On campus
In the harbour


1. Yarmouth ferry

Back when the Yarmouth ferry service had an actual boat.
Back when the Yarmouth ferry service had an actual boat.

“While officials with the City of Portland, Me., are eager for a deal announcing the new ferry service running between there and Yarmouth and the tourists it will bring, they are less enthusiastic about transport trucks rolling on or off the ferry,” reports Michael Gorman in Local Xpress:

Multiple government sources tell Local Xpress that officials for the city and state have made it clear they don’t want commercial truck traffic in the downtown. 


As was first reported by Local Xpress, the ferry in question is the USNS Puerto Rico, a high-speed catamaran that once served the Hawaiian Islands and is now in the possession of the United States navy. While the ship’s deck can be configured in such a way to allow it to carry trucks, it seems the view from Maine may make that moot.

2. Khyber

Photo: Halifax Examiner
Photo: Halifax Examiner

City council yesterday started the process that will see the Khyber building offered for sale to non-profit organizations. In practical terms, probably the only group that could put together a workable proposal is the 1588 Barrington Building Preservation Society, which was formed to turn the building into an arts and culture centre. The directors of the Society are Emily Davidson, Craig Leonard, Amy Melmock, Robin Metcalfe, and Hannah Guinan, but it has broad membership across the arts scene, and is working in collaboration with the Neptune Theatre.

“The group’s partnership with Neptune Theatre means it can add an elevator and fire escape without compromising the interior space,” reports Zane Woodford for Metro:

Davidson said the partnership is “integral to our vision” for the building which is “wonderful, but frankly awkward from a design perspective.”

Davidson said her group will likely be submitting the same proposal for the building that it did last fall. That plan details how the group will pay for $3 million in renovations to the building, including a budgeted $200,000 contribution it hopes to get from the city, plus a combined $1.5 million from the other two levels of government.

Joel Plaskett discussed the Khyber on Examineradio in January.

3. Shell

The Stena IceMAX drillship in happier days. The ship now sits off Halifax Harbour as it's being repaired.
The Stena IceMAX drillship in happier days. The ship now sits off Halifax Harbour as it’s being repaired.

“Eight large sections of Styrofoam are adrift at sea — and there’s no plan to recover them,” reports Brett Ruskin for the CBC:

The abandoned floats broke loose from a pipe used for drilling operations, following an incident earlier this month that has suspended Shell Canada’s search for oil off Nova Scotia’s coast.

Ruskin had previously reported about the “incident” at Shell Canada’s Stena IceMax rig drilling in Shelburne Basin, which saw a two-kilometre-long pipe broken from the drilling riser and left on the ocean floor. He now explains:

After the riser sank, Shell workers noticed nine “buoyancy modules” bobbing on the surface, a spokesperson for the CNSOPB confirmed Monday afternoon…

The buoyancy modules are mostly Styrofoam with some plastic components. They are designed to hug the riser, offset its weight, and make it easier for surface crews to manage the heavy pipe.

Shell Canada made “a significant effort to retrieve” the modules, said Kathleen Funke, a spokeswoman for the CNSOPB. She said the company used planes and ships to search for the long Styrofoam segments.

Only one of the nine Styrofoam modules was retrieved.

The search has now been called off and the eight remaining modules are floating away in the Atlantic Ocean.

The pieces are so large that they were deemed a hazard to passing ships, but now that ocean currents have taken them who knows where, the warning has been called off.

4. Chronicle Herald

Photo: Halifax Examiner
Photo: Halifax Examiner

The Halifax Typographical Union, which represents striking newsroom employees of the Chronicle Herald, made this statement yesterday:

Our counterparts at the Moncton Times & Transcript have inked a new deal, including pay increases, with Irving-owned Brunswick News.

So how come The Chronicle Herald wouldn’t even talk to its unionized newsroom workers after our offer of major concessions?

Here’s the CWA Canada release about the Moncton deal:

Our brothers and sisters at the Moncton Typographical Union (CWA Canada Local 30636) have ratified a new collective agreement at the Moncton Times & Transcript.

