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🗞️ Where will Halifax's unhoused go?

Plus, how the suburbs put Halifax in a food insecurity pickle.

Good morning!

After a week of entirely too much shovelling, I think my back is finally happy again. And judging by your responses to The Coast’s poll this week, most of you are probably feeling the same.

More than 40% of you who responded said you got between 30 and 60 centimetres of snow in the last week, and another 33% of you saw between 60 and 100 centimetres of snowfall. Thankfully, the rest of the week looks clear of any more snow.

– Martin

🌡️ Traffic & Weather

Today: ⛅️

Tomorrow: ⛅️ 

Next Day: ☁️

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


Amid ongoing housing crisis, Halifax to close five designated tent encampments

📸 Martin Bauman / The Coast

On the heels of an historic snowfall hitting Halifax, some people sleeping rough in the HRM just got another dumping: The region announced it has issued “notices to vacate” to people camping in five designated encampment sites across Halifax—including outside of City Hall.

Anyone camping at the Geary Street green space, Saunders Park, Victoria Park, the Grand Parade and Lower Sackville’s Correctional Centre Park have until Feb. 26 to leave. The HRM has previously designated each of the sites as places to temporarily shelter, acknowledging pressure on the region’s indoor shelter systems and supportive housing facilities.

In a press conference Wednesday afternoon, mayor Mike Savage told reporters that “for a long time,” the HRM has “let people stay on public land.”

“We’re hoping we give people a better place to live,” he said. “Having encampments in the heart of the city made people realize we have a housing crisis.”

The city says it’s committed to finding alternatives of “safer, long-term housing” for everyone having to vacate, adding that indoor facilities are “a better option” to provide “a warm space, electricity, running water, showers, laundry services, regular meals and a place to store belongings.” 

Per the Affordable Housing Association of Nova Scotia’s by-name list, there are roughly 1,120 Haligonians who are actively homeless as of Feb. 6.

Halifax’s CAO, Cathy O’Toole, has told reporters that cops won’t be involved in removing any campers after Feb. 26, but for some, the memory of Aug. 19, 2021 lingers. That day, police arrested 24 people—pepper-spraying some—as staff removed shelters from several sites across the HRM.

🤔 Need to know

🏠 While some unhoused Haligonians face a state of upheaval, thousands of homes are closer to construction on the Bedford Commons after the HRM took steps to amend the land-use bylaws for the site.

📈 Meanwhile, the Bank of Canada says it expects the housing market will “rebound” in 2024—albeit “considerable uncertainty” remains about the forecast for home prices.

💃 Live Art Dance presents Moncton-based dance artist Jalianne Li with her exciting and timely double bill! On stage February 23rd & 24th, visit LiveArtDance.ca for tickets!*

*Sponsored Post


Lessons learned at HRM council this week: You can’t eat the suburbs

📸 The Coast

All the councillors wore Hawaiian shirts and baseball caps to this week's city council meeting, in honour of local radio legend Rick Howe, who passed away last week at the age of 69. Councillor Lisa Blackburn used to work with Howe, so she put on her best radio voice and paid respects to him on behalf of council.

But the real meat and potatoes of the meeting was food. The city has a food insecurity problem—and the program it has to address that needs $522,000 to keep going.

As Coast city hall reporter Matt Stickland notes, HRM council’s discussion wasn’t just about the future of food—as the roots of food insecurity in Halifax go back 70 years to one fateful decision.

🗞️ In Other News

🌨️ Heavier snowfalls could become more common in Nova Scotia, climate researchers say.

🍎 As the debate continues over schools’ roles in teaching gender and sexuality, one Halifax sex educator says the biggest problem is there’s inconsistency in what’s being taught to students.

🚌 Internal emails the CBC obtained show Halifax Transit’s ticketing app came in looong overdue—even by the city’s standards.

🗓️ Things To Do

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

🗓 The Last Show on EarthTM!: The apocalypse looms in this dark, queer comedy-drama making its world premiere at Neptune Theatre | Feb. 8-18 | Showtimes vary | $23-40

🗓 Aquakultre & Jah’Mila: Fresh off a JUNO nomination for “Reggae Recording of the Year,” Halifax’s Jah’Mila joins hometown favourite Aquakulture for a show at the Marquee Ballroom | Feb. 9 | 8pm | $11.31

🗓 A Tribute to Gordon Lightfoot: Symphony Nova Scotia joins forces with folk singer-songwriter J.P. Cormier for a pair of evenings honouring the late Canadian legend | Feb. 9-10 | 7-10pm | $40-90

Find more Halifax events in The Coast listings

🛍️ Shop Talk

🗞️ According to Halifax ReTales, Bedford restaurant Birch & Anchor is closing its doors next week. The Coast has reached out to ownership, but we’ve yet to receive a reply.

👀 In Case You Missed It

❄️ While Nova Scotia shovels out from a weekend of historic snowfall, some residents were still waiting to be rescued from their homes this week.

🎵 Six Haligonians made the nomination cut for the 2024 JUNO Awards, which will be hosted in Halifax next month. Find out who’s in the running on The Coast.

🎓 A first-of-its-kind program for nursing in mental health and addictions is coming to Dalhousie University. The Coast’s Lauren Phillips reports that it comes not a moment too soon.

🎭 A Halifax improv troupe has been getting laughs for their Seinfeld homage—and they’re performing again next month.

⚽ The Halifax Wanderers have signed Trinidadian international Ryan Telfer for the 2024 season. Telfer played for York United FC (previously York9 FC) and Atlético Ottawa in prior stints in the CPL.

🏒 Cole Harbour’s Nathan MacKinnon is in a neck-and-neck duel for first in the NHL in points. The Colorado Avalanche forward has 35 goals and 53 assists through 51 games and will play the Carolina Hurricanes tonight at 8pm.

That’s it!

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