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1. McNeil’s pricey PR people suck at their jobs

Yesterday on Facebook, Graham Steele posted an analysis of the McNeil government’s reaction to the collapse of negotiations with the teachers union. Steele’s entire post is worth reading, but I was most struck by this:

The government’s communication strategy is poor. Key information was being tweeted by the premier’s principal secretary. The red-bathed Liberal ads are more scary than reassuring. The premier’s tone is all wrong. It’s the angry, combative tone he uses in the legislature. People remember tone long after they’ve forgotten content. He needs to take a deep breath and be statesmanlike. One thing’s for sure: this dispute is not going to be resolved by running down teachers.

The usual political playbook is that the premier lets his ministers carry the freight, and steps in only when a dispute is very close to resolution. Then the premier takes credit as the peacemaker. In contrast, Premier McNeil has sidelined his education minister and is fronting the communications just when the dispute is at its worst. If the teachers go on strike, he’ll wear it personally. That’s not good politics. I don’t understand the strategy.

I couldn’t agree more. When the Liberal ads came out, I noted that:

Here’s the first ad:

YouTube video

Boy, does that hit the wrong note. Note to Liberals: when discussing education you need a nice soft, touchy-feely voiceover, not some deep throated guy who sounds like a mafia fixer threatening to kneecap you if you don’t pay for the protection insurance.

Since then, McNeil has doubled down on the anger at teachers. Steele says it’s a poor communications strategy, but it’s not obvious to me that it’s a communications strategy at all; McNeil and his team seem to be winging it on the PR front.

But how can that be? McNeil has surrounded himself with former journalists commanding unprecedentedly high salaries, presumably because their talents were up to the challenge.

Laurie Graham
Laurie Graham

I was called a sexist and worse for daring to question McNeil’s hiring of Laurie Graham, spouse of the saintly Ray Ivany, as the Principal Secretary to McNeil, at the astonishing salary of $160,000 annually. But there are also:

Marilla Stephenson
Marilla Stephenson

• Marilla “get rid of about half of the communications machine” Stephenson, hired into the communications machine in the newly created position of “managing director of corporate and external relations” for the Executive Council Office at a salary of $106,000;

Laura Lee Langley
Laura Lee Langley

• former MITV anchor Laura Lee Langley, transferred earlier this year from Communications Nova Scotia to become the deputy minister of the Office of the Premier. I can’t find her current salary, but it’s no doubt more than the $183,342.38 she was paid last year at CNS;

Jackie Foster. Photo: Twitter
Jackie Foster. Photo: Twitter

• former CTV reporter Jackie Foster, hired in February to become the “policy and outreach advisor” at the Executive Council Office (I can’t find her salary this morning);

David Jackson
David Jackson

• former Chronicle Herald reporter David Jackson, hired as the “senior advisor media relations” in the Office of Premier, also at an undetermined salary.

That’s at least five successful journalists who have been hired into highly paid positions in McNeil’s inner circle for, as McNeil himself noted, their expertise in communications:

Asked… what Nova Scotians should make of the spate of hirings McNeil said “they’ll recognize that the premier recognizes the great talent that’s in the press corp.”

This “great talent,” however, is leading McNeil right down a disastrous communications path with regard to the teachers.

All of these PR people were highly regarded as journalists. (Of the five, I only dealt with Foster firsthand, and found she had excellent instincts.) So what went wrong? Did McNeil surround himself with a team of capable communications experts only to ignore their advice? Or is it that, contrary to the truism, journalists don’t really make good government PR hacks?

Whatever the reason, as evidenced by the failed communications strategy with regard to the teachers’ issue, these five former journalists suck at their jobs.

How much is this failed communication team costing?

Well, McNeil is throwing out numbers like “half a billion dollars” for the teachers’ ask and “about $1.2-billion in compensation across the entire public service” should the teachers’ request for a two per cent raise be applied to all government employee unions. It’s unclear where those numbers came from; as Steele notes:

The government documents don’t spell out how they [the McNeil government] calculated the cost of the NSTU proposals. Heck, they don’t even list what the NSTU proposals were. We need to be cautious of accepting, and then repeating as fact, numbers that are not well explained.

But one of the PR people, Graham, tweeted out some limited context:

Talks broke off with NS teacher’s union after an ask of almost 500 million for teacher’s alone. #nspoli

— laurie graham (@lauriegrahamNS) November 25, 2016

In response to a reporter’s question about where that number came from, Graham tweeted:

@MariekeWalsh NSTU ask:500M over 4 yrs – salary, retirement bonus,working conditions. More details tomorrow.

