In the harbour


1. Efficiency

The Utility and Review Board has ruled in favour of EfficiencyOne’s plans for energy efficiency programs.

EfficiencyOne had proposed a $121.5 million plan over three years, with a target of total cumulative energy savings of 405.9 GWh and demand savings of 62.5 MW. Nova Scotia Power had countered that plan with a stripped down proposal for spending just $66 million over three years, with a target of total annual energy savings of 100 GWh.

The UARB ruling cuts EfficiencyOne plan back a bit — it is allowed to spend $102,150,000 over three years, with no allowance for inflation. “The Board has reduced DSM spending [i.e., demand side management, or spending on efficiency measures] by 10%, having considered the history of underspending on DSM programming, the history of overachieving savings and demand targets, and as an inducement to bring greater rigour to the calculations of incentives,” reads the board’s decision. But while the ruling reduces EfficiencyOne’s plan by 10 per cent, it utterly rejects Nova Scotia Power’s attempt to pull the legs out from under the agency.

The short of it is that in the face of a coordinated Nova Scotia Power and Liberal government PR attack on efficiency measures, the UARB has found that efficiency does in fact reduce demand in the long term, and therefore power bills will ultimately be lower than they would be without the efficiency programs. This is what efficiency advocates have been saying all along.

Nova Scotia Power is opposed to efficiency programs because it’s in the business of selling power. The more electricity it sells, the more profit it makes.

The Liberals are opposed to efficiency programs because paying for them means increasing bills slightly in the short term, and the Liberals ran on reducing power bills. It doesn’t matter that gutting the efficiency programs would mean much higher bills down the road because consumers would have to pay for the construction of new power plants — that would be someone else’s problem.

2. Explosion

Photo: Ralph MacAdam via Flickr
Photo: Ralph MacAdam via Flickr

A transformer exploded and caught fire at the Tufts Cove power plant last night, reports the Chronicle Herald:

Several [fire] crews responded to the scene, [fire department commander Peter] Andrews said.

But it was clear from discussions with workers at the station that it wouldn’t be safe for firefighters alone to put out the fire because of the risk of shock injuries.

“It could not be put out because of the high voltage running through it.”

As a result, Nova Scotia Power crew from Ragged Lake was brought in to “de-energize the unit” while firefighters stood by.

“Very shortly after the current was removed from it, the fire went out,” he said.

The fire lasted about an hour.

3. Homicide

Someone was shot dead on Stage Road in Enfield yesterday. The RCMP has not yet issued a press release about the incident, but has told reporters that the death is a homicide.

4. Rainmen II

The Rainmen franchise was such a roaring success that some local business people are going to do it again.

5. Anti-riot launchers


The Halifax police department has issued a tender for two Arwen 37 Mark III anti-riot launchers. The launchers can fire plastic or wooden projectiles, or teargas.


1. Transfer payments

“Once again, right wingers frame the transfer debate,” writes Richard Starr:

There are definitely problems with the fiscal transfer system, but if politicians in this part of the country continue to leave the definition of those problems to Brad Wall and his ilk, their negative impact on our province’s ability to provide acceptable levels of public services at reasonable rates of taxation will only get worse.

2. Cranky letter of the day

To The Coast:

About Patricia George-Zwicker’s article “Group homes won’t ruin your neighbourhood, Dartmouth” (Voice of the City, August 6), I feel this is just another example of how you feel that “independent” and “mad at the world” should be in the same sentence. You should not be giving people an audience for such mad-at-the-world rants or rhetoric. I was diagnosed with autism as well, but this is not the entire definition of me and I would have no reason to constantly wallow in how the big bad world has failed me. I can think about bigger things than my selfish adequacy or my need to survive. 

I feel that too many group homes in Dartmouth is a problem. All the nuthouses and futile counselling programs have made an uncomfortable wreck of Gottingen Street, and cramming the same types of people into the same area is ineffective at best. Besides, we autistics should not automatically be forced into the group home anyway — I know it would not work for me if I am sometimes best left to my own devices.

Allistair Fraser, Halifax



Screen Shot 2015-08-13 at 7.51.10 AM

Design Review Committee (4pm, City Hall)—WSP is proposing a renovation and expansion of the historic Green Lantern building on Barrington Street:

The Barrington Street portions of the building comprise the principle elements of heritage value and the proposal will protect and rehabilitate the portions that carry this significance. These features include entries to the street, masonry walls including elevator shaft and safe vaults, general volume, and floor levels. An addition will be added to the Granville street side and will also extend the building vertically to increase its capacity.

