1. West End Mall redevelopment

A simple black and white architectural rendering shows four apartment towers.
A rendering of a concept for the first phase of the West End Mall redevelopment. The existing Mumford Terminal is in the bottom right. Credit: HRM/Cushman & Wakefield/architectsAlliance

“Halifax planners shut down a public meeting this week after a ‘NIMBY with a megaphone’ took over,” reports Zane Woodford:

As the Halifax Examiner reported in 2021, one of the 10 property owners on the west end site wants to redevelop the block bounded by Mumford, the CN Rail cut, and Leppert Street. Cushman and Wakefield made the application on behalf of OPB Realty Inc., the real estate arm of the Ontario Pension Board:

Cushman and Wakefield is proposing to remove some of the mall buildings on the property; create new streets; build a new underground transit terminal; and put up 15 residential towers to the maximum height of 90 metres for a total of more than 5,500 new residential units.

“This would translate to a population of 12,500 people at full build out, and a density of 867 people per hectare (86,700 people per square kilometre). This is much higher than other large-scale developments underway or proposed,” municipal planner Sean Gillis wrote in the staff report to council.

During the first phase of the redevelopment, OPB Realty would focus mostly on the area around the Mumford Terminal. That part of the property currently houses a Tim Hortons and stores like Moores.

Click here to read “‘NIMBY with a megaphone’ disrupts West End Mall redevelopment meeting.”

It’s hard to argue that this isn’t an appropriate place for dense development, although I guess some people are. The bigger issue, seems to me, is transportation to and from the site.

The site is a reasonable walk or cycle to the universities and downtown, although most people would rather not. Alas, as I read the development proposal, there is still nearly (although not quite) one parking place per residential unit, which is simply an untenable addition of vehicles to the street network in the west end.

Transit is the obvious answer. Woodford gets into the discussion of a revised Mumford Terminal, and that’s good so far as it goes, but there’s time to get this right — the first phase of the development won’t happen for 10 to 20 years, and the second phase for 40 to 50 years (so much for any hope of this addressing the current housing crisis).

The debate about the terminal being underground seems besides the point — in 40 years, either Halifax Transit’s fleet will be entirely electric and exhaust-free, or our children and grandchildren will be experiencing 60º summer days when they’re not dying while fighting in the resource wars, so who cares anyway? And besides, with that number of residential units, the buses will have to run pretty much continuously anyway, bringing large numbers of people (and therefore safety) to the terminal.

Forty years also seems like time enough to figure out how to use the CN tracks and rail cut for a commuter rail system, so the development plans should include a commuter rail station with short walking connections to the bus terminal.

It’s outside the scope of a development plans, but there’s going to have to be major changes to Halifax Transit’s system. The silly and unnecessary routing of the #1 through to Bayers Road will have to end, and there will have to be something more direct than the #2 to the downtown core. In my perfect world, we’d have a gondola system zooming over all the street traffic, but barring that, maybe something like the Chicago Ls. Hey, a guy can dream.

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2. Nova Scotia Power fined $10 million

A satellite view of a dam and river, with buildings next to it.
The Muskrat Falls dam and generation complex in Labrador. Credit: Google Earth

“The Houston government has imposed a $10 million penalty on Nova Scotia Power for failing to meet legislated renewable energy standards under the Electricity Act,” reports Jennifer Henderson:

The fine will be paid by Nova Scotia Power shareholders, not ratepayers.

Under the regulations, 2020 was the deadline by which Nova Scotia Power was supposed to be generating 40% of electricity from renewable sources such as hydro, wind, and solar. But a nearly four-year delay in the flow of renewable electricity from Muskrat Falls made that target unachievable. 

Click here to read “Province hits Nova Scotia Power with $10 million fine.”

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Photo by Viktor Forgacs on Unsplash

Yesterday, for the first time in a very long time, Nova Scotia reported no new COVID deaths in its weekly update — no new deaths during the April 4-10 reporting period and no new deaths before the reporting period.

I don’t know if the long Easter weekend affected the discovery and/or reporting of deaths. We’ll have a better picture when the monthly report comes out Monday.

Regardless, so far through the pandemic, 832 Nova Scotians have died from COVID, 346 of whom have died since July 1, 2022.

Also, during the April 4-10 reporting period, 16 people were admitted to hospital because of COVID.

Nova Scotia Health reported the COVID hospitalization status as of yesterday (not including the IWK):
• in hospital for COVID: 12 (one of whom is in the ICU)
• in hospital for something else but have COVID: 74
• in hospital who contracted COVID after admission to hospital: 43

It’s worth comparing the COVID and influenza reports.

The most recent influenza report is for the week ending April 1. It includes this chart:

So, in roughly the same period(1), 346 people died from COVID and 69 died from the flu (2), a 5-1 ratio.

And during that period, about 1,550 people were hospitalized due to COVID, with 514 hospitalized due to the flu, about a 3-1 ratio. So once hospitalized because of COVID, your chances of dying from it are almost twice as high than if you had been hospitalized because of the flu.

But COVID most affects the very elderly, while flu also affects younger people, so that may explain the societal indifference to the former. Old people are expendable, apparently.


1. The 2022-23 flu season started in August 2022, but there was almost no flu at all during the summer months; the COVID numbers I’m using here start on July 1, 2022. There’s a difference in the ending dates, however: April 1 for the flu, and April 10 for COVID.

2. The asterisk for “deceased” in the chart above leads to a note that reads: “Deaths include individuals with laboratory confirmed influenza. Influenza may or may not have been the major contributing cause of death or hospitalization.” That’s a somewhat different definition than for COVID deaths, which are determined by the medical examiner as the major cause of death. So if anything, for the comparison, flu deaths are overstated.

