In the harbour
1. Bradley Knoll
The man killed yesterday morning in downtown Dartmouth has been identified as Bradley Knoll.
Yesterday afternoon, police issued the following press release:
Investigators have made two arrests in connection with an overnight homicide.
At 2:14 a.m. officers responded to a report of fight on the sidewalk outside 88 Portland Street in Dartmouth. Once officers arrived on scene, they located a male victim unconscious on the sidewalk. He was later pronounced deceased at the scene by EHS.
Earlier today, investigators arrested two suspects in connection with this homicide. A woman was arrested this morning in Dartmouth and a man was arrested this afternoon in Halifax. They are both currently in custody and are being interviewed.
The victim has been identified as 59-year-old Bradley Gerald Knoll of Dartmouth.
Metro’s Zane Woodford talked to someone who lived near the scene of the stabbing:
A witness at the scene told Metro Halifax he awoke at about 2:30 a.m. Thursday to police banging on his neighbour’s door.
“I don’t know if they got in or not, and then again at 4:30 in the morning they were banging at the door,” said Tim Hickey, who lives at 86 Portland St, right next to the [Big Life] café. [Knoll’s body was discovered in front of the cafe.]
“This time they had the K-9 Unit with them, and I think they took someone out.”
Hickey says his neighbour is a woman who lives there with her two adult sons. He says the police have been there before for a stabbing and domestic incident.
Bourdages would not confirm any connection between the two suspects in custody — whether they live together, or they’re related.
For Hickey, the incident hits too close to home.
“Right now, I am freaked right the hell out,” he said.
Hickey, reports the Chronicle Herald’s Dan Arsenault, is also a supervisor in the apartment building:
Hickey said he had been trying to get the woman removed from the apartment since late April because of two recent altercations there.
“I’ve gone to the tenancy board over this,” he said.
Hickey said the woman has had a male visitor, who appeared to be about the same age as the victim, a few times over the past couple of months. He said he does not know the man’s name.
The woman’s two sons are under court order to stay out of the building, Hickey said.
The building’s landlord, who asked not to be identified, said his other tenants feared for their lives because of these recent problems, but he was unable to get the woman evicted. He tried to get an emergency meeting with the tenancy board in late April, but it wouldn’t meet with him until June.
He said the woman was pleasant when she applied for the apartment. He said the tenancy board approved her eviction at a June 8 meeting — which she did not attend — but he had yet to receive an official eviction notice to hand to her, which would have given her 30 days to leave.
2. Open government
Back in 2011, I requested the contracts between the city and Power Promotional Events for hosting concerts on the Halifax Common. The city has always maintained that its contracts with companies are proprietary information for the company, and therefore the company has the right to appeal such a request to the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy (FOIPOP) Review Office. And Power Promotional Events did exactly that. This was roughly akin to throwing the matter into a bottomless pit.
But to her great credit, Catherine Tully, the FOIPOP review officer appointed last year, has been clearing the backlog of hundreds of FOIPOP appeals in her file. And lo and behold, yesterday, I received the contracts I had requested four years ago.
The long wait aside, this is something of a victory for open government in Nova Scotia. As I read it, Tully is stating clearly that government contracts are, in fact, public records. I intend to test this further, at the first opportunity.
This has been an issue with other city contracts. Let me give an example that illustrates why this matters.
Back in 2009, the city entered into a contract with Nustadia, Inc. to manage the four-pad arena in Bedford. Since then, Nustadia has been contracted to manage the city’s other rinks and The Oval.
Before Nustadia was brought in, the city managed these kind of rec facilities in house, with unionized city staff. So contracting out management of the facilities represented a huge change in public policy.
Did that change in public policy make sense? Did we save money by contracting out the management? Is there value for money, or are the cost savings — if there even are cost savings — minuscule compared to the loss of good union jobs?
Here’s the thing: It’s impossible to know. As I reported in 2010:
At a secret meeting on May 12, 2009, Halifax council approved a secret contract with Nustadia Recreation, Inc., a private company based in Hamilton, Ontario, to operate the new facility.
You now know everything I know about the deal. The terms of the contract? Secret. The dollar amount of the contract? Secret. The length of the contract? Secret.
I’ve asked for a copy of the HRM-Nustadia contract, but city officials have refused to turn it over. Why? Because, I’m told, a clause in the contract says the contract cannot be made public unless both parties agree to making it public. That clause itself is secret, so you’ll have to take City Hall’s word for it.
It is simply impossible for citizens to judge the effectiveness of their elected officials and government if those officials and government are entering into secret contracts. Full transparency is required. Hopefully, Tully’s ruling on the concert contracts will finally put an end to the notion that contracts are secret. We’ll see.
3. Concert scandal
Does anyone still care about the concert scandal? Perversely, the role of the Freedom of Information process in Nova Scotia has been to make it possible for governments to delay FOI requests for so long — four years, in this case — that when the information does finally become public no one cares anymore. People have moved on to whatever today’s scandals are, and the old scandal is down the memory hole.