The Granville Street side will have 3 levels of underground parking accessed from an adjacent building development, a ground floor commercial area, 9 residential stories, plus a sculptural rooftop structure housing amenity and residential programming. The Barrington Street side will essentially maintain the original floor levels, including 1 basement, 1 level of commercial at the Barrington level, 3 levels of historic lofts, 2 levels of additional residential plus 1 penthouse. Residential units will have an industrial loft design that will be supported by the exposed historical elements throughout the original building.

The Barrington Street commercial frontage will be reinstated following the original intention of the 1896 design. Granville Street will be revitalized with a commercial façade at pedestrian level. The Granville Street façade as well as the vertical addition will be simple in design and detail so as not to overwhelm the historic character and importance of the original building. Rhythm, materiality and scale of the new portion of the building will be complimentary to the original structure as well as the surrounding historical city fabric.

The original building is referred to as the Green Lantern, referencing a former restaurant tenant of the building. Pulling from this history, the topping roof element will be constructed of a copper green material. It will be set back from street view providing privacy for residents. The design will be modern, sculptural and full of light.

There will be 63 total residential units plus approximately 3,900 sq. ft. of commercial space at grade. 

I have no idea why the architect’s rendering of the proposal (above) shows an extension cord running out the front door and across Barrington Street.


No public meetings.


The Canso Causeway opened 60 years ago today, connecting Cape Breton Island to Canada. Forty thousand people showed up for the ribbon cutting.

In the harbour

The seas around Nova Scotia, 8:10am Thursday. Map:
The seas around Nova Scotia, 8:10am Thursday. Map:

ZIM Texas, container ship, arrived at Pier 42 this morning from Valencia, Spain, will sail to sea just before noon
Selfoss, container ship, arrived at Pier 41 this morning from Argentia, Newfoundland, will sail to sea this afternoon
Barkald, bulk carrier, Jacksonville, Florida to National Gypsum

Macao Strait sails to sea

The cruise ship Maasdam is in port today.



Tim Bousquet

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

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    1. Not counting Equalization, Saskatchewan’s Federal transfers (health and social) were actually more than Nova Scotia’s, in total dollars as well as per capita (funding +20.5%, population +19.8%). Revenue generating… Saskatchewan is also ten times larger than Nova Scotia spatially, do you think that leads to more revenue generating capacity?

      1. Nunavut is much larger….. which means nothing. We have a larger offshore area…. which means nothing, except for fishing
        Sask has oil, gas, uranium and potash. Apparently exploring for uranium in NS is off the table. Exploring for anything is pretty much off the table.
        Federal transfers to Sask have risen $409 million since 2005/06 but NS the amount has risen by $779 million.
        Our Preem is afraid to take the drastic measures required in case it interferes with his federal Liberal friends.

        1. Nunavut is much larger, sure, with an even larger land mass from which to extract minerals from. Much like Saskatchewan, not meaningless but important in regards to provincial revenues. I don’t disagree on the assessment in regards to uranium, that’s a Nova Scotian impediment, and there’s no shortage of those. The offshore accord was meant to ameliorate the constitutional inadequacies in regards to revenue from offshore resource extraction, a federal concern. That’s hardly a “deal” and more of a consequence of our inept political system.

          Of course their transfers fell relative to ours – they no longer required equalization once the oil sands/potash/uranium boom started.

          Considering the state we are in yet, where we’ve spent $1 Billion over the past decade in Nova Scotia just to sell beer wine and spirits, lol, I can’t say I disagree that “drastic measures” are required. Unfortunately, those will seemingly never happen in any meaningful way. The mentality that $65K in government spending per job, for 1500 jobs in retail is positive for this place and the way forward in this province is appalling.

          1. The NSLC generates profits for the province that then pay for other programs and services. If they privatize it, the profits go to private owners, the workers make (and subsequently spend) less, and there is less money for programs and services for all Nova Scotians. Sorry, but I don’t understand why everyone jumps on the this one business. Maybe because they want the profits? Not like the price of liquor would go down. Why would they? Whoever took it over would pay less, charge the same (or more), and pocket the difference. Sure, we pay more than minimum wage, but there are net benefits to the taxpayers. And to anyone selling goods and services to the employees.

  1. Thanks Tim for the equalization link. Never understood the Right’s argument that having decent hospitals is supposed to make us less competitive.

  2. HOw is it that the grunts who produce illiterate drivel like the following seem to command salaries, benefits, pensions, and junkets we peasant who underwrite that largesse via egregious taxes can only dream of?

    «The Barrington Street portions of the building comprise the >>>>>principle<<<<>>safe vaults<<< VAULTS IS THE PROPER TERM; SAFES ARE MOBILE CONTAINERS!, general volume, and floor levels. An addition will be added to the Granville street side and will also extend the building vertically to increase its capacity.»

