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Go Back   SkyscraperPage Forum > Regional Sections > Canada > Atlantic Provinces > SSP: Local Halifax > Business, Politics & the Economy

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  #1  
Old Posted Nov 6, 2011, 4:50 AM
RyeJay RyeJay is offline
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A Western Perspective For The Atlantic Naysayer

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5dte5...F67940A08109C7

I've been so absorbed by local media regarding the potential benefits of the shipbuilding contract, I felt it reasonable to consider Vancouver and Victoria's glee in their $8 billion contract.

The Global news anchor in the video clip gives a point of comparison I would like to repeat:

"...if you add up the cost of virtually every B.C. mega project in recent years--the Olympics, the Sea to Sky Highway, the Sky Train Canada Line, and the new Port Mann Bridge--it still doesn't come to 8 billion. In fact, the B.C. Chamber of Commerce says the twenty year shipbuilding contract will have 10X the benefit of the 2010 Olympic games."

Ten times the benefit, with $8 billion.

I want this to weigh on the minds of Atlantic Canadians--because our $25 billion contract has the ability to completely change this region.

I am hoping people continue to be vocal on not allowing any waste of this potential: We need to stop our sprawl. Most industrial countries have gotten over this by now; it is economical desuetude because the cost of infrastructure is disproportionately high. Yes, the land is cheap via sprawl--but the cost of servicing all that sprawled land is not cheap.

It's time for the HRM to grow up.
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  #2  
Old Posted Nov 6, 2011, 5:59 AM
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Yeah, I think this is a turning point of sorts. The status quo in Halifax of limited investment in infrastructure and lazy suburban development is not going to be sustainable for future decades at higher rates of growth. It's time to start looking at more rapid transit options, as much infill development as possible, and more responsible suburban planning.

The difference in perspective is also interesting and a little sad. I live in Vancouver and there is very little complaining here compared to Halifax. I don't think this is because Vancouver's simply better -- I think that if Vancouverites were as negative they'd have plenty to complain about.
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Old Posted Nov 6, 2011, 7:32 AM
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I have to agree - this is game changing. One of the prof's I had at SMU put it this way: This could be the biggest growth spurt in Halifax since the city was founded.

That being said - I agree that it's time to start thinking about moving more urban than suburban. But keep in mind - a change in direction can't just occur over night and it's not like it could turn on a dime. Plan It Calgary (Calgary's Municipal Development Plan) recognizes that we need a more compact urban city but recognizes it will likely take 15 years for things to slow down, stop and then switch gears. If you look at the suburban land that is zoned for growth and ready to go, there is all of Bedford West ready to come online, plus the rest of Royal Hemlocks and Russell Lake. Add to that the pockets of Clayton Park West that aren't finished, Mount Royale and I'm sure I've missed a few more - that isn't just going to stop because of this contract.

Where I hold out hope is the Regional Centre Plan - although what concerns me is the 'draft map' with the urban typologies. There needs to be a lot of consideration in the plan for regional centre transportation - which is where I see streetcars being used to revitalize areas that need major new development (i've harped on Agricola, but also Highfield Park and even Shannon Park should the stadium not go there). I would say that what they had thought might have been a typical project for the regional centre plan probably has a lot more twists now.

As to the attitude about NS and how it dealt with this win - I think all you need to do is look at the coverage CTV has provided and the fact that it had 3 stories the day of the announcement and then a few new articles a week later - to show you that the negativity is slowly being washed away. Whether people like it or not, the growth is coming...it's either figure out reasonable compromise or get swept away.

It will be interesting to see how groups like the heritage trust and STV are perceived moving forward...I suspect they will fall into the swept away as they will be considered obstacles and that all of council will get on board with progress.

I'm also going to add this link - a very well done video.
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Old Posted Nov 6, 2011, 8:11 PM
RyeJay RyeJay is offline
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Originally Posted by halifaxboyns View Post
I have to agree - this is game changing. One of the prof's I had at SMU put it this way: This could be the biggest growth spurt in Halifax since the city was founded.

