1. How the Biodiversity Act was killed
We’ve taken Joan Baxter’s April 20 article, “How the Biodiversity Act was killed,” out from behind the paywall. In the article, Baxter explains:
Forest Nova Scotia, which represents the biggest forestry players, gets an awful lot of public money — including millions of dollars to administer a forest roads program panned by the auditor general. It also has a paid lobbyist swaying the policies of the very government that funds it, and who started working on its behalf just as the Biodiversity Act was gutted.
While anyone can now read the article for free, this sort of reporting does of course cost money to produce. If you find this work valuable, please consider supporting the Examiner by subscribing.
2. Noise bylaw
“New bylaw amendments would allow downtown Halifax bars to be louder for longer outdoors — but only until 11pm,” reports Zane Woodford:
Currently, the city’s Bylaw N-200 permits “noise generating activities” like amplified music from 7am to 9:30pm Monday to Friday, 8am to 7pm on Saturday, and 9am to 7pm on Sunday.
The proposed bylaw amendments would exclude Argyle Street from those rules, allowing noise seven days a week from 9am to 11pm.
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It’s increasingly looking like the current outbreak in Nova Scotia has peaked, but there’s still a long way to go before we can say it’s been contained.
For the Halifax area (Nova Scotia Health’s Central Zone), the numbers are especially promising. After peaking at 202 new cases on May 7, there’s been a steady decline, all the way down to 41 new cases yesterday, the lowest daily case count since April 23 (when there were 33).
In contrast, in the Eastern Zone (primarily the Sydney area) figures aren’t coming down appreciably. Yesterday there were 15 new cases in the Eastern Zone, which has a much smaller population than the Halifax area.
On the very good news front, Wednesday was a single-day record for vaccination, with 20,991 doses of vaccine administered. Indications are that yesterday was another record day. Nova Scotia is still lagging, but the pace is picking up:
Premier Iain Rankin and Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Robert Strang have scheduled a COVID briefing for 2pm today. I’ll be covering it on my Twitter account.
4. Port of Sydney
Mary Campbell of the Cape Breton Spectator recounts the board shakeup — the second in as many years — at the Port of Sydney Development Corporation (PSDC), and provides the history:
The point of this nine-member, upright citizens’ board was supposed to have been to oversee a corporation with a much broader mandate than that of the Sydney Ports Corp, which it replaced.
Where the SPC had overseen the marine terminal and cruise pavilion, the PSDC would oversee the entire harbor — including the greenfield site which the CBRM hoped to develop into a container terminal.
During the two years (from April Fool’s Day 2015 to April Fool’s Day 2017) in which the interim board was in place, it spent over $1 million (monies left over from the harbor dredge project) on “business development.” You can see the breakdown here, but it was all about funding consultants and commissioning studies and entertaining port executives in the name of the container terminal project.
Months before the permanent board was installed, the interim board (remember, that’s the mayor and a few councilors) recommended the PSDC’s mandate be reduced to the cruise pavilion and the marine terminal and responsibility for the broader harbor (and the container terminal project) returned to the CBRM. Lawyer Jim Gogan presented these recommendations to council and as I’ve written before:
It would have been very interesting to hear Gogan’s rationale for this change, given the PSDC had been incorporated precisely to fulfill the broader mandate he was now proposing to strip from it, but nobody asked him to elaborate. (I mean really, it’s like going through all the pain and expense of hair plugs and then shaving your head.)
We’ve been left with an organization that does exactly what the SPC used to do — only with a high-paid CEO and a nine-member board.
Campbell rightly decries the secrecy of port operations:
Board members frequently stress the unpaid nature of their work and it’s true, they’re not paid, but they do get make decisions like these, which involve the expenditure of public monies and the use and development of public infrastructure.
There’s no excuse for not making their deliberations around these decisions public.
It’s hard to understand that secrecy. Running the port shouldn’t be a secret operation and the manager and the city should welcome public scrutiny. That kind of openness will create a bit of public buy-in, a sense of ownership and pride. As is, it just seems like there’s something to hide, which makes everyone suspicious.
As with the Examiner, the Cape Breton Spectator is subscriber supported, and so this article is behind the Spectator’s paywall. Click here to purchase a subscription to the Spectator, or click on the photo below to get a joint subscription to both the Spectator and the Examiner.
5. The Tideline
The Tideline podcast is now free for all to listen to.
A week ago today, Suzanne Rent started as an editor at the Examiner, and already she is doing an amazing job. The Tideline is just one of many things that I’ve dropped the ball on as I’m stretched entirely too thin, but I tasked Suzanne with cleaning up my mess, and she just ran with it and fixed it. I much appreciate it!
Also, listen to this week’s episode, as Tara Thorne interviews the delightful Terra Spencer.
It’s a movement! People are walking right into their local vaccination clinic, wearing their styling Halifax Examiner T-shirts, getting jabbed, and walking right back out again.
Aaaaaaaand vaccinated. 💉 pic.twitter.com/qzwgousKn8
— Jenny MacDonald (@jennykissedme) May 19, 2021
2 new cases of COVID-19 announced in Nova Scotia on Wednesday, April 14 https://t.co/78WeLgn0K1
— Tim Bousquet (@Tim_Bousquet) April 14, 2021
Just got my first COVID-19 shot today. A significant milestone. Big thanks to the nurses & volunteers at @IWKHealth. Just had to wear my @HfxExaminer T-shirt for the occasion in tribute to @Tim_Bousquet’s outstanding COVID coverage. Thank you Tim & Team Examiner. #vaccinated 💉 pic.twitter.com/AaNvrWRwOE
— Raymond Plourde (@EACwilderness) May 19, 2021
Pfizered, dose #1. Just four minutes left of my 15-minute waiting period before I can leave. pic.twitter.com/wj3GiS10wv
— Yvette d’Entremont (@ydentremont) May 20, 2021
You can join the movement, here!
Online Physiology and Biophysics Research Day (Friday, 11am) — three online sessions composed of graduate student oral presentations and two keynote speakers: Ketul Chaudhary from Dalhousie University will talk about “Understanding Sex Differences in Right (-Sided) Heart Failure: Role of Angiogenesis”; Zamaneh Kassiri from the University of Alberta will talk about “Aortic Aneurysm: What Lies Beneath the Structural Degradation.”
In the harbour
02:30: MSC Brianna, container ship, sails from Pier 42 for Barcelona
05:30: Siem Cicero, car carrier, arrives at Autoport from Emden, Germany
06:00: ZIM Shekou, container ship, arrives at Pier 42 from Valencia, Spain
06:30: Nolhanava, ro-ro cargo, arrives at Fairview Cove from Saint-Pierre
09:30: AlgoScotia, oil tanker, arrives at Imperial Oil from Montreal
12:00: Siem Cicero sails for sea
16:00: East Coast, oil tanker, arrives at Irving Oil from Saint John
16:30: Nolhanava sails for Saint-Pierre
17:00: Ilios, container ship, arrives at Pier 41 from New York
17:30: ZIM Shekou sails for New York
21:30: Algoma Mariner, bulker, arrives at Pier 25/26 from Montreal
09:00: Viktoria Viking, fish carrier, arrives at Osprey Dock (North Sydney) from St. John’s
Feels like Wednesday.