Resolutions for Halifax from Haligonians

Over 250 ideas to make HRM a better place to live.

For the 2013 Well Being Guide, we recently conducted an online survey which included the question: What's a resolution you'd like to see Halifax make (and keep)? Over 250 Haligonians suggested a resolution for the city, and taken together they represent an awesome statement of intent for a better HRM, from saying yes to developers to saying no to racism.

To get a sense of what it all means, we pumped all the resolutions into the neat Wordle service, which automagically made this word cloud where the more something is mentioned, the bigger it gets. Hint: Haligonians are thinking a lot about downtown. To get a sense of what each resolution means, you can read them all right below the word cloud.
Hundreds of resolutions for HRM meet the Wordle service.
Hundreds of resolutions for HRM meet the Wordle service.

What's a resolution you'd like to see Halifax make (and keep)?

Halifax can still improve on A LOT of things, but I think we should give ourselves a little credit for what we've accomplished—focus on the good.

No drinking/driving for anyone.

These two are for all of Nova Scotia: No one shall ever, ever throw their Timmies coffee cup out the window of their vehicle, ever, ever again; and Nova Scotians will understand that farming mink is a bad idea and will stop doing it.

To focus on really getting people out and engaging with the city—whether that means encouraging retail downtown or initiatives like the oval, Open City, or Open Streets.

Implement a development plan that focuses on people, small business and sustainability.

To abolish the stupid chicken bylaw.

More cycling paths.

To be honest, I've given up hope that this city will ever lift off the ground.

Build up downtown!

Relax the height restrictions for new buildings. If we can't build up, we'll have to build out. Urban sprawl is bad, mmmkay?

Halifax needs to focus on creating new jobs and retaining young people.

Stop blocking developments with the reasoning "But we won't be able to see the water from Citadel Hill. GO DOWN TO THE WATERFRONT IF YOU WANT TO SEE WATER!!!!

Better bus routes!

Improving Metro Transit.

Keep to the planners' plan.

Fix downtown.

Make the city more bike friendly.

I hope Halifax will work actively to be more cohesive and less segregated in terms of race, class, gender, ethnicity, ability and sexuality. This is an ongoing process.

I would like to see Halifax get rid of their height restrictions and allow development to take place. Hanging onto a bunch of old buildings (historic properties which are just a bunch of old warehouses) and blocking the view? Do we really need to see the harbour from top of a hill? Allow development and you will see people move back downtown.

Less fights downtown.

A commitment to our environment's health. Proper harbour clean-up and and fool-proof treatment measures for a start.

Lower property taxes in downtown Halifax.

To make Argyle Street a pedestrian street.

Say yes to developers!

Council to focus on strategic development instead of small stuff (cat bylaws).

Be more respectful of the beautiful community we live in—both people and environment.

Be less passive aggressive.

Abolish the sight-line law and get over the obsession with preserving heritage properties.

Care about the environment more.

Halifax, I love you. You're getting more dumb and grumpy though. I used to think you were quite clever and cheerful. Resolve to start thinking critically again and be generous and benevolent to the people you meet.

To take some risks!

Keep reasonable prices for recreation and swimming for children.

I would love for all citizens to obey traffic laws rather than making up their own (i.e. the merge situation near the Windsor exchange-Joseph Howe on the Bedford Highway).

Better transit system. A bus that goes from the Bridge Terminal to Dartmouth Crossing.

A resolution to reform the Traffic Authority to prioritize bikes and public transport.

Recycle, no littering, cleaner streets.

We talk a lot at the holidays about the plight of the homeless, those living below the poverty line, etc. We donate more food, funds and time to organizations that work with these groups. I'd like to see us get to a point where Food Banks DON'T see a rise in donations in December—because we're collectively taking care of each other all year long.

Stop trashing other people's property when you've got your load on. You'd be amazed how much it would change the post-apocalyptic vibe of Barrington if small-business owners could concentrate on long-term viability rather than constant repairs and extortionate insurance.

I would like to see community events to help the public get more involved with local politics and activities. We need a bigger voice as a community.

