Politics

Coming to Halifax council: Bus Stop Theatre funding, flyer delivery bylaw, Elections Act rules

Halifax Regional Council is back in session on Tuesday and they have a full slate of topics to deal with this week.

Here’s what is coming to this edition of Halifax Regional Council.

Will the Bus Stop Theatre get its funding?

The first thing up on the docket is consideration of deferred business from two weeks ago. Council is being asked to consider a one-time contribution of $500,000 to The Bus Stop Theatre Co-op, which will help the co-operative purchase the building on Gottingen Street that currently houses their theatre.

The building is up for sale and although the current owners have given the co-operative the right of first refusal on purchasing the building, the theatre company is racing against the clock to get the $750,000 in funds together.

WATCH: The Bus Stop Theatre on Gottingen St. is going up for sale

They’re hoping to get funding from multiple levels of government, with a request for $500,00 being up for decision at the regional council on Tuesday.

The co-operative has provided council with a detailed business case but the challenge for council is the timing of the request.

The 2019 operating budget has just been approved and a staff report in front of council is recommending that they deny the request for financial assistance and, instead, work with the theatre company to secure future funding.

Fallout from provincial elections complaint

At least one regional councillor is hoping to act quickly on a report prepared by Richard Temporale, Nova Scotia’s Chief Electoral Officer.

Shawn Cleary, councillor for Halifax West Armdale, is asking for a staff report on implementing a recommendation from the Chief Electoral Officer which would require councillors to take a leave of absence if they register as a candidate in an election at another level of government.

The report was created in response to a complaint by the provincial NDP that alleged Steve Craig violated Nova Scotia’s Elections Act as he campaigns for a seat in the Sackville-Cobequid byelection.

Temporale’s investigation found that Craig, who currently serves as councillor for Lower Sackville, didn’t violate any of the province’s rules.

However, the electoral officer did issue a number of recommendations that would update the act.

“Given that we want the public to have confidence in our electoral systems and that accountability, transparency, and fairness are bedrock principles we share for our democratic institutions, updating our rules to promote these principles is of utmost importance,” writes Cleary in his request.

No-flyer bylaw gets second reading

Halifax council is set to consider the second reading of its no-flyer bylaw, which would restrict the distribution of flyers if citizens opt out of the service.

It’s a topic that has appeared in front of council multiple times and the municipality may finally have a method of addressing the issue.

Flyers that are unwanted or improperly delivered have become a nuisance and a waste of resources. The municipality said the primary distributors of door-to-door flyers are Saltwire Network and The Chronicle Herald.

As part of the bylaw, stickers emblazoned with “NO FLYERS” would be created and distributed to residents free of charge.

If those stickers are displayed at a property, flyer distributors would be prohibited from delivering their materials.

Citizens are able to craft their own sign while municipal staff said a PDF of the sign would be made available on the Halifax Regional Municipality’s website so that Haligonians could print off the sign at home.

Non-compliance would result in a penalty of $250 for a company and a $25 fine for an individual contractor.

Enforcement of the bylaw would be complaint-driven and staff confirmed that no new bylaw enforcement officers would be hired if the new bylaw is passed.

New snow clearance contracts

Halifax is set to award a series of contracts for snow clearing throughout the municipality on Tuesday.

The new contracts come after a complaint-filled season this past winter.

Multiple councillors expressed their unhappiness this winter as contractors missed snow-clearing deadlines, with at least one councillor attempting to change how the municipality set its snow-clearing standards in response.

But those contracts are now over and a series of new ones are on the table.

Leahey’s Landscaping Ltd., Excel Property Maintenance, Provincial Pavement Marking Ltd., and Elmsdale Landscaping Ltd. are set to be awarded contracts for five separate zones in the municipality.

Each contract is slated to last a four-year term and all of them were tendered earlier this year.

Creating an official policy for public memorials

Council will consider whether to create an official policy on roadside memorials in the HRM, according to a staff report heading to council on Tuesday.

Council requested the staff report back in September 2018 after it was found that there was no official policy regarding roadside memorials in the municipality.

As a result, roadside memorials were removed by HRM staff, causing distress to the family members or friends who’d place the memorials.

The staff report lays out some guidelines for any memorial including

  • The memorial must not present a hazard or obstruct a road or pathway
  • There can only be one memorial per individual or event
  • A memorial can be placed for a maximum period of 12 months
  • The name and telephone number of the person responsible for the memorial and the date of the installation has to be included in the memorial
  • That the municipality isn’t responsible for any vandalism of the memorial and they will not be responsible for replacement or maintenance of the memorial

Council will convene at 1 p.m., on Tuesday at Halifax City Hall.

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