Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Home Business, An Easy Problem to Fix for White People

I read a poem today by El Jones that broke my heart.  Please read it by clicking HERE.  It's a Nova Scotia reality that we don't see in all the pretty tourist videos, but we need to watch it.  We need to witness it and take responsibility.   I'm not talking about this because there's nothing we can do.  I'm talking about this because there are solutions.  We just have to care.

It was pretty exciting news in Nova Scotia that that the building code will be amended, so that people can easily run businesses from their homes.  This is great news for anyone living in a house.  But what about people that don't live in houses?  What about people that live in apartments.  What about people that live in public housing?  How does any of this happy news help them?  The following line in El's poem stunned me, "And now new housing regulations say can’t have a business in the home  So the little that we have we can’t even call our own"  I understand from a land use perspective why this is so.  Generally Home based business is allowed only in single unit dwellings.  The planning logic is that as the density increases the likelihood of causing impacts from a home business increases.  It all makes perfect sense if you are writing regulations with a full belly and a comfortable paycheck and twenty steps removed from the reality of poverty and violence and hopelessness.  It makes sense if you live in a place where "protecting the integrity of a residential zone" means less noise, traffic, smell, signage or protecting your neighbours from the unsightliness of outdoor storage.

But what about when protecting the integrity of a residential zone means keeping guns out of your children's hands?  Do any of these zoning rules make sense anymore?  Does not allowing a woman to braid hair in her home or take care of the neighbours' children actually keep people safer in their homes?  By taking away women's ability to lift themselves out of poverty by running businesses from their homes are we keeping the neighbours safe and peaceful?

This issue of working and living in an apartment unit is not a new one.  We have come up with pretty solutions for white people. It's called live/work.  It's the hippest thing in Vancouver.  I think it even exists in Halifax.  Can this zoning be applied to public housing?  Could we, as a society, invest in building public housing units that can be used for live/work purposes?  Could we change the zoning of current public housing to ensure that people can work from home?  It's gotta be a whole lot cheaper than the cost of incarceration.  We just love to throw around the word, Innovation.  Well, Government of  Nova Scotia, here's your chance to be truly Innovative.  How are you going to fix it so that a woman in North Preston can make hats from her home?   Go forth and Innovate.  Put your lucky, well paid heads together and figure this one out.  It's fixable.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

A Thank You Card For Minister Furey and Minister Churchill

Dear Minister Furey and Minister Churchill,
I imagine that in the life of a politician you don’t get to hear the words, “Thank you” too often.  I do believe that it is the job of citizens to bring forward problems that need to be solved and it is the job of government to try to address them, but it would be unfair to go onto the next hurdle without taking a moment to acknowledge that one large obstacle was just removed.
The problems you addressed through this upcoming building code amendment have been facing Nova Scotians for many years and I hope that you realize how truly amazing it is that in your time in government you helped to find a solution. 
In this past week, I have heard from people in Wolfville, Hants County, Lunenburg County, The Town of Lunenburg , Annapolis Royal and more, all thanking me for helping to find a solution for a problem that was affecting them as well.  I have also heard from people that are just starting home based businesses and are thrilled to know it will be possible to proceed.  Yes, I do feel proud, but I know I don’t deserve sole ownership of this feeling.  It was a group effort.   So, I hope that in the midst of an endless sea of criticism, you can take a moment to contemplate the fact that you accomplished something that will positively affect the lives of so many people. I have been critical and will continue to criticize when I feel it’s important, but it’s also important to acknowledge positive actions.
I have heard over and over again how wonderful it is to witness a happy ending, but in reality, this is a happy beginning.
Many Thanks,

Anna Shoub,
Then Hat Junkie

Monday, April 4, 2016

Victory, Success, Jubilation, Love, Happiness, Dancing, Prancing Tears of Joy

It happened!! The proposed changes to The NS building code have arrived that will remove red tape for Home Based Businesses in NS.  Clarification has arrived.  Click HERE to see the most beautiful clarification to ever walk this earth. So long as any municipality in NS recognizes the importance of Home Based Business and wishes to support it, the building code will be on their side.  Michael Gorman, the striking provincial reporter for The Chronicle Herald, who currently writes for Local Xpress was kind enough to send me this joyous news on Twitter.  I cried like a baby.  Tears of Joy.

Thank you to Minister Furey and Minister Churchill. Thank you to everyone who has stayed by my side throughout this ordeal, particularly my husband and most of all, Thank you to the two wonderful, supportive men without whom this could not have happened.  You will remain nameless here, but you damn well know who you are and I love you both.  Pick me up for a drink please.