1. St. Margaret’s Bay development

Last week, Philip Moscovitch reviewed the largest residential development ever proposed for St. Margaret’s Bay — and the divisions in the community it has caused.

Moscovitch now follows that up with a report on a meeting held Wednesday night to take public input on the proposal.

Click here to read “Talking in circles: Lots of questions, few answers at open house on St. Margaret’s Bay development proposal.”

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2. The Cogswell redesign’s transit failure

The newly passed Integrated Mobility Plan calls for a transit priority corridor on Barrington Street, but the Cogswell redesign plan doesn’t include it. Why not? Blame unimaginative planners who design for the status quo, says Examiner transportation columnist Erica Butler:

[I]t’s not the decades-old decisions that we should worry about, but the present day ones. Like the one wherein the city redesigns a downtown street grid and specifically chooses not to prioritize public transit all the way through it. This, despite the fact that plans are afoot to retrofit other streets, at great public expense. This, despite the fact that we have set major growth goals for our regional centre. This, despite the fact that we have political representatives who have demonstrated they are capable of looking beyond their own careers on council, to impact the long term viability and sustainability of Halifax.

Click here to read “The Cogswell redesign’s transit failure.”

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3. Liberals and the convention centre

The Grafton Street Glory Hole, with the convention centre above it. Photo: Halifax Examiner

There’s a sea of red downtown this weekend as the federal Liberals hold their annual convention at the Halifax Convention Centre.

The convention is being sold as a big success for the convention centre, and as justification for building it.

But… well, we now know that Events East is paying “incentives” to convention holders. Those organizations that had their conventions cancelled because of the delayed opening of the convention centre were paid just over a million dollars to rebook a year or two later in the completed centre. Was that a one-off expense related to the delay? Probably not: as Heywood Sanders explained to me in last week’s Examineradio podcast, the convention centre market is now so glutted with convention space that “incentive” payments are becoming the norm in the convention business. The various convention centres are competing with each other by offering discounted and free rent, and sometimes by making additional direct cash payments to the organizations.

Better to pay Acme Widgets a million dollars to hold their convention in your city than to have an empty convention centre, is the idea.

“Actually, discounts are so deep they are dragging the convention centers underwater,” reports Don Bauder for the San Diego Reader:

Los Angeles convention officials made an offer to the American College of Chest Physicians for its 2016 session. The rate would be $269,918. But Los Angeles would give an incentive of $268,918. So, the cost would be $1000. But, wait. Los Angeles would offer a $25,000 marketing incentive. So, then the city would be $24,000 in the hole. But, hold on. If it got commitments, the city would give further incentives for the next couple of years, including worldwide marketing help, going deeper into the red.

“It is not even giving it away,” says Sanders. “It is giving it away and throwing tens of thousands of dollars in cash on top of it.” Then he named several other cases in which Los Angeles and other cities are “giving two or three or four hundred thousand dollars in incentives.”

Sanders told me that this is not merely an American problem; Canadian convention centres are paying incentives as well.

And this is a Liberal town, with a Liberal premier and a Liberal mayor who probably wouldn’t overly object should hefty incentive payments be made to a Liberal Party wanting to hold a convention in Halifax.

I’ve asked the Liberals if they have received any incentive payments to book in Halifax; I’ll let you know if they respond.

4. Biomass explained in four tweets

From Raymond Plourde’s Twitter feed:

Harvesting tomorrow’s forest today! A clearcut harvest of tiny trees in Antigonish County to burn in @nspowerinc‘s big bad #biomass generator in Port Hawkesbury, #NovaScotia. Stop #ClearcuttingNS! #nspoli pic.twitter.com/WBf3hVax9t

— Raymond Plourde (@EACwilderness) April 19, 2018

The harvest was clearly done during wet conditions using heavy machinery. Lots of big ruts and soil compaction. Not good for future forest regeneration. But hey – gotta feed the beast, right? pic.twitter.com/iDIN6EacIj

— Raymond Plourde (@EACwilderness) April 19, 2018

The “product” – small, young trees piled up beside the logging road waiting for their turn through the in-woods chipper. (Wouldn’t want anyone to see those pitiful “logs” going down the highway now would we?) 😳 pic.twitter.com/29LROqiYgK

— Raymond Plourde (@EACwilderness) April 19, 2018

Et voilà: another shitty Nova Scotia clearcut courtesy of Nova Scotia Power and fully sanctioned by the Nova Scotia Government departments of Energy and Natural Resources. Way to go guys. Hope you’re proud yourselves. 👎 pic.twitter.com/oNfgzStr0J

— Raymond Plourde (@EACwilderness) April 19, 2018

5. Sensitivity training

“The interim leader of the PC Party says cultural-sensitivity training may be offered to its 16 MLAs after a comment made by one of them was labelled as racist,” reports Jean Laroche for the CBC.

