Highland Park Ratepayers Association

Highland Park, Hammonds Plains, Nova Scotia


2022 Virtual AGM

Our Annual General Meeting takes place in the spring of each year and community participation is always encouraged and welcomed. It is your opportunity to meet the volunteers of the Highland Park Ratepayers Association, and discuss any community related topic in a respectful and open environment. If you have any questions, concerns, or suggestions, please feel free to contact us anytime.

2022 Highland Park AGM

March 30, 2022
7:00 p.m.
Virtual Meeting via Zoom

In Attendance

Marion Gillespie (Chairperson)
Jenny Saulnier (Co-Chair and Events Organizer)
Jo Anne Worden (Communications)
Pamela Craig (Treasurer)
Dawn Marsters Ryan (Events Organizer)
Pamela Lovelace (Deputy Mayor and Councillor for District 13)
Cathy Baker representing Ben Jessome (MLA for Hammonds Plains-Lucasville)
Residents of Highland Park Subdivision
Tricia Murray-d’Eon (Secretary)

Call to Order (Marion Gillespie)

The meeting was called to order by Marion Gillespie at 7:00 p.m.

A resident in attendance put forth a land acknowledgement.

Welcome (Marion Gillespie)

Marion welcomed everyone to our second virtual AGM and discussed the role of the Ratepayers Association.

The role of the RA is to bring together residents of Highland Park Subdivision in the spirit of community betterment, and to organize resident volunteers in a body dedicated to the advancement and development of the community.

The RA volunteers represent Highland Park residents at council meetings, present concerns to various levels of government, and provide project support on projects initiated within the community.

Anyone interested in joining the Highland Park RA is invited to reach out to us for volunteer opportunities. There is no significant time commitment required.

All residents are welcome to provide feedback or offer suggestions for community events and improvements. There are limited volunteers in the RA, so anyone with project ideas that is interested in spearheading the project will have our full support.

Marion introduced the members of the Highland Park Ratepayers Association:

  • Marion Gillespie (Chairperson)
  • Jenny Saulnier (Co-Chair and Events Organizer)
  • Jo Anne Worden (Communications)
  • Pamela Craig (Treasurer)
  • Dawn Marsters Ryan (Events Organizer)
  • Tricia Murray-d’Eon (Secretary)

Timberlane Terrace Park Trail Update (Tricia Murray-d’Eon)

Trail Repairs

HRM repaired the trail near the Grant Line Trail and tennis courts where it had suffered water damage from severe weather. New culverts have been installed to redirect the water to mitigate this issue moving forward.

We invite Highland Park residents to take the cut trees, stumps, branches along the sides of the Timberlane Trail for personal use. The previous plan to chip the existing brush was deemed too expensive. We remind residents that no motorized vehicles or heavy equipment is permitted in the property.

Future possibilities

We have been in discussion with our HRM Park Planners about the feasibility of creating informal footpaths/secondary trails off the main trail in Timberlane Terrace Park.

We are currently waiting for a conceptual design and cost estimate from an HRM-designated trail consultant (Note: the consultant is a requirement for HRM to allow this construction.)

When we receive this information, we will reach out to the residents of Highland Park to decide if we want to proceed. At that time, we will request a group of community volunteers to work with our trail consultant to create these secondary trails using hand tools and small equipment.

Anyone interested in volunteering if/when we proceed with this plan is invited to contact the Highland Park RA.

Due to cost and budget constraints and deep concerns voiced by neighbouring property owners, we are not moving forward with plans to add gravel and water mitigation measures to the Old Grant Line Trail from Timberlane Terrace through to Hummingbird Lane. It will remain a rustic secondary trail.

Please remember to pack out any litter, dog poop, etc. when using the parks and trails.

Social Media and Website Update

The Highland Park RA group was recently created for a more secure way to communicate between RA Board of Directors, volunteers, and residents. Moving forward all information will be shared in this group. The Highland Park RA page may be retired eventually but will remain active for now.

Residents are invited to send in their community photos of wildlife, nature, or special events to be uploaded to the website and RA Facebook group.

The AGM Minutes and Financials will be uploaded to the website after the minutes are approved.

