The mayor’s state of town speech was loaded with a variety of sunshine.
At his annual deal with to the Halifax Chamber of Commerce on the Halifax Conference Centre on Thursday, Mayor Mike Savage acknowledged the struggles during the last two years and the truth that Halifax Regional Municipality remains to be coping with the pandemic in addition to labour shortages, value of residing, local weather change impacts, in addition to housing and homeless points.
However with live shows, festivals, cruise ships and extra returning, Halifax has lots to sit up for, he mentioned.
“I consider we will use this time of change to construct a Halifax that’s stronger, extra simply and sustainable in addition to extra affluent as ever earlier than,” Savage mentioned.
Housing and homelessness
The unprecedented constructing increase in Halifax has exceeded all expectations, Savage mentioned. By the top of March, there have been 6,647 models beneath development in HRM.
“That isn’t solely essentially the most ever, that’s the most by lots,” he mentioned. “You don’t have to see the numbers, you’ll be able to go searching. You possibly can see the development and that’s nice nevertheless it’s not sufficient.”
Extra must be achieved and HRM is ready to deal with that progress, he mentioned.
With John Lohr, minister of municipal affairs and housing within the viewers in addition to a number of Halifax regional councillors, Savage mentioned he nonetheless isn’t a fan of the provincial Housing Process Pressure taking on growth choices, nevertheless it’s time to maneuver past that.
“We’re in a housing disaster and it’s time to put apart ego and jurisdiction to seek out options to deal with each provide and affordability,” he mentioned.
However the actual game-changer, Savage mentioned, goes to be the $4 billion federal Housing Accelerator Fund for municipalities to extend their housing provides. The fund was within the Liberals’ election platform and was included within the funds introduced earlier this month. Savage mentioned they’re now ready on particulars.
“Lots of of our neighborhood members don’t have any alternative for a good life if they will’t begin with at the least a roof,” Savage mentioned.
HRM is concerned (with the province and the feds) within the speedy housing initiative, Savage identified, in addition to the modular housing tasks in Dartmouth and Halifax.
Heaps to sit up for this summer season
Cruise ships are returning and travellers and airways are returning to the Halifax Stanfield Worldwide Airport, Savage identified. He identified air journey is essential to rebuilding tourism.
Summer time festivals are returning too with the Halifax Busker Competition and the Royal Nova Scotia Worldwide Tattoo, amongst others, he mentioned.
“We’re going to recuperate that Halifax summer season vibe that all of us love,” he mentioned.
Live shows are returning – James Taylor earlier this week and Sting next week – in addition to Halifax’s sports activities groups. So too are conventions, he mentioned. This week it was the Faculties and Institutes Canada with extra on the way in which.
Worldwide occasions are again too, he mentioned, just like the ICF Canoe Sprint and Paracanoe World Championships on Lake Banook, and an international sailing regatta that is coming to St. Margarets Bay.
“It’s summer season and we’ve got purpose for optimism,” Savage mentioned.
Halifax getting youthful
Savage threw out numbers as an instance that Halifax is a rising, vibrant metropolis that’s trending youthful.
HRM was the quickest rising metropolis in Canada in 2020, with the fastest growing downtown in Canada in 2021 and it was named the best city to live by Maclean’s magazine in 2021 (tied with Charlottetown). He was additionally positive to level on the market have been 21 new firms which have arrange store right here through the pandemic.
Savage informed the group that 3,817 is a vital quantity too.
“That’s the variety of 15-34 yr olds that moved to Halifax in 2021. It’s now our quickest rising demographic,” he mentioned, including that Halifax is getting youthful with a median age dropping from 41.2 to 40.4.
Defending the local weather motion tax
Within the Q&A after his speech, Savage was requested about the three per cent climate action tax, an added expense for enterprise house owners, a lot of whom are nonetheless recovering from the pandemic.
Within the final 5 years, property tax in HRM has been among the many lowest within the nation, Savage mentioned, however now’s the time to put money into local weather change initiatives. The local weather motion tax will fund HalifACT, HRM’s climate action plan.
“I acknowledge the hardship for positive, particularly with industrial taxpayers, however I’m resolute in my perception that we’ve got to deal with this. If we don’t, we’re achieved for.”