Community rinks, Schmitdville, parks and a development proposal in Fairview are on the agenda at regional council next week. THE COAST
Community rinks, Schmitdville, parks and a development proposal in Fairview are on the agenda at regional council next week. THE COAST

What’s coming to Halifax Regional Council on Tuesday, March 23

Community rinks, Schmitdville, parks and a development proposal in Fairview are on the agenda for council’s next meeting.

Boulevard Gardens
Second reading of the new rules for boulevard gardens is on the agenda for regional council’s next regular meeting, this Tuesday, March 23. Second reading is the last stop on an item’s journey before becoming a real thing in council-land. These boulevard rules are for folks who want to put something other than grass on the ground between the sidewalk and the road. If passed by council, the new rules won’t apply to centre medians (in the middle of the road), traffic islands or next to accessible parking spaces–these spaces can only have grass. They also prevent planter boxes and trees. But little wee gardens will be A-OK. 

Urban trees grant application
Council will vote on applying for a grant from the Canadian Federation of Municipalities for its municipal asset management grant program. Halifax has been working on its Halifax Street Tree Inventory Project in the districts on the peninsula, District 7 and District 8, and this grant would allow that work to continue. HRM has to agree to pony up $47,000 of its own money for this initiative in order to get the money, which is already accounted for in the upcoming budget. If HRM is successful, it could get up to $50,000 for the project. This item is on the consent agenda, meaning it could be excluded from open discussion and approved right at the start of the meeting. 

Bylaw amendments for a development at Main Avenue and Titus Street
Upland Planning and Design Studio, on behalf of United Gulf Developments, is asking for planning amendments to build a six-storey, multi-unit building at the corner of Main Avenue and Titus Street.

Right now there are two single-unit houses and two multi-unit structures on the land, for a total of 11 total units. The proposed development would have 119 units and ground floor commercial space. Should council vote to go ahead with this, it’d kick off the municipal planning strategy and land use bylaw amendment process, which would trigger a public engagement process. 

Endorsement of addition to Sipekne’katik Wallace Hills Reserve
Another item on the consent agenda, it calls for the mayor to write a letter in support of adding Lot 329 to the Wallis Hills Number 14A area of Sipekne’katik Reserve. This small portion of land was left out of a 2011 Order in Council that set aside the land for the Wallace Hills indigenous reserve. This two-acre portion was put on hold until conflict with third-party interests could be resolved. They’ve been resolved so now this land will officially become part of the Wallace Hills Reserve land. 

HRM Park Naturalization Strategy
This strategy is looking at the ways HRM could use an “ecologically-based approach to landscape management that seeks to enhance biodiversity and ecological resilience in the urban landscape using native or non-invasive-adapted plant species.” This agenda item asks to extend the review period to the end of 2021 so ongoing pilot projects can be completed. Three naturalization pilot sites have been planned and were scheduled to begin this past spring: Dartmouth Common (Leighton Dillman Park); a right-of-way area along Sime Court in South Kingswood; and Merv Sullivan Park. They along with other initiatives will be considered by staff in the overall naturalization process. This item is also on the consent agenda, so could be approved right at the start of the meeting. 

Heritage Advisory Committee’s administrative order for heritage conservation incentives in Schmidtville and Old South
Both Schnidtville and Old South Suburb are considered heritage conservation districts in Halifax. There’s already an incentive program for heritage properties–individual buildings with heritage status, not just properties within a designated heritage district. That program matches heritage conservation construction up to $15,000 for residential and $25,000 for commercial properties. This program looks to support exterior conservation work in the Old South Suburb and Schmidtville as well as functional improvements, and is mirrored off the Barrington Street Heritage Conservation District process. The details: 

Conservation Grants: assist with projects that preserve, rehabilitate and restore character defining elements of the exterior of heritage buildings. 

-$640,000 in annual grants for exterior conservation work, cost-shared at 50 percent with private property owners.-The maximum total conservation grant allowable for each building is $50,000 over the five-year program. 

Functional Improvement Grants: assist with projects that propose the installation or repair of integral building systems, including work that would bring these systems up to current building code requirements or improve their energy efficiency (including plumbing, heating, electrical, et cetera.)  -$160,000 would be available to property owners annually to cover 15 percent of costs associated with material and labour for upgrades to building systems, including interior work such as plumbing, electrical, HVAC.

-Any unused funds of the annual budget allocated for conservation grants shall be applied to the functional improvement grants.

-The maximum total functional improvement grant allowable for each building is $400,000 per fiscal year and $800,000 over the five-year program.

If approved by council, there will be a three-month window to apply and applications will be awarded based on historical value. 

Community Rinks
Councillor Kathryn Morse will request a staff report to look at helping community groups set up outdoor rinks. 

These are the seven of the 10 items on council’s plate. For the full agenda and all the details, visit halifax.ca. The meeting kicks off at 1pm on Tuesday, March 23 2021, and any comments about the agenda items can be sent to the clerk's office via email to clerks@halifax.ca  or phone to  902-490-4210. Anything you send to the clerk's office will be shared with councillors before the meeting.

About The Author

Caora McKenna

Caora is the City Editor at The Coast, where she writes about everything from city hall to police and housing issues. She’s been with The Coast since 2017, when she began as the publication’s Copy Editor.

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