At a reader’s suggestion, I’m adding the following table of contents tool so you can jump and link to specific sections. Let me know if you like/dislike it and I’ll keep/ditch it.
1. Wellington Street development
So many people came to speak against the development proposal for two high-rise apartment buildings on Wellington Street that Halifax council had to postpone its vote on the project until the next council meeting, which isn’t until January 13. Metro’s Ruth Davenport outlasted the rest of the reporters and stayed throughout the meeting, to midnight, I think.
Good on the opponents. The neighbours don’t want the development. Both peninsula councillors are opposed to the project. City staff says it breaks development rules not just for the area but in general—this project is so bad it couldn’t be built downtown, or for that matter in any other city in Canada. The buildings are too close together, and unlike the dozens of other buildings being constructed in Halifax, there is no step back from the street. If built, they will create a wind tunnel and unbroken shadow over the neighbourhood. They will be miserable even for the people living in them. And yet, here they are, being shoved upon a residential neighbourhood in the south end.
The Wellington Street proposal has only gotten so far as it has because of a factionalism on council. Suburban councillors closely aligned with the development industry—like Linda Mosher, who chairs the Halifax and West Community Council—have been pushing this project forward despite its many flaws and the objections to it.
My read is that there’s a certain pique among the pro-development councillors right now. I can’t explain it. Is it a reaction to city staff banning developer George Armoyan from city offices? Is it some special love for Steve Tsimiklis, the problematic developer of the Wellington Street project? Or is it simply political jockeying for developer contributions going into the 2016 election season? I don’t know.
But earlier in yesterday’s meeting, councillor Barry Dalrymple decried a proposed short delay in approving an eight-storey apartment building on Maynard Street so that staff can put together some basic planning principles for the immediate area, a historically black neighbourhood that is seeing unprecedented construction of apartment buildings. ‘I’m sick and tired of plans,” said Dalrymple. Council should “do everything conceivably possibly to move development forward,” chimed in councillor Bill Karsten. Council approved the Maynard project unanimously.
Charges of undue government obstruction of development are off base. I think there should be a check on development—we should at least slow down enough to consider the effects of development on people living nearby, and this overheated market is going to cause a lot of problems when the bubble pops and then again 20 years down the road when many of the hastily and shoddily constructed buildings start falling apart. But no matter what I think, right now there’s a building boom happening on the peninsula, with dozens of construction cranes rising above the city. This isn’t unique to Halifax—all Canadian cities are seeing record levels of residential construction—but neither Halifax council nor staff is putting up roadblocks to any but the very worst proposals. By and large, peninsula councillors Waye Mason and Jennifer Watts have supported nearly every one of the developments in their districts. The “force it down their throats” attitude among Mosher, Dalrymple, Karsten, and the others is unwarranted.
As for the Wellington Street project, my guess is that a council majority will approve it. But they’re forcing the project on one of the very best organized, connected and, frankly, wealthiest neighbourhoods in the city. The opponents won’t go away quietly, and this will get even uglier.
2. Eddie Carvery
Eddie Carvery had a health emergency yesterday and was rushed to hospital. He’s getting top-level care and surrounded by family and friends (so many that they’re running low on hospital scrubs!).
He’s in a difficult place now, so please keep him in your prayers as he fights back.
Carvery is the man who has had a nearly continuous presence at Africville, on the site of his old family homestead, protesting the city’s bulldozing of the black community in the 1960s. No update yet on Carvery’s condition, but a day after his hospitalization the SPCA seized his dogs and took the unusual step of issuing a press release:
Nova Scotia (Dec.9, 2014)
As a result of information obtained, the Animal Cruelty Investigation team has taken two dogs from an Africville location as of 2pm today.
Upon initial site visit this afternoon, there was no one present at the residence. Dog water bowls were found, however, the water contained was frozen.
After a conversation with someone who later came to the site, the dogs were than brought into our protective custody.
