Greening the Darkside

Mike Fleury tears down the house.

When travelling towards downtown Dartmouth via Wyse Road, one of first buildings to greet your eyes is the former Dartmouth heritage museum. And what a greeting it is. Basically, the building looks—and has looked, for quite some time—terrible. As Kyle Shaw outlined in a recent Coast editorial, there are boarded up windows, mould problems, thoughtless graffiti (a bright red "suck your mom," for example); not the stuff of postcards or tourism ads. Certainly not the kind of building you want as a downtown welcome mat.

You know what would be better there? Almost anything. Like grass! And happily, the city agrees.

This week, the city announced that they would be tearing down the building, which has not been used in any capacity for some time (the museum was relocated in 2003).

"At this point, the project involves demolishing the building," says HRM spokesperson Deborah Story, "and then the footprint of the building will be seeded with grass. There will also be repairs made to the asphalt pathway that leads to Alderney Drive."

Work on the site is expected to begin sometime in mid-July and last roughly four weeks. The area will be fenced off during that period plus the time it takes for the grass to take root. When completed, the new patch of Dartmouth green space will connect with the existing Leighton Dillman Park. It's a nice green extension for downtown D-town.

Upon reading the announcement, our thoughts immediately went to a recently proposed bylaw that would pressure private property owners to repair or tear down derelict or unsightly buildings. Could this be the city holding itself accountable? Are there any other city-owned eyesores lined up in the crosshairs?

"Well, the plans for this were in place before the council discussion," says Story. "I don't know of any other projects in particular that are under consideration. But our real estate department is always looking at properties that aren't being used."

So, it may not be part of a grander plan, but it's still a good start. Grass is a nice alternative to "suck your mom."

Feel that?

If you felt a small shudder last week—or perhaps, a warm sense of relief—we may know the reason. Not to bring up painful memories, but May 9 was the official deadline for Commonwealth Games candidate cities to formally submit their bid to host the 2014 Games. Abuja is in. Glasgow is in. We, obviously, are not.

Sorry. We probably shouldn't have mentioned it.

You go, us

And now, for a moment of immodesty: this Saturday, the annual Atlantic Journalism Awards cerimony will be held at the Marriott hotel, and three Coast pieces from the past year have been nominated. Because we can only assume that you love us as much as we love ourselves, we thought you might be interested.

Stephen Kimber's investigation into the plight of local heart researcher Gabby Horne has been nominated in the Enterprise Reporting category. Meanwhile, Lezlie Lowe's three-part series on living with HIV/AIDS is up for best Feature Writing, as is Robert Plowman's report/cultural essay on living without the internet for a month. Congrats to our celebrated Coast teammates—damn, we're awesome.

Hey, aren’t we awesome? Email: mikef@thecoast.ca

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