1. Steele-ing a neighbourhood
Having recently purchased Colonial Honda dealership, The Steele Auto Group is now planning to expand the car lot’s Robie Street footprint to include everything south of May Street between Robie Street and Fern Lane extended all the way to Robie Street.
Tristan Cleveland sends me this graphic:
To accomplish such an expansion, Steele will have to tear down about 25 structures in the north end neighbourhood. As of Friday, said Cleveland, some 22 demolition permits have already been issued, as follows:
Fern Lane: 2696, 2688, 2686, 2680, 2678, 2674, 2670
May Street: 5758
Robie Street: 2623, 2619, 2697, 2629, 2627, 2623
North Street: 5809,5805, 5801, 5797
McCully Street: 5730, 5738, 5736, 5740
Steele owns three other civic addresses at the corner of May and Robie Streets, but environmental issues have delayed a demolition permit.
Chris Poulain took some photos of the houses to be razed:
Admittedly, some (but by no means all) of the structures are decrepit and should be replaced. But it makes no sense from a planning or environmental perspective to create a giant parking lot in the north end. The broader area has become more urbanized, and more densely populated, and so I’m surprised the planned expansion even makes sense economically for Steele; seems to me there’s far more potential to develop the area — by perhaps mirroring the giant Gladstone development just to the west. (I think that’s what an earlier buyer of the North Street houses had in mind, but for whatever reason those plans fell through.)
Opponents to the plan have formed a Facebook page, but councillors Waye Mason and Jennifer Watts both say Steele’s plans fit the zoning for the area, and demolition of the houses and expansion of the lot are “as a right” developments — council has no way to intervene.
CBC reporter Rachel Ward has been able to interview the elusive Andy Filmore, the much-celebrated former city planner. Filmore told Ward that he had discussions with car dealerships about creating a suburban “gasoline alley” — a stretch of car dealerships near a highway — but those plans went nowhere. For dropping the ball, Filmore was rewarded with a seat in Parliament.
2. Garbage Journalism
Reporter Jesse Ward examines how millions of dollars worth of government-sponsored “content” gets placed in Canadian newspapers. Ward raises important issues of government and journalistic ethics.
On the government side, the articles increasingly replace advertising, but get around tender rules for advertising.
On the newspaper side, the articles are not labelled as advertising or sponsored content,. Further, the newspapers — including the Chronicle Herald — do not otherwise disclose to readers that the articles were not written by a professional journalist, but rather by a PR firm.
This article is behind the Examiner’s paywall and so available only to paid subscribers. Click here to purchase a subscription.
3. Examineradio #59
On Sunday April 24 Solidarity Halifax organized a public meeting to discuss the strike at the Halifax Chronicle Herald, currently dragging into its fourth month. Striking Chronicle Herald news editor Pam Sword, Saint Mary’s labour professor Judy Haiven, and I spoke to a standing room-only crowd.
Examineradio is happy to present the audio of this roundtable discussion.
Also, rich dude demands city council’s full attention. Council complies. Then demands a cruller. Councillor Steve Adams makes a run to nearby Tim Hortons.
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Spryfieled resident Kimberley Jenkins was found guilty Friday of violating Section 22 (b) of the Animal Protection Act by not providing proper medical care for a cat named Fuzz. (Background here.) Reports Pat Lee for Local Xpress:
Scraggly Fuzz was let down by a couple of people that night. First was the responding Halifax Animal Services officer who confirmed with Kara Jenkins, who happened to drive by, that Fuzz was an owned cat. The officer noted Fuzz didn’t look that well, but he drove off anyway. Secondly was Jenkins herself, who did nothing to get the unwell cat to a vet — somewhere he hadn’t been for at least a decade — or even indoors.
A few hours later came the cat rescuers, who tried to find Fuzz’s owner (Fuzz had no identification). When that failed, Fuzz was finally taken to a veterinarian, who determined that he was indeed a very sickly kitty, possibly just hours from death. A decision was made to humanely say goodbye to Fuzz.
Enter Fuzz’s people who raised bloody hell about their unidentifiable, sick and roaming cat being put down without their consent and a rallying cry to hang the rescue community.
