Blake Hunsley 
Member since Sep 26, 2013



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Re: “Gentrification in the “new” north end

You can point to this event as a prime example of gentrification if you want, but I would think it's more important to target developments and regulations that force low income families out of the neighbourhood. This event doesn't come close to doing that. What it more likely does is offend Pankhurst's anti-capitalist sensibilities. Yes, free events like Food not Bombs are fantastic, but commercial events aren't the enemy by default. Pankhurst can dream of the collapse of the capitalist system all he likes, but whether you love it or hate it the system is showing no signs of disappearing any time soon. Rather than rail against anyone who does anything because they're motivated by profit, why not find out if they have other motives as well that support everyone in the community?

Does North by Night operate to make money? Of course. But that's hardly all it does. North by Night is changing the city's perception of the north end. When I tell out-of-town relatives that I'm heading to Gottingen to hang out on the street with friends, they still assume I have a death wish. When they come to Gottingen themselves, they see a street filled with happy people (of many ethnic backgrounds, it must apparently be noted) enjoying a fun, inexpensive, and safe event. They get used to the idea that Gottingen isn't a scary place, but a place that they should go to have fun, and yes, to spend their money.

Spending that money does change the north end. How could it not? But the introduction of more money into a community doesn't have to alienate or sideline the local residents. The participation barriers to merchants who want to be a part of North by Night are incredibly low. Rather than driving out neighbourhood residents, the market is a perfect opportunity for these same residents to try their hand at entrepreneurship. Assuming that these residents don't have any interest in making money is ridiculous and unfair. It's an assumption that treats poorer residents like helpless victims of gentrification, frames the issue as an us-vs-them battle, and ultimately discourages local residents from trying to engage with the forces of change in an attempt to better their lives and their community.

Calling out any commercial event that takes place in the north end as another terrible symptom of gentrification can only help to keep the neighbourhood locked in poverty. I won't pretend that there aren't downsides to gentrification, that would be a disservice to the people who have been driven out of their longtime homes. But we should also acknowledge the upsides, which in my view are largely embodied by North by Night. If you want to rail against capitalism and anyone driven by the urge to make a profit, go right ahead. Just don't pretend to do it in the name of a community that likely wouldn't mind making an extra buck or two for themselves. And if you want to fight against gentrification, please choose your targets wisely. Opposing a low cost, local merchant driven event that is so open to community participation, and with so few barriers (financial or otherwise), makes many of us less likely to listen when you decide to talk about the actual harms caused by gentrifying our north end.

51 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by Blake Hunsley on 07/24/2014 at 10:16 AM

Re: “Saying hello to Nova Scotia, for a reason

It's so nice to see someone pointing out the brighter side of life in Halifax. Thank you for addressing this. I hope you inspire people to drop the defeatist attitude and to look at life in this city in a more positive light.

Welcome to Halifax!

20 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by Blake Hunsley on 05/02/2014 at 11:29 AM

Re: “Women told to leave Old Triangle after "make out session"

My (same-sex) fiance and I have kissed in the Old Triangle dozens of times (admittedly fairly chastely, we're not huge on making out in public) and no one has ever batted an eye. I imagine someone did get offended, but over PDA not specifically queer PDA. I think Halifax is home to far more prudes than it is homophobes.

22 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Blake Hunsley on 03/19/2014 at 3:49 PM

Re: “Here’s why I’m not voting for Darrell Dexter

Hi CBoyce. I assure you that my conclusion was not meant to convey that voting is for the naive, that anyone should stay home from voting, or that I personally intend to stay home from voting. By saying "I won't succumb so easily to anyone's advances this time" I mean that I won't be so blindly optimistic when I make my choice this election, but that my vote will be cast with a touch of cynicism. I will succumb to the advances of one of the parties on or before voting day, but not with the enthusiasm and blind belief I took into the voting booth last time.

I firmly believe all eligible voters should turn out and cast their vote. Whether or not the parties have inspired us, it is still our right and our responsibility to have a say in how we are governed.

4 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Blake Hunsley on 09/26/2013 at 4:40 PM

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