1. Postcards from the edge of a clearcut
This item is written by Jennifer Henderson.
Lands & Forestry Minister Derek Mombourquette is getting a lot of mail these days. More than 5,000 barn-red postcards featuring a stylish moose on the front and a plea to stop clearcutting on Crown land have been distributed over the past month.
The mainland moose is a reminder of the arrests of citizens who blocked roads in Digby County to prevent Westfor from proceeding with a government-authorized clearcut in an area of habitat frequented by the endangered species. (The company has asked the court for a permanent injunction to prevent further civil disobedience.)
And more postcards are in the mail to try to speed up the McNeil government’s implementation of the Lahey Report, which prescribed less clearcutting and more protection for wildlife nearly 2.5 years ago. The public comment period on the new and revamped Forest Management Guide (which will determine which areas receive which type of harvesting in the future) closes Feb. 19.
To learn more about the Lahey Report and plans to implement recommendations to the province’s forestry practices, go here.
The postcard campaign is Marilyn Cameron’s idea. She is not a member of any of the major environmental groups. It’s on her dime and her time and she is printing more cards, hoping to contact people in Cumberland and Colchester counties via email: [email protected].
The retired veterinarian and her husband Paul own a 50-acre farm property (no spray) where they grow garlic and vegetables. They raise sheep and chickens at their mixed farm located at the base of the North Mountain between Kentville and Berwick. The produce from Hawthorn Hill farm is sold at local farmers’ markets.
The Camerons are a member of the Nova Scotia Federation of Agriculture and the NS Woodlot Owners Association. They are learning how best to manage a 25-acre woodlot on the farm.
Marilyn Cameron is angry about the amount of clearcutting she’s witnessing on the North Mountain and from satellite photos shared by groups such as Extinction Rebellion and the Ecology Action Centre. She’s convinced the ongoing deforestation is linked to climate change that is making the Annapolis Valley a more difficult place to farm.
“Ten of the past 15 years have been the driest on record since the province began keeping weather records,” said Cameron. “The hose and sprinklers go all day long, seven days a week, pulling from the ground water. All my farm neighbours are going crazy installing irrigation systems or digging irrigation ponds. In the meantime, everything is being clearcut. And to me, those two things are linked: no trees, no rain.”
“Trees are part of the vital water cycle,” continued Cameron. “They transpire and that vapour helps clouds form. Without the trees, we have more wind and we have less rain. That’s what’s happening here in Nova Scotia. I think the trees are our best buffers against climate change.”
Cameron said she has also noticed changes in the type of birds and beneficial insects, which are no longer as plentiful. Although her mail-in campaign has so far elicited no response from Mombourquette, Cameron did receive a visit from Kings South MLA Keith Irving. Irving was sympathetic but what Cameron wants is government action to implement recommended changes to protect more forested areas and endangered species.
Save the stamps and sympathy for the moose.
2. COVID-19 update: One new case
Tim Bousquet has the latest on COVID-19. One new case was announced on Monday (there was one new case announced on Sunday and two new cases on Saturday. All of those cases are related to travel outside Atlantic Canada).
There are now 10 active cases of the virus in the province and one person is in hospital in the ICU (I always watch this number, too).
Five of the active cases are in the Halifax Peninsula/Chebucto Community Health Network in the Central Zone.
3. COVID-19 and the failures of imprisonment
Martha Paynter, registered nurse and founder and chair of Women’s Wellness Within, writes about the failures COVID-19 has exposed in prisons. Visitors aren’t permitted in federal prisons and anyone entering a prison faces two weeks of isolation with no communication tools.
As Paynter writes:
The many risks of prisons in the COVID-19 era are well documented: poorly maintained and unclean; with a lack of PPE, and a population with complex needs, stemming from lives of surviving abuse, poverty, and social exclusion, prisons are rife with infectious disease.
But it is this issue of social support that is the ultimate paradox: prisons cannot safely let visitors in, and people inside will never be safe without visits.
The restrictions are especially challenging for female prisoners, who are the faster growing population in federal prisons. Paynter says even before the COVID-10 pandemic, women in prisons had fewer visits than men and those lack of visits put women at risk for depression, psychosis, and substance use . Women’s Wellness Within hasn’t had programming inside a correctional facility since March 2020.