The eight-year deal includes a $1,000 signing bonus in the first year, then annual wage increases from years two to eight of: 1%, 1%, 1%, 1.5%, 2%, 2% and 2%.

We have also, for the first time, negotiated bumping rights for journeymen pressmen.

There were no concessions, however we were not able to convince Brunswick News, the newspaper’s owner, to cancel the layoffs of staff photographers.

Thanks to the bargaining committee and CWA Canada staff rep Dave Wilson for their work.

Honestly, the staff photographers were probably the best thing about the Irving papers. They produced some wonderful, award-winning work.

Here in Halifax, the union tells me that scabbing reporters at the Chronicle Herald have been lifting quotes from other publications without attribution and falsely writing that quotes obtained in a press scrum were obtained through an interview. “If I did that stuff, I’d be suspended,” one striking reporter told me.

I happened to notice this story in the the Portland (Maine) Press Herald Monday:

A Canadian newspaper has reported that the contractor handling this year’s ferry service between Portland and Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, has found a vessel to replace the failed MV Nova Star that would be similar to its predecessor, The Cat.

The replacement ship is the USNS Puerto Rico, a catamaran about two-thirds the length and nearly twice as fast as the Nova Star, the newspaper reported.

Citing anonymous sources, The Chronicle Herald of Halifax, Nova Scotia, reported Sunday that the replacement operator for Nova Star Cruises – Bay Ferries Ltd., based in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island – has selected the U.S.-built Puerto Rico and is preparing to announce the news soon.

[emphasis added]

Maybe the Press Herald is re-reporting some actual reporting from the Chronicle Herald, but I doubt it. As Michael Gorman noted in the article cited in #1 above, he broke the news in Local Xpress about the probable purchase of the USNS Puerto Rico back on February 4.


The commentariat aren’t saying anything interesting, and the letters haven’t reached full-crank level, so nothing in the way of views today. Instead, have a weird photo taken by Jeff Harper for Metro:


Brenlee Brothers explains the photo.



Heritage Advisory Committee (3pm, City Hall) — the Green Lantern building application is before the committee.


Public Accounts (9am, Province House) — the Department of Community Services — presumably the deputy minister or an office clerk or a janitor or someone, and not the entire department, but the calendar doesn’t specify who — will be asked about Service Delivery Funding.

On Campus

Thesis defence, Biology (9:30am, Room 4106, Killam Library) — Master’s student Nathan Weatherbee-Martin will defend his thesis, “Development And Optimization Of Automated Fibre Production For Recombinant Spider Wrapping Silk.”

Trans-Pacific Partnership (Delta Barrington Hotel, cost is $10–$20) — says the event listing:

The Centre for Foreign Policy Studies is working with the Halifax branch of the Canadian International Council and the Halifax Partnership, to organize a roundtable discussion on the Trans-Pacific Partnership and its implications for Canada.


This will be a Q&A-style discussion, moderated by Dr. Brian Bow, with four local experts, on various aspects of the TPP: Colin Dodds, the former president of St. Mary’s, now with the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada; Dal Political Science prof Robert Finbow; Dal Sociology prof Howard Ramos; and Dal Law professor Jon Penney. It should be an interesting, wide-ranging conversation, and we’re leaving plenty of room for discussion with the audience.

YouTube video

The Way We Talk (7pm, Thompson Building, 1256 Barrington Street) — a screening of the Kickstarter-funded film about stuttering. The screening is sponsored by the Halifax Support Group For People Who Stutter.

YouTube video

The Third Man (8pm, Dalhousie Art Gallery) — a screening of the 1949 film directed by Carol Reed and starring Orson Welles and Joseph Cotton.

In the harbour

The seas around Nova Scotia, 8:30am Wednesday. Map:
The seas around Nova Scotia, 8:30am Wednesday. Map:

Atlantic Cartier, ro-ro cargo, New York to Fairview Cove

Primus sails to sea


A couple of months ago, I hired Tempa as the admin person for the Examiner. She was invaluable! She set up systems and set everything right, got all the books up to date, taxes in order and paid, worked out a thousand details I’ve left hanging over the past year and a half.

