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Turning the Pizza corner?

Mike Fleury orders a slice of life.

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Responding to a reader-generated tip (and following up on Bruce Wark’s June 22 cover story on “Halifax’s dirty little secret”), we put in a call to the Halifax Regional Police Department this week to look into some unusual police activity in the area surrounding that locally famous (infamous?) intersection, Pizza Corner. The tip, which came from a Pizza Corner resident, stated that on last Wednesday and Thursday nights, “the streets leading into ‘Pizza Corner’ have been barricaded and there has been a huge police presence… I’ve lived on ‘Pizza Corner’ for the last five years and have seen nothing like this before.” It continued: “I asked a police officer what was going on…I explained that I was just getting off work and lived above the Black Market and just wanted to know if something was happening in my neighbourhood and was told to ‘Get used to it.’”—A cryptic response, at best.

So, should all Pizza Corner residents be preparing to cohabit with regularly enforced police barricades? When asked about the alleged incident, Jeff Carr, a constable with the Metro police force, said that the barricades were not part of any formal Pizza Corner crackdown. “Certainly not any that I’m aware of,” said Carr.

However, according to Carr, “People can expect to see an increased presence in the area of Pizza Corner at peak times, especially from midnight until about four or five in the morning.” Carr says that local police have gradually increased their focus on downtown incidents of violence and disorderly conduct, culminating in a two-week operation carried out in late April and early May that had a specific focus on Pizza Corner and the downtown area. “Anyone drunk, disorderly or rowdy, we implemented a zero-tolerance policy in relation to those incidents…. In two weekends, we arrested 88 people.

“As a result of that operation, and due to the fact that over the years the Pizza Corner has gained a… well, I don’t want to say rowdy reputation, but a reputation…we’ve felt the need to increase our numbers.” At this point, Carr has no hard stats on exactly how many more officers will ultimately be dedicated to the Pizza Corner area—“It won’t be a tremendous amount of officers, but certainly an increase”—but he says that the changes should be substantial enough for residents to notice the difference.

“We would expect that with our increased presence, and the zero-tolerance policy, there will be an increase in the number of liquor-related arrests,” he says.

Proud Kelly keep on spurning

Another year, another Pride parade—and another no-show from perennial parade absentee Peter Kelly. Mayor Kelly will miss the marquee Pride Week event for the sixth straight time (emphasis on “straight”). Kelly, who has never made an appearance at the annual Pride parade since being elected in 2000, will miss the event for, of all things, a parade!—a different one, taking place in the decidedly not-urban and not-homo Musquodoboit Harbour. Also on Kelly’s unbreakable to-do list this Saturday: the opening of a community project in Petpeswick Hills, and a reception in Oyster Pond. To Kelly’s credit, he raises the Pride flag at city hall, and formally endorses the HRM-sponsored week at city council, but come on—one of these days, we want to see a proudly marching mayor. In leather, if possible.

Rain on my parade. Email: mikef@thecoast.ca

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