Budget (Pamela Craig)

Pamela reviewed the Highland Park Ratepayers Association financial statements). There is currently a surplus, due to COVID-19, as we were unable to host our usual annual community events in 2021.

The RA has $14,855 in the bank at end of fiscal year 2021. We have slightly more in annual funds than anticipated, at approximately $10,000. This is likely due to either taxes raised or new development as more homeowners are contributing to the area rate.

The 2021 RA expenses included the Movie Night expenditure of $1800, and our administrative business expenses including the website, bank fees, and registry of joint stocks. The net change in assets: we took in 8000 overall. We started year with $47, 000 and ended the year with $55,000.

Currently, there is $66,000 in our HRM trust account for Timberlane Terrace Park modifications and/or upgrades.

HRM is no longer holding our RA funds in trust; they deposit it annually now, which gives us more timely access to those funds.

The forecast for 2022 includes $10,600 in contributions; the TTP funds allocated and planned for use in park updates; we increased our social functions budget due to loosening covid restrictions; and our standard annual administrative operating costs.

Two residents are requested to approve the budget to comply with HRM requirements. Dawn George (resident) made a Motion to accept the budget. The Motion was Seconded by Jana Buchanan (resident).

Highland Park Year in Review

Upcoming Family Events (Jenny Saulnier)

We will host the Timberlane Terrace Park Opening Ceremony with rock-painting activities for kids to add to the trail, bubbles, and chalk near the tennis courts on Sylvania Terrace. It is long overdue to celebrate all the hard work the RA team took on to make this trail happen. It was a lot of legwork over years, and it needs to be celebrated.

We are tentatively planning our annual Outdoor movie night and Family Fun Day to take be held on one day this year in September. This may change if any covid restrictions on outdoor gatherings are imposed as it is hard to control attendee numbers for these events. Younger kids usually do not attend the movie night, so this will be a day for all ages.

The funds allocated for these activities are estimates only. We increased our available activity funds this year as we have had limited activities for last two years.

The Family Movie Night is approximately $1800. The production company must be approved through HRM. They will be bringing a food truck as well.

Many of the usual vendors for our Family Fun Day have closed recently unfortunately, so we are looking for new vendors. As our previous vendors gave us good rates as loyal customers, we allocated extra funds in consideration of this.

A resident voiced their interest in how to support our local businesses and services after covid in relation to our community events and vendors.

Jenny responded we always try to integrate local businesses where we are able. We could consider a vendors’ section at our Family Fun Day event – it would be welcomed. The vendors would be responsible for their tables and individual setup/teardown [and all required permits].

ACTION: We will research HRM bylaws to see if vendors are allowed to sell and advertise businesses in a community event like this, and what licenses or permits are required. We will let the community know once we have more information on the feasibility.

The resident voiced interest in using any remaining funds from our $5000 community events budget to support local businesses, such as the local yoga studio. The resident volunteered to assist if we go forward. Jenny invited the resident to continue the discussion offline.

Marion acknowledged a family yoga event would be fun. All RA members agreed it is a good idea and worth investigating further.

ACTION: We will research the logistics and cost feasibility of a family yoga event for this fiscal year as one of our community events.

Community Improvement Events (Dawn Marsters Ryan)

The Annual Spring Clean Up will take place by the end of April or early May. Last year was not a great turn out, so we are hoping for more volunteers this year. The RA and community volunteers will clean up the public spaces including the parks, mailboxes, and trails). Residents who are unavailable to attend are encouraged to clean up their local area ditches and streets. All supplies (including gloves and bags) will be provided by HRM. Kids are welcome and encouraged to participate.

We are planning a spring and fall yard sale again this year. We try and coordinate these events with the HRM curbside giveaway events so any items that are not sold in your yard sale can be left at the curb for the giveaway event. Once dates are released by HRM we will plan our yard sale dates. The event will be communicated to the residents via social media and the website.

Provincial Matters (Cathy Baker on behalf of Honourable Ben Jessome, MLA for Hammonds Plains/Lucasville)

Ben Jessome sends his regrets as he is unable to join us this year due to the House sitting currently underway. His Executive Assistant and Highland Park Resident, Ms. Cathy Baker, will provide us with Ben’s update. Cathy was formerly an RA member for several years.

