Fast & Curious: Short Takes on Random Things

Buying Ben Eoin

Source: Ben Eoin Yacht Club web site.

I started to write about the recent sale of the land under the Ben Eoin Yacht Club to a group of “businessmen and doctors” as the CBC’s Tom Ayers put it, but as I hit the 1,000 word mark I realized I was writing an article for my next edition, not a Fast and Curious piece, so be sure to tune in next Wednesday…


Puffed wheat

Carnation evaporated milkDuring the most recent provincial PC leadership debate, held at the Joan Harriss Cruise Pavilion in Sydney, CBRM Mayor Cecil Clarke was accused by rival Tim Houston (MLA for Pictou East) of having no business case for the development of a container terminal in the Port of Sydney.

Clarke responded (confusingly) with a reference to a measure of poverty I’d never before heard of: the Evaporated Milk Ratio. Said Clarke:

I know what’s it like to figure out as a kid what’s the right formula of Carnation milk to water so that those puffed wheat are going to grow a little bit more and get a little bit more sugar on them.

As best I can figure, the ability to achieve this golden ratio at which the wheat reaches maximum puff and sugar absorption indicates poverty, while a tendency to over or under-water one’s canned milk indicates comparative affluence.

What it has to do with the business case for the Port of Sydney I have no idea, but it apparently went over well with the hometown crowd which, according to the Cape Breton Post, gave Clarke “the loudest applause of the night” for it and his subsequent remarks:

You criticize a plan; you don’t have a plan Tim. I’m trying to do something to help the community get out of welfare, and I make no apologies. I’ll take all the criticism that you can throw my way, because the fact that I haven’t heard one idea for the economy of Cape Breton to take children out of poverty, to help seniors have supports in their home and restore the dignity of the individual. I’ve lived this and I will believe and take care of the seniors and our citizens in trouble.

I’m surprised Clarke voluntarily raised the issue of child poverty, given that he has paid it almost no attention in his five-plus years as mayor of the CBRM. In January 2016, critiquing his re-election platform, I wrote:

What’s missing from the Mayor’s pamphlet is the same thing that’s always missing from his discourse — any mention of the high rate of child poverty in the municipality he has been leading for three years. One in three children in the CBRM — 32.6% — lives in poverty. The Mayor knows this — he attended a youth summit on child poverty in New Waterford in April of this year and shared his own story of growing up poor and yet, I cannot find him on record anywhere proposing solutions. The issue doesn’t seem to resonate with him the way, say, public prayer does.

Clarke seems to believe telling people he was once poor himself is the same as introducing policies and programs to assist people who are poor today.

It’s not.

It also risks touching off a Four Yorkshiremen-esque contest in kitchens across the island, as Cape Bretoners vie to prove they were worse off than Cecil:

Puffed wheat?! Carnation milk?! We’d eat handfuls of flour washed down with potato water and be glad of it!



Things are going swimmingly

The Cape Breton Post story about the young men off the cruise ship swimming in Sydney harbor has caused great hilarity in my network (as I’ve taken to calling my family). Best line goes to a relative who posted the article on Facebook with the comment: “Catch of the day — impetigo?”

But the funniest part of the whole story has to be the response of the new manager of cruise and marketing development at the Port, Christina Lamey. (Whom you may remember from her old role as communications person with the Mayor’s Office, a patronage job she has successfully parlayed into a contract position at the Port and if she doesn’t, somehow, transform that into a full-time job by this time next year, I’ll swim in Sydney harbor myself.)

Christina Lamey, manager of cruise marketing and development with the Port of Sydney Development Corp., said they don’t have any signage advising against swimming, however the port does ask that people not use its infrastructure to jump into the harbour.

How, exactly, does the Port ask that of people, if not with signage? Via late-night infomercials? Robo-calls? ESP?

Let’s be honest here: there’s  no signage because the last thing the Port wants to do is admit to visitors that the shining blue waters of Sydney harbor are actually, as a local warned the unsuspecting (and, as it turned out, unconcerned) swimmers “poop water.”


Same time next month?

CBRM Council meeting, 10 July 2018

CBRM Council meeting, 10 July 2018

The Spectator‘s complaints about the changeable nature of CBRM council and general committee meetings have been heard, if not exactly answered.

This week, the Municipal Clerk’s office sent out the following email to media outlets:

Please be advised that at the July 10, 2018 meeting of CBRM Council, a motion was passed that the regular monthly meetings of Council revert back to the third Tuesday of the month; and that the regular monthly meetings of the General Committee and General Committee on Planning and Economic Development be scheduled to commence at 1:30 p.m. on the first Tuesday and Wednesday of the month respectively.

From time to time this schedule may change, however the dates and times for all meetings are published weekly (usually on Fridays) on our website and posted on social media as required.  Further, there are a number of other Committee meetings such as Fire & Emergency Services Committee, Police Commission, Heritage Advisory Committee, etc. that do not have regularly scheduled meeting dates/times but are posted on the website and social media.

So, a couple of problems with this.

First, my point was that the CBRM web site no longer lists the “regular” date and time for Council and General Committee meetings.

And while I am sure it has always been the case that “from time to time” the schedule for those meetings changed, it didn’t change so frequently that the Clerk’s office decided to remove all mention of the regular date and time from the web site.

And second (and for this point, I must thank an equally meeting-obsessed reader — you know who you are), the designation of the third Tuesday of the month for regular council meetings is CBRM policy. It dates to 1995, the year the amalgamated regional municipality was created. It’s posted in the policy section of the CBRM web site:

Meeting Policy RC3


Note that the policy was apparently never officially amended to reflect that change to the fourth Tuesday of the month. (Convenient, I guess, in that an additional amendment was not necessary to change it back).

Changing the day and time of “regular” monthly council meetings so frequently you no longer feel it worthwhile to mention that there IS a regular day and time — one actually enshrined in municipal policy — is ridiculous. That’s my point and nothing in the response from the Clerk’s Office has changed my mind about it.