— laurie graham (@lauriegrahamNS) November 25, 2016

Well, maybe, but this is obviously misdirection. With her first tweet, Graham implied that $500 million is the annual cost of the teachers’ ask. Even with the qualifying info in the second tweet, that it’s the cost over four years, Graham is still implying that the additional cost of the teachers’ ask is $500 million, where clearly that figure is the total cost of existing pay and benefits plus the ask. And since she doesn’t provide the cost of existing pay and benefits, the $500 million figure is completely meaningless — we have no baseline to compare it to.

(And can I just point out that reporters are trained to illuminate, give context, and, well, tell the truth, whereas Graham is here doing the complete opposite: she’s shading the issue, avoiding context, and giving incomplete truths.)

Still, if a contract lifetime cost is good enough for Graham when calculating the impact of giving teachers a raise, then it’s good enough for us when calculating how much the super-duper basketball squad of McNeil’s inner circle of communications experts is costing us.

Between Graham and Langley alone we’re talking $350,000 annually. Throw in 106K for Stephenson and (I’m guessing) 100K each for Foster and Jackson, and we’re talking ballpark $650,000 for just the first year, and all we got was this failed communications strategy T-shirt and red-washed ads threatening to kneecap us.

Project the five’s salaries out 10 years, and we’re talking $6.5 million! — and that doesn’t even include the inevitable annual salary increases that are given administrators but that McNeil wants to deny to union workers.

This is of course a ridiculous conversation, but that’s what happens when McNeil throws out bullshit numbers like a half-billon dollars and $1.2 billion for the purpose of baldly stupid political posturing. Too bad he doesn’t have any competent communications professionals around to advise him not to.

2. Examineradio, episode #89

Stephen Kimber
Stephen Kimber

On this, episode 89 of Examineradio, we speak with long-time Halifax journalist and journalism professor Stephen Kimber. Over a wide-ranging interview, we look at the very real possibility that Halifax could become the largest city in Canada without a daily newspaper of record.

Also, Halifax’s White Elephant has its opening date pushed back yet again, throwing dozens of conventions into chaos. This week also saw the city’s 12th homicide of 2016, and we wait to see if the newly-elected council’s commitment to a living wage ordinance has any teeth.

Finally, if you’re a regular user of TuneIn for podcasts, radio shows and radio streams, Examineradio is now available to stream there.

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(direct download)
(RSS feed)
(Subscribe via iTunes)

3. Peter Kelly

Peter Kelly. Photo: Tim Bousquet
Peter Kelly. Photo: Tim Bousquet

“It appears Charlottetown’s CAO is going to be on probation a little while longer,” reports TC Media:

Sources have told TC Media that the city has extended Peter Kelly’s probation another six months while a review is conducted in Alberta.


One source TC Media spoke to Friday said everyone wants to clear the air.

“He’s done by all reports a fabulous job (as Charlottetown’s CAO), but we’re making sure that everything is clean and clear for him and that he operates under no shadow,’’ the source said, requesting anonymity because they weren’t authorized to speak about it.

For new readers, here’s an abridged history of Kelly’s public service:

Opening the windows of democracy.

The Halifax concert scandal.

Mary Thibeault’s executor.

Screwing over Westlock County, Alberta.

Remarkably, even with this history, the city council of Charlottetown hired Kelly as the city’s CAO. When Russell Gragg and I interviewed some of the councillors for the Examineradio podcast, they excused the hiring by speaking of “those inbreds in Alberta” and other non-issues.

I’ve been telling anyone who will listen in Charlottetown that it’s only a matter of time before their burg erupts in Kelly-related scandal.

4. Trussler to retire

Fire chief Doug Trussler. Photo: Halifax Examiner
Fire chief Doug Trussler. Photo: Halifax Examiner

The city this morning issued a Request for Proposal for a head-hunting firm to hire a new fire chief. Current chief Doug Trussler recently told me that after he retires he intends to stay in the Halifax region.

The RFP also includes the recruitment of a division chief in the fire department. I don’t know if someone else is being replaced or if this is a new position.

Update 10am: City spokesperson Brendan Elliott writes:

Hi Tim, just saw your morning bulletin. The other person leaving is our Emergency Management Office co-ordinator Barry Manuel. A huge loss. His institutional memory dates back to 1985 when he first started doing EMO work. He is an expert in his field, and was involved in the Swissair disaster, Hurricane Juan, White Juan, and several other events affecting the Halifax area. He retires on April 30. The hope is to have someone in the job before he retires so he can pass on his decades of knowledge.

