Archive for August, 2012

Since July, while I have been going door to door across district 5, I have seen and heard people’s concerns and their true hope, nah their desire for change.   Tuesday evening, I had the true pleasure of knocking on the door, of my Grade Two teacher: Mr. Grant Maclean. I was part of the first class he taught, and 25 years later he still remembers me.  I remember him as well, not so much of lesson plans, but of how he engaged us as young learners and helped to foster our dreams.  However, tonight he shared something with me that really re-connected me to my youth.   It was two pictures, taken during grade two: one was three other students and I, holding up flip chart paper that said “Share”.   The second, was of the whole class, with us holding up a flip chart paper that said “Friendship”  These two pictures made me think of all the experiences I have been fortunate to have in my life.   These experiences have brought me to this point in my life and made me who I am today.

As, I thought about growing up and how I viewed the world and have come to view the world: I saw a clear, strong desire that I have always had: to always help people, and to speak loud and fight injustice/inequality.  As I was growing up my career aspirations began with veterinarian, marine biologist, nurse, professional musician and finally to what I did choose: a professional chef.  The common thread among all these occupations is that desire to help people, to listen, give them a voice and enrich their lives.    I look at the photos of myself from grade two, and I see the same smile and compassion in my eyes.   The selfless compassion to advocate  for what is right, to help raise all people to the same standard and above all else to ensure everyone is heard.

This innate compassion, collaboration and willingness to find solutions is alive and strong in me today.  I believe in looking out for people: all people.  That government is there for the people and by the people.   I will never shy away from what is the right thing to do.  As you councillor, I will stand up for residents, business, environment and work to do my best to ensure that our people’s interests are represented.  Dartmouth Centre, I will stand strong for our district and for our city.   We can do great things in our district and in our city, they do not have to be separate goals.

By putting people and our community first, and make good decisions we can end the stagnation we see in Halifax.  There is so much potential, together let’s embrace our bright, inclusive future.

Vote Bryn for Dartmouth Centre- District 5

People First, Always: Collaboration Communication Compassion

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Dear Friends,

September is almost upon us, and as many of prepare to send kids back to school and young adults ready to leave for university and college.. I ask everyone to pause and take a break with family on this last long weekend of the summer. Today marks 37 days until advance online and telephone polls open for Halifax’s municipal election 2012. This election is a turning point in our city’s recent history. Sixteen years ago, we all joined to become one city reaching far and wide. Halifax, we are a beautiful city made of diverse communities and people. People are our greatest resource, and we must re-focus local government to put people first always.

In Dartmouth Centre, people all across the district are telling me they feel disconnected from city government. They are tired of the fighting on council, and desire to elect people who will represent and stand up for Dartmouth, and help to enable and support a true vision for Halifax.
Dartmouth Centre, I am that person. I was born in Dartmouth, grew up here and I now with my fiance choose to call Halifax home. We have immense potential, and a wonderful energy that we can tap into. Together, we can enhance Dartmouth Centre and Halifax to make our community and city a better place to live, work and play.
However, I can not do this alone. Dartmouth Centre, I am asking for the honour of representing you on regional council. I ask for your vote in our October Elections. I ask if you believe in electing a person who will put people first, work to unite our whole district and help to foster a better sense of community: Vote Bryn.
Over the next 37 days, I ask for your support and help during the last leg of my campaign. If you are interested in volunteering on my campaign, hosting an event, wish to make a donation, or have a concern to discuss: Please contact me.

Dartmouth Centre, together we can improve our city by working together, talking more and having compassion for all people.

In October Vote Bryn Jones-Vaillancourt for councillor District 5 – Dartmouth Centre.
People first always: Collaboration Communication Compassion

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This election is about change, and making informed choices to help make our community an even better place to live, work and play.  My focus is on collaboration, communication, compassion and about putting people first always.  With that in mind, I don’t want to wait until after October 20th to truly start making a difference.   In this election, it is about choosing a councillor who will care about our city in their words and actions.  I am ready to a stand up for people and for the betterment of District 5 and our city, Halifax.

It is time that we, even as candidates make a stand, to be a leader and to encourage people to support our community and the amazing groups that support citizens all across Halifax.  There are so many groups that help members of our community, and I do not want to wait till after October 20th to show them that they have my support.

I believe in people taking care of each other and supporting our community.  In my bid for councillor of District 5, I asks that if you support my candidacy, to donate to one of the charities mentioned below in lieu of a lawn sign.  As a show of support, a donation of either time by volunteering or a cash donation between $5 and $25 to any of the organizations listed below:

