Elect Pam Councillor
After meeting with residents and business owners and listening to their concerns about District 13, Hammonds Plains-St. Margaret’s, I compiled the below list of Priorities, which I will move forward as your Councillor, thanks to your valuable input.
My commitment to District 13 is to focus on growing safe, healthy, and vibrant communities.
I believe in Transparent, Open Government where the cornerstone to good governance is public involvement. Community consultation is not good enough. HRM needs to follow Public Involvement Principles to ensure those affected by decisions have their voices heard and valued. All persons must be respected and treated equally.
If you have any questions or comments, please contact me, I am happy to speak to any of the items below.
Safe, Healthy, Vibrant Communities
One of the first items on my list as your Councillor is to review and update our community plans with you. Since amalgamation in 1996, little has been done to update the Municipal Planning Strategies for our communities and create a 25 year vision for our neighborhoods and main streets. This collaborative, community work should be done before the Regional Plan Review is completed.
Black Lives Matter.
Historic and systemic racism has caused undue harm against people of colour in Halifax for generations. It's time for Halifax to acknowledge racism against Black and Indigenous persons and work to put equality at the centre of all that we do. As Councillor, I will support the historic Black community of Upper Hammonds Plains to ensure their community vision is realized. I will work collaboratively with Acadia First Nation and Sipekne'katik First Nation (Indian Brook) to support their community vision in Hammonds Plains.
We need to set our own vision for our District. Together.
The Main Streets in District 13 need our attention. Peggy’s Cove, St. Margaret’s Bay, and Hammonds Plains roads should all be considered the Main Streets of our district and planned development should reflect how we want our Main Streets to look in 25+ years. It’s time to identify opportunities for community-based approaches and improve our Main Streets to support placemaking, walkability, accessibility, economic activity, and increase safety. These are all essential factors for vibrant, growing communities.
Affordable and accessible housing is needed in District 13. I am in support of secondary and backyard suites, in most areas. We need to be smart and create policies that permit seniors to remain in their communities in affordable and accessible housing, and make it easier for young families to call District 13 home.
I want to see Halifax be a leader by implementing accessibility standards across the municipality.
Let’s stop counting fatalities and injuries and using those numbers to justify upgrades to roadways to increase our safety and save lives. HRM and the Province must shift their approach to prevent deaths and injuries on our roads.
I propose that HRM embrace the Safe Communities Designation, which prioritizes leadership, sustainability, community engagement, and injury prevention.
Implement the Vision Zero program, an international movement to eliminate deaths and injuries from traffic collisions, which has been adapted by municipalities around the world.
Crosswalks at schools – every school in District 13 must have a crosswalk in front of their school. No exceptions.
Paved road shoulders – the paving of road shoulders provides a safer area for walkers and bikers, and offers protection to the roadbed, which reduces maintenance costs. Where possible, if residents and businesses opt in to pay the sidewalk tax, then sidewalks should be an option for high traffic pedestrian areas, especially in school zones.
Stronger communication and partnership between HRM and the Nova Scotia Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal to ensure a safety approach is taken at all times. We should not have to protest to save lives on dangerous roadways and demand reduced speeds. As commercial and residential areas expand, roadways must adjust to this new traffic entering and exiting the busy streets. See my letter to Minister Lloyd Hines, NS Transportation & Infrastructure Renewal, on needed safety measures to St. Margaret’s Bay Road and Peggy’s Cove Road.
Invest in photo radar technology to catch and fine excessive speeders and red-light cameras to catch red light runners. Fines work to change behaviour. Speed humps may work to reduce traffic speeding at the hump, however, they hinder emergency vehicles such as fire tankers and ambulances. Vehicles speed between them and placing speed humps all along a street does little to address the behaviour of speeding. We need a multifaceted approach to make our streets safer.
Encourage Halifax staff to speed up the Margeson Drive extension, which will alleviate traffic congestion on Hammonds Plains Road.
Establish comprehensive education program with and for ATV/OHV drivers and their associations. The increase in complaints of disrespectful, dangerous, and illegal roadway activity is creating a larger issue for all OHV drivers and those who share the roads and trails.
Public Transportation Growth:
District 13 is a growing area and requires a planned approach to public transportation and ride sharing. I will invest in a planned approach to grow public transit and ride sharing in Hammonds Plains-St. Margaret’s. I will petition the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board to permit an expanded route license for BayRides. I will work to enhance accessible busing for those not within the narrowly defined boundaries.
Planned Water and Sewer Connection:
It’s time for HRM to plan for piped water and sewer expansion for those in the serviceable boundary of Halifax Water. As more homes experience dry wells due to seasonal drought conditions, and septic tanks are too expensive for those on a fixed income to upgrade, HRM needs a plan for how to ensure all residents will have access to clean drinking water. Promoting water conservation and use of cisterns to capture and store rainwater will have a positive impact for many on dug and dry wells.
Planning for Emergencies:
More Dry Fire Hydrants - Dry fire hydrants are used in rural areas that do not have piped water service. There are only a few in our district, and I would like to see more. A dry hydrant is a cost-effective, non-pressurized pipe system installed into a body of water such as a lake, pond or stream that provides a suction supply of water for a fire tanker. They are used all over rural North America, including here in HRM, to supply tankers during rural structure and forest fires.
Community Evacuation Plans - As forests become drier and the risk for wildfire increases in our area, subdivisions should have emergency evacuation plans updated and communicated regularly. For those subdivisions that rely on only one or two exits, emergency exit access should be implemented.
Halifax is in process of conducting a comprehensive Policing Review. While we do have dedicated RCMP officers patrolling the District, I would like to see them focus less on speeding violations by permitting Citizen and Neighborhood groups to take greater control through community monitoring. This frees up the time of costly RCMP Officers to work on more serious criminal infractions. In other municipalities in Canada, hired citizen groups monitor their streets with speed radars at a much-reduced cost than RCMP.
Growing food - Bylaws in rural and suburban HRM should encourage local food growth and community food sharing. The recent news stories about the Hammonds Plains Market Garden revealed that different rules apply to rural HRM than urban areas. I am in favour of sourcing food locally to address food insecurity and grow our economy.
Recreational facilities – District 13 has a number of outdoor public facilities such as parks, baseball diamonds, swimming pool, bike and skate parks, soccer fields, playgrounds, and more. A Recreational Needs Assessment for our District will provide valuable information as to how we can support and grow physical activity and athletics for children, youth, adults, and seniors.
Oceans, Coastline, Parks & Trails - as a longtime supporter of establishing the Blue Mountain Birch Cove Lakes Regional Wilderness Park, I will continue to work towards the development of a comprehensive park plan. We are very fortunate to live next to this unique ecosystem and must do all that we can to protect it for future generations. I am not in favour of developing Highway 113 through the wilderness area. I will seek to establish designated public access to our coastline and secure safe access to these areas. I would like to see connectivity of all trails in District 13.
Small Business Growth:
HRM needs to make it easier for small businesses to operate in District 13 by increasing access to public transportation so employees can travel to work easily and customers can get to the business; update antiquated bylaws to encourage home-based businesses; and, collaborate with small business owners to provide them with a voice at the decision-making table.
Establish District Youth Advisory Committee:
As an educator, I want to involve youth in community decision making. Young people contribute to the economy, volunteer in our communities, and many are already very involved and engaged. As your Councillor, I will establish a District Youth Advisory Committee for Hammonds Plains - St. Margaret’s. Youth are concerned about getting to school and university safely, access to employment and transportation, the environment, and so much more. They need their voices heard.
I realize this is a long to-do list and much of it has been discussed for decades.
The difference now - I am ready to get to work for you!