Plebispite

Mike Fleury shops till he drops.

On Wednesday afternoon the Nova Scotia Supreme Court provided the dynamite, and Rodney MacDonald blew up the dam. The leaky provincial ban on Sunday shopping was effectively abolished on Wednesday when the Nova Scotia Supreme Court ruled in favour of Sobeys and Atlantic Superstore, who were legally challenging what they considered an unfair restriction on Sunday shopping.

Minutes after the decision, MacDonald took the opportunity to get rid of the Sunday shopping headache altogether, announcing, “ will not be appealing the court decision, and we will not be looking for other ways to enforce Sunday shopping restrictions in Nova Scotia.”

That goes for Sobeys, Superstore and everyone else. “The rules will be the same for all retail outlets,” MacDonald stated in a release. “If we are going to have Sunday shopping in Nova Scotia for grocery stores, we will not be drawn into a situation where the government must decide what is a grocery store and what is not.”

And, while everyone was drunk on the new-found sense of retail freedom, MacDonald lumped in holidays as well, saying that retailers in Nova Scotia could also choose to open on “other holidays, with the exception of Remembrance Day.”

What!?! You mean I can’t shop on Remembrance Day? That’s outrageous! What if I run out of milk? I demand a plebiscite.

Not to beat a dead concert…

We know. You’re sick of hearing about the Stones and the ongoing debate about the merits/evils of the concert. We’ll make it brief. Last week, “Reality Bites” reported on the clean-up efforts on the Common. This past week, a few more details emerged about how that clean-up will proceed. The plan, unfortunately, includes fencing off the most damaged parts of the Common so that they’ll have a better opportunity to recover—unfortunate in the sense that fences will be appearing yet again on the public land. Well...so long as it makes the grass grow again.

There still seems to be some confusion about the price tag associated with the clean-up, and the concert’s financial fallout in general. An early comment from Donald Tarlton of promotion group Donald K Donald estimated the Common clean-up would cost roughly $6,000, while this past week a Canadian Press story quoted Scott Ferguson of Events Halifax saying he expects the bill to be closer to $50,000. And, there’s the ongoing question of how much the city actually made from the show—Ferguson predicted earlier in the week that the city will make a cool $100,000 profit, a number that was later disputed by the mayor, given that clean-up costs are still being assessed. Based on all the conflicting reports, it seems like someone (or everyone) in this group is awfully confused about figures.

Where are your priorities?

Halifax Regional Council debated this week whether or not to make a plan outlining council’s priorities for the coming fiscal year. This debate seemed, to quote councillor Steve Adams, particularly “redundant,” given that council made a similar list of about a dozen priorities this time last year. At Tuesday night’s council meeting, some councillors questioned the logic of identifying a new list of priorities when some of last year’s priorities are ongoing.

Which inspired us to take a look at some of last year’s 12 priorities, and see where they stand now. Stay tuned to Reality Bites next week for a look into council’s very own municipal 12-step program.

One-step email program: mikef@thecoast.ca

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