  1. Alice Housing http://alicehousing.ca/
  1. United Way Halifax  http://www.unitedwayhalifax.ca/
  1. Stepping Stone http://www.steppingstonens.ca/
  1. Spay Day HRM http://spaydaynovascotia.wordpress.com/
  1. Feeding Others of Dartmouth (FOOD) – Margaret House
  1. Feed Nova Scotia http://www.feednovascotia.ca/
  1. YMCA of Greater Halifax/Dartmouth http://www.ymcahrm.ns.ca/
  1. Adsum House for Women & Children  http://www.adsumforwomen.org/
  1. Elizabeth Fry Society http://www.efrynovascotia.com/
  1. Bide-a-While Animal Shelter  http://www.bideawhile.org/
  1. Dress for Success Halifax http://www.dressforsuccess.org/affiliate.aspx?sisid=27&pageid=1
  1. Big Brother’s & Sisters of Greater Halifax http://www.bigbrothersbigsistershalifax.ca/en/Home/default.aspx
  1. Bryony House http://www.bryonyhouse.ca/
  1. LBGT Youth Project  http://www.youthproject.ns.ca/
  1. Nova Scotia Rainbow Action Project (NSRAP) http://nsrap.ca/
  1. Canadian Mental Health Association Halifax/Dartmouth Branch- Among Friends Social Club   http://haldart.cmha.ca/programs_services/among-friends-social-club/#.UDQsj6OKiKI
  1. Laing House  http://www.lainghouse.org/
  1. Immigration Settlement & Integration Services (ISIS) http://www.isisns.ca/
  1. Halifax Sexual Health Centre  http://www.halifaxsexualhealth.ca/
  1. Boys and Girls Club of Dartmouth
    http://www.bgcod.org/
  1. AIDS Coalition of Nova Scotia http://acns.ns.ca/
  1. Canadian Diabetes Association – Nova Scotia  http://www.diabetes.ca/get-involved/community-news/category/nova-scotia/
  1. Chebucto Community Net http://www.chebucto.ns.ca/
  1. Hope Cottage http://www.hopecottage.ca/
  1. Parker Street Food Bank  http://www.parkerstreet.org/

All of these groups do amazing work in our community, and to continue the work that they do they need support from all of us.  I want to inspire in everyone that even the smallest action, can create a huge, positive ripple effect. Let’s one kind act at a time, let the ripples build into a wave of positive, inclusive change in our city. We can do better Halifax and it starts right here with each of us.

Together let’s set a goal of having $5,000 in donations and 1000 volunteer hours to these groups by October 20,2012 To track the donations being made by our community, I only ask that you email me or call to let me know the amount donated and to what group.

The above groups have no official affiliation with me, and I have selected them based on the good work I feel they do in the community.

Let’s get it started and Vote It Forward!

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Today regional council will meet, with one of the items to consider being whether to reduce ferry service in HRM.   I have included the staff report, HRM staff recommendation is to:

‘It is recommended that Halifax Regional Council implement the Ferry service reductions
effective August 27, 2012, as per the Metro Transit 2012-13 Annual Service Plan approved by
Regional Council on April 3, 2012.”– Metro Transit Ferry Service Recommendation from HRM Staff

Their recommendation is not one that I support.  While, I applaud some re-alignments Metro Transit is making to service delivery effective August 27, namely their creation of a Portland Street corridor.   I do not support, the in my opinion short-sighted requested reductions to harbour ferry service.

Firstly, we need to realize and value the marine component of our public transit service delivery.  Public transit should be about providing people options, options to move people from point ‘a’ to ‘b’ in an efficient, timely manner.  Approving the reductions in ferry service, is removing people’s options and an a minor scale helping to decrease the efficiency and reliability of the whole service.

With the reality that our city wants to, and in my opinion should focus development in the regional centre and other identified growth centres, I feel it is crucial to have a public transit system that is integrated, diverse in service options and efficient.  Downtown Dartmouth and Woodside are both in a period of re-birth: with new residential and commercial developments.   A diverse, integrated public transit system will be required to move our citizens in an efficient, sustainable way.   Add to that the projected growth that we will experience in peninsular Halifax and Eastern Passage, it is necessary to maintain the current public marine service; while we explore ways to grow the marine component of our public transit. Also, I find lacking in the HRM staff report the mention of the impact of the 2015 closure of bike and pedestrian lanes on the MacDonald Bridge.   The closure of these two active transportation links between Halifax/Dartmouth will add stress to regional core.   It will add stress in terms of how people move from point ‘a’ to ‘b’, and  has the potential to

  • increase the number of cars on the road or
  • increase ridership on peak runs of main bus routes already close to or at capacity.

The proposed peak service reduction of the Woodside ferry and daytime reductions at Alderney would only add to stress on transit while those two lanes of the MacDonald bridge were closed.

Ferry reduction is not simply a Dartmouth issue, this is and should be an issue that concerns all residents of HRM.  If ferry reduction happens, it will be added to the list of decisions that have been made by regional council that are clearly favouring car centric transportation.  I am not suggesting we should never drive our cars, however we need a cultural shift and policy shift to have true options outside of solely driving.  Equally important is to think of if the reductions do happen, those savings will be utilized elsewhere within Metro Transit (as they should be), but I believe that once cut it would be difficult to bring back full service as the capital would have been redistributed.

