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A Common debate

In terms of stark contrasts, you can’t do much better — warm weekendafternoons playing Frisbee, walking dogs and reading in the shadeversus beer tents, tens of thousands of screaming fans and musiciansplaying axe-shaped guitars while wearing face paint.

In terms of stark contrasts, you can’t do much better — warm weekend afternoons playing Frisbee, walking dogs and reading in the shade versus beer tents, tens of thousands of screaming fans and musicians playing axe-shaped guitars while wearing face paint.

But these seemingly contradictory uses converge on Halifax’s North Common, a public space which has in recent years played host to the biggest private concerts in HRM’s history.

One Halifax regional councillor, however, wants big-ticket events to stay off the grass.
Connaught-Quinpool Coun. Jennifer Watts put forward a motion last week that will be debated by councillors tomorrow, seeking to move all major concerts from the North Common site on the Halifax Common to Garrison Grounds beginning next year. Watts cited concerns from residents near the Common as the principal cause for her motion.

One such resident, Cathy Busby, said yesterday many people in her neighbourhood have concerns about what she calls “mega-concerts” on public land.

“I think that it’s really important that the commonness of the Commons is preserved,” Busby said. “I find it wrong that these private corporate mega-concerts kind of move in there.”

But Helen Vickery, owner of a Robie Street guest house, said she doesn’t see much harm in holding concerts on the Common. “If it was night after night, it’d be a different story... (But) it’s only the noise for the one evening, so it really doesn’t disrupt my guests that much,” said Vickery. Local resident Anthony Loring admits the concerts are somewhat disruptive for his day-to-day life, but aren’t usually as bad as he expects.

“When concerts are being prepared for, it is a real hassle, because for a month at a time there’s nothing that you can do here,” Loring said yesterday while walking his dog. “(But) when it happens and when it’s done, we’re usually like ‘well, that wasn’t as bad as we thought it was going to be.’”