1. Ben’s Bakery
Danny Chedrawe has bought the Ben’s Bakery site, reports the Chronicle Herald.
2. Tidal power
Bruce Wark covers the latest developments in tidal power research near Parrsboro. My sense of it is that there is potential for a tidal power industry, but it’s a long ways off — decades, not years — and will be just one component — maybe 10 per cent — of the province’s electrical supply. Hey, I’m happy to be wrong.
3. Rich dudes hitting little balls around will save Nova Scotia
Chronicle Herald sports columnist Chris Cochrane lists 10 Nova Scotia sports failures:
Let’s start with the most recent, the Web.com Tour’s Nova Scotia Open. Apparently, giant international exposure via the Golf Channel and several hundred thousand dollars in annual local government sponsorship wasn’t enough to save the tournament. Once the Toronto-based event host and promoter SportBox pulled out, complaining of an inability to get sponsors and the weak Canadian dollar, no replacement could be found in time to save the tournament.
I’m fascinated by the notion that old rich dudes hitting white balls around will single-handedly save the provincial tourism industry and bring prosperity forever, amen.
As the collapse of the Nova Scotia Open and the near-collapse of the golf industry on PEI demonstrate, golf peaked with the wild success of Tiger Woods in 2003, and has been fading ever since. Sure, it’s entirely possible that the hipsters will ironically re-embrace golf as a retro thing — and the industry is sure banking on it — but for the time being, the real money is in ever more elite courses geared towards an ever shrinking number of uber rich, the kind of people who have the time and money to fly their private jets to remote locales where they can putter around with their own kind at great distance from the riffraff Tiger Woods fans.
So yea, for the present, Inverness can make a bit of spin-off money from the rich guys. But how sustainable is this, really? If nothing else, the rich are fickle, and today’s hot thing becomes tomorrow’s has-been. With a course geared to multi-gazillionaires, there’s no replacement customer base to fall back on when the trends go to some other course or some other pastime.
But a more important concern to my eyes is the way catering to the rich skews the way we think. It puts us in a permanent subservient mode that tells us to put aside our ambitions, our sense of self, even our democracy. Everything must be geared towards the happiness and ease of the ultrarich, and if the concerns of everyday people (beyond, of course, employment) in any way contradict or impede on the wants of the ultrarich, they must be ignored or vilified.
This is one complaint (among many) I have about the new Halifax Convention Centre as well: the idea seems to be that the mere presence of rich people is the ultimate good. Visiting businessmen (always men) will like our quaint and subservient ways, we’re told, and so they’ll move their families here to soak in the full quaintness and subservience, and just by virtue of them opening a gold account at the downtown branch of RBC, the rest of us will be better off. But it doesn’t work unless we’re forever quaint and subservient, if you see what I mean.
Say what you will about the American tourists hopping off the cruise ships for the day trips to Peggys Cove and the Citadel, but those folks clogging up the boardwalk are just a southern version of our own struggling selves, looking for a bit of escape in whatever Disneyesque fantasy they can find. There’s nothing particular uppity about them, at least no more so than the average American uppityness — we’re more or less social equals, and making a little coin off them doesn’t degrade us in quite the same way as does bowing before the elite golfers.
4. Pedestrian struck
From a police email to reporters over night:
At about 11:00 pm Halifax Regional Police responded to a motor vehicle- Pedestrian collision. The vehicle was turning left on Inglis Street from Tower Road when it stuck a male crossing the road in a marked crosswalk. The 21 year old male pedestrian from Halifax was checked by Paramedics at the scene but did not require hospitalization. The 19 year old driver from Halifax was issued a SOT for failing to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk.
1. Mother Canada™
The Globe & Mail continues its campaign against improved cell phone coverage for the Cabot Trail:
The defeat of Stephen Harper’s government clearly compromised two of the Conservatives’ controversial pet projects — the giant Mother Canada[™] statue destined for a rocky headland in Cape Breton Highlands National Park and the sprawling Memorial to the Victims of Communism that was to be imposed on a prime site near Parliament Hill.
The Liberals could have rejected both projects outright, distancing themselves from the blatant monumentality of the previous regime. Instead they have been strangely tentative in their deliberations, as if these were two well-loved memorials that had compelling reasons for disfiguring the national landscape.