Actually, as I wrote yesterday, two PC MLAs — Elizabeth Smith-McCrossin, the MLA for Cumberland North and a PC leadership candidate, and Barbara Adams, the PC MLA representing Cole Harbour–Eastern Passage — made racist comments.

But both have walked back their comments, and Smith-McCrossin met with El Jones yesterday. “I do think it’s important to acknowledge that she took these steps to be accountable for her comments and to genuinely apologize,” wrote Jones in a Facebook post. “We talked about systemic racism and particularly how cannabis laws affect African Canadians.”

6. Mi’kmaw Native Friendship Centre

A conceptual drawing of the new Mi’kmaw Native Friendship Centre.

Plans for the new Mi’kmaw Native Friendship Centre were unveiled yesterday, reports Angel Moore for the CBC:

New conceptual drawings were unveiled and construction of the 70,000-square-foot building is hoped to begin next February, with an opening in two or two-and-a-half-years. 

Pam Glode-Desrochers, executive director of the centre, revealed the new name for the centre will be Wije’winen, which means “come with us.”

Glode-Desrochers acknowledges that some people don’t want the Red Cross Blood Services Building torn down, but she said the building does not fit her community’s needs.

“We want to be respectful every step of the way,” she said.

The community input made it clear that they did not want a square building and that the building’s environment was important. Glode-Desrochers wanted to make sure everybody has an opportunity to have input.

“Whether your Indigenous or non-Indigenous, we want people to be a part of this. We want everybody to see themselves in that building. We want everyone to be proud of that building. It really is around reconciliation.”

7. Falconer

A falconer (right) with a bird of prey.

The DND has issued a tender offer looking for a falconer to provide “wildlife control” at the Shearwater air base and, when needed, at the Hartlen’s Point golf course and “other DND properties.”

The falconer will control a minimum of two “birds of prey [who] must be natural enemies of the wildlife to be controlled.” This raises all sorts of philosophical issues around the definition of “natural enemies” and the nature/nurture question. If a falcon is “naturally” the enemy of seagulls that may be interfering with airplanes, why does it need a human trainer? And just because a falcon wants to fly after and presumably kill a seagull, it doesn’t necessarily mean the two are “enemies”; I don’t consider myself the enemy of the pig who provided my sausage dinner last night — I wanted it to live a good life and come to a relatively painless demise. Admittedly, however, the pig might have seen it differently. I only bring this up because it could be a sticking point should non-performance become an issue.

Anyway, the person providing wildlife control (and presumably, the falcons as well), will work “on a weekly basis Monday to Friday from 0800 to 1600 hrs for the period of the Service Contract for the aerodrome. Although the number of daily hours will remain unchanged, the hours could fluctuate depending on the flying schedules and the success of the bird control work. A thorough check of the aerodrome must be completed prior to the first daily departure (aircraft) and every time deemed necessary thereafter and/or as directed by WATCO [the Wing Air Traffic Control Officer] or his/her designated representative to maintain a wildlife free environment.” But the person and the birds also must be available on a 24-hour standby basis, just in case there’s a midnight attack.

The falconer might also make use of a “wildlife control dog,” and it’s beginning to look like the animals are doing all the real work here.

As for Hartlen’s Point, the document is fuzzy about how or why we taxpayers are paying for wildlife control at a golf course, saying only that the contractor will be dispatched on an “as requested basis.”

8. Rambo the racoon

Speaking of wildlife, Don’t do this! 

Reports CTV:

Despite earlier indications to the contrary, it now appears Rambo the raccoon will not be returning home to East Uniacke, N.S.

Nova Scotia’s Department of Natural Resources has relocated Rambo to its wildlife park in Shubenacadie, with possible plans to eventually release him into the wild.

The family who raised Rambo says they are heartbroken over the news.

