Thursday, February 25, 2016

A Child's Guide To Home Based Business

This is a house.  People live in houses.  Sometimes grownups do their work in houses.
 This is a Building Code.  It tells people the right way to build a house, so that the people in it stay safe. Building Codes think of how many people might live in or visit a house.  Sometimes ten friends might come over for a birthday party and the building code has to make sure all the children in the house stay safe.  Sometimes two people might come visit a mom to buy quilts and the building code has to  make sure those grown ups stay safe.  The people that write building codes are very smart. They understand that houses have visitors.
 This is a Land Use Bylaw.  It says what kinds of work people can do from home.  It only lets people do the kinds of work that are safe to do in houses and it makes sure that you can't have more visitors than you might invite to your birthday party. The land use bylaw and the building code work together like a team to keep people that are working in their houses safe. The land use bylaw tries to make sure that the neighbours also stay happy.  Some neighbours are never happy and the land use bylaw cannot help them.
 A land use bylaw does not make a house into something that is not a house and it also does not change the building code.  The building code for houses is very good and keeps everyone safe.
 This is a small town.  They have a land use bylaw.  The people that run the small town do not understand that a land use bylaw teams up with the Building Code to keep people safe.   They say that the part of a house that a  mom or dad uses for work, isn't a house anymore. This is very sad. It makes it hard for grown ups to make money to buy food and toys for their children.
This is a big city. They have 23 land use bylaws.  They understand that the chapter of the building code for houses is the right chapter to read when people work from home, as long as there is also a land use bylaw. The land use bylaw makes sure that the work the grown ups are doing is safe to do in their houses. If the work is not safe or if it's too noisy, or takes up too much space in a house then it's against the rules and you might get a time out and have to work somewhere else.
 This is a province.  Both the city and the town are part of the province.  The province has a very big problem.  There are many grandmas and grandpas that live here, but not enough moms, dads and children.  Everyone loves grandmas and grandpas, but the province needs more moms and dads to work and pay taxes.  (ask your mom or dad to explain what taxes are) The province understands that many moms and dads need to work in houses, so they are trying to make it easier for this to happen. They are fixing the Building Code.  The Building Code is not broken, but the people whose job it is to use the building code sometimes make mistakes and it will be good to make the building code easier to understand.

This is a hat maker.  She makes hats in her house and is also a mom. She wants the province to understand that the chapter of the building code for houses works well with land use bylaws to keep people safe when they work from home.  She is not sure if the province understands this.   She is very happy that the province will be fixing the building code that is not broken.  But fixing a not broken building code takes a long time.   She wants the province to learn from the city. This would fix the problem quickly.  They can help.   We all need help sometimes. It is good to get help.  The city is very smart.  They understand that the building code is not broken and they understand that land use bylaws are also not broken.  They understand that houses are just houses.  The province does not want the city to help them.  This makes the hat maker very sad.  She does not want to see more people move away. When the hat maker feels this way, she sometimes drinks a special drink only for grown ups and then she feels better.  She also feels better when she makes hats.  Everyone is nicer when they wear hats.  Maybe the province needs a new hat. 

Monday, February 22, 2016

The Spring Wind Blew My Staff Report Away

About a year ago, The Supreme Court of Canada ruled that council meetings could not begin with a prayer.  Many councils around Nova Scotia substituted the opening prayer with a moment of silence.  Some rural councils are still hanging on for dear life and ignoring the ire of local atheists and Satan worshippers.
I, personally, think getting rid of prayer in council meetings was a step in the right direction, but I don't think a moment of silent contemplation goes quite far enough.

You see, The Ivany Report challenged each and every one of us to be BOLD.  Many of the general population of Nova Scotia are actually doing that.  There is all kinds of innovation going on.  Business hubs are being formed, people are turning their garages into breweries, entrepreneurs are taking risks, newcomers have thrown caution to the wind, packed up their lives in other provinces and moved to Nova Scotia with the aim of making it happen.  Courage can be seen everywhere.  But there is not a lot of courage happening within our town halls.

