NEW HRM CAO – CATHIE O’TOOLE

HRM has a new Chief Administrative

Officer (CAO). Ms. O’Toole assumed her responsibilities on New Year’s Day. Cathie brings with her more than three decades of leadership and public sector experience – most recently as the General Manager of Halifax Water, a role she has held since 2019. Prior to joining Halifax Water, she worked with the HRM for 10 years in a variety of roles including Director of Finance/CFO and Director of Infrastructure and Asset Management.

NEW PROPERTY ASSESSMENTS

Property Assessment Notices were mailed out on Monday, January 9th. There is a 31-day official Appeal Period from that date whereby property owners can review and perhaps refute their appraisals. You can now access your property file online. Your Notice will provide you with an AAN – Assessment Account Number with a PIN to view your data. If you feel it is not assessed properly, then you may contact the NS Municipality Agency – Property Valuation Services Corporation (PVSC) and speak with an Assessment representative.

Here are the details to contact PVSC:

PVSC Assessment Office

Park Place Two, 238-A Brownlow Avenue, Suite 200, Dartmouth, NS, B3B 2B4

Toll-free Phone: 1-800-380-7775

Fax: 1-888-339-4555

Property owners are encouraged to call and talk to an Assessor, prior to appealing an assessment. Perhaps this approach may answer and clear up some questions that you may have, hopefully avoiding the time and expense of an appeal. If not, you have the right to make a formal appeal, (in writing) either by e-mail, letter or fax which must be received by their office on, or before the deadline date. For more information, please refer to your notice or go to PVSC website: www.pvsc.ca/assessment-appeals . Find more details about property valuation by visiting www.PVSC.ca

ICE & SNOW WINTER MAINTENANCE

The Nova Scotia Department of Public Works (NSDPW) 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 and Spry Bay. 

You can e-mail any roadway concerns to the attention of the NSDPW Operations Contact Centre, please send it to: DPW-OCC@novascotia.ca or call 1-844-696-7737. The NSDPW will log it, assign a service ticket number and send

it to the appropriate local supervisor. The Province as an online “plowtracker” tool that citizens can track snowploughs on a provincial zoom-in map: http://novascotia.ca/tran/winter/plowtracker.asp . Or you can see current highway conditions by going online to the roadside camera website: https://novascotia.ca/tran/cameras/. Drivers can also 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 visit:

http://novascotia.ca/tran/winter . The SNOW- line is updated regularly at 7:00 a.m., 1:00 p.m., and 5:00 p.m. or more frequently in case of a major storm event. You can also follow them on Twitter: @NS_PublicWorks. If you have any concerns or complaints about snow removal service in your area that is served by NSDPW, then please contact your Eastern Shore MLA office (Kent Smith): Kent.Smith@novascotia.ca or call 902-989-3772.

With respect to the communities of North Preston, Westphal, East Preston, Lake Echo, Mineville and all of the Lawrencetown subdivision streets west of the Mineville Road, these areas are being done under the auspices of HRM with a Performance Base Contracted Out Service provider: Ocean Contractors. If you have any concerns about our Snow and Ice Control winter road maintenance, please call the HRM Contact Centre at 311 or reach out to me. For information about HRM Winter Road Maintenance, please go to: www.halifax.ca/transportation/winter-operations

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

FEDERAL EVENTS & CULTURE GRANTS

The Federal Department of Canadian Heritage (DCH) has a Building Communities Through Arts and Heritage (BCAH) Program.

Does your community organize a local festival? Is there a significant local anniversary in your community in 2023? If the anniversary marks a 100th anniversary or greater, in increments of 25 years (e.g., 125th, 150th) and it commemorates a significant local historical event or pays tribute to a significant local historical personality, consider applying to the Community Anniversaries component of BCAH: www.canada.ca/en/canadian-heritage/services/funding/building-communities/festivals.html. The deadline is January 31st for festivals starting between September 1st and December 31st. For more details, please contact pch.enligne-online.pch@canada.ca or call toll-free, 1-866-811-0055 or TTY 1-888- 997-3123.

The Legacy Fund component provides funding for community capital projects that commemorate significant anniversaries and involve the restoration, renovation, or transformation of existing buildings and/or exterior spaces with local community significance; encourage arts and heritage activities in your community; and are intended for and accessible to the general public. For more details about the Legacy Program, visit: www.canada.ca/en/canadian-heritage/services/funding/building-communities/legacy-fund.html or e-mail them at: PCH. bcah-dcap.PCH@canada.ca or call the phone numbers listed above.

NEW RULES: SHORT TERM RENTALS

HRM staff presented a comprehensive report with some recommendations on how to move forward with regulations on short-term rentals (STRs). There were two public surveys on this subject with the highest citizens response record on such surveys. Both HRM and the Province have been counselling with many other communities across the country to be more informed about their approaches to this issue. The HRM staff report was more about making the appropriate zoning amendments to allow STRs but it does make a strong recommendation that these types of tourism accommodations must be owner-occupied residences. This would eliminate those operators with multiple venues. However, there needs to be more clarification of STRs in a rural context where auxiliary secondary suites and RV campers are being used. The Province is expected to bring forth STRs tourism accommodation regulations and registry by Spring 2023.

HRM is also working on a Landlord Registry as well that could include STR operators.

Plus, I wanted to see more information on fire safety enforcement, secondary suites options, property taxation implications and the administrative process for the collection of the Hotel Room Marketing Levy. HRM Staff have indicated it would take a couple of months to provide more details on the additional information requested. 

Meanwhile, here are the links to the Staff Report and presentation about STRs:

• Presentation: https://bit.ly/3GE9Frr 

• Staff Report: https://bit.ly/3VMceML 

After much debate Council decided to defer a decision and asked that the supplementary staff report to be back by April 1st.

NEW CENSUS DATA SETS AVAILABLE

Statistics Canada recently released new data sets about our country’s populace. These 2021 Census products provide statistical information about the population, age, sex at birth and gender, type of dwelling, families, households and marital status, Canadian military experience, income, language, Indigenous peoples, housing, immigration, place of birth and citizenship, ethnocultural and religious diversity, mobility and migration, education, labour, and commuting as measured in the Census Program. For more details visit the Statistics Canada website: https://statcan.ca/census