Advantage who?

The recent Nanos poll will be encouraging to many.

The latest round of Nanos tracking suggests that although the Conservatives and Liberals are now gripped in a deadlock, the change has been driven more by self-inflicted damage by the Conservatives than the efforts of the Liberals.

It will be encouraging to Liberals as it suggests support for the CPC is eroding. It will be encouraging to the Conservatives as it indicates that the CPC is in control of the trend.

Of note, the Nanos Leadership Index, which tracks the perceptions of the federal party leaders on trust, vision and competence shows a continued and substantive advantage for Stephen Harper. He continues to lead his counterparts in trust, vision and competence. The Leadership Index tracking for Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff remains unmoved, even in the wake of what has been recognized as a successful summer tour.

This will encourage the CPC as it show the leadership advantage Harper has had, remains. It will encourage the NDP as Layton scores higher than Ignatieff on the leadership questions.

The combination of data indicates that the impact of the Liberal leader’s summer tour has not helped materially boost the personal numbers for Michael Ignatieff at this point, and more fundamentally, that the accumulation effect of controversies may be taking effect on the government.

This “accumulation of controversies effect” might be a sort of encouragement to the Liberals.

Given all that what does it mean? Not very much. We guess Nanos’s conclusion that an election would be risky for both the government and the opposition is as good a conclusion as any.

To see all the numbers see the pdf file on the Nanos site – Federal Conservative Advantage Evaporates

29 responses to “Advantage who?

  1. Commenting on the power lines on Front St. Are there any plans for putting that mess underground somewhere? Why would they not be buried while the street was all torn up? What a shame that they are so prominent. Does anyone have an answer to this comment?

    • So many questions. So few answers. Burying wires underground would do more to beautify Wolfville than a thousand hanging flower baskets.

  2. That would be too easy, to bury the power lines while the street in torn up. First they have to meet with the power co. do a report, commission a study or is it the other way around? Finish paving the street before it snows, have another meeting and then an other report, apply for federal and provencial funding, do another study and report. Long time passing, then tear up the street again. Oh maybe in ten or fifteen years.

  3. Burying power lines is a great idea and seems to make a significant visual difference. However it’s super expensive and I believe the costs fall on the municipality or developer. With new roads like in Woodmans Grove, either the developer or the town payed a lot of money to have the lines underground. In the case of Front St. it would have increased the cost of the project.

    Is the cost worth while? Apparently the town doesn’t think so. What’s shitty is there was never a discussion to see if the public thought so. As far as I recall there was no opportunity to discuss this street’s design at all.

  4. The town of Oromocto had the foresight to bury their power lines. It is infinitely more practical in the long run. You know what they say about the camel….it is a horse designed by a committee. I think the flower baskets are lovely and the relatively new lighting on Main adds a lot to the ambience. Will there be another Street where the rail line was? We need an alternate route through town.
    Maybe then the power could be buried?

    • An alternate route from where to where?

      • An alternate route from the lights at Greenwich past Railtown and the park to the old #1 which shouldn’t be too complicated. It could have an exit behind Front Street with a nice big parking space west of Railtown. There is space between Railtown and The buildings on Front Street for a street and could be adequately widened to carry either the ghastly wires and poles, or have them buried. Or maybe somebody who knows more about town planning could suggest a better route.

        Also, while they are at it, could the parking lot around The Anvil and Save Easy, etc. not be fixed up? You could lose a small car in the holes. Could the
        businesses there not see the advantages of a decent parking surface? They must pay huge rents to the people that own those properties. I’m not suggesting any big planters and such, but if they would just fill the holes.

        The back of the Save Easy is an eyesore as well with the added inconvenience for the trucks that have to manoeuvre up to the loading docks.
        A little thought to the optics might go a long way to improving that space as well. A nice coat of paint or murals? A fresh mural on the Anvil. New clean containers for the plethora of green bins and garbage. Lighting at night?

        Does anyone use a freezer for freezing their table scraps so they can be put out on pick up day? This might be the answer to getting rid of that Wednesday smell. There are at least 11 eating establishments around the square and it would be a better atmosphere in the summer if there were some way to clean up the fringes.

  5. William Zimmerman

    It would have cost more than $600,000 to bury the power lines on Front Street and I don’t believe that covered the connections to the individual customers which they would have had to pay themselves. I advocated the burial and the development of utilidors under the sidewalks so that we wouldn’t have to dig up the street so often but the cost killed the idea at the council table. (NSPI requires you to pay for everything up to the meter if it the lines are buried.) NSPI seems to discourage the burial of power lines. I spoke to an NSPI rep who was guarding a power line on my street that had been brought down by a limb in Juan and he told me that “burying power lines doesn’t work”. I challenged him and he claimed to base that statement on “a study from Australia.”

    • Thanks for your input. That is useful info. We wonder how Oromocto managed it? This article is pertinent perhaps to the discussion.

      • Are the comments to that article really indicative of general public opinion? I would have expected a few more people to see beyond the cost.

        I can’t stand the poles and wires and would love to see Wolfville start burying existing lines. Given its location and the density of wires/transformers I would have thought Front St was a perfect place to start. How does the $600,000 compare to the cost of the work that was actually done on Front St?

