In the harbour
1. Dartmouth Crossing expansion in dispute
The developer of Dartmouth Crossing is appealing the city’s rejection of an application to expand the sprawling complex. The appeal is made to the provincial Utility and Review Board.
The conflict revolves around land designated for parks that the developer is required to give the city in exchange for development rights. The developer is already far along in planning for Phase 3 of Dartmouth Crossing, but the hangup relates to Phase 2.
The development file for Phase 2 was started in July 2007, with Halifax’s Environmental Design and Management (EDM) as the planning contractor for Dartmouth Crossing Limited. On April 1, 2014, EDM’s Margot Young asked for a one-year extension on deadlines for filing paperwork on the project, which was granted. On November 3, 2014, city Development Officer Trevor Creaser wrote to Young to remind her that the extension would soon expire. “If a revised submission has not been received by April 1, 2015, no further extensions will be granted and this application will be deemed refused,” he wrote.
According to EDM and Dartmouth Crossing, even though the deadline had come and gone, EDM and city planners continued to meet to discuss the project. But on October 5, 2016, Creaser notified Young that the application was now dead.
The next day, October 6, Young wrote back to Creaser. Her letter reads:
The reason provided for this refusal is a letter you reference with an application deadline of April l, 20l5, which you say we did not meet. EDM did, however, provide a submission on March 30, 2015 in response to this deadline. A letter with the submission package acknowledged the need for a revised Plan of Survey and noted it would be provided subsequent to agreement on the parkland dedication. Each iteration of the survey plan costs approximately $4000 and, until an agreement on parkland was reached as noted in our submission package, it did not seem practical to carry out multiple revisions on the plan.
Young went on to say that Creaser had arranged meetings between EDM and HRM Parks to discuss the park dedication issues, and “we had every reason to believe that the the deadline requirements that you reference were satisfied, with both sides recognizing that additional dialogue on parkland was required.”
“We do acknowledge that this application has been dragging and that we may not have been as proactive in pushing for responses as we might normally have been,” continued Young, who asked for yet another extension on the project, which evidently was refused, leading to the appeal to the UARB.
Click here to read EDM and Dartmouth Crossing’s appeal to the UARB and the accompanying correspondence.
2. People still read newspapers?
“Metro Halifax is now the most-read newspaper in the city,” reports Yvette d’Entremont for, well, Metro Halifax:
Survey results released on Wednesday show for the first time in its eight-year history, Metro Halifax has surpassed the Chronicle-Herald in readership numbers.
Vividata, the media industry organization that measures print and digital audiences in Canada, released its latest quarterly readership results based on surveys from July 2015 to June 2016.
Well, that makes total sense because the Chronicle Herald newsroom employees went on strike in January 2016 so readers have bailed, right? … d’Entremont continues:
Metro Halifax has 110,000 weekday print readers compared to the Chronicle-Herald’s 107,000 readers. Metro’s numbers were up 15 per cent in the local marketplace, while the Herald experienced a growth of six per cent.
Wait, what? Chronicle Herald readership increased? How is that possible?
This is where I bring up various devils and their associated details. From the Vividata website:
In terms of what Vividata measures, the first six months of data from our new study identified a number of issues related to respondent confusion and fatigue with the readership questionnaire. As a result, we conducted a qualitative test of the questionnaire in late 2015. Findings from this test resulted in revisions to the 2016 readership questionnaire.
Due to the online modality of the study, we had the flexibility to incorporate these learnings quickly, incurring minimal delay in the 2016 fieldwork schedule. The revised readership questions are now based on two formats: print and digital with type of device incorporated into the digital questions.
While the shift to mobile offers newspaper publishers significant opportunities to expand their readership audience, it is a unique challenge in terms of how we measure that audience.
Canadians, particularly teens and Millennials, spend significant time on their mobile devices, but there are limitations with regard to offering surveys on those devices — e.g. length of questionnaire and screen format. We are currently exploring options that would offer customized surveys to respondents based on the device used to access.
tl;dr version: We totally changed the way we measure newspaper readership to sorta, kinda include website hits that we never counted before, so all our numbers, and especially our before and after comparisons, are bullshit. We’re going to try to figure out a way to not have bullshit numbers, but for now, all bets are off.
3. Cyclists struck
A police release from yesterday:
On October 19th 2016 at 4:51 pm Halifax Regional Police responded to the area of 1149 Bedford Highway for a Collision between a car and two cyclists. The cyclists were travelling in the bike lane on the highway heading outbound towards Bedford. The vehicle was travelling inbound and attempted to turn left into a driving (sic, presumably driveway). The cyclists struck the vehicle. The two cyclists were transported to the QE2with non life threatening injuries. The investigation is continuing.
4. Animal invasion
“Yarmouth is being invaded,” reports Carla Allen for the Yarmouth Vanguard:
Raccoons are attacking cats, having families beneath decks and chowing down in any compost and garbage bin they can knock over or squeeze into.
The odour of skunk wafts through the air in the north end, Highland Avenue and Argyle, Aberdeen, Pleasant, Sycamore, Parade, Main and Vancouver streets.
