March 31, 2019 2:03 pm
Updated: March 31, 2019 2:30 pm

Coming to Halifax council: Public WiFi, dock funding, aquatic weed collection

Halifax City Hall is seen on June 8, 2018

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Halifax Regional Council will hold a relatively light meeting on Tuesday in the wake of last week’s release of the street-checks report.

Council is being asked to consider a number of topics, mostly related to the funding of new projects or feasibility studies.

Here’ a preview of what you can expect at this week’s meeting Halifax Regional Council.

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Studying WiFi onboard Halifax transit buses

Low on data? Need to access your email? There’s good news as taking the bus in Halifax could soon come with the benefit of free internet access.

If accepted by councillors, the motion would see the municipality conduct a feasibility study of WiFi on Halifax transit buses.

The study would examine whether riders are receptive to a full-fledged rollout in the future by installing mobile hotspots on up to 20 transit buses.

Staff says it would cost $12,000 to purchase the hotspots, with the $28,800 in operating costs being shared between Halifax Public Libraries and the municipality’s corporate services department.

The study will last no longer than a year.

WATCH: Halifax to examine public WiFi on Halifax Transit buses

Expanding free public WiFi

Another motion will see council consider expanding the free public WiFi system. Municipal staff says the expansion would allow citizens the ability to access free WiFi at more areas of Alderney Landing, as well as the Halifax Ferry Terminal, Lacewood Terminal, and Bridge Buys Terminal.

The Public Gardens and the Emera Oval would be included in the expansion.

The Friends of the Public Gardens Society has requested that WiFi be installed in the gardens, which see approximately 250,000 visitors every year.

The hope is that the WiFi will allow for a mobile tour of the gardens as well as making the area feel like the “heart of Halifax.”

Installing the hotspots would only cost $54,244, according to staff, all of which would cover the removal of three unused WiFi emitters currently installed at Halifax Public Libraries.

There would be no additional fees to what the city already pays for data ($6,357 a month) as the municipality will repurpose the WiFi emitters removed from the libraries.

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Fisherman’s Cove dock project

Bill Karsten, councillor for Dartmouth South-Eastern Passage, will request a staff report on Tuesday that would assess a funding request from the Fisherman’s Cove Development Association.

The Association is asking the municipality to provide $566,000 so they can participate in a $1.7-million dock project.

Karsten argues that the dock is capable of bringing “more economic opportunities for tourism to Eastern Passage.”

The request says the federal government has already committed to covering 40 per cent of the project’s cost.

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Sullivan’s Pond aquatic weed control

Halifax municipal staff have recommended that council kibosh a proposed program to cut and reduce aquatic weeds in Sullivan’s Pond in Dartmouth.

The request came from the Halifax and Area Model Yacht Club, who requested assistance from the municipality to remove the aquatic weeds that can tangle up model boats.

The weeds apparently get so bad that the club is unable to use Sullivan’s Pond due to plant growth.

Municipal staff have pegged the cost of harvesting the weeds in the pond at approximately $3,000.

But staff, say it’s not in the municipality’s jurisdiction to clear the watercourse and that it’s in the hands of the Government of Nova Scotia.

“Where the Club would be the sole beneficiary of the proposed weed harvesting at Sullivan’s Pond, it is recommended that the Club be responsible for seeking any necessary Provincial approvals and conducting any such weed harvesting at its own expense,” the staff report reads.

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

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