1. Naturalists go to court
“Nova Scotia Supreme Court Justice Christa Brothers will decide whether the Minister of Lands and Forestry has failed to live up to the obligations set out in the Endangered Species Act to protect wildlife in the province,” reports Jennifer Henderson:
“We seek the Court’s assistance as a last resort,” said lawyer Jamie Simpson, representing the Federation of Nova Scotia Naturalists, the Blomidon Naturalists’ Society, and the Halifax Field Naturalists during yesterday’s hearing.
The position of the province put forward by lawyer Jeremy Smith involves some nuanced hair-splitting. Smith did not object to the three nature-loving groups who claimed to be acting in the public interest when they asked the court to review whether the minister is meeting his responsibilities under the Act. Instead Smith argued the groups do not have “a clear and legal right” to force the minister to obey the rules.
“These applicants aren’t the mainland moose, they aren’t the lady’s slipper, and they aren’t the Eastern Pee-wee,” said Justice Christa Brothers with a trace of annoyance. “If they aren’t in court because they represent the public interest, why are they here? When the issue is regarding endangered species and they can’t mount a challenge themselves, who can?”
Click here to read “‘Who speaks for the mainland moose and Canada warbler?’ asks judge.”
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2. Hamilton to Halifax
El Jones writes:
Hamilton is the hate crimes capital of Canada, but instead of investigating the white supremacist and other right-wing terrorist groups targeting Black, Jewish, and the LGBTQ communities, Hamilton police trained its investigative unit on people of colour and anarchists. And, with Dan Kinsella in an administrative position, the Hamilton police adopted new methods of surveillance of marginalized people, and bloated its budget with the purchase of militarized equipment.
3. Peter MacKay says dumb things about climate change
This item is written by Jennifer Henderson.
Who pays for the cost of climate change? Of course we all will but that was one provocative question asked a panel for former political leaders at a session last night hosted by Dalhousie’s MacEachen Institute For Public Policy. The leaders included Dalhousie Chancellor and former Deputy Prime Minister Anne McLellan, New Brunswick Green Party founder Janice Harvey, former N.S. Premier Darrell Dexter, and former National Defence Minister Peter MacKay.
The leaders were asked whether fishermen in the Gulf of St Lawrence who have been forced to give up some of their livelihood to protect endangered right whales migrating because of global warming should receive compensation, and whether there is need to create a taxpayer-funded insurance scheme to over the costs of regulation associated with climate change.
Here’s part of the exchange that ensued.
Darrell Dexter, NDP: “Governments have broad regulatory powers. We legislated Renewable Energy targets that moved Nova Scotia Power away from fossil fuels to more renewable sources. Then we heard from a lot of unhappy consumers who felt they paid the price. The intersection between affordability and regulation is difficult.”
Anne McLellan, Liberal : “I represented Edmonton for many years and the issues are not that different out west. Its about social values. People care about endangered species and protecting the woodland caribou. The oil and gas industry claims it is being taxed to death to pay for environmental regulation.”
Peter MacKay, CPC: “You have to be able to generate wealth or the other endangered species in this region will be people. In Saint John, the Irving Oil refinery is operating at less than capacity. Wouldn’t it be better to build a pipeline east than rely on supply from Saudia Arabia or Venezuala? (applause from audience)
“We are going to be using fossil fuels for the next 40 years so why not use a Canadian product? And, at the risk of sounding insensitive, we can’t stop a major energy project because of one burrowing owl!” (hoot of laughter) “We are sitting here in the Irving Oil auditorium and we need to be conscious of the realities. We are already over-regulated.”
Janice Harvey, Green Party: “We have three billion fewer birds in North America than we did in the 1970s. Globally, we have lost 60% of our wildlife in the past 40 years. Our trade-offs are not serving wildlife well. We have to get off oil and natural gas because that is what the science says. Net zero emissions by 2050 and it doesn’t matter where the oil comes from.”
Peter MacKay, CPC: “Canada is not the problem, and it does matter where the oil comes from! The question is how do we transition to this green economy. Is there another way without turning off all the lights, eating nothing but home-grown beets and walking around in bare feet?”
