Dartmouth will keep its HΛLIFΛX signs, for now

Council asks for watered-down staff report on branding issue.

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Sackville's staying out of this whole thing. - THE COAST
  • The Coast
  • Sackville's staying out of this whole thing.

Dartmouth isn’t in Halifax, but "HΛLIFΛX" will remain in Dartmouth.

On Tuesday HRM Regional Council (minus the absent Brad Johns, Barry Dalrymple and Linda Mosher) unanimously voted for a staff report on the use of HRM’s bold logo on community signs.

It’s a watered-down version of the original request, which was to look at the financial implications of covering up or removing the brand from Dartmouth signs and flags.

As the majority of councillors who spoke on the issue late Tuesday night dismissed the idea of removing the branding outright, the approved staff request is an effort instead to reassure angry Dartmouth residents worried about losing their city's identity.

“We are hurting, your worship, in Dartmouth,” said Gloria McCluskey to mayor Mike Savage. “We just want our identity back.”

The Dartmouth Centre councillor repeatedly stressed that those on the eastern side of the harbour are a “proud people,” upset by HRM’s silly blue signs and worried their history is being erased.

Others didn’t feel the same way.

“Nothing has changed but the logo,” said councillor Tim Outhit. “It’s not ‘HRM’ with the lighthouse. It’s ‘Halifax’ with the arrows.”

The discussion took several bizarre detours before reaching its conclusion, with councillors on both sides of the harbour repeatedly pondering why Sydney Crosby—and to a lesser extent, Brad Marchand—don’t say they're from either “Dartmouth” or “Halifax." The hockey players tell the media they're from Cole Harbour and Hammonds Plains, respectively.

Eventually, the staff request mutated into a catch basin designed to answer all the angry questions council has been receiving from Dartmouth freedom fighters these last several months. What will come back to city hall in a few months will be a careful, clear explanation of branding costs and signage requirements designed to end a conversation the municipality's reluctantly been having since the new logo was announced in the spring of 2014.

No new signs with the Halifax brand will be installed until the staff report returns.

McCluskey, a resident of Dartmouth for the last 70 years and the former city’s former mayor, is retiring from municipal politics at the end of this term in October.

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