“DNR is really hurting a lot of people’s feelings,” adds [Billy] Holman [of the family that adopted the racoon]. “I mean, even today, coming here, what did I see on the road? A dead raccoon.”

The family has considered legal action, but concedes that would be an uphill battle.

“We’re between a rock and a hard place,” says Holman, “because you’re fighting against the Nova Scotia government, right?”

No, you’re fighting against the natural order of things. Racoons and other wildlife should not brought into human families or domesticated. The government is absolutely doing the right thing.


Government

No public meetings.


On campus

Dalhousie

Thesis Defence, Earth Sciences (Friday, 10am, Room 8007, Life Sciences Centre) — Master’s student Taylor Jane Campbell will defend her thesis, “Seismic Stratigraphy and Architecture of the Jurassic Abenaki Margin, at Cohasset-Migrant, and Potential for Distal Organic-rich Facies.”

New Solid State NMR Research from Dalhousie University and Beyond (Friday, 1:30pm, Room 226, Chemistry Building) — Ulrike Werner-Zwanziger will speak.


In the harbour

7am: USCGC Spencer arrives at Dockyard
6:30pm: Nolhanava, ro-ro cargo, sails from Pier 36 for Saint-Pierre
9:30pm: YM Moderation, container ship, sails from Fairview Cove for New York


Footnotes

I’m “on assignment.”

Tim Bousquet

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

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13 Comments

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  1. You are right in that the Province is doing the right thing about the pet raccoon. The media coverage is far too soft. It should be focussing on the bad things that happen to people and animals when they try and make pets out of wildlife. I still think the coverage seems to be too much “big bad government” when it should be “mal informed citizens”. Every time people try to make raccoons into pets it always ends bad.

  2. Professional falcons and their apparent colleagues, eagles, return to their unfailingly attractive, windblown, female handlers when they’re called. This is advantageous because their job is to keep YHZ out of the Icarus Report when Tim’s 737 sucks a seagull into an engine. Sadly, these engines cannot easily digest birds of prey either, which is why we need the pros. The obvious solution is for geneticists to develop seagulls that pass easily through jet engines as well as a strain of handlers that won’t be mistaken for click-bait.

  3. We keep rats in Fairview at 19 Alma Cres. It’s a community thing, come see the Rat Hotel, just before the Titus intersection. They are fed by the open garbage cans. It is quite a sight, they have excavated all the dirt out and have covered the gabian wall. We’ve had it going for 2 years.

  4. Note to Elizabeth Smith-McCrossin on 4/20: You might wish to get hip to the fact that the “unproductive pot-smoking Jamaicans” you had the audacity to diss can boast in their ancestry the Jamaican Maroons who helped to build the Citadel and Government House in Halifax.

    You and your colleagues (they know who they are) might want to consider schooling yourselves on African Nova Scotian history before you open your mouths again and display the blatant racism for which Nova Scotia has a justly deserved reputation throughout this country and beyond.

      1. Do not google Malibu Rum funny commercials if you don’t want to see adverts perpetuating the stereotyped relaxed island mentality.

      2. “Wow, our serf caste sure works hard, we hardly ever have to deport any of them to keep them in line and they will work for peanuts compared to people with the same rights as me”

    1. I’m pretty sure someone who would make such a statement doesn’t have a chance of getting hip. Maybe McCrossin could do a little research before spouting off. A quick search shows that yeah Jamaica doesn’t have fantastic productivity numbers but that has got nothing to do with the character of Jamaicans or pot.

      So in addition to be oblivious to her own racism, she is also a fucking idiot. I’m sure she will go far in the PC party.

    1. Yes. That is what it is, but it is not for golfers benefit. The open fields attract flocks of geese which create a hazard for aircraft. Keeping birds off the golf course protects planes.
      Now the question remains why DND should be in the golf course business ? I know it is “non public funds” but DND owns it and allows operation. Seems a bit out of step with things in 2018.

  5. A new police HQ is needed and HRM will be off looking for a new site. Across the street seems like a really good central place; but the City Hall brains trust gave the property away. Perhaps down the hill after they tear down the Cogswell interchange. Where is a good location on the peninsula ?

    1. I’ll take the new friendship centre on that site over a police headquarters anytime.

      The city brain trust did the right thing for a change.

  6. Cultural sensitivity training should be offered to everyone, not just to politicians who don’t have a filter between their brains and their mouths.