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Letters to the editor, August 1, 2013 

These are the letters and comments from the print edition

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Roue them all

The best test of a truly world- class city is not in the height of its skyscrapers but in the self confidence, cheekiness and swagger of its ordinary citizens: one has only to think of the character of your typical Berliner, Cockney or New Yorker ("Two decades of world-class delusions," Feature by Tim Bousquet, July 11).

Now we have been asked to suggest a name for the new harbour ferry and I would like to see it named The Roue. Partly because I think it is a truly catchy name like "the loonie," but also partly to demonstrate that underneath all their bluster, our world-class-obsessed elite are actually far too chicken to swagger.

William J. Roue, who designed the famous Bluenose, also designed many of our harbour's earlier ferries and rode them daily as well, as he lived most of his long life in Dartmouth but worked in Halifax, making ginger ale by day and designing boats by night.

But as francophones and those with an interest in literature will recognize, roue is also a word adopted into English to describe our complicated feelings about someone who is a rakishly attractive, free-wheeling ladies' man. We shouldn't really like him but we have a sort of sneaking admiration for him (or her) all the same.

Imagine when our sophisticated friends come here, on vacation, from the truly big cities of the world and we oh-so-casually suggest that we "take The Roue to Dartmouth." Let them go back home and tell all their friends that the citizens of Halifax have the nerve to call their harbour ferry The Roue!

Would the Nova Scotians of today have enough swagger to carry this off ? Maybe not. But years ago, after watching William J. Roue's first successful design beat the pants off America's best, one humble deckhand boasted, in the best Sam Slick fashion, "the timbers that'll beat her are still growing in the trees!"

Now there's confidence and swagger that's truly world-class. —Michael Marshall, Halifax


Just because you can...

I understand the rationale for wanting to keep chickens as a source of local food that you can control, as opposed to buying eggs from unknown industrial farms ("Chickens are liberated," Reality Bites by Emily Hiltz, July 25) and would not dispute this at all. But can't we all be reasonable enough to admit that there are parts of the city where it is not appropriate to keep chickens regardless of whether you have the right to do so? I think we should still maintain respect for our neighbours and not keep chickens in the densely populated areas of the city. —posted by nayer at thecoast.ca


Crowd pleasing

I've either been on the fence about this stadium idea, or flat-out opposed to it ("Savage talks stadium," Reality Bites by Tim Bousquet, July 25). But at this point I say the hell with it: let's build a proper stadium. It's embarrassing that we don't have one, in my opinion. —posted by Realist in Dartmouth

Halifax and the province of Nova Scotia need to understand that they have an obligation to our young people to provide them the same things that are offered in other major centres. Or we can continue to see our youth migrate to other parts of the country, where they have invested for the long-term in things such as stadiums. We talk about things that are more important such as health care and education, but we need a up-and-coming generation to pay taxes to ensure we can afford these vital services in the future. Our tax base is not getting younger, it's getting older and that's something we need to be focusing on now.

We need to become forward thinkers and we owe the mayor a big hand for showing he has a vision and courage to lead us into the next decade. The province will not survive on a diet of lobsters and tourism without the proper long-term infrastructure.

posted by John Ryerson

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