1. Stadium

There was a baseball stadium on the Wanderers Grounds in the early 20th century. Photo: NS Archives

Just to follow up on Halifax council’s approval of a temporary stadium on the Wanderers Grounds…

I’m somewhere on the spectrum from ambivalent to indifferent to the stadium, but for clarification, the city isn’t putting up any money for it. The “stadium” is basically 6,000 or 7,000 moveable seats and some sort of washroom and a structure for concessions. This is a far cry from the massive 25,000-seat, city-financed stadium proposed for Shannon Park, which was a financial disaster waiting to happen.

The agreement with Sports Entertainment Atlantic requires the company to remove a set of bleachers nearest the apartment building on Summer Street after every match — the company will own the bleachers and store them. Otherwise, the city will manage and operate the field, and can use it for rugby or other events.

There’s a league salary cap of $1.5 million; at 30 players, that’s $50,000 on average per player, assuming the team reaches the cap. I asked about salary because I feared we were going to get another sports team like the Hurricane and the Mooseheads, which pay their players shit.

Tickets prices will be in the range of $25-$30 per match, so figure $2-$2.5 million annually in ticket sales if the matches sell out. Add in concession sales, etc., and the business seems reasonably profitable.

I wonder about our rainy weather and its effect on attendance, but good luck. I guess we’ll soon learn if Halifax can support a professional soccer team.

Councillors obviously feel the value is in getting a professional sports team and use of a stadium for other events. I would have liked to have seen the city get a cut of ticket sales, or some other cash payment for use of the land, but we’re not getting that.

2. Councillor David Hendsbee

Hendsbee’s attitude is not so far from that of many of his constituents. He’s been saying this sort of thing for decades. When he’s not outright offensive, Hendsbee is a buffoonish, clownish figure on council, openly mocked by other councillors and reporters, and yet he regularly gets reelected by wide margins.

3. Reconciliation

Hendsbee’s rude comment came during a council meeting in which council discussed a new Mi’kmaw Native Friendship Centre. Reports Boon:

After an in-camera discussion that began Tuesday evening and spilled into Wednesday afternoon, council voted to once again look at selling the former Red Cross building in the north end, under the condition that any redevelopment will include a new friendship centre.


The motion rescinds council’s previous decision from last November to declare 1940 Gottingen Street surplus and sell it off to the highest bidder. The 1.2-acre piece of land, assessed at $6.1 million, sits behind Centennial Pool and across the street from the Halifax police station. It’s been vacant ever since Canadian Blood Services moved out in 2013.

Discussions began back in January to undo council’s previous motion when word came down that the federal government was interested in helping to fund a new friendship centre.

Adds Pam Berman, reporting for the CBC:

“Because of that suddenly options are on the table,” said Coun. Waye Mason. “What they are looking for is space and partners.”

The Mi’kmaw Native Friendship Centre is currently working on a business plan but Glode-Desrochers has big dreams that include a pow wow compound, a garden and affordable housing.

“It’s going to be an iconic building that everybody’s going to be proud of,” said [Friendship Centre Executive Director Pam] Glode-Desrochers. “And it’s going to be the go-to place for people visiting us.”

The Mi’kmaw Native Friendship Centre wanted to remain in the north end of the city and believes the site next to Citadel Hill is symbolic.

Glode-Desrochers called the council decision “reconciliation in action” and believes it will be good for the Mi’kmaq and the entire municipality.

4. Eel Spear Radio

George Marshall, of the Potlotek First Nation in Cape Breton, has applied to the CRTC to operate a radio station on the First Nation, reports Maureen Googoo. That’s interesting enough, but even better is Marshall’s back story:

A graduate student from McGill University was visiting with Marshall 17 years ago when he suggested they try to hook up his small broadcast transmitter. Marshall said he and another friend found a set of rabbit ears and an eel spear and tried to do just that.

“Together with the rabbit ears, his transmitter and my eel spear, we put it on the roof of my van and we went up to the highest hill in (Potlotek) and drove across the potato fields out to an apple tree,” Marshall recalled.

“Out there, we taped the rabbit ears on the end of my eel spear and leaned it up against an apple tree,” he said.

“We tuned into the radio to find ourselves and we drove around (Potlotek), the three of us in this little pickup truck, listening to our broadcast to see how far we can get,” Marshall explained.

“We were able to get two miles but that was the original broadcast,” he added.

Marshall said he ran the pirated radio station, called Eel Spear Radio, out of one of the rooms of his house. He started each broadcast day with morning prayers and then played music playlists on a computer.

“I tried to provide for every possible genre, every possible group in my community from elders to teenagers to the people who liked the hip-hop,” he said.

Marshall ran the unlicensed radio station from that room his home until his family grew and one of his children needed it.

5. Tracy Kitch

Tracy Kitch. Photo: Career Women Interaction

“The CEO of the IWK Health Centre used a corporate credit card to pay for thousands of dollars at The Bay, on limo services and iTunes — something the hospital is chalking up to a mistake,” reports Michael Gorman for the CBC:

The charges came to light after CBC News requested credit card statements since August 2014 for IWK CEO Tracy Kitch in a freedom of information request.