5. Centre Plan

The Centre Plan is the next step in the city’s planning process, applying the same sort of planning guidelines that were applied through the HRM By Design process for downtown to the rest of the “capital region” — the entire Halifax peninsula and Dartmouth inside the Circumferential Highway.

As regular readers know, I’ve been cynical about the Centre Plan because I fear it will reflect the two primary shortfalls of HRM By Design. The first is that so many exemptions were written into the thing that it allowed construction of the Borg, the humongous and ugly Nova Centre that has destroyed the architectural spirit of downtown. The second is that there is not the political will to enforce the thing, so connected developers will convince politicians to side-step the planning rules and sign onto development agreements that otherwise wouldn’t be allowed.

And now the city has published a list of 19 development proposals that have been submitted since the Centre Plan process was started. As with the Nova Centre and HRM By Design, these are proposals that may be written right into the Centre Plan as exemptions to the Centre Plan’s otherwise supposed worthy guidelines.

I haven’t had time to meticulously go through the list. Some of the 19 appear to be non-controversial, but others are very, very large — there are 20- and 26-storey buildings on the list — and will have untold effects (positive and negative) on surrounding neighbourhoods.

See the whole list here. The list does not say what is allowed by the existing land-use bylaws and planning regulations for each site, which might be an indication that staff is leaning towards recommending approval for each proposed project.


1. The Ghomeshi verdict isn’t Marie Henein’s fault

Marie Henein
Marie Henein. Photo: Henein /Hutchison

“The danger in having conversations about sexual assault and how it should be dealt with in the criminal justice system without someone like Henein involved,” writes Stephen Kimber, “is that such a discussion becomes insular and circular, and gets us nowhere.”

This article is behind the Examiner’s paywall and so available only to paid subscribers. Click here to purchase a subscription.

2. Conquered people don’t need treaties

Robert Devet points out that the legal brief claiming that the Sipekne’katik Band is a  “conquered people” and so therefore their appeal of the Alton Gas project does not apply is merely a reflection of a broader court argument made by the province:

In June, in the same case, [Justice Departmetn lawyer Alex] Cameron also argued that treaties don’t apply.  

The treaty of 1752?

“Courts have consistently found that the treaty of 1752 was terminated by hostilities shortly after 1752,” writes Cameron in his June submission. “In sum, the courts have held that the Treaty of 1752 did not survive. The applicants have no claim to rights under it.”

The treaties of 1760 – 1761?

“In sum, while the Applicant claims aboriginal title and treaty rights, the law does not support such claims in respect of title at Shubenacadie and rights under the 1752 Treaty, and casts considerable doubt on claimed rights under the Treaties, 1760-1761.”

No offending words this time, but same outcome.



Districts 7 & 8 Planning Advisory Committee (4pm, City Hall) — now that the horse is out of the barn, the committee is going to try to close the door on Young Avenue demolitions.


No public meetings.

On campus


Gene editing (9am: Theatre D, Tupper Building) — a symposium on the science of gene editing and its social, cultural, economic, and ethical implications; presenters aren’t named in the event listing.

Senate (3pm, Theatre A, Tupper Building) — 15 minutes is being allotted for “Dentistry update on the Taskforce Recommendations.”

YouTube video

Gattaca (7pm, ground floor of the Halifax Infirmary) — a public screening of the 1997 sci-fi film written and directed by Andrew Niccol and starring Ethan Hawke,  Uma Thurman,  and Jude Law; a panel discussion on the science and ethics of human gene modification follows.

In the harbour

5:30am: Dalian Express, container ship, arrives at Fairview Cove from Norfolk

Atlantic Cartier. Photo: Halifax Examiner
Atlantic Cartier. Photo: Halifax Examiner

6am: Atlantic Cartier, ro-ro container, arrives at Fairview Cove from Antwerp, Belgium
3pm: NYK Meteor, container ship, arrives at Fairview Cove from New York
3pm: Vera D, container ship, arrives at Pier 42 from Lisbon, Portugal
3:30pm: Atlantic Cartier, ro-ro container, sails from Fairview Cove for New York

5:30am: Oberon, car carrier, arrives at Autoport from Southhampton, England
1pm: Vera D, container ship, sails from Pier 42 for Mariel, Cuba
4pm: Oberon, car carrier, sails from Autoport for sea


I don’t like flying. I like trains.

