1. Canada Games Centre roof

Canada Games Centre. Graphic: DSRA Architecture

Just six years old, the roof of the Canada Games Centre needs major repairs.

Peter Smith of Eagle Project Management Inc. was hired to investigate leaks over the main pool area, the walking track, and the solarium in the fitness centre. What he found wasn’t pretty.

“The roof drains located on the solarium roof have failed in particular at section V5 over the pool area,” wrote Smith in his report. “The thermal scan revealed water saturation under the membrane as approximately 40 feet by 40 feet area… While walking on the roof system you can clearly hear the water saturation movement and the ‘sponge’ affect of the wet insulation.”

At the rooftop solar panels, Smith found that “the majority of the roof connections to structure support systems have failed with a high probability of water migration into the roofing systems” and that “the solar pipe support systems which are welded to the vertical structural supports have failed in several locations.”

There are also leaks at the supports that hold the solar and HVAC supply and return lines. “The pipe support system appears to have been installed after the roof membrane,” noted Smith. “They are not supported to the structural decking. Typically the roofing system will contain torch in ‘sleepers or curbs’ to support the structural load of these piping systems transferring the load to the main structural framework. The roofing system is deflecting and roof failure points are evident.”

At the solarium, Smith noted that “the roof membrane is not adhered to the vertical curb walls of the solarium system. Evidence of several water penetration points is visual (see photo). Repairs will be extensive as the solarium structure is supported on the curb structure, the roof membrane wraps up and over the curb and the roof membrane is not secured to the curb to stop water penetration. The east face roof membrane does not extend up the curb supporting the solarium.”

Smith found that:

Extensive areas of the roof membrane connection to the wall curb areas have failed. The roof membrane is not adhered to the roof/wall curb. The original design details, noted on drawing A5.10, indicate a torch on base sheet and cap sheet to the wall curb. The wall design includes a “blue skin or equal” product behind the architectural metal. These areas frequently contain high levels of snow and are subject to water penetration with poor roof membrane adhesion.

Smith found that the ventiliation shafts were “poorly installed, cap sheet does not extend to ventilation ‘neck.’”

Smith’s report was included among tender documents published this morning. The city is seeking a firm to make the repairs Smith said are necessary.

Click here to read the Canada Games Centre Roof Investigation.

Construction on the Canada Games Centre began in 2008; the facility hosted the February 2011 Canada Games and then was opened as a community recreation centre in March 2011.

A city report notes that the facility was declared “roof tight” in December 2009.

Original construction of the building cost $45 million.

As of this writing, city offices are not yet open, so I can’t tell you what the expected cost of roof repairs is, whether the cost will be covered by insurance, who the original contractor was, or if the original contractor will be required to pay for repairs.

2. Tidal Turbine

One of the tidal turbines came through Halifax Harbour last year. Photo: Halifax Examiner

“Bay of Fundy lobster fisherman Mark Taylor says he’s increasingly frustrated over disruptive operations around the tidal turbine test site in the Minas Passage,” reports Bruce Wark:

The company announced unexpectedly more than two months ago that it would be retrieving its OpenHydro turbine starting with the first available tidal window April 15 to 20 and then, about every two weeks after that.

But so far, it hasn’t been able to raise it apparently because the turbine is entangled by an underwater line wrapped around its subsea base tubes.

Taylor says he’s been forced to move his 450 traps, each weighing 310 pounds, to avoid operations at the FORCE tidal testing site as well as in an area near Spencer’s Island where Cape Sharp had said it planned to move the turbine for further testing.

Darren Porter, who is a weir fisherman with operations near the turbine and who Wark notes is “a persistent critic of turbine deployment,” separately contacted me to draw my attention to paragraphs #58 and 59 in Justice Jamie Campbell’s decision in the Bay of Fundy Inshore Fisherman’s Association unsuccessful law suit to delay the installation of the turbines:

[58] It is also relevant that this is not a situation in which approval has been granted without considering the potential consequences for the environment of the Bay of Fundy. There was nothing cavalier about the approach that was used. Scientists may differ on the proper approach to testing but this was not in any sense a rolling of the dice. There have been extensive studies. The deployment of the turbines with ongoing monitoring of their effects is part of the process of study and assessment. The adaptive management approach was not adopted as a business or bureaucratic convenience but as a practical response to uncertainty. Whether it is the right response remains to be seen.

