- Nathan Brett has been in Purcell’s Cove since 1987. He is a retired Professor from the Philosophy Department at Dalhousie University.
The Purcell’s Cove area (from Williams Lake to Ferguson’s Cove) is a place of striking beauty. A significant part of the Backlands to the west of the area will become Halifax’s new Urban Wilderness Park. The serenity the Cove’s appearance contrasts sharply with the tension in its relationship with the central city since its annexation in the late ‘60s. Residents of the area are often in with its political masters at City Hall. I will list some examples before turning to the most recent one.
There have been two attempts to dump the sewage of the whole city in the midst of the Cove area. The first, around 1970, immediately after annexation, involved filling in much of the Cove itself to provide space for the city’s sewage tanks and processing. The second, early in the 1990s would have located a 60-hectare lagoon in the Backlands that tower 180 feet above the Cove. A small refinery was to process sewage sludge, distilling it to make oil (one barrel a day!). Residence scoffed at it as the “
The latest fight with the city began with the February 2015 publication of the first draft of Moving Forward Together, Halifax Transit’s plan to revamp public transportation. That plan recommended the complete elimination of service to the Cove area: the tail end of the #15 route, from Williams’s Lake Rd. to York
In the March 2016, final report Transit changed
Is this a good compromise? Residents were stunned. The service would be so downgraded that for most it could not meet their needs. The bus would run only at times of day when traffic jams at the Armdale Rotary often mean missed connections. Some residents wondered whether this would be worse than no
Ironies abound in this situation. Here are a few: It would be reasonable to suppose that the recommended cut is demanded by its cost of the route. In fact, residents along this section pay a Local Transit levy that covers its cost. If the 70
The sole reason given for the proposed cuts is that this part of the route does not meet Transit’s new (one-size fits all) ridership targets. But the community has worked to increase the
The proposed cuts, if they follow Transit’s past practice, would take effect in August of 2019. This is just when the new Urban Wilderness Park is slated to open. In its recent funding
How should we think about the last eight minutes of an hourly bus route that takes people into one of the most beautiful parts of Nova Scotia? Should we demand that the number of passengers getting on and off meet standards designed for mid-city streets? Will we have to tell visitors to the city that there is no public transportation to the trails and lakes that the city now claims as a major tourist asset? Should we tell elderly residents and students that to promote efficiency, they must now walk or take taxis they cannot afford? If this is what Halifax now counts as progress, as ‘moving forward together,’ it is no longer the city that I can be proud to call home.
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