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Halifax gets failing grade on economic scorecard

The Halifax Chamber of Commerce has judged the city’s growth plan and the final grade is in – one red light.

The Halifax Chamber of Commerce has judged the city’s growth plan and the final grade is in – one red light.

According to the chamber’s traffic-light-based grading system, that’s bad.

Struggles in population growth, branding and business confidence are some of the factors hurting Halifax, according to the chamber’s annual scorecard, released Monday afternoon.

“This past year was not as great as we would like for Halifax,” said president Valerie Payn.

“In the grand scheme of things, it means that overall we’re off target and doing worse than we have the last two years.”

The scorecard sizes Halifax up in a number of different areas to see if it’s meeting its economic strategy goals. Other things hurting Halifax were low university admissions, average income, and the struggling port.

But deeper down, there was good news.

Many of the negative grades came from things outside of Halifax’s control. When it came to local issues, the city got a green light.

That’s good.

Positives included a falling crime rate, well-run airport and a growing tax base.

Payn said Halifax, like all cities, is hurt by the recession.

But there has been progress.

“There have been some very good improvements we can see,” she said. “HRMbyDesign, for example.”

But it’s questionable whether the scorecard’s message is being heard. Numerous city councilors attended the release event, but provincially there were only two opposition MLAs, and no one from the federal level.

“Yes,” scorecard lead-author Bill Black said bluntly when asked if he was disappointed by the lack of political turnout.

 
 
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