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  #1  
Old Posted Jan 25, 2014, 2:43 PM
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Keith P. Keith P. is offline
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Mayor's Conversation on Healthy and Livable Communities

So, THIS piece of wooly-headedness is coming to Council on Tuesday. If one wonders why HRM spends so much money on things other than its core priorities, this would provide an answer.

The report to Council was written by a young ex-NDP govt staffer. It seems HRM is full of ex-NDP govt refugees these days, including most of the senior bureaucracy. Perhaps that explains why HRM has veered off into so many far-left goofball initiatives.

One need only look at the list if participants at the end of the report to see why it makes recommendations for things like "fruit and nut-bearing trees" as a priority. I don't think we need any more nuts in HRM - we seem to have an oversupply, particularly in the municipal govt world. The participants seem to represent pretty much every squeaky-wheel special interest group in town. I note a distinct lack of representation from ratepayers and the general voting public, though.

We went from an inept mayor to one who now seems to be a closet NDPer, intent on continuing the disastrous record of the past NDP provincial govt by injecting govt into areas that should be far down the list of priorities. Is this really what we elected Savage to champion? I think not.

Priorities for HRM ought not to be developing urban orchards, planting nut-bearing trees or more nanny-state intrusion into people's lives (door knobs, anyone?). When will HRM realize that people want them to pick up the trash, provide police and fire services, enable development, and keep the roads and sidewalks in good repair? That's pretty much it for most people.

This lunacy must stop.
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  #2  
Old Posted Jan 25, 2014, 4:02 PM
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Antigonish Antigonish is offline
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As much as I agree to some extent I would still rather the government to be corrupt with under the table funds for "fruit and nut bearing trees" then millions in corporate welfare handouts & tax breaks to companies that don't need them (conservatives).
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  #3  
Old Posted Jan 26, 2014, 3:05 AM
akreid akreid is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Keith P. View Post
So, THIS piece of wooly-headedness is coming to Council on Tuesday. If one wonders why HRM spends so much money on things other than its core priorities, this would provide an answer.

The report to Council was written by a young ex-NDP govt staffer. It seems HRM is full of ex-NDP govt refugees these days, including most of the senior bureaucracy. Perhaps that explains why HRM has veered off into so many far-left goofball initiatives.

One need only look at the list if participants at the end of the report to see why it makes recommendations for things like "fruit and nut-bearing trees" as a priority. I don't think we need any more nuts in HRM - we seem to have an oversupply, particularly in the municipal govt world. The participants seem to represent pretty much every squeaky-wheel special interest group in town. I note a distinct lack of representation from ratepayers and the general voting public, though.

We went from an inept mayor to one who now seems to be a closet NDPer, intent on continuing the disastrous record of the past NDP provincial govt by injecting govt into areas that should be far down the list of priorities. Is this really what we elected Savage to champion? I think not.

Priorities for HRM ought not to be developing urban orchards, planting nut-bearing trees or more nanny-state intrusion into people's lives (door knobs, anyone?). When will HRM realize that people want them to pick up the trash, provide police and fire services, enable development, and keep the roads and sidewalks in good repair? That's pretty much it for most people.

This lunacy must stop.
I'm a bit confounded how planting fruit-bearing is an intrusion into peoples' lives. It seems to be a more pragmatic step to me. It's good to see there are some people lobbying for a healthier, more livable HRM.
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  #4  
Old Posted Jan 27, 2014, 7:28 AM
halifaxboyns halifaxboyns is offline
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Actually a lot of what the report is suggesting move forward is already happening now and is in fact in the Regional Plan.

Things like promoting active transportation are a priority in the plan, so yes Keith there will be more bike lanes and there should be. The ones here in Calgary are quite impressive and really didn't have that much of a cost; but their impact is quite noticeable. The stats the City's Transportation Cycling Coordinator gave were impressive - although I'm going from memory so I'm likely to get these numbers wrong (if there is an error, please let me know). But right now the dt cycle lane is seeing 1,100 cyclists a day and currently in cold weather (-10 and below) 30 to 45% of cyclists still bicycle into work. The total number of cyclists in Calgary (last # I heard) was estimated at 12,000. So that 1,100 are now cars off the road, using bikes. It's actually a win win when you think about it - because they get a dedicated safe lane and every cyclist that uses it represents a car off the road. Same with transit...

The one thing in the report I'm interested in (lately) is urban agriculture. Not so much of an issue in HRM as there isn't a lot of agricultural land that is being eaten up to sprawl; but certainly a huge issue in Calgary/Edmonton and most of the Greater Toronto Area. However I like the idea that if a building site is going to remain dormant for a while (no construction activity) why not do something with it, rather than leave it empty? They've been doing pop up parks throughout Calgary as a trial (with owner consent) - why wouldn't you have a pop up garden?

