1. Dartmouth North Health Neighbourhood

A blue sign on white posts sits in low shrubbery as traffic goes by on the busy roadway behind. The sign says "Welcome to North Dartmouth. Where families & friendships grow."
Welcome to North Dartmouth sign on Nov. 1, 2023. Credit: Yvette d'Entremont

“Although the finer details are still being ironed out, next year the community of Dartmouth North will welcome a new primary care clinic, urgent care centre, and other health-related services under one roof,” reports Yvette d’Entremont:

Called the Dartmouth North Health Neighbourhood, it will include the Dartmouth North Start-up Clinic, a comprehensive primary care service and recruitment and resident teaching centre. 

It will also be home to Dartmouth North Care Centres, which will include an urgent care centre for evening and weekend visits in addition to a new primary care clinic. That clinic will be a care access point for residents who are unattached to a primary care provider. 

The new health neighbourhood will also include the Dartmouth North Shared Facility. That will boast a variety of health services, including blood collection, rehab services, a diabetes centre, the Nova Scotia Brotherhood Initiative and Nova Scotia Sisterhood, among others. 

This is a fantastic initiative for a neighbourhood that very much needs it. Credit citizen activists:

Having several health care-related services under one roof in the community was an idea [MLA Susan] Leblanc said was championed by a group of committed community members. In particular, she pointed to residents Linda Rowe, Robyne Gorman, Diana Quinn, Sabina Walker and others, along with pharmacist Irene Glinsky.

Years ago they recognized that Dartmouth North was underserved, particularly with access to health and wellness services. 

“This was very grassroots, very community-driven, and the people that were leading it had been living or working in the community for a long time,” Leblanc said.

The group evolved into the Dartmouth North Community Health Planning Team. Members have met regularly since 2016 with the goal of increasing health services in the community. 

The team expanded over the years to include health professionals, Between the Bridges facilitators, and Nova Scotia Health (NSH) employees. Leblanc recently wrote about the community health planning team in a column for the Dartmouth Echo community newspaper.

A member of the team since 2017, Leblanc said members gathered in September to celebrate news that their hard work had paid off.

The site of the new centre has not yet been announced, but wherever it is, it will be up and running by summer.

Click or tap here to read “New collaborative health care centre coming to Dartmouth North in 2024.”

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2. ER deaths

Percentage of people entering emergency rooms in Nova Scotia who die, by month, from January 2017 (left) to the September 2023 (right). Credit: Nova Scotia Health

“More people are dying in Nova Scotia’s emergency rooms,” I reported yesterday:

In the first nine months of 2023, 632 people died in the province’s ERs. That compares to 593 people who died in ERs in all of 2022.

The ER death figures were released by the Nova Scotia New Democratic Party (NDP) today. The NDP obtained them through a freedom of information request from Nova Scotia Health. 

The data include monthly and quarterly death counts, as well as deaths as a percentage of people who entered ERs, from January 2017 to September 2023.

While the numbers and percentages vary throughout the period, there is a trend line showing an increase throughout the period. The increase is much larger than would be expected to be seen by population increases alone. And while there was a significant decrease in ER death in 2020, the first year of the COVID lockdowns, the number increased to record highs in 2022 and 2023.

Click or tap here to read “Nova Scotia’s ER death rate keeps increasing.”

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YouTube video

This item is written by Suzanne Rent.

Halifax Transit riders can now pay their fares with the new app, HFXGO.

The app was officially launched on Thursday, although news that the app was ready was announced on Wednesday.

As the Examiner previously reported, Halifax regional council approved the $1.5-million contract with U.K.-based company Masabi to develop the app. At that time, Marc Santilli, manager of technical services for Halifax Transit, told council the app would be ready in four months.

But there were continued delays. In August 2023, council was still looking for a launch date for the app.

The app can be downloaded from the App Store for iOS and the Google Play Store for Android. Passengers who use the app can purchase and then activate tickets or passes and then show the pass or ticket on the app when boarding.

The app offers a few new fare options, including tickets for 20 rides, a one-day pass, a two-day pass, and a seven-day pass.

Here’s a breakdown of fares on the app:

  • Single ride for adults: $2.75
  • Senior/youth single ride: $2
  • 20 rides (adult): $44
  • 20 rides (senior/youth): $32
  • Day pass senior/youth: $5
  • Day pass adult: $7
  • Two-day adult pass: $12
  • Two-day senior/youth pass: $9
  • Seven-day adult pass: $23
  • Seven-day senior/youth pass: $17
  • Adult monthly pass: $82.50
  • Senior/youth monthly pass: $60

Fares for children ages 12 and under are still free. 