Yes, there are exceptions, but not many.  Mostly, our town halls are hot beds of timidity and fear. How do you explain the word Bold to people that are risk averse down to their very souls?  Take for example, the issue of Home-based business in Lunenburg.  How many staff reports have been written with the aim of  trying to solve the world's most solveable problem.  Lunenburg council could have just looked down the road 100km to our largest municipality and said, "Oh, looky here.  They are supporting home-based businesses in Halifax.  Let's learn from their success.  Let's be brave."  But that's not what happened.  Instead our CAO and deputy CAO whispered fear into our mayor's ear and she listened and then all of council listened and then instead of being BOLD they discussed every scary scenario that might arise if they allowed a house to just be a house. And when they examined staff reports about how things work in other municipalities, they didn't latch on to the possibilities, they latched on to the lowest common denomenator.  They aligned their views with every other timid municipality in Nova Scotia.  Because that is all they know.  Fear.

 I'm watching this pattern repeat itself in the current Live/Work task force meetings.  The citizens on the committee are preaching BOLD, because many of them are bold in their own lives.  But the mayor, council and staff stonewall them with fear and the words, we can't, no, not possible.

So, here's what I propose to remedy the situation.  I think at the beginning of every council meeting in every municipality in Nova Scotia, all the councillors should take their shoes and socks off, let down their hair, throw off their glasses, unbutton the two top buttons of their shirts, put on some truly groovy music and just rock out for five minutes.  Let it all hang out, stand on the tables, gyrate those hips, arms swaying side to side.  Take those staff reports and smoke them.   And then, take a seat and get down to the business of being BOLD.

The inspiration for this post comes from one of my favourite songs on earth.  You can listen HERE

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

A House With No Door - Confused in Lunenburg

Sometimes I'm just plain confused by The Town of Lunenburg's stance that my studio is not part of my home.  So, when Tony came in to the studio to discuss our lack of dinner plans and when Lego the dog came in to discuss his lack of dinner and Dustin (on the dog bed, under the blanket) came in to prevent me from working, were they in their own house or did they cross the threshold of the dining room and  leave home to visit my studio?

And then I wonder, since the steps to the basement are in my studio, do we now have a house with no access to the basement?
And the door...Now that is truly troubling to me because the door to the house that everyone uses actually goes through my studio, so do I now have a house without a side door?  This is most perplexing. I wonder what the building code has to say about a house with only one door.

Then I have this other question which weighs heavily on my mind.  In the last Live/Work task force meeting, the mayor said how she is very concerned about public safety in regards to home based businesses.  This got me wondering, what public is she referring to?  Are the occasional customers that come to my home the public?  How does she define public?  If you have a party in your house and you don't know all the guests, are they visitors or the public?  If a Jehova's witness comes to your door to sell you the truth, are they the public?  What about the fed-ex guy?  If you have a home office and a client comes to  discuss a project, are they the public?  If you have a tupperware party, are those people the public?  Does this mean that we can only allow people into our homes that we have met before? How long do we have to know them before we can let them in?    I have been searching my house, high and low, for public space, but I haven't found it yet.  As far as I can see, it's all pretty private.

I sure hope these questions get cleared up soon. Until then, I remain......confused in Lunenburg.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

