News

Construction in downtown Halifax in 2019. — Photo: Zane Woodford

1. Provincial review calls for less public consultation on Halifax housing development 

“A new review commissioned by the provincial government’s housing task force recommends Halifax reduce public consultation around development, fast-track projects for “trusted” developers, and make a suite of other changes to speed up development applications,” reports Zane Woodford. 

 The HRM Housing Development Barrier Review by Deloitte, released Wednesday, recommends the provincial government’s Executive Panel on Housing in the Halifax Regional Municipality, also known as the housing task force, create its own parallel planning department to address the recommendations. There are 15 in total. 

Geoff MacLellan, the chair of the task force, hired the consulting firm “to identify barriers to efficient and effective housing development in HRM and provide advice to address the key barriers,” according to the preface of the review. 

“Deloitte was asked to identify barriers at all tiers of government as well as within the development community. This document summarizes the advice to the Chair and the analyses that support that advice.” 

Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister John Lohr told the Halifax Examiner at Province House that the recommendations will require discussion between the province and HRM. He wouldn’t commit to implementing all of them. 

“We think it is a comprehensive report, but in terms of what exactly gets done, that’s a moving target,” Lohr said. 

Click here to read Woodford’s story.

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Natural Resources and Renewables Minister Tory Rushton. Photo: Jennifer Henderson

2. Province introduces amendments to limit hikes to power rates, Nova Scotia Power’s profits

On Wednesday, the Houston government introduced amendments to the Public Utilities Act to limit the size of power rate hikes the regulator can approve in the next two years. No one knows how high those rate hikes will be, reports Jennifer Henderson. 

That decision remains with the Nova Scotia Utility and the Review Board, although the government has given it new marching orders nine months into the process of sifting through thousands of pages of evidence.  

Nova Scotia Power originally asked for a 10.2% rate hike over three years that did not include fuel costs for 2022, which have jumped by one-third. With 2022 fast disappearing, the request changed to 13.7% over two years.   

On Friday, the company filed evidence that suggested if its fuel projections for 2023 and 2024 prove correct, power bills for residential customers could increase by 26% over the next two years. 

Nova Scotia Natural Resources and Energy Minister Tory Rushton said on Wednesday that can’t happen.   

“Global prices for fossil fuels have increased 200 to 700%,” Rushton told reporters during a bill briefing Wednesday morning. “Fuel costs are an unavoidable cost and well beyond anyone’s control … but we are protecting ratepayers as best we can by controlling what we can control by not allowing other costs to be passed on to ratepayers unless they improve the reliability of the system.” 

Henderson reached out to Nova Scotia Power, and received an emailed statement from president Peter Gregg. This story has been updated with comments from Liberal MLA Iain Rankin. Click here to read more.

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3. Career fair for Black, Indigenous, and people of colour set for Saturday

This item was written by Matthew Byard.

A Black organization based out of Montreal will host a free career fair for Black, Indigenous, and people of colour on Saturday.

The event is the second iteration of BLAXPO, a series of lifestyle events whose goal is to connect Black, Indigenous, and people of colour to equitable and diverse career opportunities.

While the in-person event is being held at the Toronto Reference Library, the career fair will also be live-streamed for anyone wishing to attend virtually. It takes place from 11am to 6pm Atlantic time (10am to 6pm Eastern). 

BLAXPO, hosted by Four Brown Girls, is described on its website as “Canada’s leading not-for-profit event management organization at the intersection of social innovation and activism.”

“BLAXPO is an approachable, safe space where candidates can be their authentic selves in order to find the perfect culture fit in their careers,” said Nicole Antoine, one of the co-founders of Four Brown Girls. 

“Additionally, we work directly with companies in their journeys to become more diverse and inclusive, and we’ve even developed a proprietary technology that keeps them committed to its diversity goals.”

The event will include speed networking with executives, masterclasses, and live podcast sessions, and will “live on as a website, matching talent to prospective employers,” according to the press release.

