Ghosts, specters and succubi around the HRM rest a little easier today, safe in the knowledge that their dusk to dawn diddling will again be safe behind the iron curtain of secrecy and denial. This relief, of course, comes in the form of Peter Duffy’s retirement from the “Old Lady of Argyle Street.”

From today’s Chronicle Herald:

After 28 years of stories and columns, it’s farewell to The Chronicle Herald. If you read my piece last Tuesday, you know I was thinking about it. Well, I’ve finished thinking about it.

The catalyst for my decision was a buyout package offered to those of us who are members of the newsroom union. Note that I said “the catalyst” and not “the reason.”

These are difficult economic times and the Old Lady of Argyle Street, as I still affectionately think of The Herald even though we moved shop last year, is not immune. Management is looking to cull the herd and a common way to do that is offer a financial incentive, based on years of service. So we all got the buyout offers.

Unfortunately, there’s more to this difficult story. Two dozen members of the news staff have been given layoff notices — as you also probably know if you read our business pages.

Now here’s the thing: For each of us who takes the buyout, a position will be saved.

So actually, my leaving is a good thing because it’ll save a colleague’s career. But there’s more to it than that. I’m leaving because my heart is telling me to.

Perhaps ChronicleHerald.ca comments section user Stubbs said it best when he said:

Goodbye and good riddance, you irrelevant old fart.

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It’s Fun to Stay at the YMCBC

This shouldn’t be shocking to anybody familiar with the state and age of the buildings on the corner of South Park and Sackville Street, but word from the YMCA Board of Directors and Management team is that they are in planning stages for a new downtown complex alongside CBC/Radio Canada. This is in the early stages and includes about two years of market research, site reviewing and consultation. In what appears to be just the beginning of “a long and multi faceted process”:

Today, we are in the preliminary stages of clearly understanding the potential development opportunities on the joint parcel of land and the implications for a new YMCA. To this end, the YMCA and CBC/Radio Canada will be submitting a joint development application to HRM at the end of January 2009.

There is no need to panic just yet about temporary closures, because the Halifax Regional Municipality still has to hear and approve such a development (up to 18 months away) plus involving the development community and most likely countless consultations. This appears to include South Park YMCA building (built in 1951), the CBC Radio Building and the adjouning parking lots.

Why is The YMCA collaborating with the CBC/Radio Canada?

In addition to being neighbours with joint properties that may have greater potential as one piece of land, The YMCA and CBC share a common mission and mandate to serve the whole community for public good. This shared purpose heightens the potential positive outcome for this community if a collaborative development could take place.

I couldn’t see much talk about this joint venture online, but it looks like $1,642.57 was spent on meetings involving Michel Saint-Cyr, President, Real Estate Division and meetings with CBC Regional Director Andrew Cochran, the YMCA, Halifax Films and Port Authority last August.