Creative Commons CB&CNSR coal train westbound at Havre Boucher by Smith9847 is licensed under CC. Original photo here:
Creative Commons CB&CNSR coal train westbound at Havre Boucher by Smith9847 is licensed under CC. Original photo here:


1. Muskrat Falls price increases

CBC reports that costs of constructing the Muskrat Falls hydro project have increased 40 percent, from $5 billion to $7 billion. These costs will all be borne by the provincial government of Newfoundland and Labrador. There’s no immediate indication that there’s similar inflation in the $1.5 billion Maritime Link portion of the project, which consists of an underwater cable bringing power to Nova Scotia; the Maritime Link is being paid for by Emera, Nova Scotia Power’s parent company.

2. Weed on Gottingen Street

Chris Enns and Sherri Reeve have long operated The Compassionate Use Club in Porters Lake, providing pot to registered medical marijuana users. Last year they were arrested in what struck me (and dozens of local supporters who came to their post-arrest press conference) as an absurd use of police resources. But if the po-po thought Ennis and Reeve would simply go away, they were mistaken: the couple have upped the stakes, opening Farm Assists, a bong shop and “vapour lounge” on Gottingen Street. This is an interesting development, as the legal framework around pot in Canada is in flux. We’ll see if and how the Halifax police respond.

3. Weeds in Dartmouth lakes

Lake Banook and Lake Micmac are getting choked with weeds. In 2009, the city dropped the water level in the lakes in order to install a sewage pipe across a portion of Lake Banook, and paddlers started noticing the weed problem soon after. CBC reports that proposed solutions range from digging up the sediment and carting it away ($1 million/year) to buying a underwater mower to cut the weeds each year (a few hundred thousand to buy the thing and $20,000 annually to use it) to going nuclear with pesticides ($119,000 annually). That last proposal raised at least one eyebrow; “I guess I just really don’t want to have to tell my daughter that the lake’s closed because it’s poisoned a week each year for the next five years,” Pam Rubin told a reporter. The zen approach of doing nothing and contemplating the human folly of wanting a controlled natural environment is evidently not on the table.

4. Sobeys to close 50 stores

The Stellarton-based grocery chain has announced it is closing 50 stores, mostly in western Canada, but probably some locally as well. It’s a competitive industry, and Empire, Sobeys’ parent company, has been positioning itself for a drawn-out battle with upstarts like WalMart’s grocery division by selling off unrelated companies like its former theatre company, acquiring Safeway’s Canadian stores, and now streamlining its own operations. It’s doubtful this will have much effect in Nova Scotia; there are recurring rumours that the company will one day move its headquarters to Ontario, but the company continually denies it, and it seems extremely unlikely—the family-directed company isn’t moving anywhere.

5. Homeless man beaten in Victoria Park

A 24-year-old man was arrested yesterday for an unprovoked attack on a 61-year old homeless man in Victoria Park. We should note these incidents with concern, but from the sound of the police department’s press release, it looks like the arrested person has his own issues.


1. De-programming the kids

Lezlie Lowe remembers the good old days when Timmy could wander in the woods all day because if something went wrong (and it always did), Lassie would go get help. [Note to parents: get your kids a smart dog.]

2. Everything you ever wanted to know about concrete

Peter Ziobrowski, who is seemingly everywhere, gives us the complete history of concrete. And wait—there’s a Nova Centre construction blog? There is.

Today with Government

You kidding? It’s a Friday in June; all the government meetings are being held on decks at cottages. You’re not invited.

On Campus

1. Dalhouse

Dalhousie transit Epass sign-up (11am-1pm in Room 511 of the Central Services Building)— all full and part-time employees of Dal are eligible for a mid-year Epass, which is a discounted bus pass ($58.50/month as opposed to the regular rate of $75/month).

In the Harbour


Zim Monaco, Tarragona Spain to Halterm Pier 42
Beate Oldendorff, Rotterdam to pier 30/31, possibly to load wood pellets.
Mainport Pine, back from BP siesmic Work to Pier 25
FS Laplace to HM Dockyard.


No Departures

Highlighted Local Site

A few days ago I highlighted David Jones’ Dartmouth History Blog; Woods is a professional historian, and his work shows it. But there are also lots of amateur historians collecting information, doing research, and publishing fun stuff. One of my favourites is Nathaniel Smith, who puts a tremendous amount of work into his The Old North End blog. Take for instance, this post, on the race riots of 1919, when drunken louts attacked Chinese-owned businesses on Gottingen Street. Smith has been out of town for work the last few months, but has recently returned and has published his project list for research, which includes looking at what was at the Armoury site before the Armoury was built, research related to the Gottingen 250 Festival in September, and collecting historic photos of the north end.


I’ve been wanting to comment on the demise of the Cape Breton portion of the Cape Breton and Central Nova Scotia Railway, but what’s to say? We spend hundreds of millions of dollars every year constructing highways for trucks; of course the railroads can’t compete.

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

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  1. DEMISE of the RAILWAYS: The hyper-litigeous Americans who now OWN our former «National Railway» have, with the collusion of Government, gained carte blanche to wring the last penny out of the trackage (and Rights of Way!!!) they STOLE from the Canadian citizenry. We are now eating the fruits, and oh, how bitter they are! Chopped up into minute pieces to avoid any possible liability for their continuous disasters, they have luxuriously powdered the derrières of the OIL/RUBBER TIRE industries by ensuring that RAIL: can never again be a viable choice — simply by making it fiscally impossible to get back what we used to own.

    LRT for the Halifax Peninsula was a REALITY in 1955 — now, of course an impossibility. It should be possible to make an economical trip from Halifax to Sydney in under 6 hours by rail but that can never happen now as the means to achieve it is in the hands of a cabal of corporate pirates.

    What an egregious waste and a blockade to progress in Atlantic Canada. If only a dollop of the ACOA and other give-away prizes had been applied to creating viable rail and sea links to and from Nova Scotia we wouldn’t be in the mess we’re suffering now.

  2. WEEDS in the LAKE: It’s not «for a few days»… it’s for the HalfLife of the poisons. Once in the water, the lakes will remain TOXIC, possibly even more carcinogenic than ever, and for YEARS. Only a brain-dead beancounter could contemplate this kind of ASSAULT on the lakes, their natural denizens, and the THOUSANDS of THINKING citizens who can live with a few weeds in their lakes.

    Unfortunately, the previous actions of the HRM «rocket scientists» who drained the lakes to obtain a Cheap Fix for a problem politicians created, have now, as in countless times in the past, come back to haunt them — triggering this knee-jerk «solution» in an attempt to cover up their crassness and ineptitude.

    1. And in reference to Tim’s comment about the folly of trying to control the natural environment, I think the weeds are a man made problem, not a natural phenomenon. Human intervention is required to correct past human mistakes.