HRM’s environment and sustainability standing committee had a special meeting Thursday to talk about bees and phosphorus.
First on the agenda was an application to make Halifax a bee city. City staff recommended waiting until the city has hired a naturalization coordinator before making the application, and that coordinator is in the process of being hired. Staff made this recommendation because council has a habit of starting things with enthusiasm, then slowly letting programs die off as the political gusto shifts to the next shiny policy. Having a naturalization coordinator on staff means the city won’t be reliant on councillors’ political enthusiasm to be in compliance with the requirements of bee-ing a pollinator city.
The city would likely already qualify if it applied today, due to its current naturalization efforts. Things like municipal bylaws allowing beekeeping and the city choosing to renaturalize municipally controlled grass patches. A coordinator would ensure these programs continue, and ensure the city’s capacity to expand the natrualization program.
Councillor Cathy Deagle-Gammon is trying to audit the city’s policy chops. There’s been a large, controversial development going up in her district. Residents are worried about pollution in the water, the developers say it’s fine and the city has bylaws that should—in theory—prevent the pollution residents are worried about. Deagle-Gammon asked for planning and development staff to come back to the environment and standing committee and let councillors know what worked, what didn’t and what needs to change. This motion will put all of that process information and pollution information on the public record.
While this is very boring, inside politics stuff, it’s also a solid bit of governing from councillor Deagle-Gammon. The city should regularly be auditing the effectiveness of its bylaw implementation, and it’s good to see some councillors taking the principles of good governance seriously.