In the harbour


1. Condo and apartment taxes

City Hall

Halifax council meets today and top of the agenda is a discussion about possible changes to how the city taxes condos and apartments.

This is a ridiculous discussion. As I wrote in the council preview published yesterday:

All this discussion reflects an ideological preference for density and a desire to see more apartment and condo buildings constructed.

But here’s the thing: look out the frickin’ window! See all those building cranes? Almost all of them are condos and apartment buildings being constructed.

And here’s the second thing: the bubble is collapsing. Condo sales are flat and declining, and apartment owners are literally giving away their units. Landlords are providing “rental incentives” of two and three months free rent, free internet, even free computers, to get people to sign leases. It’s a renter’s market.


And yet still more cranes are popping up in the city, still more condos and apartments being constructed. Something is askew, but no one is trying to understand exactly what it is.

But whatever explains the construction boom, it’s clear that city property taxes aren’t restraining it. There’s no need to lower taxes on condos and apartments. No matter what the merits of a policy goal of encouraging more condo and apartment construction, it’s happening anyway.

If anything, there are too many condos and apartments being built; if so, it could lead to a whole range of problems when the bubble inevitably pops, from housing issues, to a plague of abandoned construction sites, to a collapse in property tax revenue.

Before it makes any change in condo or density tax rates, council should figure out what’s behind the construction boom and consider what the implications of the proposed tax changes will be when the boom ends.

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2. Collapse

Photo: Paul Poirier/CBC
Photo: Paul Poirier/CBC

A house under construction on Lucknow Street collapsed, trapping a worker in the wreckage, reports the CBC. The man was rescued and taken to hospital with indeterminate injuries.

In January, 2013, a building under construction on Wyse Road in Dartmouth similarly collapsed.

3. Hollis Street bike lane

Halifax Cycling Coalition representative Matt Worona cruises down the left side of Hollis Street, where a bike lane will be constructed in coming weeks. Photo: Hilary Beaumont
Halifax Cycling Coalition representative Matt Worona cruises down the left side of Hollis Street, where a bike lane will be constructed in coming weeks. Photo: Hilary Beaumont

The Halifax Cycling Coalition sends the following press release:

The Halifax Cycling Coalition is pleased to inform you that the city has awarded the tender for the Hollis Street bicycle lane to Dexter Construction. This long-awaited lane completes a north-south pair with Lower Water Street, creating an important bicycle corridor through downtown. This project was first approved in November 2010 and the Halifax Cycling Coalition is happy to see it being built by the end of this summer.

“The Hollis Street bicycle lane is a critical connection for commuters coming in to downtown,” says Halifax Cycling Coalition board member Blair Barrington. “Cyclists have been enjoying the Lower Water Street bicycle lane for years, and this addition will provide a safer option for those entering the downtown.”

Halifax’s Active Transportation Priorities Plan, “Making Connections,” #1 goal is to connect our existing bicycle infrastructure together. The Hollis Street bicycle lane, along with the protected bicycle lane on University Avenue, and the recently-completed Windsor/Quingate connection work together to achieve this goal. The Halifax Cycling Coalition further urges the city to upgrade these lanes to protected bicycle lanes, which have been shown to increase bicycle use by up to 171% by making streets safe for people of all ages and abilities.

The tender award was for $230,900, reports Metro.

4. Well-dressed man

Photo: Toronto police
Photo: Toronto police

How slow of a news day is it? A “well-dressed man” is national news. The Toronto Star reports:

Toronto police have arrested a Nova Scotia man dubbed the “well-dressed bandit” after a series of bank robberies throughout the city.

From October 2014 to November 2014, police say a well-dressed man carrying a tan-coloured carrying case approached a teller and demanded money at four locations: Rogers Rd. and Keele St. area, Queens Plate Dr. and Highway 27 area, College St. and Grace St. area and Bloor St. W. and Dovercourt Rd. area.

In March, the Canadian Bankers Association announced a reward up to $10,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the man.

On July 14, Toronto Police Service Hold Up officers arrested William Richard Turner, 47, in Sydney, Nova Scotia.

He is charged with two counts of armed robbery and two counts of robbery.

The real news here isn’t that Turner held up banks — that’s where the money is — but rather that a Nova Scotian has a sense of style.

5. Wild kingdom

“Another whale was rescued off the coast of Nova Scotia in a year where there has been an ‘unusual’ number of whales entangled in gear,” reports the CBC, including a cool video of a whale doing whale-like things.