Currently, the dogs are in the care of the Provincial Animal Shelter of the Nova Scotia SPCA.
We would like to thank all those who contacted us. You have directly helped with this positive conclusion. There are many animal cruelty cases each year. We rely heavily on the public to be the eyes, the ears and the voice of these defenseless animals in need.
According to the Chronicle Herald:
Carvery wasn’t feeling well on Monday and went to the nearby Africville church for help, said Tattrie.
“He came up to the church and he was in a bad state. They rushed him to hospital and he’s been there overnight,” said Tattrie. “He’s in recovery mode. He’s unable to speak at the moment.”
Tattrie said Carvery has had his dogs taken by the authorities many times before, and said he’s always had to pay a lot of money to get things sorted out.
He said Carvery and his son look after Diablo and Rex very well. “He (Carvery) feeds them and waters them every day.”
A press release from the SPCA about the seizure was uncalled for, said Tattrie.
3. Pedestrians hit by vehicles
From the overnight shift sergeant’s report:
At 3:55 p.m. [Tuesday] HRP East Division members responded to a report of a collision involving multiple vehicles and pedestrians in the parking lot of the HRM Public Library on Eisener Boulevard in Dartmouth. An 89-year-old woman was driving in the lot and states she swerved to avoid another vehicle that had pulled out of a spot in front of her and she accidentally accelerated while doing so. Her vehicle struck two adult females who were walking in the lot, pinning them against a parked car, which was subsequently pushed into another parked car. The third car was pushed as well, into a fourth parked vehicle. The pedestrians both suffered leg injuries as a result of the incident. One of them (age unavailable at this time) was taken to hospital by a friend who was at the scene. The second, 45-years-old, was transported to hospital by EHS with what appeared to be serious injuries to her legs. The matter is still under investigation however charges are not anticipated at this time. The driver of the vehicle was not injured.
4. Talking Christmas Tree
Councillor Brad Johns has used $25,000 of the capital district funds he controls to purchase an “animatronic, talking Christmas tree.” “Spryfield’s got the Santa parade, downtown has their tree lighting. What can we do in Sackville that’s a little unique?” Johns told The Coast.
Callers to the Rick Howe Show weren’t amused, but Johns dismissed them as, yep, “naysayers.”
1. Ottawa shooting
The video of the Parliamentary gunman should be released, says Paul McLeod.
Halifax Explosion 100th Anniversary Advisory Committee (3pm, Room B239, Nova Scotia Community College)—the committee will discuss creating a fund for its events.
Heritage Advisory Committee (4pm, City Hall)
There’s a proposal to register 1320 Old Sackville Road as a Heritage Property. This is what’s now called the Linwood House, which had a long association with the Oland family. Meggan Tanner, with Connor Architects & Planners, wrote a wonderful research report, which is added to the committee report as Attachment A.
Tanner explains how what we now know as Old Sackville Road was created by the Mi’kmaq to connect the Bedford Basin to the Bay of Fundy. It was subsequently used by Acadians, then as a military road widened under orders of Edward Cornwallis, and finally as a stage road until the 1850s, when a railroad replaced the stages. The story continues:
Nonetheless, agriculture along the Old Windsor Road prospered, particularly in the community of Sackville, which saw the building of many homes and farms. It was here that Ethelred Henry Oland, eldest son of Susannah Woodhouse Culverwell and John James Dunn Oland, married Esther Hamilton and set down roots. Ethelred’s occupation was listed as brewer when he bought the Sackville farm in 1872 where he and Esther made their home together on a 500 acre farm on the opposite side of the road from where she grew up. However, Ethelred did not follow his family into the brewing business and was a farm equipment salesman in Western Canada in later years. Their house would become known as the Lindwood House and would remain in the possession of the Oland family for over 120 years.
