My election issues
Just in case the leaders of the federal political parties are wondering what a voter like me cares about, here are some Canadian issues I'd like to see dealt with in the coming election. Abolish the senate, it's useless and expensive. Legalize pot in all forms. Beef up northern military/rescue presence and capability, because we are pathetic compared to other northern nations.
Stop attacking Putin, we're just a fly to an elephant and it makes Canada look like a joke. Legalize medical life terminations. Reduce outrageous domestic taxes on airfare, which are 50 percent of the ticket price or even more. Fight ISIS, but not with Canadian troops in the Middle East, since that won't work. And revoke Canadian citizenship to any who go abroad to join ISIS—let them leave never to return. But speed up citizenship for bona-fide new Canadians.
I know it will never happen, but it sure would be nice if the three leaders could sit down and really deal with these issues (and others) for the betterment of Canada instead of their own political agendas. —Matthew McPherson, Halifax
The Common good
Last week marked the 252nd anniversary of King George III granting the city the 240-acre Halifax Common. How is Halifax marking the occasion? By cutting several mature trees to make way for a roundabout at the Cogswell/NorthPark/Ahern/Trollope intersection. It's a fitting tribute to the ongoing onslaught of the Common, whereby less than 30 acres remain as public open space. And it suits the city's habit of ignoring the 1994 Halifax Common Plan.
Only now, after a 21-year wait, does the municipal budget include money to begin the planning process. Time is not on the side of the Common.
At present developers are making extensive use of the Development Agreement application process to ignore the Regional Plan's existing controls that regulate size, mass, height and set-back of buildings for spot-rezoning.
Present proposals are for 25-, 28-, 18-, 11- and 24-storey buildings adjacent to the Halifax Common. And an 18-storey building approved next to Camp Hill Cemetery on Carleton Street, and a 30-storey building proposed for Spring Garden Road at Carleton, are on land that is part of the original Halifax Common grant.
By approving development agreements for out-of-scale buildings, the mayor and council are allowing developers to preclude not just the Halifax Common Master Plan process, but also the Centre Plan and the Halifax Green Network processes. We have yet to ever hear about an Integrated Transportation Strategy, and where roundabouts would rank against other transportation priorities such as commuter rail.
Please write the mayor and council at firstname.lastname@example.org to ask that they stick to the existing rules and stop making decisions affecting the Halifax Common until new plans are complete. See more details at halifaxcommon.ca. —Peggy Cameron, Friends of the Halifax Common