Archive for June, 2012

Six years ago in Vancouver, British Columbia, an innovative volunteer began a trend that is now operating in twenty North American cities and counting.   Termed “Land Share”, “Sharing Backyards” or “Urban Garden Share” is a way for people in urban centres to garden and share.  It is a simple yet wonderful concept, not everyone has the ability or time to garden.  Though, there are some with a green thumb but no space to put it into practice. Bringing these two parties together, creates a garden space and an end of season harvest for two families!

Through programs like Sharing Backyards ; people who have the land but no time or ability to garden can share their land with individuals who are green thumbs.  At the end of the season, both parties split the harvest equally.   It is an amazing grass roots approach to local food sourcing!  Also, it is teaching both parties involved about community, teamwork and the true cost of food.   The price of produce seem in the large grocery chains does usually not reflect the true cost of production.  That is to say to include the labour, time, and materials used to grow said produce.

Equally beneficially, are the positive environmental impacts.  Firstly, growing your own food helps to reduce your carbon footprint.  It eliminates the need to consume resources for food transportation.  Secondly, gardening is good for the local environment.  It aids in protecting and increasing the local biodiversity and aids to support the communal ecosystem.  Through techniques such as companion planting, one can reduce the need for harmful herbicides and insecticides while supporting a healthy insect population in the garden.

Sharing land and resources will also help to create new notions of community or strengthen old ones.  Historically, neighbours have been there to support one another.  This program brings back an old custom, that in the last fifty years has slowly been dying.  Bringing people together through food, whether in production or feast has always made us closer.  It allows us to see what makes all of us similar, celebrate differences, celebrate nature and the bounty from earth that our hard work yields.   Most important, it breaks down barriers around race, status in life, family situations, economic status and knowledge.

Urban gardening is a must as we move further into the 21st century.  It will help to foster a strong, local secure food source.  It will allow us to act in an environmentally sustainable manner, growing and consuming in season.  Reducing demands on resources for food production and transportation.   Finally it will bring our families and communities closer: making life better for everyone!

Ecology Action Centre: http://www.ecologyaction.ca/content/food

Sharing Backyards: http://www.sharingbackyards.com/

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Elections should not be about giving corporations and organizations potential influence in exchange for financial donations.  I have made the choice to enter politics because I believe that we live in an amazing city and that our city is growing.  With the evolution and growth occurring in HRM, there is a need for fresh voices and perspectives.  For me, public service and being an elected official is about putting people first.  It is about being informed, engaged and part of the community you represent. It is not simply enough that a councillor be skilled at helping citizens navigate the city bureaucracy, we need councilors with a strong voice and a progressive, inclusive vision.  We need councilors who can take a stand, debate and make decisions in the best interest of the region as a whole.

Building healthy, sustainable communities and ensuring decisions are inclusive to even the most vulnerable section of society should be where our focus is.  I don’t feel an elected official can fully accomplish this if they accept financial contributions with strings attached.   Municipal politics is evolving and it is time to take a stand and work to break free from past perspectives.   This election is about embracing the change and evolution happening in our city: to foster healthy, sustainable communities with strong, inclusive leaders.

I pledge to Dartmouth Centre & HRM that:

  1. I will not accept campaign contributions from corporations
  2. I will not accept campaign contributions from development corporations
  3. I will not accept campaign contributions from organizations
  4. I will only accept campaign contributions from individuals
  5. I will disclose campaign donations throughout my campaign as they are received.

Corporations and organizations do not have the means to actually vote in this election.  In the past, some of these groups have tried to donate with expectations for future favours.  I do not agree with this practice, and I believe elected officials are there to represent citizens. 

With a fresh voice and a new perspective we can chart our course for today and our future.  Together, we can focus on sustainable, healthy communities. Together we can help make government work for the good of Dartmouth and HRM. A new day has come , let’s embrace it together.

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Our HRM Alliance

Our HRM Alliance

Our HRM Alliance is a collective of various groups within HRM. They want to make HRM a better place and hold regional council accountable.   They have proposed seven solutions.   I feel these are logical, and the direction we should be heading.  