Anne McLellan, Liberal: “Canada needs to do its fair share to combat this problem. We want a pipe to Burnaby, B.C. so we can export our oil to Asia at a fair price…”
Peter MacKay: “And let Atlantic Canada freeze in the dark.”
4. Taxpayers may pay for crane removal
The province is hiring two companies, Harbourside Engineering Consultants and R&D Crane Operator Limited, to remove the fallen crane on South Park Street, reports Graeme Benjamin and Alicia Draus with Global.
In a release from yesterday, the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal says the companies and their subcontractors will also receive protection against claims of damage that may result from their work to remove the crane. The release also says efforts will be made to recover the costs.
Global asked about the cost to taxpayers for removal of the crane and the timelines, but the no one at the department was available for comment. Nova Scotia Minister of Labour Labi Kousoulis previously said the cost to remove the crane would be covered by the company that owned it.
5. Trans Canada Highway built over a sinkhole
CBC collected several decades of aerial images over Oxford and found the Trans Canada Highway is built on a sinkhole. In his report, Brett Ruskin says the photos were collected from the National Air Photo Library, which is managed by Natural Resources Canada.
Hany El Naggar, a professor of geotechnical engineering at Dalhousie University tells Ruskin the province needs to do a detailed study of the area.
I’m not saying it’s unsafe without looking into the details. But it may be unsafe, we don’t know.
The highway sees about 10,000 drivers every day. Naggar says new construction techniques can handle sinkholes, but previous builders just filled the holes with rocks.
Lloyd Hines, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal, declined CBC’s request for an interview, but sent along an emailed statement:
Safety of our roads and infrastructure is the highest priority of the department. In the interest of caution, we are doing a more in-depth geotechnical investigation at this location over the next few weeks to determine if there are any changes in the subsurface geology near the interchange. This will help identify any current or future impact to our highway infrastructure.
6. Income inequality and finding a place to live in Halifax
Robert Devet at Nova Scotia Advocate has an interview with Howard Ramos, political sociologist who investigates issues of social justice and equity. He and Kathleen McNab wrote Halifax: A City of Hotspots of Income Inequality. The study looks at gentrification and trends in neighbourhoods across HRM, and not just in the urban core, but in rural parts of the municipality like Sheet Harbour.
Ramos talks, too, about affordability, especially in the new developments around the city.
It is important as part of the conversation to consider how affordability is brought into the development of these new condominiums and apartment buildings. Are they big enough for families? Are they affordable for a person with a median income? These are the kinds of questions that are important to ask and to follow up on because today, a lot of the new construction really is pricing out the average person.
There’s a lot of debate over rent control, and whether it works or doesn’t work. But it’s certainly clear that the lack of rent control and incentives for landlords to have more gradual increases in rent have led to some people being pushed out of neighborhoods in the city.
I’m actually moving from my current apartment on Saturday. There are a number of reasons I’m leaving, including increases in rent and lack of maintenance being done on the building. I lucked out in finding a new place. On the weekend as I was packing, a tenant asked me about my move. She’s been living in the building since it opened in 1993. Now widowed, she doesn’t see herself leaving any time soon. I think about people like her who are on fixed incomes looking for places to live in the city. Where do they go if they have to move?
1. Addressing the shame of menstruation
Dorothy Grant, a freelance writer in Halifax, has an opinion piece in The Chronicle Herald about the news about schools in Nova Scotia providing free menstrual products for students. Grant goes on to share some of the history of feminine hygiene products, which included pieces of wood covered in cloth to the first sanitary napkins made by Kimberly Clark during the First World War. Grant says the selling of the product wasn’t without controversy.
Many drug and department stores refused to stock the pads. One Woolworth store in San Francisco was forced, by a men’s organization, to take down a window display of boxes of sanitary pads.
I wonder if men had periods, would there be suits made from Kotex pads displayed on mannequins?
Anyway, as Grant points out, women still face stigma about menstruation and period poverty is a very real issue, even in Canada.
Offering free menstrual products in schools is a very good start to addressing the shame women still face about their periods.
Nicole Munro at the Herald has this piece on how teachers have been paying for menstrual products to hand out in classrooms.