A Hot Sultry Municipal Affair

They never meant for it to happen.  They were both highly principled, but a deep burning need brought them together.
Building Code was a good man.  He was  rugged and broad shouldered, with good hands and a muscular body, shaped by a lifetime of physical work.   His passion was safety.  Although quiet by nature, he had seen too many tragedies and travesties in his lifetime to stay silent. Disadvantaged workers trapped in burning factories, disabled people barred from public spaces, children falling from balconies; these were the stories that kept him going.  He wasn’t always well liked, but that happens when you speak your mind.
He had been married to Province for many years.  It was a good marriage filled with respect and friendship, but passion had turned into comfort long ago.  He didn’t miss it, though.  Passion was a young man’s game.  He had focused that wild energy into his life’s work. 
Land Use was kind and soft-spoken.   She was tall and graceful with sparkly eyes and a smile that could light up a coal mine.  She loved to see everyone get along.  She was a friend to all sorts of folks, from paper mills to log cabins.   She was married to Municipality.  They were happy and they made a good team.  But their work kept them so busy, that they often felt like two ships passing in the night.
Her gift for keeping everyone happy had become her work.  Before industrialization it had all been so simple. Shoemaking, millinery, carpentry, these were all traditional home industries.  Small general stores, blacksmith shops, and mill shops lived side by side, in harmony with homes.  But when noisy factories came along and cars became commonplace, things got complicated.  Land Use was a master of keeping goodwill in communities.  She kept the noisy and odorous industries far from the homes; she supported the retail shops by keeping them close together, so that the customers from one establishment could easily visit a neighbouring one.  She formed exclusively residential zones, so that children could safely play on the streets and people could live peacefully, without excessive noise, traffic or pollution.
Building Code and Land Use had seen each other many times, but rarely spoken.  He was committed to Province and she was committed to Municipality, but he had admired her from a distance.  She was always the life of a party; a social butterfly.  Her easy manner kept her surrounded by people from all walks of life. He had often thought how nice it would be to be so well liked.  His own forceful rules had kept his social circle small. He could typically be found alone, nursing a glass of whiskey at the edge of a party. It had, of course, not escaped him that she was a beauty, but being a man of principle, he kept his eyes on his drink and only ever granted her a polite nod.
She was always aware of his presence.  She thought he was arrogant.  He didn’t seem to need anybody and least of all her.  She had to admit that she liked being needed.  What was up with this man who always seemed too busy with himself to even smile at her when she walked by?  She had resolved to not give him the time of day, but somehow she could not keep herself from peeking through her circle of admirers and glancing his way.  Her own lack of self-control made her like him even less.
It was a mutual friend that brought them together. House. He was a nice guy, simple, straightforward and honest.  Building Code was always more relaxed around him.  House’s needs were so easy to meet.  Land Use liked him, too.  He was jovial and filled with love and warmth, a real family guy.  House had asked them both to meet him at his favourite pub.  Who could say no to house?  It was a date.
The following Monday evening they met at The Rip Tide.  Building Code and Land Use politely shook hands and each ignored their own fluttering hearts.  They were principled, married people.   House ordered a round of Mojitos.  They all relaxed and house was able to open up to the two of them.  He had a problem, a big problem, and they had both unintentionally caused it, but he knew they both cared deeply about doing the right thing and he believed that if they worked together they could find a solution.
He turned first to Building Code, “Listen Buddy, before Land Use came along, good people worked from home.  It was a necessity.  Sometimes they were taking care of young children; sometimes they were taking care of elderly parents.  Often they were low-income people; young families starting out, or just folks with great ideas and not a lot of money to back them up.  I know you didn’t mean any harm, but when you told them they needed to separate their businesses from the rest of their homes with fire separation and when you told them they needed barrier free access, well, you broke them.   I’m sorry to be so blunt, Man.”
Then he turned his friendly face to Land Use, “Sugar, I know you would never hurt a fly, but I gotta be straight with you.  You done a lot of good.  So many folks love you because of all the problems you have solved, but I’m afraid you kind of threw out the baby with the bath water with some of those zoning regulations of yours.  See, putting the businesses in one area and the homes in another was brilliant, but not all businesses are created equally.   Small carpenter shops have the same impact on a neighbourhood as lawn mowers. A granny knitting sweaters who sees a few customers a week is hardly a threat to peace and quiet.  If someone wants to cut hair in their house, what’s the big deal?  People gotta live, right?
Land Use and Building code went quiet. They were both in the business of helping and somehow they had caused pain.  They agreed to work together to fix this problem. This was bad for people and bad for the economy.  Something needed to be done.  The three of them agreed to meet weekly and put their heads together to find a solution. 
They began to look forward to their Monday night Rendez- vous at The Rip Tide. One night, after a couple of drinks, Land Use turned to Building Code and said, “You know,  I used to think you were an ass hole, but you’re really a nice guy.” 
“Uh, thanks…I think.”   The three of them laughed.
These evenings were spent discussing things like occupancy, parking, fire safety, competing with commercial businesses, and supporting people.  Building Code would get all fired up and start preaching about the importance of separating occupancies, but Land Use would gently touch his wrist and remind him that these are exclusively residential zones, so they were going to have to find a way to make sure these small businesses are part of the main residential use.  He knew she was right, but how could it be done? He would lean in a little closer as they continued to exchange ideas.  House ordered another round of Mojitos.
It was a warm summer evening when they met for the sixth time.  They had all had a little too much to drink.  Building Code offered to walk Land Use Home. She accepted. They walked side by side, occasionally brushing arms. They continued their conversation, but the alcohol made them a bit more passionate than usual. Their voices were raised and the conversation became heated.  He yelled, “fire separation and barrier free access, “ she shouted,  “integrity of the residential zone. “ Suddenly she stopped, turned to face him, stared right into his eyes and said, “You can be a real jerk sometimes.”  He put his hand on the small of her back and said, “ Safety first.”  Their lips locked and they melted into a passionate kiss.  When they came up for air, he took her by the hand and said, “I know a public place.  It’s empty and I have access, barrier free access.”
He took her to the library and there, beneath the skylights, they made mad, municipal love.  When they had spent their passion, they lit each others’ cigarettes, careful to not set off the sprinkler system, and their ideas for solving the problems facing Home Based Businesses in exclusively residential zones flowed freely.
That night a great bylaw was conceived.  Together, they agreed that if the size of the allowable space used for the business was limited; if there were restrictions put on the amount of employees, parking and signage; if the businesses only generated traffic and noise levels typical to a residential zone and if these businesses used machinery equivalent to other machinery used in a residential home, then all concerns for safety and the integrity of a residential neighbourhood would be met.  They talked about how these sorts of businesses actually bring customers into towns and in turn support  the businesses in the commercial zones.  They agreed that if the home-based businesses outgrew the limits of Land Use’s rules, then it was time to grow and move to the commercial zone.  She had whispered sweet regulations in his ear and he was putty in her hands.
Building Code, who deeply felt his responsibility to control safety, was finally able to relax because Land Use had stepped in to help.  He was secure knowing that as long as Land Use’s  regulations were in place that all would be well.  That night a collective sigh could be heard from creative Industries, working parents, low income families, single parents, young families starting out, people taking care of disabled or elderly loved ones and a provincial economy.  On that hot summer night, Building Code and Land Use came together and solved a problem. They kissed each other good night, knowing full well they would never meet again.  She went back to Municipality and he returned to Province.
Nine months later, Land Use was admitted to Municipal Affairs and gave birth to a beautiful, bouncing Home Occupation Bylaw.  The little love child was checked over by municipal lawyers for birth defects and was pronounced by the Minister to be absolutely perfect.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

