Note: There was a WordPress update yesterday that required 11 other upgrades of various plugins, including the login plugin. I’ve updated them all. Those subscribers who were locked out last night should be able to login today. My apologies for the bad timing of this.
1. Richard Butts quits
Yesterday, Halifax CAO Richard Butts abruptly resigned, and announced he has taken a new job as president of Clayton Developments.
There are a lot of things wrong with Butts going to work for Clayton, I wrote last night:
but perhaps the conflict of interest is so obvious we can finally get meaningful regulation of lobbyists.
We need two things:
- a law preventing municipal staffers from going to work for the companies they regulate; and
- the creation of a municipal lobbyist registry
This article is behind the Examiner’s paywall and so available only to paid subscribers. To purchase a subscription, click here.
Via Parker Donham, Sydnee Banff posted a video on YouTube of the Maitland Street fire Monday morning.
There is a lot of drunk people talk in the video (what’s with the dude repeatedly asking for a cigarette?), with lots of “fuck”s and “holy shit”s, so sound off if you work at the Catholic Archdiocese’s preschool or whatever:
Also, please, as Donham notes, if you find yourself in front of wildly burning building or a cop beating the hell out of an innocent person or a man biting a dog, TURN YOUR PHONE HORIZONTALLY, dammit. It’s like the first rule of the internet.
3. Bayers Road/ BiHi widening
The provincial Department of Transportation this morning issued a tender for the demolition of 7034 Bayers Road, pictured above.
The province bought the property in June for $240,000. The house is at the pivot point where Bayers Road leads to the ramp that becomes the BiHi:
It appears this is the first house to be razed as part of the Bihi/Bayers Road expansion project. Which is odd, because the project doesn’t work without both components — it’s pointless to expand the BiHi without also expanding Bayers Road, and vice-versa, as doing just one part of the project builds in a bottleneck, making traffic even worse. But the city is responsible for the Bayers Road part of the project, and there’s been no decision made to move forward with it.
And for good reason. Total costs of the entire expansion project will be in the neighbourhood of a billion dollars. That’s a billion dollars in sunk costs into infrastructure primarily devoted to cars, a sprawl-on-steroids scenario. It’s a billion dollars that could otherwise be put into transit projects like commuter rail or a ferry, or simply more and better bus service.
Moreover, one aspect of the Bayers Road widening in particular is that dozens of affordable housing units will be razed to accommodate it. I don’t know what the rent is on the small house the province is tearing down — it might be a step above the “affordable” market — but it represents the larger issue.
4. Cumberland Regional Development Authority
I chronicled the collapse of, and charges of fraud at, the Cumberland Regional Development Authority here (behind paywall).
The case got complicated as police became involved, however. As the CBC’s Shaina Luck reported in October:
The RCMP wants the Nova Scotia Office of the Ombudsman to turn over everything it has related to its 2012 probe of questionable financial reporting at the now defunct development agency.
Much of the information is already in the hands of police, however, the ombudsman is resisting a formal production order that seeks what’s left.
The office, which reviews and investigates public concerns about provincial and municipal organizations, argues it is governed by “unique” legislation that allows people to come forward in complete confidentiality.
If police are subsequently able to seize all files dealing with a particular case, then it “undercuts the entire premise of the office,” according to Roderick Rogers, the lawyer representing the ombudsman at Thursday’s hearing.
Yesterday, the ceeb’s Richard Cuthbertson (I don’t know why they don’t keep the same reporters on a story) followed up:
An Amherst provincial court judge has ruled a production order — one that forces the office to turn over to RCMP fraud investigators all the information it has on the Cumberland Regional Development Authority — must either be revoked or varied.
“I accept that many individuals who contact the Ombudsman and agree to provide information, do so with the expectation and understanding that their information and the fact that they provided information will be kept private,” Judge Elizabeth Buckle said in a written decision.
The ruling is an interim one. Buckle said she needs further information from both sides before deciding whether the production order can be varied, rather than revoked.
Acting ombudsman Christine Delisle-Brennan said Wednesday her office is “fairly firm” in its position that it does not want to “open the highway” for confidential information to be disclosed to police without parameters.
1. Cranky letter of the day
I am a bit concerned about the pessimistic nature of your cover story on bedbugs (“While you were sleeping,” feature by Hillary Windsor, November 19). It seems to suggest that people who live in more modest apartments should be seen as “lepers” by the rich people who matter. As an autistic, I know that there are sometimes very limited jobs available to us, and those jobs do not guarantee we would have enough to afford “proper” housing which is becoming far too cost-prohibitive. It is bad enough we sometimes get marginalized by being labelled “freaks” without suggesting that people “forced” to live in more modest housing should be considered lepers.
I also feel that giving the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now any credence was a mistake. They are a collection of professional agitators who have a very swollen idea of people’s “rights” without responsibilities. Too often The Coast is a rag which gives a voice to people who want to be so mad at the world, and you can do better than that.
Allistair Fraser, Halifax
Design Review Committee (4pm, City Hall) — the committee will look at WM Fares’ proposal for the “Margaretta” block at 1447 Dresden Row. Evidently, the developer wants to blow up a couple of blocks of houses across the way, so we can get the view represented in the architectural rendering above — otherwise, that view would be impossible.
Standing Committee on Private & Local Bills (10am, One Government Place) — under consideration:
Bill No. 144 – Antiochian Maronite Catholic Church–Our Lady of Lebanon–Corporation Act (amended) (no representation)
Legislature sits (1–6pm, Province House)
This date in history
On December 10, 1954, the Strait of Canso was permanently blocked by the construction of the Canso Causeway. The roadway and rail bed would continue to be constructed, and the link was officially opened on August 13, 1955.
Geoengineering the planet (3:30pm, Room 240, Life Sciences Centre) — Philip Boyd, from the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies in Hobart, Tasmania, will present on “Geoengineering the planet: a view from 2050 of how things turned out.”
In the harbour
ZIM Shanghai, container ship, New York to Pier 42, then sails to sea
Tokyo Express, container ship, New York to Fairview Cove, then sails to sea
ZIM Luanda, container ship, Valencia, Spain to Pier 41, then sails to sea
Chicago Express, container ship, Savannah, Georgia to Pier 42
Aquamarine Ace, car carrier, Antwerp, Belgium to Autoport
Carmen 4 sails to sea
I’ll be on The Rick Howe Show, News 95.7, at 9am, talking about Richard Butts.