident Review Panel for local expenses incurred while serving on that Panel as outlined in the discussion section of the staff report dated February 8, 2022.
The District Boundary Resident Review Panel will participate in Phase Two of the District Boundary Review Project, both as collaborators in the public engagement process and analyzing responses and themes from the engagement.
Staff recommended that members of the District Boundary Resident Review Panel be reimbursed for travel expenses while serving on the panel at the rates set out in the HRM’s Employment Expense Reimbursement Policy such as $0.46 per kilometer. This would include reimbursement for travel, to and from in person meetings and in person public engagement activities where panel member attendance is required.
CASE 23938 – DOWNTOWN HALIFAX LAND USE BY-LAW AMENDMENTS TO REVISE THE DEFINITION OF ADULT ENTERTAINMENT USES AND HOUSEKEEPING AMENDMENT TO MAP 1
Following a staff presentation, Regional Council approved a motion to adopt the proposed amendments to the Downtown Halifax Land Use By-law as set out in Attachment A of the staff report dated December 23, 2021.
No residents signed up to speak at this public hearing.
In June and July of 2021, the draft Regional Centre Secondary Municipal Planning Strategy (SMPS) and Land Use By-law (LUB) (Package B) was considered by several Municipal committees that provided a number of recommendations for Regional Council’s consideration. As part of this review process, at the August 17th, 2021 meeting of Regional Council, staff were directed to clarify
the definition of Adult Entertainment Uses to ensure it does not unintentionally prohibit retail sales. This motion as written, only applied to the Regional Centre LUB, and not to the Downtown Halifax Plan area.
At the November 23, 2021 meeting of Regional Council, Council directed staff to explore and provide options for either the removal or replacement of the definition of “adult bookstore” from the Downtown Halifax Land Use By-law (LUB), until such time where the remaining lands under the Downtown Halifax Plan Area are incorporated within the Regional Centre Plan Area. Under the Downtown Halifax LUB, all adult entertainment uses are prohibited, including adult bookstores.
On October 26, 2021, Council adopted amendments to the Downtown Halifax Plan and LUB as a result of the Regional Centre Plan Package B adoption process. These amendments removed most of the properties from the Downtown Halifax Plan Area and placed them under the Regional Centre Plan. As part of this planning process, staff are now bringing forward a housekeeping amendment that will consolidate these removals in a revised Downtown Halifax Zoning Map (Attachment A). There are no additional properties being removed.
CASE 22670 – MPS AND LUB AMENDMENTS TO ALLOW FOR INDUSTRIAL AND HIGHWAY COMMERCIAL USES ON THE CONRAD QUARRY LANDS, MONTAGUE GOLD MINES AND WAVERLEY
Following a staff presentation and public feedback, Regional Council voted to adopt the proposed amendments to the Municipal Planning Strategies (MPS) and Land Use By-laws (LUB) for Cole Harbour/Westphal, Dartmouth and Planning Districts 14 and 17, as set out in Attachments A and B of the staff report dated November 22, 2021, to allow industrial and highway commercial uses on the Conrad Quarry Lands, with the following amendments:
- That Part 2A and Subsection 2A (11), definition of industrial use,be amended to include composting operations as outlined in the attachment revised Attachment B and that Section 15B1 titled permitted uses be amended to clarify uses already permitted under the definition of industrial use, and to delete the words “except industrial uses” under Subsection 15B 1A to allow all C1 permitted uses as outlined in the attached revised Attachment B.
The site contains an active quarry and existing industrial uses, while proposed buffering controls mitigate potential land use conflict issues. In addition, the subject site is readily accessed by the regional highway network and any needed infrastructure upgrades are being considered as part of the Port Wallace Secondary Planning process.
At their December 13, 2021 meeting, North West Community Council received a staff recommendation report dated November 22, 2021 to consider these proposed amendments that would allow for industrial and highway commercial uses on the Conrad Quarry Lands.
As always, I encourage you to contact me with your questions and ideas!