JULY 2015 -
Dear Mayor Savage and Councillors,
On Tuesday, Council will be asked to rescind a February 11, 2014 motion to commit to a $50 million program in funding for downtown streetscapes. That motion was contingent on the city receiving matching funds from both the Federal and Provincial levels of government. As you know, those matching funds will not be forthcoming.
A recommendation will be brought forward that will see the city continue on with its plan of placing $3.4 million/year for five years into a reserve for streetscaping and allow staff to access that money so identified projects can move forward.
The Spring Garden Area Business Association supports this recommendation and is asking that Council vote in favour of enhancing the beauty of our city.
Spring Garden Road has been identified as one the of top three areas slated to receive improvements and, while we had hoped funds could be secured for more extensive streetscaping than current reserves will allow, we are in agreement that something must be done immediately to improve the appearance of Spring Garden and the downtown.
As a Business Improvement District, we regularly field calls from potential new businesses, landlords and brokers all concerned with the appearance of Spring Garden. Some businesses have declined to move to our area because of the visible deterioration in our infrastructure. However, the recent boom in private sector investment is a clear indication of the confidence developers have in our city’s core. We urge all of Council to show that same confidence and vote to release the funds.
We would also encourage Council to see this vote as only the first step in what should be a larger plan to bring significant change to Spring Garden. With the opening of the new Central Library, the people of Halifax have had a glimpse of what could be – widened sidewalks, decorative lighting and the undergrounding of unsightly wires. We ask that Council send streetscaping back to staff to come up with a five year plan to address the larger needs of the area. We are looking forward to working with Council and staff to create a plan that incorporates all of our visions for the Spring Garden area.
We look forward to your support of the recommendation and to working with Council and staff to bring about positive change for our city.