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What you missed this summer 

In May you took off for a summer elsewhere. Now you’re back in town. How did we do without you? Here’s the lowdown.


On June 9 the NDP won its first majority in Nova Scotia ever and RodMac was sent packing. While we've considered this to be good news, a Deloitte consultants' report is suggesting that the province will be in the hole to the tune of $1.3 billion in three years. What to do, what to do? That loud, cracking sound you'll hear in the coming weeks will be from election promises breaking, relating to a balanced budget and taxes untouched.


Remember in January when the multi-million dollar sewage plant failed? We waited into the summer to better understand what happened. Oh, it wasn't that the city didn't know, they just wouldn't tell us. A forensic audit was performed---to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars---and its results not released to the public. This forced The Coast's news editor and now resident expert on shitstorms, Tim Bousquet, to look into the matter. In an August cover story he explained how bad planning and multiple design failures led to the current situation.

It remains to be seen if any kind of consensus can be reached on whether it could have been prevented. The mayor's office is suggesting we plug our noses and look forward to next year when the problem will be fixed. In the meantime, we wait for the lawsuits.


Mid-July was the peak of event activity in Halifax. We had Paul McCartney and KISS on the Common---more about that in a bit---and sandwiched in-between was JazzFest and Pride and Tall Ships. This town was lousy with sailors, beatniks, horn-players, boomers and demons. Despite the obvious sewage problem---concentrating the untreated effluent to just a few output pipes, many of them in the downtown area---Tall Ships wasn't spoiled by the occasional stench. It was an impressive collection of ocean-going sailing ships of the past and present, the waterfront boardwalk spilling over with visitors vicariously dreaming of a life on the waves. And in case you missed it, the sails will be back again in 2010, which apparently will be an even larger regatta than this year.


Average rainfall for June in Halifax: 107mm.

2009 rainfall for June in Halifax: 170mm.

The days were wet and close. In the last couple of weeks of the month, the sun was a rumour. Then it became a myth. July was a little better, not much. In August we had a heat wave, about 10 days of wonderful, sunny, hot weather. Then the underperforming Hurricane Bill showed up---or Wet Willy as we like to call him; the lesser-ballyhooed Post-Tropical Storm Danny was actually much more of a nuisance the following week---and it's been distinctly fall-like ever since.


Joel Plaskett and Wintersleep played, and then Paul McCartney performed 36 songs in a hell of a show. July 11 was beautiful with a cool evening, and while the Common event site was full of people, the non-ticket-holding community came out, lined the streets surrounding and draped Citadel Hill to enjoy the crystal-clear sound. When McCartney pulled from deep in his songbook, it was hard not to swoon a little to hear "Eleanor Rigby," "Yesterday," "Live and Let Die" and "Helter Skelter" played by the man who wrote those classics (or co-wrote them, as the case may be). People who were there won't soon forget it. There was a lot of concern for the state of the Common, but even after KISS rocked Halifax on a much rainier day the following Saturday, lessons of the past seem to have been learned as the damage to the land was nowhere near as bad as for, say, Keith Urban. There was also Virgin Fest on Citadel Hill, which went half-price 48 hours before showtime---slow ticket sales, we presume---and then free when headliner The Tragically Hip had to cancel due to a family emergency. The muddy venue did not deter fans of Dinosaur Jr, Metric or The Offspring from showing up. Halifax also saw US rock supergroup Chickenfoot, the Summer Rush show at Alderney Landing (a source on the inside told The Coast that Akon smelled really good) and in August, Modest Mouse played a very sticky show at the Forum during that heatwave. August also saw AC/DC perform in front of those about to rock in Moncton. We know people who went and they, indeed, did rock.


If you weren't in Halifax this summer, you may have seen these movies where you were: Cheri, Stephen Frears' and Christopher Hampton's period drama starring Michelle Pfeiffer; Tetro, Francis Ford Coppola's return to directing; Japanese thriller Blood: The Last Vampire and Steven Soderbergh's The Girlfriend Experience. And the summer movies we wish we'd missed? How about The Proposal, Whatever Works and Wolverine?


Everyone saw how the Pittsburgh Penguins came from behind in the 2009 Stanley Cup finals to take down the reigning Detroit Red Wings, who'd disappointed the Pens the year before. On Friday, August 7, Cole Harbour's favourite son brought the cup home---on his birthday, no less---flown in on a Sea King and paraded all the way to Cole Harbour Place to the cheers of an estimated 80,000 people. For many, it was the best day of the year, let alone the summer.

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