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  #1261  
Old Posted Mar 31, 2021, 6:30 PM
OldDartmouthMark OldDartmouthMark is offline
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I would not say that everybody is negative. It is more that the negative voices are more pronounced. It is noticeable in NS compared to around here. The extremists like Tim Bousquet or Peggy Cameron don't exist in the same way and don't get the same level of prominence, and the mushier middle of people (aligned roughly with Reddit, complaining about all condos etc.) is somewhat smaller.

I feel like Halifax "gets it from all angles" because of the combination of rivalry or jealousy and rural orientation within the region (made more intense by the fact that it's a kind of regional hub of an area with multiple provinces or regional identities) coupled with uninformed opinions from outside. This is noticeable on SSP Canada which I realize is not an accurate reflection of the real world. There's probably more negative posting about the city from people living elsewhere than direct posting from residents, and it is hard to offer even mild dissenting opinions without getting drawn into competitive battles that I would guess most people find unpleasant. It gets really bizarre with people from around the country following the news in other places to post negative stuff or taking potshots after somebody posts pictures. SSP Canada also has the more general problem of rising political polarization and the animus that brings.
Thanks. That's well-put, and I appreciate the context.

I have regularly seen you on SSP Canada trying to straighten out the misconceptions that many ROC posters have about the Maritimes. I've tried at times but with much less success, and then it starts over again...

Some of that drives me to perhaps be a little oversensitive when I hear references to the same old dogma regarding 'culture of defeat' et al. I feel that 30 years ago it was very strong, but simply do not see it as an accurate descriptor for the province anymore, although as noted others will disagree.

But... again... opinions, and all I can share is my personal outlook, which doesn't always align with others'.

I tend to sluff off Bousquet and Cameron (and things like Frank Magazine, if it still exists), in that I will hear what they have to say, but when it becomes repetitive sensationalized nonsense looking to establish an angle and an ear to listen/a person to piss off and thus create buzz for them, I turn it off - seems like a waste of time and energy to me. There's lots of stuff in the world like that (as seen on the internet), but I suppose I didn't realize that it doesn't exist in the ROC, or at least to the extent that it does here (?). FWIW, I've never given any time to gossip either...
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  #1262  
Old Posted Mar 31, 2021, 8:29 PM
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One interesting distinction between Vancouver and Halifax is that in Vancouver the NIMBYs tend to be local to a specific area, plus there are different municipalities and they can have wildly different rules. In parts of town it is a huge fight to build a 6 storey building and in others that are farther out a 60 storey building can go up without a peep. In Halifax the NIMBYs seem to target the entire urban core, although they care less about the North End. In Vancouver there is more of a downtown NIMBYism carve-out.

You hear the same dubious affordable housing rhetoric here (we need affordable housing specifically, but not more housing in general or fancy condos for rich people). That lowrise seniors' residence around Windsor Street or wherever it was reminded me of the dynamic, where people tear their hair out over very specific but unremarkable projects. It reflects local politics and who is the loudest, not a coherent rationale of what would be best to build for the metropolitan area.

You don't get the "this isn't Toronto" or "this city obviously should never have tall buildings" rhetoric, and if anything people often go too far in the other camp of assuming this is a major world city (it's nice but it ain't New York or Hong Kong). Obviously Halifax is the smaller city but it has had a 30+ storey tower for about 50 years now (I guess one of the original sins) and its oldest highrises are from the 1920-40's or so. It is really not obvious at all why some small buildings should be beyond the pale in 2021 and if the Dominion Public Building didn't destroy the Hollis Street area in 1930 I don't know why every highrise must be bad now. Halifax is closing in on half a million inhabitants, so while it is not a large metropolis, it is not exactly a small town either. These attitudes extend beyond to public spending in a bunch of areas (amateur hockey is or was exempt for some reason, with ice time capacity issues seemingly falling just below running water and electricity in the list of municipal priorities).
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  #1263  
Old Posted Mar 31, 2021, 8:42 PM
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That lowrise seniors' residence around Windsor Street or wherever it was reminded me of the dynamic, where people tear their hair out over very specific but unremarkable projects. It reflects local politics and who is the loudest, not a coherent rationale of what would be best to build for the metropolitan area.
Spirit Place is the project you are thinking of. One of the most shameful examples of Council kowtowing to a vocal bunch of bigots and NIMBYs. The site remains an empty lot to this day. Absolutely mind-boggling, but in reality, no developer is probably willing to take them on again only to be given 4 floors with big setbacks from property lines.
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  #1264  
Old Posted Mar 31, 2021, 9:13 PM
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I’m certainly guilty of negativity and “interesting opinions” at times . I’ve dabbled into Canada section a few times but it’s too easy to be drawn into odd conversations and eventually make questionable statements myself.