That being said - I agree that it's time to start thinking about moving more urban than suburban. But keep in mind - a change in direction can't just occur over night and it's not like it could turn on a dime. Plan It Calgary (Calgary's Municipal Development Plan) recognizes that we need a more compact urban city but recognizes it will likely take 15 years for things to slow down, stop and then switch gears. If you look at the suburban land that is zoned for growth and ready to go, there is all of Bedford West ready to come online, plus the rest of Royal Hemlocks and Russell Lake. Add to that the pockets of Clayton Park West that aren't finished, Mount Royale and I'm sure I've missed a few more - that isn't just going to stop because of this contract.

Where I hold out hope is the Regional Centre Plan - although what concerns me is the 'draft map' with the urban typologies. There needs to be a lot of consideration in the plan for regional centre transportation - which is where I see streetcars being used to revitalize areas that need major new development (i've harped on Agricola, but also Highfield Park and even Shannon Park should the stadium not go there). I would say that what they had thought might have been a typical project for the regional centre plan probably has a lot more twists now.

As to the attitude about NS and how it dealt with this win - I think all you need to do is look at the coverage CTV has provided and the fact that it had 3 stories the day of the announcement and then a few new articles a week later - to show you that the negativity is slowly being washed away. Whether people like it or not, the growth is coming...it's either figure out reasonable compromise or get swept away.

It will be interesting to see how groups like the heritage trust and STV are perceived moving forward...I suspect they will fall into the swept away as they will be considered obstacles and that all of council will get on board with progress.

I'm also going to add this link - a very well done video.
Given the expansion of Bayer's Lake, given the desire to place a stadium in Dartmouth Crossing, given the ever-expanding suburbs of Bedford and Sackville--I am convinced Halifax still has its foot on the gas.
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Old Posted Nov 6, 2011, 8:54 PM
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Yes, this is the type of change that happens gradually, but it needs to happen quickly.

As an example, during the last few years something like 16% of new development has been urban infill. Good, realistic progress would mean bringing that up to 20% in a couple of years and 30% in 5-10 years. Halifax is not going to go from 16% infill to 90% infill on a dime but if it doesn't improve it will suffer from lots of problems.

For transportation, maybe transit's modal share is 10%. Getting that up to 15-20% would be huge. With urban infill you could also have more people walking and biking to work. Dropping car traffic by 20-30% means huge savings in terms of both time and infrastructure needed. There will still be cars and there will need to be new road capacity but there's a big range in how much car traffic will increase, depending on planning decisions made now.

Something like the Bayers Lake expansion is the prime example of a bad decision. We hear all kinds of complaining about sprawl and how it was poorly planned but then nothing changes -- Washmill is a planning disaster and another expansion is approved. My guess is that this happens because the city is poorly organized and doesn't have much direction. You might have some planners complain about sprawl but then some other department responsible for selling off land just chugs along based on their old mandate to make quick cash.

The biggest advantage of the shipbuilding contract is that it can be used as a strong reason to make more aggressive planning decisions. The "little old Halifax" excuse does not carry the same weight it did ten years ago, so maybe if people start talking about stuff like rapid transit it will be considered in a more positive light.

An ambitious rapid transit project would be extremely good for the city. Stuff like a stadium is nice but a light rail system is probably the #1 positive change the municipal government can reasonably implement. It would be great for commute times and it would naturally improve the planning situation. Shipbuilding also provides another natural destination for transit -- there are going to be thousands of workers who will need to get to the shipyard every day.
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  #6  
Old Posted Nov 7, 2011, 4:10 AM
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I'm pumped because I think Halifax's real estate market was in a bit of peril... in some ways the shipbuilding contract is far superior to government employees / universities... this is public money that will result in paychecks, but also there have got to be tons of suppliers that need to be accessed to fulfill the contract... over 25 years... that's bananas. Burnside could effectively become one of the best manufacturing business parks around. Its still pretty rough right now, but a huge influx of cash to existing and new businesses could make it more viable.
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Old Posted Nov 7, 2011, 3:43 PM
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Yes, this is the type of change that happens gradually, but it needs to happen quickly.

