In the coming decades, due to the ship building contract and changes in shipping lanes, HRM is going to grow. Jobs will be created, houses will be built and people from all over the world will move to the HRM for the opportunities and prosperity that is coming. As a city, we need to determine how we want to grow. Do we want more urban sprawl? More developments like Dartmouth Crossing and Bayers Lake; or do we want to focus on increasing density, supporting small business and improving the existing infrastructure? Do we want to build more roads and highways, or do we want to expand and improve transit? The sooner these questions are answered, the better off HRM will be.
I am a transit rider by choice. I believe that transit is a two-way street. Both the city and the citizens need to make a commitment to transit for it to improve and grow. Roads are expensive to build and maintain. The development of new roads always leads to more traffic and congestion. Transit is a cost effective alternative for reducing city costs and traffic congestion. As mayor, I would be committed to promoting, developing and improving transit to the benefit of all of the citizens of HRM.
As the city of HRM continues to grow, it is important that we do not forget the environment. The Commons and the Public Gardens are great examples of efforts made by past generations to provide green space within the city that everyone loves and would never allow developers near. As mayor, I would make the same commitment to future generations by creating and promoting green spaces, and encouraging urban agriculture and community gardens.
Transparency and Accountability of Government
The first instance of Responsible Government in the British Common Wealth occurred in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1848. Have we lost our way? It is the job of government to be accountable to the people that the government represents. As mayor, I would engage the people of Halifax in an open and honest manner, explaining goals and procedures, while being accountable to the people. I would set timelines for success and metrics to determine if goals are being reached. Only through communication between the government and the people can trust be re-established. This responsibility falls upon the leaders of HRM.
The global economy is improving slowly. As the United States continues to pull itself out of recession, HRM, as always will benefit. With the addition of the shipbuilding contracts and the potential of future shipping lane changes, HRM is positioned to thrive. The growth of HRM is critical to the future of Nova Scotia and the Maritimes. As mayor, I would encourage entrepreneurs, small business, and focus growth on industries and development that retains wealth, and not those that export it. We are a city full of great educational institutions that are a blessing and cannot be ignored. I believe that creating a city where education and resources are accessible to all people will bring out the best HRM has to offer.
Goals for the Next Four Years
Improve the existing transit system. This can be done without spending tons of money. It just takes will and adaptation to some change. Increase transit ridership by 25%.
Meet the goals of The HRM Regional Plan, which means increased density in the urban area, and an end to sprawl. Attempt to hit the growth targets of 70% urban, 15% suburban, and 15% rural.
Work with the province to implement a green belt that will assist in meeting the growth goals outlined in the regional plan.
Address the current tax imbalance. This would have to be done with council as a whole; having it completely fixed in four years would be great.
Start the development and implementation of more bike lanes in HRM.
Continue to push the cause of alternative energy sources, and ways for residents to add these alternatives to their homes.
Work to develop an affordable housing strategy.
Restore the trust between the people and the government by having an open and honest conversation with the city.
Maintain a balanced budget.
Projects I will personally champion….
Have one urban farm(greenhouse) in each of the old cities that now make up HRM: Dartmouth, Halifax, Sackville, Cole Harbour, Bedford, and Spryfield.
Continue the development of community gardens.