The app also includes details on service disruptions, schedules and route maps, and a guide to passenger conduct and policies for using Halifax Transit.

Click here to read more about how to use the app and its options.

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4. Sackville development

A view from a parking lot featuring a grocery store sign, grocery store, other buildings and parking spots.
View featuring some of the 70-80 First Lake Drive site on June 29, 2023. Credit: Yvette d’Entremont

“Residents who participated in Wednesday’s public meeting about a proposed Lower Sackville development said they’re concerned about impacts on traffic, sewer infrastructure, safety, flooding, and the health of the community’s lake,” reports Yvette d’Entremont:

As reported here last fall, Upland Studio applied on behalf of First Mutual Properties to amend an existing development agreement to allow the company to build three towers — six, 15, and 22 storeys tall – at the First Lake Drive site. The proposal included ground floor commercial and office space.

That application led to significant backlash. Some concerned residents created a petition, saying the proposed development was too tall for the area. 

In June, the developers revised their plans and instead proposed two six-storey buildings on a shared podium on the site. They’d comprise 77 residential units each, for a total of 154. 

Click or tap here to read “Neighbours don’t like proposed Lower Sackville development.”

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5. Superport fantasy

The superport of Melford, which will never exist.

Yesterday, CN announced that it has acquired an undefined “stake” in the Cape Breton & Central Nova Scotia Railway (CBNS):

MONTREAL, Nov. 01, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — CN (TSX: CNR) (NYSE: CNI) today announced that it acquired from Genesee & Wyoming Inc., a stake in the Cape Breton & Central Nova Scotia Railway that includes 145 miles of active track.

“We are proud to be partnering with Genesee & Wyoming to serve existing customers on this line. This partnership will further reinforce CN’s presence in eastern Canada where we believe there will be a growing role to play in the competitiveness of North American trade. It will also enable our network to reach new opportunities in the longer-term, further advancing our strategic agenda of accelerating profitable, sustainable growth.”

• Patrick Lortie, Senior Vice-President and Chief Strategy Officer at CN

The CBNS railway, which interchanges with CN’s mainline at Truro, Nova Scotia, will continue to be operated by a Genesee & Wyoming Inc. subsidiary. This will ensure a seamless, safe, and efficient continuation of service for customers.

CBNS owns the collapsed rail line that used to run from Point Tupper to Sydney, and for which the province has been paying $360,000 a year for — well, I’m not exactly sure what we’ve been getting for that money besides the fantasy that one day there will be a superport in Sydney.

In the wake of the CN acquisition, the province is re-thinking the subsidy, reports Tom Ayers for the CBC.

This seems to be an acknowledgement that there will never be a container terminal at Sydney. Conversely, however, it may be an indication that at least CN thinks the Melford port proposal has legs to it — a newly constructed 20-kilometre extension from the still operating CBNS line at Aulds Cove to Melford would connect that port to the entire CN network.

We don’t have any details of the CN-CBNS deal — but I’m guessing there was no exchange of money, but rather just a stock deal. If so, CN appears to be keeping its options open such that if Melford does become a reality it can step in and quickly build the Melford connection, and if not, well, it owns part of a small regional railway for which it paid nothing.

Over the summer, the Globe and Mail reported that the federal Transportation Department was thinking about giving the private American developers of Melford $175 million because that’s the way we roll here in Canada — there’s always money for millionaire foreigners but forget about public housing and such.

That Globe and Mail report resulted in some in-fighting among Liberal MPs. Wayne Long and Andy Filmore, the MPs for Saint John and Halifax respectively, took the unusual step of publicly criticizing the government for even considering the Melford proposal. But MP Mike Kelloway, representing Cape Breton – Canso, praised it.

Lost in that hilarity is the fact that no shipper has committed any cash to Melford, so it remains as illusionary as the superport of Sydney.

Whenever I write about Melford I try to make a point of reminding readers that in 2008 — 15 years ago — we kicked a 78-year-old man out of his house in pursuit of this fantasy. Basil Scott died two years ago. Still no port.

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YouTube video

I ran into Mark Daye (Buddy Daye’s son) recently, and he shared with me the above video, which he created. As the notes to the video explain, it is “a juxtaposition between a CBC 1962 interview and current views of the public in Halifax. It’s a conversation around the topic of the deep rooted racism that exists here and views around the topic, giving a unique GLIMPSE of the general populations view on the black experience in Halifax.”


