1. Bike network

Halifax CAO Jacques Dubé.

“This week’s council agenda featured an information report on the prospect of getting Halifax’s AAA (all ages and ability) regional centre bikeway network, which the Integrated Mobility Plan (IMP) included as a priority to be built by 2022, up and running two years earlier, by 2020,” reports Examiner transportation columnist Erica Butler:

The report was requested by council back in December 2017 at the same time the full IMP was approved.

The gist of the report? Forget about 2020, we’ll be lucky to get this thing built by 2022.

But the biggest obstacle to finishing the AAA bikeway network by 2020 turns out to be the same obstacle that will probably keep us from building it by 2022: money. Or more accurately, the lack of political and technocratic will to spend it on sustainable transportation infrastructure.

Click here to read “Proposed city budget pulls the wheels off bike network.”

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2. Tracy Kitch

Tracy Kitch. Photo: Career Women Interaction

“As the former president and CEO of the IWK prepares to go to court on fraud charges, CTV News has learned Tracy Kitch also used a hospital credit card for personal expenses, when she worked at Toronto’s Mount Sinai hospital — personal expenses that she also repaid,” reports CTV.

The fraud charges against Kitch came after CBC reporter Michael Gorman got an anonymous tip about Kitch paying for personal expenses with her IWK credit card.

The CTV report explains that Kitch worked at Mount Sinai, where she was paid $225,000 a year and an annual bonus of 20 per cent. She left that position in 2104 to take the IWK CEO job, where her base salary was $285,000 a year.

CTV continues:

Last fall, CTV News requested Kitch’s expense reports while she was at Mount Sinai.

In January, Kitch appealed the release of those documents and CTV also appealed.

In the end, the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario (IPC) “directed the hospital to release a copy of the expense reports that includes both the hospital’s redactions of repaid personal expenses, as well as the additional redactions as requested by Ms. Kitch…”

In examining those documents, you can find expenses such as a hotel stay — a flight to a conference — or a taxi charge.

But for some months, almost the entire expense report has been redacted.

All we know is that these are personal expenses Kitch had repaid.

At the time CTV News obtained these documents, a hospital spokesperson told us: “The hospital had, and continues to have, a policy in place requiring that hospital-issued credit cards be used only for business purposes.”

3. Minimum wage

Yesterday, the Nova Scotia Minimum Wage Review Committee released its 2018 report. The report calls for raising the current minimum wage of $11/hour by 55 cents for each of the next three years, to $12.65/hour on April 1, 2021.

You can read the report here.

4. The Icarus Report

Flight GG 4854 was just one of several crashes at the Halifax airport. Photo: Halifax Examiner

Yesterday, the Transport Canada published details of a November 21 “runway incursion” at the Halifax airport:

A small excavator (ESC245+1) was observed working within 200 feet of the threshold of Runway 32. The ground controller was able to make contact with an escort vehicle on the approach road of Runway 32 and they advised that they were in charge of the excavator and not aware that the runway was back open (it had been closed for two weeks). Runway 32 had not been used due to ice contamination. No impact on operations. The Airport Duty Manager was advised.

Well, OK, except… “([Runway 32] had been closed for two weeks). Runway 32 had not been used due to ice contamination.”

Um, let’s see, two weeks before November 21 was November 7. What happened on November 7? Well, a plane crashed at the end of Runway 32:

At 5:05 a.m. today, a Boeing 747-400 SkyLease cargo aircraft arriving from Chicago, Illinois, went off the end of Runway 32 upon its scheduled landing.

It’s odd that the November 4 crash isn’t mentioned in yesterday’s Transport Canada report. Maybe the “ice contamination” happened after the crash because they weren’t clearing the runway, but you could read it the other way around too: ice contamination caused the crash and therefore the subsequent closing of the runway. It was certainly the popular understanding that the runway remained closed because there was a burned-out carcass of a plane at the end of it, and not because there was ice on the runway.

I worry more about ice on the runway than I do about, say, drunken pilots or distracting ferrets running loose in the cabin. The latter seems like an unlikely one-off, while the former suggests deeper operational problems at the airport.

