1. Downtown Dartmouth development
“A developer wants to build a 90-metre tower next to the old post office in downtown Dartmouth,” reports Zane Woodford.
4328644 Nova Scotia Ltd., owned by James Lawley, bought 53 Queen St. from the federal government in 2021 for $5.85 million. Built between 1914 and 1917, council added the post office to its heritage registry ahead of the sale in 2020.
On Friday, HRM posted an application from RHAD Architects on behalf of Lawley’s company for a development agreement on the property allowing a 142-unit, 90-metre tall tower on the site. The elevation drawings show that’s 26 storeys.
Lawley has registered related businesses called “The Post Residences” and “The Residences at the Post.”
2. Cuba and the CBC
“Last Monday, March 6, CBC Radio’s local morning newscast carried a report on Cuba by national reporter Evan Dyer, which also appeared on cbc.ca,” writes Stephen Kimber:
CBC’s Information Morning followed up the next morning with an interview with Yoandri Reyes Riveron, a Cuban who “has called Halifax home for the past six years.”
The implicit — often explicit — March break message in both segments was that we Nova Scotians should not be spending our hard-earned vacation dollars in Cuba because doing so props up a cruel dictatorship.
As Reyes Riveron put it: “If you go there and you go to a hotel, you’re directly supporting a dictatorship regime that doesn’t care about its people.”
I respectfully disagree.
Kimber notes that Dyer, who “has a track record of unbalanced, de-contextualized reporting about Cuba,” didn’t even mention the US embargo on Cuba, and Riveron misrepresented it.
I liked reader Charlene Boyce’s comment:
What I am hearing, then, is let’s question/chastise/harass instead the Canadians heading to Florida on March Break…. and I think we have many more reasons to do that than chastising those heading to Cuba.
“Nova Scotia Health Minister Michelle Thompson says her department is reviewing the letter received Thursday from federal Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos about the status of private health clinics,” reports Jennifer Henderson:
Thompson said she is not sure if Duclos’ letter means she will have to order Bluenose Health — and possibly other private-pay clinics — to close, so Nova Scotia doesn’t forfeit health care dollars from Ottawa. What Thompson said she is sure about is that there is a better way to deal with the growing privatization of health care.
This item is written by Jennifer Henderson.
The number of Nova Scotians without a family doctor or nurse practitioner increased by nearly 4,000 people last month.
On Friday afternoon Nova Scotia Health reported that as of March 1, the number of people signed up for the Need A Family Practice registry increased to 137,587 persons — about 14% of all Nova Scotians. This is a new high.
A news release issued by Nova Scotia Health states 35.6% of the those who signed up in February said they were new to the area; 69% of the increase is in the Central Zone where the population continues to grow — more than 61,000 people on the wait list live in the Central Zone, which is HRM, Eastern Shore, and West Hants.
Nova Scotia Health said in an effort to improve access to basic medical care, more than 250 visits a day are now being booked online through VirtualCare Nova Scotia. Patients only need a health card to make an appointment to see a doctor or nurse practitioner for an online consultation. That’s up from 160 people a day last October, according to Nova Scotia Health.
Additionally, last month 4,500 patients were seen at travelling or mobile clinics. A total of 24 clinics held in 10 different communities took place in February.
For more information on how to access a medical appointment in your area if you are unattached to any health care professional, go here.
5. Broadway in Halifax
That’s neither here nor there, but I wondered about who was producing the shows. It’s a big operation, moving an entire cast and support crew from New York to Halifax. Maybe, I thought, some of my friends in the set and lighting business might get a bit of work.
So, I searched the Registry of Joint Stock Companies for Innovation Arts and Entertainment, which the CBC says is putting on the production. Nada. Then I searched the federal registry of corporations. Also nothing.
A quick internet search finds that Innovation Arts and Entertainment is a Chicago-based company with 30 full-time employees and produces “over 400 shows annually across 90 cities in North America.”
“Most businesses and non-profits need to register a business name (operating name) to operate under the business name in Nova Scotia,” says the Registry of Joint Stock Companies. “You don’t have to register your business name (operating name) if the business name (operating name) is a registered trademark.”
So I searched the Canadian Trademarks Database, and also came up empty-handed.
Ah, but Innovation Arts and Entertainment’s logo (but not its name) appears on the US trademark registry.
