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Canadian Urbanism Uncovered

Questioning Convention — photo petition highlights your downtown funding priorities

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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

will be a two hour workshop designed to a) help us imagine a more environmentally, socially, culturally and economically sustainable downtown Halifax, and b) publicly share these ideas using photography and the web to inspire more discussion amongst Haligonians.

During the workshop, you will learn from and negotiate with others to identify the best investments for the future of the downtown and its citizens. Your budget will be approximately $15 million per year over the next 25 years.

We’ll provide you with a menu of associated costs for some expenditures but hopefully you can come up with some dollar values as well.

In the end, you will be asked to share your personal opinion on the most valuable investment the municipality could make in downtown Halifax.  We’ll be taking a picture of you with a sign that highlights your funding priority (don’t be nervous- you’ll look amazing!).  These pictures will be compiled with others that we take over the coming weeks to create a website, a Facebook album, and a photographic petition for presentation to city council and the MLAs at Province House.


One comment

  1. Nice photos!  Nice to see others’ priorities for what is — especially in a city this size — such a large chunk of money.