In the harbour
Nearby residents are lining up against Danny Chedrawe’s proposed 25-storey building on Robie Street, and for perfectly understandable reasons: the building is huge, not only in comparison to nearby single-family homes, but in comparison to pretty much the rest of Halifax. (I think it would be the fifth or sixth tallest building in Halifax.) Neighbours are concerned about creating wind tunnels and shadows that affect their properties. And, in what I find the most valid complaint, there is a cluster of development either already approved or in the proposal stage in the immediate area, but no overall plan for them.
There is the eight-storey building slated for construction at Quinpool and Vernon. Armco wants to build 28- and 12-storey buildings at the corner of Quinpool and Robie. A proposal will soon be submitted for the St. Pat’s High School site, and a development for the lot south of the Atlantica Hotel is in the works. Any one of the developments may or may not pass muster on its own, but no one seems to be looking at the collective effect should all of them be built.
The Quinpool Centre, now aging ungracefully, is already a dead spot on Quinpool Road. If we’re not careful we could destroy the life on the street, just as thousands of new residences are built. It could become a warehouse for people to sleep before they go off and experience life somewhere else.
Still, one neighbourhood complaint that bothers me is the call for more parking in Chedrawe’s building:
Duncan Street resident David Smith pointed out the plan allows for one parking spot for every two units.
“That’s not enough,” he said adding that it would only put more parking pressure on the neighbourhood.
By the end of the meeting, Chedrawe said he’d reconsider increasing the amount of parking.
Quinpool Road Mainstreet District Association supports the development but wants it to have more self-contained parking and a traffic study done in the area.
While other aspects of the building are debatable, the entire point of dense urban apartment building in a central location is to attract people who don’t want to bother with owning a car. The building will be within easy walking distance of grocery stores, downtown offices, the universities, and many bus lines. A requirement for additional parking is almost, but not quite, a requirement that residents own cars — it changes the feel of the building, and of the neighbourhood. It adds cars, or at least the infrastructure for cars, where none is needed.
Chedrawe has a good reputation among planners. This building might be too much for the neighbourhood, but the limited size of his proposed parking lot is sensible. It’s the way of the future, even. We simply cannot keep building for cars and think that it won’t lead to more cars. It necessarily does.
Increasingly, young people, and especially young people living in cities, don’t have driver’s licences, much less cars. They prefer to walk or take transit, and use cabs or car share for the exceptional times when they need a vehicle. We should cater to them.
That skateboard park on the Dartmouth Common will finally be built this summer, reports the Chronicle Herald. Well, it’s that last part of the Commons — the little triangle of land between Wyse and Windmill Roads and the old brothel. The skateboard park will be next to the basketball court, on the land where Gloria McCluskey’s failed outdoor gym used to sit. (The gym was popular while it lasted, but the company that made the equipment went kaput and it couldn’t be maintained.)
Now we just need wine bar/ coffee house up on the ridge line, next to the gazebo, to make the Common civilized. Imagine stopping by on your way to or from the Bridge Terminal, sitting and watching the harbour for a moment of repose before catching the bus to meet with your asshole boss, or meeting your spouse on the way home from work for some decompression. I tell ya, the Dartmouth Common could be a thing, if only we weren’t so hung up on the alcohol issue.
3. IMP layoffs
IMP Aerostructures has laid off 30 employees at its Amherst plant, reports the Amherst News. About 200 people work at the facility. Last year, the plant laid off 90 people, but then hired back 30 of them in the winter to make up lost production time due to the snow; those 30 have been re-laid off.
As of this morning, absolutely no one has bought the GroupOn coupon for the Portland to Yarmouth and back Nova Star trip, which includes 90 glorious minutes in Yarmouth.
A Dartmouth woman, however, told the CBC that she’d buy a similar coupon if it was offered the other way around because she already makes that trip — she takes the Nova Star from Yarmouth to Portland and back, and spends just 90 minutes walking around Portland:
It’s a trip that my husband and I enjoy taking quite a bit, usually over a weekend,” [Catherine] Montgomery says.
“We enjoy the actual travel and the ambience of the boat. We disembark and then we usually have our ticket booked to go back over,” she says.
Montgomery said going on foot saves her and her husband some time. They went to Portland twice this way since the ferry launched last year.
“Usually we just walked around the downtown area. They have a very pretty downtown area in Maine,” she says. “Gone for a coffee, or grabbed a light meal, pretty much that’s it.”
I dunno, now that Sangillo’s has closed, maybe one could spend just 90 minutes in Portland.
Who’s behind the “Draft Kelly” website? Russell Gragg identifies six suspects.
Stephen Archibald went to the Rare and Unusual Plant Sale in Annapolis.
