Last week, as you may remember, I reviewed our municipality’s achievements during my time as mayor. These accomplishments have given our community a firm foundation - a springboard, if you like – for the future where many more exciting opportunities and challenges await us. Let’s take a look at some of them.
· The Cogswell Interchange is a good place to start. These 16 acres of asphalt and concrete should be removed to make way for a bold mix of public and private developments. This would be an ideal site for an integrated, intermodal transportation terminal; a new Metro Centre, (if and when one is needed); high-rise commercial and residential towers; bike paths plus lots of green spaces for everyone downtown to enjoy.
· I anticipate we will become one of Canada’s top conference centres, thanks to the major convention facilities that will anchor the dynamic Nova Centre in the heart of our lively downtown.
· HRM needs to become a leader in rapid transit, with strategies like reversing traffic lanes incorporated into all main thoroughfares. As well, an efficient commuter rail/expanded-ferry service could be a reality, taking citizens to and from the Core from the suburbs and beyond.
· A year-round, multi-purpose stadium located in Shannon Park should become a priority, given that polls suggest 60% of residents surveyed are in favour of HRM building one. (Can a CFL franchise be far behind?!)
· We can become the most bike-friendly place in Atlantic Canada by incorporating more bike lanes into our transportation plans, not just for our streets but also for the growing network of recreation trails which criss-cross the urban area.
· We should welcome the anticipated Canada-European Union trade agreement because of the many economic benefits for our area, not least being the increased container traffic that would flow to the Port of Halifax. In addition, we should continue to lobby to become the prime gateway for the anticipated huge volume of U.S.-bound trade originating in Asia.
· We can become home port for several cruise lines, thanks to our central location between the huge New England cruise market and destinations like Quebec and eventually, (due to global warming), an ice-free Northwest Passage.
· Major investments by the private sector and the educational community have put HRM on track to become an international leader in advanced medical research. We are poised to be a Global Centre of Excellence for ocean research through the efforts of Dalhousie University and the BIO. In addition, as a result of the $25-billion federal shipbuilding contract, we will become recognized world-wide as a hub of advanced marine engineering.
In my opinion, all of these “visions” can be achieved because our foundation is strong. We are a smart, energetic community, respectful of our past and mindful of our future and the promises it brings. Above all, we should continue to nurture all the qualities that make us who we are, namely a hard-working, welcoming community full of friendly, hospitable citizens. Let it always be true to say that, “when you’re here, you really are home! “
I welcome your feedback. Please contact me at email@example.com or phone 490-4010.