Rockcliffe Extension

A discussion took place between Cathy and Pam Lovelace over whether the land had already been sent over from the province to HRM. Pam confirmed it is not part of the land transfer: it had to happen outside of the land transfer because the land survey was in question. Once the survey is approved and agreed upon by HRM and the province, then it will be transferred over. It is in process currently outside of the land transfer agreement.

Cathy stated the process been held up because the land wasn’t applied for through the proper channels. It was supposed to go through the mayor or the HRM chief engineer [Chief Engineer, Brad Anguish, and the Deputy Minister correction by Pam]. Marion acknowledged that we are all thankful it is moving forward now.

The West Bedford School (Broad Street School)

The Broad St. school is delaying its opening from Sept 2022 to Sept 2023. Ben has been after them for over a year to do the boundary review so we can get an idea of what will be affected. Ben has a meeting set in May to discuss the overcrowding of schools in our district. We are not hopeful that Broad St will improve our problems with overcrowding in our area schools. Kingswood Elementary may see some impact, but the rest of our schools will not likely be impacted.

COVID-19 Rapid Test Kits

There are COVID Rapid Test kits available in Ben’s Constituency Office to be distributed to residents on an ongoing basis while supplies are available. Families are invited to pick up one (1) box of five (5) tests for pickup. Please arrange pickup in advance by email or call at the office (details provided in Annex A).

Provincial Grants

There is a detailed list of available Provincial Grants here. A number are starting April 1.

A federal grant is available by the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA). It was supposed to close a while ago, but they still have available funding, and are encouraging applications. Projects that do not align perfectly with the guidelines are invited to apply and all requests will be considered as they have some flexibility with the adherence requirements. Staff is available to assist with preparing the application and answer questions. The grant is designed to improve indoor or outdoor community spaces.

Municipal Matters (Pamela Lovelace, Deputy Mayor and District 13 Councillor)

Pam Lovelace thanked everyone for the opportunity to be here. She thanked the resident who offered the land acknowledgement in the beginning of the meeting. We are trying to implement this more often, and it is important we recognize we are all treaty people.

Rockcliffe Extension

Pam discussed the PIDs and boundaries of the proposed Rockcliffe Extension project. When HRM was amalgamated, the assumption was the Right of Ways around these boundaries would be transferred over eventually to HRM. The Chief Engineer and the Deputy Minister work through these land transfers that are outside of the 2022 Road transfers. There are no clear survey lines which has caused confusion over boundary lines with other property owners. Once the survey is completed and agreed upon, the land will be passed over to HRM. Where Rockcliffe Crescent intersects with Hammonds Plains Rd, the road will be extended through to Grant Line Rd and connect to Sylvania Terrace. This connection will become the second exit to Highland Park Subdivision.

During fiscal year 2022/23 HRM is doing a preliminary design to determine road width, ditch plan, and a cost estimate analysis. Once that is completed and agreed upon, a Request for Proposal (RFP) will be initiated. This process could take up to two years, but the goal is for construction to take place in 2024 for completion before 2025. This could be fast-tracked if more housing is developed in the Grant Line Road area. Connecting the extension to Grant Line Rd may cause delays as this intersection needs to be re-engineered, paved, and stormwater mitigation infrastructure developed.

Grant Line Road has recently been cleared for development making this second exit even more important. A church is looking to build in this land, which would require a large parking lot and considerable traffic.

Traffic Calming

In recent weeks, there have been radars (tall silver rods) installed on the sides of Hammonds Plains Rd from Larry Uteck up to the 60 km/hr zone at Haliburton Subdivision and Westwood Blvd. They measure traffic volume, speed, and congestion on Hammonds Plains Rd. This surveying is being done because something needs to be done about the 80 km/hr speed limit at the Northwood and Rockcliffe entrances to Highland Park. There is a new traffic authority manager who has a fresh perspective on this issue, where previously it was not considered an option as it is a traffic corridor.

In recent discussions with RCMP and 311, each have noticed a clear reduction in the number of calls reporting speeding they receive in residential streets with traffic calming.