YouTube video

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

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  1. Several years ago, I interviewed for a PR gig. On paper, I was a great fit for the job and had a lot of knowledge about the industry, which is one that is controversial and often in the news.

    Then they asked me this question: “What would you do if you had to go on camera and give the CEOs opinion, which was contrary to your own values and ethics.”

    I was stumped. My first thought was of course I couldn’t sacrifice my ethics. But I think they wanted me to say I was the spokesperson and, therefore, had to set aside my values and ethics for that role.

    I didn’t get the job but that question has stuck in my head ever since. And I ask it to myself when I think about working PR. If I do, it has to be at a place that wouldn’t ask that question in the first place (although that’s not likely.)

  2. Re: McNeil’s pricey PR people suck at their jobs.

    Orrrrrrr… maybe they’re not simply a propaganda, PR machine. Maybe they were hired to silence the criticism of the Provincial Government.

  3. Perhaps despite assembling the most impressive government propaganda machine since Harper, Stephen McNeil won’t accept their advice because he may be the kind of man whom nobody can tell him anything. Let’s not give up on Graham, Stephenson too soon. Just wait and see the campaign they have likely already prepared for a possible teachers strike.

    As for Graham Steele’s contention that the ministers are allowed to carry the freight and the Premier only steps in at the end as peacemaker, I see no sign at all that McNeil even intends to be seen that way. On the contrary, he acts as though he were General Patton preparing for the Battle of the Bulge waving his ivory handled revolvers.

    The implicit thesis in his Premiership to date has been that he will personally eviscerate all those greedy public sector unions for which a grateful public will reward his budget-balancing Liberal party.

    It feels to me that he has deliberately manufactured an unnecessary confrontation with the teachers as his first major battle. After a glorious victory, he will tame all other public sector workers in other battles to come. He is virtually daring the teachers to ‘force him’ to unleash his nuclear option, Bill 148. If he can smash and demoralize the teachers, he expects to cow the rest of the civil service into toeing his line. This is the time to do it – with an opposition leader who has failed to connect with the public and a decimated third party whose leader lacks a seat in the House.

    A major part of any war to be fought before a cynical and disengaged public is disinformation, such as the fiction that the province is virtually broke and simply cannot afford to deal fairly with teachers, or that these greedy teachers refuse to negotiate.

    This is where the propaganda brigades come in. They may have stumbled a little out of the gate, but that’s just the opening move in a much longer and likely very ugly campaign. If he succeeds he will have divided us against ourselves and can expect profit mightily for it in the ballot box. (Too bad about our kids education, but the coming ‘good news’ budget will likely include tax cuts – proof of McNeil’s sage wisdom – and isn’t that what really matters)?

    Stay tuned…

    1. The teachers pension plan has had an unfunded liability for the past 40 years.
      Service awards were an incentive to remain in employment and not leave for what may have been attractive alternative employment and are no longer necessary.
      Has the province proposed to freeze teacher service awards earned to date as set out here on page 28 :
      ” Effective April 1, 2015, the Province discontinued its retirement allowance plans for nonbargaining unit staff. As part of current contract negotiations, the Province has proposed the withdrawal of its retirement allowance plans for unionized staff effective April 1, 2015, and no new members will be admitted into the plans. These benefit changes were reflected in the current year by recognizing a loss on curtailment of $24.2 million and deferred losses of $73.1 million relating to these plans as part of Pension Valuation Adjustment. The Province expects the benefit changes for unionized staff to be ratified in the near future during ongoing contract negotiations. ”
      Read pages 30 & 31 for a realistic understanding of our financial position.

      1. Unfortunately the contract negotiations took the form of an ultimatum apparently calculated to cause industrial strife. It seems that the Premier intends to capitalize on that strife for political advantage, blaming the teachers for causing it as he does.

      2. I tried your link but it led nowhere.

        I can offer this one…

        Among other indicators it shows Nova Scotia’s 2016-17 net debt to GDP ratio is 37.9% and projected to fall slightly.

        The net debt to GDP of the Federal government is projected to be 31.8% and holding.

        Yes, we are slightly worse but hardly the basket case McNeil paints us to be. Our fiscal problems are mostly related to the revenues shortfall we continue to suffer rather than from profligate government spending, and given this has been happening for some time, accelerating with the end of offshore oil revenues in 2010, we are not as badly as some would have you believe.