On the topic of our local media personalities, I wonder if much of it has to do with Halifax being an easier place to stand out. There are certainly very “animated” columnists in the GTA too. Halifax does seem to have an interesting medley of local papers compared to where I am now, which I think the city is lucky to have and worth the price of Bousquet’s rants. Journalists are one of the more disliked professions regardless of who’s writing.

I’ve definitely encountered some condescending attitudes towards maritimers, but also some lighthearted jokes. I’ve encountered a lady from Okanagan who once worked in Halifax and ranted about how it was this socially regressive hellscape. When my partner of 2 years told a coworker of hers where I’m from, similar points about Halifax being this racist, oppressive place were brought up. Overall this has been a minority of my encounters, it’s generally known as a nice place and I don’t mind the occasional lobster fisherman joke.

I’ve got relatives in Cape Breton and I don’t really encounter that “evil city” attitude, although nearly everyone in the community knows where I’m from so perhaps that’s why. It’s the type of place where everyone knows your name, very friendly. A lot of people living in Inverness county are actually retirees who’ve worked in Sydney, Halifax and Ontario returning to their roots.
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  #1265  
Old Posted Mar 31, 2021, 9:36 PM
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You hear the same dubious affordable housing rhetoric here (we need affordable housing specifically, but not more housing in general or fancy condos for rich people). That lowrise seniors' residence around Windsor Street or wherever it was reminded me of the dynamic, where people tear their hair out over very specific but unremarkable projects. It reflects local politics and who is the loudest, not a coherent rationale of what would be best to build for the metropolitan area.
I don’t think actual affordable housing advocates are doubting the logic of S&D, but are asking legitimate questions as to whether S&D alone is an adequate solution for everyone’s needs.

That said, there are certainly NIMBYs bringing the excuse of “affordability” to oppose projects. Although there are also tons of NIMBYs opposing truly affordable housing projects across the country. They may say the concern is about children, but it’s pretty clear their actual worries are about property values.
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  #1266  
Old Posted Mar 31, 2021, 11:37 PM
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I don’t think actual affordable housing advocates are doubting the logic of S&D, but are asking legitimate questions as to whether S&D alone is an adequate solution for everyone’s needs.

That said, there are certainly NIMBYs bringing the excuse of “affordability” to oppose projects. Although there are also tons of NIMBYs opposing truly affordable housing projects across the country. They may say the concern is about children, but it’s pretty clear their actual worries are about property values.
I have seen certain local personalities online (e.g., Bousquet, just a few days ago on Twitter) openly question whether supply and demand as an economic concept is even valid factor. I think there are a lot of people who have a very emotional reaction to new development: it looks expensive, therefore it must be driving up prices. On some level, I think there are people who think runaway housing prices would calm down if development slowed as well, when of course all that would really happen is yet more intense competition for the resale market.

On the other hand, the super-YIMBY take, that more building alone will take care of all housing needs, is obviously also flawed.
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  #1267  
Old Posted Mar 31, 2021, 11:55 PM
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That said, there are certainly NIMBYs bringing the excuse of “affordability” to oppose projects.
One solution they have landed on here is to limit the affordable housing projects to 4 floors or so in the neighbourhoods. The province can pay the $400,000 per unit land bills, but not from capital gains from when the NIMBYs sell their $3M houses because those are taxed at 0%!