When I hired Tempa, she was leaving a temp job and we thought she’d be here long-term. But then, just a few weeks in, a job she had applied for months before and for which she thought she was passed over — covering a paternity leave at a government office — actually came through. She and I both hemmed and hawed about it, but in the end, the stability and benefits of the government job were the determining factor, so she took that job. I’m quite happy for her.

But, true to Tempa’s form, she found a replacement for herself — Iris — and to this day Tempa continues to work on various details. She sent off the Examiner’s corporate income tax cheque yesterday..

Meanwhile, Iris has stepped up big time. She does the day-to-day administrative tasks and has a knack for figuring out internet and website details that have made everyone’s life easier. Iris also typically attends to comments on the website, at least during working hours (I usually take care of them on on nights and weekends, but sometimes Tempa and Russell also jump in).

All of which is to say, I noticed yesterday that people sometimes address me personally and ask me questions in the comments. When I have time, I try to respond, but please be aware I’m not always able to.

Today, I have a few interviews to conduct that will take most of my day, and then I’ll get to the News 95.7 studio in time to be on the Sheldon MacLeod show at 4pm. If I answer any email at all, it’ll be a miracle. It’s out of the question that I’ll be on comments.

YouTube video

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

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  1. Does anyone else find the comments section to be prone to dumping you out of your comment, mid-stream? Seems to be super touchy about nuking your text.

  2. I find it disheartening that TPP supporters (I assume some of the speakers at the talk today will be in favour) can meet in public and plan violence against all Canadians in safety, in a province where less than 100 years ago the military had to be deployed to get miners back to work for their masters.

  3. Re: Portland Maine. FOR SURE ! It makes total sense, what small city trying to be more livable would want commercial truck traffic in its downtown? That would be crazy. Especially if there are a half dozen other viable alternative ways to organize the city’s affairs that would have a huge positive economic, cultural and environmental impact. Nope, I can’t think of a single city that would want that commercial truck traffic in its downtown.

    1. Except Halifax ; – )

      Thank the South End Insularity Committee for taking away the common sense solution of the rail cut for truck traffic from Point Pleasant instead of Lower Water Street.

      Can we get some leadeship from city hall? Oh they’re probably busy ruining transit.

      1. I was more thinking that the container piers continuing to sit since the 1960’s on a piece of Halifax real estate that is at the same time both inaccessible and inconvenient for industrial use and probably the most valuable undeveloped commercial, leisure and residential land east of Montreal is maybe the biggest and most costly mis-use of land resource in our modern history.

        It was a mistake to set it up in the first place, but today, with the industry dwindling, utilization rates at a small fraction of capacity, and many alternative locations on both the Dartmouth shore and other locations out side Halifax Harbour coming available keeping the downtown as a sled-way to heavy industry and truck traffic seems as silly as the notion that Sydney Cape Breton will become a ‘world class’ container port.

      2. The problem harks back to the STUPIDITY of building a Container Terminal in that inaccessible south-end location in the first place. Typically, brains were turned off and expediency (and probably favouritism) turned a blind eye to the truck traffic inevitability. Running endless convoys of screaming, rumbling, stinking overloaded diesel trucks 24/7 through a corridor with dense residential popiulation on both sides is the kind of heads-in-the-sand thinking which caused the problem in the first place. That South End terminal needs to be MOVED to an INDUSTRIAL location which is both rail and road accessible — likely on the DARTMOUTH side. The «CUT» needs to be preserved for COMMUTER RAIL and possibly a Reversing Lane «freeway» into the downtown to alleviate some of the Peninsula’s horrendous traffic snafus.

      3. Remember when the sewage treatment plant that was planned for the South End mysteriously disappeared from HRM’s final plans? The one for the North End was deemed to be “sufficient”. Classic case of environmental racism. What the south end wants…the south end gets.

        1. Untrue.
          I think you should look for the location of all the plants. The one near the dockyard is across the street from expensive condos and it doesn’t smell. There is also a treatment plant on the downtown Dartmouth waterfront near the ferry terminal and another further south near expensive detached homes.
          Don’t buy into the Waldron baloney.