    • Bill is onto something here. I built a house in Australia. I ran the power cables and the telephone lines underground from the road to my house. Yes, this does cost more but the cost increment was slight (for my job) because I already had digging machinery on site to do other jobs — and because both telephone and power cables went into the same ditch. In Australia, the trees tend to get a lot bigger than around here. They also have nasty habits, like dropping huge branches and regularly catching on fire. Good reasons for going underground.

      Nevertheless, poles are the norm in Oz and they usually carry both power and telephone lines. There was one major problem with going underground… and it was explained to me by a former linesman who had worked for Telstra. Segments of telephone cables have to be connected a junction boxes. The “old-fashioned” practice was to allow a bunch of extra cable at the ends so that they could strip a bit of fresh wire whenever connections failed due to corrosion, or whatever. Some smartypants at Telstra HQ got the idea that they could save money by potting the junctions in epoxy. Of course it was convenient to get rid of the extra cable because that just got in the way of potting operations and it wouldn’t be needed, right? Wrong, potted junctions still fail. Only now, there was no extra cable at the ends. So they had to pull more cable underground — expensive, for sure!

      Could it be that such debacles became paraphrased to “burying power lines doesn’t work”?

      I am not a great believer in unnecessary expense! Obviously, in many circumstances it would be far too expensive to go underground. However, I’m not at all convinced that it is always more expensive to bury lines — especially if such work piggy-backs on other construction activity.

      In my view, a very real problem is the tendency for the different actors to be constrained by their own narrow conventions — because thinking is really far less common than you might think.

      A related matter can be seen up on Skyway. I still recall driving along Skyway one morning and seeing them setting up the job to install new power poles. A couple of hours later, I was driving back and what I saw caused my jaw to drop so low that I almost got my choppers tangled around my accelerator foot. Those poles were being installed on a line that intruded onto space that should have been reserved for the road/curbing! In the scheme of things a solidly engineered roadway was subsequently constructed — but it has a most annoying kink to get around those @%$&* power poles.

      Now any competent person can look along a line and see where it juts a meter to the side. It is an error to think that those who have the power are also competent.

      • We too think underground wiring is the way to go if it is planned when digging is already required so the cost is reduced. We would think this would be a more lasting option for the money spent.

  6. William Zimmerman

    PS Would you prefer another street through town or a rail service to Halifax?

    • Another street through town would open up the route to the 101 at Grand Pre and Grand Pre itself as well as save a lot of traffic from getting held up between the 16 crosswalks in Wolfville. Or it could be made one way with a large parking area at the west end of town, then perhaps a jitney to take people around the square and another to service the Acadia grounds. Rail service to Halifax would be good too, but people prefer to have a car to drive when they get there. If Kings County is the fastest growing area of N.S. then perhaps some forward thinking people will make sure that amenities are provided to serve the population that is outside of the downtown areas of Wolfville, Hantsport, Windsor, Port Williams, Canning, etc. When you realize that all the people who live in Port Williams and to the North Mountain have to go all the way to New Minas to shop and at least to Greenwich to get gas , it doesn’t make sense to try to attract people here to live. Moncton has built a very successful northern route through the city which was built over the dykes. I don’t know why the edges of our dykes could not be put to use. They are not being used at the moment and if the roads were high enough they would be a wonderful buttress to keep out the high tides.
      Since the trains left, we have all these huge trucks wearing out our roads. Even if we had cargo trains and perhaps added passenger cars as needed….

      • Betty, new roads lead to more cars. The idea to add a new road to alleviate traffic is counter productive. A new road is simply more encouragement for people to use their cars more often.

        Cars frequently getting held up at crosswalks is a good sign! It means a lot of people aren’t in their cars clogging up the streets even more. Pedestrians are just as important to move around efficiently as cars.

        I think we should consider how many people are moving through a region when talking about traffic, rather than just count cars. Traffic isn’t just cars. It should be seen to include buses, cyclists and pedestrians too. When you begin to consider how many are on foot and pedaling around, perhaps what we need isn’t more space for cars but actually more bicycle lanes, bus routes and active transportation trails.

        The same way a new road encourages more cars, a new bike lane encourages more cyclists. I feel build it and they will come holds very true in traffic. I believe we should add bike lanes and sidewalks to existing streets which aren’t currently supportive of these alternative transportation modes. I think redesigning public space to offer Complete Streets seems like the most appropriate way to move forward.

        Interesting website:

    • I don’t think it is sensible to commit large amounts of public money on the basis what people might say that they “prefer”. “Prefer” is too loaded with that warm fuzzy woolly feeling stuff. Professional predators feast off “prefer”, “want”, and “desire”.

      The better questions are: How useful would this road be to you? Would this train service get you to where you need to go? How much would you be prepared to pay for it?

      For myself, I have little interest in going to Halifax. Furthermore, considering the few times I have been to Halifax, I doubt very much that any affordable train service would have gotten me anywhere near the odd-ball locations which I had to visit.

      I would certainly use an additional road that enabled me to skirt the Wolfville waddle. Widening the existing roads and providing extra parking would be useful for me and I bet it might even help grow some businesses — which would probably cause me to drive into Wolfville even more often.