But the Nova Scotia SPCA took a different tack. They instead laid charges against Kim Jenkins for not looking after Fuzz’s many medical needs, something now possible through the amended Animal Protection Act.
1. Provincial budget
Richard Starr takes a look at the Liberals’ latest budget.
2. Muskrat Falls
“Last week’s reckless blustering by Stan Marshall, newly appointed CEO of Nalcor, Newfoundland’s troubled government-owned energy corporation, about possible cancelation of the half-built project, ought to alarm Premier Stephen McNeil,” writes Parker Donham.
There is no such thing as “green energy.” All electric generation — including wind, hydro, and even solar — has embedded environmental costs: the production of the concrete piers used for wind farms, the toxic materials used in producing solar cells, or the loss of a wild river in hydro projects, not to mention the considerable environmental cost of distribution, no matter what the source.
Still, we are facing a crisis of unprecedented scale. It’s probably too late anyway, but if we are going to have even the slimmest chance of averting global environmental collapse and the extinction of thousands of species (including, probably, homo sapiens), then we’ve got to get off fossil fuels as quickly as possible, like yesterday. There are problems with Muskrat Falls — there are problems with everything — but I don’t see a better alternative.
Oh, and Donham’s wrong about tidal power, but that’s an argument for another day.
3. Cranky letter of the day
We have now had roundabouts in the CBRM for a number of years and you would expect that by now most motorists would have a pretty solid grasp of roundabout etiquette.
Sadly, this is clearly not the case.
I think the nature of the problem lies in some motorists’ misunderstanding of the yield sign.
The yield sign as you approach the roundabout differs from a stop sign. Most of us get that. Drivers should not behave as if they’re in an intersection with a four-way stop sign; you do not take turns proceeding as you would at a stop sign.
As a driver, the traffic approaching from your left has the right of way, and failure to yield to them puts you at fault if an accident results. Even if a driver to your immediate left is also entering the roundabout at the exact same time as you, it is that driver who legally possesses the right of way. Wait that extra second and let that driver proceed.
To quote the Nova Scotia Driver’s Handbook on what to do when faced with a yield sign: “You must give the right of way, stopping if necessary, to any other traffic in, or closely approaching, the intersection.” I suspect it is the “or closely approaching” part that many drivers don’t seem to comprehend.
This whole thing is not complicated. I have checked the government’s Driver’s Handbook cover to cover and I have found no place in the entire book that advocates refusal to yield to traffic in a roundabout while also raising your middle finger and mouthing something nasty when the person being cut off honks in protest. Yet this is what many of us routinely see.
Surely most Cape Bretoners would not be so rude on a sidewalk or in a store. Yet from the inside of a vehicle with a quick means of escape many feel that dangerous and rude behaviour is absolutely warranted. It’s disheartening. Like most motorists I can tolerate being cut off; mistakes happen. But when someone comes close to damaging my property and potentially injuring my children, and then follows it up with a middle finger instead of an apologetic shrug, my tolerance wears thin.
Know the rules of the road. The raised middle finger is the hallmark of the ignorant. If you’re ever unsure about driving rules and etiquette, the Nova Scotia Driver’s Handbook is available for free online for everyone. No excuses.
David Donohue, Prime Brook
The Government and On Campus sections are compiled by Kathleen Munro.
Grants Committee (1pm, Halifax Hall, City Hall) The committee will discuss who will be receiving funding from the Community Grants Program.
District 7&8 Advisory Committee (4pm, Halifax Hall, City Hall) — The committee will discuss the controversial Wellington Street development proposal.
Legislature sits (4–10pm, Province House)
Environmental Science and Astronomy and Physics (7:30pm, Great Hall, University Club, Dalhousie University) — Aldona Wiacek will present “What is in the Air We Breathe?
In the harbour
3:30pm: Posillipo, oil tanker, arrives at anchorage from Beaumont, Texas
3:30pm, Grand Legacy, car carrier, sails from Autoport to sea
4pm: Havelstern, chemical tanker, sails from Pier 9 to sea
5:15pm: MSC Cristina, car carrier, arrives at Autoport from Sagunto, Spain
10pm: MSC Cristina, car carrier, sails from Autoport to sea
Where’d the weekend go?