A Local Nova Scotia Economy in Danger.

I need to illustrate what a supportive economy looks like in Lunenburg because I fear it is in jeapordy.  This is Joanne and Diane.  They drove down today from Halifax to visit me in my home-based business.  Dianne (on the right) has been going through chemo and ordered this hat from me because it makes her happy.  The headband jumped off the shelf and insisted on going home with Joanne.  Two happy ladies had a happy experience in Lunenburg.  Now they are headed to Sweet Indulgence for lattes and pastries.  Who knows what other temptations will greet them in the commercial district.

There is no competition between Home-based businesses and the shops in the commercial zones.  All good business people understand that we support each other. We are two different types of businesses.  I need to work from home because I am a mother that needs to be there for her child when he gets off the school bus and I am a crafts person that cannot afford the expense of commercial rent.  Everybody wins.  A creative industry brought two ladies to Lunenburg on a grey February day and now some money will circulate through town.  Hey, now that I made a bit of money today, I might even go treat myself to a latte.

I don't believe that this very basic truth, that home-based businesses help grow our economy is understood by the mayor of Lunenburg.  Yesterday she spoke of her desire to make our Land Use Bylaw more restrictive for home-based businesses if the province determines that there is no need for the building inspector to require changes to a home.  I don't know where this view point comes from,  I fear it is because there is a misconception from a few influential people that home-based businesses compete with those in the commercial district.   If the mayor gets her wish and makes Lunenburg's Land Use Bylaw more restrictive, then artists and crafts people, young families and immigrants, that need the flexibility of working from home, will not choose Lunenburg.

Our land use bylaw has been well thought out.  The reason that people can sell what they make from home is because artists and craftspeople can not produce enough to draw crowds.  I can make 2 hats a day.  Businesses like mine are a niche market.  People will travel to find me, but unlike a large clothing store or a shoe store, it is only a small number of people that will be interested in what I make.  It would be the same for any type of craft.   That is why this kind of retail is very appropriate in residential zones.  Having two ladies in one car come to buy hats does not negatively affect a residential zone, yet positively supports the whole town. If I found the demand superseding my supply, I would consider hiring someone and renting a shop in the commercial zone, once my son is a bit older.  If my town can support me and others like me, through supportive planning policies, then they will nurture the growth of  business and nurture the entire economy of a town.  Young people and new families will also be more apt to choose Lunenburg.  This is what it means to support entrepreneurs.  Anything else is just lip service.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