As an example, during the last few years something like 16% of new development has been urban infill. Good, realistic progress would mean bringing that up to 20% in a couple of years and 30% in 5-10 years. Halifax is not going to go from 16% infill to 90% infill on a dime but if it doesn't improve it will suffer from lots of problems.

For transportation, maybe transit's modal share is 10%. Getting that up to 15-20% would be huge. With urban infill you could also have more people walking and biking to work. Dropping car traffic by 20-30% means huge savings in terms of both time and infrastructure needed. There will still be cars and there will need to be new road capacity but there's a big range in how much car traffic will increase, depending on planning decisions made now.

Something like the Bayers Lake expansion is the prime example of a bad decision. We hear all kinds of complaining about sprawl and how it was poorly planned but then nothing changes -- Washmill is a planning disaster and another expansion is approved. My guess is that this happens because the city is poorly organized and doesn't have much direction. You might have some planners complain about sprawl but then some other department responsible for selling off land just chugs along based on their old mandate to make quick cash.

The biggest advantage of the shipbuilding contract is that it can be used as a strong reason to make more aggressive planning decisions. The "little old Halifax" excuse does not carry the same weight it did ten years ago, so maybe if people start talking about stuff like rapid transit it will be considered in a more positive light.

An ambitious rapid transit project would be extremely good for the city. Stuff like a stadium is nice but a light rail system is probably the #1 positive change the municipal government can reasonably implement. It would be great for commute times and it would naturally improve the planning situation. Shipbuilding also provides another natural destination for transit -- there are going to be thousands of workers who will need to get to the shipyard every day.
I follow your logic, and I completely agree with you on the issue of public (and fast) transportation. I simply don't believe we will have the available time for such an acclimation process.

The rising cost of everything shall force us to urbanise, eventually. There will come a point where the HRM won't be able to commit to further sprawl--as it will realise it can't afford the sprawl it has.

There are going to be far too many important issues that society will have to deal with head-on, that I predict we will choose to stop subsidising our sprawl--and instead allocate funds to things such as ...food, water, electricity, etc.

As the world's population grows, as more of the planet's forests get eaten up by sprawled development and by agriculture and by climate change, the price of everything will continue to climb.

In this context, the sky isn't the limit--it's the solution.
Urbanisation is a key part of our sustainability.

But I guess we won't get more serious about such things until the reality of death makes us. We can see tens of millions of people starve in Africa during a severe drought, we can see tens of millions of people lose everything to a severe flood in Thailand, but this is all on television.

Perhaps after an increasing presence of Juan-type storms...
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Old Posted Nov 7, 2011, 5:08 PM
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I follow your logic, and I completely agree with you on the issue of public (and fast) transportation. I simply don't believe we will have the available time for such an acclimation process.

The rising cost of everything shall force us to urbanise, eventually. There will come a point where the HRM won't be able to commit to further sprawl--as it will realise it can't afford the sprawl it has.

There are going to be far too many important issues that society will have to deal with head-on, that I predict we will choose to stop subsidising our sprawl--and instead allocate funds to things such as ...food, water, electricity, etc.

As the world's population grows, as more of the planet's forests get eaten up by sprawled development and by agriculture and by climate change, the price of everything will continue to climb.

In this context, the sky isn't the limit--it's the solution.
Urbanisation is a key part of our sustainability.

But I guess we won't get more serious about such things until the reality of death makes us. We can see tens of millions of people starve in Africa during a severe drought, we can see tens of millions of people lose everything to a severe flood in Thailand, but this is all on television.

Perhaps after an increasing presence of Juan-type storms...
I really like that you are thinking about this and I would suggest you turn this energy to the regional centre plan work. That's going to be the first opportunity for the region to really think about making a definate change, especially for the lands of the core.

