Who is going to step up to the plate and challenge incumbent Peter Kelly for the right to run this fair city? I know I’m not – but I sure want to write about it. And I must say this, it is a lot of work, and I do admire anyone who will put his or her best foot forward and start this race. May the best man – or woman – win.
Being the father of one of Nova Scotia’s most notable exports, one of the Trews, I take great pride in being able to travel to France to watch the group perform in Marseille next week. I will also be noting any unique or clever things the cities along the Cote d’Azur do to make themselves more comfortable for their inhabitants and visitors, such as appropriately placed benches and low walls for sitting and watching the parade of life go by.
It’s interesting to think of the evolution of a city. Most early cities weren’t planned; they just happened.
While travelling from point A to point B, man – being a basically lazy, no, let’s make that efficient, being – takes the path of least resistance. If you look at a footpath, it rarely runs in a straight line. It will meander around boulders and trees, and, instead of running straight up a hill, it’s likely to zig-zag its way to the top. Once a couple of people walk over the same ground, and tend to take the same logical route, a worn path appears. Add horses and cattle to the mix and it widens and becomes a road.
Somewhere along this road, either where it crosses a stream or maybe where two roads cross each other, some enterprising fellow – having noticed the multitudes – will erect a building and start selling food, drink and even shelter. If he flourishes, more people will set up businesses, and soon we add a church, a school, and a bank. A town is born, all of the buildings meandering along the twisty paths. Or a town can grow up around a major project, such as a cathedral, or, in Halifax’s case, a military outpost.
But the point is, except in some cases where the Romans actually planned a town and its future expansion, it’s organic growth. And as long as people travelled by foot or horse, it grew in a way that suited people. You would grow around a town centre or square, with shops and amenities off in all directions.
But with the advent of the automobile and the roads that they require, we now build towns around strip malls and shopping centres. Our towns are sprawling out of control, covering millions of acres of fertile land and creating cities that don’t suit people at all.
I find it amusing that the new Dartmouth Crossing development has created a downtown section. So as we bulldoze our buildings for parking lots and lose the town feel, we are creating fake towns to replace the real ones.
It’s madness to build vast housing estates like Clayton Park and not have shops, restaurants and amenities at the heart of them all.
All new developments should be forced to include bicycle lanes; lanes in the existing city should be devoted to bicycles, motorcycles and scooters. The priorities must change from cars to people.
It takes a bold voice to try to change the out-of-control developing we seem to be sliding toward.
And it’s a bold, proud, civic leader we need running this city.
There will be some interesting times ahead.
It’s been asked before and I’ll ask it again: why don’t we install a skating pond in front of City Hall? It would give this city some heart again.
Why is it that when Sobeys, or the Irvings, or now Keith’s Brewery – which certainly have plenty of their own money – need to expand, or build a new building, the government is always there with a handout of a few million?
They say it’s to create, or keep, a few hundred jobs.
But a local businessman, such as myself, who has managed to keep 150 employees paying taxes for more than 10 years, can’t get on that gravy train. Go figure.
I heard what I thought was a funny news story last week.
The U.S. government is accusing Canada of having poor control over our border, allowing people to slip into the U.S. Isn’t that why the U.S. has its own border guards – to stop people from slipping into their country? I think they are letting themselves down.
|This Conversation is Semi-Moderated. What is moderation?|
|Keith P. from HRM, NS writes: Wow, Vic, there must have been some good stuff making the rounds at the Shoe the night you wrote this one…|
|Posted 06/10/2007 at 8:39 AM | Alert an Editor | Link to comment|
|DNS from Brand – Dartmouth, HRM Corporation NS writes: Dartmouth crossing Downtown has something Downtown Dartmouth has not. Something called free parking and it looks the place is taking pride of the place . Also its private interest making sure it looks ok . The only problem I see with DC is the lack of pedestrian access from the nearby residential area across HWY 111 and the need for more buses .
Just look around Halifax and Dartmouth . HRM not taking care of the landscape of the streets . Bayers Road for example – the boulevard has weeds growing through the concrete
It the intersection at the Halifax Shopping not only there is weeds growing through it but the original paint has faded and makes it hard to see at night . The same on Portland Street in Dartmouth near Penhorn Mall .
|Posted 06/10/2007 at 12:27 PM | Alert an Editor | Link to comment|
|Deborah from Dartmouth, NS writes: Mr. Syperek, does the DN actually pay you for this??|
|Posted 06/10/2007 at 9:00 PM | Alert an Editor | Link to comment|
|Don from HRM, NS writes: Mr. Syperek, if every other city you travel to is so much better than Halifax, then I suggest you move to one of them. Also The Mayor is not the only one to set a vision for HRM. When he does come out with his good ideas they are bashed about by self serving people like yourself. You are afraid that with the success of Dartmouth Crossing you may loose some business at your pubs on HFX side of the Harbour. Just move and be done with. I also cant believe the DN would pay you.|
|Posted 21/10/2007 at 10:18 AM | Alert an Editor | Link to comment|
|Peter Rogers from Halifax, NS writes: I can’t believe some of the small-minded comments being thrown around here! Mr. Syperek makes some excellent points in this short piece. He has an understanding of urban structure and the process of city-formation that the authors of the subsequent reponses apparently lack. While the focus is lost somewhere towards the end or the article, i’ll admit, the first part is bang-on. People don’t realise the degree to which cars are shaping our fair city. Those communities dominated by car travel are separated off from the urban fabric. And the encroachment of more and more cars into neighbourhoods is negatively influencing quality of life in many communities, including my own.I’m married with a two year old, working two jobs and finishing up my undergraduate degree in urban planning. I also bike year round, as I think every person who is able-bodied should be able to do if they care at all for the safety of our streets and the quality of our neighbourhoods and also our environment, both global and local. I also get downtown during rush hour about 50% faster than I would if I drove. I would love it if the city provided bike lanes, so I wouldn’t have to risk my life to do what I strongly believe is the ethically correct thing to do. I would also take the bus, if the MetroLink had rapid-transit style service around the peninsula.There are amny things that would encourage people to use more sustainable methods of transportation. These things can be accomplished, and will be cheaper than building more roads, not to mention far more efficient for moving more people around.Finally, how dare you people tell Victor Syperek to move out of his home city, the city that he loves. I love this city too, and i want to see the best of it enhanced. The only thing that makes me want to leave it the unfortunate prevailence of small-minded idiots who are holding us back from becoming a really special, attractive, beautiful city. Those who would have our suburbs sprawl on forever, and have all movement accomplished by single-occupancy vehicles moving on freeways that are clogged and dangerous by day, and mostly vacant racing strips for your idiot children to kill themselves on at night.Well I’m sorry, but I don’t want to live in such a place. Therefore I’m going to keep fighting for a different kind of city.sincerely,
|Posted 27/10/2007 at 9:22 PM | Alert an Editor | Link to comment|
|Ed T from NS, NS writes: #5You say*how dare you people tell Victor Syperek to move out of his home city, the city that he loves.Is there more then one post suggesting this? Where? Accuracy is important when attacking others.|
|Posted 28/10/2007 at 10:33 AM | Alert an Editor | Link to comment|