News

1. Driver kills woman in Dartmouth crosswalk

A crosswalk on Pleasant Street in Dartmouth. Photo: Google Maps

A 27-year-old woman died from injuries she received on Wednesday after she was hit by a driver in a crosswalk on Pleasant Street in Dartmouth. A news release from Halifax Regional Police said the 41-year-old driver was issued a summary offence ticket for failing to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk. The investigation is ongoing, though.

Tim Bousquet noted he often drives down Pleasant Street and passes four places where pedestrians have been killed in crosswalks. I saw similar comments online saying crosswalks near John’s Lunch, Dartmouth General, and the Nova Scotia Hospital were dangerous bad because drivers speed down Pleasant Street. Apparently the crosswalk at the Nova Scotia Hospital has flashing lights, but that doesn’t seem to help. Someone else called this stretch of Pleasant Street the “Refinery Raceway.”

Drivers, slow down and pay attention. You’re not the only one on the road.

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2. Protestors demand end to logging and recovery plan for mainland moose

Ethan Lycan-Lang was downtown yesterday covering the protest led by Extinction Rebellion Mi’kma’ki/Nova Scotia. The group was calling for a halt to logging operations around Rocky Point Lake in Digby County until a recovery plan for the endangered mainland moose was set.

Lycan-Lang spoke with Nina Newington, who led the protest, and said:

That habitat was identified in 2012 by the Wildlife Division as part of the moose concentration areas. And those areas should all be put under consideration for protection right now. And that would mean a halt to harvesting. You know, anything less than that is really ecological vandalism, and we can’t afford that anymore.

The group wanted to meet with Minister of Natural Resources and Renewables Tory Rushton, but they didn’t get that chance. So, they left a treat: a “moose patty” pie made with moose excrement.

Click here to read the entire story.

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Sandy Martin, in The Netherlands

As a Nova Scotian living in Europe, I have come to depend on the Halifax Examiner for reliable, factual, and objective reporting of the many issues facing Nova Scotians. The high calibre of writing and investigative journalism help clear the fog that enshrouds most stories. The Halifax Examiner has become my go-to paper. Thank you for all your hard work!

Daniel Martin with his beloved trombone. Photo: The Cottage Café Dartmouth

Daniel Martin

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Thank you Halifax Examiner!


3. What does the term “affordable housing” really mean?

Photo: Tierra Mallorca/Unsplash

You likely heard the definition that affordable housing is 30% of pretax income. I can’t remember when that wasn’t the definition. But that term is too broad. A couple of weeks ago, I talked with Carolyn Whitzman, a social housing policy consultant and one of the researchers behind the Housing Assessment Resource Tools (HART), a project that creates standardized ways to figure out housing needs to help balance supply.

The tool has income categories — very low, low, moderate, average, and higher — that make so much more sense than the standard 30% calculation. And the people most at risk of homelessness are those in the very low and low income categories, yet there are almost no rentals that fit into the 30% of their pretax income.

The tool, and an additional land assessment tool were tested in Kelowna, BC, and are designed to be used by other cities to help figure out what kind of housing stock they need.

Ultimately, Whitzman says the feds should come up with a term for affordability that is based on ability to pay. She said:

Generally, when we’re talking about these basic needs like education and health and housing, we need to have a definition of what an adequate X is, and we need to have a basic understanding of who doesn’t have that adequate X. And then we need to work toward the adequate X. It’s not rocket science.

The HART team is now working on a land assessment tool they’ll be testing in 15 municipalities, including Victoria County in Cape Breton.

Click here to read the whole story. 

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4. COVID update: 20 news cases; kids to get their vaccinations soon

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Robert Strang, at the COVID briefing, Nov. 24, 2021. Photo: Communications Nova Scotia

Tim Bousquet had Wednesday’s COVID update, which included details on vaccination for kids ages five to 11. Bousquet writes:

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Robert Strang today laid out how and when vaccines for children will become available.

The children’s vaccinations will arrive in Nova Scotia sometime this week — this is later than in other provinces because the province has asked the federal government to break the vaccine into child-sized doses before arriving in Nova Scotia, so they can be delivered directly to pharmacies once they arrive.

“Once we have certainty of the delivery date and time, we will open up appointments and this will be announced publicly,” said Strang. “Pharmacies and the IWK Health Center will be our main vaccinators and they will be ready to start getting vaccine for children on December 2nd.”

Strang said that supply of vaccine is not an issue, and the province has the ability to vaccinated 80% of the approximately 65,000 children aged 5-11 “before Christmas.”

As with adults, children will need two doses of vaccine, eight weeks apart.

As for new cases, there were 20 announced yesterday. Here’s the breakdown:

By Nova Scotia Health zone, the new cases break down as:
• 12 Central
• 6 Northern
• 2 Eastern
• 0 Western

Click here to read the full update.