As for the fate of the Mother Canada[™] monstrosity, the Liberals have chosen to continue with an assessment of the project initiated by their predecessors. Opponents have rightly pointed out the limitations of this environmental review, the narrowness of previous public consultations and the Harperites’ interference with Parks Canada’s mandate to preserve the ecological integrity of the Cape Breton beauty spot against just such intrusive exploitation.
But there’s no need for this kind of conflict-averse timidity when it comes to deciding the future of Mother Canada[™]. Quite apart from the fact that the Stalinesque statue of an oddly draped woman extending her hands toward the Atlantic emptiness is the textbook case of an aesthetic don’t, there is no justification for sticking this misbegotten mother in a national park. The quickest decision is also the wisest one in this case — dump it.
2. Lamp posts
Stephen Archibald concludes his “four part series on ironwork in Halifax that was made by the Walter MacFarlane Company in Glasgow Scotland” with an investigation of the “five lamp posts near the Lodge at the South Park St. entrance to Point Pleasant Park”:
Glasgow street lights, that’s a little strange don’t you think? Gets stranger. They were presented to the city by General K.C. Appleyard, a British industrialist. In the 1960s he was associated with Industrial Estates, established to attract businesses to Nova Scotia. Over lunch at the Halifax Club, he apparently brought together the guys who formed Halifax Developments to create Scotia Square! I wonder if the cast iron Glasgow light standards give some insight into General Appleyard’s character (sort of like Rosebud the sled).
3. Donairs as official food
Lezlie Lowe is ambivalent.
4. Cranky letters of the day
Let me get this right. The Cape Breton Regonal Municipality is planning to spend taxpayers dollars on a New Year’s Eve bash that, in part, will celebrate the 20th anniversery of the creation of the CBRM.
How about instead spending that money on paint for traffic marking on city streets? Or securing its green spaces and playing fields that are being turned into ploughed fields by trucks and ATVs? Or, in a city that’s awash in litter, installing a few garbage recepticles here and there?
In short, what planet are these people living on?
Frank King, Sydney
With winter almost here and the accompanying snowfalls, we sometimes have snowball fights.
Most of us have enjoyed these times in our lives as well we should for snow is a gift from God for us to enjoy, but we must be careful.
Please allow me to explain and I pray that some lesson may be learned from my experience that happened many years ago.
I was going to Central School in Glace Bay in Grade 8 in the early 1950s. It was a great time in our lives with very little serious cares. It was there at school that I met a classmate whose name was Betty Lou; a young girl, always laughing and enjoying life as it should be at that age.
I remember like it was yesterday. Six of us kids were planning to go the matinee at the Savoy this particular afternoon after school.
As we were walking up Commercial Street it was so beautiful playing in the snow. As we approached Senator’s Corner I noticed a bunch of boys on the opposite side of the street. They seemed to be enjoying playing and throwing snowballs, regretfully, toward us.
All of us were ducking their hard balls of ice when all of a sudden one of their missiles hit betty Lou. She was holding her head and crying while the boys on the opposite side just kept running around the corner, not knowing what life-changing damage they had done.
Meanwhile Betty Lou was on her knees on the sidewalk crying in pain that she could not see. I could do nothing for her but to rush her home to her parents who were inconsolable. They called a taxi, rushed her to the hospital where she was given what medical and neurological care was available at that time.
Regretfully she was to pass away a few hours later. Her father told me the snowball that hit Betty Lou aggravated an unknown existing tumor.
Since then I have gone on to become an old man with all of lifes trials and tribulations while my little friend has gone to be with the angels.
My message here is never throw snowballs at anyone. Please go out and enjoy the winter, but always be acutely aware of your surroundings and be careful.
Rev. Dr. Robert Crocker, Sydney Mines
No public meetings.
The city is looking to hire a head-hunting firm to find a new Director of Transit.
Legislature sits (9am–1pm, Province House)
This date in history
On December 11, 1925, an emergency meeting of the Halifax council was called to “consider the question of appointing an expert to present the Consumers case to the Royal Commission on the coal question.”
Deputy Mayor John Mayor read the following letter to council:
So far as the Halifax City Council is concerned, the one question to be inquired into and cleared up is the cost of Nova Scotia coal to consumers — Domestic, Business, Industry and Commerce — in this City and Province.
