Coun­cil quick hits

Plan­ner’s exit an un­known im­pact to Cen­tre Plan, Ticket At­lantic prof­its need to go to the city and racism up­date’s de­lay a “slap in the face.”

The Coast - - THE CITY - BY JA­COB BOON

Ja­cob Ritchie’s exit

Mayor Mike Sav­age says he’s not sure what im­pact the de­par­ture of ur­ban plan­ner Ja­cob Ritchie will have on the Cen­tre Plan’s time­line. Ritchie’s been shep­herd­ing the new plan­ning bi­ble through a slow, of­ten-de­layed ap­proval process for the past few years. He’s leav­ing city hall be­hind this week to head up the school board-re­plac­ing Hal­i­fax Re­gional Cen­tre for Ed­u­ca­tion, just as the long-awaited Cen­tre Plan nears some sort of fin­ish line. “We don’t keep peo­ple for­ever. That’s just a fact of life,” says Sav­age. The mayor has faith, how­ever, that HRM’s re­main­ing plan­ning stars will fin­ish the work Ritchie started. “We are sup­posed to be run­ning our busi­ness in a way that no­body is in­dis­pens­able. I think we’ll be OK.”

Big ticket item

Hal­i­fax will look into re­claim­ing the Sco­tia­bank Cen­tre’s box of­fice. Ticket At­lantic is cur­rently the sole provider for tick­et­ing at the HRM-owned fa­cil­ity, but any prof­its from those ticket sales go to the prov­ince and not the city. It’s been that way ever since for­mer Trade Cen­tre Limited pres­i­dent Fred MacGil­livray “trans­ferred own­er­ship” of the op­er­a­tion from Hal­i­fax to TCL (now Events East) without coun­cil’s author­ity or ap­proval. “The money goes to the prov­ince right now,” said Waye Ma­son, on his mo­tion to look at tak­ing back the box of­fice. “I think it should prob­a­bly come to us.” The deputy mayor is hopeful both HRM and Events East can have “a big adult dis­cus­sion” about the mat­ter and fig­ure out a way for­ward.

Slap in the face

Coun­cil­lor Lin­dell Smith asked for an up­date way back in De­cem­ber on HRM’s ef­forts to ad­dress egre­gious racial dis­crim­i­na­tion in the work­place. But it was only af­ter work­ers protested in front of City Hall in May that the re­port was fast-tracked. “Which to me, was al­most a slap in the face,” Smith said dur­ing Tues­day’s up­date on the is­sue. “It took protesters for us to get this re­port when it was al­ready asked for a year ahead of time. I just think, as a mu­nic­i­pal­ity, it looks more re­ac­tive than proac­tive.” Hu­man re­sources di­rec­tor Catherine Mul­lally as­sured the coun­cil­lors that much progress has been made on em­ployee eq­uity. We’ll see next week when the first quar­terly public re­port on racism, sex­ism and ha­rass­ment in HRM’s work­place is brought to coun­cil.

Zu­rawski’s bloop­ers

Dur­ing the afore­men­tioned racism talk, Richard Zu­rawski buzzed in with a ques­tion about wa­ter con­ser­va­tion. The coun­cil­lor pre­sum­ably had zoned out and didn’t no­tice a prior pre­sen­ta­tion from Hal­i­fax Wa­ter was al­ready over. Later, dur­ing a rou­tine agenda item on debt fi­nanc­ing, the eco-con­scious Zu­rawski sud­denly ques­tioned HRM’s streetlight con­ver­sion project, which is near­ing com­ple­tion af­ter three years. “Would it not be cheaper just to leave the street­lights as they are rather than switch them over to LEDs?” Zu­rawski ended his day an­nounc­ing he wants a staff re­port on cre­at­ing a “so­cial im­pact lens” to guide mu­nic­i­pal de­ci­sions. It’s vir­tu­ally iden­ti­cal to Lin­dell Smith’s re­quest last De­cem­ber to im­ple­ment a “so­cial pol­icy lens.” Coun­cil will sort it all out at next week’s meet­ing.

RI­LEY SMITH

Coun­cil­lors (from left) Waye Ma­son, Lin­dell Smith and Richard Zu­rawksi, in hap­pier times.

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