And as Paynter points out, even if prisoners were allowed to have visitors, those visitors face restrictions themselves, restrictions that could potentially change while traveling from other provinces to visit loved ones in prisons.
4. The Wayne Hankey case
Just over two weeks ago, Halifax Regional Police charged Wayne Hankey, a retired professor at Dalhousie University and the University of King’s College, with sexual assault. That incident happened in 1988.
Stephen Kimber looks back to 1991 when then King’s president Marion Fry announced at a faculty meeting that the university’s board of governors had suspended Hankey for one year after a man complained to the Anglican Church that Hankey sexually abused him while he was a student at King’s in the late 1970s. Kimber recalls his response to the news:
I’d had no idea any of this was coming that day, probably because at the time faculty in the journalism school and the Foundation Year Programme (FYP), the innovative first-year program Wayne had helped launch nearly 30 years earlier, operated in their own never-the-twain-shall-meet silos and had as little to do with one another as possible.
But I do remember my immediate reaction that day. I felt sorry for Wayne. He would not be around to bask in the glow of his singular achievement.
I know now that was the wrong first response.
It would not be my response today
5. Nurses and doctors concerned about patients recording them while they work
David Burke at CBC talks about the healthcare workers’ concerns about being filmed and photographed while at work. It seems patients and their families are using their cellphones to film nurses and doctors while they’re taking care of them or family.
Janet Hazelton, president of the Nova Scotia Nurses’ Union, says nurses are becoming “really uneasy” with these recordings, which are distracting them while they work. Hazelton says nurses are also worried where the recordings will end up. She says some nurses have seen the recordings and photos on social media, shared without their permission.
Burke learns from Karen Hornberger, the provincial director of privacy for Nova Scotia’s health authority, that there’s not much that can be done about this. Says Hornberger:
There’s very little we can do to actually get patients to stop recording the interactions. In Canada they do have the right to do that. That’s my understanding from our legal services team.
But the health authority can step in if someone is recording someone else’s interactions with a healthcare work, and not just their own.
Robyn MacQuarrie, an obstetrician and gynecologist who is president of Doctors Nova Scotia says there should be clear communication between healthcare workers, patients, and their families on recordings and photographs. Says MacQuarrie:
It would be better if we could all agree on the use of video and recordings, but I think we always need to look and understand why is that person recording that encounter? And find ways to work with them. So if they’re doing it in a way that isn’t safe for other patients, risks the confidentiality of others … then we need to find ways around it,
The solution? Hazelton says ask permission first.
1. Lucasville Greenway: connecting communities and history
Last week, I met with John Young, Cynthia Lucas, and Bernice Lucas, all with the Lucasville Greenway Society. The society is working to get a greenway built in its community, which is between Hammonds Plains and Middle Sackville. The greenway will be a trail for walkers and cyclists. And while the idea behind the greenway got its start in 2015 with the then-named Lucasville Green Space Group, the project is in limbo right now.
The greenway would run along Lucasville Road from the Wallace Lucas Community Centre to near Old Sackville Road, which is very close to Sackville Drive (and sidewalks and transit). Young says the creation of the greenway is largely because of safety. There are no sidewalks on Lucasville Road and the community is not served by public transit. The gravel shoulders of the roads are very narrow. Most of the amenities the community needs are either in Lower Sackville or Hammonds Plains. And the traffic has increased over the last number of years as new developments were built in the area and in nearby Hammonds Plains, and Lucasville Road became a connector. Young says there are about 7,000 to 10,000 vehicles a day driving the road. Says Young:
The safety issue is paramount there to get people from A to B. We have a lot of support for that.
The surrounding communities benefit as well. If we had a greenway the majority of those residents will be on that greenway. We are trying to reach out to the other communities as well for support, not so much financial, but support in having the network.
The greenway is also about mobility for the community’s seniors and families. Lucas says that while seniors can now take an Access-a-Bus, the service drops passengers off at stops Hammonds Plains Road or Sackville Drive. Those seniors have to arrange for someone to pick them up at either of those stops. Says Young:
It’s not just a recreational trail like the other ones. It’s a means to an end.
