1. Arlington Heights dump

A muddy pond with fallen trees.
A wetland near the Arlington dump was clearcut. Credit: Annapolis Waterkeepers

“Dexter Construction will not face a charge of altering a wetland without regulatory approval at a dump it owns in the Annapolis Valley,” reports Jennifer Henderson.

The charge was filed in February 2020 after a site inspection by the Department of Environment at the Arlington Heights Construction and Demolition dump in December 2019. 

Melissa Noonan, a spokesperson for the Public Prosecution Service (PPS), told the Halifax Examiner the charge under the Environment Act Section 50 (2) was withdrawn last summer (July 2022). 

Under the Environment Act (sect 157), the proceeding against Dexter Construction had to be started within two years of the offence taking place. It did not go forward and PPS says there was no out-of-court settlement nor fine. 

Our request for an interview with Greg Morris, the crown prosecutor handling the case, was turned down on the grounds that Morris was “swamped” with other files. 

No other explanation has been provided for why the charge did not proceed.

Click here to read “Crown drops environmental charge against Dexter Construction related to Arlington Heights dump.”

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2. Noisy mufflers

The twin tail pipes of a vehicle are seen close-up, in a slot of a bumper, with a blurry background.
The tailpipe of a vehicle. Credit: flickr/shixart1985

“Getting noisy mufflers to pipe down is proving exhausting for Halifax regional council,” reports Zane Woodford.

Swamped with regular complaints from residents, councillors have been trying for years to get police to crack down on loud straight pipes and aftermarket exhaust systems.

For Coun. Waye Mason, it’s been almost eight years since he made a motion at council’s Transportation Standing Committee.

Then in 2017, council voted to ask the province to amend the Motor Vehicle Act “to address the issue of noisy mufflers.” The province instead passed amendments in 2021 to allow municipalities to set their own rules about noisy mufflers.

Armed with this new authority, municipal legal staff tabled a report at regional council on Tuesday recommending councillors do nothing at all.

Click here to read “Draft bylaw in hand, Halifax council requests another report on noisy muffler enforcement.”

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3. Ghost gear

A pile of wooden and metal lobster traps sit on a grassy area next to a cove. In the background is a small white trailer. The sky is grey and clouds are rolling in.
Lobster traps in Cape John, Nova Scotia. Photo: Joan Baxter

This item is written by Yvette d’Entremont.

Researchers exploring the lucrative fishing region off the southern tip of Nova Scotia say that abandoned, lost, and discarded fishing gear (ALDFG) is littering the marine environment, affecting at-risk marine species, and costing the industry an estimated $240,000 in losses per year. 

Those were among the findings of a research team that worked on a project that ran from 2019 to 2021. In a media release, Dalhousie University described it as “the first assessment of both the environmental and economic impacts of ALDFG” on the industry in an area that provides most of the country’s lobster supply. 

The findings were published Wednesday in the journal Marine Pollution Bulletin in an article titled Environmental and economic impacts of retrieved abandoned, lost, and discarded fishing gear in Southwest Nova Scotia, Canada. 

Researchers collected 25,000 kg of ALDFG, consisting of a collection of traps, ropes, hooks, cables, and other fishing-related gear. 

They also found close to 5,000 kg of fishing gear from seven shoreline searches. Lobster traps made up the bulk of the shoreline search items, accounting for 68% of the gear. Dragger cable made up 12%.

“Given that these are likely underestimates, combined with other pressures on the industry (i.e., climate change), and the industry’s significance in SWNS, ghost gear should be prevented and mitigated wherever possible,” notes the paper’s conclusion. 

“Further, the successful stewardship-based approach and methods used here can be applied in other jurisdictions to assist in assessing and managing ALDFG. Ultimately, this project contributes to improving fisheries sustainability and ALDFG management and gives the industry opportunities to be part of the solution in reducing this source of marine pollution.”

The work was the result of collaboration between Dalhousie University scientists, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Coastal Action, fishing captains, volunteers, and various fisheries organizations.

