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Letters to the editor, August 22, 2019


Developing hubris

When developer Alex Halef of the BANC Group discusses citizen opposition to the latest proposed development on Wellington Street, he insults the residents of HRM who are opposed to that building and other developments ("6 Halifax developments you should know about," City story by Catherine Turnbull, August 15).

Halef thinks opposition to developments like BANC's eight-storey Wellington Street building have to do with "a lack of proper understanding, perhaps, of what the real effects of height and shadows do to a neighbouring property." But Mr. Halef needs to know that opposition to the current flood of dense developments has to do with much more than height and shadows.

Had he been listening to the citizen participants at the public hearings for developments such as the Willow Tree, the Carlton Street block and Wellington Street, he would know the huge number of reasons sociological, economic, environmental, etc. to oppose these projects. Mr. Halef needs to spend a few hours with his computer and do some research on some of the negative effects of dense high-rise development.

I was also most interested to also read that Cesar Salah of WM Fares notes his architecture firm—which has had a number of high-density developments approved recently, with more on the way—has been heavily involved in the creation of the Centre Plan, and "we're pretty happy with the outcome." Nice to know some people are happy, because there have been no meetings with the public on the Centre Plan for 18 months, in spite of HRM's Principles of Community Engagement stating that "everyone potentially affected by the process has an opportunity to become involved."
—Beverly Miller, Halifax

Abuse of a bus

Fall River councillor Steve Streatch should be ashamed of his comments reported in last week's issue—in a print-only sidebar about the transit fare increase, published on page 4 under the headline "25 cent"—regarding his opinion of Halifax Transit: "I do not take the bus, I will never take the bus. I have no interest in taking the bus, and the vast majority of residents feel the same as I do."

I am a resident of HRM who enjoys and hugely appreciates our local bus system. Although I have a car, any occasion, meeting, appointment or entertainment opportunity that I can get to by bus is a welcome one. No traffic, no parking woes, no stress! The Halifax Transit RT app works exceedingly well.

While it is true that I am lucky to live near a bus stop, which is a luxury Mr. Stretch is possibly not privy to, the negativity of his remarks is shocking given the fact that we are all, or should be, working on ways to go greener, to keep car traffic out of downtown. Would he prefer more parking garages (at taxpayers' expense), more congested peninsular streets, more fumes, more accidents?

What is the point of more bike lanes if we should all take our cars downtown? Halifax Transit buses are a useful and pleasant way to get around. The price is right even with the increase, though I fully support subsidies for seniors and free rides for kids up to 12.

Yes, I know folks who look down on taking a bus, and there are those for whom they do not work. But take a look at the amazing bus systems in many large cities—particularly in Europe, the UK and Asia. It works!

Mr. Streatch, as our city councillor, should you not be supporting and touting our excellent buses? Kudos to our courteous and careful bus drivers. To those sitting in daily traffic waiting to get down town: Try a bus!
—Sharon Nicolle, Halifax

Simmer down

I am wondering why John Labelle would write his "Asking a veteran" letter at this time (Reply all, August 15). No politician in the past six months has asked: What do veterans want? I think it is simply Labelle's advocacy group for veterans trying to stay relevant when they aren't. His group wants to change the way CPP is paid out, in order to have veterans benefit when no one does. He calls it a clawback, when the formula the rest of government uses is called bridging. It's the plan that has been in place for over 50 years.
—Jean Martinello, Lower Sackville

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