Improve the transit system!

Please people. Pick up your garbage.

Cleaner downtown.

Get more people out in the outdoors.

To not be afraid of change (for the better).

I would like to see Halifax (HRM) develop a strong plan for future development which would include a great downtown, modern, effective public transportation, and a ban on suburban expansion until all existing suburban communities are fully serviced. (I’m a suburban guy.)

I'd like to see Halifax create a truly bikeable city. More importantly than that, I'd like to see Halifax address the racist/sexist/generally xenophobic attitudes I have witnessed here that stem from ignorance rather than malevolence. These are the attitudes that can be most open to change.

New bigger indoor arena!!

Being more bike-friendly everywhere both on and off the peninsula, challenging racism!

Less cars in the city!

Get rid of the heritage mafia!

More policing in HRM.

Create better transportation options—more bike lanes, better commuter transit from the suburbs!!!

Save downtown, better transit.

More active transportation incorporated into planning and policy initiatives.

I, Halifax, resolve to host fun activities that don't revolve around getting shitfaced or spending a ton of cash.

Get rid of all the red tape.

To be a kinder, more compassionate community: help the cats, help the homeless and take steps to live in a positive community. And stop talking about bicycle lanes!

NOVA SCOTIA should resolve to make Access-a- bus an essential service!!! (Sorry, I didn't really answer the question.)

Greater commitment/funding for the arts. Improved public transit, especially for crosstown travel (i.e. get from Dartmouth to Bayers Lake in less than an hour!).

Halifax needs to step into the future, stop putting emphasis on the small details and start thinking about the big picture and we can attract and retain residents and businesses to Halifax—in particular to the downtown core.

To make our city more livable by adding more possibilities for greater urban density, active transportation and the ability to grow our food. There's been a lot of lip-service to these ideals but not much significant, comprehensive action.

To drop business tax rates for the downtown.

Greater financial commitment to the arts.

Less behind-the-scene decisions. City council meetings broadcast on Aliant, not just Eastlink.

To see about getting some more development approved in downtown Halifax. It's dying a slow and painful death.

Develop a light-rail transit system similar to the one Calgary has had in place for 25+ years. Develop a continuous greenbelt throughout the city (especially downtown) for walkers, runners and cyclists. Sorry, that's two, but I think these are really important for us to be a leading, green city that offers a high-quality of life to its residents.

To stop talking about diversity and inclusion and start actually being more inclusive and diverse. For the different print media to do more balanced stories on the African Nova Scotian community, First Nation's community, youth and police (to name a few). I'm tired of only hearing the bad stories without context of the positive.

Investment in accessibility to all leisure venues like The Oval.

Encourage and support small business owners with lower taxes and incentives for landlords to make rents more affordable downtown.

Better transit system!!!

Support local!

I love Halifax but I wish Dalhousie University's sense of community was better.

Halifax is doing fairly well compared to a lot of places. How about stop complaining? It's a great city.

Grow to its potential. Some things are not necessary.

Keep the cost of living here reasonable—don't raise taxes.

Reduce the crime in this city!

Let's wipe out syphilis.

Improved infrastructure services!

Provide better funding for the arts; our funding of the symphony orchestra seems to be the lowest in the country!

To become a funner place to live.

More, and better organized funding for the arts. A Halifax Arts Council.

Get a coherent development strategy in place.

Help the homeless felines.

It’s a huge resolution that probably wont fully be realized til everyone born before the ’50s is dead in Halifax, but maybeeee just maybeeee a little less open racism in fucking 2013.

To encourage, promote and provide opportunities/resources for residents to lead healthy, active lifestyles.

Don’t break any more of our ancient laws. Don’t build on the Common and don’t block out the sun over the Citadel.

Get this city’s head out of its ass, recognize that it's 2013, and start acting like it. Start doing small things that other cities have done for their citizens for a decade or more. Let's start with automated visual/audio bus announcements.

Improve downtown.

Improve public transit.

Lower property taxes for large condo buildings. It's the biggest scam going.