 

I would like you the community to provide feed back as to your view!

We can all work together to make HRM a better, vibrant place.  HRM is growing, together we can embrace a fresh perspective.  Together, let’s move forward! Please vote in October.

 

 

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Councillor Dawn Sloane, recently sparked a debate in regards to exploring the possibility of banning plastic bags in HRM. This is an interesting issue, and it raises many questions.   Firstly, there are many other cities that have banned plastic bags: Los Angeles, Portland, Oregon, Toronto, Alberta’s Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo to name a few.

Other cities who have banned plastic bags are listed in this article: http://people.howstuffworks.com/how-many-cities-have-a-ban-on-plastic-bags.htm

Plastic bags are made from polyethylene, and can last in the environment for hundreds of years.  They fit nicely into our current consumer and consumption based society.  Currently, in HRM Pete’s Frootique charges 5 cents/bag and Quinpool Road Superstore is bag-less.  However, most people have countless cloth re-usable bags, and speaking from personal experience charging 5 cents/bag is truly not a deterrent to using plastic bags.  In Ireland for example, they began charging 15 cents/bag in 2002. Within five months, a 90% reduction in plastic bag use was recorded. Additionally, the money raised from the bag levy is used to fund environmental projects. While, I feel a bag tax may in the short-term address use however it is in my opinion a band-aid solution.  I agree with Lezile Lowe in that we need a cultural shift to consume less, and reduce the need to recycle these plastic bags.

I think we need to take it further and develop some long-term vision on environment at the municipal level. We need to systematically shift our perception of the relationship we share between humanity and the Earth.   There are strong collectives in HRM raising the alarm such as Our HRM Alliance.  We as a municipality need to seriously look at striking plans to invest in renewable energy, improved public transit/active transportation systems, water protection, urban farming, coastal protection.   Additionally, as noted by Our HRM Alliance I second their desire to have a master plan for Halifax Harbour. We want to move forward and be sustainable: we need to focus more of healthy communities in the sense of humans, flora and fauna.  In developing  HRM environment  policy we can evaluate past successful practice in other jurisdictions, which will save time and money as we would not have to re-invent the proverbial wheel.

We need strong encouragement and policy in HRM to foster smart, development that is sustainable on the social, environment and economic areas.

Referencing Articles:

http://www.openfile.ca/halifax/story/explainer-plastic-bag-ban-scare-2012

http://www.thechronicleherald.ca/opinion/107427-lowe-let-s-try-a-250-plastic-bag-tax

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/2205419.stm

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Crime & Gun Violence

 To begin controlling crime, I feel it is imperative that we address the root causes. In any area of HRM, crime levels are on peoples’ minds,within HRM, the root causes of individuals and groups to commit crime  that must be addressed are:

  • Poverty
  • Access to Education
  • Building healthy, engaged communities.

Reducing crime takes a multi-level approach, and while neighbourhood watches are good for getting “more eyes on the street”, I feel that is not the sole answer to address crime.  As Councillor for Dartmouth Centre, I want to make our community an awesome place just as much as I want to make our municipality a great place to live!  I am committed to achieve the following within my first year as your Councillor:

1.  Establish a Dartmouth Centre Community Association

  • The association would be tasked with helping to advise on how to improve community engagement, beautification and community based crime reduction.

2.  Liaison with citizens of Dartmouth Centre,  Halifax Regional Police, HRM Public Safety Office, and local poverty advocacy groups to table a plan built on community based crime reduction strategies, while addressing root causes that contribute to making communities unsafe/unhealthy.

3. Collaborate with all Dartmouth Councillors to create a joint Dartmouth Regional Advisory Board to address issues of crime, poverty reduction, and equitable communities.

4.  Establish a Dartmouth Centre Youth Advisory Committee.  Ensuring all voices are heard on public safety, crime prevention and equitable communities is crucial to move forward.

 

Public Transit

I am an advocate for a strong, healthy public transit service.  In a city of our size, it is imperative that we have an efficient transit system to move our citizens around in a timely manner.  Our city’s geography presents challenges in service delivery; however I feel we can deliver a better system than we currently have.

