Coming to Halifax council: Cannabis public hearing and Events East business plan – Halifax

Halifax Regional Council is back in business on Tuesday, and the topic that will capture the public’s attention is once again going to be cannabis.

But a few other topics are worth keeping an eye on, including a delayed examination of the Event East business plan, a $1.3 million tender to replace roof of the Burnside Transit Centre and a request for two staff reports looking at the implementation of a social impact and ecological lens in the municipality.

Here’s whats coming to regional council this week.

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Nova Centre business plan

The Halifax Convention Centre is back at regional council after Events East requested on Sept. 11 that the meeting be delayed until this week.

Council is set to examine the 2018-2019 Events East business plan and budget on Tuesday, marking the second full year of operation for the convention centre.

A city staff report accompanying the budget recommends that council pass the business plan.

This is despite the convention centre being budgeted to operate at a loss of $4.1 million.

Halifax will be responsible for covering half of that figure ($2.06 million) as a result of a 50-50 cost-sharing agreement with the province.

Cannabis public hearing

The most controversial topic of the week is set to be discussed at a public hearing set for 6 p.m.

The hearing will examine the changes the city is proposing for where commercial cannabis growing operations can go and not the removal of tobacco from the Nuisance and Smoking Bylaw — a decision that was voted down last week.

Last week, council decided against adopting an amendment that would strip tobacco from the nuisance bylaw. Instead, they voted to accept a series of housekeeping amendments, such as renaming the Nuisance Bylaw as the Nuisance and Smoking Bylaw, defining what it means by municipal property, and replacing the word “weed” with the the term “cannabis,” so as to avoid confusion.

A sign-up sheet will be available to anyone wishing to speak 30 minutes before the start of the meeting.

Halifax has yet to specify its designated smoking areas, but the full implementation of the new smoking bylaws is set to be in effect by Oct. 1 — 16 days before the federal legalization of recreational cannabis comes into effect.

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Social impact and ecological lens

Richard Zurawski, councillor for Timberlea-Beechville-Clayton Park-Wedgewood, is set to bring two requests forward at regional council on Tuesday.

He’ll ask staff to create reports on the proposed implementation of a “social impact lens” and an “ecological lens” in the decision-making process of the municipality.

The purpose of the social impact lens is  to create a “social justice rubric” for measuring the impact on the multicultural fabric of the HRM.

The purpose of the ecological lens is meant to create an environment rubric for measuring the impact on the ecology and environment of the municipality.

Both would be used in every staff report and help council weigh the pros and cons of their decision from lens respective viewpoints.

The request says that the reports are to be brought before council “no later than spring 2019.”

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Transit centre roof replacement

Halifax Regional Council is set to approve a $1.3 million tender to Evolution Roofing Ltd., to replace a portion of the roof of the Burnside Transit Centre.

The roof of the facility, which was first built in 1981, has exceeded its useful life expectancy of 25 years.

The roof reportedly has ongoing issues regarding leaks which have disrupted the maintenance facility.

According to the documents in a staff report headed to council, this tender covers two-thirds of the roof. The second phase will be issued in 2019 pending approval of more funding.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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