Candidates attending in person in Toronto will be eligible to receive micro grants of up to $1,000, raffle tickets, and a 20-minute one-on-one private therapy session with clinicians who are also people of colour.

Antoine, along with Ariane Ntetu-Baya and Jayne Mandat, co-founded Four Brown Girls in 2015. Their mandate is to create safe spaces for Black Canadians in person and online.

For more information about this year’s BLAXPO, visit www.blaxpo.com

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Charmaine Nelson is a professor of art history at McGill University. Photo: McGill University

4. Charmaine Nelson

“Charmaine Nelson finds it quite ironic that a Halifax-based institute she founded to study slavery in Canada closed after she felt discriminated against as a Black woman,” reports Aman Khan with CBC.

The prominent art historian, educator and author resigned from her position as the director of the Institute for the Study of Canadian Slavery at NSCAD University earlier this year. She says the undermining of Black academics is what racism looks like in universities and is a problem across Canada.

“NSCAD, like other institutions, underestimates what it takes to actually not just hire a Black female professor, but to support me and to make sure I have what it takes for me to succeed, because the Canadian myth of racial tolerance wants us to believe that the institution is basically an objective space where everybody can thrive,” said Nelson in an interview.

In 2020, Nelson left a 17-year career as a professor at McGill University in Montreal for a new role and life in Nova Scotia with her husband. She joined NSCAD as a Tier I Canada Research Chair in transatlantic Black diasporic art and community engagement — a prestigious title awarded to world-renowned researchers.

Within a year at NSCAD, Nelson had made the decision to leave. She said she constantly felt undermined and as though she was being questioned about her ability to run an institute.

Nelson told Aman that when she started in the role at NSCAD, she wasn’t provided with orientation and her emails about the parameters of her role as director often went unanswered. Nelson also told CBC she wasn’t permitted to give raises to student employees, even though she got a grant for such raises. Nelson also said when she tried to access money from her own salary that was set aside to hire a student, she was told that money “didn’t roll over” until the following year. Aman reports that was the “last straw” for Nelson.

CBC contacted Peggy Shannon, who was appointed as NSCAD’s president in July. Shannon wrote in an email to CBC that NSCAD “takes racism and structural racism very seriously” and has “robust third-party investigation options.” Still, Shannon wouldn’t comment if any investigation into Nelson’s claims is underway.

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Finding the final resting place of the Black Loyalists of Annapolis County

Micha Cromwell stands next to the monument of her ancestor, Rose Fortune. Photo: mapannapolis.ca

On Monday, Oct. 24 from 10am to 5pm, a group of volunteers, led by Micha Cromwell, and a team from Boreas Heritage Consulting, will be using ground-penetrating radar (GPR) to find the location of graves of Black Loyalists and descendants of Black Loyalists buried at Fort Anne National Historic Site’s Garrison Graveyard in Annapolis Royal.  

This work is part of the Black Loyalist Descendants Committee with mapannapolis.ca, a web-based mapping project that’s chronicling the stories of Annapolis County in story maps. Cromwell,  an actor who recently starred in films A Walk Under the Sun and Eua-Lander that screened at the Atlantic Film Festival, is leading the Black Loyalist Descendants Committee. Parks Canada, which operates Fort Anne, is a partner on the project, too. 

“We suspect there are Black Loyalist and Black Loyalist descendants buried in this section of the graveyard,” Cromwell said in an interview with the Examiner on Wednesday. “The graves are unmarked, so they just want to see if we can actually locate them. 

More than 2,700 Black Loyalists arrived in Nova Scotia in 1783 as a result of the American Revolution. They settled in communities across the province, including in and near Annapolis Royal. Some of that history is already chronicled onmapannapolis.ca. 

A lot of research has already been done to learn about the Black Loyalists and their descendants who might be buried at the Garrison Graveyard. Researchers Brenda Thompson and Denise Rice went through church records to find out if there were Black Nova Scotians buried in the graveyard. Cromwell said they have a list of about 17 names of Black Loyalists or Black Loyalists descendants who are buried in sections of the graveyard. 

