VOLUNTEER APPRECIATION MONTH

National Volunteer Week (NVW) pays tribute to the millions of Canadian volunteers who donate their time and energy to their
communities. This year, as a part of Canada 150 celebrations, NVW will be from April 23rd–29th and the theme is: “Volunteering,
eh?”

To help say thank you to volunteers, Volunteer Canada has developed programs to access resources and products through their web-site: www.volunteer.ca/nvw2017, Twitter at #NVW2017, and on their Facebook page: VolunteerCanada.

There is plenty of information and ideas on how to foster more volunteerism in our society. For volunteer opportunities in HRM visit Volunteer Halifax at http://volunteerhalifax.ca/. The group links people with local non-profit community organizations in and around the municipality and helps individuals develop skills to advance their careers and build resources that support active volunteerism. Connect with them through e-mail at: info@volunteerhalifax.ca or via the social media outlets such as Facebook, Google+ &Twitter. Here are some other websites you can explore for more volunteer recognition ideas: www.recreationns.ns.ca/volunteer-recognition-items-2/ & www.halifax.ca/volunteerservices/.

Each year the Mayor and Regional Council recognize the extraordinary contributions of individuals and groups who volunteer their time and skills to provide services and programs in our communities. I will provide a complete list of those honoured from our district in my May 2017 newsletter. In the meantime, there are plenty of volunteer opportunities in our respective communities. Volunteers are needed to serve on the boards of local halls & recreation facilities and on community festival & events planning committees. These activities rely on the involvement of dedicated community-minded individuals, yet it is more challenging every year to attract people to step up and take on the challenge of community building.

So, what can you do today for your community? Please consider Volunteering!

HRM YOUTH SERVICES PLAN

As reported last year (April 2016 Issue #221), HRM Parks & Recreation Department reached out to youth aged 13 to 24 in order to create a Youth Services Plan (YSP) for the municipality. The overall objective of the YSP is to ensure that municipal programs and services are meeting the needs of our young people and to provide the basis for service offerings over the next three to five years. Young residents were encouraged to participate in this process by completing a survey that focused on recreation & sport, art
programming and leadership and job readiness. Feedback from this survey was reviewed and considered in the formulation of the YSP.

For more details visit: www.halifax.ca/boardscom/SCcped/documents/170216cped111.pdf. Please provide your input! Your comments and opinions are appreciated.

INTERNATIONAL DAY OF PINK

The Canadian Centre for Gender and Sexual Diversity would like us to celebrate the International Day of Pink on April 12th. The Day of Pink is a day where communities across the country can unite in celebrating diversity and raise awareness to stop homophobia, transphobia, transmisogyny, and all forms of bullying.

More information on the Day of Pink is available on the website: http://dayofpink.org/about/ or on Twitter #DayOfPink. Wear pink on April 12th!

LET’S CELEBRATE 47th EARTH DAY

On April 22nd gather with members of your community for a “Global Teach-In” or a “March for Science” event or another project focused on environmental education and Climate Literacy. Visit: http://www.earthday.org/ for more events and ideas.

This spring the NS Clean Foundation will be kicking off the 2017 cleanup season with the Great Nova Scotia Pick-Me-Up—the province’s largest litter reduction initiative. Registration is now open at www.nspickmeup.ca or by calling 902-420-3474. The Clean Foundation will provide groups with everything needed to run a successful litter cleanup event including supplies, information on how to coordinate your event and a data card to track results. Be sure to post “before & after” photos of your pick-me-up locations to social media using the hashtag #GladToCleanUp.

LARGE LOT DEVELOPMENT ALLOWED

HRM has received consent from the Province that properties of 10 hectares (25 acres) or more in size without public road frontage can now be developed for residential purposes.

Under the HRM Charter, permits cannot be issued for developments that do not meet the requirements of the local Land Use Bylaws. However, some permits were issued in error, which led neighbouring property owners to believe that they could also obtain development permits. These applicants spent significant money and time preparing the land in anticipation of the development of their homes. This precipitated the need for Municipal Planning Strategy amendments to maintain consistency and congruence within those subdivision developments. However, there are other large lots that do not fall within the scope of these recent amendments.

Given the distinctiveness of planning policies and lot characteristics that exist across the Municipality, HRM planning staff will be approaching issues related to rural 10-hectare lot development on a case by case basis, working with property owners as they identify issues to develop practical and reasonable solutions, while remaining consistent within the Regional Plan. HRM staff will work diligently to ensure that all landowners are informed of their development rights. Where there are issues with existing policies, staff will expedite solutions to Regional Council for their consideration and approval.

I want to thank the Save Rural HRM action team for their advocacy work and patience through this bureaucratic process. I am looking forward to facilitating other changes, such as amending the Lot Grading Bylaw to exclude rural areas from its auspices.

NS ACCESS – ABILITY GRANTS

The NS Provincial Government is committed to equal opportunity and improving handicap access to community facilities. Under this program funds are available for cost-shared projects to non-profit community organizations for accessibility-related capital
improvements.

Grants are available for up to two thirds of the direct and indirect costs of renovations, installations, and/or equipment, The sponsoring organization is responsible for raising at least one third of the project funding from other sources. The maximum grant amount is $10,000.

Projects will be reviewed and awarded as funding permits. Application period is from April 1st to May 31st or until the budget is fully committed, whichever comes first.

For more information visit: www.novascotia.ca/coms/disabilities/communityaccessability.html, or contact the Grant Co-ordinator: jennifer.wagg@novascotia.ca or call 902-424-3753.

HRM TAX BILL DUE DATE: APRIL 30th

HRM sends out its tax bills to all property owners twice a year. The Interim bill was mailed mid-March and is due on April 30th. The final bill will be due October 31st. If you have any enquiries about your tax bill, please call the Halifax Contact Centre at 311 or go to: www.halifax.ca/taxes/index.php.

GRANTS FOR BIKE WEEK

Bike Week 2017 will take place June 2nd–11th. HRM encourages and supports many community-based events promoting safe cycling. Event Grant deadline is April 12th; https://surveymonkey.com/r/Bike17 and Events Registration deadline is April 21st.

More details at www.halifax.ca/bikeweek

EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS WEEK

Emergency Preparedness (EP) Week is May 7th–13th. Saturday May 13th from 10AM–1PM is the 11th annual “JEM Jamboree,” which takes place at the Porters Lake Atlantic Superstore parking lot. The purpose is to continue promoting awareness in emergency preparedness, training and community readiness. Our local Joint Emergency Management (JEM) Teams are looking for volunteers.

For more details please visit the website at: www.halifax.ca/emo/jems.php.