A Comment From The Mayor of Lunenburg

Today I sat in the gallery of the Lunenburg council chambers and listened to The Live Work Task Force.  It is an exercise in extreme self control for me.
Mayor Bailey made a comment today that I found alarming and it’s important that current and potential future residents are made aware of the mayor’s opinion, particularly as we approach an election.   I did not have a tape recorder, so I am paraphrasing.  If anyone wants a more accurate statement, they will have to speak with the mayor directly.
Jessika Hepburn, a citizen member of the Live/Work task force did an extensive report, comparing home occupation bylaws across the country.  She pointed out that near and far, home based businesses are considered to be accessory uses,  secondary and incidental to the main residential use. Only residential building code can apply.
Not surprisingly, staff, the council member present and the mayor have taken the position that a land use bylaw cannot dictate the building code.  (the answer to this is that the building code cannot be applied in the absence of zoning and that you cannot construct an occupancy that permits a use which contradicts the zoning, but that’s neither here nor there because truth and logic is not a part of this discussion.)
Here’s what the mayor said, and I’m paraphrasing-  The home occupation bylaw of Lunenburg is currently very liberal. If the province determines that the building inspector does not need to enter a home-based business then she feels that the land use bylaw should be amended to perhaps be more restrictive.
Jessika then made a statement, much more calmly than I ever could have, that perhaps while the town of Lunenburg is waiting for provincial clarification, they can clarify ways that they wish to be more supportive of entrepreneurs because she is questioning right now whether the town is indeed supportive and as things currently are, it is very difficult to be a young, entrepreneur in this town. 
Fortunately, the process for amending a land use bylaw needs public consultation and if you are invested in the future of our town then please keep your eyes and ears open.  I’ll do my best to inform the public.
At the end of the meeting the mayor made another statement that the Town of Lunenburg is indeed supportive of entrepreneurs and that it is very upsetting to her that the public perception differs from that.  I’m not sure that statement holds a lot of water for me.  If the mayor is stating that if the province provides clarification and states that it is perfectly safe to operate a home-based business without applying commercial code, but as mayor, she feels she would need to take action above and beyond the provincial clarification to make home-based businesses more restrictive, then I don’t think that falls into the category of business friendly.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

A True Story About Little Stevie

True Story.  (This is the way my son begins every lie, but I swear to you this is true)  A couple of summers ago, a sweet older lady from the Annapolis Valley came to my studio to buy a hat from me.  She had some trouble finding me and suggested that I put a sign up.  I explained to her that the town of Lunenburg had told me that I could not hang my sign before installing two fire doors, rebuilding the front and back entrances, install emergency lighting,  put in a handicapped washroom and three car parking.  She looked around my 280 sq. ft. studio, sat down and shook her head.  Then she announced to me that she had been Stephen McNeil's grade two teacher and that she was going to give him a good talking to.  She assured me that he was a good boy and so were his brothers.  I thanked her very much, outfitted her with the perfect hat and she went on her merry way.

If Stephen McNeil's 80 year old aunt can get him to back down on the changes to Pharmacare, might his grade two teacher have some influence when it comes to understanding permitted home based businesses?  Where did I put her number?

Friday, February 5, 2016

Wait, Did You say $27,000,000?

Today, I was just minding my own business, sewing a flower with the radio on in the background when I caught the tail end of these words, The province will give The Municipality of Pictou County more than $27,000,000 over the next five years to assist with amalgamation costs.  I really thought I had misheard that.  I googled it and found nothing. So, I e-mailed our local newspaper to verify that I had heard correctly.  It's true.  That's a lot of money.  I mean, I know it's not a lot of money if you are HRM or Toronto, but for a rural municipality that is a lot of money. According to the official press release, "If amalgamation proceeds effective Nov. 1, 2016, $15.2 million will support infrastructure, operating and capital investments for roads and transitional costs associated with amalgamation. Equalization funding for the amalgamated municipality will be frozen for five years at the levels that the four separate municipalities are currently receiving, totaling $11.9 million."

This got me day dreaming a little bit.  What could Lunenburg County do with $27,000,000? Well, in my fantasy, we would start here in Lunenburg by repairing our god awful sewage treatment plant.  How lovely it would be for all those poor souls on Dufferin street to be able to open their windows in the summer or maybe even sell their houses if they so desired.  But, I know, it couldn't all be for the Town of Lunenburg. Maybe some of that money could go towards helping home owners get rid of the straight pipes going into the Lahave River.  (I'm seeing a pattern here.) O.K, my little fantasy was not only about the control of excrement;  I was also thinking about those operating costs of the Lunenburg County Lifestyle Centre.  Apparently, building a great facility is one thing, but then maintaining it is a whole other ball game.  Not sure there is even a plan in place for the future operating costs of The Lunenburg Academy. I hear it needs a new roof. 

