Un-Common ideas

Mike Fleury looks back on the bang.

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Just over two months since Halifax hosted the Rolling Stones on the Common, the city released a report outlining costs, benefits, spin-offs and the lessons it learned from the big show. If you believe the numbers that are presented in the report, the concert was an unqualified success.

In the run-up to the show, the city committed $100,000 towards the event. However, $50,000 of that cash has since been recouped from the show’s promoters. That, according to the report, is the sum total of what the city spent to get the Stones, leaving the rest of the profits from the show as just that: profits. The report calculates that Halifax made $2 million dollars through the labour, equipment and construction invested at the concert site, and another $6 million flowed into the city via restaurants, hotels, and other retail services.

“It was a good thing,” says downtown councillor Dawn Sloane. She also says that the city can build on their success. “We need to learn more about promoters and become more promoter-friendly.”

How might we do that? One option is to turn the Common into a permanent concert venue. It’s an idea that will likely come to council in 2007, but Sloane and some other councillors are already discussing the idea. (The report hints at the idea, too).

“If we’re going to have more concerts on the Commons, we should think about a permanent electrical hookup, and also talk about some ways to put in some kind of…not a platform, but some kind of mesh so that the sod doesn’t get torn up as much.”

Hmm…

“We have no other choice. Citadel Hill only holds 30,000 people, and now we have to rent that space from Heritage Canada...There aren’t a lot of green spaces on the peninsula that can hold a concert of that magnitude. People don’t want the small concerts anymore, they want the big ones.”

Maybe. But before we book the Fleetwood Mac ’08 Farewell Tour, talk this one over with those most affected: the people living beside the Common. No, actually, talk this over with everyone. Remember, city hall, that land isn’t yours to renovate. It’s Ours.

Health careless

How many more millions of our health care dollars will Capital Health waste on legal fees to justify its unjustifiable actions in the Gabrielle Horne affair? Horne is the cardiology researcher whose pioneering work was shut down four years ago, largely because of a personality conflict between Horne and another doctor at the QEII (The Coast, May 4, 2006).

In September, the hospital board finally conceded it had been wrong to vary Horne’s privileges, but coupled that with yet another swipe at her reputation. Last week, Horne filed suit against the hospital and its senior officials. Horne’s statement of claim doesn’t specify damages, but her lawyer suggests we’re talking millions. That doesn’t count what Capital Health has already paid outside lawyers for “advice,” which may already amount to millions… and counting. That’s money that could have been spent on hip replacements and cancer treatments.

Talking out of church

We heard a crazy rumour this week regarding the North Street Church—namely, that the church-cum-concert venue might be for sale. Needless to say, we were concerned; fortunately, Normand Bernier, the building’s owner, took a moment to reassure us.

“We talked to someone three years ago, but not anymore. After that, I said I’d keep going until I die!”

There isn’t a stronger commitment than that.

Need a rumour de-rumoured? Email: mikef@thecoast.ca

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