The last two weeks have been active in our HRM political arena, and in some decisions not for the best.
Solid Waste Issues
Well we have been touted as national and even international leaders in waste diversion...the wheels are coming off the truck. The report was completed by Stanec and sights cost concerns and service delivery issues. Presently, the municipality is seeking input from citizens on the Stanec report. Additionally, in a motion by the Environmental and Sustainability committee, there is a request to the province to allow HRM to collect the 5 cent bottle deposit and reduce the deposit from 10 cents to just 5 cents. This revenue would go into general HRM coffers, and while on the surface is sounds good—I do not support this motion.
The impact this would have across our municipality to people at or below the poverty level is huge. Consider people who collect these refundable in your neighbourhood to help supplement their weekly budgets. Equally important are all the people that enviro-depots now employ, some of these individuals have barriers to employment and programs such as Youth Live help citizens across HRM obtain entry-level employment. Government should be about making things better for all by providing the framework to do just that, added municipal revenue should not be on the back of the poor.
On February 14, the day of love, admit some fanfare Deputy Police Chief Moore debuted HRP’s crime mapping site. While I believe that information is power, and have concrete factual evidence can help to debunk myths running around our city. However, alleged comments by Moore about how sexual assaults, between intimate partners are not included on this site, because people are not interested in that is ridiculous. The max number of days of data is seven days, and you can select which crimes you would like info on. Furthermore, the potential to marginalize areas is real, and well I overall applaud this project—I hope it will do more good than harm. I do feel overall that our force is doing a good job, and crime stats are down. However, the HRP needs to continue and build on the community engagement/liaison model. You can see the crime mapping site here.
Winter has been hard on our roads in Dartmouth and across much of the region, daily I observe potholes—some that are true hazards. As council continues to drag their heels on an improved public transit system, roads will only become worse—more use will result in more wear. The failure to reinstate full harbour ferry service at Alderney is short-sighted and is sending the wrong message about the value of mass transit. We are fortunate to have a beautiful harbour, and we must use it as a crucial component of our mass transit system. Having an integrated land and marine mass transit system in Halifax is the right choice. It is time council and the bureaucrats at Metro Transit listen to citizens and make a transit system that we so long for. The Downtown Dartmouth Business Commission has an online petition to bring back late ferry service, see it here
Metro transit is also starting the process for a new 5 year plan. There will be public consultations, however if they are like other public consultations in HRM... I’m not sure of the value it will hold. This year’s installment of new buses is almost approved; HRM will purchase 22 new buses to replace aging vehicles, at the cost of $406,422 each. Finally, public consultations were held last Wednesday about intersection reconfiguration at Rainne/Cogswell and Agricola/Cunard by switching them to roundabouts. The current configuration of these intersections is at the best of times scary for all who cross them. I do feel there is merit in this proposal; however my reservation lies in how the changes will impact pedestrians. The installation of roundabouts must be mindful of the fact these two intersections are heavy in pedestrian traffic as well as vehicular. You can learn more about the project here.