Editor’s note: Today’s Morning file is written by guest writer Erica Butler.
1. Let there be (more) snow.
Environment Canada has issued a snowfall warning for today, which means about 15 to 25 centimetres worth, starting in the late morning, with possible ice pellets around supper time. Let’s hope this next round of fairly normal winter weather doesn’t mean another 13,000 people without power.
2. Uber, no. Cool new app, yes
All this snow is getting Plow Me Out, a new snow removal referral app some good press, including a mention from the BBC. While its being dubbed “Uber-like” by most media outlets, it doesn’t seem like Plow Me Out (or it’s Massachussets-based counterpart, the more economically-named Plow Me) is going to create a new workforce to compete with our existing cadre of snow removers. It does, however, seem like it will allow you to request a dig-out from one of those snow removers, even from afar, which will come in handy for those of us who are away from home occasionally in the snowy season.
3. Referendum, no. Voting reform, yes.
The Liberals have confirmed on CTV’s Question Period they will not hold a national referendum on voting reform. This is not, as this Globe headline might suggest, the broken election promise that our national media have been anxiously awaiting. Liberal House leader Dominic Leblanc said voting reform will likely involve a parliamentary committee that travels the country before bringing the matter to parliament.
Leblanc did call proportional representation “an extreme” on the electoral reform spectrum, which may disappoint reform advocates like Fair Vote Canada, who have been doing their best to push for some form of PR before our next national election. Considering the complexity of the options available for voting reform, we can only hope that a parliamentary committee has the resources to include some public education along with its public consultation activities.
3. Where do all those Styrofoam cups go?
Valley Waste is about to ship out its first trailer load of 20 tonnes of compressed Styrofoam to be recycled, reports the Chronicle Herald.
Halifax chooses not to recycle Styrofoam (which I confirmed using their handy little What Goes Where? app.)
Recycled Styrofoam isn’t a money-maker, but according to Valley Waste it’s a space-saver. The first load would have taken up 10 times as much space in a landfill.
Who knows, perhaps after the shine wears off the 30% reduction in waste attributed to the the clear bag initiative, Halifax’s garbage planners will follow the lead of their Valley colleagues, and ask us to start keeping our meat trays and electronics packaging out of the Otter Lake landfill.
And before you start moaning about rinsing off a few meat trays, please consider the effort this small Japanese town takes to keep 80 per cent of their trash out of the ground:
4. Put some eggs in this ligpenigen
The Halifax Media Coop launched episode 6 of its podcast series Pjilasi Mi’kma’ki this month.
The current episode looks at ligpenigen, or baskets, exploring how they came to be such a significant Mi’kmaq art form.
Why indeed weave a basket, when another container might suffice? The story of ‘why’ is interwoven with the colonial experience. Because colonial incursions upon traditional lands and lifestyles, combined with colonial tastes in containers, provide a key to understanding how Mi’kmaq became master weavers in their own right.
Historians suggest that basket weaving, particularly using trees such as black ash and maple, was not part of Mi’kmaq culture prior to the mid-1700s. While no one appears quite certain how basket making using tree splints first was learned, basket making quickly became a source of survival income for Mi’kmaq families who were being pushed to the brink of extinction. As capitalism and private property imposed themselves upon the semi-nomadic lifestyle, weaving and selling baskets to settlers – and later tourists – became a lifeline.
You can check out all six episodes here.
If the Pjilasi Mi’kmaki podcasts leave you wanting more, you may want to check out MIKM 2701 a free, indigenous course being offered at CBU (and online) in January.
5. Teens arrested and schools up for closure/review
- Joseph Howe Elementary
- Oxford School
- St. Joseph’s Alexander McKay Elementary
- St. Stephen’s Elementary
- Highland Park Junior High
- Eastern Passage Education Centre
- Seaside Elementary
- Ocean View Elementary
- Tallahassee Community School
The board deferred reviewed Cole Harbour schools.
In a letter to parents, chair of HRSB Melinda Daye wrote:
“…In the past, a review was simply a review for closure. The new review process is different from the old one in many ways, but the biggest change is that it isn’t just about closing schools anymore.
Many schools are going to require investment in the next five to 20 years. This is the path to getting that investment. As a lifelong resident of the North End, I would much rather we start this conversation now than wait until we have a crisis due to a building failure. The oldest schools in our system are on the peninsula…”
Transit in 2016
According to It’s More Than Buses, the transit outlook for 2016 is looking pretty grim, if Halifax Transit’s budget proposal is anything to go by. In a blog post responding to the proposal, IMTB lambasted Halifax Transit for proposing a single extra bus-only turn lane (on Windmill Rd.), while the federal government has announced intentions to spend billions on transit across the country.
Here’s IMTB’s wish list for transit in 2016:
- Improving and implementing the Moving Forward Plan, immediately in the next year.
- Reduce the number of stops on core routes to speed up service.
- Increasing frequency on corridor routes to fifteen minutes, all day.
- Investing in amenities that speed up boarding and service. This could include raised platforms at stops, all door boarding and new payment methods.
- Regularly tracking and reporting transit speeds and delays, by route.
- Reviewing vehicle options for rail to Bedford, with the goal to identify a service that would need only one operator per vehicle. Vehicles with one operator would drive down operating costs and increase financial feasibility.
- Creating an integrated transportation and land use plan, that would consider the long term costs and impacts of investments in all transportation modes.
- Considering transit priority – lanes, transit signals, etc. – at the conceptual stages of all road construction.
Best bit of Lemmy memorabilia I found:
“They’ll be the dirtiest rock and roll band in the world. If we moved in next door your lawn would die.” pic.twitter.com/i6ZGrZFzfO
— Peter Squires (@PETER_SQUIRES) December 29, 2015
Oh what fun…
Point Pleasant Park gates, circa 1900, from the wonderfully specific Facebook group, Old Black and White Pictures of Halifax, Nova Scotia.
[This is Tim] Several readers have asked about renewing annual subscriptions. I’ll have some information posted about that soon, hopefully today. Yes, I said that yesterday.
Thanks to Erica for today’s post!