Get a good mayor.

I would like to see the city finally acquire the lands for the Birch Cove Lakes Regional Park. More focus on encouraging development where development should occur and discouraging sprawl and development where it shouldn't occur (i.e. in wilderness areas like the Birch Cove Lakes).

To make the environment the top priority in all decisions.

Get off your high horse and accept some change.

Keep the city out of the bars’ and restos’ business—why should councillors say when a bar can operate or when a patio should be near an establishment? Tired of seeing great bars and restaurants losing business they would otherwise have due to all the red tape.

For city government to stop the BS and develop the downtown no matter what the height.

Less violence.

To not be rude to others and be kinder to others.

Welcome people to our city—those who visit and those who move here.

Have city government be honest and informed about issues.

To cap rent prices.

To fix up all these abandoned buildings.

No conference centre, and no skyscrapers!

Better regard for the environment and think of it when making all decisions.

Improve pedestrian traffic. More sidewalks and crosswalks!!!

More free activities for families.

Greenbelting the city (it's festive! Sort of like wrapping a present!!).

Restrain spending!

I'd like to see more beautification of the city and artistic projects that would make everyday walking around a little more magical.

I'd like Halifax to resolve to hold their politicians—both municipal and provincial (and federal for that matter) accountable for their actions, to demand transparency and to urge them to govern for the people and not for their own self interest.

Making it easier for small business in the downtown core. It's a ghost town out there.

Get off-leash dogs out of the parks so everyone can enjoy them.

I think Halifax should resolve to work with residents to come up with creative and flexible ways to fix the residential parking problem on the peninsula.

More incentives for taking public transportation and leaving your car at home.

I would like Halifax to stick to the downtown development plan (I forget the name of it, but the one that said the Twister Sisters are too tall), and make changes in zoning and planning to increase urban density and improve transportation.

Take a more active stance on health education (i.e. promoting local, organic foods vs processed imitation foods).

Making the city a better place for people instead of a better place for vehicles: More bike lanes, more safe places for people to walk and enjoy the beauty of living near the ocean.

More efforts to give young people (graduates) actual opportunities in their field so that one day we can contribute more to our city then making you a good coffee.

Better parking.

Prevent crime (education, policing).

To support local shops, farmers and production so that we can rely on ourselves, sustain ourselves and not have to rely on importing meats, toys and foods from elsewhere.

Less NIMBY complaining. Fewer pessimistic attitudes on change and development (cough cough The Coast).

Improve transit reliability.

Look after our local businesses first.

Better conditions for businesses to thrive in downtown!

Don't let any outside group influence your decisions as to what is good for the community—stay the course !

Abandon old-fashioned ideals (i.e. downtown Halifax) and join the 21st century. I'd also like to see police enforce laws like littering, parking violations, etc. Get people used to be respectful!

Improve the bus system.

A full dedication to the problem of global warming and climate change since every else is insignificant if this is not confronted.

Urban chickens!!!!!

Make city council more proactive and work for the people rather than a spring board for their next career move.

More affordable housing for (non-destructive!) pet owners.

Work really hard on crime control.

Everyone to get more excited about living here as it's a great place to live. Spread the word, create the ambience with each other. People are friendly—keep it up.

Improve public transit, including to outlying areas.

Better transit system!!!!!

Reduce parking costs downtown and stop raising property taxes.

Community Carrot Co-Op up and running.

Clean up city hall. City staff has become too powerful and often seems to NOT know its place. Staff exists to administer the decisions of council.

Commit to environmental protection.

Municipality to get all kinds of bylaws and old behind-the-times ways updated and on par with other cities.

Be transparent and accountable.

Make the city more community-friendly: more bike paths, some exciting—not intimidating or ugly—urban development, more events that draw people together, more public art.

Start thinking growth, the NO in Nova Scotia means no to change.

More free events.

Crime prevention and punishment.

People should strive to look out for one another and just be more compassionate.

I would like to see Halifax finally get off their rear ends and develop the downtown core which is so far behind other cities in Canada.

Not to destroy heritage properties.