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5. HRP push back on subpoenas for Kinsella, Boyd

Halifax Police Chief Can Kinsella and Insp. Derrick Boyd at a 2020 promotion ceremony. Photo: Dan Kinsella / Twitter.

Matthew Byard has the latest on the subpoenas to get Chief Dan Kinsella and Insp. Derrick Boyd to testify at Kayla Borden’s appeal in December. Byard writes:

The latest objections come after both Kinsella and Boyd, who is the officer responsible for professional standards within the force, were both subpoenaed on November 15 to testify before the Nova Scotia Police Review Board.

“HRP now wishes to move that the Board quash these subpoenas,” Andrew Gough, a lawyer for the city, wrote to the Police Review Board later that week.

Byard continues:

In a letter to The Examiner, Borden’s lawyer expressed disappointment over the latest developments.

“Against my objections, and reminders that its mission is to ‘maintain public confidence in our municipal police agencies,’ the Police Review Board continues to deal with as much of this matter behind closed doors and side-step the public,” Maxwell wrote.

Click here to read that story.

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6. The Tideline, Episode 55: Steve Murphy

Steve Murphy.

CTV anchor Steve Murphy has been a broadcaster for 45 years (starting when he was five years old, I’m guessing.) He’s “stepping aside” from the anchor desk on November 30. Murphy is one of Tara Thorne’s heroes, so he joins her on this week’s episode of The Tideline.

Thorne and Murphy chat about the state of journalism past and present, big stories from Nova Scotia’s history, and whether he and Tara will go to driver’s ed together. This is a very good longform interview.

Be well, Steve, from all of us on the other side of the television.

Oh, this show also has brand-new holiday music from Catherine MacLellan (yeah!) Listen for free here.

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Views

Filling the need at food banks in North Dartmouth

Volunteers with the North Dartmouth Outreach Resource Centre, which runs a food bank, gather in the kitchen to repackage bulk food into smaller amounts. Photo: NDORC

This week, I spoke to two volunteers at food banks in Dartmouth north, the Dartmouth North Christian Food Bank and the food bank run by the North Dartmouth Outreach Resource Centre. These food banks, like many others across Nova Scotia, have seen demand and donations ebb and flow over the last 18 months of the pandemic. So, I thought I’d share here what I learned.

Lis Jackson is the coordinator of the Dartmouth North Christian Food Bank, which is run and partially funded by a partnership of churches. She says demand during the first lockdowns dropped significantly. At that point, the food bank was in a location in downtown Dartmouth. She said clients were afraid to go out and get on the buses, but Jackson also said the Canada Emergency Relief Benefit (CERB) and the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB) did play a role in that drop in demand. This past summer, they were getting about 50 clients a week. Now that’s up to 90 clients a week.

“Our increase just happened in the last month, month and a half,” Jackson said, who pointed out that timing coincides with the end of the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB) in October.

She also noted that there were new clients, including those who had never been to a food bank before, included those who have lost jobs. Many of those clients are singles under the age of 50. Jackson estimates about 10% of the clients using the food bank now are new.

When we see the new people come in, who haven’t been there before or are sometimes bringing in their little children, it really hits home. For some of these people it’s really difficult for them to come in. I think they feel very embarrassed sometimes about having to come in. We see that and we try to make them feel as comfortable as possible.

I’ve had people say to me, ‘I shouldn’t be here.’ And I try to tell them, ‘Look, a lot of people are one paycheque from having to use a food bank.’ There are so many people these days just living from paycheque to paycheque. It could happen to any of us. So, they shouldn’t be embarrassed.  That’s what we’re there for.

Increasing food prices are another pressure on the food banks. Many food banks top up donations and supply by looking for deals on items.

“Already we’re spending more money than we were budgeted,” Jackson says. The biggest need now is for items like cereal, which is too expensive for the food bank to buy, but is a popular request of clients with children. Peanut butter, jam, and canned milk are also popular, as are other canned goods and non-perishable items.

Jackson says she’s also been lucky with grants, and applied for many. Through those grants, Jackson said the food bank got all new freezers and fridges.

Stock at the Dartmouth North Christian Food Bank. Photo: Contributed

As for donations, early on in the pandemic they were low because people weren’t going to church. But the food bank, like many others, got funding from the province and Food Banks Canada via Feed Nova Scotia.

Right now, the food bank is taking requests for Christmas food hampers and Jackson said those requests are up. Typically, the food bank distributes about 85 of those hampers. She expects that to increase to about 100 this year.

“It always amazes me with Nova Scotians — how generous they are,” Jackson said. “I really do see a lot of that, especially this time of year.”

But she reminded me that the need continues after Christmas and there’s a slump in donations in January through to March.

“So, that’s when the food banks really need it more,” Jackson said.