Firstly, I think that we need to do more to incorporate active transportation into our public transit vision.  That is to say, that we build on our existing active transportation initiatives and identify core areas that can act as hubs.  Promoting set areas in the city and providing or modifying existing infrastructure to allow active transportation and Metro Transit to work in tandem:

  • A connected bike lane network across the communities of Halifax, Bedford, Dartmouth, Sackville and Eastern Passage.
  • Explore implementing a car free street in downtown Halifax
  • An effort to connect and enhance walking trails across all of HRM.
  • Liaison with local advocates to re-think Metro Transit and base service on a bus-rapid transit model(BRT)
  • Protection and enhancement of existing greenways, and funds allocated to develop new greenways.

Government Transparency & Access

I believe government should be accessible to the people! I would foster my belief by

  • Putting citizens and their concerns first!
    • Monthly town hall meetings in our district of Dartmouth Centre
    • A weekly e-newsletter to highlight government business and district concerns and evens
    • Social Media Communication via Twitter: @BrynDartCentre, Facebook and my blog bryndartcentre.wordpress.com
    • District Profile on Halifax.ca’s site, current and up to date
    • Quarterly print newsletter mailed to citizens of Dartmouth Centre
    • Bi-weekly visits to district citizens that were unable to attend town hall meetings, i.e. nursing homes and other institutions.

Sustainability

We need to switch our focus, and not solely look at sustainability from an environmental perspective.  We need to consider sustainability as it is related to the environment, economic and social development.  As your councillor, I want to:

  • Support and encourage the revitalization of Downtown Dartmouth
  • Hold council accountable to the Downtown Dartmouth Secondary Planning Strategy
  • Support for and engagement of development projects that reverse city sprawl, create neighbourhoods to make our district and city more vibrant and community focused.
  • Invest in our youth via recreation, mentoring and skill development programs.
  • Advocacy for strong environment stewardship via education and action programs.

 

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We in Dartmouth, live in a wonderful community. Growing up in Dartmouth, I can remember the sense of pride our community had.   Today, I  believe we still have that sense of pride and love for Dartmouth.  Since amalgamation, we in Dartmouth Centre have been without a vision.    We have a great array of recreation, and pockets of progressive small business but we do not have a unifying vision.

In our downtown core, there is the beginnings of change.  Dartmouth Centre wants and needs change, we desire a progressive vision for the future.   There is a strong hope to have a more vibrant, strong, walkable community in Dartmouth.  Our downtown core is awakening after such a long period of status quo, however we need to bring business, citizens of Dartmouth Centre and community groups together to develop a long-term vision for our community.  Yes, there is the RP+5, HRM by Design, the Centre Plan, Dartmouth Cove but we need to support and help areas like Downtown Dartmouth.  Also, to actively take a stand in support of families, small business and the community that I love: Dartmouth.

As your Councillor for Dartmouth Centre I want to:

Support and Encourage the positive changes already happening in our district

Hold stakeholders accountable for Downtown Dartmouth Secondary Planning Strategy

Work to address issues around sustainable communities in terms of economic, social and environmental factors; fostering sustainable communities will benefit both Dartmouth Centre and HRM.

Support local business to do what they do best: creating jobs, diverse business districts & helping to foster community in a sustainable manner.

Engage and support the non-profit sector in their mandates of providing support to vulnerable members of our Dartmouth Centre & HRM.

 

I promise to represent you to the best of my ability, to make decisions that enable sustainable communities in Dartmouth Centre and HRM.  I will work tirelessly to address your concerns, and propositions for city government.  I will provide information to our district and provide a strong network for all citizens to share their voice.  The people of Dartmouth Centre and HRM will be my sole focus, and every decision we make, will be in the best interest of the citizens that voted me into office.

Together, we can move forward to create a new vision for Dartmouth Centre & HRM built on: Putting People First, Open Transparent Government, Sustainable Communities & A Fiscal Responsible Government.

 

October 6 – 18 E-Voting&Telephone : Vote Bryn for District Five-DartmouthCentre

October 20th – Paper Ballot: Vote Bryn for District Five-Dartmouth Centre

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My First Campaign Brochure

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