A man using ground-penetrating radar at the Garrison Graveyard in Annapolis Royal. Photo: Mapannapolis.ca

Cromwell was born in Annapolis Royal and is a descendant of one of Annapolis Royal’s most famous Black Loyalists, Rose Fortune. Fortune was a well known entrepreneur in Annapolis Royal, running a business transporting luggage and provisions from ships. She’s buried at Garrison graveyard, too, although her grave doesn’t have a marker. Still, a monument was created for Fortune a few years ago. Fortune’s daughter and son-in-law are buried in the graveyard, too, and both have headstones.

“From a personal standpoint, it’s very meaningful to me to be able to uncover part of my past, part of my history,” Cromwell said. “Black history is often erased, both figuratively and in some cases, literally. It means a lot to me that we have this event happening. We can look for these unmarked burial sites and say there are people here and they mattered, and their histories matter as well. It’s not just the Acadians and the British in this graveyard; it’s the Mi’kmaq people here, Black people buried here as well. Everyone can find a little piece of their past.” 

A screenshot from the Black Loyalists of Annapolis County story map on the mapannapolis.ca website. Photo: mapannapolis.ca

Mapannapolis.ca is already packed with detailed histories from Annapolis County. There are story maps on heritage homescemeteries and churcheshistorical wharvesAcadian settlements, and the Acadian Deportation. Each page includes local stories, maps, postcards, and all sorts of facts from across the county. There’s also a blog where you can learn some of the background and details on mapannapolis’s projects, including the search for the Black Loyalist graves.  

Heather LeBlanc, who is the project manager at mapannapolis, said in the last 10 years, hundreds of volunteers have spent thousands of hours doing the research on Annapolis County’s history. The Black Loyalist Descendants Committee project is the latest project mapannapolis has taken on.  

“It’s important for people to have a sense of community, whatever their community might be, that they can identify with, touch, feel, and to come to where it started,” LeBlanc said. “Or if they can’t, that they can do all the exploration they want and hear the stories in an online presence.” 

The project has been a learning experience for LeBlanc, too.

“I didn’t know until we started this project that there was a group of people who couldn’t be buried in the main graveyard. That they had to be on the other side of the fence or X number of feet down, if they even had marked graves. I didn’t know that.” 

Once Monday’s work with the ground-penetrating radar wraps up, the committee will work together to create a story map that will be posted on Map Annapolis. That work will be an extension of the work about Black Loyalists of Annapolis County that’s already on the website. The details will include what these descendants did for work, where they lived, where they migrated to.

Cromwell, who has a degree in history from Dalhousie University, said this project is personal for her, adding she’s learning so much about Black history. 

“I had no idea there were Black people buried at the Garrison graveyard and I have lived in Annapolis Royal most of my life,” she said. “I have only recently learned it maybe a year ago. And I had no idea that two of the gravestones that are standing are of Black Loyalist descendants. It’s all new to me and it’s very exciting.” 

“It gives me a greater sense of belonging to know a piece .of my history is there, too” 

Cromwell and LeBlanc said anyone can drop by when the ground-penetrating radar work is being done at Garrison graveyard. Visitors can ask questions about the work and maybe even get a chance to try using the ground-penetrating radar machine for themselves. 

“We do want to get as many people of African descent to come by, but it is open for everyone,” Cromwell said.  

Cromwell said this project and its work is important so that everyone feels they’re connected to the province’s history.

“Learning everyone’s history creates more a sense of community, which I think is important,” she said. “It creates empathy. Growing up I never learned about my own culture or history, not very much anyway. It’s important for everyone to feel like they belong here, they matter, and they be seen.” 

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Noticed

The Goodwin Hotel in Weymouth. Photo: Goodwin Hotel/Facebook

Meanwhile, a 50-minute drive from Annapolis Royal, is the Goodwin Hotel in Weymouth. I stayed here a few times, usually on a summer Friday night when I was heading to get lobster at Beaux Vendredis Seafood Suppers in Belliveau’s Cove (go there; those lobster dinners are very good).

