1. Heritage Trust drops legal action against Thiels
Saturday morning, Heritage Trust issued a press release saying it was “discontinuing” its request for a judicial review of Halifax Council’s approval of the 22nd Commerce Square development.
I called Trust president Linda Forbes yesterday, and she told me that the group felt continued legal action served no purpose, as Heritage Trust would get no legal ruling that could apply in the future. I asked her if the decision to drop the suit had anything to do with the ongoing legal action related to the Nova Centre—both the Trust and the Thiel family, the developer of 22nd Commerce Square, have asked the court to intervene in Joe Ramia’s Nova Centre development—and Forbes assured me it did not.
Forbes said she’s been surprised that “people who normally don’t support us” have expressed displeasure with the 22nd Commerce Square development, and she is still holding out hope that the Thiels will reconsider some of the unfortunate aspects of the development, even though, she admitted, “nothing is stopping them” from developing it as proposed.
2. Stop that plane
In an Indiana Jones-style attempt to stop a plane from taking off, a 37-year-old woman scaled a three-megtre barbed wire fence at the airport yesterday morning. She thought, incorrectly, that her partner was on the plane, but the partner wasn’t. Sh’s being attended to medically.
Lightning struck a Cape Breton house, destroying an internet modem. Also, a baby was nearby, but was OK.
People for Dogs, an animal advocacy group, is offering an unspecified reward for information leading to the arrest of whoever tortured and killed a puppy in Kingston last week. The dog, a five-month old boxer/pitbull mix named Rosebud, was found by its owners, after coming home to discover their house had been broken into. I’m told that the owners are gay, which adds a still more troublesome dimension to this story.
1. Frank Sobey’s vision
Stephen Kimber points out the irony of gazillionaire Paul Sobey’s call for the province to either step in and force Northern Pulp Mill to clean up operations or shut it down. Sobey is the grandson of Frank, the Sobey patriarch who was also president of Industrial Estates Limited, the 1970s-era crown corporation dedicated to “drag[ging] our province, ‘kicking and screaming,’ into the twentieth century.”
The result, notes Kimber, was millions of dollars dumped into subsidizing corporations that moved to Nova Scotia, and particularly to Frank Sobey’s Pictou County neighbourhood. These included Clairtone Sound, which burned through $20 million in provincial support before going belly-up, and Michelin Tire, “which has dictated labour law and funding concessions to provincial governments since the sixties, [and] is currently ‘significantly’ reducing its Pictou County operations, laying off 500 more workers.”
Then there’s Northern Pulp Mill, which, Kimber reminds us, has received $11.7 million in provincial loans and grants since 2009 alone.
“The lesson of Northern Pulp isn’t just environmental,” writes Kimber. “It’s also about how those in power have done business here for generations. Is it a lesson too late for the learning?”
Quiet you, we’ve got a convention centre to build.
Coincidentally, I was in Pictou yesterday and just happened to be driving by the Michelin plant when a complete ground-to-ground double rainbow arched perfectly over the plant, a symbol from Frank Sobey himself telling me to believe, believe, believe and our province’s economy will be saved with further corporate bailouts. I pulled into the parking lot and got my camera out, but like the dream of future convention centre delegate counts coming hard up against this year’s convention centre deficit, already the promise of Michelin salvation had faded a bit, the double rainbow reduced to a single one. Still, I caught the picture above as reminder of my momentary communication with the prophet.
Here are two more pictures of the plant, and of Northern Pulp Mills.
2. Northern Pulp Mill, take 2
Dan Leger speculates that the Liberal government will do nothing, and wait out the mill crisis until new equipment comes on line next spring.
Regional Subdivision Bylaw review (7pm, Cole Harbour Place)—the city is proposing amendments to the subdivision bylaw, as follows:
- LED Streetlights: Review HRM standards, fees, and processes for LED streetlights and consider best practices of other municipalities;
- Audit Inspections: Presently, HRM collects an audit inspection fee equal to 2% of the estimated costs of subdivision construction. The review will focus on the amount of the fee in order to determine whether it is appropriate or excessive for all situations;
- Parkland Dedication: Review parkland dedication requirements required for all types of development and contexts and the need for clarification between Parkland vs. Conservation Land;
- Utility Companies: Review the role of utility companies, including Heritage Gas, in the subdivision approval process;
- Street trees and landscaping requirements: Due to damages that occur during home construction, review best practices and consider the appropriate timing and installation of trees and landscaping in new subdivisions; and
- Warranty Security: Consider extending warranty security for new HRM infrastructure due to performance and damage that occurs after the current one year period.
- Housekeeping amendments: Since its adoption in 2006, staff have identified a list of inaccurate references and required clarifications. These amendments will clarify the operation of the regulations.
- Fee review: A review of the current subdivision fees, after reviewing best practices and a study of fees charged in other Municipalities.
Note: today’s Board of Police Commissioners meeting has been cancelled.
No public meetings today, but we should note that yesterday was Angus L. Macdonald’s birthday. He is 124.
Thesis defence, Atlantic Canada Studies (2:30pm, Atrium 216)—Masters student Raymond Gilbert Sewell will defend his thesis, “Representing the Confederation Bridge.”
A while back I asked about the settlement of black people in Nova Scotia. Yesterday, I found “The Development of Black Refugee Identity in Nova Scotia, 1813-1850,” a 2005 paper by Harvey Amani Whitfield, a prof at the University of Vermont, published in the journal Left History.
I found Whitfield’s distinction between “Black Loyalists” and “Refugees” helpful in understanding the history, and was taken that many of the refugees were from the tidewater region of Virginia and Maryland, where I grew up. Others were from the islands off South Carolina and Georgia, and Whitfield outlines how the refugees’ varied pre-immigration lives created a diverse black culture here in Nova Scotia.
It’s an interesting essay, and should be read in its entirety, but I’ll leave you with this short extract, which goes some way towards explaining black distrust of government action:
Imbued with ideas about inherent black laziness and stupidity,the local government, led by Lieutenant Governor Lord Dalhousie, believed that the Black Refugees had been brought to Nova Scotia against their will. Dalhousie argued that the Refugees, “slaves by habit and nature,” could never become successful settlers. Thus, he embarked on a series of initiatives designed to rid Nova Scotia of the Black Refugee problem. In 1817, Dalhousie attempted to enter into a treaty with the United States to send the new immigrants back to their former owners, but abandoned the proposal in the face of Refugee resistance.
I can’t imagine why the local black population would resist being sent back into slavery…
In the harbour
(click on vessel names for pictures and more information about the ships)
Western Patriot to BP Exploration
Lori Mae Porter was a very wise woman.