1. Six demonstrators arrested outside Canada Post facility
“I was sitting at home when I got the community call-out for a solidarity action at the Canada Post on Almon Street on Sunday night,” writes El Jones. “Since I live in the area, I decided to go down and see what was happening and join in to support the postal workers.”
Jones goes on to explain how six people were arrested at the demonstration, noting:
It was all-too-Canadian. The cold, the Tim’s coffee, the parkas, the police being polite while they arrested people for exercising their rights, the public that supports stripping workers rights because there might be letters for Santa in those vans. And the general indifference while the police are authorized to use force to break the strike and keep breaking it, all while we celebrate being a kinder, gentler country than what we see happening under Trump.
Click here to read “Six protestors arrested at Halifax Canada Post demonstration.”
2. YMCA drops plan for daycare from its new building
The YMCA has dropped plans for daycare at its new building now being constructed at the corner of South Park and Sackville Streets, reports Jennifer Henderson:
The new recreational facility has been eagerly awaited by its supporters since 2012, when HRM Council greenlighted the controversial development. It faced criticism from both city staff and heritage advocates. The two high-rises are about twice the allowable height under planning rules and are being wedged into a corner vacated by the CBC which overlooks the Public Gardens and faces the Citadel.
Originally forecast to cost $22 million, project costs have nearly doubled to $40 million, and so the Y is appearing before the city’s Audit & Finance committee today to ask for $1.5 million from the city. Continues Henderson:
When HRM councillors meet this week, it will be interesting to note whether dropping the daycare — one of the “social and community benefits” included in the original successful proposal — will have any impact on their decision to weigh the Y’s request for $1.5 million.
Click here to read “YMCA drops plans for daycare from its new building.”
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Writes Stephen Kimber:
Back in the fall of 1968, Stokely Carmichael’s mere presence scared the hell out of Halifax. Are there lessons for today?
Click here to read “Race in Nova Scotia: one small step forward, another giant leap into the past.”
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4. Squirrel on the transformer strikes again!
“The ridiculously named Saltwire Network, Mark Lever and Sarah Dennis’ newspaper empire, has shuttered its printing operation in Sydney,” notes Mary Campbell in the Cape Breton Spectator:
The Cape Breton Post will no longer be “proudly published in Cape Breton.” It will be published in Halifax, on Saltwire’s “world-class press” (a phrase devoid of meaning unless Saltwire actually won some sort of international printing Olympics).
Given the parlous state of print media and the fact that Saltwire owns multiple presses, this day was probably inevitable. But the whole thing is somehow made worse by the weaselly way it was announced — in a by-line-free article in Friday’s paper under the headline:
“New printing location for Post.”
So much cheerier than:
“Press closure throws 14 out of work”
The fact of the job losses was buried in the sixth paragraph — and softened to “Fourteen full- and part-time employees were affected [emphasis mine] by this move.” The author first had to explain that the equipment in Sydney was “aging” and would require “costly upgrades in the near future” and to focus resolutely on the bright side:
Readers in Cape Breton will see a more colourful paper with sharper images. In fact, because of some challenges over the fall, Cape Breton Post readers have already had an opportunity to see the enhanced quality as the Post was printed for several weeks in Halifax.
I guess we’re expected to enjoy our “more colourful paper” and not trouble our heads about what Saltwire will close next.
Click here to read “Fast & Curious: Short Takes on Random Things.”
Stick around for the depressing news that Mother Canada™ is still alive!
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5. Pedestrian killed
An RCMP release from Saturday:
At 9:04 p.m. last evening [Friday evening], a man was crossing the Beaverbank Connector on foot, near the off-ramp for Exit 2 from Hwy. 101. He was struck by a vehicle, and a short time later struck by a second vehicle. RCMP and EHS responded and the 60-year-old man from Lower Sackville was pronounced deceased at the scene.
I recall that other pedestrians have died at this locale. T.J. MacGuire explained the geography of the situation:
Locating a major transit terminal across a highway from a neighbourhood with no reasonable access is an issue. Have a look at the desire path, clearly many use it and risk their lives for their daily commute.
A “desire path” is a nonsanctioned footpath made by people walking the shortest distance, as shown in the Google Satellite photos below:
6. Refinery explosion
“It has been nearly two months since an explosion and fire sent plumes of thick black smoke high into the sky from the Irving Refinery in Saint John and the pieces are still being put together to solve the mystery of how it happened,” reports Laura Lyall for CTV:
The province is satisfied with the company’s response after reviewing the emergency report, but at least one neighbouring resident is calling for more transparency.