      So, there you have it. Better not to improve the roadways, it encourages people to visit…

    • Just out of curiosity, Bill I was wondering how many people turned out for Jake’s Gift last night. I thought likely I would be able to get Jack there for that event as he expressed an interest in seeing it. He being a veteran of D-Day and having his brother killed at Juno Beach.

      It was not to be. He is not well enough to go out at night and I was disappointed for him, but still curious about your audience and if it was successful. I went into Just Us today and tried to find you, but didn’t have time to look everywhere.

  7. Why not both. If we can imagine plug ins for electric cars as was contemplated at one visioning exercise then we can surely imagine a GO train AND another through street through town. If wishes were horses beggars would ride. What is most feasible? What can we afford? How can we save on frills so we can do something that will be a lasting benefit to townspeople over time?

  8. Only by discussion and listening to ideas and making plans for a permanent fund for improvements, and maintenance. I don’t know how the town is run, but whether or not there is deficit financing, most people build first and pay later…look at the bridges in Halifax. We are still paying for those and they are soon in need of replacement. A toll road is not without its detractors, but would soon be paid for because it wouldn’t be a huge construction job like the 407 in Toronto.
    As the population ages, fewer people will want to drive to Wolfville and spend a lot of time walking, so they will go to the most convenient areas to shop and will be looking for a place that serves lunches and a good cup of tea and coffee.
    Canning comes to mind!

  9. Well, then, how about a bicycle route from the lights at Greenwich to Wolfville along the north side of town and between Railtown and Front Street to Timmy’s, etc.
    The streets are wide enough for a bicycle route on Front Street And Main if there was only parking on one side of Main. I really shouldn’t be making suggestions for Wolfville, as I live in Port Williams, but I am in town almost every day and am pretty long in the tooth to be on a bike. I feel it will not be too many years before we will have one long city on old Rte #1 from Grand Pré to Aylesford, at the very least. The little towns are getting closer together all the time.

    • Might I suggest that bicycle paths be largely separate from roads. There is an overwhelming inequity between a person peddling atop a 10 kg bicycle frame and another who is propelled by a massive internal combustion engine while enjoying the protection of being cocooned by 1500 kg of steel.

      I’ve lived in many cities in 3 different countries and often my bicycle was my primary means of transportation. These cities ranged from being bicycle friendly to being downright mean and nasty in every way. I’d recommend Canberra (Australia) as having a network of bicycle paths that we might sensibly aspire to approximate, as The Valley urbanizes. But this is a regional matter, it’s not the purview of Wolfville Town Council.

      I doubt that bicycling can ever really be a big thing within Wolfville because of the topographic challenges imposed by the local terrain and the less-than-optimal layout of existing the roads. (“Less-than-optimal” is a euphemism… Don’t think I’ve gone all soft and mushy.)

  10. I think you guys are onto something, a separated bike path way would be great. Separated routes are safe and encourage more and less-experienced cyclists to ride. Lack of safety is often listed as a top barrier to cycling. Interestingly, the Kieran Pathway is proposed to have an active transportation connection along the rail line between Wolfvile and Kentville which would be a sensible project if all 3 municipalities and the province could get it together. However as useful and worthwhile as off-street separated bike paths are, I believe all of our streets should also be designed to consider cyclists. We (cyclists) have every legal right to be on the street and we shouldn’t be seen as secondary road users.

    When communities have set a priority to make bicycle friendly streets, everything has improved. More people cycle which means less pollution, fewer cars, and a healthier and happier population. More bikes have a way of taming cars which leads to slower speeds and safer streets. Safer, bicycle friendly streets lead to more businesses and more people – the community thrives. You can see the positive effects bike infrastructure has had on communities in places like Portland, San Fransisco, New York, Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Boulder etc.

    Portland has winters, San Fransisco has hills – Wolfville (and the Valley) can be a cycling town despite our climatic/physical limitations; it just requires dedicated planners, a well educated public and people who want to ride bikes.

    • Especially people who want to ride bikes.

    • I think that motorists around here are already very tame… just not perfect. I enjoy bicycling round the dykes, driving on the roads, and playing with the coyotes in the woods. I guess it’s an “old man thing”, but I just don’t like riding up hills anymore…

  11. Statistics for the United States certainly indicate that there are a lot of these people. Have a look at some of these findings:

  12. William Zimmerman

    As I walk my 1967 3 speed bike uphill my line is:
    Too many years,
    Not enough gears.

    • Don’t feel bad Bill. There comes a time in everyone’s life where ideology gives way to practicality. Take Monbiot. He finally bought a car!

      Monbiot says the Clio is the first car he has owned since he sold a Ford Escort in 1989. His move from Oxford to rural Wales with his family in January meant a change of lifestyle, and he discovered he needed personal transport.

      “I had cars from 1982 to 1989, then I didn’t have a car until about six weeks ago,” he says. “I’ve had to break a long-time commitment, but the only way to get by, we decided, was to have the occasional use of a car.”


  13. William Zimmerman

    Please note I said “WALK my bicycle up hill”.