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Nova Scotia's $20-billion question

Plus, all your Halifax happenings for the weekend.

Good morning!

If “Cheese Week” is the unofficial name for the week between Christmas and New Year’s, then I nominate the second week of January as “Tree Week”—that time of year when Halifax’s curbsides teem with discarded pines, firs and spruces.

Being nostalgic at heart, I like to hang onto the tree, the lights, the decorations and the Christmas cards well into the first month of the year. (My wife prefers to describe it as showing signs of “hoarder tendencies.”) The only thing I make disappear in a hurry is the chocolate—and that’s because three pieces of Toblerone will always taste better than one.

– Martin

How soon do you get rid of your Christmas tree?

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🌡️ Traffic & Weather

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


The capped assessment program is Nova Scotia’s $20-billion question

📸 Kyle Shaw / The Coast

The road to hell, as they say, is paved with good intentions. The same could be said of the combined $20 billion (and growing) that Nova Scotia’s municipalities are missing out on, thanks to the province’s capped assessment program—a measure created in response to fears that skyrocketing property values could drive property taxes up to the point where people couldn’t afford to stay in a house they’d bought decades earlier.

What started with reasonable concerns about the livelihood of Nova Scotians has become a double-edged sword for cities like Halifax: While it’s saving Haligonian homeowners on their property taxes, it’s money the HRM could well use to dig itself out of a $105 million budget shortfall.

🤔 Need to know

🏠 As Halifax’s unhoused population inches toward the 1,100 mark, Nova Scotia’s first tiny shelter village is set to open next month in Lower Sackville—and more shelters are planned for the Halifax Forum.

🦠 Canada’s health authority ignored warnings about a faulty rapid-test supplier before approving its COVID-19 kits, a Global News investigation has found.

⚓ Support4Culture is a proud supporter of the African Nova Scotian Seafaring Project and other important cultural initiatives. See the impact Support4Culture makes here.*

*Sponsored Listing

🗞️ In Other News

📝 As a Halifax MLA suggests beefing up security measures in constituency offices, current and former staffers are sharing stories of close calls with attackers.

📈 More than a few Nova Scotians are feeling sticker shock this week as home property assessments went up by nearly 18%—but some economists say property tax hikes ought to go even further.

💸 Nova Scotians hoping for a little provincial help with home heating rebates are getting 40% less in 2024 than last year—a figure the province is standing behind.

🚢 A Dartmouth-based Coast Guard ship is going to take three times longer than planned for a refitting due to unforeseen repairs, CBC reports.

⚖️ A Halifax lawyer has been fined $20K and suspended for five months after the Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society found him guilty of professional misconduct.


Series launch: pARTicipate Sundays

Get me out of the HOUSE!!! Beat the winter blahs with the first of three “pARTicipate” Sundays in January. Each Sunday focuses on different artistic activities. This weekend its visual arts. Includes hands-on workshops. Get your art on! For everyone. Newcomers to Canada are especially welcome!

🗓️ Things To Do

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

🗓 Moonkick w/guests at Radstorm: The Halifax-based band celebrates the release of their debut album, Earth Tones for Tired Bones | Jan. 12 | 6pm | $10 or PWYC at door

🗓 The Public Service at The Stage at St. Andrew’s: The self-described “folkish-rockish” band from Dartmouth plays a hometown-ish show this Saturday | Jan. 13 | 7:30pm | $22.63

🗓 Kevin Drew at The Stage at St. Andrew’s: The Broken Social Scene singer-songwriter visits Halifax solo for an all-ages show in support of his new record, Aging | Jan. 14 | 7pm | $44.45

Find more Halifax events in The Coast listings

🛍️ Shop Talk

🎸 Barrington Street blues bar Bearly’s took to Facebook this week to quell rumours of an imminent relocation—only to share that it is, indeed, moving “in the coming months” to a new location.

🍽️ Keep your eyes peeled in The Coast Daily next week as we’ve got the scoop on a new restaurant set to open on the boardwalk in 2024. For more Halifax food spots coming soon, check out our latest roundup of eateries on the way.

👀 In Case You Missed It

🔭 If you’re harbour-spotting this week, don’t count on the ships being on schedule—as we break down in The Coast’s latest shipping report, nearly two-thirds of ships coming into Halifax are delayed this week.

🏥 The province gets a federal boost with a $355M bilateral health care agreement that aims to improve youth mental health services and care access in rural communities, among other things.

💰 A Dartmouth couple looking to save up for their first home has found an unconventional solution.

🌳 A Halifax regional council vote to restrict infilling in the Northwest Arm this week is being celebrated as long-overdue by some advocates.

That’s it!

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