This is Archibald’s second post about Annapolis, which prompted one reader to complain that the name of the place is Annapolis Royal, and that Annapolis is in Maryland. (I stopped by the historic Maryland town last month; it’s a lovely place.) But I figure that as Archibald spent his childhood winters in nearby Bridgetown, there are probably local names for places that don’t match the names on the maps, and so “Annapolis” it is.
Graham Steele’s discussion of decorum at Province House is merely an excuse for his real point, which is that legislators are dumb:
It is beyond the capacity of most MLAs to understand the issues, so they take shortcuts. It’s a lot easier to shout someone down than come to grips with what they’re saying. It’s a lot easier to think in partisan terms, “our party is good, your party is bad” than to think in policy terms.
It’s a lot easier just to vote for a bill because you’re told to, than to read it and try to understand it well enough to make up your own mind.
Incidentally, the MLA who threw the bottle across the legislative chambers (and missed the waste basket) was Joanne Bernard.
4. Casual sexism
Rachel Ward, who sometimes works for the Examiner, talks about the casual sexism experienced by female reporters:
After interviews, I’ve had male sources call their communications advisors — and sometimes people I know — to complain that I didn’t understand the topic. I’ve been told to deepen my voice for radio. I’ve had too many sources to count think an interview meant a date later. A male source once kissed my hand.
5. Prayer circus
Cape Breton Regional Municipality Mayor Cecil Clarke is making a fool of himself over the prayer at council issue, says the Cape Breton Post:
So, it seemed a little curious to see Clarke — prior to the April 21 council meeting — lead what was essentially a prayer meeting attended by many evangelical Christians, a number of whom don’t seem to recognize the separation of church and state.
The circus continued during Tuesday’s council meeting, with the council’s old prayer inexplicably printed in the meeting agenda (Clarke was away on vacation), and with members of the pagan community interrupting the council’s new “moment of silent prayer, invocation and reflection” at the start of the meeting.
No public meetings.
On this date in 1820, George Ramsay, the ninth Earl of Dalhousie and Governor-General of Canada, laid the cornerstone of the first Dalhousie College at Grand Parade, where City Hall now stands:
[Lord Dalhousie] wanted to establish a Halifax college open to all, regardless of class or creed.
The spoils of war helped fulfill his dream. During the War of 1812, Castine, a small port in Maine, was being used as a base by American privateers who harassed ships along the Eastern Seaboard. Britain sent a Royal Navy force from Halifax to capture Castine and turn it into a customs port of entry. When the war ended, the navy returned to Halifax with the money it had collected as customs duties. Lord Dalhousie invested 7,000 pounds of this treasure as an endowment for the college and put aside 3,000 pounds for its construction. The earl modeled the fledgling college after the University of Edinburgh, near his Scottish home.
The institution of Dalhousie College was actually created in 1818, but while the cornerstone of a building was laid two years later, by that time Lord Dalhousie was appointed Governor General of Canada and went to Quebec. With no one around Halifax to champion the college, the college took a while to get off the ground. Classes weren’t offered until 1838, and those were “only intermittent and degrees were not awarded for some time.” It wasn’t until 1863 that the college was reorganized and proper instruction given. The first class had 28 students.
In the harbour
Atlantic Companion, container ship, arrived at Fairview Cove this morning from Norfolk
ZIM London, container ship, Rotterdam to Pier 42
Atlantic Heron, bulker, Quebec to Pier 25
Sina, cargo, Havanna to Pier 36
CSL Tacoma, bulker, Norfolk to Nation Gympsum
Fusion sails to sea
I was locked out of my own site this morning. Looks like I need to go buy a new router.
Did you mean: Gnarly (from Google). From GNAR, Gaffney’s Numerical Assessment of Radness
A bit of an explanation on the origins and the game of GNAR….basically a good way to get arrested, injured etc on a ski hill
“Increasingly, young people, and especially young people living in cities, don’t have driver’s licences, much less cars. ”
This drives me nuts every time I see it. My quality of life has drastically improved since buying a car. I don’t have to wait for the nearest 30 min give or take 15 min to get groceries, to go to work, etc. I can actually visit family outside the city, I can get anywhere I need to and anywhere I want to.
Try taking metro transit to the beach or to Yarmouth..
When my car finally dies, I’m not getting a new one. Car share is easy enough for doing things around town, and rent a cars for out of town. Total expense will go way down as I won’t have to pay for insurance and maintenance. I’m an old fart with a good record, so insurance isn’t really bad, but for young people it’s a huge problem. Also, need to factor in the time for maintenance and so forth — I still haven’t had my tires switched out because I need to find the time. Far less than waiting 20 minutes or whatever for the car share.
