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Into the Outgames

Mike Fleury keeps you updated.

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Catherine Meade, a local track and field athlete and lawyer, was featured in our Pride Guide (July 20) as she prepared to attend Montreal’s Outgames, a multi-sport competition with a particular focus on gay and lesbian athletes. Meade, along with a strong local contingent of Halifax athletes, has now returned home.

“Almost everyone came home with something,” says Meade. She earned a bronze in the 100m, another bronze in the 200m, a gold medal in the long jump, another gold (with three of her teammates) in the 4x100 relay. Halifax athletes also picked up medals in swimming, softball, dragonboat and other Outgames events.

Teams at the Outgames were divided by country, and then by city. Meade says having the support of her fellow Hali-athletes made all the difference.

“There were still a good chunk who came to support my events,” she says. “I think about 10 other Halifax people showed up—and I was running at nine in the morning!”

Meade, who also participated in the games as an event organizer, says she was particularly proud of how smoothly and professionally the games were presented for the roughly 12,000 athletes in attendance.

“We’ve set the bar very high,” she says. The next Outgames will be held in Copenhagen in 2009. “The mayor from Copenhagen was on hand,” says Meade. “He actually ended up competing in the final couple of games for the Danish handball team.They ended up winning a medal. He was as proud as if he had won that thing at the Olympics!”

Spryfield denied

In another update, Jennifer Pritchard and Clara Stewart-Robertson were featured in The Coast last spring for a public art and design project they implemented on Gottingen. The two Dalhousie planning students set up three large boards posing three separate questions: “Are we happy in our space?,” “Draw your ‘community,’” and “What is our community?” Using markers, passersby and nearby residents were encouraged to fill the boards with their answers.

Pritchard and Stewart-Robinson set up a similar site in Spryfield last month at Williams Lake Pocket Park. On the afternoon of July 26, they installed three large canvas panels, wrapped around tree trunks, asking three questions of Spryfield residents: “Why does Spryfield belong to you?,” “Why aren’t we happy in Spryfield?” and “Why do we lock our doors at night?”

“I think it was up for about12 or 14 hours,” says Stewart-Robertson. “The first phone call came at 8:30 the next morning.” Roberston was contacted by a city worker informing her that the project was in violation of a city bylaw, and it had to be removed by 1pm.

“They said the permission that we had been granted was not sufficient,” says Stewart-Robertson, “because apparently that HRM public property is actually private.”

“I think the most heart wrenching thing is that people had actually written on it by the time we took it down,” says Pritchard. One comment read, “I’ve lived here for 32 years, and I call it home.”

Undeterred, the two are going to attempt to continue or re-install the project.

“The moment it came down, we were basically like, ‘we are going to fight this,’” says Pritchard. “Something else is going to go back up. It’s a community project! That’s not right!”

Write on my board. Email: mikef@thecoast.ca

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