Ethelred had settled in a community with a rich history in agriculture, a way of life that was retained even after his passing. Ethelred died in 1899 and the farm was inherited by his daughter Mary Oland Fenerty who later sold it to her uncle, Ethelred’s brother, George W.C. Oland who named the property Marianbad. When George W.C. died in 1933 the farm passed to his son Geoffrey who was residing in Saint John, New Brunswick. He operated the farm as the “Red Ball Farm” named after the Oland’s New Brunswick brewery. Geoffrey eventually sold the farm to his brother Colonel Sidney Culverwell Oland in 1947.
During the ownership of the Colonel, Lindwood Farms saw great success in the agricultural industry. Farming efforts were concentrated on the breeding of livestock, the most notable breeds being the Ayrshire and Highland cattle, for which Lindwood Farm won many accolades. As the herds grew, so did the Oland farm. Numerous nearby farms and homes were acquired and additional homes were built to house the families and cattlemen hired to tend to the herd under the management of Alex Lamond. The Lindwood Farm expanded to over 3,000 acres and became a well-known establishment in the community, contributing to the livelihood of numerous Sackville families during its operation.
The 1960s brought many changes to the Lindwood Farm in Sackville. The knowledge of a new highway to Windsor was in circulation prior to its eventual construction in the 1970s. A letter typed on the behalf of Lindwood Farms petitioned against the proposed Highway 101, citing loss off access to fresh water lakes. The letter also gave reasons of impeding future expansion of farmlands in arguments against the highway and offered an alternate route.
However, the new road was not to be stopped and a portion of the Oland lands were expropriated. As compensation, it was finally agreed that a segment of the historic Old Windsor Road would be decommissioned and conveyed to the Olands. This part of the old road is now a private right of way starting at Melish Drive. It passes by the Lindwood House where it becomes gated and serves as private access to the Santa Maria del Pilar Chapel at the top of Oland’s Hill.
If you feel like whiling away a half hour, there’s lots more fun stuff at the link, including more history of the place, maps, and photos.
Regional Watershed Advisory Board (5pm, Helen Creighton Room, Alderney Library)—nothing much on the agenda.
Public Accounts (9am, Province House)—Auditor General Michael Pickup and his staff will be questioned.
Caffeine seminar (all day, every building)—student exam-takers will be talking about “damn, I’ve been up for 48 hours and still haven’t studied Chapter 17.”
Planetarium show (7:15pm, Room 120, Dunn Building)—Quinn Smith will present “The Christmas Star—Fact or Fiction?” Five bucks at the door. Reservations required; go to astronomynovascotia.ca.
Last night Michael McCluskey made me aware of a Montreal Gazette article from September 12, 1968. The page is labeled: “How a cause can be taken up today: The newspaper’s reputation rests… on its ability to lead the community.”
“Newspapers should be community leaders,” the Gazette explains. “The Chronicle-Herald and Mail Star of Halifax, for example, have led dozens of campaigns for the betterment of life in the Maritime Provinces.”
The Gazette illustrates the point with the paper’s successful editorial campaign urging the destruction of Africville, and printed an article written by Harold T. Shea, the managing editor of the Chronicle-Herald and Mail-Star, as follows:
A ghetto grew—and was buried—in Halifax
The negro ghetto of Africville, in the north end of Halifax, was eradicated a few months ago. The last of the families who had lived for generations in the rat-infest conglomeration of shacks and huts relocated into new housing in the city proper.
They had been there for centuries—descendants of American slaves who came to Canada to find a better way of life.
Doubtless, they’d had been there for many more years had it not been for the vigorous, relentless campaign by the Chronicle-Hearld (and its afternoon companion paper The Mail-Star) which, for years, demanded a chance for normalcy for those who lived in the community.
The clean-up of Africville, and the removal of block after block of slum housing in the city proper, coupled with the building of adequate, decent housing for those displaced by slum clearance, ranks as one of the greatest achievements of these newspapers.
In the harbour
(click on vessel names for pictures and more information about the ships)
Assuming I can brave the storm, I’ll be on the Sheldon MacLeod Show at 4pm today on News 97.5.
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