Peter J. Kelly

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Peter J. Kelly
2nd Mayor of the Halifax Regional Municipality
In office
Preceded by Walter Fitzgerald
Succeeded by Mike Savage
4th Mayor of Bedford
In office
Preceded by Peter G. Christie
Succeeded by Amalgamated
Personal details
Born Halifax, Nova Scotia

Peter J. Kelly is the former mayor of the Halifax Regional Municipality, Nova Scotia. Kelly was elected to Bedford town council in 1985, then became mayor in 1991. In 1995, in the newly amalgamated HRM, he was elected councillor for Bedford, Nova Scotia.

Kelly was the second mayor of HRM, serving in this capacity after having defeated the incumbent, Walter Fitzgerald, in 2000.[1] He was re-elected in 2004[2] and 2008.[3]


He holds a Diploma in Hospitality Management from the Nova Scotia Community College and a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from Saint Mary's University. He has held administrative and managerial positions in private industry and government since 1980.

Career as Mayor[edit]


During Kelly's time as Mayor, the region installed a large and long-delayed sewage treatment system known as Halifax Harbour Solutions which came into operation in 2008, broke down and was restored in 2010. The city has an attracted several large profile national events such as the 2011 Canada Winter Games and some international events such as Tall Ships Visits. A popular outcome of the Canada Winter Games was the conversion of the temporary speed skating oval into a permanent facility for speed skating and outdoor public skating. In 2007, Kelly withdrew Halifax's bid for the 2014 Commonwealth Games over concerns about the rapidly escalating costs of the games.[4]

Kelly has overseen a new regional development plan and an urban development plan for Downtown Halifax known as "Halifax By Design". In November 2011, the city approved and began a long-delayed construction of a new central public library. Peter Kelly pushed for an expansion of a community center in the nation's largest African Canadian community of North Preston.[5] Along with the community center in North Preston, Kelly's administration saw the construction of seven fire halls, five recreational complexes, the World Trade and Convention Centre. Also, he saw the construction of the Halifax Central Library.[6]

Kelly was the first and only mayor to apologize for the razing of Africville, backing it up was a $5 million reparation plan for the black community, of which $3 million was paid by the city. In 2011 a commemorative church and interpretive centre was constructed as part of, what is now called the Africville Apology. [7] [8]

During Kelly's term in office, he pushed for infrastructure growth by the removal of the Cogswell Interchange. Originally constructed in 1970 to be part of a highway that was never completed, it has been called "the road to nowhere" by local residents, and served very little practical use. Kelly had numerous reports conducted as mayor, and began the first phase in revitalization. The demolition which is scheduled to begin in 2015 will free 16 acres of land in downtown Halifax.[9] [10]

Kelly has been the longest serving mayor of Halifax, being elected in 2000 then re-elected in 2004 and 2008. On February 22, 2012, Kelly announced he would not be running in the fall 2012 mayoral race, citing personal reasons as the cause.[11]


Kelly was criticized for the failure of the city's Harbour Solutions sewage treatment plant which has faced delays and breakdowns.[12]

Another criticism followed a $400,000 loan of public money for a Black Eyed Peas concert in 2010 which was not approved by HRM council or reviewed by the city's legal department. The loan was not repaid when the promoter went out of business.[13] In what became known in Halifax as the "commons concert scandal",[14] the region's Auditor General found serious problems with the decision-making process and book-keeping for the concert loan to Power Promotional Events.[15] The city was eventually able to recover much of the loan but is still owed approximately $359,550 from the deal.

Kelly is also criticized for his performance as the executor of the will of 91-year-old Mary Thibeault. Kelly was appointed as executor by Nova Scotia's probate court as requested in Thibeault's will. He was one of 18 heirs to the estate of about half a million dollars. The heirs which included several elderly people and charities waited eight years for the estate to be resolved, a process that usually takes 18 months.[16] The matter has since been settled and resolved[17] after Kelly stepped down as Thibeault’s executor.[18]

Kelly's role in the eviction of the NS Occupy Protests on Remembrance Day 2011 has caused controversy. Occupy protesters agreed to temporarily move out of Halifax's Grand Parade for the Remembrance Day ceremony and shifted their camp to Victoria Park. Though Kelly stated that he supported and respected the cooperation of protesters, offering an alternative location for the protest camp, but also supported the eviction and arrest of 14 protesters just minutes after the close of the Remembrance Day ceremonies.[19][20] The eviction was approved by HRM council in a closed-door meeting chaired by Kelly on November 8. The decision to evict the protesters on a holiday weekend cost Halifax taxpayers an extra $106,000 in overtime costs.[21] In response to charges that the city betrayed the trust of an agreement between the city, veterans and Occupy NS, Kelly stated that the decision was up to council and the eviction was an operational police matter.[22]

Personal life[edit]

Peter Kelly is separated from Nancy Kelly, and together they have two sons. [23]

Peter Kelly has a third son from a previous relationship. [24]


  1. ^ Simpson, Jeffrey, "Kelly romps in HRM." Halifax-Chronicle Herald, October 22, 2000.
  2. ^ Pugsley-Fraser, Amy, "Kelly wins in landslide." Halifax-Chronicle Herald, October 17, 2004.
  3. ^ "Kelly wins 3rd term as Halifax mayor". CBC News, October 19, 2008.
  4. ^ "Halifax Drops out of Commonwealth Games", CBC News, March 8, 2007.
  5. ^ Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM). "North Preston Community Centre Expansion Project". Archived from the original on March 13, 2013. 
  6. ^ Ruth Davenport (November 6, 2012). "Peter Kelly hoping to be remembered as a ‘mayor of the people’". Metro. 
  7. ^ "Halifax apologizes for razing Africville". CBC News, February 24, 2010.
  8. ^ Michael MacDonald (25 February 2010). "Halifax mayor apologizes to Africville residents". 
  9. ^ Geordon Omand (February 12, 2014). "Halifax inches closer to demolition of Cogswell Interchange". Metro. 
  10. ^ "Next step taken in Cogswell Interchange redevelopment". News957. Oct 13, 2012. 
  11. ^ "Mayor Kelly not seeking re-election", CBC News, February 22, 2012.
  12. ^ "Halifax mayor takes 'full responsibility' [sic] for sewage treatment failure". CBC News, June 19, 2009.
  13. ^ "Kelly staying, Anstey leaving". The Chronicle Herald, March 16, 2011. Retrieved March 22, 2011. (Subscription Required)
  14. ^ "Concert report slams Peter Kelly, Wayne Anstey, Fred MacGillivray and Scott Ferguson". The Coast, June 8, 2011.
  15. ^
  16. ^ "A trust betrayed: Peter Kelly and the estate of Mary Thibeault". The Coast, February 16, 2012.
  17. ^ "Kelly settles with Thibeault heirs". The Chronicle Herald, March 11, 2013.
  18. ^ Peter Kelly no-shows at court, agrees to step down as executor of woman’s estate, The Metro, September 18, 2012
  19. ^ "Occupy protesters to move for Remembrance Day". CBC News, October 31, 2011.
  20. ^ "Occupy N.S. protesters plan next move after eviction". CBC News, November 11, 2011.
  21. ^ "More than $100K Spent to Evict Occupy NS", Global Maritimes, November 15, 2011.
  22. ^ "Interview with Mayor Peter Kelly on Occupy eviction". The Chronicle Herald, November 11, 2011.
  23. ^ Retrieved October 27, 2012.  Missing or empty |title= (help)[dead link]
  24. ^ Jon Tattrie (March 3, 2014). "Peter Kelly slows down". 

External links[edit]