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4. New Canadian passport

A tweet from Tim Bousquet that says "This is like Halifax and those giant bus passes." He retweeted a person named Kris Pangillinan who wrote, "BREAKING. Canada has unveiled a new design to the Canadian passport. It will be rolled out this summer. It's not red." The photo attached to the tweet shows a man in a blue suit and a woman in a white suit removing a giant passport with a blue cover that says "Canada passport" from an easel on which it was displayed.

Some days I worry we humans don’t have the bandwidth to take issues seriously and instead focus on trivial things that won’t make a difference in the larger outcome.

Yesterday was one of those days.

The Canadian passport is getting a new look. The new passport design, which features colourful photos of landscapes and wildlife on its inside pages, will roll out this summer.

Far too many people saw the new design and had meltdowns.

Richard Raycraft at CBC has this story on the new design. Raycraft writes:

Speaking at a news conference on Wednesday, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development Karina Gould and Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Minister Sean Fraser said the new design is the product of 10 years of consultation.

“We tried to take the feedback about what represents Canada,” Fraser said.

“One of the things that I heard was we want to celebrate our diversity and inclusion, we want to celebrate our natural environment … and [we] tried to bake those elements into the design.”

The current passport pages feature images such as Parliament’s Centre Block, the Stanley Cup, the famous photo of the last spike going into the Canadian Pacific Railway, and photos of Nellie McClung and Terry Fox. The new passport displays animals (bears, narwhals and owls) and natural scenes, such as children jumping into a lake.

And the new design was needed for other reasons, too. Here’s Raycraft again:

Fraser said a complete change in theme was necessary to improve the passport’s security.

“It makes it much harder to counterfeit,” Fraser said.

“It does make it easier when you maintain the same images for a significant period of time for counterfeiters to abuse the document and to produce fakes.”

The new passport cover bears the same coat of arms as the current passport, but adds a large maple leaf.

The Royal Canadian Legion criticized the new look because it no longer includes a photo of the Vimy Ridge Memorial. The photo of Terry Fox is also gone from the new design.

So far, there are more than 3,000 comments on Raycraft’s story about the new passport. On social media, some folks said the new design would be an issue in the next federal election. Sounds like some folks who got their history lessons from statues might also be fans of getting history lessons from passport designs.

I am not sure I ever looked that closely at the photos in my passports. I was more concerned that I managed to put it in my purse before heading out on a trip.

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5. Period products

A store shelf with colourful boxes of tampons and pads.
A new study is collecting data about how many adolescents can’t access menstrual products due to cost. Photo: Yvette d’Entremont

“Employees in federally regulated workplaces will begin to have free access to menstrual products later this year,” writes Saba Aziz for Global News.

The federal government made the announcement Wednesday, saying starting Dec. 15, 2023, employers will be required to make menstrual products available at no cost to public servants.

This means putting pads and tampons in washrooms or other places so that any worker who needs them while on the job has access, Employment and Social Development Canada said in a news release.

“Tampons and pads are basic necessities. So we’re making sure they’re provided to workers at no cost, because it’ll make for healthier and safer workplaces,” Labour Minister Seamus O’Regan Jr. said in a statement with the release.

Employers will have flexibility on how they implement the new rules.

A pilot project will roll out in the coming months and guidance material will be developed in consultation with employers and made available online prior to the rules coming into effect, the government said.

I avoided reading the comments on this story.

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Lovin’ the one you’re with: Getting up close with a snuggle event in Halifax

A woman wearing a mustard coloured bulky sweater and a rust coloured wool scarf wraps her arms around another person who is behind her giving her a hug.
Credit: Pablo Heimplatz/Unsplash

Last week, Halifax Noise shared this post on its Facebook page. It’s for an event on May 21 called The Snuggle Project. Here’s a description:

Do you need a cuddle? Would you like to practice asking for what you want or saying “no” to what you don’t want in a safe space? Are you feeling touch deprived? If this sounds like you, maybe The Snuggle Project is just what you need!