        By comparison net debt to GDP for Quebec is 48.1% (and falling), Ontario is 40.3% (and falling), NB 41.8% (and rising) while NL (with low oil prices and massive Muskrat Falls overages) was 49.4%. At the other end of the scale, Alberta was 3.3%, but projected to rise sharply due to low oil prices). Sure we could do better, but many large countries are far worse.

        McNeil is trying to solve declining revenues with simplistic cost cutting including such ill conceived measures as ambushing a viable film industry that was confirmed by international auditing firm PwC to be returning more to NS than it cost, allowing already expensive university tuition to skyrocket (driving away young people), retrospectively ending assistance for high obstetrics insurance premiums (driving away OBGYNs), and the puny amounts relied upon by non-profits like the CNIB which offer valuable community service thanks mostly to volunteers.

        it seems this government is penny wise and pound foolish. My family doctor is preparing to move back to NB where he could expect to earn $50k more for the same work he does here.

        So now they are going to bully the teachers into some kind of industrial action, blame them for it then claim they saved us all with Bill 148. Too bad our kids are in the middle of this mess.

      3. I think if you dig a little deeper you’ll find that the provincial government raided the NSTU’s pension fund repeatedly. So of its underfunded, a really good question would be how much did the provincial government take out of it?

        Issue number two, is that the service award basically amounts to a consolation prize for the loss of pension indexing. It’s not, and never was a “bonus” as Mr McNeil likes to refer to it as, it was and is a negotiated benefit.

      4. The best solution to avoid a teaching strike is simply to reinstate service awards until true classroom equity can be established. School Principals will accommodate teachers who need another teacher plus an extra classroom at the beginning of a new school year. How impossible is this?

  4. I don’t mind flying, but I LOVE trains. Even like buses – but if you live in Halifax, you can’t get a bus to spend a couple of hours in Peggy’s Cove. Or to Chester. Or to Lunenburg. Or anywhere on the south shore. Thank-you for the Fred Eaglesmith.

    1. Apparently there is going to be a daytrip bus making a South Shore/ Valley/ Halifax loop with drop off/ pick up options. Didn’t pay much attention when I saw it mentioned in the CH because it’s not a service I would use at this stage. Might be great for people who don’t like to drive or don’t have access to private transportation.

  5. Re: McNeil’s pricey PR people suck at their jobs. Not one person with an actual PR degree in the Premier’s office? Yet MSVU is graduating 80 + students with that very degree a few times a year (at least that’s the number that graduated with me back in ’97). I’d sure like a crack at a six figure salary…

  6. Re: the homicide rate “as high as Baltimore right now”.

    Okay, let’s run those numbers again:

    Baltimore has a population of 622,000 people, and to date this year has had 286 homicides. That’s 46 homicides per 100,000. Halifax has 425,000 people, and to date has had 12 homicides. That’s 2.8 homicides per 100,000.
    The reference in the podcast here is to John Wesley Chisholm on News 95.7 last week, claiming absurdly that Halifax is “the most dangerous city in North America” (which Tim disagreed with, to be fair). Chisholm’s logic, which IS being referenced here, is that since we’ve had 12 homicides so far this year, and since the former city has 100,000 people, our real homicide rate is 12 homicides per 100,000.
    So first, if true, that would be four times lower than Baltimore’s.

    Second, the former city of Halifax today has a population of about 140,000, not 100,000, so that’s a rate of 8.5 per 100,000.

    Third, four of those 12 homicides occurred outside of the former city boundaries. So we’re down to 5 per 100,000.

    Finally, this statistical gerrymandering is totally phony. Central Dartmouth, with tens of thousands of people, isn’t included in the “former city,” though it’s certainly as much a part of the regional centre as Spryfield, which is. Include Dartmouth, and the homicide rate goes down to about 3 per 100,000, similar to Vancouver’s rate. Exclude it and the rate artificially goes up. (Though not to Baltimore levels, more like Edmonton levels.)

    Halifax is having a problem with gun violence. No one should deny it. But this “as high as Baltimore” non-fact is total BS, but has now been stated, unchallenged, in two new sources in the space of a week. So now we’re going to have a bunch of credulous Haligonians out there piping up that “Halifax has the same murder rate as Baltimore, I heard it on the radio!” What are the ramifications of such false knowledge for policing, policy, civic self-image, etc?

    1. The population of Halifax pre 1995 amalgamation was less than 120,000 and closer to 115,000.
      The 2011 population of Halifax pre Fairview,Rockingham etc as defined by the old boundary of Joe Howe Drive was 62,900. – source StasCan
      The city of Halifax does not and never did include Dartmouth, Bedford etc.
      Crime in 2016 Halifax should be compared with crime in 1994 Halifax as well as prior years.

