Mailbag December 6 2012

These are the letters and comments from the print edition.

Market values
“It was unrealistic to think that a three-hour farmers’ market could immediately turn into a seven-day-a-week operation,” says Frank Schwartz (“Investors may be ‘toast,’” Reality Bites by Tim Bousquet, November 29).

Finally, someone said it.

When they first said that the Seaport Farmers’ Market was going to run all week, my first thought was “Why? It won’t be viable all week.” I wish I’d been wrong. But, really, how did they think it would work all week when it’s in a location that can’t be gotten to easily during work hours?

Most of us have to work all week---that’s why on Saturday, it was a destination to go to the market, and why it still is. If the market was located in the downtown, where there’s a high density of workers, it might work. Saint John’s City Market thrives because it’s in a busy area and people can pop in over lunch or just as they’re leaving work. Seaport is too far to walk from, say, the CIBC/Scotia Square area, look around and then walk back in less than an hour.

To me, the location is what’s wrong with the market. —posted by TDF at

This project was conceptualized and put together with a few key people who are at the market and they didn’t get proper advice. There is no way this market could survive on six days a week, it’s impossible in this location.

Our fair city is only 400,000 people, and I’ll bet you 380,000 people don’t know about it. This could only work if the market had spent some money on marketing and advertising rather than on the six to eight staff they have hired. And why on earth are there three to five staff people there on a day when there’s no vendors open?

I am a vendor of the market and it’s time the public heard our voices. Isn’t that why the people come to the market, for the vendors, not the people who are running it into the ground? —posted by Ken Hollingum

There are a number of other fuzzy-wuzzy, airy-fairy do-gooder projects in Nova Scotia and Canada that will not stand up to close scrutiny. Please, folks, look behind the curtain! —posted by sweets

No money pits
For over two years, the coalition Save the View has taken a lot of public slagging for raising facts about the fabricated data in Trade Centre Ltd.’s Internal Staff Report, which was the primary business case for the government decision to spend at least $375 million of taxpayer money on a very bad deal for a new convention centre.

The attorney general has offered a real “out” on this deal. If the premier won’t say “no” now because he said “yes” all along, any other level of government could wisely decide to commission an independent study that would quickly determine that this deal should not proceed.

The proposed convention centre is not a “done deal” for any number of reasons, including:

1. Even if there is a penalty for cancelling the contract it would be inconsequential relative to the cost of the building or the $13 million/year rent that HRM and the province will cost-share for the next 25 years.

2. The proposed building plan shown during the public consultations, cost-shared with the province, does not conform to what was approved by HRMByDesign. It’s now a superblock from Argyle to Market Street over Grafton Street. HRMByDesign states in clause 7(15A) that the design must conform to what was approved in the bylaw. The new design will require an amendment application, a public meeting and a public hearing. Everyone could vote “no.”

3. A public meeting and public hearing with a vote by the mayor and council will also be required for the closure of Grafton Street.

4. The small amount of work happening at the building site is less than what would be required for any project. The developer Rank Inc. has always said there’s plan B or C---if the convention centre isn’t built, something else will be, and there’ll be construction jobs in any case.

All levels of government should realize that the convention centre is an unpopular project with Nova Scotians. Citizens need to demand that all levels of government stop the nonsense and spend the $375 million on real public infrastructure such as transportation, water and sewage, hospitals and school and not on a money pit in the downtown. —Peggy Cameron, Halifax

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