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🗞️ Centennial Pool gets a lifeline

Plus, it's a very slow day for Halifax Harbour traffic

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Good morning!

City council had its final regular meeting of budget season yesterday, and to be honest it ended with a whimper. Staff and councillors have been working steadily for six grueling weeks on the latest draft of Halifax’s 2024-25 budget, and that effort paid off with a distinct lack of drama or under-the-wire additions at the Wednesday deadline. This isn't the end of the budget process—next we’re moving into the playoffs of budget season, the Budget Adjustment List debates—but with the regular season done there is a moment to slow down and reflect. Councillors must be happy for the break; this council reporter certainly is.

There is a lot of good happening in this budget. The city is taking the first steps in major and much-needed reform efforts in both public safety and suburban development. This budget also highlighted some pretty major issues in HRM’s planning, specifically on issues like housing and homelessness and transportation. 

As I get ready to write my recap of the budget season that was, and try and predict what will fall out of the Plinko game that is the Budget Adjustment List debates, I am curious what someone who doesn’t cover city hall makes of this stuff. So please let me know by answering this poll:

What did you think of that budget season?

Login or Subscribe to participate in polls.

– Matt

🌡️ Traffic & Weather

Today: 🌧️ 4°

Tomorrow: 🌨️ 

Next Day: 🌤️ 8°

🚗 Driving today? Check out the current traffic conditions and ongoing road closures.

CITY HALL

Council tosses a lifeline to Centennial Pool

Centennial Pool 📸 Kyle Shaw / The Coast

In yesterday’s newsletter, we talked about city council getting the ball rolling on revitalizing the Dartmouth waterfront. But council also moved on two other big-ticket items at Tuesday’s council meeting—Centennial Pool and a tax on reluctant developers. 

Earlier this year, a community group lobbied the HRM to save Centennial Pool, the distinctive Gottingen Street building that is really showing its age (Canada’s 100th birthday was in 1967, after all). Those salvation efforts got a boost on Tuesday during the debate about Halifax needing better training and competition aquatic facilities. In the past the city has considered consolidating pools, like closing Needham and Centennial to put a pool at the Forum. But on Tuesday, councillor Waye Mason told staff that we need more pools, not fewer, and the intention should be to upgrade Centennial and then upgrade Needham due to Halifax’s growth. Council agreed, so staff is going to figure out what saving Centennia will look like, without consolidating Needham’s pool.

Mason was also involved in council’s push on developers. In 2023, he put forward a motion to levy an additional tax on developers who let land lie vacant instead of adhering to the “develop” part of approved development agreements. The city has to formally request this power from the province, which they did on Tuesday. There is proposed legislation to give the city that power of taxation, but since it is being championed at Province House by Claudia Chender’s NDP it might just wither on the order paper, depending on the political will of premier Tim Houston’s ruling Tories.  

🤔 Need To Know

💧 Wet enough for ya? If Environment Canada's RAINFALL WARNING is right, we'll be facing the whole miserable precipitation cycle on Thursday: rain to freezing rain to ice pellets to snow. About the only thing missing is salty fog, which is something Nova Scotia Power made up because people might start asking questions if you blame every outage on electrocuted squirrels.

📢 Prison guards marched on Province House to draw attention to their complaint that Nova Scotia doesn't hire enough staff to properly run its jails.

🤝 Atlantic Lottery has existed for almost 50 years now and 100% of profits have always been returned to the region. "Every penny is reinvested in our communities."*

🔎 Halifax Regional Police are asking for help finding Robert Edward Sparks, a 56-year-old man about 5-foot-9 who was last seen Sunday in the 1700 block of Robie Street. The link includes a picture of Sparks and details about getting any information to the police.

🩰 Treat yourself to a night at the Ballet with Live Art Dance! Ballet Edmonton comes to Halifax on March 22nd. Tickets here.*

*Sponsored Post

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ENVIRONMENT

Building for the future in Halifax

The Sunflower development 📸 Adsum for Women & Children

Housing is a problem for people: It’s just so expensive. Housing is also a problem for the environment, with heating and cooling systems running off fossil fuels. But local non-profit housing providers have built developments that tackle the two problems at once.