Sam Schwartz is the president of the North Dartmouth Outreach Resource Centre, which is supported by four churches — Grace United, Stairs Memorial, Port Wallis United Church, and Holy Trinity Emmanuel. Schwartz started in his role just before the pandemic began in 2020.

He said just before it started they served about 90 households a week. When the pandemic hit, that number went down to about 35, and that number has been fluctuating up and down in the months since. But they’ve had a lot of support, including food from Feed Nova Scotia, grants, and monetary donations.

Schwartz said he’s not sure why the number of clients dropped during the pandemic. He said most of their clients have homes and use the food bank to stretch their incomes as best as they can.

As for demand now, just one month before Christmas, he said the numbers are going up and they’re serving 60 to 70 households each week. Like Jackson at the North Dartmouth Christian Food Bank, Schwartz said they’re registering clients for Christmas hampers. Those will be filled by Feed Nova Scotia, but he said they’re taking donations of personal items, toiletries, treats, and small gifts to top up those hampers.

Volunteers unloading food donations for the North Dartmouth Outreach Resource Society. Photo: NDORC

He says during the pandemic they did see new clients, most of whom lost their jobs. But he said once things “cleared up” they disappeared. He said other new clients included immigrants to the community. And the number of volunteers, most of whom are seniors, dropped off, too.

As for donations — canned goods, cereals, crackers, and other non-perishables are always welcome.

Schwartz said the pandemic taught him lessons about food insecurity.

I think the income level makes a big difference. Our food bank is basically used to stretch their income. Once they pay their rent and utilities, some money left is for groceries. A more sustainable living wage would be helpful. So basically our goal is not to be here.

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Noticed

Residents of Ocean Breeze put together a video about their community. If you recall, the residents of the apartment complex in Dartmouth near the MacKay Bridge learned last month that the owners, Dartmouth Investment Limited, a subsidiary of the Ontario-based Elia Corporation, put the property up for sale. Jon Tattrie at CBC spoke with residents when they learned the news. He writes:

Celine Porcheron moved from Montreal to Ocean Breeze four years ago. She soon fell in love with the actual ocean breeze drifting in from Halifax Harbour and through the trees that are home to a small herd of deer.

“I just love this community. It’s very welcoming, it’s quiet. And we’re a little stressed out about what’s happening,” she told CBC News Tuesday.

Porcheron said some residents have lived there for decades, others are new immigrants to Canada, and the community is a mix of families, adults and seniors.

“That’s a lot of people to displace without a plan, without talking to us,” she said. “I understand the sale is going to happen, but we need to be a part of that process.”

The three-minute video is a short tour of the community where apartments rent from $875 to $1,400 a month. About 1,000 residents live here. As one resident in the video says, “Where would a thousand people go? This is basically it for a lot of us.”

Another resident said this: “I just hope the right people come to their senses. See how this community, literally these buildings, this property promotes Nova Scotia, what Nova Scotia is all about.”

Residents also started a Twitter account and a Linktree account with surveys and a letter writing campaign. I sent a message to the folks running the Twitter account. Ocean Breeze resident Clark MacIntosh returned with this response:

The video was created by Morgan Jessome of Eastlink and her incredible team as a way for residents here to show folks the reality of what is at stake when governments outsource solving the housing crisis to the housing market. Minister [John] Lohr has repeatedly said the PC housing plan will protect vulnerable communities like Ocean Breeze, but their legislation actually encourages the destruction of communities that rent for below 20% of market value. That makes Ocean Breeze a huge target for a bulldoze and rebuild mentality, and that is how our community is being advertised to developers.

Watch the video below. We should be building more Ocean Breezes, not selling the ones we have.

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Government

City

Thursday

Transportation Standing Committee (Thursday, 1pm, City Hall) — also livestreamed

Point Pleasant Park Advisory Committee (Thursday, 4:30pm) — livestreamed

Province

No meetings


On campus

Dalhousie

Thursday

Epigenetic landscape of pulmonary hypertension: Emerging therapeutic avenue (Thursday, 11:30am) — Soni Pullamsetti from Justus Liebig University Giessen, Germany will talk

Building Black Canadian Studies: My Tenure as the James R. Johnston Chair in Black Canadian Studies (Thursday, 4pm) — Afua Cooper will chat with Isaac Saney online. Info and registration here.

2021 DMAA Medical Alumni Recognition Awards (Thursday, 4pm) — virtual awards ceremony

“Etuaptmumk” : Two-Eyed Seeing and Design (Thursday, 6pm) — a conversation between Albert Marshall and Richard Kroeker

about how the Two-eyed Seeing concept applies to design thinking and design education. This event will mark the launch of the Murdena and Albert Marshall Bursary for Mi’kmaq students at Dalhousie University in the professions that give shape to our communities: Architecture, Engineering, and Planning.