Skunks are giving birth beneath sheds, greeting dogs at the door when they’re let outside and dousing them with scent.
“I’ve been called out for skunks, raccoons, squirrels, groundhogs, muskrats, mink, porcupines, ducks and beaver,” [said trapper Barry Goreham]. “At one home in Yarmouth County I caught and relocated 27 raccoons and two porcupines in a matter of four months.”
5. Centre Plan
“It sounds good, but some residents are worried the Centre Plan won’t have any teeth,” reports Jennifer Taplin for Metro:
Colin Stuttard is of the opinion he’ll believe it when he sees it.
“We’ve gone through this process so many times,” he said. “As soon as it’s down on paper along comes a developer and says my property needs a building twice as high so you need to give me a waiver and on it went.”
He likes the ideas, but Stuttard said there is no point in adopting them if they’re not going to stick.
Such cynicism! Bad citizen!
Wherever did Stuttard get the idea that highly touted city planning is an exercise in duping the public? Oh….
But don’t worry! This time will be different.
I’ve seen this game play out before:
1. Halifax’s 15-year transportation plan
“If you don’t pay attention, the future of HRM transportation will be decided without your input,” writes Erica Butler:
People are rightly up in arms about the recent poor turnout for our municipal election, but let me throw another log on the fire of concern over citizen apathy: The first round of consultations for the Integrated Mobility Plan have come and gone, and a whopping 300 of us participated. Actually, it’s probably worse than that. Only 130 of us showed up in person at sessions to meet staff and weigh in, and 165 of us signed in online to share our ideas. A good number of us probably did both (I know I did) so it’s quite possible that the total number of participants is considerably fewer than 300.
That’s a dismal number considering what’s at stake. But then, part of the problem is people don’t necessarily know what’s at stake.
Since some have been confused by the title “Integrated Mobility Plan” (no, it has nothing to do with cell phones), from hereon in let’s start calling the IMP what it is: Halifax’s new 15-year transportation plan.
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2. Cranky letter of the day
Fun fact: Did you know that in 2014 the U.S.A. had 83 million dogs with 10.6 million tons of poop?
So I am a man with simple hobbies, reading and walking my dog at the top of my list. Today, being a mild Saturday, I took the opportunity of getting out in the fresh air and walking Bella. As is Bella’s wont, she took her sweet time walking and sniffing at every lamppost, fire hydrant and electoral paraphernalia between my house and Victoria Street.
Once or twice, she made a tinkle, more often than not cocking her paw out and just issuing her invisible hormones and whatnot out into the wild (well it’s Amherst, so it’s not that wild, but you get the point :-)).
So as Bella encroached on Victoria Street, she meaningfully put her head down and intently sniffed the sidewalk and some dandelions (fun fact: dandelion means dent de lion or lion’s tooth). I take this as Bella’s cue that she is going to do her business in a more substantial way (if you catch my drift). Sure enough, Bella did, and I being a good person (well done, Mark!) produced a poop bag (decomposable I believe) and removed the offending article from the street. After two or three minutes, as I passed by Dayle’s, I placed the bag in a bin marked garbage as opposed to recyclables (there being no compost bin).
So as I proceeded on my walk, Bella released her seemingly mandatory number one against a building and we proceeded on our way. We passed Havelock Street without incident and as my Supergrass (a British alternative band, now broken up) pounded in my ears (not really, just wondering who was still reading this) we continued past Manasseh Market, someone liberally waved at me from a car, but me being oblivious to the world, I haughtily ignored the individual (whoops, sorry).
Just as we proceeded onto Church Street, Bella decided she had unfinished business regarding her number two. Diligently, I scooped her produce and thought that I would deposit in some bin on Church Street or maybe Spring Street or even Willow Street (rather than walk back to the bins on Victoria Street).
Imagine my consternation that on continuing up Church Street as far as Spring Street and then onto Willow Street, there was not a single public bin that one can use to dispose of one’s trash/garbage. Yes, there were compost bins of citizens that I could have secretly used, but Catholic guilt is my cross and I did not think it right to use them. Then, there is another alternative, which some (I repeat some, not all/many) dog walkers seem prone to doing: dispose the bag by stealthily planting it amongst some undergrowth. Or maybe make life more challenging by not picking up dog poop at all. Thus, one encounters various deposits in a varying degrees of decomposition.
(fun fact: poop – as a noun – was first used by children in this sense in 1744; as a verb, in the same sense it was first used in 1903).
Finally, I saw salvation. There, in the Rotary Park on Willow Street, I espied a green bin, but I resigned myself to bringing Bella and my little blue sad bag of poop back home to my own green bin. Somehow we developed a sort of pathetic rapport. Several drivers met and waved at me; I waved back, the bag quietly dangling from my other hand.
Thus, as Supergrass faded into Elton John’s “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” (which I assume had no such offending articles on its route), I entered my driveway. I thought it kind of incredible that one can walk so long (a good 30 minutes) with no refuge for my refuse. Seriously, maybe post-Oct. 15, our newly-elected council will look into providing more bins around our fair town.
