Peace and Good Will

My wife Susan and I want to wish everyone the very best of this Holiday Season. During this joyful time of year there are many types of spiritual and cultural celebrations: Merry Christmas, Joyeux Noel, Season’s Greetings, Happy Hanukkah, Al Hijra, and Kwanza. The message for Peace on Earth and Goodwill to All is universal. Have yourself a blessed time with your families, friends and neighbours. May we all strive for peace, tranquillity and harmony in our daily lives. Remember those who may be less fortunate or are experiencing hardship and despair. Please give to your local food bank. Or give the gift of life and donate blood. May all of us be blessed with good health, happiness and prosperity throughout the New Year.

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INPUT ON HRM BUDGET DEBATES
The general public will have an opportunity to speak directly with Regional Council as it deliberates the HRM 2015-16 Budget. There will be some dedicated public time at the end of each Committee of the Whole (COW) debate for citizens to comment on particular program subjects that are the topic of that particular Budget meeting.

The proposed schedule for each of the business units & program services to present their respective budgets before HRM Council COW is:

  • FISCAL DIRECTION October 21st, 2014
  • PRIORITY DISCUSSION November 18th
  • 2014 CAPITAL BUDGET December 3rd
  • 2014 CAO, GOVERNANCE & LEGAL SERVICES January 14th, 2015
  • HUMAN RESOURCES, FINANCE, INFO – COMMUNICATIONS & TECHNOLOGY January 21st
  • 2015 POLICE, FIRE & EMERGENCY SERVICES January 28th, 2015
  • TRANSIT February 4th, 2015
  • PARKS & RECREATION, PUBLIC LIBRARIES February 11th, 2015
  • TRANSPORTATION & PUBLIC WORKS February 18th, 2015
  • PLANNING & DEVELOPMENT February 25th, 2015
  • OPERATIONAL SUPPORT SERVICES March 4th, 2015
  • FISCAL & CONSOLIDATED ACCOUNTS March 11th, 2015
  • FINAL BUDGET – FULL REVIEW March 24th, 2015, and March 31st, 2015, if necessary.

Dates could change due to inclement weather or Council demands on its schedule. Please check with the HRM Clerks Office at clerks@halifax.ca or call 311 for the most up to date Budget Debate listings.

TRANSIT MOVING FORWARD INPUT
Halifax Transit will be asking for more public input on its “Moving Forward Together” Strategic Plan. They are now focusing on a concept that uses elements of a transfer based transit model that can be best adapted to our municipality’s geography and road network. It will also build on some of the most successful services and routes currently operating in the network. Hopefully more Metro- Link and Metro-X Park & Ride Terminals will be considered.

It is now anticipated that a draft plan will be released January 16th, 2015 and a robust multifaceted consultation will take place in early 2015. The extended public input window to garner more advice and opinions ought to be a 6 to 10 week exercise. This will allow Halifax Transit staff to facilitate a larger consultation process that will include more opportunities for participation. Stay tuned for more details at www.halifax.ca/movingforwardtogether/.

ICE, SNOW & WINTER MAINTENANCE
The NS Dept. of Transportation & Infrastructure Renewal (NSDTIR) does most of the snow removal, ice control and winter road maintenance services in District 2. Our local NS Highway Depots are in :

  • West Chezzetcook at 902-827-2544 and in
  • Spry Bay at 902-885-2821

The communities of North Preston, Westphal, and all of the subdivision streets in the Lawrencetown area are done under the auspices of HRM.

If you have any concerns about our Snow and Ice Control winter road maintenance, please call the HRM Contact Centre at 311. Drivers can get up-to-date road conditions across Nova Scotia by calling the SNOW-line: 1-800-307- SNOW (7669) or 511 or 1-888-432-3233 or 902-424-3933 or online at http://novascotia.ca/tran/winter/ and click on the Road & Weather Report Icon Button.

The SNOW-line is updated regularly at 7 AM, 1 PM and 5 PM or more frequently in case of a major storm event.

For information about Halifax Winter Road Maintenance visit: www.halifax.ca/ MunicipalOps/Winter/index.php.

Be sure to have proper tires and emergency supplies on hand in your vehicle. Please drive carefully this winter season.

WILLIAM P. OLIVER WALL OF HONOUR
Each year the Black Cultural Society of Nova Scotia hosts the annual Rev. Dr. William P. Oliver Wall of Honour Night at the Black Cultural Centre (BCC) as recognition and in memory of the works of Rev. Dr. Oliver. He exemplified what is meant to be a “community leader.”

Members of the Society are invited to send nominations to the Selection Committee for consideration of this annual award. Nominations are open until early January.

The Night of Honour will be held in early February at the BCC in Cherry Brook. For more details, go to: www.bccns.com or call them at 902-434-6223
ESMCHB DEVELOPMENT FUNDING
The Eastern Shore Musquodoboit Community Health Board (ESMCHB) has funding available to support local groups and organizations to improve the health of our communities. The purpose of the Community Development Fund is to encourage community groups to address health issues, establish partnerships with other organizations, create solutions, and build healthier communities.

If you have an idea or would like an application form, please call the office at 902-889-4118, send an e-mail to the ESMCHB Co-ordinator: Monique.mullins-roberts@cdha.nshealth. ca or go online to: www.cdha.nshealth.ca/eastern-shore- musquodoboit-community-health-board/documents. Apply by Friday, Jan.16th, 2015.
HERITAGE VILLAGE TO GET V.E.E.P.
Heritage Village in Lake Charlotte will be getting some technical upgrades to implement its Visitor Experience Enhancement Project (VEEP). Technology infrastructure will include the installation of Wi-Fi Fibre Op connections and Quick Response (QR) smart tag codes. These technologies will allow visitors to scan QR Codes with smart phones to view multi-media re-enacted productions of how specific artifacts were used in daily life.

This was all made possible by tripartite funding from the Federal, Provincial and Municipal Governments broken down as follows:

  • $210,550 from the ACOA Innovative Communities Fund;
  • $61,375 from the NS Department of Communities, Culture & Heritage;
  • $63,994 from the NS Department of Economic & Rural Development & Tourism;
  • $19,000 from the HRM Community Grants Program and
  • $21,000 from various Councillors.

I want to thank the following Councillors who joined me in giving some of their own District Capital Funds towards this project: Barry Dalrymple, Bill Karsten, Lorelei Nicoll, Gloria McCluskey, Darren Fisher, Matt Whitman, Reg Rankin, Steve Craig and Tim Outhit. We all see this particular project as having regional significance for tourism.

For more information about events and activities at Heritage Village in Lake Charlotte go to: http://heritagevillage.ca/home/index. php/site/index.

LAKE CHARLOTTE LAUNCH UPDATE
The new public boat launch site in Lake Charlotte may be completed by this Autumn. Delays were due to securing the necessary permits from the Federal Dept. of Fisheries & Oceans (DFO) and NS Dept. of Environment (NSDOE). With the exceptionally dry weather this past summer the lake is at its lowest levels in years.

HRM has been granted an extension on its permits until November 30th to allow construction of the concrete slipway. The tender (#14-255) for this work was issued and closed October 2nd. Two bids were received. Once awarded, the successful contractor will have to commence work as soon as possible in order to take advantage of the current climatic conditions. If the weather changes for the worse and we experience excessive rains, then the project may have to be suspended until next summer.