It’s a social event that creates a safe place to give and receive nurturing, platonic touch in a fun and affectionate setting.

We practice:

* Communicating clearly and effectively

* Setting limits

* Giving and receiving enjoyable touch, where our boundaries are respected.

You can come to meet new people, enjoy amazing conversations, touch/be touched, have fun, practice asking for what you want, practice saying “no” to what you don’t want — all in a setting structured to be a safe place for exploration and enjoyment. Shucks, you can even come just to snuggle!

I shared this in the Examiner Slack channel and we all had a good chat about it. The event is hosted by a woman named Jule who calls herself an “embodied intimacy coach.” Everyone is a coach now!

A reminder, anyone can call themselves a coach. It’s an unregulated industry, so you can take a weekend course at the local Holiday Inn and then host a snuggle event, too.

Over on her Facebook account, Jule has more details on her snuggle event, plus photos of some of the other services and goodies she offers, including plushy vulvas (no plush penises, though). And — I can’t believe I am writing this — custom chocolate buttholes. There are photos, too, if you dare check it out.

Look, if you want to get together with a bunch of strangers and cuddle, fill your boots. But these events shouldn’t pretend to be anymore than that. Get your squeeze on and that’s it.

This snuggle event fits right into the whole wellness industry that I’ve written about before.

There is a template for this stuff: talk about your own journey, use words like sacred in your nonsense word salads to describe what you offer, make sure to use inspirational quotes, and photos of people spinning in fields or on a beach.

Mallory Demille, who I follow on Twitter, exposes misinformation in the wellness industry, MLMs, and among influencers and coaches. Some of the grifts she debunks make no sense at all, including Healy, some sort of plastic device its followers say cures everything from constipation to autism. Still others are harmful, like this one of a woman who is a MLM business coach who was recently diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer. Rather than get chemo, she’s drinking celery juice and doing coffee enemas. Sure, it’s her body and her life, but in many cases these people promote such “treatments” to others.

On Wednesday morning, Tim Bousquet sent a link to this story by Kelsey Weekman at Yahoo Life! about a former fitness influencer Brittany Dawn, who recently settled a lawsuit with the state of Texas, which alleged she was selling deceptive fitness and health practices:

The lawsuit, which was filed by the state of Texas in February 2022, alleges that Davis sold thousands of supposedly personalized online health and fitness plans costing from $92 to $300 beginning in 2014. Davis positioned herself as a health and fitness expert on social media, even calling herself an “eating disorder soldier,” which made her clients trust that she had “special training” on the topic — a tactic not unusual for fitness influencers. According to documents filed by the state, at least 14 of Davis’ customers had eating disorders that Davis did not properly address in the “personalized” health plans she sold to them.

But Dawn has moved on to another arena of influencing: Christianity. Here’s Weekman again:

What sets Davis apart from other influencers — aside from the fact a state attorney general stepped in to investigate her business — is that she seems to have successfully rebranded herself in the wake of cancellation. As a Christianity influencer, she now appeals to an audience whose worldview promises radical forgiveness for past actions. At retreats she hosts with her Christian ministry, she preaches refrains like “you cannot cancel what God has called.”

I have always said there is a religious bent to many of these wellness grifts.

Maybe the snuggle project is trying to fill a larger need around loneliness, which is a serious public health issue. But is a snuggle project the way to deal with it?

In January, Statistics Canada published this data on social isolation, loneliness and positive mental health among older adults in Canada during the COVID-19 pandemic. Here are some highlights:

  • Nearly 3 in 10 older adults reported living alone, and more than one-third reported feelings of loneliness due to the pandemic.
  • When examined separately, living alone and loneliness were each associated with poorer well-being; however, when examined simultaneously, only loneliness remained significantly associated with positive mental health, overall and across sociodemographic groups.
  • Males and those aged 65 to 74 years who live alone (vs. who live with others) may also be more vulnerable to poorer mental health.