2. Protect Liverpool Bay and open-pen fish farms in Nova Scotia
Yesterday, I spoke with Brian Muldoon with Protect Liverpool Bay (PLB), a group based on the South Shore working to get the province to withdraw an application by Cooke Aquaculture for the expansion of its open-pen fish farm in Liverpool Bay. The group had an information table at Port Jam at Port Medway on the weekend. PLB is also working with Ecojustice, the country’s largest law charity, to stop the application. Muldoon says they are now preparing to go in front of the Aquaculture Review Board. Muldoon says he expects they’ll have that chance in December or January. In the meantime, the PLB is also rallying other groups, including those involved in recreation, navigation, and any industry that potentially could be affected by the fish-farm expansion. If you’ve been on the South Shore, you’ve probably seen their signs. Muldoon says they are working on about 100 more signs, adding to the about 400 already placed throughout Queens County.
I would say we probably have 90 per cent community support. I hope as a community, this Aquaculture Review Board doesn’t side with the province, but actually listens to us.
Cooke has ten sea sites around Nova Scotia. Cooke’s proposal for expansion involves three sites at Kelly Cove Salmon in Liverpool Bay. One of those sites currently has 14 pens that will be expanded to 20. Another two sites will have 20 pens each. Cooke’s goal is to produce 1.8 million salmon here. A moratorium on open-pen fish farming was imposed by the province in 2013, and lifted three years later.
PLB got its start about four years ago. Muldoon is from Ottawa but he moved to Beach Meadows four years ago with his partner, Stan Wentzell, who grew up on the South Shore. They live in a house on the beach once owned by Wentzell’s great aunts. They have access to several kilometres of beach and picturesque views. But Muldoon says there was one eyesore he noticed when they moved there: an open-pen fish farm in Liverpool Bay. Muldoon would see a few boats go out to the nets every day.
We don’t know what happens below those nets.
Then last summer, Muldoon says he started hearing the humming of an automatic feeder at the site. He says the feeder is about 78 feet long. He sent a letter to Cooke Aquaculture about it. Then he learned Cooke planned on expanded its operation in Liverpool Bay. Muldoon started to spread the word to residents in Liverpool and beyond. He organized a group to meet at his home. He stood on one of the busiest street corners in Liverpool wearing a homemade sign that said “No to Fish Farms.”
No one was aware of it. [Cooke] wanted to sneak it in. I thought we had to make people aware of it.
Muldoon also started researching fish farms and the impact they have on communities and the environment. He made a new sign that encouraged people to Google phrases such as “Cooke & the environment” or “Lobster Industry & Cooke.”
I wanted people to educate themselves. People were emailing me and saying ‘I had no idea.’
Muldoon and the group created a Facebook page, showed a few documentaries, hosted rallies, and there was even a song written about their opposition to the fish farm.
The group met with mayor and the council of the Queens Regional Municipality, attending morning meetings every two weeks, taking the five minutes they were given to share their thoughts on the farm. In April, the council voted 5 to 3 for a motion to oppose the fish farm expansion.
Muldoon says he’s done his research on the issue. He found a study done by Inka Milewski who worked with lobster fisherman in Port Mouton and studied the effects fish farms there had on catches. Fish farms, including Cooke, have had issues with sea lice. In January 2018 the Scottish Association for Marine Science published a report called the Review of the Environmental Impacts of Salmon Farming in Scotland. That report said that producing 200,000 tonnes of salmon would emit organic waste equal to that produced by 2.65 million people. Muldoon says using those figures they calculated the organic waste amount for Cooke’s farm in Liverpool Bay. Cooke wants to produce 1.8 million salmon at the expanded farm. That’s 8,100 tonnes of salmon, which equals to the organic waste of 107,000 people going into Liverpool Bay.
Muldoon says other countries like Denmark are already banning open-pen fish farming and Nova Scotia shouldn’t be going ahead with more.
Nova Scotia seems to be 20 years behind. If they are pulling them out, then maybe we shouldn’t be opening up our pristine waters. We want to say no from the get go.
In March, the farm lost 10,000 fish due to cold water. Cooke’s spokesperson Joel Richardson told CBC’s Frances Willick cold-water deaths of fish happen about every five years.