When Watts talked about Urban Gardens for Cogswell, I'm sure she meant the whole thing should be a garden - I'm more pragmatic about it and realize we need places for people to live. But why not have it as part of the roof? Or if we have a wide street - put them in planters? Here in Calgary the Downtown Business Association planted a whole bunch of crops in planters along the Barclay Mall (3rd Street SW) as you can see in this streetview. If memory serves, they started it about 3 years ago and now it's an annual thing - it does very well.

Although I do have to admit the doorknob thing is a bit much...
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  #5  
Old Posted Jan 27, 2014, 11:29 AM
ILoveHalifax ILoveHalifax is offline
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So who gets to harvest the vegies? Is it a first come, first served thing? Would any planters along the streets not look much prettier with flowers?
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  #6  
Old Posted Jan 27, 2014, 12:10 PM
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@Halifaxboyns - I would suggest to you that most of those cyclists (likely a highly exaggerated # to begin with) are not moving from cars, but are abandoning other inferior modes of transport such as walking or mass transit. It would be a very small # of true believers who would abandon cars. In my experience, most "stats" related to cycling are seriously overstated by the cycling advocates/fanatics.

To suggest that "urban gardens" would ever be a dependable source of food here is true moonbeam thinking. All one needs to do is look at the debacle of the former QE school site to see the folly.
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  #7  
Old Posted Jan 27, 2014, 1:36 PM
pchipman pchipman is offline
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One urban garden in Halifax seem to be doing something right:

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-s...-win-1.2426209

Here's their website http://hopeblooms.ca/our-story/
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  #8  
Old Posted Jan 27, 2014, 4:51 PM
halifaxboyns halifaxboyns is offline
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Originally Posted by Keith P. View Post
@Halifaxboyns - I would suggest to you that most of those cyclists (likely a highly exaggerated # to begin with) are not moving from cars, but are abandoning other inferior modes of transport such as walking or mass transit. It would be a very small # of true believers who would abandon cars. In my experience, most "stats" related to cycling are seriously overstated by the cycling advocates/fanatics.

To suggest that "urban gardens" would ever be a dependable source of food here is true moonbeam thinking. All one needs to do is look at the debacle of the former QE school site to see the folly.
Actually the statistics collected in this case were done by City Staff. That included direct engagement, viewing traffic on the cycle lane and through an ipsos reid study. So I have complete faith in them...

I think with urban gardens you have to look at the greater 'whole' of the cumulative affect, not just the individual plots. So I would agree with you if there was 1 or 2 plots here and there; but if you get a whole bunch all over the urban area then definitely I think it can have an impact.

@IloveHalifax - to answer your question, I honestly don't know. I know the head of the Downtown BRZ Association (Maggie) - I can email her and ask. My guess would be that the adjacent restaurants have first dibs...?
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  #9  
Old Posted Jan 27, 2014, 9:20 PM
halifaxboyns halifaxboyns is offline
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Calgary's Urban Gardens that I mentioned on Barclay Mall.
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  #10  
Old Posted Jan 27, 2014, 11:52 PM
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Originally Posted by halifaxboyns View Post
Actually the statistics collected in this case were done by City Staff. That included direct engagement, viewing traffic on the cycle lane and through an ipsos reid study. So I have complete faith in them...
That would be a mistake if Calgary staff are like those in HRM, who are known for vastly exaggerating the facts to suit whatever agenda they wish to push forward.

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I think with urban gardens you have to look at the greater 'whole' of the cumulative affect, not just the individual plots. So I would agree with you if there was 1 or 2 plots here and there; but if you get a whole bunch all over the urban area then definitely I think it can have an impact.

Calgary's Urban Gardens that I mentioned on Barclay Mall.
The article referenced states that the harvest was largely symbolic and made no real difference. So it is just another left-wing feel-good effort that leads to no actual progress, but makes the champagne socialists feel a bit better as they drive away in their BMWs.
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  #11  
Old Posted Jan 28, 2014, 2:47 AM
halifaxboyns halifaxboyns is offline
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Originally Posted by Keith P. View Post
That would be a mistake if Calgary staff are like those in HRM, who are known for vastly exaggerating the facts to suit whatever agenda they wish to push forward.