But unless an updated regional plan comes along - it will be 2021 before the regional plan comes up for a rework, which is less than 10 years away.
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Old Posted Nov 8, 2011, 1:46 AM
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The ship building will be a big deal, but we need to be cautious... $25 billion is being spent on the project being assembled here - but not being spent here, specifically. Weapons systems, command and control systems, radar and sonar, engines, etc will all be bought with this 25 billion, but bought somewhere else, and then installed here. I was sent an email by a former naval engineer who estimates that the value of the contract "in Halifax" is about 8-9 billion.

This is still a lot of money but I think that is the more realistic figure to base the impact on.
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Old Posted Nov 8, 2011, 4:17 AM
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I believe that the ship building contact will result in thousands of jobs in the HRM over the coming 20 - 30 years which will certainly boost confidence in the local economy. However, I don't think that it will be dramatic enough to result in an iconic stadium, LRT, and skyscrapers popping up everywhere. There is still a lot of work required before Halifax will have an Alberta-type or Ontario-type booming economy that can support thousands of immigrants a year.
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Old Posted Nov 8, 2011, 4:21 AM
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The ship building will be a big deal, but we need to be cautious... $25 billion is being spent on the project being assembled here - but not being spent here, specifically. Weapons systems, command and control systems, radar and sonar, engines, etc will all be bought with this 25 billion, but bought somewhere else, and then installed here. I was sent an email by a former naval engineer who estimates that the value of the contract "in Halifax" is about 8-9 billion.

This is still a lot of money but I think that is the more realistic figure to base the impact on.

Around $8 billion in Halifax...

Well, I expect a Vancouver-level of optimism then
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Old Posted Nov 8, 2011, 4:29 AM
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Around $8 billion in Halifax...

Well, I expect a Vancouver-level of optimism then
It might have to do with Premier Dexter's union promoting strategies that might very well drive more job from the province than the shipbuilding contract brings in.
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Old Posted Nov 8, 2011, 4:49 AM
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Meh, this is pretty much the same old annoying negativism. When Vancouver got the contract you didn't hear people harping on how it won't actually be that significant because it won't be spent 100% locally, or how it will be offset by union issues. I doubt that the Halifax contract is exceptional in terms of its need for subcontracting and so forth. The reality is that if you build something like billion-dollar ships you are going to have to involve many different areas and ship in parts from outside unless you want to incur unnecessary costs just so you can say everything was done locally.

The shipbuilding contract is about as close to unmitigated success as you can get for a city's economy.
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Old Posted Nov 8, 2011, 4:53 AM
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Meh, this is pretty much the same old annoying negativism. When Vancouver got the contract you didn't hear people harping on how it won't actually be that significant because it won't be spent 100% locally, or how it will be offset by union issues or whatever.

The shipbuilding contract is about as close to unmitigated success as you can get for a city's economy.
I have to agree - I realize that not all of it will be spent in HRM but still I think at least half will end up there. It's too soon to say that unions or other groups will end up having an influence or an effect - since the contract hasn't been negotiated. My only hope for this contract is the population goes up, better development conditions (higher density) and the NSCC programs expand to really take on more trades to not just deal with the contract, but all the other subtrades. If all that happens, I'm a happy camper.
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Old Posted Nov 8, 2011, 5:07 AM
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I have to agree - I realize that not all of it will be spent in HRM but still I think at least half will end up there. It's too soon to say that unions or other groups will end up having an influence or an effect - since the contract hasn't been negotiated. My only hope for this contract is the population goes up, better development conditions (higher density) and the NSCC programs expand to really take on more trades to not just deal with the contract, but all the other subtrades. If all that happens, I'm a happy camper.
I edited my post to be a bit clearer.

The fact that the spending won't all be in Halifax isn't some special caveat of this particular contract, it's necessarily true of all spending on that scale and often large chunks of contracts are subcontracted out. The Vancouver contract won't be 100% local spending either. In many cases Halifax-area companies end up getting subcontracts for jobs happening elsewhere.