Mark Foley, Amherst
Active Transportation (4pm, City Hall) — nothing much on the agenda.
Legislature sits (1-6pm, Province House)
Big Data (11:30am, Room 430, Goldberg Computer Science Building) — Marc Renault will speak on “Big Data and the Computer Canada Cloud.”
Conservation planning (11:45am, Room 3089, Kenneth C. Rowe Building) — Elizabeth De Santo and Lea Senft will speak on “Evidence and Public Engagement in Conservation Planning: UK and Global Diversity Examples.”
Sexism (1pm, Room 1028, Kenneth Rowe Management Building) — Shannon Brownlee will speak on “Sexism on Screen: Images of Women in Film.”
Pipelines (7pm, Ondaatje Auditorium, McCain Building) – Tzeporah Berman, from York University, will speak on “This Crazy Time: Living Our Environmental Challenge.” The event listing explains:
Berman is … known for her role as a key organizer in the 1993 logging blockades of Clayoquot Sound, the largest act of civil disobedience in Canadian history. Berman has been designing environmental campaigns and working on environmental policy for over twenty years and currently works as a strategic advisor to a number of First Nations, environmental organizations and philanthropic foundations on climate and energy issues, including the oil sands and pipelines. This year she was appointed by the Alberta Government to Co-Chair the Oilsands Advisory Working Group tasked with making recommendations to implement climate change and cumulative impact policies. Her book This Crazy Time: Living Our Environmental Challenge was published by Knopf Canada in 2011. Berman was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in 2013 by the University of British Columbia.
In the harbour
1am: Atlantic Conveyor, container ship, sails from Fairview Cove for Liverpool, England
5am: Regal Princess, cruise ship, arrives at Pier 22 from Saint John with up to 4,271 passengers
5am: Doric Pioneer, oil tanker, sails from Imperial Oil for sea
6:45am: Rotterdam, cruise ship, arrives at Pier 31 from Sydney with up to 1,685 passengers
8:30am: Carnival Sunshine, cruise ship, arrives at Pier 20 from Saint John with up to 3,000 passengers
3:30pm: Rotterdam, cruise ship, sails from Pier 31 for Bar Harbor
7pm: Carnival Sunshine, cruise ship, sails from Pier 20 for New York
7:30pm: Regal Princess, cruise ship, sails from Pier 22 for New York
6:45am: Serenade of the Seas, cruise ship, arrives at Pier 22 from Saint John with up to 2,580 passengers
7:15am: Nolhanava, ro-ro cargo, arrives at Pier 36 from Saint-Pierre
6:30pm: Serenade of the Seas, cruise ship, sails from Pier 22 for Boston
We’ll be recording Examineradio today.
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Pet poop is a no-no for green bins. Just chuck in the closest garbage receptacle
Anyone know what happened yesterday at the UARB re the twin towers development ?
My favourite is when people toss those biodegradable bags of dog poop into trees, and they end up hanging there, biodegrading, like some kind of shitty mistletoe.
Things like calling “the next 15 years of Halifax’s transportation plan” an “Integrated Mobility Plan” is a good example of why words need to mean specific things and not other things. Just because it isn’t outright lying to call the transportation plan an “Integrated Mobility Plan” does’t make it any less an example of newspeak.
“He gazed up at the go-time numbers. Ten years it had taken Halifax to not implement GPS tracking of buses. O cruel, needless anachronism! O stubborn, self-willed exile from innovation! Two local craft-beer-scented tears trickled down the sides of his nose. But it was all right, everything was all right, we had innovated. He had won the victory over transportation planners. He loved Integrated Mobility”.
Oh, how I relate to your last paragraph, Nick. It raises an abiding question I have about our region and tech — why, oh why does it take us so long to get on board, given the wide access to information and developments we’ve had for the past many, many years online? PEI Liberal government decided in 2008 to install an Island-wide electronic health record program connecting hospitals and supposedly, doctors’ offices. Installation went years over budget and schedule, and information became less and less publicly available. Meanwhile, we “little people” were more and more online, and as an average citizen excited to see our region embracing medical technology and all its potential, a few years into this conversion, I asked my doctor’s receptionist if I could email them for an appointment. I received a blank stare and a hostile, blunt, “No.” Enquiring further from our health agency, I received a more diplomatic response that said that level of communication was not yet available, but it *might* be sometime in the future. As far as I know, it’s still not generally available. Perhaps the issues don’t totally lie with tech implementation and institutional adoption. When a similarly-retired friend and I discuss this, she likes to recount this true story. It predates 2008, and involves the PEI government adopting an internal electronic billing system connecting government, Health Dept. and doctors. One old-school doctor resented the new system and angrily retorted to his long-suffering assistant, “I’m not using it!” to which she replied, “You will if you want to get paid.” [“O stubborn, self-willed exile from innovation!” indeed.]
For those who may be interested, here’s the PEI government’s explanation of the Electronic Health Record initiative, its scope and cost: http://www.healthpei.ca/ehr