The article referenced states that the harvest was largely symbolic and made no real difference. So it is just another left-wing feel-good effort that leads to no actual progress, but makes the champagne socialists feel a bit better as they drive away in their BMWs.
I think your first comment is completely and utterly inappropriate (and suspect may be a violation of the forum posting rules). Where your evidence that HRM does this (let alone Calgary)? Frankly, that's not appropriate and what respect I had for your comments has been lost. You want to make sweeping statements, provide facts and evidence. Otherwise, do what most parents do: if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all.

Secondly when the article was published, that was the original function of the planters. But they have expanded - the number and length of the food area being harvested has expanded. So are you saying that helping those in the drop in centre be fed is a bad thing? Yet again, you lost all credibility...
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  #12  
Old Posted Jan 28, 2014, 11:37 AM
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Keith P. Keith P. is offline
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Originally Posted by halifaxboyns View Post
I think your first comment is completely and utterly inappropriate (and suspect may be a violation of the forum posting rules). Where your evidence that HRM does this (let alone Calgary)? Frankly, that's not appropriate and what respect I had for your comments has been lost. You want to make sweeping statements, provide facts and evidence. Otherwise, do what most parents do: if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all.
Frankly, your feigned offense is misplaced. I refer you to the solid waste debacle that is now going on, the original rationale for same way back when, and how those incorrect statements by staff at the time have now come home to roost. Or I direct your attention to the concert scandal and the outright lies made in that. Or the same in regard to weed and feed bans. The list goes on. The advocacy groups for cycling have captured our politically-correct council, and staff are all too willing to go along given their "progressive" POV. Spare me your outrage.

Quote:
Secondly when the article was published, that was the original function of the planters. But they have expanded - the number and length of the food area being harvested has expanded. So are you saying that helping those in the drop in centre be fed is a bad thing? Yet again, you lost all credibility...
It is a completely inefficient and unreliable way for anyone to obtain food. Cities are not farms. They are cities for a reason. There are plenty of professionally run, certified farms that do a very good job of producing food. These sort of initiatives are a very poor way for doing that. They are mostly "progressive" symbolism like bike lanes that make very little difference in reality and distract the public from the core mandate of municipal govt while wasting tax dollars.
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  #13  
Old Posted Jan 29, 2014, 5:59 AM
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W.Sobchak W.Sobchak is offline
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This is a good template for other areas of remediation though, as long as there is an exit strategy and eventual development of the said remediated area.

Those said raised bed remediation urban farms could theoroetically be transportable and reusable to allow easy of set up in the next scheduled lot for "clean-up". They would also offer an easy Subsidy for the local food banks. These should not be viewed as The solution, but an example of the extent people will go to help.

I'm not being touchy feelie, just stating the brass tax of the urban farmer venture. Maybe legecy of smart urban solutions. All really in the perspective of what you want to get done.
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  #14  
Old Posted Jan 29, 2014, 1:36 PM
ILoveHalifax ILoveHalifax is offline
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We could terrace Citadel Hill and plant all kinds of vegies, fruit and nut trees. Probably be able to wipe out the food banks.
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  #15  
Old Posted Jan 29, 2014, 8:12 PM
halifaxboyns halifaxboyns is offline
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We could terrace Citadel Hill and plant all kinds of vegies, fruit and nut trees. Probably be able to wipe out the food banks.
Why not - we certainly don't need it for defense!
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  #16  
Old Posted Feb 6, 2014, 11:21 PM
beyeas beyeas is offline
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Smart Community Initiative

Not sure if this is the right place to put this, but I just wanted to say that I thought David Fleming did an excellent job at the Smart Community Initiative workshop today.

He is the executive director for the North End Business Association. I guess I had assumed that it was going to be another long talk by a grey haired "don't take away my on street parking" kind of guy. I was surprised to find that David is a young and dynamic guy, and potentially someone to watch in this city over the coming years.

He had a rather amusing discussion, for example, in which he compared the process of how companies choose where to locate with the movie Moneyball; i.e. it is not about the traditional measures any more, but the sum of all the data analytics that define the business and cultural environment.

He also gave a great example of how small changes can have an impact. One night he had noticed musicians playing in a small public area (along Gottingen I think) that previously he had never even seen anyone in, but that night had people hanging around listening to the music. He went around to local businesses and proposed that they each put in $150 and every Thursday through the summer he would hire musicians to play there. They then looked at the results and found that it significantly changed how people viewed the block. Instead of simply keeping their head down and going from point a to point b, they lingered. Instead of the perception of it being an unsafe neighbourhood, the instead had the perception of it being a hip neighbourhood... all because they heard music playing and saw people sitting around enjoying it.

Anyway, just wanted to pass all that on as I was quite impressed with David. Great to see someone in the 30s (?) age bracket move to this city and then make a positive difference with some non status quo thinking.
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