Clarifying Halifax

The mayor of Halifax, Nova Scotia, is taking jabs for a campaign that offered international concert promoters a free venue on the Halifax Commons to those who could produce events that draw 40,000-plus.

Mayor Peter Kelly and his staff created a postcard to promoters that stipulated the city would waive certain service fees – police, fire, parks, waste, medical and transit – for large-scale concerts like a Rolling Stones show the city hosted last year.

But a recent column in the city’s Chronicle Herald was quick to point out that Kelly’s already singing a different tune, and has changed the wording on the postcard to read that the city is "prepared to offset some or all" of the costs.

Some officials worry whether the mayor’s campaign could lead to claims of false advertising, the column said, and whether the mayor is "overreaching by committing the city to a policy as well as expenditures which council had not specifically signed off on."

And while Kelly’s campaign was praised by regional promoters for being proactive in promoting the city for concerts, some officials are apparently accusing him of stepping on toes at the provincial booking agency Events Halifax.

"When you have other cities all across the country vying for these named concerts, then we need to be as proactive as possible to try to attract some high-caliber acts here… to let them know that Halifax is open for business," Kelly previously told the paper.

Either way, the mayor and the council need to work out their communication issues and decide on an events policy, the Herald said, to move out of "the bog of small-time politics and get on with the next show."