There are often good articles out there about loneliness as a public health issue. Kiffer George Card, assistant professor in Health Sciences, Simon Fraser University, had this article in The Conversation about loneliness, which included a list of seven approaches people can use every day to reduce loneliness and social isolation: make sure you have three to five close friendships, get one to three hours of social interaction each day, prioritize spending time with those closest to you, diversify your networks, reach out to old friends, recognize the risks of living alone, and remember the importance of solitude, which is different than social isolation.

I am concered that as our health care system falters, the cracks will be filled with wellness grifts and coaches offering services to people who need help but who can’t get in to see actual doctors and health care professionals. This is taking advantage of vulnerable people.

One day I will do some deeper reporting on all this.

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Rentals in Halifax

A row of price listings for rentals in Halifax. The one bedroom is for $2,005, the two bedroom for $2,370, and the three bedroom goes for $2.865.
Rentals at Harbour View Towers. Credit: Rentals at Harbour View Towers.

On Twitter Wednesday, Hannah Main shared this tweet with the above photo and asked, “You will never guess what building this is for.”

The reveal? Harbour View Apartments on Brunswick Street, those three towers that seemed to have changed names several times over the last few decades.

Three multi-storey apartment buildings on a city street. The buildings are painted white and have balconies.
Harbour View Apartments.

A friend of mine lived in one of these apartments in the late 80s. The rent was pretty cheap back then, but the building also had cockroaches and other critters and maintenance of the place seemed incredibly lacking. I did read the comments on this story and it seems some of those issues have not been resolved.

Even though I am not looking for a new place to live, sometimes I do check listings to see what’s out there and how much landlords are asking for rentals. Here are a few I checked out this morning:

Peninsular Halifax

One bedroom apartment, Barrington Street: $2,800

One bedroom Ogilvie Street: $1,958

Bachelor apartment, South Park Street: $2,000

One bedroom apartment, South Park Street: $2,175

Clayton Park

One bedroom apartment, Willett Street: $1,733

Two bedroom apartment, Willett Street: $1,985


Two bedroom, plus den Baker Drive: $2,750

Two bedroom in Highfield Park: $1,950

One bedroom, Leaman Drive: $1,765

“Boutique” apartment, Prince Street: $1,700

Bachelor apartment, Primrose Street: $1,452


Two bedroom, plus den, Dellridge Lane: $3,380

Two bedroom, Nelson’s Landing: $1,850

Lower Sackville

Two bedroom, Old Sackville Road: $2,150

One bedroom, Old Sackville Road: $1,850

One bedroom, Sackville Drive: $1,600

Room for rent, Walker Drive, $1,100

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Appeals Standing Committee (Thursday, 10am, City Hall ) — agenda

Regional Watersheds Advisory Board (Thursday, 5pm, online) — agenda


No meetings

On campus



Engaging on Aging Tour (Thursday, 2pm, Dentistry Room 4116 5981) — townhall meeting with Jane Rylett from the CIHR Institute of Aging; info and registration here


Studies on Ligand Binding and Catalysis by Isoleucine Epimerase and CTP Synthase (Friday, 4pm, location unknown) — Amanda K. A. Black from the University of Toronto will talk

In the harbour

06:00: Baie St.Paul, bulker, arrives at anchorage from Charlottetown
07:30: Orion, crane ship, moves from Woodside Terminal to anchorage area, but it won’t actually drop anchor; rather it will be in Dynamic Positioning mode
09:30: CSL Tacoma, bulker, arrives at Gold Bond from Fairless Hills, Pennsylvania 
09:30: East Coast, oil tanker, arrives at Irving Oil from St. John’s
10:00: Atlantic Sea, ro-ro container, arrives at Fairview Cove from Liverpool, England
11:30: Taipan, car carrier, arrives at Autoport from Southampton, England
11:45: Oceanex Sanderling, ro-ro container, moves from Autoport to Pier 41
12:00: Selfoss, container ship, arrives at Pier 42 from Portland
16:00: Selfoss sails for Reykjavik, Iceland
16:30: Taipan sails for sea
20:30: Atlantic Sea sails for New York

