Today’s Morning File is co-written by Tim Bousquet and Erica Butler. Tim is writing and will be publishing a news article later today.
1. Another dead whale found in the Gulf of St Lawrence
The body count for right whales in the Gulf of St. Lawrence is now 10, reports the CBC. That means in the past couple of months about two per cent of the population of the endangered species has been found dead, floating or washed up along the shores of the Gulf. No one knows what’s killing the massive mammals, despite attempted necropsies on the remains of the massive creatures.
About half of right whale deaths in the past have been attributed to collisions with ships or entanglements in fishing gear, but so far none of the necropsies performed have pointed in this direction. The federal government has suspended the snow crab fishery in the area as a precaution. The shipping channel, of course, remains active.
The federal government has created a marine protected area (MPA) in the Gulf, though in June revealed plans to allow some oil and gas exploration inside the MPA.
2. Residents ask for Judicial Review of Fall River quarry
Yesterday, Fall River residents Stacey Rudderham and Dwight Isenor filed a motion with the Supreme Court asking for a Judicial Review of the city’s approval of Scotian Material’s quarry near Miller’s Lake. Rudderham and Isenor are members of the Stop the Fall River Quarry group.
We asked Rudderham for comment, and she responded:
I have too much to say. But basically, we are well aware that our community bears the risk, of this development, to our water table, our air quality, our safety, etc. and yet because of political interference, our voices and the details of these risks are being ignored. We don’t expect to have much luck with a review, because the same politics will guide that process as well, but it is the next step we must follow.
In their application, Rudderham and Isenor explain that “the decision maker erred in determining that the proposed development was consistent with the Land Use By-Law for Planning Districts 14 and 17 and the Municipal Planning Strategy for Districts 14 and 17.”
The court will consider the application on September 7.
3. More engine trouble for the Cat causes ferry cancellations
The cat arrived in Portland on Monday with only two engines working, and required tugboat assistance to dock, reported the Press Herald yesterday:
The high-speed ferry had been running on three engines since last month when a previous problem caused it to scale back its sailing schedule, and it’s likely it won’t be able to resume service between the two destinations until Thursday, said Mark MacDonald, the Canadian company’s chairman and CEO.
“Today en route to Portland, the crew detected an abnormality in one of the three operating engines. That engine was taken out of operation and the vessel continued to Portland,” MacDonald said in an email. “We have technical crews en route to Portland who will be immediately diagnosing and addressing the problem.”
The Cat, which has been having engine problems since the company was forced to cancel its service for a day in late June, had to be assisted by tugboats once it reached dock in Portland on Monday, MacDonald said. Tugboat assistance is usually only needed on windy days, but the loss of the third engine made the vessel less maneuverable.
Bay Ferries announced today that Thursday’s crossings will also be cancelled.
4. Transgender prisoners
A transgender prisoner filed an habeas corpus application with the court Monday, claiming that she had been kept in isolation at the Burnside jail because jail administrators refused to place her in the general population of women prisoners. “I should be around people, not isolated,” said Danielle MacLeod in her hand-written application to the court.
The matter was to be heard today at 11am, but yesterday MacLeod was transferred from Burnside to the Cape Breton Correctional Facility, making her application void. “The grounds for review outlined in your Habeas Corpus Application are no longer at issue,” wrote Justice Patrick Duncan in a letter to MacLeod. “Should your circumstances change and you wish to proceed with an application, you will be required to file a new Notice of Habeas Corpus.”
We asked the Justice Department for comment on MacLeod’s case. Spokesperson Brian Taylor said that although the department cannot comment of specific cases, “Trans and gender variant offenders are placed according to their gender identify, unless there are privacy, health or safety concerns.”
5. Fires being caused by careless smoking on decks
Five fires in the last month, including one in Clayton Park on Monday which left 20 homeless, have been caused by improper disposal of cigarettes, reports Local Xpress:
Matt Covey, the division chief for fire prevention, said he thinks the spike has been caused, in part, by the dry weather.
“When it gets really dry like this, if they’re putting (butts) in a planter or something like that or if they’re blowing off and going somewhere else, it’s really dry, so it doesn’t take a lot for that ember to result in a fire,” Covey said.
Fires that start on or near decks can be particularly destructive, he said.