The greenway project was added to the HRM Active Transportation Plan in late spring of 2017. That year Design Point, which was hired by the society, completed the Lucasville Greenway Vision Summary Report. WSP Canada is now working on the functional plan of the project and Young says they’re using some of the material in the Design Point Greenway Vision Summary Report. (The society has a website with lots of details on its plans and more. Click here to find that). In 2019, the society joined the Halifax Regional Trails Association.
The society partnered with PLANifax to create this video about the greenway project.
In 2019, Halifax Water laid the water lines in a way that would be less intrusive for when construction began on the greenway.
But the greenway won’t just be about safety and mobility. Young says the group would like to have interpretative signage placed along various spots telling the story of this historic Black community, which will celebrate its 200th anniversary in 2027.
He says they’d like to get funding and hire a university researcher to look into the community’s history, including its founders like the Lucas, Parsons, and Oliver families. Cynthia Lucas says saving those names is an important part of this greenway project. (There are similar historic interpretative panels on the Bedford-Sackville Greenway Connector and on Sackville Drive.) Lucas says it’s the greenway’s connection to the community’s heritage that’s most important for her.
We were born and raised here and we’re going to lose it if we don’t do something about it, to put our mark on our community. There’s been a lot of building here. People have been pushed out, moved away, and they build around it, and it’s not your community anymore. It belongs to everybody but we want to be remembered in this community. We want that to be known on this trail.
Baptisms used to take place in a river along where the trail would run. And on the Old Sackville Road, graves of some of the community’s ancestors have long since been paved over. (In 2018, I wrote about how some people in the community were working to get their local graveyard cleaned up. Some of the graves there were paved over.) Young says they want all that history included on the interpretive signs.
While the community worked to raise funds for the greenway, through events like a “wing nite”, eventually they were told the greenway would be paid for with direct delivery. Young says the cost is estimated between $2.8 million and $3.2 million.
Last night, I talked to Walter Regan of the Sackville River Association, who worked with the society giving them advice on the project (he’s now one of the society’s directors). Regan says a greenway for Lucasville is long overdue. Says Regan:
What a great gift to say you’re part of the HRM community and to celebrate its 200th anniversary by building this greenway. This is a wonderful opportunity for HRM to get involved in. I hope the other levels of government will step up and make it easier for HRM. But the people of Lucasville deserve to be able to walk alongside their road safely.
Regan tells me that the north end of the Lucasville Greenway, where it crosses the Sackville River, will join the Conservation Corridor, a multi-purpose active transportation trail that will follow the Sackville River from Fort Sackville to Uniacke House in Mount Uniacke. The first five kilometres is already built; that’s the Bedford-Sackville Greenway Connector. The remaining 35 kilometres is still a vision. On the other end, the Lucasville Greenway can connect with Hammonds Plains and St. Margarets Bay. Says Regan:
A trail is a wonderful thing. A trail that goes somewhere is an even better thing.”
While the planning for the greenway is stalled, the community is still looking to make their vision a reality. The society is hosting its AGM on March 31. Says Young:
I think it’s time for change, especially in Lucasville. The change has to been forward thinking. The backward thinking will come with the historical content, but the forward thinking will come with those who are here now and want things better.
2. Reporter moves to Nova Scotia because of “selfishness” of Ontarians
Reporter Keith Leslie writes in the Hamilton Spectator about his decision to move to Nova Scotia from downtown Toronto where he lived for 40 years. Leslie, who retired from full-time reporting in 2017, say the plan was always to leave downtown Toronto after retirement, perhaps staying in southern Ontario. But Leslie says he made the decision to move to Nova Scotia after vacationing here last summer where he noticed people were taking the pandemic seriously. Leslie writes:
No one whines about putting on a mask to enter a store. There are no protest marches, and people on the street try their best to stay as far apart as possible when passing each other — usually offering a knowing nod or a hidden smile. The movie theatre is closed, but stores, restaurants and bars remain open, with reduced capacity or hours, and families can visit each other, so life goes on more or less as normal, with face coverings.
