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🗞️ A child-care crisis in Halifax

Plus, Nova Scotia plots its electricity future

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Good morning!

I’ve been thinking about housing this week, during these bitterly cold evenings. Yesterday marked the HRM’s eviction deadline for residents of five tent encampments across the region, including at the Grand Parade and Victoria Park. (More on that below.)

The municipality says “there will be a measured approach” to relocate anyone still in the tent encampments today, “where each situation will be looked at on a case-by-case basis.” Which rings as progress from 2021, when Halifax police used pepper spray to disperse crowds who showed up to support unhoused residents whose tents and shelters HRM staff and police cleared from parks.

And certainly, tent encampments aren’t a long-term solution of their own. We need more housing, in just about all varieties—from studio apartments, to high-rise condos, to three-bedroom townhomes. We need affordable options for students, and pensioners, and the 8.6% of Nova Scotians living in poverty—a higher rate than any province except Saskatchewan, BC and Manitoba.

We need higher-density forms of housing, too: The Halifax of tomorrow will have to look different than the Halifax of past eras. But different can be better.

That’s what I’ll be watching for—among other things—as Halifax approaches a fall election.

– Martin

What is your top municipal election issue in 2024?

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🌡️ Traffic & Weather

Today: 🌤️ 6°

Tomorrow: 🌧️ 10°

Next Day: 🌧️

🚗 Driving today? Check out the current traffic conditions and ongoing road closures.

EDUCATION

Province and city need to work together to solve child-care crisis in HRM, says daycare director

📸 Lauren Phillips / The Coast

As parents of young children across Halifax find themselves on years-long waitlists for child care, one provider says it’s time for the province and HRM to figure it out.

Most daycares are at capacity with waitlists longer than ever before—some in the triple digits. And while the province doubled down this month on its commitment to open 9,500 new child-care spots by March 2026, critics say this wasn’t enough three years ago and still isn’t enough now.

“It’s only those that need child care that see this crisis as a crisis,” the Needham Early Learning Centre’s executive director, Janessa Williams, tells The Coast.

Last week, Nova Scotia’s government announced an end to waitlist fees—before, parents could be charged up to $1K per child to stay on a for-profit daycare’s waiting list in case a spot opened up. But the root issue remains: There aren’t enough spots to go around.

Daycare program facilitator Amanda Reyes tells The Coast that she’s having brutally honest conversations with families who are looking for child-care spaces: “You need to put yourself on every waiting list in the city that you can, especially if you’re looking for infant care.”

🤔 Need to know

⚡ Nova Scotia’s government plans to take back control of the power grid from Nova Scotia Power—opening the door to more competition between electricity providers. As The Coast reported last year, such a move could also pave the way for a faster adoption of clean energy.

🎤 Neptune Theatre presents Rumour Has It: The Songbook of Adele on stage February 29 - March 3. Only 4 performances. Tickets start at $38. Book Today.*

💸 The province says it has earmarked $3M to help attract health-care and construction workers amid an ongoing shortage.

🩰 Spend a night at the ballet with Live Art Dance! Ballet Edmonton brings a night of elegance to Halifax on March 22nd! Tickets here.*

*Sponsored Post

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EVICTION WATCH

City deadline passes without incident or understanding

📸 The Coast

Yesterday was eviction day at five unhoused encampments around the HRM—Correctional Centre Park, Geary Street, Grand Parade, Saunders Park and Victoria Park. It was a relatively uneventful day compared to the last time the city tried to do this in August of 2021. So far a majority of residents have accepted offered shelter, like at the Forum, or have just moved to a different bit of nearby land.

The city claims these evictions are a continuation of its “empathy based” approach to the too-much-capitalism-in-housing crisis. In the fall last year, council opened Grand Parade for tenting because something needed to be done in the face of such profound failure. At that meeting Max Chauvin, HRM’s director of housing and homelessness, told council opening up the park was important because it told people there was a place they were still welcome in Halifax. But now, apparently Halifax decided they were no longer welcome because there are some cots in the Forum until August.

People came to Grand Parade on eviction Monday to bear witness to what the city would do. When it turned out to be just another day, theories about what hadn’t happened ran the gamut from an encampment resident who figures the city won’t ever bother enforcing its deadline threat, to a reporter who heard that a planned police action had to stand down because of a single missing signature. That’s an awfully wide range; we’ll be watching today for some clarity on the city’s intentions.

🗞️ In Other News

🦞 While Nova Scotia has fallen behind its long-range targets in some metrics, including venture capital investment and municipal stability, it’s well ahead of the mark in at least one category: Seafood exports.

🎵 The East Coast Music Association changes leadership this Friday—and its new CEO aims to bring a bilingual focus to the role.

💰 A Halifax pharmacist’s app for post-surgery patients won big honours at a recent startup competition—and it already has backing from the QEII Health Sciences Centre Foundation.

🫱🏾‍🫲🏿 The Africville Museum is getting a new boost in federal funding.

🎤 Jann Arden and Rick Mercer will be coming to Halifax for an evening talk on Apr. 29. Find more upcoming shows at TheCoast.ca.

🏀 The Saint Mary’s Huskies women’s basketball team won the AUS Championship in Halifax this past weekend, while on the men’s side the Dal Tigers won. Both will compete at their respective U SPORTS national finals—in Edmonton for the women, Quebec City for the men—in March.

🏒 Former Halifax Mooseheads defender Jiri Suchy has died following a car crash. The 36-year-old played 118 games for Halifax between 2005-07.

🤔 Trivia Tuesday

True or False: Nova Scotia's Anne Murray holds the record for most "Artist of the Year" JUNO award nominations and wins

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🗓️ Things To Do

Looking for something to do this week? Check out these Coast picks:

🗓 City and Colour: The Alexisonfire frontman plays at the Scotiabank Centre tonight, along with Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats | Feb. 27 | 7pm | From $63

🗓 Queer-prov: Grafton Street Dinner Theatre’s monthly improv comedy night returns for its first show of 2024 | Feb. 28 | 7:30-9:30pm | $15

🗓 An Evening with Mary Walsh: The 22 Minutes creator and comedian hosts a special show at the Light House Arts Centre | Feb. 29 | 8pm | $54.70

🗓 Ashley MacIsaac & Ben Tucker: Cape Breton’s fiddling virtuoso plays a show at Musquodoboit’s Bicentennial Theatre | Mar. 1 | 7pm | $30

Find more Halifax events in The Coast listings

⚓ What’s In The Harbour

🚢 The Sonderborg container ship is slated to arrive from St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands, around 6am. It leaves Halifax for West Palm Beach, Florida, around 5pm.

🚢 The Contship Art container ship is expected to arrive from New York around 6:20am. It berths at the Fairview Cove Terminal and leaves for Kingston, Jamaica, by 10pm.

👀 In Case You Missed It

🏥 Halifax’s ER workers say they’re “overwhelmed” amid high calls for health care emergencies and not enough support.

🚙 A Bedford family is grateful for their car’s bright orange rims after it was stolen from Bayers Lake—and tracked down by helpers all the way in Cape Breton.

🎶 A Halifax chamber choir is splitting the proceeds of its winter showcase with the Canadian Mental Health Association.

That’s it!

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