Speaking of airport incidents, yesterday’s report also mentions a November 13 incident at the airport:

A WestJet Boeing 737 Max 8 (WJA388) from Ottawa, ON (CYOW) to Halifax, NS (CYHZ) sent an Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System (ACARS) message requesting local police to meet the flight due to a level 3 incident with an unruly passenger on board. The passenger punched a flight attendant in the chest. Police met with the flight.

The four levels of threats from unruly passengers are explained here:

  • Level 1 — Disruptive behavior (verbal);
  • Level 2 — Physically abusive behavior;
  • Level 3 — Life-threatening behavior (or display of a weapon);
  • Level 4 — Attempted or actual breach of the flight crew compartment.

Obviously, no one should have to go to work and face physical assault.

5. Hedge war

I’m modifying this from a Twitter thread I wrote yesterday.

There was an interesting small claims court judgment published yesterday. Two women — Tanya Isaac and Sarah Harris — live next door to each other “in a leafy neighbourhood of West End Halifax,” wrote adjudicator Erik Slone in his decision. (All quotes that follow are from Slone’s decision.)

Isaac had bought her house nine years ago. Harris, 13 years ago. “Both parties essentially inherited a mature hedge when they bought their properties, and drew their own conclusions about the ownership or origins of the hedge.” The hedge, which consisted of “barberry bushes as well as a scattering of small interspersed maple trees,” was older than anyone in the neighbourhood remembers, at least back to the 1970s. Maybe older.

Ah, but problems arose. “Over the weekend of May 5 and 6, 2018, [Harris] and her husband took up a chainsaw and levelled about twenty five feet or more of the hedge separating the two properties, in preparation for their eventual plan to put up a wood privacy fence between the backyards. They did this without asking, let alone even informing, their neighbour [Isaac], who looked out her window on the morning after and saw for the first time the empty space where the hedge had always been. This came as a complete shock to her.”

“Clearly,” continued Slone, “the act of removing the hedge without so much as a ‘by your leave’ was not a neighbourly thing to do. The question for this Court is whether it was also unlawful.”

Entered into evidence were Google Street View photos and two surveys of the boundary line between the properties. “Thousands of dollars were spent by each party for their respective surveys.” Isaac’s surveyor plotted out the one-dimensional boundary line and placed on the survey dots indicating the two-dimensional location of “large stems” that once constituted the hedge. “Of course, the hedge (as it existed) was a three-dimensional object occupying airspace and sending roots into the ground on both properties,” noted Slone.

The survey show the remnants of the hedge “appears to be entirely over the line on [Harris’] side.” However, “even that can be slightly misleading as it does not take into account the roots of these trees or bushes which, in all likelihood, grew on both sides of the boundary.”

Then we get a few paragraphs about how back in the 1970s the two then-neighbours either planted the hedge together, or one with the other’s permission, but either way, probably nobody cared about the boundary line.

There’s actually case law about borderline trees, including Anderson v. Skender. “While large trees are somewhat different than hedges, I believe the same principles apply,” wrote Slone. “In all cases, it is an irresistible inference that there were at least roots growing on both sides of the centre line of the hedge.”

So Slone found for Isaac. Isaac wanted $4,368, the supposed cost of replacing the hedge, but Slone only awarded her $1,000. “While this is somewhat arbitrary, ” admitted Slone, “I believe this amount would be sufficient to purchase a few shrubs and/or small trees that would, if strategically placed, soften the view from her side of the fence.”

“In a more friendly world,” he continued, “the Claimant and Defendant would have agreed to have one proper survey done. Instead, they each hired their own surveyors.” But since they didn’t…. “”I am satisfied that the Claimant would never have incurred the expense of a formal survey if not for the unlawful trespass committed by the Defendant. That cost was $5,313.00, and ought to be borne by the Defendant.”

All told, with costs and some miscellaneous findings, Isaac was awarded $6,167.35, but as a reader pointed out, the math doesn’t add up quite right, so I’m hoping this is appealed to the Supreme Court.


1. Mailboxes

“We were listening to the news about the turmoil at Canada Post,” writes Stephen Archibald, “and Sheila said, ‘You must have some photos of mailboxes.’ And I thought, yes I believe I do.”

Of course he does.