      1. Today, the pre-HRM city Chisholm was referring to is about 140,000. I know the former city didn’t include Dartmouth; my point was that if we’re going to talk meaningfully about per capita crime rates, then to not include the tens of thousands of people on the other side of the harbour is an artificial cut-off that amounts to gerrymandering. Halifax-Dartmouth is a contiguous social and demographic area. Most cities have some arbitrary boundaries here and there, but few cities have one slicing right through the metropolitan centre, so to say what happens on one side shouldn’t count to crime stats (or any stats) is nonsensical.

        If the former city of Halifax has 5 murders per 100,000, but the per-capita rate when looking at Halifax-Dartmouth is 3 per 100,000, what is actually a more reasonable figure, if we’re trying to compare with other municipalities? The latter.

        Also, if we look at Halifax without Fairview, Rockingham, etc, (i.e., just the peninsula) then the population goes down, but so do total murders. If you’re just going to look at the peninsula, east of Joe Howe (the 62,000 area you mention) you’ve only got FOUR murders. To cite that as our “real” crime stats would be ridiculous. It would be like Torontonians insisting that crime in Etobicoke and Scarborough shouldn’t count to Toronto’s crime rates, or Bostonians saying that Cambridge is an entirely different thing that shouldn’t count toward Boston’s crime rates.

        Anyway, even if you gerrymander the Halifax stats to look as bad as they possibly can look, you’ve got nothing to justify Chisholm’s nonsensical “most dangerous city in North American” statement.

        1. I use the 62,900 number because that is the 2011 population of the same census districts as the last 145 years.
          If we want to compare the murder rate in Halifax it is best to use the same census tracts attached to the boundaries of the City of Halifax from the time of amalgamation of the off peninsula areas of Fairview, Spryfield and Rockingham.

  7. Re: Pricey PR people

    Former journalists are not public relations professionals, a fact which this government seems to totally miss. They can become communicators after a few years of experience, training and practice, but it speaks to the ignorance of those who pull good reporters into the world of PR thinking that being a good reporter makes you a good communicator. It is confusing the message for the messenger to an extreme degree. They may be good at phrasing the message, but there is no strategy behind it.

    1. I don’t disagree. I wonder if an additional part of the problem is that for the past 15 years or so reporters have been increasingly taken off long-term projects like investigations and tasked merely with feeding the daily news beast. When you’ve got to put out two stories a day, every day, there’s no time for reflection, understanding the broader lay of the land, and certainly not for long-term planning. It’s possible these reporters never developed those skills (even in a journalistic setting) to begin with.

  8. To quote $160,000-a-year Laurie Graham tweeting about teachers and education costs in NS: “Talks broke off with NS teacher’s [sic] union after an ask of almost 500 million for teacher’s [sic] alone”….maybe Laurie should consider going back to school to learn how to use apostrophes correctly ….maybe one of those “teacher’s” she is slagging off can help her out with that.

    1. I frequently walk my dog along the Dartmouth waterfront trail and my favourite view is when a train snakes its way around the bend under the NSCC waterfront campus. And “I Like Trains” always comes into my head.

  9. The 19 proposals seem to be an attempt on the part of developers to get their projects in before the Centre Plan is instituted.

    Around my neck of the woods there is a proposal for a 13 storey condo across from the Commons in what the Centre Plan deems a corridor.

    “corridors are appropriate locations for low (three-storey) to moderate (four to six storey) development that, depending on local conditions, should include ground floor commercial spaces.”

    13 storeys is far from moderate.

    1. No.
      It is purely staff driven and in my opinion it is encouraging us to tell them which projects are acceptable or not acceptable; and which projects are just sitting there with no real attempt to move forward. The council has changed and the votes for/against have changed and I believe staff are encouraged with the arrival of the change.
      It is easy to be cynical of the Centre Plan if you have not attended meetings and have not talked to staff/consultants.
      Not to mention the many unsold condos and the vacant apartments which were meant to be condos. At St Lawrence Place,completed in 2014 there are 42 unsold condos in an 82 unit development; only 7 units have been sold in the last 15 months. At the Anchorage, Kings Wharf, there are 34 unsold units ( 2 commercial units) in a 88 unit building completed in June 2013.

      1. I hope you’re right.

        Given the train wreck HRM by Design was not much of a stretch to think the Centre Plan would be the same.

        I know I don’t want a 13 storey tower as my next door neighbour.