After sixteen years of being unified as HRM, we as a municipal government are still following economic models and strategies that do not fit. Continually, we are adopting a hands-off approach and allowing urban sprawl to hollow out our regional centre. Property taxes are being used to finance to uncontrolled, unsustainable growth of our region. To move our city forward, I feel we need to focus on social, economic and environmental sustainability. To continue to be a driving economic centre, we need to unify our region, direct development to identified growth centres and most importantly follow the policies outlined in HRM by Design and RP+5. In Dartmouth Centre, as part of the regional centre we have witnessed how our downtown and both sides of the harbour have been affected by a combination of poor government policy and changing consumer trends. We have empty store fronts, empty lots, loss of tax revenue, and lack of investment on infrastructure. We need to invest in growth centres and municipal infrastructure, and invest in our people. To support our economy we need to invest in the mosaic that is our community by better funding for recreational programming and arts/culture programming. It is time in HRM, that we listen to all people's concerns and suggestions on economic sustainability. We have the expertise and solutions in our community, it is simply a matter of actually involving people and listen. Furthermore, HRM needs to start looking at best practices from other jurisdictions so that we do not re-invent the wheel. To put Dartmouth Centre and HRM people first and maintain and grow our economy, we need to:
- Do not reduce ferry service at Alderney Landing. This is counter to the growth we want to encourage in the regional core. If we seek to have density in our regional centre, it is imperative we can move residents around our city in an efficient way. Maintaining and enhancing both the Alderney and Woodside ferries. If we are to grow we need to have an efficient, quick and reliable integrated public transit system: bus, ferry and active transportation routes.
- Hold HRM Council and HRM Staff accountable to abide by HRM by Design and RP+5 policies.
- Focus development in regional centre ( Dartmouth Centre and peninsular Halifax) and other identified priority centres. Urban sprawl is unsustainable, and funnels tax dollars out of areas where development needs to be focused and infrastructure made a priority. To grow our district and region, we need to abide by HRM by Design and RP+5. Our city is evolving, we need to grow sustainably. We need to grow in a way that will revitalize Dartmouth Centre while respecting our residents and neighbourhood characters.
- Fair taxes: Examine current residential and commercial tax rates. Find tax solutions that are fair for both residential and commercial rate payers. Tax rates that support business and sustainable development
- Invest in Arts & Culture to a dollar value that is comparable and fiscal responsible to other cities of similar sizes to HRM
- Invest in Youth access to recreation and skill building programs. Engaged HRM, private business and the province to help provide programs that are free or 'pay what you can'.
- Support non-profit groups in community that provide services to at risk and/or under-represented members of our community.
Finally, our region is the largest city in Atlantic Canada. HRM is a strong driving force for our region, and our policies should reflect the positive economic impact our city has in Atlantic Canada. To be a leader and to move HRM forward we should be proactive, not reactive, and have the fortitude the put policies in places that enable a long-term vision. A vision that goes beyond a mere four-year mandate. We have been a leader and example on waste diversion. HRM can be an example once again, and we can do this by addressing an important issus: energy security. It is time that we as HRM bring together our community, Nova Scotia Power, provincial government and other stakeholders to develop an energy policy for HRM. A policy that focuses on strong renewable and sustainable energy generation. We are blessed with many natural forces within HRM that we can harness to help power our city. From solar, wind, hydro to co-generation models, we can help sustain our cities, create jobs, have a secure, clean source of energy and connect our community like never before. Other cities across the world and even within Canada have such policies. Dartmouth Centre and HRM, we can move forward together to guide our city where people are the priority and our region has vision to be economically, socially and environmentally sustainable.
Together, let's get started. Collaboration. Communication. Compassion In October 2012 Vote Bryn Jones-Vaillancourt for Dartmouth Centre.