Pam noted we continue to see a rise in excessive speeding and stunting. She is working with RCMP to find a strategy that works for rural areas. Violations and charges are increasing on the highways by people driving excessive dangerous speeds. The focus is on behaviour, education, and enforcement. The HRM has requested changes to the Motor Vehicle Act (MVA) to use photo radar systems and install additional red-light cameras as more immediate enforcement tools, in recognition that RCMP and Municipal police cannot be everywhere at all times. The province is making those changes to be implemented in the next few years.

HRCE Pathway and MSMS Crosswalk

HRM and HRCE started a traffic priority committee for school zones last year. MSMS and Kingswood schools were on the list. The plan was to identify changes with HRCE to permit a crosswalk to be developed. The committee identified a designated pathway for students to get to the crosswalk from the school, but HRM and municipal taxpayers will not fund provincial property. The Department of Education identified capital budgets for this crosswalk at MSMS in the budget for this year. We are not sure of the timeline yet, or if it will be constructed by the start of the school year in September.

District boundary review

Boundary reviews and/or changes are implemented every twelve (12) years. HRM consults the communities to determine their needs and preferences. It is an opportunity to have a say in what district we will be in, and if we want more or fewer councillors representing us. Pam will provide the more information on social media and in her newsletter as it becomes available.

The Hammonds Plains Community Boundary Review committee is working to determine where the boundary is in Highland Park to initiate the process for a community plan to help determine the land use by-law. This is important because we do not want heavy commercial development on Hammonds Plains Rd intermixed with residential properties. We have the opportunity now to plan for the next 20-30 years and intentionally build a main street for commercial development.

HRM Boards and Community Recruitment

We are requesting community members to step up and volunteer for one of the approximately 24 committees or boards in the community and/or HRM. More detailed information is available at halifax.ca/serve. You can get engaged and learn about how the municipality works and how we make decisions. Pam welcomes anyone with questions to contact her for more detail and information.

Infrastructure Projects

Pam is working on the list of residents’ requests for more infrastructure projects and recreation opportunities; more fire stations, a 24-hour station, and more firefighters. The new fire station is going into the Bens Building off HP Rd. This will take pressure off the volunteer fire stations.

The Blue Water Rd and Hammonds Plains Rd. flooding that occurs 1-2 times per year is being addressed: the funding has been provided to raise the HP Rd to install huge culverts to allow passage of stormwater, and re-engineer the intersection at Blue Water Rd. This culvert installation will take place at the same time as the provincial development at Larry Uteck and Sandy Lake.

There will be approximately 2000 new housing units developed in the Larry Uteck area, leading to more traffic and more congestion. The roundabouts at Larry Uteck are almost completed to help the traffic flow, and the park and ride in West Bedford will help mitigate these traffic concerns.

The Lucasville intersection is being considered for reengineering, to accommodate bus service on Lucasville Rd. The proposed changes will likely be either a roundabout or a wider intersection.

The oldest church from Bedford to St. Margaret’s Bay is the Anglican Church is going through a Heritage designation process. The congregation is working with HRM and the heritage planners to ensure the building remains. Having heritage status will provide much needed funding for roofing, windows, and whatever other renovations are needed. This church will likely need to be moved closer to the cemetery to accommodate the Lucasville intersection development.

Pam is working to increase the bus frequency of #433 to service Hammonds Plains Rd. A resident commented that 433 service is very poor due to timings (due to weather or traffic) or missed connections. The resident hopes for improved transit service along HP Rd, especially for students in the area.

Pam commented there is a lot going on regarding infrastructure projects and the provincial government’s mandate to fast-track development is leading to skirting of HRM processes.

A policing review is underway to determine how Halifax Regional Police (HRP) and RCMP are serving District 13. HRP currently stops at Larry Uteck. The review will determine whether a boundary change is required for HRP to reach further into Hammonds Plains.

Pam invited everyone to reach out to her anytime there are questions. She has lots of available staff to help us find the answers if they don’t already have the information. The newsletter has a lot of information, as well as social media.

Round Table

Marion opened the floor to questions and comments from the residents.

In response to questions about the sharing of the audio file of this meeting, we have decided, for privacy reasons, we will not be sharing the audio recording via our website. The minutes have been carefully written and provide a detailed record of the discussion. If anyone has any concerns, please feel free to contact us either on social media or by email.


Marion thanked everyone for participating in our 2022 Annual General Meeting.

The meeting Adjourned at 8:07 p.m.