No time for a holiday

Darrell
Darrell Cole
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Town council prefers Natal Day to day off in February

AMHERST - Amherst is not rushing to support a proposal to have a February holiday declared in the province.

While not against the creation of a winter holiday, members of town council fell short of endorsing the idea during a committee-of-the-whole meeting recently and suggested the Natal Day holiday in early August should have priority.
Coun. Robert Bird said declaring a holiday comes with a cost and should be carefully considered.
"There's a cost to business in a lost day of productivity and in some cases, lost sales revenue," Bird told council.
"I can't see how this could help small business."
In suggesting a letter be sent to the province supporting Liberal MLA Diana Whalen's call for the creation of Joseph Howe Day, Coun. Robert Angel said the town could take advantage of the February holiday by organizing a winter carnival.
Whalen is suggesting the third Monday in February be named in honour of Howe, suggesting it could be used as a family day. The Halifax area MLA said the time from New Year's Day to Good Friday is the longest period annually without a holiday.AMHERST - Amherst is not rushing to support a proposal to have a February holiday declared in the province.
While not against the creation of a winter holiday, members of town council fell short of endorsing the idea during a committee-of-the-whole meeting recently and suggested the Natal Day holiday in early August should have priority.
Coun. Robert Bird said declaring a holiday comes with a cost and should be carefully considered.
"There's a cost to business in a lost day of productivity and in some cases, lost sales revenue," Bird told council.
"I can't see how this could help small business."
In suggesting a letter be sent to the province supporting Liberal MLA Diana Whalen's call for the creation of Joseph Howe Day, Coun. Robert Angel said the town could take advantage of the February holiday by organizing a winter carnival.
Whalen is suggesting the third Monday in February be named in honour of Howe, suggesting it could be used as a family day. The Halifax area MLA said the time from New Year's Day to Good Friday is the longest period annually without a holiday.
AMHERST - Amherst is not rushing to support a proposal to have a February holiday declared in the province.
While not against the creation of a winter holiday, members of town council fell short of endorsing the idea during a committee-of-the-whole meeting recently and suggested the Natal Day holiday in early August should have priority.
Coun. Robert Bird said declaring a holiday comes with a cost and should be carefully considered.
"There's a cost to business in a lost day of productivity and in some cases, lost sales revenue," Bird told council.
"I can't see how this could help small business."
In suggesting a letter be sent to the province supporting Liberal MLA Diana Whalen's call for the creation of Joseph Howe Day, Coun. Robert Angel said the town could take advantage of the February holiday by organizing a winter carnival.
Whalen is suggesting the third Monday in February be named in honour of Howe, suggesting it could be used as a family day. The Halifax area MLA said the time from New Year's Day to Good Friday is the longest period annually without a holiday.
When she first floated the idea in 2005, only Alberta celebrated a February holiday. Since then, Manitoba, Saskathewan, Ontario and P.E.I., have created a holiday on the third Monday of the month.
Angel suggested it's something the town should consider.
"I know support for this is growing across the province and I think we could do a little more than we're doing to coincide with this holiday," Angel said.
Coun. Dave March and Deputy Mayor Terry Rhindress feel the town would be better served supporting a provincial holiday on the first Monday in August since it's already a holiday in Halifax and in the banking and government sectors.
"Everyone would love to have a vacation in February, but I think a day off in August would be better when the rest of the province is off as well," said March.
Town CAO Greg Herrett said a February holiday could have an impact on the town's bottom line as well since the town would be responsible for holiday overtime costs associated with snow clearing operations.
dcole@amherstdaily.com

Organizations: Town council

Geographic location: Halifax, Alberta, Manitoba Ontario

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Recent comments

  • Joe
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    Bird only cares about the bottom line of businesses like Wal-mart. Can't have a holiday in February like other parts of the province because it'll hurt business bottom line? Maybe Bird and the other counsellors can lobby to eliminate other holidays as well simply to save costs.

    We read articles about winter blues and February is the bluest month without a long weekend.

    So Bird fails to see how this helps small businesses. Can he speak up and say how it helps families? His arguement against this holiday can apply to all holidays and festivals and what have you.

    If a single day will break a business then that business has more problems than Robert Bird can solve.

  • JE
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    Mr. Bird ignores the increased productivity that comes about from employees getting a paid holiday now and again.

    Germany, the 3rd largest economy on the planet will have 17 statutory holidays in 2010, and I don't think too many people there are quibbling about lost profits.

    The council needs to get squarely behind the idea of a February holiday and join the half of the country that already had this day off.

    Mr. Bird, too many times councillors spout off their personal opinions and they're not thinking of what their constituents feel.

  • Ron
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    Maybe I am wrong, but business seems to be busy and brisk on any long weekend. You see lineups at grocery stores, and the mall etc. People buying liquor etc. Whenever there is a long weekend approaching, people has a tendency to *stock up* on things in anticipation of fun times. Just like when there is an approaching storm, people are at the stores stocking up. Human nature to me. So i think a holiday if anything will boost sales. And like the others say, it is a long time between Xmas and Easter. A break would be nice

  • Davos
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    Forgive me if I have little sympathy for businesses who complained about having to open on Sunday and many of whom still close their doors at 6PM on Saturday, whining about loss of business due to a holiday.

  • Your kidding me
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    Mr. Bird, its nice of you to worry about what a holiday in February would do to small business in our area but i really dont think the proposal of having the day off was intended to benefit small business. As for losing revenue, one holidays revenue versus cross border shopping,364 days a year???
    I think the intention is to give hard working people a day off to break up the long winter and to give people a rest day
    from the winters blahs.
    I also wouldn't be to concerned about paying overtime to our town employes as Mr. Herrett stated.

  • Fuzzy Bear
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    Hello... what would you expect Mr. Bird to say? He's a small business who would have to pay any employees he has a holiday out off his own pocket. Just as every other member of the council would say if they run a business. The only way to measure the peoples desire for this is to ask them.
    Mr. Bird your last comment in this article is hilarious.....read the above comments and/or do a poll at the mall. You will see you get over 85% supporting this proposal for a hoiliday. The other 15% will obviously be business owners.
    Maybe you are only one here thinking about your own personal interests!!

  • Vince
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    A holiday in February is a great idea. If the only concern that business's and productivity suffer, that is a lame excuse. We must think of the people first and give them e break from the long stretch from New Years day to Easter. It will take some of the burden off the winter blues(so to speak) A lot of the business's are open on some of the holidays anyway.

  • peter
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    We already have the lowest amount of statutory holidays of any province in Canada. Time for catch up. Give the holiday, in february, to the workers of this province.