So, what's the problem here?  I think it's a no brainer.  I would never say that if we were talking about a huge Metropolitan area.  That's an entirely different beast and I have heard compelling arguments on both sides, but in Lunenburg County what are we actually talking about?  We have a total population of 47,000 people and that number is going down every year. In this county we have five separate governments with five CAOs.  I know in Lunenburg and Chester each CAO earns over $100,000 per year and I imagine it is similar for the others. There are also deputy CAOs, town engineers, mayors, councillors, planners, building officials, and more.  Is that not the definition of over governance?  This is all supported by the tax payers of NS.   So, let's go back to that population number of 47,000.  The city of Portland, Maine has, 66,000 people.  That is a small, quaint city. Victoria, BC has a population of 78,000 people.  There's another small city for you.

Yes, yes, I know....The rural areas don't have town water, so why should they pay for the people that do.  O.K, well, maybe the tax rate is adjusted depending on what services you receive or maybe we factor in that people outside of towns come into towns to use recreational facilities that are paid for by those tax payers. Good Lord, can we not work this stuff out?  47,000 people and five municipal governments.  It's kind of embarrassing.  Shouldn't a person that lives in Blue Rocks, but runs a business in Lunenburg be able to have some say as to the direction of the town they work in?  But the worst part of five governments for 47,000 people is five different interpretations of rules.  It's a mess.  I would like someone to explain to me why one government for this small population would not be more efficient.  Please don't compare it to HRM or Toronto.  Those are not good comparisons. 

Here's the only argument that I heard against amalgamation and it's the one that really made me think that we need to amalgamate Lunenburg County.  A couple of months ago, The town of Lunenburg brought in Professor Jack Novack to talk about amalgamation.  It was billed as a public engagement session.  That was a less than honest representation.  The Town of Lunenburg does not want to amalgamate and Professor Novack supports their position.  What he said was that we need small municipal government because public engagement is the most important component to good governance and we can engage more easily with a small government.  I wonder if Professor Novack has ever lived in a small town?  The reality of public engagement in a tiny town is that it is not possible.  It is much too personal.  Everyone knows everyone and opinions are based not on facts, but on family ties or friendships.  It's an unhealthy democracy.  I completely agree with professor Novack.  Public engagement is everything, but I want real public engagement, not lip service.  When people feel that honest engagement is not possible, when they worry that offending a councilor means offending a friend or that engagement will affect their business or maybe even their child in school then we have a system that needs to change and needs to grow. 

So, there you have it.  I think we need to break up the old boys (and girls) clubs, make decisions with our neighbouring towns and learn that times are changing.  Lunenburg County would be stronger together.  Lunenburg will still be Lunenburg, Mahone Bay will still be Mahone Bay, Bridgwater will still be Bridgewater, but we would have $27,000,000 to deal with shit. Literally.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Now Serving...The Government of Nova Scotia

I realize that I may be the only non bureaucrat citizen of Nova Scotia that actually tries to stay up to date with upcoming building code amendments.  Last week I had a brief moment of hope when I read that an amendment to The NS Building Code Regulations is coming forward on May 1st.  Could this be it?  Is it possible that the concerns of home-based business owners in this province have been taken seriously?

Wait.  Onsite sewage disposal systems?  That doesn't sound right.  True, there has been quite a lot of bullshit associated with the application of the building code as it relates to  permitted home-based businesses, but perhaps not a septic field's worth.  Alas, this amendment had nothing to do with removing red tape.  This amendment actually seems to be about adding red tape.

I won't go into it in depth because I don't know that much about it and if any of you find me studying up on septic system regulations, please push me into the latrine.  What I have been able to surmise is that this amendment will require one more permit for someone wishing to install a septic system and will make the experience of a property owner just a tad more frustrating.  The point here being that this amendment serves government and no one else.  It is a rule created to serve the application of rules.

Meanwhile, that amendment that will serve people...Ya, well, the Building Advisory Committee is  now six months into trying to solve the world's most solveable problem.  Those words, Now or Never and Urgent and Bold, I guess they don't apply to the needs of small business owners.  I find it very disheartening that the needs of government are being met before the needs of Nova Scotians.

If you have any concerns regarding this upcoming amendment, written comments are welcome until March 11th., or  If you are concerned that the amendment to clarify the application of The Building Code to Home-Based businesses may not happen in this life time, you can address those concerns to the same recipients.

Hon. Zach Churchill
C/O Joe Rogers
Building Code Coordinator
P.O. Box 231
Halifax Central
Halifax, Nova Scotia  B3J 3M4
or here: