This issue is quite complicated, and I’ll probably have more to say about it after the meeting. The short of it is this: HRM adopted a policy for rec centres in 1997. Big rec centres that serve large areas would be paid for directly from the city’s general fund, but community rec centres, small ones that serve smaller needs, would be paid for via special tax districts. Even the tax district part of that is complicated—some of the districts pay for capital costs, others for on-going operational costs of the building, and others still for program costs. Throw in some tax districts for privately held non-profits and it gets that much more complicated. But on top of that, the city hasn’t been following its own policies, and carved out a bunch of exceptions.
Being proposed is a rationalization of rec centres, putting them in three categories, killing off 10 of the tax districts, and rolling the costs of operating the those 10 rec centres into the general fund.
Here’s a chart that explains the effect on taxes:
I think staff has done a reasonably good job ferreting through the complexity, and the effects on taxes are not huge. But this issue invariable makes people angry, so we’ll see what council does with it.
ZM Supreme Cleaning—$780,188.59 for a three-year contract for janitorial services at the new library.
Dalhousie Cities & Environment Unit—$15,000 to manage the Bike-friendly Certification & Bike Parking Support Program. Total project costs are $42,000, with $21,000 coming from the province’s NS Moves program, $15,000 from the city, “and the remaining $6,000 from other sources and in-kind contributions.” Cities & Environment will identify bike rack locations and develop a certification process, while the city’s costs are mostly for the bike racks themselves. Details here.
Dartmouth City Hall
It’s long been said that the votes of city councillors are for sale to developers, and now the city is making it official: City Hall itself will be sold to a real estate developer. Fortunately, this is the former Dartmouth City Hall.
The old city of Dartmouth built the structure at 90 Alderney Drive in 1966, and used it as its City Hall until amalgamation in 1995. It was then rented to the Halifax Regional School Board until the board moved to its current
terrorist angry-monther-proof bunker in Burnside in 2009. Then Halifax council voted to give the building to the Dartmouth Heritage Museum Society to use as a museum, but a subsequent inspection of the building found that it wasn’t in good enough condition for a museum. So this January, council voted to sell the property and dedicate the proceeds to a museum.
The 2.75 acre property was listed at $2.6 million, and there were “several” bidders, with Fares & Co., Fracis Fares’ company, making the highest offer. Fares is behind the nearby King’s Wharf development. He won’t say what he’s paying for it, and the price won’t become public until the deal is done. Fares told the Chronicle Herald he doesn’t know if he’s going to keep the building or tear it down and build something else.
Some of the parcel is being heaved off to the city, and there will be a couple of easements owned by the city, including a height restriction above three storeys so the librarians at Alderney Gate will continue to have great views of the harbour from their offices.
I don’t know. For a number of configuration reasons (they really built a lot of crap in the 1960s), the existing building is something of a black hole on the waterfront. And the waterfront park sort of dies just past the building. Maybe Fares can liven the spot up, but it’s too bad some public use couldn’t be made of it. My guess is that Fares will end up leasing a new building back to the museum.
Linda Mosher wants to write her name all over the city’s anti-graffiti efforts.
Steve Craig wants council to ditch the existing council pay formula and create a new committee to work up a new pay formula. People get entirely too worked up about council pay, but if we have to go there, I’d rather Craig or some other councillor just come up with their own proposal and put it before council directly, rather than going the “independent committee” route. Yes, council pay is a political issue. Always has been, always will be. A committee won’t change that.
Russell Walker wants Mike Savage to write Stephen Harper and ask him for money. That always works.
Jennifer Watts wants the city to re-establish the practice of renting parking spaces at the Bloomfield Centre until the property is transferred to the province. The parking was eliminated when the property was put up for sale, but for some unknown (to me) reason it’s taking longer than anticipated for the province to start on the redevelopment of the site. In the meanwhile, having some off-street parking will help a lot of people when the on-street parking ban is in place this winter.
The federal government is offloading all sorts of property, including all the lighthouses in Nova Scotia and the Porters Lake Canal. The canal connects Porters Lake to the ocean, between Three Fathom Harbour and Seaforth. It was dug in 1861 so that barges could avoid the swift currents at Rocky Run. David Hendsbee wants the city to buy the canal, and included the requisite picture of serious men in hats at the construction site (99% Invisible fans will get the reference) with his proposal. A few weeks ago Hendsbee said, seriously, that the lighthouses off the coast on islands are inaccessible so should be moved inland. I’m beginning to see a grand plan…
(Public hearings start at 6pm)
Boris Holdings want to build a seven-storey condo building at the corner of Victoria Road and Ochterloney Street in Dartmouth, the site where an auto parts business stood until last year. Immediately next door to the proposed building, at 99 Ochterloney Street, is the Henry Eliot House, built in 1875 by famed Dartmouth architect Henry Eliot for his son, Alfred. The elder Eliot was also the Dartmouth Town Clerk. The younger Eliot lived in the house until his death, in 1879. The house itself is valued architecturally.
The condo plan calls for preserving the Henry Eliot House by wrapping the new building behind it. This plan was rejected last year by the Heritage Advisory Committee, which said the building was of inappropriate scale for the neighbourhood. That rejection, however, was overridden by the Harbour East Community Council. In September, the community council voted to “delist” the back portion of the property, a parking lot, from Heritage rolls and approved the development. Council will hear from the public, then vote on it.
Clayton Developments wants to transfer development rights it owns for 118 residential units from one side of the BiHi to the other.
1047, 1057, and 1065 Barrington Street
WSP Canada is proposing a six-storey residential building on the site of the Tim Hortons on South Barrington Street, behind the Superstore. I’ve never heard anyone in opposition to this building, and it’s sailing through the approval process.