If we can get past the hype and acknowledge that the new convention centre for downtown Halifax doesn't add up in economic terms, perhaps we could then move to bigger questions about the politics that too often lead the taxpayer to the slaughterhouse.
In the way it came about -- taking the word of promoters and ignoring everything else -- the convention centre is not only not alone, but is a throwback to the backfired economic non-salvations of the past 50 years.
The word "vision" is thrown around a lot these days as the ingredient that we lack in Nova Scotia. The Ivany commission on the new economy used it in its rousing sermon exhorting us to get our act together.
The tipping point for cities likely went unnoticed. It could have been a baby born in a large hospital in Lagos. It might have been a Chinese farmer moving to Shanghai. Or perhaps it was the quiet passing of a grandparent in the Amazon.
Whatever it was, the result was dramatic. In 2009 and for the first time in history, more people lived inside urban areas than outside of them. Where are we five years later?
Finally, unease about the Halifax convention centre -- which will cost taxpayers nearly $400 million over the next 25 years -- has a chance to come to proper public attention.
The developer, Rank Inc., is asking for 20 changes to the project that would have the effect of making some of the subsidized convention centre facilities smaller than originally planned, and the privately financed office and hotel space on top of it much bigger, thereby trampling further over already much-abused city bylaws. Halifax Regional Municipality has asked for public input April 29 at 6 p.m.