Those boutique projects are just window dressing in cities that are growing by tens of thousands of people per year. They might be useful for specific niches but they won't significantly change the overall affordable housing picture.
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  #1268  
Old Posted Apr 1, 2021, 11:27 AM
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I have seen certain local personalities online (e.g., Bousquet, just a few days ago on Twitter) openly question whether supply and demand as an economic concept is even valid factor.
Some years ago when he was with the Coast someone (I forget who) attempted to write a backgrounder on Bousquet, delving into his early life and work history in the USA prior to coming to Canada. He was extremely alarmed and managed to get it derailed. He publicly complained that his family history and background was nobody's business, but there were rumors at the time he was concerned about past involvement with Marxist groups coming to light. It will be interesting to to see him reconcile his recent positions with him now accepting Google funding from one of their "support for local media" virtue signalling projects. Oh, the irony.
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  #1269  
Old Posted Apr 3, 2021, 4:13 AM
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One solution they have landed on here is to limit the affordable housing projects to 4 floors or so in the neighbourhoods. The province can pay the $400,000 per unit land bills, but not from capital gains from when the NIMBYs sell their $3M houses because those are taxed at 0%!

Those boutique projects are just window dressing in cities that are growing by tens of thousands of people per year. They might be useful for specific niches but they won't significantly change the overall affordable housing picture.
It’s unsurprising to see how much friction those small projects still cause. Even a residential subdivision with small lot sizes gets opposed because McMansions would be better for land values.

I’m guessing that by boutique you mean anything which isn’t built by the private sector that also isn’t public housing like co-ops, supportive, or non-profit housing? Drop in the bucket they may be but I wouldn’t dismiss their importance for those they currently serve, let alone their potential. Not to sound like one of those “B-cuz Kapitalism” types but I think there are some benefits to be had in more support for co-ops and even a hint of public housing.
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  #1270  
Old Posted Apr 3, 2021, 5:02 AM
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By boutique I mean small, like a 20-30 unit project. Particularly if they don't have good economics (fewer units built for a given amount of funding) there won't be enough built to make a significant difference to the overall market. Boutique is also relevant in that some projects tend to be held up as examples in the media without wider context. Often the developments are wrapped up in narrative rather than analysis. A given affordable development may be great for the people who moved in but how many didn't get units?

They may be worthwhile to serve some narrow demographic and there's nothing wrong with that, but in Halifax if you want affordable housing you need to build thousands of affordable units per year, whether they come from the public or private sector.

Around here land costs in many areas guarantee that lower density housing either needs huge subsidies or won't be affordable to people earning even average salaries. If the lot is $2M and you only allow 8 units the land costs alone will be $250,000 per unit.
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  #1271  
Old Posted Apr 13, 2021, 5:22 PM
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A few AT updates;

- Tender went out for Allan Street upgrades. A pedestrian half-signal will be installed at Allan / Oak / Oxford and straight-thru movements on Allan-Oak will be banned (except cyclists). There is no traffic calming planned for the Allan / Harvard intersection at this time.

- Tender also went out for Prince Albert Road revamp. The new layout will have one traffic lane in each direction and a left turn lane. Standard bike lanes and a RRFB is shown as the AT improvements. This is from Sinclair Street to Superstore entrance.

- Halifax has installed five in-ground counters on the bike facilities around the Peninsula. The data is automatically compiled and tweeted by @bikehfxstats. South Park Street in front of Victoria Park is the busiest (up to 400 per day), Vernon Street is second, then Windsor Street, Hollis Street, and finally University Avenue.
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  #1272  
Old Posted Apr 13, 2021, 5:58 PM
Saul Goode Saul Goode is offline
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- Tender also went out for Prince Albert Road revamp. The new layout will have one traffic lane in each direction and a left turn lane. Standard bike lanes and a RRFB is shown as the AT improvements. This is from Sinclair Street to Superstore entrance.
As one intimately familiar with this area, I would say this is one of those planning "improvements" that I can see the sense in (and, to give credit where it's due, councillor Austin actually makes what I think is a very sound case for it on his website).

But it also would fit very comfortably in the "nice but far from necessary" column and would fall far down my fiscal priority list.

Maybe I'd be more amenable to it if so much dough hadn't already been blown on *five* (count 'em; silly me, I though there were only four) sets of "curb extensions" on nearby Joffre Street, which is only about 3/4 of a mile long.