Leslie says the story was the complete opposite in Ontario:
There also seemed to be more and more jerks ignoring social distancing requirements, especially hard-breathing, sweaty, maskless runners that breezed within inches of people out for a walk, parents desperate for a little fresh air or a few minutes of peace and quiet from their locked-down households.
It’s infuriating to see hundreds of people yelling at antimask rallies in Hamilton, St. Catharines, Toronto and elsewhere across Ontario, especially as COVID-19’s daily death count keeps climbing, and as the virus devastates long term care homes and overwhelms hospitals. Their selfishness is unbelievable.
Leslie now lives in a home outside of Antigonish, “overlooking farms and rolling hills.” He says his new neighbours drop off welcome gifts, all from a safe distance, of course.
I know Leslie’s not the only one who’s moved to the province since the pandemic hit, but I’m always curious: Will they all stay when it’s over?
Halifax blogger Stephen Archibald has more photos of downtown Halifax, these ones taken in 1966, all saved in Old Album, Number Four.
First, Archibald has a photo of this building on Cogswell Street at the bottom of Citadel Hill that was part of a 19th-century British military compound:
There’s this photo of a building on Prince Street. Says Archibald:
I was fascinated with the idea of living in this tiny brick building at the top of Prince Street. Imagine what it could be inside, with exposed brick and some sections of floor removed to open up the space: a dreamy urban loft with giant floor pillows and long pine dining table. Never mind that it sat in a wasteland of billboards and parking lots.
Archibald includes a photo of what’s on that site now. Not exactly inspiring any imaginations.
Archibald also shares photos from Bridgetown where his family had a cottage. The album includes this photo of a “a precise brick house with a stable, and old apple tree in bloom.” I love this house.
And then there’s this one of a waterfall. Says Archibald of the photo:
My father and I would regularly go over the North Mountain for walks on the Fundy Shore. A favourite ramble was beside a waterfalled stream down to hidden Saint Croix Cove. Before falling asleep at night I’d imagine a dream house, a glass pavilion perched about this cove.
You also have to read the postscript that includes photos of a young Archibald, including one of him lounging on on a damp deck of the Cristoforo Colombo, a liner that brought passengers from Europe to Halifax where they docked at Pier 21. Archibald includes a photo of the ship, too.
How lucky we are that Archibald has always wandered all over the place taking photos.
Halifax and West Community Council (Tuesday, 6pm) — live webcast
Budget Committee (Wednesday, ) — live webcast, with captioning on a text-only site
Veterans Affairs (Tuesday, 2pm) — video conference; Veteran Services and Geriatrics, Nova Scotia Health Authority; and Camp Hill Hospital: Challenges faced due to COVID-19, with Heather White
No public events.
Separating Home and Work Support Group (Wednesday, 12pm) — MS Teams meeting
Primary Health Care Learning Series ‑ Presented by BRIC NS (Wednesday, 12:30pm) — two Zoom presentations: Matthew Grandy will present “Utilizing EMR Data for primary care research: Insights and challenges in making data accessible for research and QI at a practice level.” Virginia McIntyre and Karly Stefko will present “A promising intervention: the successful implementation of a 10-week exercise program for individuals with chronic pain.”
Open Dialogue Live: Health Tech (Wednesday, 6:30pm) — Travis McDonough from Kinduct Technologies will talk, joined by Brandon McDaniel from the Los Angeles Dodgers, Shamar Burrows from Dalhousie Tigers Basketball, and Tim Maloney.
Spring Festival Gala (Tuesday, 12pm) — via Zoom, highlights of CCTV Spring Festival Gala, a TV party organized by China Central Radio and Television Station to celebrate Lunar New Year
The Librarian Is In (Tuesday, 3pm) — chat with a librarian about your library or research-related questions
In the harbour
06:00: Pictor J, container ship, arrives at Pier 42 from Reykjavik, Iceland
11:45: Pictor J sails for Portland
13:00: Giulia I, bulker, sails from Pier 9 for sea
14:00: Tropic Lissette, cargo ship, sails from Pier 42 for Palm Beach, Florida
15:00: Atlantic Sun, container ship, arrives at Fairview Cove from Liverpool, England
22:30: Atlantic Sun sails for New York
I swear there are some people who can’t do anything nice without posting about it or sharing a selfie on social media.