1. Ward 5 kitchen closed
The Ward 5 Neighbourhood Centre has been providing meals for hungry people in the north end for 36 years, but has never had a food establishment permit. How could that not occur to anyone? Well, the province finally caught up with the lapse and has closed down the kitchen, reports CTV. The result is that many of the 50 children who have been served breakfast every morning and an unreported number of seniors who get lunch will now go without. The Centre says bringing the kitchen into compliance will cost about $8,000, which they don’t have.
In other restaurant closure news, 902 Pizza on Main Street in Dartmouth was shut down last week because rats were running around the place.
2. Council meeting
Later today I’ll publish a recap of yesterday’s meeting of Halifax council.
3. What’s up with the Seahorse?
Last weekend, a friend who is in a position to know told me that Victor Syperek, owner of the Seahorse Tavern, is going to move the Seahorse into the Hell’s Kitchen space he owns beneath the Marquee. But “talking to some dude at the bar” isn’t enough factual basis for a news story, so I just filed the conversation away as a rumour, to be researched later.
And last week Syperek himself told Chronicle Herald reporter Brett Bundale that he “could” move the Seahorse, but Bundale likewise didn’t consider the story reportable yet.
Then, yesterday, Frank Magazine published an online story saying that Starfish Properties is kicking the Seahorse out, and that the bar will close. The Frank story is behind the pay wall, but a Metro recap of it quotes Frank as follows:
“The bum’s-rush allegedly comes as Reznick’s Starfish Properties finishes renovation on their impressive Barrington Street shop-fronts and offices, just on the other side of the Argyle Street block… Knocking through the old tavern space will give Starfish clients easy access to the Barrington locations, rather than having to make the arduous trek all the way around to Prince and Sackville Streets.”
But none of that is true. First of all, Starfish doesn’t own or manage the property. Secondly, the Seahorse isn’t being evicted. My understanding is that Syperek is in tough negotiations over a lease renewal, and the threat to move to Hell’s Kitchen is a bargaining chip. After council yesterday, I went to hunt him down at the Shoe, but he wasn’t around, so take that with a grain of salt.
The take-away: if you’re going to report that someone’s business is closing, it’s probably a good idea to, ya know, call them up and verify it before going to print. In any event, the Frank twitter feed is walking the story back a bit.
Update, 10:20am: Here’s Frank’s clarification on the story. “Walking the story back a bit” is probably an understatement.
4. “Small fire”
A “small fire” on an airplane is like a “small missile” hitting a cruise ship. The pilot of the Newark-to-Belgium flight quite prudently landed the plane in Halifax, one of two emergency landings yesterday. The other was for a medical emergency. For some reason this reminds me of the cross-US flight that made an emergency landing in Missouri because a service dog took a dump in the aisle. Flying is simply a horrible experience.
5. The monsters among us
A guy in Kingston came home to find that his house had been broken into and his puppy killed.
6. The animals among us
Erik the Red, the cat who lives on the CSS Acadia and has been prowling the boardwalk for the past 14 years, went missing for a couple of weeks. Turns out, a nearby resident thought he was a stray and took him in.
1. Climate change is elephant in the room during fracking debate
Dalhousie climatologist Thomas Duck wrote an op-ed piece for the Examiner yesterday.
2. The Eastern Shore
Stephen Archibald goes, takes his typically wonderful photographs.
3. Another unfair CBC attack on government
Parker Donham has a love-in with the David Wheeler-led fracking review committee, which is neither here nor there, but he uses it as an excuse to remind us of a CBC story last June (before the Examiner existed) reporting that former premier Rodney MacDonald had been appointed to the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum board. The article itself is fair, but some editor slapped an unfair headline on it: “Rodney MacDonald gets federal plum.” As Donham writes:
Seriously? MacDonald served 10 years in the Nova Scotia cabinet, three of them as Premier. While Premier, he stared down the government of Stephen Harper and won a significantly improved offshore royalty deal for the province. It was the signature achievement of his government. It would be hard to imagine better qualifications to serve on the federal-provincial board the regulates offshore oil and gas operations in Nova Scotia.
The second paragraph of the un-bylined CBC story zeroed in on the filthy lucre: “MacDonald… will be paid $5,000 annually plus $300 per day when the board is meeting. The board meets about 10 days per year.”
Some plum. Assuming a full workday for each meeting, and allowing eight hours for MacDonald, who lives in Cape Breton, to drive back and forth to Halifax, the former premier will haul down about $18.75 an hour for these sessions. I don’t know how much turgid technical reading a CNSOPB board member has to slog through in preparation for 10 meetings a year, but a $5,000-per-annum honorarium hardly seems lavish.
Considering its unfair and factually challenged attack on government employee sick time, it appears CBC has built a business model around attacking government. Look, it’s the media’s job to be a watchdog, to challenge the powers that be, including government. I do it myself, often. But the watchdog should be looking out for thieves and vandals, not hounding the mail carrier, the milkman, and the meter reader. Government exists for good reason, and public servants by and large are hard working, decent people. Yes, we should call out corruption, but the CBC has slipped into irrational Tea Party-like hatred of all government, all the time. This serves no one well.
Executive Standing Committee (2pm, City Hall)—the committee is looking at re-working how councillors are appointed to subcommittees. I’ll detail that in today’s council recap.
Halifax and West Community Council (6pm, City Hall)—various development proposals.
No public meetings.
Go buy spiffy new school duds.
Terrible Real Estate Photographs is a hilarious Tumblr site collecting actual photos used for real estate listings in the UK. That photo up above is from the site, as is the one below. You’ve just lost the first hour of your work day.
In the harbour
(click on vessel names for pictures and more information about the ships)
Scotiabank can do whatever it wants, of course, including sponsoring something called Scotiabank Hockey Day in Canada, which it will host in Halifax in February. The event is co-produced with CBC, and includes 13-hour coverage of seven NHL games across Canada, Ron MacLean doing whatever it is Ron MacLean does, and I guess a bazillion Scotiabank commercials. Whatever, yeah capitalism. But for some reason the city is paying for “energetic individuals or organizations to identify and deliver sponsorship opportunities and partnerships to assist in fundraising for Scotiabank Hockey Day in Canada to be held in February, 2015.” I’m continually amazed at how frequent, and unquestioned it is, for companies to go to the government well for financing. As another example, this week I received documents from an Access to Information request I submitted a few months ago; the documents spell out how a particular company goes back to ACOA, year after year, for funding of sales positions. I guess old fashioned sales commissions aren’t good enough anymore. Most of us in the private sector rely on private financing and our own hard work to make our businesses work, but a select few make a beeline for government grants. The whole thing is distasteful. Let Scotiabank find their own sponsorships and partnerships; or, if it’s truly a worthwhile government function, take Scotiabank’s name off it.