Sorry - showing my age again; it's only about 1.2 km long.
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  #1273  
Old Posted Apr 14, 2021, 10:44 AM
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As one intimately familiar with this area, I would say this is one of those planning "improvements" that I can see the sense in (and, to give credit where it's due, councillor Austin actually makes what I think is a very sound case for it on his website).

But it also would fit very comfortably in the "nice but far from necessary" column and would fall far down my fiscal priority list.

Maybe I'd be more amenable to it if so much dough hadn't already been blown on *five* (count 'em; silly me, I though there were only four) sets of "curb extensions" on nearby Joffre Street, which is only about 3/4 of a mile long.

Sorry - showing my age again; it's only about 1.2 km long.
Sam's big on spending our money on worthless planning theory items.
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  #1274  
Old Posted Apr 14, 2021, 3:13 PM
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Sam's big on spending our money on worthless planning theory items.
This stretch of road is in desperate need of recapitalization so the cost is happening one way or another. I'm sure there's a bit of marginal cost tied to the increased complexity of the curbs and such, but I doubt it falls in the category of "big spending". Especially with that area being designated for some growth in Centre Plan, I see it making a lot of sense to reconfigure the road and sidewalk layout.
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  #1275  
Old Posted Apr 15, 2021, 11:02 AM
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This stretch of road is in desperate need of recapitalization so the cost is happening one way or another. I'm sure there's a bit of marginal cost tied to the increased complexity of the curbs and such, but I doubt it falls in the category of "big spending". Especially with that area being designated for some growth in Centre Plan, I see it making a lot of sense to reconfigure the road and sidewalk layout.
The reference was to Joffre St.

Although narrowing streets and connectors to major arteries seldom seems to make sense to me. But what do I know, I just try to get around town.
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  #1276  
Old Posted Apr 22, 2021, 4:18 AM
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Tender has been released for Phase I of the North End Bikeways project. They are starting with the easiest section first which is the Leaman Street, Drummond Ct, and Isleville Street between Leeds Street and Duffus Street.

The recapitalization is needed for some watermain work. They'll add sharrows and speed tables along the route. A new type of traffic calming measure called a traffic button will be installed at Leaman and Normandy. This is a mini-roundabout style intersection with a raised island that can be driven over by larger vehicles if needed.
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  #1277  
Old Posted Apr 22, 2021, 9:36 AM
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  #1278  
Old Posted Apr 22, 2021, 1:38 PM
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This could be a transformational project. The proposed route is generally flat, with limited traffic and about 2/3 of the length is on one-way streets. I shouldn't interrupt parking significantly.

And Keith,..if it works, it will gets bikes off the other streets. You won't see them anymore.

I travelled this route many times last year with my kids for trips down to Spring Garden and the Public Gardens.

When completed it will tie into bike lanes going downtown, to the south end , from Almon and in the long term,..I think to bike lanes that will be built with the Windsor exchange re-do.
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  #1279  
Old Posted Apr 22, 2021, 2:04 PM
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I live in this area, and Isleville is the main north-south pedestrian connection in the area. It's full of people, but it's also not-infrequently used as a thoroughfare for drivers bombing down the street at 40 or 50 km/hr, which is way too fast.

You can be as pissed as you want, but if this reduces the chances that my infant son (or me) will be struck and killed as we walk or bike in our own neighbourhood by someone buzzing down Isleville too fast, I'm 100 percent for it. Drivers have to maneuver around a little circle? Jesus, tough.
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  #1280  
Old Posted Apr 22, 2021, 3:38 PM
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This could be a transformational project. The proposed route is generally flat, with limited traffic and about 2/3 of the length is on one-way streets. I shouldn't interrupt parking significantly.

And Keith,..if it works, it will gets bikes off the other streets. You won't see them anymore.

I travelled this route many times last year with my kids for trips down to Spring Garden and the Public Gardens.

When completed it will tie into bike lanes going downtown, to the south end , from Almon and in the long term,..I think to bike lanes that will be built with the Windsor exchange re-do.
This.

It's a win-win as I see it. All cyclists just want safe routes to ride, and no car or truck driver wants to hit a bicyclist. So dedicate a route for cyclists away from main traffic and it's good for all.
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