No meetings

On campus



Housing Engagement Series (Friday, 11am, in the auditorium named after a fossil fuel company, Richard Murray Design Building) — “Innovation in Housing – exploring innovation and creativity in housing, including brainstorming proactive solutions”; panelists TBD

#GoFindIt: Archiving Vintage Punk and Rock Fashion for Film, Television, Music Video, and Retail(Friday, 11am, Sheila Piercey Rehearsal Studio, Fountain School) — Costume Studies lecture with Cesar Padilla:

Miley Cyrus, Billie Eilish, Ryan Gosling, Rihanna, Denzel Washington and the casts of Boardwalk Empire, Mad Men, and Vinyl all have one thing in common: they have all been outfitted by Cesar Padilla. Deemed a “cult badass” for his role in preserving, archiving, and repurposing underground punk and rock fashion from the 1960s, 70s, and 80s, Cesar Padilla will give a public talk about his varied career as co-founder and curator of Cherry Vintage NYC, the legendary clothing outlet and underground fashion hub in Manhattan’s Lower East Side. He will share stories and experiences from his 25 years as a clothing archivist and fashion consultant working with leading directors, actors, and musicians on major film, television, music video, and stage productions. He will also share his thoughts on the meaning and importance of vintage clothing, not only as a window into the past, but also as a vital resource in today’s creative culture industries.

The Hidden History of the American Insanity Defense (Friday, 12pm, via Zoom) — talk by Rabia Belt, Stanford Law School (with closed captioning)

Percussion Improv Workshop (Friday, 12:30pm, Joseph Strug Concert Hall) — with Doug Cameron, Halifax-based jazz and improv drummer, instructor, and composer; more info here

A Composition Masterclass with Alkali Trio (Friday, 2:30pm, Joseph Strug Concert Hall) — a workshop for new compositions written by Dalhousie students for saxophone, clarinet and trombone; more info here

Sewing the Revival Tents: Black Women’s Christian Organizations and the Public Duties of Home-Making in an Apartheid City, 1950-63 (Friday, 3:30pm, Marion McCain Building and online) — Katie Carline will talkmore info here

Violin Masterclass with Mary-Elizabeth Brown (Friday, 4:30pm, Room 406, Dalhousie Arts Centre) — more info here


Chamber Residency Concert: Trailblazing Voices (Saturday, 7:30pm, Joseph Strug Concert Hall) — with Leonardo Perez, violin, Peter Allen, piano, Mary-Elizabeth Brown, violin, Elizabeth Upson Perez, viola, Shimon Walt, cello; $15/10, info and tickets here

In the harbour

04:30: Contship Leo, container ship, sails from Fairview Cove for Kingston, Jamaica
05:30: ZIM Monaco, container ship, arrives at Fairview Cove from Valencia, Spain
05:45: Oceanex Sanderling, ro-ro container, moves from anchorage to Fairview Cove
11:30: AlgoScotia, oil tanker, arrives at Imperial Oil from Sydney
16:00: MSC Freeport, container ship, arrives at Pier 42 from Montreal
16:30: ZIM Monaco sails for New York
16:45: Nolhanava, ro-ro cargo, sails from Pier 42 for Saint-Pierre
18:00: Oceanex Sanderling sails for St. John’s

Cape Breton
06:30: Jewel of the Seas, cruise ship with up to 2,573 passengers, arrives at Sydney Marine Terminal from Charlottetown, on a 10-day cruise from Quebec City to New York
16:30: Jewel of the Seas sails for Saint John


Life stuff — all good! — is pulling me away this morning. Have a great weekend.

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Tim Bousquet is the editor and publisher of the Halifax Examiner. Twitter @Tim_Bousquet Mastodon

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  1. Welcome to Guysborough County, also home to the incredible and absurd “spaceport fantasy”, fully supported by Mike Kelloway and the MODG. Maritime Launch, 7 years in, is now millions in debt, with the launching of one 1.5 metre hobby rocket to its credit. Kelloway was there to cheer them on. You really can’t make this shit up. And FOI docs reveal that in 2017 MODG Warden Vernon Pitts offered the expropriation of land here in Canso to accommodate MLS, over a year before the company had even submitted the project for assessment.

  2. The “superport fantasy” article, and your comment about subsidization of the railway link in the hope of fantasy realization: I could not agree more. Nova Scotia’s, and indeed Canada’s, subsidization of wealthy corporations who only pay their “bare minimum” of taxes through employment of “tax avoidance” loopholes is unreconcilable with the housing, poverty, and child hunger challenges with which we are confronted. We need to stop giving yet more money to the already-ridiculously-wealthy “businessmen”.