The last time I stayed at the Goodwin was this past July. It was then I learned that the hotel’s owner, Pat Comeau, 81, was looking to sell the place after running it since 1970. That morning after she had finished serving breakfast to the guests, Comeau and one of her sons were heading to Halifax, specifically Costco, to get more supplies for the hotel. Comeau runs the front desk, takes the phone calls, and works the restaurant in the back of the hotel. It’s a lot of work.

This week John DeMont at the Chronicle Herald spoke with Comeau about trying to sell the hotel, which she runs with her twin sons, Brian and Bruce. Comeau bought the hotel with her husband, Arnold, who passed away a number of years ago. DeMont writes:

They weren’t necessarily looking to buy a business, but her army sergeant major husband Arnold was a Weymouth boy who longed for home. His sister, who worked at the Goodwin, had called to say that the hotel was for up sale.

Everything, afterwards, happened so fast.

“All I remember is that the day we came to move in the truck that brought our stuff left with the belongings of Ray and Olive Rice, the former owners,” Comeau told me this week.

That was March of 1970. She has lived in the Goodwin ever since, first with Arnold and since his death, by herself, in a room on the main floor, just down the hall from the front desk, and the dining room, where she serves the fabled pies made by her twin sons Brian and Bruce.

DeMont writes about the history of the hotel to back when Weymouth was a busy shipbuilding town. During my visits there, Comeau always had stories about how life has changed at the hotel over the years. She operates the hotel year round, but there are fewer workers in the area. They’d book most of the rooms during the off-season.

 A few from chairs just outside the Goodwin Hotel in Weymouth. Photo: Suzanne Rent

Comeau is such a lovely and gracious host. The room rates are a steal. The breakfast is delicious and I don’t know how I missed out on the pies.

The place reminds me of a grandmother’s house with its bedspreads, old dark furniture, and photos on the walls. I remember sitting down and flipping through some of the old Sears and Eaton’s catalogues Comeau has stored on the shelves and bookcases in the front rooms. As DeMont wrote in his column, Comeau created all the hooked rugs and seat covers in the dining rooms. Some of the designs are of Maud Lewis’s famous black cats.

And Weymouth itself is a nice community, about half an hour from Digby. There’s a great Frenchy’s location there for the thrift shoppers. Every summer Friday night, there is live entertainment, usually a local band, playing at the Sissiboo Landing next to the river. The Goodwin is about a two-minute walk away.

When Comeau told me she was looking to sell, I wondered who would buy it. It’s a big place with huge rooms, but there’s lots of charm, and as DeMont points out, lots of history. I’ll be watching to see who buys it. I love little local hotels and motels like this. I wondered if a young couple looking to leave the city might buy it and make it their own, but keep some of the charm Comeau created over the years.

If it sells before I get back next summer, good luck to Comeau. She definitely deserves the break.

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Government

City

Youth Advisory Committee (Thursday, 5pm, Power House Youth Centre) — agenda


On campus

Dalhousie

Thursday

A Major Hurricane in the Little Ice Age (Thursday, 11:30am, Milligan Room, Life Sciences Centre) — Earth and Environmental Sciences departmental seminar from speaker John Dickie

The 2022 Stanfield Conversation: Digital Democracy (Thursday, 7pm, McInnes Room, SUB) — “Technology, Media Fragmentation, and the Crisis of Democracy in America,” featuring speakers Kathleen Hall Jamieson, Ron Diebert, and Elizabeth Dubois, with guest moderator Portia Clark

Mental health service delivery post-pandemic: Lessons learned (Thursday, 7pm, Peggy Corkum Music Room, 6181 Lady Hammond Road, Halifax) — Department of Psychiatry’s Annual Café Scientifique, an informal panel discussion with researchers, mental health leadership, and a community stakeholder group that is open to the public