But, assuming that maybe one or two readers have some vague recollection of events, the city’s contracts with Power Promotional Events do in fact reveal new information not previously known. I’ve read through the contracts and summarized what I think are the relevant clauses in the following table:
The contracts show that the city was paying for trash collection on the site, paramedical services, and the fencing on the Common — costs that in my opinion should have been borne by the promoter. Together with other costs not detailed in the contracts — the city removed the baseball backstops before the show and re-installed them after, provided the matting to protect the grass on the Common, and so forth — I’d estimate that city costs for the concerts were about half a million dollars over and above what has been previously reported.
Overall, the concerts were a disaster. The advances defined in the contracts were far exceeded by secret side agreements that violated city rules entered into between PPE and then-CAO Wayne Anstey and then-mayor Peter Kelly, both of whom signed the contracts listed above, as well. I detailed just how events unfolded in an investigative piece I wrote for The Coast. The short of it is that attendance was pathetically low — when you can’t even sell 27,000 tickets to a former Beatle, maybe you ought get out of the concert business — and the loan amounts ballooned (to $5.4 million total), and the city ate the last $400,000.
I’m out of time this morning, but maybe I’ll return to the subject on Monday.
A death of a loved one will usually be unsettling, but there’s no need for the media to spin those emotional times into scandal. Yes, death interrupts life, and there are financial costs related to it.
Neither here nor there, but after Mary Thibeau died, Peter Kelly kept paying the rent on her apartment for five additional months because he never got around to clearing the place out.
5. Wild Kingdom
Someone shot Chester the cat 20 times with a BB gun.
1. Cranky letter of the day
On May 29, a good friend of mine posted this on her Facebook page, “Next time I go into Walmart and see that open bin of peanuts … You can bet your ass I’m gonna dump it over rather than complain to deaf ears!!!! Not impressed!!!!”
Her mother said, “Kids are not allowed any peanut products in schools because some kids are extremely allergic. That is nuts pardon the pun. It should not be allowed.” And one of her FB friends added, “Me either considering i carry a epi pen cause of a peanut allergy.”
While I would not agree with dumping over Walmart’s bin of peanuts, still I think these people make a valid and very important point with regard to the public marketing of hazardous products like peanuts.
In this case, my friend did the proper thing. She complained to the store to make them aware and warn them of the dangerous situation they had set up in their food isle. Unfortunately, her words fell on “deaf ears.”
I understand that Walmart is still very new to the food business so I do not wish to lump them in with our more experienced grocers like Sobeys or Loblaws Superstore.
Still, I’d like to make a general request to the management at Walmart and of all our other stores in the area to train and speak to their service staff and other workers about how in their marketing to avoid the potential hazards inherent in some of their products (foods, toys, clothing, etc.).
This is especially important with regard to the public areas of their stores where the little, curious hands of children are likely to be present.
Ralph Ferguson, Chair
Let Abilities Work Partnership Society
No public meetings.
In the harbour
Helga, cargo, Rotterdam to Pier 31, then sails to sea
Bahri Abha, ro-ro cargo, arrived at Pier 27 this morning, sails to sea this afternoon
Nolhanava, ro-ro cargo, Saint-Pierre to Pier 36, then sails to sea
Atlantic Conveyor sails to Liverpool, England
The cruise ship Saint Laurent, which was in Halifax last week, crashed into the side of the Eisenhower Lock in the St. Lawrence Seaway. Seventeen people were injured, and the seaway remains closed.
You’re invited! The Halifax Examiner turns one year old!
Who: anyone who wants to celebrate the Halifax Examiner
What: Music by the Hold’er Newts, food by Food Wolf, cash bar, Halifax Examiner T-shirts and coffee mugs, and lots of other stuff once we figure it out.
When: Wednesday, June 24, 5–10pm
Where: The Company House, 2202 Gottingen Street
It also appears that the city received no fee for the use of the Common for either the Keith Urban or the Paul McCartney concerts.
I’m unclear on what the city deems a “protective overlay’. There didn’t appear to be anything of the sort covering the grounds for any of these concerts. Unless “protective overlay ” is double-speak for “let the grounds be torn up and we will repair the damage later”.
They used big rubber mats for the “roads” that the equipment was supposed to use. I suspect that that didn’t have the intended effect, which is why they started having a marshal on site to direct traffic.
“The contracts show that the city was paying for trash collection on the site, paramedical services, and the fencing on the Common — costs that in my opinion should have been borne by the promoter.”
I see that the city paid for temporary fencing on the Common.
I believe (at least back then) that Harold MacKay’s son owned some sort of temporary fencing company. I wouldn’t be surprised if they obtained the contract.
Re: Concert scandal – still makes for interesting reading… and the newly released contract documents show the inherent danger with secret government.
…. but maybe!