Category Archives: OPINION

Friends of the Halifax Common send letters to the media and to public officials regarding protection of and development of the Halifax Common.

HRM Adopts Piecemeal Halifax Common Master Plan – No Legal Protection

The Halifax Common Master Plan Review and Implementation Plan was adopted by HRM Council on January 23, 2024. In February 2022 HRM Council directed staff to undertake further public consultation and review as the masterplan process begun in 2017. The public had not seen the plan since pre Covid and had little awareness of it. HRM staff chose to not host any public information or consultation sessions but sought feed back via a Shape Your City on-line survey for 9 months.
The presentation to HRM Council by HRM staff Carol Kodiak Roberts begins at 4:37. Council comments begin with Waye Mason at 4:48. Most of the discussion is around the stadium. HRM Staff are awkward in their answers. Councillor Mancini is excited. Councillor Patty Cuttell gives the best insight to “All winners no losers,” (5:06) Continue reading

HRM Council Approves Carbon Bombs for Carlton Block

On January 23 HRM Council voted to give the Dexel / Lawen development even more benefit but still without any public benefit in exchange. For almost a decade HRM Council and staff ignored public concerns about the Lawen and the Rouvalis families’ two projects and refused requests that the four towers be considered together. Citizens support the need for development and density but want better options. Now the combined impact on the existing/future affordability, climate, traffic, community, heritage, wind, shadow, noise etc. will only be understood in real time. HRM made no attempt to balance the private, for-profit interests of the developer with societal needs.  The HRM public hearing recording begins at 8:08 & the citizen speakers at 8:34 -Its worth the watch.  See details below the video.

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FHC Writes to Ms. Maggie MacDonald, HRM Executive Director Parks & Recreation

FHC sent a letter to HRM’s Executive Director of Parks & Recreation Ms Maggie MacDonald to with information for her use in writing a staff report for the HRM Standing Committee on Community Planning and Economic Development about the Wanderers Grounds, particularly in the context of the proposal Mr. Derek Martin made for a long-term lease of a publicly funded stadium.

As the matter of the public funding stadiums is as yet untested in Halifax we recommend the Journal of Economic Surveys’ February 2022 article, The Impact of Professional Sports Franchises and Venues on Local Economies: A Comprehensive Survey. This recent analysis of 130 studies on the economic impact of publicly financed sports venue…

“…confirms the decades-old consensus of very limited economic impacts of professional sports teams and stadiums. Even with added non-pecuniary social benefits from quality-of-life externalities and civic pride, welfare improvements from hosting teams tend to fall well short of covering public outlays. Thus, the large subsidies commonly devoted to constructing professional sports venues are not justified as worthwhile public investments.”
(https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=4022547)

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Todd Veinotte & FHC’s Howard Epstein re HRM’s Proposed $40m Stadium Build

Listen to Todd Veinotte’s interview with Howard Epstein about SEA/Derek Martin’s pitch for HRM to spend $40 million on a permanent stadium for his private use and profit for thirty years. 

Watch Derek Martin/SEA pitch to HRM Community Planning and Economic Development standing committee along with presentations by Howard Epstein starts at 13:03, David Bentley and Vince Calderhead here:

The Wanderers Grounds was fully used by amateur players prior ot HRM’s deal for a ‘temporary pop-up stadium’ – HRM’s 2017 staff report stated that if it was successful was to go elsewhere, no park space would be lost.

FHC to HRM Community Planning & Economic Develoment Standing Committee

The Wanderers Grounds was fully used by amateur players like this QEHS football team (2015) before HRM paid hundreds of thousands for field upgrades, lights and on-going utility/maintenance for a professional private for-profit soccer team takeover.

Dear HRM CPED Committee Members:
Re- Wanderers Grounds – FHC Comments
FHC’s FOIPOP information received Sept 11and attached below shows that the Wanderers Grounds was used almost exclusively by Derek Martin/SEA activities with virtually nothing for amateur players. This is similar to two previous FOIPOPs. Martin/SEA private-for-profit stadium is consistently shutting out amateur players year after year.
ARG-23.24-00118 – Response Letter 00118 – Responsive Record (In Full)

HRM’s 2017 staff report wrote: Continue reading

Todd Veinotte- Interview re Ron Pink’s letter to HRM on Privatization of Wanderers Grounds

In 2018 just before the start of public consultation for the Halifax Common Master Plan HRM signed a contract with a private, professional, for-profit soccer club for a temporary “pop-up” stadium on the Wanderers Grounds.  According to the 2017 HRM staff report, prior to this agreement amateur players of all ages and gender fully used the field for football, touch football, rugby, lacrosse, frisbee and soccer— an estimated 325 hours. (Even more had the field been maintained.) The report also states that if the club was successful they would have to move elsewhere-no park space would be lost. Public tax dollars paid for initial ~$1million dollars in field improvements, and since then for on-going maintenance and utilities. There has been little to no public access. And no public consultation. With thousands more residents moving to the Peninsula we need public open green space more than ever.

The Wanderers Grounds was fully used by amateur players like this QEHS football team (2015) before HRM paid hundreds of thousands for field upgrades, lights, scoreboard and on-going utility/maintenance for a professional private for-profit soccer team takeover of the public-land.