Gordon Dalzell points to a newsletter he recently received from Irving Oil which says a debrief meeting was held on Nov. 1 with the community liaison committee.
“This information has not been made public, it’s not on their website, why should just a few handful of invited community members get this information when the rest of the community deserves it as well,” Dalzell said.
7. PR fail
And just one month after Holocaust Education Week.
“Two Halifax-area brothers have been charged with committing a hoax related to terrorist activity in October that closed the Woodstock, N.B., border crossing to Houlton, Maine, police say,” reports the CBC:
Bailey Roy, 21, and Damien Roy, 22, were also charged in Woodstock provincial court with obstruction, said New Brunswick RCMP Cpl. Jullie Rogers-Marsh.
The brothers were charged jointly when they appeared in court Wednesday. They remain in custody and are due back in court next month.
I keep linking to this story only because the boys are so attractive. But since we’re here… hoax related to terrorist activity?
9. The solution to problems caused by the finance industry? More finance.
“Over the next few months, a group of 30 Haligonians under the age of 30 is going to tackle one of the city’s most pressing issues,” reports Zane Woodford for StarMetro Halifax:
The Future City Builders program is a collaboration between Evergreen, a non-profit environmental conservation organization, and YouthfulCities, the international organization that puts together the annual YouthfulCities index.
“We feel like housing right now is sort of gaining some momentum, not only in the developments that are happening, but also in discussions around affordability and our communities,” [SMU student Alfred] Burgesson said.
There are no simple solutions to these problems. However, between January and March, Burgesson and Liu’s team is going to sit down and try to figure it out.
“The idea is that we bring some new ideas,” Burgesson said.
The team will take part in a series of five workshops, starting with just learning about housing.
In March, the participants will launch those ideas to the public at Halifax City Hall in front of a panel of judges.
The best idea will win seed funding to make it happen, but Burgesson hopes there’ll be funding for the other four as well.
Future City Builders in general is sponsored by RBC’s Future Launch program, and Burgesson said there’ll be other sponsors signed on by the time the event rolls around.
No disrespect for Burgesson or the other young people, who I am sure are well-meaning and want to do good in the world, but we don’t need “new ideas” to solve the housing crisis. Rather, we need to revive the old solution that actually worked but that was tossed out because it didn’t benefit the rentier class: off-market housing. That is, social housing and cooperative housing. Those solutions were never adequately funded, but even the minor success stories were too much of a threat to those profiteering off real estate, so they’ve been defunded even further.
You dance with them that brought you, and RBC bank is involved in this because they hope for the creation of some new and complex financing scheme that they can profit from.
Cut it out already. Just tax rich people and build more social housing and cooperatives.
10. Peter Kelly
Like the swallows returning to Capistrano…
“Charlottetown CAO Peter Kelly will have to undergo workplace sensitivity training after an investigation found he breached the capital city’s harassment policy,” reports Ryan Ross for the Charlottetown Guardian:
A document The Guardian obtained, which was signed by Mayor Clifford Lee, detailed an investigation into six formal complaints City of Charlottetown public works superintendent Mike Bradley filed against CAO Peter Kelly.
Those complaints were made under the city’s harassment policy, and Patsy MacLean of HR Associates was brought in to do an external investigation.
In an unusual move, MacLean added a seventh complaint after reviewing the allegations and interviewing Bradley.
11. Atlantic Journalism Awards
As with all professional awards, journalism awards can be more than a little self-serving. We all pony up 100 bucks for each story we self-nominate, then when we win, we point to the awards as proof of our greatness.
Less cynically, they serve especially to encourage young reporters, and to acknowledge some of the very good work that is produced. And, well, we get to party with a bunch of reporters.
So while I don’t overstate the importance of the Atlantic Journalism Awards, I do submit work, and try to attend.
But I got word this weekend that Squirrel on the Transformer (that is, Mark Lever and Sarah Dennis’ Saltwire Network) is boycotting the awards. In past years, the Chronicle Herald was a sponsor of the awards, but I guess after we all dissed Saltwire at the 2016 awards ceremony in St. John’s, Lever is going to take his ball and go home to the Dennis mansion in the south end.
Not the end of the world, but it’s a tiny illustration of why media concentration is a bad thing. Saltwire is interfering with my drinking habits.
