Letters to the editor, April 9, 2015

These are the letters and comments from the print edition

Leaning left of way

The proposed pilot project to implement bike lanes on the north and south sides of University Avenue, from Robie to Le Marchant Streets, is an inspired idea and has my full support. Biking around Halifax seems incredibly intimidating when, in most cases, cyclists are sharing the space with motorists who frankly aren't prepared to share the road. Designated bike lanes are sure to increase ridership since I'm not alone in that fear of city cycling.

There has been much opposition towards the Dalhousie bike lane pilot project, mainly due to the removal of parking and unloading zones. The Dawgfather specifically has posed a strong argument, and lawsuit, against the temporary implementation.

My proposal is that the bike lane be implemented on the left side of the roadway, neighbouring the median. This will allow for temporary unloading/loading zones along the curb without imposing parked vehicles in the bike lane. Motor traffic will be able to borrow the bike lane to maneuver around the parked vehicles, as they would changing lanes for any reason, but cyclists' safety is maintained since they hold the right of way in their designated lane.

There has been a suggestion to design the bike lane in University Avenue's wide median, which would avoid the removal of convenient parking spaces and unloading zones. However, this option is a much bigger investment than simply painting a new line on the road, and is not feasible for this is a temporary pilot project. —Myra Pennington, Halifax

Lights, camera, idiocy

After living and working here for over 50 years, I cannot allow the present Liberal government to put its spin to the story of our industry, the motion picture industry. In its plan to cut the film tax credit in the upcoming budget, this government would have you believe THEY gave the motion picture productions almost 25 million of your tax dollars last year. Nothing could be further from the truth. (Unlike the famous family grocery store chain and the Atlantic Canadian gas station/oil company, which have received direct tax money paid to them for infrastructure to provide Nova Scotians jobs.)

We attract foreign producers from all over the world, because this industry is global and the look of many other places can be achieved here. These people from away hire local producers, members of ACTRA, the Directors Guild, International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees technicians and more. They rent equipment, hotel rooms, fleets of vehicles. And when they go back to where they came from, the tax credit is a reimbursement of monies based on what they spent here.

All of the people here who work for these productions pay taxes. I own a home, so I also pay property taxes here. As well I own a small motion picture rental equipment business—it also pays taxes and I assure you, no department of the government hands me anything for free. They certainly are not giving me money to work here.

The problem is that the motion picture industry is very mobile. It's not like gas or forestry, industries that take goods from this area. All a film company takes is photographs, and it can recreate a location somewhere else fairly easily. If there are two stores in Halifax, both carrying the product you want at comparable prices, if one will return the tax to you that's where you would spend your money. And that is exactly what a production company will do.

Simply look at what happened to the New Brunswick film industry, when the last government there removed its system of rebates. It has collapsed. Same thing happened in Saskatchewan: Its industry doesn't even exist anymore to speak of, and most technicians have moved away.

The Liberals can absolutely devastate our industry with this budget, and if they do, it cannot be restarted like a mine or gas well or a call centre. You take away the tax break for these producers, you take away my income and along with it all the taxes I pay to live here, and you can multiply that easily by more than 2,000 people. How much money do you think will be saved, if absolutely nothing comes in? —J. Rick Gillis, Halifax

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