  3. Two “anti-riot” launchers. I thouht people launched riots? Those beauties will come in handy as part of the new way to deal with labour negotiations mentioned by Minister Furey the other day. Love to see the statement of requirement for Halifax Police to acquire these. How do you decided between wooden and plastic projectiles? I’ll end my pissed off rant with a question…..what is the difference between a riot and a protest? and who decides?

      1. Looks like a sound definition. So a peaceful protest that won’t disperse for the police, is a riot? My issue is that the police or their leadership whoever that is can be pretty liberal in the identification of what is a riot (mostly when people don’t kowtow to them) and then out come the arwen…..

  4. RE: Efficiency Programs

    The only problem I have with efficiency programs is that they take the credit for power saved from people wanting to lower their own power bill on their own volition.

    I have lowered my power bill by over 35% over the past few years, not owing to Efficiency Nova Scotia or Efficiency One’s expertise, not owing to government programs and certainly not owing to the Efficiency Tax, but because I replaced all the bulbs in my apartment with LEDs and bought some smart power bars with remotes that have a combination of always on and switchable outlets that have all but eliminated zombie power draw. For years I have researched small appliances and computers before purchase to find those that use the lowest KWh.

    I have no problem with Efficiency programs, but I do have a problem with the fact than more than 1/3 of this province live as tenants, and for the most part are unable to upgrade their largest power draws, their appliances – and also, for the most part, unable to take advantage of any of Efficiency Nova Scotia or Efficiency One’s programs.

    Yet, the fee paid by those renters goes to help subsidize the fancy new washers, driers, fridges and freezers of those living in Kingswood, and elsewhere. It’s a bizarre set up.

    The province should nullify the fee for those who are low income. It’s a bizarre reverse Robin Hood strategy that has always rubbed me the wrong way.

    Also, stop taking credit for the energy Nova Scotians save on their own – because it saves them money and helps the environment. Nova Scotians aren’t as stunned as the provincial government may like to think – assuming we’d use less energy, if only we paid a tax to run an arms length organization to educate us on how to do it – is ridiculous.

    1. You may have directly benefited from Efficiency Nova Scotia with their instant rebate program. It provides for savings at the cash register for several products and many retailers across the province.

      I live in an apartment and about two years ago, all of our lights, faucets and shower heads were replaced with energy efficient products from ENS. Now I am not sure if the landlord paid, or if the products were supplied by ENS but, this program may have had something to do with it:

      1. I just bought my bulbs while they were on sale a few years back for $6 a piece at Home Depot, there were no rebates involved. My power Bars I bought through Amazon, and my shower faucet I bought myself too since it has a great long hose attachment to the wand (but is also water efficient).

        I’ve never had a landlord offer me a more efficient fridge or stove, though my current landlord upgraded to natural gas over oil to heat the water, using that to justify two years worth of rent increases.

        For those helpless souls who can’t google, or who live in this quasi-fictional place where landlords utilize efficiency programs for their tenants financial benefit, I guess Efficiency programs offer something worthwhile. I’ve never assumed anyone else was going to try and save me money and so common sense changes on my own accord have netted me much higher efficiency. Too bad the financial benefits I’d realize have been cancelled out by $60 a year in a tax on my power bill.

        1. Michael, I don’t disagree with you…. but. And the but is that no matter how well you do, or I do, or whatever, the “natural” increase in power usage is about 2% a year. That’s because of new uses for electricity (iPhones…whatever) and because most people, for whatever reason, aren’t as vigilant as you at looking for efficiency. The result is that the entire power demand will increase, which means that new power plants will have to be built, and those costs will be downloaded onto the ratepayers, including those who have looked for efficiency all along.

          You get at a real disparity in our system. I think, tho, that rather than undermine an efficiency program that will get some people on board with efficiency programs they otherwise wouldn’t pursue, the answer to this inequity, imo, is to give a renters rebate as part of our property tax system.

          Just my 2 cents.

        2. I too got $6.00 LEDs at Home Depot a few years back, but the sale price WAS an Efficieny NS/Home Depot deal. I don’t remember the amount of the discount. Somewhat over 50% I think.

          I remember that it was in the papers that other NS retailers were annoyed, as it was a deal only between ENS and just a couple larger retailers for a few specified bulbs, while stock lasted. A very much not level playing field.

  5. The 60th anniversary of the causeway is a good excuse to remember Cape Breton humourist Dave Harley, best known for his role as General John Cabot Trail of the Cape Breton Liberation Army.