Audit and Finance Standing Committee (Monday, 10am, City Hall) — the Link and the YMCA are looking for money. Both these orgs have something in common: while they may be worthy enterprises, they are tied to quite questionable property developments. In the Link’s case, it’s George Armoyan’s property shuffle to make the Willow Tree possible; in the Y’s case, it’s an oversize condo project across for Citadel Hill and the Public Gardens. It’s as if this city has tied its future, economic and otherwise, to the whims of the real estate market.
City Council (Tuesday, 10am, Halifax Marriott Harbourfront Hotel) — a remarkably slim agenda.
No public meetings this week.
The Role of Wheelchairs in Ensuring Participation for People with Mobility Challenges (Monday, 12pm, Room 409, Centre for Clinical Research) — Lee Kirby will speak.
Symphonic Celebrations, Dalhousie Symphony Orchestra (Tuesday, 7:30pm, St. Andrew’s United Church, 6036 Coburg Road, Halifax) — Peter Allen and Leonardo Perez direct Elgar’s Serenade for string orchestra, Haydn’s Symphony No. 100. Tix $15 here.
Celebrating Halifax – Zhuhai Connections – International Reception & Photo Exhibit Launch (Monday, 11:45am, Patrick Power Library) — meet delegates from Zuhai, China at a lunchtime reception. RSVP here.
Climate in Peril: The Future of Carbon and Climate Change Politics (Tuesday, 6:30pm, Paul O’Regan Hall, Halifax Central Library) — if you want to get depressed, this is the place for you! Kate Ervine will talk about her book, Carbon, and the IPPC’s forecast for the end of the world. Info.
In the harbour
06:00: Kivalliq W, oil tanker, sails from Imperial Oil for sea
06:00: Augusta Sun, cargo ship, arrives at Pier 31 from Mariel, Cuba
06:00: ZIM Monaco, container ship, arrives at Pier 42 from Algeciras, Spain
09:30: Horizon Star, offshore supply ship, arrives at Pier 9 from the offshore
10:00: Mol Paramount, container ship, arrives at Fairview Cove from Norfolk
16:30: ZIM Monaco sails for New York
21:30: Mol Paramount, container ship, sails for Dubai
Where are the Canadian military ships?
I’m off for that 10am Audit & Finance meeting. I hate 10am meetings.
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I can guarantee I will not be able to afford a membership at the new Y.
So now the Y has dropped the daycare from their development. Just what is the Y doing now which is worthy of community support? Seems to me it might as well be just another GoodLife franchise in a McCondo. Not seeing much to benefit the community coming from the Y these days. They closed the Dartmouth location and stole the trust funds which were set up to benefit Dartmouth youth, and now they are looking at a high-end location in a new building. Maybe it is time for the Y to move on and let a truly community focused organization take over.
Can you give some info about the trust funds? I’m unaware of this.
When the original Dartmouth YMCA was established on the shoreline of Lake Banook, the land was provided by the developer Charles McCulloch as a benefit to the community with covenants in the agreement to ensure it remained that way in perpetuity.
The Dartmouth Y served the youth and families of Dartmouth and operated for many years as a successful community based organization. Programming at the Dartmouth Y had broad community support. There was a trust fund allocated by the Moffat Family of about $100,000. The interest from that fund was designated to provide continuing support to the youth programs of the Dartmouth Y.
In the 1980s, the Dartmouth Y like many organizations of the time faced some challenges. After some deliberations, it was decided to merge the Halifax YMCA and Dartmouth YMCA organizations into a single YMCA of Halifax Dartmouth. In practice, this really was a takeover by the Halifax organization.
The Dartmouth facility while heavily used, saw no upkeep or capital investment from the Halifax Y. It fell into disrepair due to the intentional neglect of the parent organization. The Ys board of directors saw the Dartmouth part of the Y as a liability and wanted to close it. They wanted to sell the land and dissolve the Moffat Trust and put the funds toward Halifax priorities.
In the 90s there was a group of community activists who assembled to fight back against the Ys plans to divest of the Dartmouth assets. For a time, the efforts of that group were successful. A new Dartmouth Y was established within the premises of the Akerley Campus of the NSCC.
The old Y was torn down with a now extinguished agreement that a new development there would include a new Dartmouth Y. That agreement is now gone and the Y will simply take all the funds from the land development and put it into their coffers, just as they did with the principle of the Moffat Fund.
One member of the Halifax Y board, a prominent lawyer was confronted about their dissolution of the Moffat Fund. He said he was aware that was contrary to the fund’s mandate and said “and if you want to take it to court and spend $50,000 on legal fees you might just win”.
The Halifax YMCA organization has always been focused on their priority of the South Park Y and used the assets from Dartmouth to save their sinking ship.