In that vast Raiders of the Lost Ark warehouse out at Cove 17 are files of photos of historic mailboxes, modern mailboxes, and my favourites:

And let’s not forget all the individual creativity that many folks, who get rural delivery, invest in their personal mailboxes. A couple of examples from Eagle Head, Queens County are a lobster trap with its numbered buoy, and some Maud Lewis style kittens.

Photo: Stephen Archibald
Photo: Stephen Archibald

I remember a mailbox, or rather two mailboxes, on a rural road outside Ashland, Oregon. By the road, there was a typical unremarkable mailbox with a house number and a flag, but the pole that supported it extended upwards another 30 feet, and way up there was attached a second mailbox reading “air mail.” I thought that was cute, but worried that a wayward plow would send it collapsing into someone’s windshield.




No public meetings.


Environment and Sustainability Standing Committee (Thursday, 1pm, City Hall) — Mark Butler from the Ecology Action Centre will ask the committee to get the ball rolling on banning plastic bags in the city.


No public meetings this week.

On campus



Innovation Rounds: Intellectual Property for Healthcare: Building a Healthy Portfolio (Wednesday, 8:30am, Room 114, Centre for Clinical Research) — Emma Saffran and Tuba Yamac, patent agents from BCF LLP in Montreal, will speak.

Thesis Defence, Chemistry (Wednesday, 9am, Room 3107, Mona Campbell Building) — PhD candidate Alexander Paterson will defend his thesis, “Experimental and Theoretical Investigation of Glass Ceramics: The Transparent Ferroelectric Nanocomposite LaBGeO5.”

Driving ~ Perfect Disorder to ~ Perfect Order in Solids (Wednesday, 1:30pm, Room 226, Chemistry Building) — Himanshu Jain from Lehigh University, Pennsylvania, will speak.

Mechanistic Links Underlying Obesity-Breast Cancer Connection: Insights and Strategies (Wednesday, 4pm, theatre A, Tupper Medical Building) — Dipali Sharma from Johns Hopkins will speak.


Reading of Dalhousie’s Bicentennial Epic Poem (Thursday, 3pm, Art Gallery, Dalhousie Arts Centre) — former Parliamentary Poet Laureate George Elliott Clarke and pianist Tim Crofts will perform “To Tell Dalhousie’s Story: Speak a Poem Insurgent / Sound a Piano Insolent!”

Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and the Nova Scotia Office of Immigration Information Session (Thursday, 4:30pm, in the auditorium named after a bank, Marion McCain Building)

In the harbour

06:40: Asian Sun, container ship, arrives at Pier 42 from Saint Thomas, Virgin Islands
13:00: APL Mexico City, container ship, arrives at Pier 41 from Colombo, Sri Lanka
16:00: Asian Sun moves from Pier 42 to anchorage
18:00: Algoma Integrity, bulker, sails from National Gypsum for sea


I’ll be on The Sheldon MacLeod Show, News 95.7, at 2pm.

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

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  1. Great to see Nova Scotia ahead of the curve as usual (Raise minimum wage to $12.65/hour on April 1, 2021). You can’t make this shit up! By April 1st, 2021, even the $15 being asked for today by anti poverty groups and those actually wanting to do something that will address income and wealth inequality, will be woefully inadequate. And in Halifax, for example, even $15/hr today is not considered a living wage. The minimum wage should just be reframed in all government legislation and policy documents as “the wage we allow employers to pay the most vulnerable members in our society to ensure that they continue to live miserable lives of economic insecurity and inexcusable poverty (but it’s their own fault)”. A mouthful I know, and probably grammatically suspect, but more honest at least.

  2. The Nov 7 air cargo runway incident continues to fascinate me. About four hours earlier that morning, I was on a flight from Toronto that attempted landing in Halifax a couple of different ways in challenging winds and driving rain. The pilots determined there was no safe way to get us on the ground, flew us to Moncton, where we hunkered down for the rest of the night. Before the 26-minute flight from Moncton to Halifax the next day, the pilot gave us a detailed and highly technical description of the landing conditions and his attempts to land. By the sounds of it, there was no way we would have touched down at 1am on the morning of Nov 7 in one piece. I don’t know if the same landing conditions were in place at 5am that morning, but I wonder about it all the time.