It is a fact that consumers in this City pay more for Nova Scotia coal than consumers in other provinces, notably in the Province of Quebec. What is the reason for this? If there is an argument to support such a condition — which the people of Nova Scotia should never admit until it is advanced and proven — it would mean that the people who own the coal in this Province are being penalized in order to allow their own coal to be sold in competition in other markets. This, of course, is the argument that would be advanced by the Operators. But if it is so — that we in Nova Scotia must make this tremedous sacrifice in order to allow the price to be lowered elsewhere — then, it can readily be seen that our coal deposits form a burden not a benefit to our people. However, this is the vital point that should be cleared up, and cleared up in a manner satisfactory to the consuming public in Nova Scotia.
It is only a result that, due to the striking disparity between the price of Nova Scotia coal in Halifax and the price of Nova Scotia coal in Montreal, the people of this Province are mulcted in millions every year in such circumstances. They have only to multiply the amount of coal consumed in Nova Scotia by the difference in price to arrive at an idea of the penalty imposed upon them. What is this penalty figure. ‘l’hat is a matter for inquiry.
All the above has to do with the coal operators — the companies.
What of the coal dealers — the middleman?
The late Alexander Dick, then General Sales Agent of the Dominion Coal Company, giving evidence before a parliamentary committee, Ottawa, April 22nd, 1921 made this statement:
“My own opinion is, that there are too many coal dealers in Halifax; that their business is not efficiently conducted, and that on account of the duplication of delivery methods they have there, the people of Halifax pay too much for their coal, and that the only solution of the Halifax coal problem is for the Dominion Coal Company to itself establish a retail coal yard at Halifax and sell coal direct to those who are prepared to pay for it”.
What is the answer to the Halifax Coal Dealers? This statement coming from such a witness as the General Sales Agent of the largest coal company, is a direct challenge to the coal dealers of this city. In fairness, they should be heard — in fairness to themselves and to the public.
In order to keep this question within bounds, it should be inquired into along these lines:
l. Prices charged by operators — What and Why?
2. Spread between operators prices and retail prices — What and Why?
3. Prices charged by Coal dealers — What and Why?
Also, generally speaking, if the people of Nova Scotia must, through high prices actually bonus their own coal industry, in order to permit their own coal to be sold at reduced prices outside the province, then it follows that, as presently conducted, the industry is economically unsound. One of the first charges upon this industry should be coal at reasonable prices to the people who own the coal. That first charge is not being made. Can the industry stand it? If not, of what practical use is their own coal to the people of Nova Scotia, apart from its use as a basis of employment at wages with which the miners are not satisfied?
Regarding disparity in prices, one example: A Certain Halifax retail firm is supplying coal (Not Besco coal) to a local institution at something like $16.35 per ton, delivered. This is run-of-mine. A figure of this character requires no comment. Considering the prices the people of Halifax pay for their coal, why the heavy disparity?
If the City Council of Halifax wants to do a real service to the citizens of this City, they will not rest until they have caused this coal-price question to be probed to the bottom.
John J. Power,
CITY OF HALIFAX
In response, council unanimously passed the following motion:
Resolved: That this Council request His Worship the Mayor to appear before the Royal Commission on coal and take such steps as he may deem advisable to ascertain the reasons for the high cost of Nova Scotia coal to consumers in this City, and the excess in price thereof here in comparison with prices elsewhere.
No university events today. The universities are heading into the holiday break, so this section will be light the next couple of weeks.
Jane Kansas says goodbye to Dave Nauss:
This is it; there will be no bike-fixing in the basement. “I had someone come up to me and ask if they could bring their bike up to the house.” Dave mock-scowls over the top of his glasses. “No,” he says, “no.” December 15 is supposed to be the last day but Dave doesn’t have to be out by any particular date. Go on by. Step in onto the worn wood floor. Look around. Stick your head into the cavernous back room stuffed to the gills with parts and tools from every decade of cycling. You will not see the likes of this place again. Say a little something to Dave. Maybe shake hands, if only to feel the rough hand of a soft-hearted man who for so long has kept bicyclists on the streets of Halifax. You will not meet the likes of Dave Nauss again.
In the harbour
Peter Ziobrowski notes a big shakeup in the shipping industry:
CMA-CGM, the French shipping line, this week purchased NOL, also known as the Neptune Orient Line. NOL is the owners of APL (aka American President Lines). Both Companies currently call in Halifax — APL as part of the G6 Alliance, and CMA-CGM as part of the Ocean Three (or O3) alliance.
Ziobrowski outlines what the change in ownership means for the port of Halifax.
We’ll be publishing episode #39 of Examineradio today.