“When my car finally dies, I’m not getting a new one.”
So you had a need for a car at some point, and now you don’t? That’s great! That doesn’t mean everyone can do that.
“but for young people it’s a huge problem”
I’m 25.. My wife and I spend about $300 a month on our car. Transit would be $146 or something for my wife and I, but we lose 2h a day to waiting for and on busses.
I’m more than happy to spend that $3 an hour difference. Take acadian bus, cabs, and rentals into account and not having a car would literally cost us money.
See my point above about “those that can and want to live downtown already do.”
I needed a vehicle when I lived in Bumfuck, Arkansas. I haven’t really needed one since. It’s been a drag on me, financially.
I take it you spend most of your time in and around downtown dartmouth / halifax then. And like I’ve said, if you never leave downtown, that works.
I took the bus or biked when I worked downtown, but where I’m at now it’s a 30min walk to a bus that gets me to work or a 10 min ride, wait 20 min and transfer.
My drive is 10min.
That hour or two a day isn’t free. That’s time I could be spending doing literally anything but getting soaked or pissed off at late busses.
I get it. You like your car and you hate Metro Transit.
Not everyone does.
Watch out for the increase to your insurance premiums once you stop owning a car. Should you ever buy another vehicle, you will be penalized
by the insurance companies for how long you have been without one. I don’t recall the exact time frame but if you spend long enough without your name on a policy, you are facing rates that are similar to new drivers.
Car Share group insurance prevents this. I know some people get Car share just for that reason.
Could not agree more on the parking issue.
I own a house 3 blocks down. I do not own a car and do not want to own a car.
It would be wonderful if penisulites like myself could adopt a more Manhattan state of mind. Public transit, cabs and two feet should be all you need.
That would be both BOLD and WORLD CLASS.
“could adopt a more Manhattan state of mind”
That’s not a realistic target; Manhattan has 26,403 people per square mile. The Halifax peninsula has 183. It’s also a perfect grid.
The infrastructure has to come first. Many people need their entire lives to change, jobs, family to move, so they don’t need a car.
They also need a viable alternative. Metro Transit isn’t a viable alternative right now and they’re not willing to change.
If metro transit were to become a world class transit service overnight, with busses from anywhere to anywhere every 10 minutes and a full subway system, it would still take about 4-5 years for people to consider it.
Right now, for many people, cars are a necessity. Not everyone wants to or can walk everywhere. By not having parking available you’re preventing those people from moving downtown. Those that want to walk and live downtown already live there.
Let’s say that one more time just to get the point across… those that want to live downtown and walk everywhere *already do*
To bring new people into your lifestyle, you need to ease the transition. At this point in my life I simply could never rent a unit without parking. Ever. It’s not going to happen.
Parking will be available in the building– for fully half the residents.
And half of the units can’t be rented to people who need a car. Which are the people you want and need to move downtown.
Relax, Evan, no one’s trying to steal your car. You’ll be able to continue to drive as much as you want. I’m just arguing that we can, and should, design at least some places for people want to own one.
Mr. Chedraw has done his market research I’d expect, so has proposed the amount of parking he believes would be wanted by the market (the tenants for that many units at that location).
I’m sure that all the spots will be rental spaces, and if he thought more spots would pay for themselves he’d have planned to build them. (Digging a deeper hole for 100 more parking spots will put his construction costs up by $6 or $8 million. [cost per spot at $60-80,000] If because of public opinion or Halifax requirements those 100 spaces are built but not rented then all the tenants will be paying for them in their increased rents. There was an of excess of underground parking built in most of the highrise developments on the peninsula, leave many damp dark expensive spaces empty and unrentable.
The carshare option Tim mentions can be part of the solution. Each car serves on the order of 50 drivers, with just one parking space. And each means 8 to 10 members have actively opted to not buy a car, leaving more room for the remaining cars.
I lived downtown for ten years, and dumped my car for the last three (thanks to CarShare Halifax). It was awesome. Every building I lived in had parking, but I had to pay for it. Some were reasonable, some not so much. It added so much to the cost of owning a car I only used on weekends, that it didn’t make sense to keep it.
I’m away from the home of my heart for now (circumstances have plopped me in the ‘burbs where a car is a necessity), but I can assure you that the minute I can be back downtown, the four wheeled albatross will be gone.