We obviously take a lot of care and pride in farming fish and the sea farming environment. But working with livestock and agricultural production, when you’re growing fish and any other type of animals, there are occurrences that … do cause problems.
Muldoon says he watched as the dead fish were taken away and estimates by the size and number of crates and trucks used, more than 10,000 fish were killed.
Muldoon says the group is not against fish farms entirely. He says there are on-land farms they support.
I reached out to Cooke yesterday, but haven’t heard back by the time I wrote this Morning File.
Cooke’s CEO Glen Cooke spoke about the expansion back in March. He also dismissed the company’s critics, as reported by CBC.
I think a lot of the people who are opposing our industry today really are ill-informed or have information that is old and not real anymore.
We do have sustainable, environmentally-friendly operations that will create long-serving jobs in those communities.
Cooke also referenced an industry-funded, peer-reviewed study that looked at the lobsters under a fish farm in the Bay of Fundy at Grand Manan, N.B., which found there was no difference in size or abundance of those lobsters one kilometre away from the fish farm.
As for the fish, Muldoon says those are processed in New Brunswick, where Cooke is headquartered. Muldoon says about 60 per cent of them go to the U.S. market with another small percentage going to China.
There are other companies looking to open fish farms in Nova Scotia. The province granted four leases to Mitsubishi-owned Cermaq for areas in Chedabucto Bay in Guysborough and in Digby.
As far as Cooke’s application for expansion in Liverpool Bay, Muldoon says they are working to be as prepared as possible.
It we lose this one, our province will be destroyed. It will be open for business as usual.
1. Imagine Spring Garden Road where everyone looks the same
Yesterday, the city released an update on its Imagine Spring Garden Road project. There are several photos as well as a video of a rendering of the project shown from several perspectives. The video stroll down Spring Garden shows lots of planters and places for pedestrians to relax and transit users to sit.
According to the release, this rendering is a hybrid of the Pocket Park and a Paver Promenade that includes a lot of plants and open spaces. Here are some of the considerations mentioned:
- Reduction of linear planting beds to create more flow through on the street. Increase in rain garden vegetation to help with storm water mitigation. Raised curbs around the planting areas to discourage pedestrians walking through the beds.
- Addition of flexible and moveable bright coloured seating – including different types of seating and benches with backs and armrests.
- Public art component and allow for special event flexibility.
This design will be part of an RFP out this fall looking for a company to do the detailed design of the enhancements.
Commenters on the video pointed out the lack of bike lanes, no places for buses to pull aside, and nowhere for business owners to park.
The last line of the backgrounder says the goal is to make Spring Garden Road “a beautiful and welcoming space for people of all ages and abilities,” yet I didn’t notice one wheelchair user in the entire video or in any of the photos. In the video, there’s one older gentleman with a cane who is sitting on a bench. There are also a lot of white people.
1. Signs, signs, everywhere there’s signs
On Saturday, I was at Value Village in Bayers Lake and noticed a new sign at the parking lot exit onto Chain Lake Drive telling drivers no left-hand turns are permitted. There’s a white right-turn arrow painted on the driveway on the way out. There were four cars in front of me, but all of them ignored the sign and made the left-hand turn anyway.
The exit is located on a turn that can be hard to see around when you’re trying to make that left-hand turn. Drivers often speed here. Even before the signs were put up, I would take a right instead, then turn around at the Ultimate Home Comfort store just up the street. That can be a pain in the ass, but it can also be faster and safer.
I called the manager of the store, Sabino Urciuoli, who told me he had the signs installed recently to address two issues. One, is that turn. He says there have been accidents and many near-misses here because of drivers making the left turn. The other issue are the lineups caused by drivers waiting to turn left. Urciuoli says traffic backs up into the store parking lot, blocking the donation lane where cars drive up to drop off bags of items to donate. He says the signs have helped a bit.
It increases awareness at least a bit, but people will do what they want. I wish it would help a little more.
Uriciuoli arrived in Nova Scotia from Winnipeg about a year ago.
Some of the roadway situations are weird, but the drivers here are better.
He’d like to see changes on Chain Lake Drive near the store, including adding of sidewalks and a reduction in the speed limit there. He says customers and staff walking to the store have to do so on a gravel shoulder. The pedestrian friendly part of Bayers Lake seems to end at the intersection of Chain Lake and Washmill.
