Photo: Jamie Moore/flickr

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So Joe Ramia, developer of Halifax’s new, significantly publicly financed $500-million convention-centre-hotel-office-residential-retail behemoth, is suing Heritage Trust and its 27 volunteer directors for what could be tens of millions of dollars for their “persistent efforts to quash downtown development,” including his.

Last week, 300 of Halifax’s self-anointed finest — “just rattle your bracelets,” as John Lennon said — cheered Ramia in a full-page Chronicle Herald “It-Pays-to-be-Bold” advertisement patronizingly ordering Heritage Trust to “focus on their own mandate and leave the business of economic development to those who step up to advance our city.”

Perhaps the Be-Bold Brigade should read recent city history to glimpse the days of future past they’re so eager to re-create.

If developers and their Be-Bold sycophants had had their way back in the 1960s, a six-lane scar of an expressway would now slash through downtown on its way to… well, who cares? Paving equalled progress.

Thanks to earlier, equally derided preservationists, who refused their betters’ instructions to get lost, we now have Historic Properties, stunning views of the harbour and a lively waterfront — all of which today’s Be-Bold convention and cruise ship promoters use to attract the visitors to make downtown commercially viable.

But it’s different today, they say.

Maybe. But ask yourself what side today’s Be-Bold Brigade would have taken in that ’60s debate? And what if they’d won?

Their bullyboy piling on becomes worse when you realize the facts don’t even support their mean-spirited attacks.

The Be-Bolders should answer a few questions.

How many downtown developments has Heritage Trust challenged? Out of how many? Over how many years? How many successfully?

In its request for a judicial review of Halifax City Council’s decision to bend its own rules for Ramia’s Nova Centre, did Heritage Trust seek an injunction to delay construction?

Was heritage obstructionism — or the lousy economy — the reason so many approved developments went un-built in the first decade of this century? And, considering the Be-Bolders’ self-declared economics pedigrees, why was it the preservationists who asked the right questions about the business case for investing $400 million in public money over the next 25 years for a convention centre?

One question we won’t need to ask: who’ll be first to complain when their taxes go up? Just rattle your bracelets.

This article first appeared in Stephen Kimber’s Halifax Metro column.

Photo: Jamie Moore/flickr