Cape Breton
14:30: Algoma Value, bulker, arrives at Coal Pier (Point Tupper) from Baltimore
16:00: Ocean Voyager, cruise ship, transits through the causeway, en route from Halifax to Charlottetown


I have written before about the issue of “sharenting;” parents oversharing stories and photos of their children online. But there’s another form of oversharing I’m seeing now: posting photos of elderly relatives sick and/or in the hospital. Maybe this is just me, but I don’t want anyone taking photos of me when I am sick and posting them on social media for likes from strangers. People, especially children and the elderly, are incredibly vulnerable when they are sick. Perhaps the people posting are getting consent from the people in the photos, but I still find it all very disturbing.

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

Yvette d’Entremont is a bilingual (English/French) journalist and editor who enjoys covering health, science, research, and education.

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  1. Maybe the new Canadian passport should show three cheap mattresses on the floor of both rooms of a $2000 roach infested apartment

  2. The only solution to housing prices in Canada is to radically change things. There are three obvious things we could do:

    1) Cut immigration to the level needed to keep the population constant, and no more.
    2) Implement an empty bedroom tax to encourage boomers to move out of large homes they no longer need
    3) Raise taxes and engage in rationing as needed to support a WW2-level effort to build more housing

    I will add that I find the implied comparison between the soldiers at Vimy Ridge and Terry Fox with Cornwallis or various Confederate generals to be pretty damn stupid and offensive. Everyone reading this has a 1 in 3 chance of cancer, and I’m guessing that you never faced machine guns while walking just behind a rolling artillery barrage into hostile territory. You should be ashamed of yourself for your snide comments about Canada’s veterans and reflect upon your privilege for having enjoyed more than half a lifetime in one of the freest, safest and most prosperous countries that has ever existed. 100 years ago, young Canadian men were mowed down by machine gun fire or turned into pink slime by artillery shells so you could write a passive-aggressive blog post comparing them to slavers or the worst of the British colonialists.

    1. Part of the housing issue is that too many seniors/boomers moved out of their houses and now need to rent because of the difficulty in obtaining financing for a new smaller home when one is older (perhaps due to age discrimination in financing algorithms used by banks). To solve the housing crisis, we might be better served to encourage people to age in place and if necessary, make it easy to rent out spare bedrooms or to convert larger residences into apartments or to be able to make co-housing arrangements. By encouraging people to age in place, that removes some of the demand for rental units. But HRM needs to be more proactive in encouraging full use of existing housing and apartment buildings. In my neighbourhood, many new apartment and condo developments appear to have a number of vacant units evidenced by lack of curtains and consistent darkness in the windows and the fact that rental signs are up 2 or more years after construction. One method that has been used elsewhere is to have a vacancy tax if a unit is vacant for more than 6 months in apartment building of more than 8 units. Sometimes the vacancy tax is also applied to street level commercial units. The point of these taxes is to prevent owners/developers from not being diligent in renting units so they can offset the losses from vacant units against taxable income. Currently, many of these large developers/owners have no incentive to rent all of the units in their buildings or reduce their rents to appropriate market rate by claiming that their income is lower than it really is. Finally, if we really want to address the housing crisis, we need to reconsider where people want to live post Covid, which may be in more suburban parts of HRM. So,we need to build a transportation system (including an all ages and abilities active transit network) to provide those renters without a car more choice in where to live affordably.

  3. Toronto has eliminated single family zoning, allowing up to fourplexes on essentially every lot in the city. Halifax should do the same, but we should be more world class about it – lets do sixplexes.

  4. Rents are definitely sky-rocketing! I recognize a few of the Dartmouth addresses, and can say quite honestly that at least one ad contains information that is deceptive. Yes, there is a pool available for tenants at the Leaman address, but it has needed repairs for the past two years and there’s no sign that those repairs will happen this year. The last virtual tour I took, for a bachelor in the building next to mine, was obviously for a unit in a totally different building, likely in a totally different city, as it bore no resemblance to my unit (which is also a bachelor).