HALIFAX – On Thursday, Dec 2nd, approximately 30 people gathered for a two-hour workshop dedicated to imagining a more environmentally, socially, culturally and economically sustainable downtown Halifax. Appropriating the total estimated budget allocated towards the controversial convention centre development — $15 million per year over the next 25 years — and using a “menu” of figures pulled from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternative‘s extensive Nova Scotia Alternative Budget as a reference point, participants were invited to develop their own investment priorities for downtown Halifax.
With the aid of facilitated group discussion and a good dose of arts and crafts, participants dreamed up utopian Halifaxes, featuring a myriad of wild and not-so-wild ideas — from a affordable housing to pedestrian streets to a gondola that carries tourists and cyclists alike uphill from the waterfront. Inspired by a particularly poignant 4Days Nocturne installation, individuals were then invited to articulate and share their top funding priority through contributing to a photo petition (above) which the workshop committee hopes to present at HRM Council and the Nova Scotia Legislature.
The petition continues this weekend, as local photographer and facilitator extraordinaire, Andrew Bateman, takes to the farmer’s market for follow-up photo sessions. Write down an idea, pose for a shot, and join in this multimedia discussion of what our downtown could be with just a little civic energy… and budget tweaking.
WHAT: Questioning Convention photo shoot
WHERE: Halifax Seaport Farmers’ Market
WHEN: Saturday, Dec 11th from 9am-1pm; and Sunday, Dec 12th from 11am-1pm
As we wade through the convention centre saga — and particularly in the wake of visiting expert Heywood Sanders‘ scathing economic critique, as well as Tim Bousquet’s recent exposé on the lack of transparency around the convention centre deal — community generated priorities are especially relevant. Take part in this opportunity to share yours.
photos by Andrew Bateman