Deal with crappy developments, i.e. have some serious people look at proposals for developing buildings. We want this city to look like a modern, art-filled and intelligent community. Let's invest more in the arts so as to embellish things and to add some critical thinking to it all.

Be excellent to each other!

Stop dumping sewage in the harbour.

Improve public transit, especially having buses running later at night so that one could go out for a couple of drinks or go to the second showing of a movie and still be able to get a bus home. It would also be great if Go Time could tell us when the bus was actually coming instead of just when the next bus is scheduled to arrive.

Actually spend some money on the downtown, for example Spring Garden Road.

Fix transit, and they shall come.

To clean up ours streets from violence and drugs so that a person can walk around and be proud of our city. Being second in violent crime in Canada is not a silver medal to brag about.

Start acting like a city going forward, not a small town stuck.

Empathy and apathy towards and for all of our fellow citizens. I'm not asking for world peace, just don't be a dick and admit when you are.

Fight racism!

Bike lanes.

To be more careful about spending and not to raise property taxes.

REVIVE downtown!

To support the culture of local and to stop thinking that trade and convention centre schemes are a panacea for our woes.

Stop out-sourcing (eg: parking enforcement) and hire citizens at a reasonable pay rate with average benefits.

Increased funding and support of the arts and culture communities in HRM.

Stick to the regional plan! Stop allowing new development on the outskirts and business parks. Stick to HRM by Design!

More sustainability.

Bike lanes.

To be a more walkable/bikeable city, and to lower property taxes on businesses in the downtown core (and raise them in gross places like Dartmouth Crossing).

I'd love to see improvements on things we already have, vs building new. We have a lot of parks and other infrastructure that could use funding badly. These are the things that most people will use and impacts their daily lives.

I, Halifax, resolve to improve the public transit system—better routes, better connections, and improved service on weekends and late night.

I think Halifax needs to focus on the marginalized members of our community and make them a priority. That means focusing on poverty and affordable housing. That means focusing on ensuring their basic needs are met so they can move forward in their lives in a positive way.

Halifax should resolve to expand ferry service.

Resolve to put an end to graffiti.


No more empty lots downtown!

Look ahead, not be mired in the past.

Free bus rides for seniors—every day, during quiet hours.

Plan better for the future.

I believe that everyone should be more charitable. I know money is always thin but volunteering in my opinion is way better than money. Making those connections will have a benefit on one’s life.

Cleaner streets downtown.

Revise our taxation system so that it is more equitable for urban and suburban/rural residents. Elected officials need to bite the bullet on this one for the benefit of the whole municipality rather than be more concerned about re-election.

Keep the old look of Halifax, stop building new and ugly buildings. Tourists come to see the old look not a place that looks the same as every other big city.

Be tougher on drunken bar episodes—make them do something good for the city before letting them back in!

Clear away all tree debris from storms!

Increase Metro Transit service frequency.

Bike bike bike lanes.

Lighten up.

Downtown progress and new buildings.

Live for the future and not in the past.

Join the 21st century.

Look after the homeless people and those who currently live in substandard housing. Make sure landlords follow the rules. Bring in rent controls. Create affordable housing involving whole communities in the planning process.

Don’t drink and drive, and be happy.

To introduce a TNR and spay/neuter program for cats that is affordable to low-income people.

More dedication to the arts.

More poetry reading!

Tidy up and get things happening, it's so tired compared to other cities.

Keep the crime rate down!

To stop thinking like a small town.

Improve the transit service by implementing various hub points complemented by seamless 10-minute connections along routes in peninsular Halifax. Currently, unless you are Dal/SMU bund there is a 30-minute frequency IF traffic is normal.

Return the harbour to prominence as one of the world's finest.

Make public areas throughout the city (not just the Common) more attractive and inviting to citizens of all ages.

Improve alternatives to driving in the HRM.

Improve the approaches to the Macdonald Bridge for cyclists!

To help curb the stray cat population. I am a cat lady at heart, and this is a problem that has plagued the city for years now, probably decades, or more, no doubt. The solution is right in front of us, we just have to make it a priority.