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4. More people don’t have a family doc

Just as we go to publication, Jennifer Henderson tells me that:

The number of Nova Scotians without a family doc or nurse practitioner has grown to 142,262 as of April 1. This is up from 139,000 last month.

One-third of the new registrants are people new to Nova Scotia. Health Minister Michelle Thompson says to help people access health care who are unattached, options like mobile clinics and virtual care appointments are expanding.

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1. Going nowhere on disabilities

“Ever hear of the Rooney Rule of the National Football League?” asks Gus Reed:

“Any club seeking to hire a head coach will interview one or more minority applicants for that position.” In the 19 years since the rule was adopted, the effort has gone nowhere. There were three Black head coaches in 2003. Today (2022), there are three minority head coaches, one of whom is Black.  

Reed, a plain spoken advocate for disability rights, is beyond frustrated:

The Disability Rights Coalition is negotiating an end to systemic discrimination.  The scope of the investigation seems to be limited to the housing services provided by the provinces’s Disability Support Program, even though the discrimination goes much deeper. The report was due February 3. The antipodean/BC team has operated in near total secrecy and according to custom claims no first person experience with disability.

The Built Environment Standards Development Committee of the Accessibility Directorate eagerly awaits the implementation of their October 26, 2020 report (900 days ago, but who’s counting?). A delay could be due to intense consultations between the government and business interests. Just a guess.

A Restorative Justice process to figure out how to enforce the regulation requiring washroom access must be close to a solution for the ruling of September 6, 2018 (1700 days). All five of the original complainants have withdrawn from the process. A large group is wrestling with the widespread problem of unkept government promises. Or maybe not……

The four year review of the Accessibility Act is due this spring.

Reed put together the chart above that shows the four provincial agencies that “are in competition to become the authority on addressing systemic differences in the treatment of people with disabilities and other protected classes.”

Collectively, the agencies have 69 employees and annual budgets of $10.8 million, and yet:

Thanks to convenient government obsession with personal privacy, we’ll never know how these four agencies are doing. How many African Nova Scotians are in supervisory positions? Sorry, that’s private and none of your business. 

And speaking of secrecy (shhhhhhh…..) is there some reason the public (who paid for them) doesn’t get a copy of the 4-year review and the ‘systemic’ report?

People with disabilities want to know. People without disabilities are busy discriminating.

Reed’s blog is on my regular reading list.

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An old man shakes his fist at a cloud.
Credit: The Simpsons

If I have one observation about becoming 60, it’s this: The world ain’t about me. I’m even a bit player in my own biography, as there are far more interesting characters from Chapter 1 onwards to wherever it was I stopped reading because I lost the plot.

And I don’t completely understand the kids, but who cares what I understand? and it’s the kids’ story anyway, not mine.

I could write all this down with pretend profundity and affected wisdom, but who are we kidding? No one wants to listen to me tell the same stupid stories over and over again. You could better use your time. So far as people do lend an ear, I appreciate the kindness.

All of this is freeing. I can spend the day any way I want today. I could putter around the garden and hang with my favourite niece (my actual plan), or contemplate the utter meaningless of it all in a dank barroom with other lost souls (tomorrow’s plan), or rise to the moment and put more effort into working on my Big Project (next week’s plan). Either way, you will neither notice nor mind.

Hey, I’m in good health and can make fun of myself. All good!

However, if you are for some reason inclined to mark the occasion, you could do worse than subscribing to this fine publication. That’d mean a lot to me. I want to keep this thing going so the rest of the crew can continue on without me, when that time comes.

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No meetings

On campus

No events

In the harbour

05:00: NYK Remus, container ship, arrives at Fairview Cove from Caucedo, Dominican Republic
06:00: MSC Azov, container ship, arrives at Pier 42 from Baltimore, Maryland
08:00: Acadian, oil tanker, moves from Irving Oil to anchorage
12:00: AlgoScotia, oil tanker, sails from Imperial Oil for sea
13:00: Acadian moves from anchorage to Imperial Oil
14:30: MSC Azov sails for sea
16:00: MSC Rossella, container ship, arrives at Pier 42 from Montreal
19:00: Oceanex Sanderling, ro-ro container, sails from Pier 41 for St. John’s
04:00 (Saturday): CMA CGM Panama, container ship (149,314 tonnes), arrives at Pier 41 from Tanger Med, Morocco

Cape Breton
13:00: Sheila Ann, bulker, arrives at Aulds Cove quarry from Sydney


Everyone should putter around a garden today. If you don’t have your own garden, go putter around the Public Gardens or a park somewhere.

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

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  1. Please, Tim, do not think at all negatively re your 60 years. It can be a time of new beginnings. chin up, my friend.
    I am refraining from other comments that are in my head tonight. not so much about you but other concerns. So what day is your actual birthday? wishing you and all enough. warm wishes, Joan.

  2. Thanks for the compliments and spreading the word. I’m a little disappointed to be ‘plain spoken’ rather than ‘curmudgeonly’. Maybe next time!

  3. I would like to welcome Tim to “geezerhood” but he still has a few years to go to catch up with some of us real old geezers. Happy Birthday and looking forward to more good things from you and the rest of the crew at the Halifax Examiner.

  4. FROM WALT WHITMAN “I exist as I am that is enough / If no other in the world be aware I sit content / If each and all be aware I sit content.

  5. Happy Birthday Tim!

    Don’t think of it as turning 60. Think of it as turning 30 the second time. Remember how you dreaded turning 30 and how you look back now and laugh at yourself for thinking that way?

    Well tonight you can hoist a cold one and enjoy a hearty laugh twice over!