Some signs in parking lots can be enforced. I emailed Marla MacInnis, a spokesperson with the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal, who says the signs that are typically installed by the owner of the development don’t require any approval from the traffic authority.
As long as they are official traffic signs, they can be enforced by law enforcement and should be obeyed by road users.
According to the Nova Scotia Driver’s Handbook, the sign for no left-hand turns is an official sign.
So are these stop signs outside the entrance/exit at the Sobeys on Lacewood Drive in Clayton Park. I often see drivers ignore these signs. They look pretty official, right? This is a very busy spot with lots of shoppers and drivers. Having stop signs here could prevent accidents.
Evan Williams, an automotive writer in Halifax, suggested that the area at Value Village have a Michigan Lane. This actually makes sense here. Like me, Williams often just turns right and then makes a left about 50 metres up the road to head back to his destination. You can find a detailed description of the Michigan Lane here.
No public meetings.
Human Resources (Tuesday, 10am, One Government Place) — folks from the Department of Labour and Advanced Education and Halifax Partnership will explain how they have solved the employment crisis.
Natural Resources and Economic Development (Tuesday, 1pm, One Government Place) — since gold mining has already made us all rich, the committee will explore ways to double! our riches through… uranium mining.
No public meetings.
The Future of Work: Where Demographics, Technology and Urbanization Collide (Tuesday, 12pm, Room 1020, Rowe Management Building) — the third panel in the MacEachen Institute’s 10-week Policy Matters Speaker Series, featuring Karen Foster, Sunil Johal, and Ian Munro.
AI, disruptive industries, urbanization and demographic changes are rapidly transforming the economy. This panel looks to the future: what labour policies should we pursue to ensure an appropriate quality of life for Canadians? What changes are employers making to adapt to the new business landscape? How should workers prepare for the jobs of the future?
Registration not required; more info here.
BRIC NS Student Seminar Series (Wednesday, 12:15pm, Room 264, Collaborative health Education Building) — Juliana McLaren will talk about “Investigating the Relationship Between Hearing Loss and Memory Using Event-Related Potentials (ERPs).” Mike Reid will talk about “Moving Beyond the ‘Where’: An examination of the interaction between healthcare policy and complex community systems in Nova Scotia.” More info here.
Spider silk (Wednesday, 4pm, theatre A, Tupper medical Building) — Stefan Warkentin will talk about “Aciniform Spider Silk Proteins: Investigating Solution State Assembly and the Potential of Nanoparticles as a Drug Delivery Vehicle.”
Global Health Interventions: Lessons from Nova Scotia and West Africa (Wednesday, 5:30pm, Theatre A, Tupper Medical Building) — a panel discussion featuring Janice Graham, Buba Manjang, Heather Scott, and Gaynor Watson-Creed, moderated by Shawna O’Hearn.
Migrants and Migration in the Classical World (Wednesday, 5:30pm, Loyola 179) — Ben Akrigg from the university of Toronto will talk. More info here.
In the harbour
06:00: Oceanex Sanderling, ro-ro container, arrives at Pier 41 from St. John’s
07:00: Silver Wind, cruise ship with up to 355 passengers, arrives at Pier 23 from Sydney, on an 11-day cruise from Montreal to New York
07:30: Carnival Sunrise, cruise ship with up to 3,730 passengers, arrives at Pier 20 from New York, on a seven-day roundtrip cruise out of New York
09:30: Mein Schiff 1, cruise ship with up to 2.894 passengers, arrives at Pier 22 from Bar Harbor, on a 14-day roundtrip cruise out of New York
14:30: HalTerm Crib, the next piece of the Pier 41/42 expansion, moves from Pier 9 to HalTerm
15:30: Atlantic Star, container ship, arrives at Berth TBD from Liverpool, England
16:00: JSP Levante, cargo ship, sails from Pier 31 for sea
16:00: Silver Wind sails for Bar Harbor
17:00: Carnival Sunrise sails for Saint John
22:00: Mein Schiff 1 sails for Quebec City
I thought I’d share a song for all my creative friends who are asked to work for “exposure.” Here’s Miss Eaves with Exposure Kills.