Keep harbour clean.

Get tough on crime.

Stop extending water and sewer systems.

To be kind to each other.

Build a larger soft-seat performing artists building.

Help all the stray cats to be spayed and neutered.

To come up with a clear vision for what they want for the city over the next 15-20 years and start working toward it instead of half-assed plans that fall apart after two years leaving us worse off than when we started. A great starting point could be infrastructure investments outside of the core metro area where they aren't tied up by red tape.

To support small business. Our downtown is a prime example of how our policies favour big box stores in the outskirts of the city.

Rent legislation.

Get a new stadium.

No more tolerance for blatant misogyny: a local radio station's “Male is in the Czech” contest, that unfortunate charity event promoted as a “Girl Fight” and that Bridget campaign…unreal. I've never seen anything like it in any of the other major (or minor) cities I've lived in in Canada.

Take care of its homeless and minorities.

More love! I guess compared to other cities we are already pretty lovely and friendly but I think we should have higher expectations of ourselves and push the limits.

Keep the sidewalks safe for EVERYONE!! Paying special attention to the sidewalks around Citadel where the run off is deadly.

Revitalize downtown Halifax.

Make Tuxedo Stan happy with a TNR campaign.

Boot the NDP from government: Stop paying big business to do business here.

Resolve to be a funner city.

Become a people-friendly, green leader, vibrant downtown, stop urban sprawl and concentrate on making downtown a happening artistic and livable place for all income groups.

To improve the transit system. As a commuter into the city I would love to see a GoTrain-type system.

Stop building highrise buildings in the downtown area with the mistaken idea this is “modern” and will attract people. High buildings and sunless, narrow streets are counterproductive to making the Halifax people friendly. Most big cities are trying to make themselves more attractive to pedestrian traffic by creating more open, “green” areas.

Clean up the crime rate!

Respect and listen to the opinion of the residents of this city.

Resolve to make entrepreneurship as easy as possible.

Better transit system!

Tougher bicycle laws....either decide if they are a vehicle or a pedestrian. Too many bikes change between the two depending on the traffic. They often scoot up beside a car to get at the front or they cross in the crosswalks to get the green light....decide people!!!! Then when an accident happen it is the vehicle driver found to be at fault!

Bike lanes! Sustainable transportation.

Upgrade Metro Transit to help the city grow.

Close all bars at 1am and get the fun started by 7:30pm.

Think local, buy local, eat local. A more progressive Halifax. Start building the downtown core. Not only will it create more jobs for our young people, but it will help bring more residential complexes to the downtown area. This will in turn help support and maintain the local retail/restaurant businesses.

Better transit.


Dealing with crime and tougher consequences for many criminals.

A public transit system with comprehensive routes and schedules that we encourage people to use instead of driving.

Cleaning up the harbour and reducing the water bills.

Become greener.

Let the rural communities go.

Take care of traffic problems in Cole Harbour.

Keep harbour clean.

Promote and use environmentally friendly practices.

Get better transit.

Build something, anything.

Stop being wasteful with taxpayers’ money.

Reduce crime... Work on rebuilding the downtown.

Stay green, keep council accountable, make rent more affordable (both residential and for businesses—so that we can fill up some of these brownfields and empty buildings and lots.

Get an affordable rail service running for commuters.

To be more strict with the spending of our tax dollars.

Be a city of possibilities—we move to a culture where new ideas are received with an attitude of “how do we get there?” versus “why that won't work.”

Drop the negativity.

Better bussing.

To start to develop into the city it should be.

Be bilingual.

Reduce the amount of violent acts. Halifax used to be a great place to explore and experience the night life, now the bar scene/night life has become too dangerous.

"Just Fix It!" Rebuild the maintenance/works department with motivated and effective managers, get a rapid transit corridor working, get bicycle lanes connected!

Dare to move forward.

Improve public transit.

Continue to make improvements to the downtown.

Quit smoking!

Get better.

Improve city transit.

Not to raise property taxes for 2013.

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