The negative exceptionalism gets very tiresome. Halifax got a shipbuilding contract but somehow it's mostly fake. Halifax produced 6500 jobs last year (that is huge) but the economy's going to collapse any day now. Halifax had a CWG bid but it wasn't a "real" bid, it was just some sort of ploy. Halifax apartment starts are going up but it's because poor people like apartments.. sigh.
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Old Posted Nov 8, 2011, 9:54 AM
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Well said
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Old Posted Nov 8, 2011, 11:14 AM
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Is this a message board or a booster club? Do you want to talk about what is really going on, what the real potentials are, or just make stuff up with no basis? It is not negative to actually understand the real economic impact. $8 billion is still a big deal, but you need to base your tax revenue increase on the real spend here - this is why Steele was saying that it is going to generate at its best $80-100 million in taxes a year. It is a GREAT project, but if you want to plan for the future you need to know what is going on now, and not exaggerate it.

Last edited by Waye Mason; Nov 8, 2011 at 12:05 PM.
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Old Posted Nov 8, 2011, 12:35 PM
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There is a real reason for concern. Premier Dexter is preparing to introduce "first contract legislation" that will encourage the formation of unions at companies where they don't currently exist.

Even though Michelin Tire and other large private sector employers have stated that such legislation will make Nova Scotia a less attractive location for private sector jobs, Premier Dexter is moving ahead to satisfy his union backers instead of doing what is best to encourage job growth in the province. It is easy to see that Premier Dexter is out of touch with reality when he starts ignoring the advice of large employers such as Michelin Tire which has created 10's of thousands of jobs over the decades that they have been in Nova Scotia.

It seems that Premier Dexter feels that public sector-type unions will be just fine in the private sector. The problem is that NS public sector union jobs can't move out of the province; private sector plants can just shut their doors and move elsewhere, or not locate in NS at all.

A good explanation of the situation can be found in the following allnovascotia.com article from November 7, 2011 "Bill Black: Chasing the Jobs Away".

These concerns aren't unfounded negativity; such concerns are based on watching Premier Dexter take one step after another to scare away private sector jobs. Premier Dexter had nothing to do with attracting the shipbuilding contract to Nova Scotia but he has been trying to take credit for it. Now he actually could be responsible for driving thousands of jobs from the province and he will likely use it to get union backing for his next election campaign. There is a real reason for negativity. Can Nova Scotia survive the Dexter Years?
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Old Posted Nov 8, 2011, 2:13 PM
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Before the "first contract arbitration" union fear mongering goes any further, a counterpoint...

http://www.metronews.ca/halifax/comm...-workers-a-say

Quote:
Really? Six provinces and the federal government have similar laws. Eighty per cent of Canadian workers — including the 15 per cent of Nova Scotians working in federally regulated industries — are already covered.

Where are all the dead jobs?
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Old Posted Nov 8, 2011, 5:45 PM
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Is this a message board or a booster club? Do you want to talk about what is really going on, what the real potentials are, or just make stuff up with no basis? It is not negative to actually understand the real economic impact. $8 billion is still a big deal, but you need to base your tax revenue increase on the real spend here - this is why Steele was saying that it is going to generate at its best $80-100 million in taxes a year. It is a GREAT project, but if you want to plan for the future you need to know what is going on now, and not exaggerate it.
Partly I think you are arguing against a straw man. Which claims here are over the top? In fact most people seem to be talking about how Halifax needs better planning.

When you put all this in the context of The Coast running articles about how NS should roll over and die or the Herald complaining about anything that would look out of place in 1962 I don't even think the boosterism is so bad. We are talking about a city that is so browbeaten and scattered that it is less able to get a stadium build than a nearby city that is 1/3 the size. Similarly after about 15 years of debate and constantly worsening traffic Halifax has barely invested in any sort of rapid transit. And when council debates rapid transit they look at options that date to about 1982. Sadly I don't think that overly optimistic and ambitious plans are the problem.
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