September 30, 2018 2:03 pm

Coming to Halifax council: Lobbyist registry, overdose prevention, hospice support

The Halifax Regional Council has a lot to discuss this week, including hospice funding, overdose prevention sites and the possibility of a lobbyist registry.

Alexa MacLean/Global Halifax
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Halifax Regional Council has a busy week in front of it and a jam-packed schedule at its meeting on Tuesday.

Set to kick off at 10 a.m., Halifax Regional Municipality’s (HRM) council will examine funding for a hospice, consider a staff report on possible options to recognize local hockey star Sidney Crosby and discuss the problems facing a municipal lobbyist registry.

Here are some of the highlights coming to Halifax council.

WATCH: Halifax’s first hospice has a location

Hospice funding

Halifax Regional Council is being asked to consider a one-time contribution of $250,000 to the Hospice Society of Greater Halifax.

A staff report is recommending that council approve the contribution to help the organization, which is currently constructing the city’s first hospice.

The society had originally requested $1 million in funding from the HRM, but that amount was declined by the municipality’s audit and financing standing committee.

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The $250,000 had been offered in response as a gesture to show the municipality’s support of establishing a hospice.

READ MORE: Halifax staff recommend against renaming street after Sidney Crosby

No Sidney Crosby Parkway

A report headed to Halifax Regional Council is advising against renaming a road after Sidney Crosby, noting that Nova Scotia’s hockey darling doesn’t meet the existing criteria for commemorative naming because he has not yet retired.

A staff report up for discussion by council on Tuesday explores the implications of renaming Dartmouth’s Forest Hills Parkway as Sidney Crosby Parkway, an idea first floated at city hall in 2016.

Instead, the report suggested six other ideas to recognize Crosby, including the declaration of a “Sidney Crosby Day” and the possibility of naming a new street after him in future, neither of which would have financial implications.

Installing a public art project in his honour or naming an existing Cole Harbour park after Crosby were also suggested.

WATCH: Dozens march in Halifax for International Overdose Awareness Day

Overdose prevention sites in Halifax

Coun. Lindell Smith has a motion coming to council that would request a staff report on overdose prevention sites in the municipality.

The report, according to the request, would outline the impacts of supporting such sites and include analysis on community safety impacts, service impacts and potential zoning issues.

As Smith highlights in his request, the first seven months of 2018 saw 21 confirmed and 18 probable opioid overdose deaths in Nova Scotia.

If an overdose prevention site were to be built in Halifax, it would be one of the first in Atlantic Canada.

READ MORE: N.S. NDP pushing for lobbyist legislation

Municipal lobbyist registry a no-go

Hope for a registry of municipal lobbyists in Halifax is likely to go up in smoke after a report on the topic is headed to council on Tuesday.

Staff are recommending that Halifax Regional Council continue with its current approach of relying on “existing policies and legislation” to “promote the accountability of elected officials.”

The report concludes that the province’s legislation does not allow the municipality to implement a lobbyist registry.

The best they could do with new legislation is devise an “honour” system that would require senior staff and city councillors to self-report meetings with lobbyists — an option that is unlikely to satisfy those wanting to hold officials accountable.

Instead, staff are recommending that the city request the province amends the HRM Charter or otherwise moderates the province’s Lobbyist Registration Act so that it would apply to local governments.

WATCH: HRM smoking zones to be set on Oct. 15

Smoking bylaw

The housekeeping amendments to HRM’s smoking bylaw are set to receive a second reading on Tuesday.

The updates to the bylaw — which prohibit smoking any substance on municipal property — renamed the Nuisance Bylaw as the Nuisance and Smoking Bylaw, provided a definition of municipal property and replaced the word “weed” with the term “cannabis” so as to avoid confusion.

The second reading will essentially be a formality. The city announced last week that their new anti-smoking bylaw will take effect on Oct. 15 — two days before pot legalization.

—With files from The Canadian Press

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