Because there are no smoke detectors outdoors, and because siding on houses can be very flammable, it doesn’t take long for fires that start on decks to run up to the eaves and into the attic.
6. Macdonald Bridge bikeway
Examiner transportation columnist Erica Butler reviews the plans and timeline for the proposed Macdonald Bridge bike flyover, including bike-friendly changes to the North Street/Gottingen Street intersection and connected bike lanes on North Street and Wyse Road, along with financing for the project, and potential pitfalls.
This article is behind the Examiner’s paywall. Click here to subscribe.
1. P3 Hospitals?
In the Coast’s Voice of the City, Christine Saulnier reminds us that P3 schools were “a failed experiment marred by cost overruns, massive private profits, mismanagement and an overarching lack of evidence-based decision-making,” and then points out that the province has hired someone to consider a P3 approach with the QEII redevelopment.
When it comes to the QEII redevelopment, we need to be able to ensure that we are not locked into 20-year leases that dictate our ability to repurpose or otherwise change the terms of the operating agreement without drawn out negotiation costs or additional fees as was the case with the P3 schools.
Government decisions must consider the full range of public interest objectives especially when it comes to building public infrastructure and the delivery of public services.
2. Thank you for bringing back my wheelbarrow
Nova Scotia made a splash on Twitter, Buzzfeed and Reddit yesterday with this hilarious set of photos taken by Halifax resident Andrew Killawee, a couple of days apart. I don’t know whether this is quintessential rural Nova Scotia, but you do have to appreciate the directness and efficiency at play here.
Environment and Sustainability Standing Committee (Thursday, 1pm, City Hall) — Marlene Brown and Kelly Schnare will give a presentation on “The Contaminated Village of Harrietsfield.” Brown is the resident who began a private prosecution of the companies responsible for the contamination of ground water in Harrietsfield.
Harbour East-Marine Drive Community Council (Thursday, 6pm, Alderney Gate) — the council will consider a proposed development at the corner of Portland Street and Portland Hills Drive.
No public meetings until September.
Thesis Defence, Pharmacology (Wednesday, 10am, Room 3107, Mona Campbell Building) — PhD candidate Milind Muley will defend his thesis, “Role of Neutrophil Elastase and Proteinase-Activated Receptor-2 in the Joint Inflammation and Pain Associated with Experimental Arthritis.”
Thesis Defence, Process Engineering and Applied Science (Wednesday, 10am, Room 1014, Kenneth C. Rowe Management Building) — PhD candidate Yannan Huang will defend her thesis, “Characterization of Microbial Communities, Disinfection and Removal of Human Pathogenic Bacteria in Arctic Wastewater Stabilization Ponds.”
Thesis Defence, Physics and Atmospheric Science (Wednesday, 2pm, Room 3107, Mona Campbell Building) — PhD candidate Jon-Paul Sun will defend his thesis, “Organic Photovoltaics: Integrating Non-Fullerene Acceptors into Solution-Processed Devices.”
Thesis Defence, Physics and Atmospheric Science (Thursday, 9am, Room 3107, Mona Campbell Building) — PhD candidate Jan-Hendrik Pöhls will defend his thesis, “Ultralow Thermal Conductivity and Novel Thermoelectric Materials.”
Thesis Defence, Mechanical Engineering (Thursday, 2pm, Room 3107, Mona Campbell Building) — PhD candidate Timothy Crowtz will defend his thesis, “Improving the Durability of Nanostructured Thin Film Supported Platinum Fuel Cell Catalysts with the Addition of Iridium and Ruthenium.”
In the harbour
5:30am: Liberty, car carrier, arrives at Autoport from Southampton, England
6am: Vera D, container ship, arrives at Pier 42 from Barcelona
9:15am: Grandeur of the Seas, cruise ship with up to 2,446 passengers, arrives at Pier 22 from Saint John
10:30am: HMCS Preserver
4pm: ZIM Qingdao, container ship, arrives at Pier 41 from Algeciras, Spain
4pm: Vera D, container ship, sails from Pier 42 for Mariel, Cuba
6:30pm: Grandeur of the Seas, cruise ship, sails from Pier 22 for Baltimore
Tim will be on the Sheldon MacLeod Show, News 95.7, at 2pm.