We try. We really try. Maybe our political leaders just can't see all the broken things in Metro. I mean, that'd be understandable; it's hard paying attention to all that stuff out there on the other side of the reflective glass in the back seat of their SUVs as they scurry about between their suburban refuges and the City Hall parking lot. So we're here to help---each January The Coast publishes our Fix the City suggestions, a helpful guide for politicians and bureaucrats looking for a sop to throw to the little people.
Sometimes it helps, maybe. We're certainly taking credit for about half of our 2007 suggestions getting fixed. (We're especially proud of the window shade in the City Hall men's room.)
But are the politicians still paying attention, or is The Coast losing its mojo? Let's take a look at our 2008 suggestions:
Grand Parade skating
Bzzzzzzz. Here's a big fricken "F" for the entire city. You can still hear the pols mouthing all the platitudes about bringing people downtown, about making Halifax a great place to live, work and play, blah, blah and blah. Yea, whatever. The one thing that most everyone wants, that would bring people downtown, that would revitalize Barrington Street, that would endear the citizenry to City Hall, well, that one thing isn't being taken seriously, cuz no one at City Hall gives a damn. They're too busy figuring out how to build four new skating rinks out in the suburbs.
Open the Public Gardens in winter
We're almost there. A "trial" winter opening has been announced, and if we don't trash the place, it'll stay open. Go to the gardens. Be nice.
Not a done deal, not by a long shot, but it's looking good! A library isn't going to get built overnight, so give it some time. The bureaucracy is moving on this, and most of council is supportive. And a big capital project like the library will give a necessary shot in the arm to a local economy in recession...
Fix the damn payphones
One Tuesday afternoon last summer, the Aliant people invited me---correction: The Aliant people summoned me to a tour of payphones they had arranged for the media the very next morning. You'll forgive me if I didn't drop everything and rearrange my schedule on a moment's notice to immediately jump on their PR wagon; presumably they're arguing everything's fixed and we're now in payphone nirvana. But the mutilated machine with wires poking out this way and that on Coburg---you know, the one just down from the coffee shop that's been screaming "broken pay phone!" for more than two years---argues otherwise. Aliant would obviously rather make money on cellphones than spend the dough necessary to fix pay phones, so the ball's now in the city's court: you going to do anything about it, city council?
Metro Transit has made it clear that they will not provide what everyone wants: a bus travellers can take directly to the airport. Instead, what they're working on is a commuter bus for people who work at the airport, a long, winding route that will take a couple of hours for anyone on the peninsula to use. Can't compete with the Airporter bus and the cab companies, see.
Sidewalks in the BLbP
Ding! Ding! Ding! Ding! Now, if only we can figure out a reasonable way to get there without a car.
Every politician is concerned about violence on city streets at bar closing time. Really, they are. And a late-night bus service would take people off the streets safely, it's true. But, well, the politicians can't make a late-night bus happen, sorry. But they're concerned about violence on city streets at bar closing time. Really, they are. (Repeat this conversation 23 times and you too can be a city council reporter.)
Kinda, sorta, or at least close enough for government work
Better lighting for the Common (kinda). Bring Shannon Park to life (one day, sorta). Winterize FRED (close enough).
Ain't gonna happen
Late library hours. Youth programs & facilities. Public washroom on Barrington.
In its very own circle of hell