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I met a few tourists travelling by car in Nova Scotia in early September. We had stopped in Guysborough. Two people were from Massachusetts and four were from Germany, not travelling together.
Some had left Halifax earlier than they thought they would and expressed disappointment. They found little charm and no meaningful waterfront experience when crowded by high rises that dwarf what few disconnected historic buildings are left. It set the tone for the rest of their visit.
I had the same experience when two family members from Ontario returned here to visit after many years. They were shocked when I took them to the waterfront. There was no reason to walk there anymore. And walking back on Lower Water Street was quite unpleasant.
When will we learn to preserve and enhance our history? Halifax is no longer a visually charming place to visit. Can anyone see Citadel Hill from anywhere downtown? Our waterfront is no longer people-friendly and will be even worse when the last of the open spaces has been filled with an art gallery and who knows what else. Upper and Lower Water Street will have no water views!
It is a very sad loss and a dehumanizing social trend.
Anne Vaughan, Halifax
There are not too many times that I nod in agreement with NDP Leader Gary Burrill, but this morning was one of those rare moments.
With all of the issues around our water and air being abused, why on earth would the Progressive Conservatives’ energy and mines critic, Allan MacMaster, bring up the idea about mining uranium? We have so many people in this province who are exposed to poisons in their water and air and the PCs want to put this on the table. Our health is far more important than the almighty dollar.
I love this province and am proud to be from here, but when we’re getting national attention because we’ve poisoned waterways, clearcut our forests (for the same company that has poisoned our waters), opened up coal mines, burned tires, etc., it’s time to really take stock of what we’re doing to our beautiful province.
Wake up, Allan, and other politicians, and smell the coffee (or the stinky air around Pictou County) and look at other ways to create jobs and keep our land, sea and air clean! Tourism is a huge draw here; let’s not ruin what we have to offer.
Elizabeth Smith, Halifax
Change on us
Patrick Yancey’s Sept. 17 opinion article, “This Friday: Global strike to save planet,” rightly cries out for action on the climate emergency we face.
Given our actions to date, it is doubtful we can hold the world’s temperature at two degrees Celcius above pre-industrial levels. I worry the temperature will more likely exceed three degrees by the end of this century.
We are now seeing the effect of a one-degree increase — disastrous storms, floods, droughts and fires.
Two more degrees in the next 80 years will result in massive destruction of the world’s forests. Food and water supplies will be seriously endangered. Huge areas of the planet will become uninhabitable due to drought and heat. Hundreds of millions of refugees will be on the move.
In addition to the irreversible warming feedback loops that have already started (like melting Arctic ice), new ones will begin — such as the melting of Arctic permafrost and the West Antarctic ice sheets.
We can choose to reduce our environmental footprint — or not. We can choose the politicians who understand and will act boldly to mitigate global warming — or not.
We are the people we have been waiting for.
Ron Scott, Halifax
The European Commission’s Indicators for Sustainable Cities cites the built environment and heritage as a requirement. One only needs to look at what has been done in Europe, particularly under their quality model in places like Malaga, Spain, as one of several centres.
The natural and built environment of Nova Scotia, and particularly Halifax, is part of the Nova Scotia “product” and a main component of the “tourism product.” Our built heritage needs to be considered a tourism asset. As Halifax is heavily subsidized by tourism export dollars and employs thousands of citizens, the damage and dissolution of our tourism product, infrastructure and assets need to be considered in the Centre Plan and development decisions.
We are rapidly becoming a city of “sameness” with other North American cities, destroying our uniqueness. Those differences are the reason Halifax is an attraction and destination for conferences, which keep the Nova Centre is the black and tourism commercial engine in good running order. Our greatest USP (unique selling product) is our quality, culture and heritage that provide the experience our visitors and citizens want.
The analogy to clearcutting is a good one. Our historic edifices and great architecture are being clearcut, like our forests. The tourism product is what we are. It needs protection in the Centre Plan.
Judith Cabrita, Halifax
Record numbers of seal in Atlantic Canada and depletion of cod stocks go hand in hand. It is the food chain for fish.
What is left out of the equation is man; we are dependent on fish for our diets and our livelihood.
Seals would make a great source of food for the pet industry, and I’m sure places like Canso could use the jobs. So let’s stop listening to the so-called celebrities and open the seal industry to commercial pet food.
The Chinese will buy the pelts and we end up with a new, untapped industry — a win-win situation if I ever saw one.
George LeFrank, Malagash Point
Industry at stake
If Northern Pulp is forced to close on Jan. 31, 2020, it will be a disaster for the entire province. Approximately 1,250 jobs in Colchester could be lost, and according to sawmill operators, all of them across the province would close immediately thereafter.
It is well known that many municipalities along the Northumberland Strait — from eastern New Brunswick, including Shediac and others; from P.E.I., including Summerside, Charlottetown and smaller areas; and from Nova Scotia, from the border down to, and including, the Pictou area — are pumping even more toxic and, in some cases, raw sewage into the waters between P.E.I. and Nova Scotia. (Municipal sewage has been flowing into the Strait far longer than Boat Harbour has been treated as a cesspool.)
Since the question of an environmental review for Northern Pulp has been referred to the federal government, would it not be in order to wait until the environmental review is completed?
Could this be a prudent suggestion? Ask federal, provincial and municipal politicians, and Premier Stephen McNeil, to withhold a final decision until the review is completed. If the review approves the Northern Pulp plan, let them construct the required facility and operate within environmental legislation.
Boat Harbour still needs to be cleaned up, but residents of Pictou County should not be permitted to endanger the entire province’s forestry industry and the long-term economy of this great province.
Residents who agree with this logical approach need to become as vocal as Pictou County’s opponents. Let your voices be heard. Contact politicians at federal, provincial and municipal levels.
Maurice Rees, Maitland