Among other things, the statements detail:

  • $1,021.32 for a car rental in September 2014.
  • $3,219.97 charged by The Bay in November 2016.
  • Multiple charges from iTunes and one from Netflix.
  • ​More than $2,000 for Crystal Cab and Limo Service.
  • $5,876 charged in October 2016 by the Women’s Executive Network.

Stephen D’Arcy, the chief financial officer for the IWK, said the expenses were either “incurred in the normal course of business” or were errors and refunded to the hospital.

The charges at The Bay and Netflix were made “in error” and either reversed or reimbursed, according to the IWK. The majority of the rental car charge and at least a quarter of the limo fees were related to personal use. The hospital said they were also reimbursed for those charges.

Gorman goes on to show that the expenses that were reported online were “updated,” but even the update doesn’t match an expense spreadsheet that a whistleblower gave to the CBC.

Kitch’s salary for the fiscal year that ended on March 31, 2016 was $289,020.

6. Macdonald Bridge

Someone took a photo of Kimberly MacKenzie running across the bridge this morning. Alas, that someone held their camera vertically instead of horizontally, ruining the effect for the entire internet.

The pedestrian and bike lanes were reopened on the Macdonald Bridge this morning. They’ll close when the bridge closes at night and on the occasional weekend; the shuttle service will run during those closures.



The city this morning issued a tender offer for replacement of the meeting management system in council chambers. The current system was installed in 2008, when the room was renovated, and has never really worked, resulting in much hilarity and annoyance.


Transportation Standing Committee (Thursday, 1pm, City Hall) — the committee wants to end restrictions on overnight parking for street cleaning by moving to an alternate sides of the street system.

Public Meeting – Campaign Finance Accountability (Thursday, 6:30pm, Bedford-Hammonds Plains Community Centre) — info here.


No public meetings.


No public meetings.

On campus



Dogs! Ponies! (Thursday, 7pm, Ground Level, LeMarchant Place) — prez Richard Florizone’s travelling road show continues.


Thesis Defence, Biology (Friday, 9am, Room 3107, Mona Campbell Building) — PhD candidate Jenni-Marie Ratten will defend her thesis, “The Diversity, Distribution and Potential Metabolism of Non-Cyanobacterial Diazotrophs in the North Atlantic Ocean.”

Dogs! Ponies! (Friday, 10am, Room B310, B Building, Sexton Campus) — prez Richard Florizone’s travelling road show continues.

In the harbour

3:30am: Atlantic Cartier, ro-ro container, sails from Fairview Cove for New York
8am: CSL Tacoma, bulker, sails from National Gypsum for sea

Tomar. Photo: Halifax Examiner

10:30am: Tomar, car carrier, arrives at Autoport from Southampton, England
8pm: Asian Moon, container ship, arrives at Pier 31 from Havana


We’ll be recording Examineradio today.

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

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  1. Re: 2. Councillor Hendsbee et al

    Perhaps wishful thinking, but if HRM eventually adopts comprehensive online voting, Councillors Hendsbee and Karsten may be voted out by an informed, tech-literate, progressive cohort appalled and disgusted by their offensive, archaic policies and opinions.

    1. Hendsbee serves his constituents very well. Tim provides no evidence of reporter and councillors mocking him.
      Has Tim or the other Peninsula oriented reporters ever interviewed him at length ?
      I have never seen Tim at community council meetings.
      I doubt Tim and other reporters have ever ventured east of Dartmouth.
      Hendsbees works 24/7/365 for his district, and has spent years trying to convince HRM and other levels of government to fund the extension of water service to the Preston area and has caused HRM to fund studies into the state of water consumed by people in the Prestons, no reporter has made any attempt to cover the issue which has been discussed at community council.
      At the RP+5 discussion he was better prepared than any other councillor with extensive sticky notes throughout the document and asked pointed questions on issues that applied to his district.

  2. I pay circa $25 to see a live Metropolitan Opera broadcast at the Dartmouth Cineplex.
    Why would I pay the same amount to watch the Canadian Premier League game ?
    A few weeks ago we went to a Vancouver Whitecaps game and it was woeful, tickets are in the $30 range for a seat in a magnificent stadium.

  3. With regard to the Wanderers Grounds, Tim, you are missing an important point – the precedent or Trojan Horse effect. It’s been hard enough to protect against encroachment and privatization of the Common over the years. Here’s yet another threat to the integrity and public nature of this gift to the citizens. And that will no doubt make it easier for the next time.

  4. I note there’s been little if any discussion about the impact this pop-up soccer stadium will have on things like traffic and noise. How about access to the hospitals which are not far away? Parking? Noise levels impacting residents and, depending on the “other” events which may take place, patients in hospital?

    1. All of the things you mention are addressed in the staff report, the council discussion, and the amendments that were passed to the motion.

  5. ‘Mid-Summer’, for a week or two on either side of the midsummer, the amount of daylight stays about the same – check the almanac.

  6. Yep, the days are getting shorter… soon it will be time to get out the shovels… snow is coming!

  7. hey now – Vertical photos are fine. That one is nicely composed.
    Vertical Video however is a plague that needs to be stamped out. Perhaps the solution is for Cell phone makers to default video to Letterbox – so its old school and square. then it doesn’t matter which way you hold the phone.

    1. Agreed on both points. I have to say that reading on an iPhone that photo fits nicely and is well composed.