🗞 City hall's new-car habit

Does council need to spend $24M on vehicles next year?

Good morning!

It’s only my second holiday season in Nova Scotia, so forgive me for my surprise when I came across Chicken Bones in the candy aisle this week. (What perversion of sweets is this? I thought.) In all my years of living in Ontario and BC, I’d never seen them before. Never imagined the name for a candy, either. Naturally, I had to find out their backstory—and now, I must admit: I want to try them.

– Martin

How do you feel about Chicken Bones as a candy? 🍬

Settling the debate on the cinnamon-chocolate sweet.

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🌡️ Traffic & Weather

Today: 🌧️ 10°

Tomorrow: ☁️ 

Next Day: ☁️ -1°

🚗 On the move around the HRM today? Check out the current traffic conditions and ongoing road closures.

BUDGET? BAH, HUMBUG

Daring to question city hall’s new-car habit

📸 Martin Bauman / The Coast

Councillor Trish Purdy caught a lot of stick during HRM council’s final budget meeting of 2023. And that’s because she asked about a budget item that many councillors take for granted: Spending on new municipal vehicles.

Given the state of Halifax’s coffers, Purdy’s request made sense. Halifax needs a lot of capital projects—arenas, libraries, fire stations and the like—but council has no money. (You can thank Halifax’s continued sprawl for some of that.)

Could Halifax reduce its budget of $24 million for new police cars, parks vehicles and the like? What if it were cut in half?

The Coast’s city hall reporter Matt Stickland dives into Purdy’s suggestion, council’s reaction and what could be gained and lost from a budget re-envisioning.

🤔 Need to know

🏠 Nova Scotia is piloting a first-in-Canada program to help seniors stay in their homes for longer.

💸 Halifax council introduced a motion to cap salary raises for the mayor and council at 2% and 4%, respectively, after a current order saw councillors’ pay jump 8.4% last month. 

🎁 Get in the holiday spirit and give your neighborhood a big hug by shopping local! Discover unique holiday gifts and treasures in North End Halifax here.*

🏩 IWK’s head of pediatrics says RSV is driving hospitalizations among young kids—but that emergency departments are better off this year than last.

👸 Neptune Theatre's fun, family-friendly musical comedy Cinderella is on stage until January 7. Tickets start at $40, incl. fees & taxes. Secure your seats today!*

*Sponsored Post

ARTS & LETTERS

6 books by Nova Scotia authors you need on your end-of-year reading list

📸 Various / Coast illustration.

This year saw writers from our fine Atlantic province crack TIME’s “100 Must-Read Books” list, end up on the Globe and Mail’s year-end book roundup and win a major US award.

So, what better way to wrap the year than with a packed slate of books released by Nova Scotia authors?

The Coast has you covered with a list of local books you need to read from 2023—from inspiring memoirs of trans resilience to in-depth ocean reporting to Indigenous dark fiction.

🗞️ In Other News

🤝 Nova Scotia’s long-term care nurses have a tentative deal with the province, according to the Nova Scotia Nurses’ Union. The deal would affect about 1,100 workers at 70 long-term care homes across the province.

⚖️ An Elmsdale autobody shop owner faces up to 14 years in prison if he’s found guilty of the fraud charge levied against him.

🚨 The RCMP says it’s seeing a “concerning trend” of extremist groups recruiting Canadian teens.

🌎 A Dartmouth vice principal is headed to the Paris Olympics next year as an official. She joined CBC’s Information Morning.

🎵 Want to get involved at next year’s JUNOs in Halifax? The annual music awards ceremony is looking for volunteers.

SPONSORED BY THE ART SPACE

New Art Studio offering classes in Fall River

If you have any creative-minded kids or teenagers, there is a new place for them to indulge their creativity and develop their art skills. The Art Space is offering art classes, PD Day camps, and March Break camps starting in the new year. Registration is open now.

FILM & TELEVISION

We picked the best Christmas movie of all time. It’s a close call.

📸 Left to right: Love Actually, Home Alone, Die Hard, A Christmas Story

When we set about discussing the best Christmas movies at The Coast’s office, we ran into a dilemma: Opinions were split. So, we set about developing a formula—and put the question to you, our readers.

To wade through a crowded field of contenders requires some clear criteria. What makes a holiday film stand out above the rest? How do you separate the genuine Red Ryder BB gun from the knock-offs, the fat Christmas bonus from the Jelly of the Month club, the cheese pizza from the pepperoni? It takes a set of razor-sharp questions with indisputable answers.

And so, dear Coast reader, that’s what we resolved to do. For you.

SPONSORED BY HALIFAX REGIONAL MUNICIPALITY

Holiday Fire Safety!

Follow along as Halifax Regional Fire & Emergency shares tips to keep you and yours safe this holiday season.

🗓️ Things To Do

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

Dalhousie’s Annual Carol Sing: Pop over to Dal’s Sculpture Court on your lunch hour for a free performance of classic carols, Hanukkah songs and other favourites. | Dec. 19 | 12-1:30pm | Free.

Take Tuesday: A Man Called Otto: The Halifax Central Library is screening Tom Hanks’ 2023 film about a widower “who must reevaluate his life and priorities when a young family moves in next door.” | Dec. 19 | 2-4pm | Free.

Barra MacNeils: An East Coast Christmas: The long-running Cape Breton family group brings their East Coast tour to Dalhousie’s Rebecca Cohn Auditorium tonight for a second evening of holiday shows. Tickets are limited. | Dec. 19 | 7:30pm | $46.

Jokes n’ Jingles: A Musical Improv Spectacular: Head to the Bus Stop Theatre tonight for a three-part improv show based on your best (and worst) holiday stories, followed by a round of musical improv games. | Dec. 19 | Doors at 7:15pm, show at 7:30pm | $10-20.

Queer Music Bingo at Freeman’s: East Coast Queers hosts a holiday-themed music bingo at Freeman’s Little New York in Fairview tonight. | Dec. 19 | 7-9:15pm | No cover.

A Musical Interlude with Maurice McGaffney: Take in a free winter concert at the Central Library tomorrow as the cabaret pianist takes a whirl on the grand piano. | Dec. 20 | 6-7:30pm | Free.

A Gift from Bob: Head to Woodlawn Public Library tomorrow night for a free, family-friendly film screening of 2020’s British Christmas special about a struggling street musician and a stray cat, Bob, who changes his life. | Dec. 20 | 6:30-8pm | Free.

Find more Halifax events in The Coast listings.

🍴 Where To Eat & Drink

🍩 Vandal Doughnuts opened its first Dartmouth location this past weekend on Portland Street.

🍺 Good Robot’s Tom Waits for No One Stout is back for winter—with notes of coffee, “the aroma of a fresh pack of Camels and sounds like a creaky bed spring.”

🍝 In the mood to mangia? Bedford’s il Mercato Trattoria was voted Best Italian Restaurant in The Coast’s annual reader-selected Best of Halifax Awards.

👀 In Case You Missed It

🍔 Halifax’s 2023 in food was anything but dull. Coast reporter Martin Bauman looks back at the year that was—from beloved restaurants closing to new favourites opening up.

🎄 This week offers no shortage of holiday events throughout Halifax. Coast newsletter editor Alyssa Goulart has you covered with the latest happenings.

🩺 New Black health and wellness clinics happening across Nova Scotia are a sign of progress, one racial equity advocate says.

That’s it!

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