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Letters to the editor, June 13, 2013 

These are the letters and comments from the print edition

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Master Plan
The review of HRM's "Master Plan" confuses me. HRM seems hesitant to make any substantive changes. The document states that the plan will be reviewed every five years to gauge whether it is meeting its objectives. HRM is 10 percent off its suburban growth target of 50 percent suburban development. In actuality, HRM has 59.5 percent suburban growth. The fact that people want to live in the suburbs is fine, but HRM cannot afford to keep building more sewer and water extensions. If people are settling in the suburbs because it is the only affordable option then HRM has work to do---to ensure there are affordable options in the regional centre. Having more residences in the suburbs will cost $670 million more than a more balanced approach. The Our HRM Alliance presented the city with a tool to help it reach its targets---greenbelting. HRM doesn't seem to want to embrace it. HRM is holding four public meetings in June to hear from the citizens of Halifax: or send comments to Susan Corser (corsers@halifax.cza). —Jen Powley, via email

Driver penalties
I read with great interest the letter submitted by Therese Chevailier in a recent Coast, and was compelled to write my account and opinion of this matter. My issue falls within the same category as Mme Chevalier's but with a distinct twist: I am restricted to a wheelchair (well actually, a motorized scooter chair) and I have come exceedingly close to getting killed numerous times. I follow the rules of the road and am a very careful operator. Folks like myself are looked upon by the powers that be as "pedestrians," with the same rights of way as foot pedestrians. On 15 or 16 occasions over the past year since I started using this mobility device, I have been cut off, blocked and nearly run over by drivers with the same attitude as the idiot in that SUV. For the most part, they were either totally oblivious to my presence or just didn't give a shit whether or not they hit me. It usually happens at clearly designated crosswalks, which makes it especially disturbing. Penalties to drivers who do hit people in crosswalks are not a sufficient deterrent to curb the practice. Our governments need to up the penalties and include jail time for hitting people in crosswalks. Longer licence suspensions might help as well. A little courtesy goes a long way and could save you from a lot of potential grief. —John Hickey, via email

Eye on NSPC
Congratulations to NSPC---in the past week your company has managed to make it into two of the largest newspapers in the world for the filthiest of reasons. On June 6 the New York Times responded to previous articles exposing the growing problem of Alberta oil sands-derived petroleum coke piles accumulating in Detroit and the lack of a willing market to consume this dirtiest of fuels, with the headline, "Canadian Utility Finds a Use for Detroit's Pile of Oil Sands Byproduct." The following day, June 7, the Guardian newspaper report, "Detroit's mountains of petroleum coke are dirtier then the dirtiest fuel," outlined specifically how a lone utility right here in Nova Scotia was the only domestic power company buying this unwanted petroleum coke product. What is the management at NSPC or parent company Emera thinking? Are they trying to prove that they can be a larger emitter of green house gas per capita, playing tricks with carbon to further their ongoing case for a Maritime Link project which they presently seem so keen to promote? Or are they just so greedy that they will burn anything in an effort to increase profitability? Whatever the reason, NSPC must reconsider this latest choice for fuel and stop being such an embarrassment to all Nova Scotians. The world is watching these issues closely at present---a point which seems to have eluded current management and to have further eroded its credibility in this time of important long-term decision making. John Macnab, via email

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