In today’s decision council should consider the following:

  • Let’s begin to truly value and respect the benefit the marine component of our public transit system.
  • Think long-term not short-term: Our regional core is being reborn, re-visioned and people are moving back into the city.  We need to provide transportation alternatives to citizens, and it should be a variety of public transportation options.
  • Economic impact: Reducing the link that connect both downtown areas in our regional core is bad for business.  Business needs customers on their front doors, the ferry can help bring people to those front doors.
  • It’s due time, as a collective regional council that it breaks away from this car centric policy.  We can no longer govern with models from the 1960s and 70s, and I feel that if council approves the staff recommendation it will be a step backward for our region’s sustainability.

What can we do to realize the value of the marine component of our public transit model:

  • Establish a marine corridor that maintains and enhances Alderney service.
    Increase service for Woodside ferry to meet the growing demands of Woodside, NSCC Waterfront Campus, Eastern Passage and the commercial area of Dartmouth Gate (just before Highway 111)
  • Properly integrate ferry service with bus service on the Portland St corridor, so at Alderney we can provide a more efficient transfer service.
  • Explore the possibilities of ferry service from Bedford to Downtown Halifax.
    From Eastern Passage to Downtown Halifax
  • Examine the demand and viability of commercial water taxis

Below is the staff report regarding ferry reduction.

https://www.halifax.ca/council/agendasc/documents/120807ca1119.PDF

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Halifax News Net Article on Dartmouth Centre Race

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After sixteen years of being unified as HRM, we as a municipal government are still following economic models and strategies that do not fit.  Continually, we are adopting a hands-off approach and allowing urban sprawl to hollow out our regional centre.  Property taxes are being used to finance to uncontrolled, unsustainable growth of our region.  To move our city forward, I feel we need to focus on social, economic and environmental sustainability.  To continue to be a driving economic centre, we need to unify our region, direct development to identified growth centres and most importantly follow the policies outlined in HRM by Design and RP+5.   In Dartmouth Centre, as part of the regional centre we have witnessed how our downtown and both sides of the harbour have been affected by a combination of poor government policy and changing consumer trends.  We have empty store fronts, empty lots, loss of tax revenue, and lack of investment on infrastructure. We need to invest in growth centres and municipal infrastructure, and invest in our people.  To support our economy we need to invest in the mosaic that is our community by better funding for recreational programming and arts/culture programming.  It is time in HRM, that we listen to all people’s concerns and suggestions on economic sustainability.   We have the expertise and solutions in our community, it is simply a matter of actually involving people and listen.  Furthermore, HRM needs to start looking at best practices from other jurisdictions so that we do not re-invent the wheel.

To put Dartmouth Centre and HRM people first and maintain and grow our economy, we need to:

  1. Do not reduce ferry service at Alderney Landing. This is counter to the growth we want to encourage in the regional core.  If we seek to have density in our regional centre, it is imperative we can move residents around our city in an efficient way.  Maintaining and enhancing both the Alderney and Woodside ferries.  If we are to grow we need to have an efficient, quick and reliable integrated public transit system: bus, ferry and active transportation routes.
  2. Hold HRM Council and HRM Staff accountable to abide by HRM by Design and RP+5 policies.
  3. Focus development in regional centre ( Dartmouth Centre and peninsular Halifax) and other identified priority centres. Urban sprawl is unsustainable, and funnels tax dollars out of areas where development needs to be focused and infrastructure made a priority. To grow our district and region, we need to abide by HRM by Design and RP+5.  Our city is evolving, we need to grow sustainably.  We need to grow in a way that will revitalize Dartmouth Centre while respecting our residents and neighbourhood characters.
  4. Fair taxes: Examine current residential and commercial tax rates. Find tax solutions that are fair for both residential and commercial rate payers.  Tax rates that support business and sustainable development
  5. Invest in Arts & Culture to a dollar value that is comparable and fiscal responsible to other cities of similar sizes to HRM
  6. Invest in Youth access to recreation and skill building programs.  Engaged HRM, private business and the province to help provide programs that are free or ‘pay what you can’.
  7. Support non-profit groups in community that provide services to at risk and/or under-represented members of our community.

Finally, our region is the largest city in Atlantic Canada.  HRM is a strong driving force for our region, and our policies should reflect the positive economic impact our city has in Atlantic Canada.   To be a leader and to move HRM forward we should be proactive, not reactive, and have the fortitude the put policies in places that enable a long-term vision.   A vision that goes beyond a mere four-year mandate.  We have been a leader and example on waste diversion.  HRM can be an example once again, and we can do this by addressing an important issus: energy security.    It is time that we as HRM bring together our community, Nova Scotia Power, provincial government and other stakeholders to develop an energy policy for HRM.   A policy that focuses on strong renewable and sustainable energy generation.  We are blessed with many natural forces within HRM that we can harness to help power our city.   From solar, wind, hydro to co-generation models, we can help sustain our cities, create jobs, have a secure, clean source of energy and connect our community like never before.   Other cities across the world and even within Canada have such policies.  Dartmouth Centre and HRM, we can move forward together to guide our city where people are the priority and our region has vision to be economically, socially and environmentally sustainable.

Together, let’s get started.   Collaboration. Communication. Compassion   In October 2012 Vote Bryn Jones-Vaillancourt for Dartmouth Centre.

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