I just have a hard time understanding this stuff. The point of registration is to know who to sue if you get injured at a business or are cheated by it. You can’t open a popsicle stand on Portland Street without paying the hefty (for a popsicle purveyor) registration fee, and corporations registered in other provinces regularly re-register in Nova Scotia before operating here, I assume to meet local law.
But often I find businesses operating in Nova Scotia that have no apparent business registration, at least not in this country. Sometimes the provincial government itself does business with them.
Probably, there’s some explanation for this, but I have no idea what it is.
6. Green hydrogen
New York Times reporter Max Bearak reports on an extensive ‘green hydrogen’ operation in the Australian Outback:
A consortium of energy companies led by BP plans to cover an expanse of land eight times as large as New York City with as many as 1,743 wind turbines, each nearly as tall as the Empire State Building, along with 10 million or so solar panels and more than a thousand miles of access roads to connect them all.
But none of the 26 gigawatts of energy the site expects to produce, equivalent to a third of what Australia’s grid currently requires, will go toward public use. Instead, it will be used to manufacture a novel kind of industrial fuel: green hydrogen.
The green hydrogen produced will be used locally, to power the machines at iron ore mines, one of the most energy-intensive industries going.
Importantly, Bearak gives voice to green hydrogen skeptics:
Some energy experts say green hydrogen’s business rationale is mostly hype. Doubters accuse its champions of self-interest or even self-delusion. Others see hydrogen as diverting crucial investment away from surer emissions-reduction technologies, presenting a threat to climate action.
To liquefy hydrogen for shipping, it must be chilled to negative 252.87 degrees Celsius, just shy of absolute zero, the theoretical temperature at which atoms are completely still. Hydrogen is also very flammable, making storage difficult.
They’re just two of many obstacles.
Some doubts come from hydrogen’s advocates themselves. “The economics of shipping aren’t looking good,” said Alan Finkel, the architect of Australia’s hydrogen subsidies. “I was naïve, I think, in the past to see export being the main demand driver,” he said in a recent interview. Instead, “There’s a lot of sense in ‘use it where you make it,’ and Australia is really ideally set up for that,” he said.
Some are even more skeptical.
Saul Griffith, a prominent inventor in renewable energy who started his career at an Australian steel mill, doesn’t see a big role for green hydrogen. To replace fossil fuels, he said, “the electricity you use to make it would have to be ridiculously cheap. And if you have that, why use it to make hydrogen?”
He calls it “not a fuel that will save the world.” Better to spend the money, he and others argue, on reducing renewable electricity costs so that nearly everything can be electrified.
To be sure, Bearak interviews pro-industry people who discount the critics, but Finkel and Griffith cast real doubt on projects such as EverWind’s in Nova Scotia and John Risley’s World Energy GH2 project in Port au Port, Newfoundland, which are both premised on export sales to Europe.
We need to take these arguments seriously before giving billions of dollars in public subsidies to private players in pursuit of green hydrogen exports.
7. Deforestation Inc.
This morning, the Globe and Mail published its own investigation into the connections between Paper Excellence and Asia Pulp and Paper — entirely separate from the reporting done by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.
As the Globe’s Asian Correspondent James Griffiths writes:
As this story was going to print, Le Monde and the Halifax Examiner, in association with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, published more articles – based on testimony from an unidentified Paper Excellence whistle-blower – showing further links between APP and Paper Excellence.
We still have more of Joan Baxter’s Deforestation Inc. series in the mix. I hope to get the next instalment out this afternoon, but it may not be until tomorrow morning.
Grants Committee (Monday, 10am, online) — agenda
Annaka (Monday, 7pm, Classroom 1, A&A Building) — author Andre Fenton will read from his novel and discuss its upcoming film adaptation; RSVP and more info here
A History of Violence: Legacies of Struggle and Resistance in the Fight against Environmental Racism in Canada (Tuesday, 7pm, via Zoom) — Ingrid Waldron will talk; info and registration here
In the harbour
11:45: Vivienne Sheri D, container ship, sails from Pier 42 for Portland
14:30: Acadian, oil tanker, arrives at Irving Oil from Charlottetown
16:00: MSC Brianna, container ship, arrives at Pier 42 from Sines, Portugal
Damn time change has done a number on me. I wish they’d just pick a time and stick with it.