You can have my space…
I don’t think the proposed shortage of parking for that development has anything to do with environmental responsibility, it’s to save the developer a huge amount of money. Given that the peninsula is pretty much solid bedrock it’s very expensive to sink a parkade underground, while putting it above ground means sacrificing leasable real estate. I’m pretty sure too that the land-use bylaw for the peninsula stipulates one space per unit, but then everything else about this development defies sensible regulations and common sense as well. There’s already a bunch of poorly-designed, cheapass high rises going up all over the peninsula, and like you Tim I can’t see any financial logic to this building boom, how a couple of hundred welders (perhaps) moving to Halifax in 5 years is going to turn the city into Barcelona.
I disagree though over the need to own a car in Halifax. Yes, mine sits idle 5 days a week as I do all my day to day commuting by foot or bike (apart from the odd grocery run or trip to the coast in the evening), but for me the only thing that makes living here worthwhile is what’s outside the city: the vast, empty coastal barrens, the beaches and forests. Without that I’d be absolutely miserable in a town like this. I moved here from London where indeed there is no end of delightful things to do without a car (didn’t own one for 5 years), but Halifax ain’t London.
I have been lax and sloppy by dropping the Royal from Annapolis. I apologize and will try to change. Tim is correct that in Bridgetown we got in the habit of using the short form when saying things like ” It’s always cold in Annapolis, the wind never stops blowing.” On the plus side my blogs about Annapolis Royal got the attention of Mike Pantelides, the Mayor of Annapolis, Maryland. He Tweeted: “ I invite you to visit us in Annapolis, MD, we have very similar architecture I’m sure you would love!”
Stephen, a friend was just telling me about a large chimney (bear with me here) that’s home to a vast population of swallows, where in the evenings you can see them returning home en masse, this big cloud of birds all funneling in at once. They thought is was in Annapolis Royal and was quite well-known. Do you know anything about this?
There is a school in New Glasow that has chimney swifts who return every year.
Your friend is talking about chimney swifts. The best known site is in Wolfville – I wonder if that is what they have in mind (http://www.wolfville.ca/experiencing-wolfville/things-to-do/robie-tufts-nature-centre). There could well be a site in Annapolis – I see there has been a colony of swifts in Bear River. We went to see the swifts in Wolfville once (years ago when the sifts were still plentiful). Lots of people came out on a summer evening and lounged on the ground while a “cloud” of swifts assembled and circled the chimney. Then, as you describe, they dove at full speed into the chimney.
There is no chimney swift site like that in Annapolis Royal. It is a local custom to just say Annapolis but we all know what it means.
Why has no one asked the question: Why not a 3 day round trip ticket, or a 7 day one? If the goal is to find customers for the boat ride, why would you care how long they stay?
Because this way they spend all their money on the ferry. They only have an hour to spend in yarmouth, the other 20 hours they’re in restaurants, casino, bars onboard the ferry.
If they were just a ferry this wouldn’t be an issue. But their business isn’t point A to point B; This is a cruise vessel on a short trip.
Thanks for linking to my column, Tim, but I have to quibble with what you say is my main point. I’ve never said that MLAs are dumb. Some are, but no more than any sample of 51 decent, gregarious, community-minded Nova Scotians. The problem is that they (including me) are overwhelmed by the number and complexity of the issues in front of them. MLAs learn pretty fast that there is no electoral reward in doing good work in the House. To the extent they control their own re-election, it’s for work they do back in the constituency. So that’s where they devote their time and effort. Nothing dumb about that at all. Electorally, it’s smart.
“Electorally, it’s smart.”
The #1 problem with politics. It isn’t and never should be considered a career.
If you ever feel you can’t “do good work in the House” aka “the responsibility your constituents entrusted you with” that’s about the point when you should retire from politics.
Instead, politicians make decisions that benefit themselves in the short term, rather than their country/province/municipality in the long term. Getting reelected shouldn’t even be a priority.
That’s why at the federal level we have life-term senators. As they don’t have to worry about re-election, they’re able to properly examine and debate legislation. In the US the president has term limits for much the same reason. Obama can do things in his second term that, though the right thing to do would cost him reelection.
In your experience is reelection a primary goal of an MLA?
I can’t believe what I just read, Mr. Steel. No, sadly, I do believe it. You just, all be it unwittingly, summed up the problem with politics in this province – and, I dare say, in most liberal democracies – when you said. “there is no electoral reward in doing good work in the House”. So, is that a reason for not at least trying to do good work? What you appear to be saying is that getting re-elected is paramount and serving the best interests of the people of the province is secondary. No wonder so many people don’t bother to vote.
One of the best parks I’ve been to was in Switzerland, and it was full of things you couldn’t do here. There was a kiosk selling coffee, beer and wine, and dozens of people sitting on the grass enjoying their beverages while grilling dinner on little Hibachis. Lots of kids running around too, and no mayhem! All a stone’s throw from the (legal) red light district.