1955: The Angus L. Macdonald Bridge opens. 1970: The A. Murray Mackay Bridge opens. Then for a long time, nothing happens. Until this week. The Halifax-Dartmouth Bridge Commission made a number of announcements this past week, all relating to updating their services and whisking people over the harbour with greater efficiency (Faster! Better! More often!). The biggest news in the immediate future: bridge tokens will be gradually phased out by 2008, in order to encourage more drivers to get on board with MACPASS, the electronic bridge toll system that causes people to hurtle towards those automatic restraining barriers with reckless, confident abandon. (Frankly, it scares us. It never looks like that little mechanical arm is going to lift in time.)
The biggest news in the not-so-immediate future: This fall, the city will begin “strategic planning” for a third bridge over the harbour in order to help deal with the traffic problems that tend to arise on the Macdonald Bridge during peak hours—or, possibly, a tunnel! The future is now! So, if the English Channel has the Chunnel, what would the harbour tunnel be? The Hunnel? The Under-basin? The Har-bore?
Everybody must get Stoned
Now that the “secret” Rolling Stones’ visit is officially out of the bag (not that it was ever really in the bag to begin with), city councillors have begun to publicly question some of the finer points of the proposed September 23 concert. Quinpool councillor Sheila Fougere is on record with concerns about the logistics of holding the outdoor concert, and what effect the expected 60,000-strong crowd might have on the Common. The city is contributing $100,000 to host the show. To date, there have been no official announcements about a specific timeline regarding planning, or clean-up and repair work that may need to be done on the Common after the show is over and Mick and Keith have hobbled off to their next tour gig in New Jersey.
And speaking of the tour—after the Stones’ officially announced their tour schedule on Wednesday, press releases and wire stories exploded with activity, each offering their own unique way of saying, “We’ve never heard of these places before in our lives.” Some of the more diplomatic descriptions: the tour will focus on “non-traditional tour markets,” “smaller venues,” and our personal favourite—from E! Online—“far-flung locales,” including “Halifax, Nova Scotia” and “Regina, capital city of Saskatchewan, Canada.” (My god, where the hell is that?)
This blurb writes itself
From a media report released by the Halifax Regional Police last Friday, complete with police-provided punchline: “At about 2:24am a male was sitting in his vehicle on Blowers Street in Halifax. The suspect entered the back of the victim’s vehicle, which was opened…. He demanded the victim drive him to an address on Brunswick St. in Halifax. The victim followed the orders of the suspect…. The suspect was tracked to the exact address where he wanted the victim to take him. The suspect was arrested, the victim’s money was recovered. The victim in this matter did not suffer any injuries, while the suspect in this matter may well consider a career change.” Zing! Take that, anonymous suspect-guy! Police reports have never been so snidely entertaining.