Coming to Halifax council: New deputy mayor, museum grants, plans for memorial library
Halifax Regional Council is back after its blockbuster vote on a potential CFL stadium in Halifax.
Although there is nothing as controversial as the hotly debated stadium proposal, council will look to address a number of administrative issues when they meet on Tuesday.
Council will not be meeting in council chambers this week, as they have temporarily relocated to the Harbourfront Marriott in downtown Halifax.
The temporary move will last until the Dec. 4 council meeting and allow for the installation of new and updated technology in the Halifax council chamber and the municipality’s broadcast centre.
Here are some of the highlights you can expect to see at this edition of Halifax Regional Council.
New deputy mayor
Waye Mason’s one-year term as the municipality’s deputy mayor is set to come to an end.
The councillor for Halifax South Downtown has served in the role for the past year and will hand the reins over to whomever regional council chooses on Tuesday.
The role of deputy mayor is chosen from among the municipality’s 16 regional councillors. The role brings with it additional duties as well as a 10-per-cent pay increase over other councillors.
Mason has served as municipal councillor since 2012 and was acclaimed to the position of deputy mayor in 2017.
Museum grants before council
Halifax Regional Council is set to consider a proposal for 10 operating grants and one project grant for museums throughout the municipality.
The grants, if approved, will total $100,000 toward municipality’s 2018-2019 budget.
Museums that have applied for the grants include the Atlantic Canada Aviation Museum, Musquodoboit Harbour village and the Nova Scotia Sport Hall of Fame.
If approved, the municipality’s largest contribution will go to the Army Museum at the Halifax Citadel.
Although the museum is primarily funded by the federal government and in-kind assistance from the provincial government, the society that operates the army museum has requested a three-year grant for $20,000 a year.
However, municipal staff have recommended that council approve a three-year grant at $12,000 per year. The grant must be approved in the annual municipal budget.
The Africville Heritage Trust Society is also one of the groups who had applied for a grant.
The organization, meant to preserve the “memory and spirit and community of Africville,” has requested a three-year operating grant at $15,000 per year.
According to the staff report headed to council on Tuesday, “admissions, merchandise sales and donations have proven insufficient to operate the facility year-round,” and the organization has been operating at a deficit from 2014 to 2016.
Staff are recommending that council approve a three-year grant at $8,000 per year. The grant must be approved in the annual municipal budget.
HRM’s citizen survey indicates transit is the top issue facing Haligonians
Council is set to examine the results of its 2018 citizen survey, which is meant to assess and identify municipal priorities important to Haligonians.
An information report containing data on the results of the survey — which saw a 9.5-per-cent response rate — will appear in front of council on Tuesday.
According to the results, 23 per cent of the respondents said transit was the biggest issue facing the municipality over the next five years.
Road conditions, transportation and parking were some of the other issues raised by those who responded to the survey.
The complete report covers a range of issues, and the survey cost the HRM $42,424 to complete.
Proposal for Memorial Library to be discussed in-camera
One of the more interesting topics at Tuesday’s meeting of regional council will not be debated publicly.
A private and confidential staff report on the Spring Garden Memorial Library will be reviewed in-camera by regional council.
If approved, the motion is for the municipality’s Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) to develop “a proposal for the former Memorial Library building… and return to Council with recommendations for further considerations.”
What that may mean for the future of the site is unclear, but it appears the municipality will be discussing future plans for the library soon.
The library was built in 1951 but has been vacant since 2014 when it was replaced by its successor, the Halifax Central Library, which is located just down the street.
Both properties are owned by the municipality.
Halifax Regional Council is scheduled to begin immediately after a 10 a.m. meeting of the committee of the whole wraps up.
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