Friday

Acting Masterclass with Sherry J. Yoon (Friday, 1pm, Studio 2, Dalhousie Arts Centre) — From the listing:

Sherry J. Yoon is Artistic Director of Boca del Lupo in Vancouver BC… During Sherry’s tenure the company has received numerous awards including the Alcan Performing Arts Award, Jessie Richardson awards, and the Critics Choice Award for Innovation. Sherry sits on several Arts and Theatre advisory committees and has launched the 3.7% Initiative – an advocacy group supporting emerging and established BIPOC women and non-binary artists in leadership. She’s also rallied the Canada-wide movement Stop Asian Hate, an initiative that has galvanized Asian Canadian Leadership in the performing arts.

Noisy Soundscapes: Women’s Institutions, Sound, and the Body in Early Modern Florence (Friday, 3:30pm, Room 1170, Marion McCain Building) — Julia Rombough from Acadia University will talk (link to come)

Saint Mary’s

The Queen of Basketball (Thursday, 6pm, Room 260, in the building named after a supermarket chain, and online) — film screening and panel discussion with Ben Proudfoot


In the harbour

Halifax
06:00: AlgoScotia, oil tanker, sails from Imperial Oil for Sept-Iles, Quebec
06:30: Nolhanava, ro-ro cargo, arrives at Fairview Cove from Saint-Pierre
08:30: Enchanted Princess, cruise ship with up to 4,402 passengers, arrives at Pier 22 from Sydney, on a seven-day roundtrip cruise out of New York
08:30: MSC Donata, container ship, arrives at Pier 42 from Sines, Portugal
11:00: NYK Remus, container ship, arrives at Fairview Cove from Caucedo, Dominican Republic
11:00: Oceanex Sanderling, ro-ro container, moves from Pier 42 to Autoport
11:30: One Hangzhou Bay, container ship, sails from Fairview Cove for New York
12:30: Seaborne Quest, cruise ship with up to 540 passengers, arrives at Pier 23 from Bar Harbor, on a 12-day cruise from New York to Montreal
12:45: Ocean Navigator, cruise ship, sails from Pier 24 for Portland
13:00: Glory Amsterdam, bulker, arrives at Pier 27 from Port Alfred, Quebec
13:00: Tosca, car carrier, sails from Pier 9 for sea
15:30: MSC Donata, container ship, sails for sea
16:00: Seaspan Loncomilla, container ship, arrives at Pier 41 from Valencia, Spain
16:00: Oceanex Sanderling moves to Pier 41
18:00: Glory Amsterdam sails for sea
19:30: Enchanted Princess sails for New York

Cape Breton
10:00: Lambert Spirit, barge, and Lois M, tug, sail from Sydport for sea
13:00 Arctic Lift, barge, and Western Tugger, tug, sail from Mulgrave for sea
14:00: Spirit II, oil tanker, sails from EverWind for sea


Footnotes

This is my first Morning File on the new website!


Suzanne Rent

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

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3 Comments

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  1. It was great to see the piece on Rose Fortune, but I am impelled to add that the remarkable memorial to Fortune pictured in the story was created by Annapolis sculptor Brad Hall, who also created the signature piece on Shelburne Harbour.

  2. Thanks for the article about Rose Fortune. There is a Rose Fortune Street in West Bedford. When I first saw it, I Googled Rose Fortune to learn about who she was. In addition to her luggage transporting business, she is considered to be Canada’s first female police officer.

  3. Black residents of Halifax who were buried in Camp Hill Cemetery were buried in a segregated section. Captain White, chaplain to no. 2 Construction was buried ” a dozen or so to the south beyond the boundary of what was known as the cemetery’s Coloured section. On that same Saturday in September Private William R Parker,931387 a former member of No 2 and member of Rev White’s congregation was interred with far less ceremony in a plot north of his pastor’s,well within the Coloured section. Cultural practices in Halifax had not been altered with Cptain White’s burial; tactics simply demanded a temporary modification ” …source : “Black Soldiers in a White Man’s War” Gordon Pollock, published 2018