1. Yurts

Stephen Archibald experiences reality on a higher plain — with every glance he sees what the rest of us overlook, and his mind is like a hyperlink machine, making connections that elude most others.

Today, for instance, Archibald is simply wandering around looking at yurts and yurt-like structures and makes this observation:

At Canaqua there are two rows of huge fish tanks each with a little building for storing feed and equipment. These reminded me of the little buildings on wheels that were common at British seaside resorts in the 19th century. Known as bathing machines, they could be wheeled right into the sea and modest Victorian beach-goers could change into their swimming costume and descend the steps directly into the water.

Photos: Stephen Archibald
Photos: Stephen Archibald

Reading Archibald, it’s hard not to come away with the realization that I’m stumbling through life blindly, unable to see so much that’s right before my eyes, and missing out on the joys of free association.

It’d be depressing, were it not so fascinating.

2. Trinity Western

Jennifer Taylor compares the efforts of the Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society and its counterpart in Ontario to disallow students graduating from Trinity Western University’s law school from practising in the respective practices.



City council (10am, City Hall)—I hate these 10am meetings. You can read my council preview here. I’ll be live-blogging the meeting via the Examiner’s Twitter account, @hfxExaminer.


No public meetings.



Redditter SHaRTSTRIKE posted the above photo yesterday and explained:

Taken today behind the Canada Games Center where they piled up snow from the winter. Yup that’s a pile of gravel covered ice / snow I came across today at lunch.

In the harbour

The seas around Nova Scotia, 8:15am Tuesday. The ships clustered around Halifax are the arriving Herm P and the departing Northern Delegation and Barkald. The ships clustered around Sydney are the Port aux Basques ferries, the Atlantic Vision (arriving) and Highlanders (departing), and the cruise ship Maasdam (arriving). Map:
The seas around Nova Scotia, 8:15am Tuesday. The ships clustered around Halifax are the arriving Herma P and the departing Northern Delegation and Barkald. The ships clustered around Sydney are the Port aux Basques ferries, the Atlantic Vision (arriving) and Highlanders (departing), and the cruise ship Maasdam (arriving). Map:

Oceanex Sanderling, ro-ro cargo, arrived at Pier 41 from St. John’s this morning
Herma P, container ship, Bremerhaven, Denmark to Fairview Cove
Berlin Express is scheduled to arrive at Fairview Cove today, but I don’t think it will make it — the boat’s sitting off the coast of Spain
Reliance, cable layer, to anchorage

Northern Delegation sails to Liverpool, England
Barkald sails to Baltimore
Figaro sails to New York

Speaking of the coast of Spain, check out all the ships entering and departing the Mediterranean Sea:

Screen Shot 2015-07-21 at 8.28.26 AM


Yea, I don’t know that there’s 14 of them, one of them happened in Sydney, and most of them happened yesterday, not today, but if that kind of headline works for Buzzfeed it will work for the Halifax Examiner, right?

Tim Bousquet is the editor and publisher of the Halifax Examiner. Twitter @Tim_Bousquet Mastodon

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  1. A screen shot of the Singapore Straits shows much more traffic. And the Persian/Arabian Gulf is good as is the English Channel up to the North Sea and Rotterdam.
    And if you want to see the insignificance of our port count the container cranes in Singapore and Rotterdam.

  2. That style of headline might work for Buzzfeed, but then, I don’t read Buzzfeed, automatically dismiss anyone who cites Buzzfeed as a source, and sure as fuck don’t give them any money.

  3. I like that there is a growing number of bike lanes in HRM, but is there a plan at some point to connect them to each other?

    Only the tiny sidewalk that mysteriously exists at the north-west corner of the Dartmouth Commons, where Windmill and Wyse Road meet, does anything begin and end more abruptly.

    Lower Water Street is a particular mess with partially scrubbed yellow dividing lines still visible, causing drivers to hug the right hand side of the road.

    And because it’s confusingly wide (with poor road marking) for a single-lane one-way street, I often see drivers attempting to pass others where they shouldn’t.

    All of this results in cars constantly crowding into and over the painted bike lane.

    The city needs to invest in more, safer, well connected bike lanes if it wants to encourage this excellent means of alternative transportation.

    1. I know, right?

      Everyone’s at the beach, being non-cranky. It’s annoying as hell.