More than 20 Metro Transit buses will be replaced after city council approved spending almost $9 million to pay for 25 new mass transit vehicles. Paul McDaniel, general manager of Metro Transit, said the aging bus fleet is in dire need of the upgrade. The oldest Metro Transit buses, some of which have been in service for more than 20 years, are the most likely candidates for retirement. Council also made a further commitment towards Metro Transit, pledging money for another 50 buses to be added to the fleet between 2007 and 2009, at a hefty cost of almost $19 million. (And yet, somehow, FRED, the Free Rides Everywhere Downtown bus, remains free. Incidentally, FRED makes its annual reappearance this Saturday. No toonie? No problem.)
Green and gold
Speaking of Metro Transit…the Ecology Action Centre handed out their annual Environmental Awards near the end of June, which “recognize individuals and groups whose actions (or inactions) have impacted the local environment for better or for worse,” and our Metro bus company took home one of the most sought-after prizes of the night. Metro Transit won the Sunshine Award (as you might expect, the Sunshine Award recognizes positive—not negative—achievements). Metro Transit was congratulated specifically for the “hugely successful launch of their Sackville and Cole Harbour MetroLink routes,” according to a release from the EAC. On the other side of the environmental coin (that would be the negative side), the Tarred Duck Award (about as coveted as a case of herpes) was handed out to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, “for its failure to support a moratorium on trawling on the high seas.” The DFO got DF-Owned! The awards are nominated by and voted on by members of the public.
The measure of a mandate
Police were out at various Atlantic Superstore locations last Sunday armed with measuring tape, upholding the latest Sunday shopping regulations one square foot at a time. (I bet those cops didn’t foresee themselves measuring grocery stores when they joined the force…anyway….) A decision is expected this week about whether or not charges will be laid against Loblaw Inc., Superstore’s parent company, once it is determined whether or not Superstore broke any provincial laws by opening six stores (including five in the Halifax area) last Sunday. If the battle between the province and Loblaw Inc. moves to court, well… god help us all.
A friend in need is a friend de-treed
Friends of Point Pleasant Park called an impromptu press conference last Thursday to announce their frustrations with the lack of clean-up activity happening at their beloved park. Point Pleasant, which was severely damaged by Hurricane Juan in 2003, was subject to an international clean-up competition with drawing proposals from around the world. The winner of that competition was announced in early 2006. However, Friends of Point Pleasant say that not enough has been done since the end of the competition to help restore the park. Friends of Point Pleasant is hoping to organize groups of volunteer gardeners to help clean up and maintain different sections of the damaged park. They’re aiming to have guerrilla gardeners out and active as early as this fall.