HRM: More than just the name needs changing

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When someone asks where you’re from, do you say, “I am a proud citizen of the Halifax… Regional… Municipality…”Or do you acronym-ize your place of residence as something called H-R-M?

Or perhaps humanize it as HeRM?

Uh… Unlikely on all counts.

Most of us—especially when speaking to outsiders—probably say we’re from Halifax. If we’re being more particular or talking among ourselves, we employ the traditional pre-amalgamation names for our communities: Dartmouth, Bedford, Moose River, etc..

So it’s no surprise Corporate Research Associates’ latest Halifax Urban Report finds 56 per cent of us (margin of error: 4.8 per cent) favouring changing the clunky by-committee name of our geographic entity to the “City of Halifax.”

Support was unsurprisingly strongest (62 per cent) among those who lived in the city formerly known as Halifax and considerably weaker (49 per cent) among the still-resentful citizens of what was, before the 1996 amalgamation, the proud sort-of city of Dartmouth, not to forget in all those far-flung outposts the pollsters lump together as “Other HRM.”

While such a name change would be welcomed, relatively easy and inexpensive—new stationery, a little legislative search-and-replace—talking about changing the name begs the far more challenging, conundrum question: What do the residents of Uniacke Square and Musquodoboit Harbour have in common and why are they part of the same municipality?

When the provincial government of the day shoe-horned 200 communities from Necum Teuch to Hubbards—spread out over a land mass the size of Prince Edward Island with local economies based on everything from hunting moose to selling Moosehead beer to college students—into one municipality, the idea was to save money and end the wasteful competition for economic development, especially among the larger units.

But the result has been an unwieldy agglomeration of urban and rural interests that have never connected.

According to the same poll, more than half of us—54 per cent yes, 37 per cent no—want to re-redivide HRM back into one city and one county.

This is the time to ask: Where do our now too-many-to-count-on-the-fingers-of-one-hand mayoralty candidates stand on the issue? And what, if anything would they do to fix it?

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Copyright 2012 Stephen Kimber, Website
  1. I always say Lower Sackville when anyone asks where I am from. I wish they would de-amalgamate. We always had better services when the city and county were separate, especially for snow removal.

    Reply

  2. Both “soft of” and “sort of” work in this context…

    Reply

  3. “Sort of City”

    That’s the comment I’d expect from a “soft of” former journalist like Kimber.

    Reply

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