NOISE (Thursday, 7:30pm, St. Andrew’s United Church, Coburg Road, Halifax) — The Dalhousie Wind Ensemble, directed by Jacob Caines, in collaboration with the Dalhousie School of Architecture, featuring works by Ryan Dooley, Lisa Anne Marsh, and Montreal-Egyptian composer Symon Henry.  Tickets $15/ $10

Friday

Cover Stories and Undercover Stories: Apartheid South Africa, 1969-1984 (Friday, 3:30pm) — Billy Keniston from the University of Illinois will talk.

Event (Friday, ) — text

Saint Mary’s

Thursday

No events

Friday

Dissent or Democracy? The Fragility of American Politics, Then and Now (Friday, 12pm, LA 173) — Shira Lurie will talk


In the harbour

Halifax
05:45: St. Sofia, bulker, arrives at Pier 27 from Trois-Rivières, Quebec
10:00: Algoma Verity, bulker, sails from Gold Bond for sea
10:30: Augusta Sun, cargo ship, arrives at Pier 31 from Moa, Cuba
16:30: Oceanex Sanderling, ro-ro container, moves from Autoport to Pier 41
18:00: Lagrafoss, container ship, arrives at Pier 41 from Portland, Maine
23:45: Lagrafoss sails for Reykjavik, Iceland

Cape Breton
07:00: AM 3600, barge, and Meredith Ashton, tug, sails from Mulgrave north through the causeway for Duluth, Minnesota
11:00: Arctic Lift, barge, with Western Tugger, tug, sails from Aulds Cove quarry north through the causeway for sea
11:30: Bahama Spirit, bulker, arrives at Aulds Cove quarry from Charleston, South Carolina
16:00: CSL Tacoma, bulker, arrives at Point Tupper coal dock from Baltimore, Maryland
20:00: Eagle Kuantan, oil tanker, arrives at Point Tupper from Delaware City, Delaware
20:00: Ionic Anax, oil tanker, arrives at Point Tupper from Mongstad, Norway


Footnotes

I put up my Christmas tree and our new kitten, Donovan, is enjoying it. He’s only knocked it over once. So far.


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Suzanne Rent

Suzanne Rent is a writer, editor, and researcher. You can follow her on Twitter @Suzanne_Rent

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  1. Two things: we need to redesign giant highway-looking streets like Pleasant so people don’t treat them like highways. I vaguely remember studies that say things like street width and number of lanes matter even more than speed limits and crosswalks in the way that people treat drive on some streets.

    And the other is about child doses… I heard this morning that if I child turns 12 between doses they will be given an adult dose. I guess if I had thought about it I would have realized before that doses are based on age not on body size, but I guess that is a question I would have for someone like Dr. Lisa Barrett… how does body size versus age affect dosage?

  2. Ocean breezes is lovely – I’ve never lived there but used to visit a friend there regularly. There are very few places in HRM that are affordable but have the nice family friendly vibe that Ocean Breezes has.

    Maybe the golf courses in Dartmouth and the West End would be a good place to build more housing without demolishing existing naturally affordable units.

    1. I agree, getting rid of the golf course in Dartmouth would not only open up a large area for housing development, it would also allow for the creation of some more direct traffic routes between downtown and the Woodland area, which would alleviate congestion considerably.

      What would really allow for more housing would be to ban car dealerships as a land use on the peninsula. Many (most?) people will never purchase a new car and there is no justification for these businesses to occupy large tracts of land on the peninsula when even basic services and shops are increasingly being pushed out to Bayer’s Lake, Dartmouth Crossing, etc. Meanwhile developers are tearing down existing housing to build condo towers totally out of scale with their surroundings, all with the blessing of the Centre Plan.

      1. Agreed about the car dealerships. I think they are built on top of a dump, so it is a little more complex to replace them, but there is no good reason for car dealerships anywhere but the periphery of town.

  3. Fantastic Morning File! Learned so much today. Now I know a little bit more about the term “affordable housing,” about the food bank I visited just this morning (love Lis, she is always so cheerful and friendly), and about Ocean Breezes. Definitely agree that we should be building more communities not like – maybe even on the huge patch of land nearby (the Shannor Park lands). I know people who live there and definitely echo the comment of “where will they go?” should a developer buy their home and then commence to tear them down. There are already too many people sleeping rough – do we really want children to join that number? I know I don’t and I wish I could do more. For now, though, all I can do is continue to speak up myself, which those who know me know I’m not shy about doing. 🙂

  4. FOOD FOR THOUGHT

    I keep thinking that if all the time, money and effort good people put into food banks was spent on a genuine full scale, no-holds-barred, genuine effort to eliminate all poverty, we wouldn’t need food banks.

    Learning to live with poverty is a bad idea, as is learning to live with covid. Both need to be eradicated not accepted as tolerated evils.