“Really what we’re saying is that housing can be affordable, accessible, sustainable and beautiful,” says Sheri Lecker, executive director of Adsum for Women & Children. “Just because you live in affordable housing doesn’t mean you have to compromise any of the other values.”

Adsum’s development—called Sunflower—consists of 25 units built around a central courtyard. Buildings were designed to maximize natural daylight and energy efficiency, and use durable interior and exterior finishings, some of the measures that ensure utilities and other operating costs are kept low, which is essential in sustaining affordable housing over the long-term; tenants paying no more than 30% of their pre-tax income in rent, which means rents hovering around $300 per month.

Moria Donovan writes more about sustainable, affordable housing at The Coast’s website.

🗞️ In Other News

🏀 The champions of Canadian university basketball will be crowned this weekend. For women's teams, the U SPORTS championship tournament happens in Edmonton, and there are four games today including our Saint Mary's Huskies taking on Queen's Gaels at 5:30pm Halifax time. The men's tournament is in Quebec City; games start tomorrow, with the Dalhousie Tigers representing Atlantic Canada.

🩺 Also this weekend, the Black Men’s Health Conference is happening in Dartmouth. The goal is to for attendees to talk about health social issues.

🍷 Yesterday in this space, we let you know that some Nova Scotian wineries fear a new provincial program—the only one of its kind in Canada—will ruin the quarter-billion-dollar local wine industry. Today that story advances with the suggestion that the government pushed the program through to help one of premier Tim Houston’s friends.

🦞 Lobsters cost $18 per pound!

🗓️ Things To Do

Looking for something to do this week? Check out these Coast picks:

🗓 Halifax Queer Trivia Night: Join host Alex B for a night of trivia for the 2SLGBTQ+ community and allies, happening tonight at The Duke’s Public House (former Foggy Goggle) | Mar. 7 | 7pm | $7 per person, minimum three-person table

🗓 Sackville Sandwich Week: Burger Bash doesn’t start until April 11, but for an appetizer you can take in Sackville’s celebration of sandwiches, with 15 restaurants participating now through Saturday | final day Mar. 9

🗓 Oodles of Noodles: Can you handle another food event? Is that even a question? Quinpool Road’s first-ever ode to the noodle is on until Sunday | final day Mar. 10

🗓 International Women’s YAY!: Celebrate International Women’s Day this Friday with this comedy show/fundraiser at Elle’s Bisto. Half of ticket sales go to Adsum for Women & Children | Mar. 8 | 8-10pm | $22.63  

🗓 Holly-Bolly Friday: DJ Spin Singh is coming in from Toronto to power a party of Bollywood hits and Hollywood glitz at the Toothy Moose | Mar. 8 | 9pm | $10.90 and up

🗓 Ghana Independence Celebration: To mark Ghana’s 67th independence day, the Ghanaian Association of Nova Scotia is hosting a dinner dance Saturday at St. Mary’s Boat Club. Dress is kente or formal | Mar. 9 | 5-8pm | $15 and up

Find more Halifax events in The Coast listings

⚓️ What’s In The Harbour

➡️ Kicking off a very quiet Thursday for traffic in Halifax Harbour, One Falcon, a massive container ship at 364 metres long and 138,907 tonnes, leaves for Singapore at 1am.

🚢 MSC Alyssa is the only arrival expected today, and it’s not staying long. The 274-metre-long container ship is coming from Montreal, due in Halifax at 6:15am, then will be doing a quick turnaround in order to depart for Sines, Portugal at 5pm.

➡️ 37,515-tonne tanker East Coast is shipping out from the Irving Halifax Harbour terminal at 4pm, destined for Saint John, New Brunswick.

⚓️ What’s In The Harbour

➡️ Kicking off a very quiet Thursday for traffic in Halifax Harbour, One Falcon, a massive container ship at 364 metres long and 138,907 tonnes, leaves for Singapore at 1am.

🚢 MSC Alyssa is the only arrival expected today, and it’s not staying long. The 274-metre-long container ship is coming from Montreal, due in Halifax at 6:15am, then will be doing a quick turnaround in order to depart for Sines, Portugal at 5pm.

➡️ 37,515-tonne tanker East Coast is shipping out from the Irving Halifax Harbour terminal at 4pm, destined for Saint John, New Brunswick.

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