“It seems there is a rolling of the dice,” writes Porter. “Currently there is no monitoring of the effects hooked up on the turbine at all.”

The judge’s decision continues:

[59] When dealing with the environment of the Bay of Fundy there is just no room for error. That looms large in any assessment. Its future goes far beyond any discussion of “convenience”. What is involved here however is a test site for which there have been safeguards put in place. The turbines can be removed during the 12 hour course of a single tidal cycle.

Responds Porter: “Where the fuck is the safe guard now? They have been trying to pull this turbine that has no monitoring at all in place, for 60 days! And still no sign of it coming out, is there no accountability? Certainly there are no safe guards in place.”

3. Man under Penhorn Lake

Police issued two releases last night, the first at 9:30pm:

At approximately 8:30pm police, fire and EHS responded to Penhorn Lake, 70 Penhorn Dr. for a report of a male swimming who went under water and did not resurface. HRP Fire deployed rescue boats and the matter is still being investigated at this time.

A second release, issued at 9:53pm:

Halifax Fire have concluded their search of the lake for this evening. Police will continue to hold the scene until morning when a further search can be conducted by the HRP/RCMP dive team.

4. The Sandeson case and the right to speak to jurors

“Family members of William Sandeson are blaming the Crown for keeping them away from his first-degree murder trial, which began in mid-April and is currently hearing closing arguments in Halifax,” reports Blair Rhodes for the CBC:

Members of Sandeson’s family attended the trial for the first time Monday at Nova Scotia Supreme Court. They returned Tuesday, at which time they distributed a handwritten statement to reporters explaining their absence.

“We are disappointed and disturbed by the Crown’s use of subpoenas to keep us out of the courtroom for the entire trial period,” the unsigned note read.

“Under the exclusion of witness process, anyone subpoenaed is not allowed to be present in the courtroom until after giving testimony. We were never called as witnesses.”

The crown attorneys told Rhodes that they told the defence lawyers early on that the family would not be called.

This raises an interesting issue. The family of the presumed murder victim Taylor Samson has been at the trial throughout, a visible if unspoken presence of the gravity of the alleged crime and its impact on real, caring people. Does the absence of family members supportive of the defendant Sandeson leave the jury thinking that he is disliked or unloved? And would that affect the attitude of the jury towards the defendant?

There are many court cases that revolve around information that can and cannot be presented to the jury precisely because the information might prejudice the jury against the defendant. Prior convictions for crimes that are unrelated to the crime being heard in court, for example, are typically disallowed. Also, the fact that the defendant is being held in jail through the trial is also withheld from jurors. I’m no lawyer, but it seems to me that the absence of supportive family members in the courtroom because of actions taken by the crown may fall within the same universe of prejudicing the jury.

The obvious thing to do in this case would be to simply ask the jury what they think, but we can’t. In Canada, it is illegal to ask jurors about their decision — what they were thinking, what evidence was most important to them, how they reacted to testimony, what they felt towards the defendant, etc. Unlike in the U.S., Canadian jurors are not on TV after the trial and do not write books about their experiences in high-profile cases; that’s because it’s against the law.

Glen and his daughter Tanya, outside the courtroom in Halifax after being released from custody in November 2014. Photo: Halifax Examiner

I maintain, however, that the mandated silence of jurors is a disservice to justice. For example, I very much want to talk to the jurors who convicted Glen Assoun of the murder of Brenda Way. Although he hasn’t yet been officially exonerated, it’s now pretty clear that the conviction was a miscarriage of justice and that Assoun spent 16 years in prison for a murder he did not commit. I detailed the surreal trial in Part 2 of the Dead Wrong series. It’s important to know what the jury was thinking and how they came to their decision to find Assoun guilty because we should learn from the mistake that was made — perhaps, if we can get inside jurors’ heads, we may be able to prevent future wrongful convictions.

Likewise, the prohibition against speaking to jurors limits the work of defence lawyers and academics because having access to jurors could improve their understanding of the judicial process. Again, with that knowledge in hand, we could improve defence strategies for defendants and perhaps ward off future wrongful convictions.

Sure, allowing jury members to speak about their cases would bring with it a bit of discomfort and in some cases a carnival-like media atmosphere. But that’s a small price to pay to improve the justice  system.

The law preventing jurors from speaking should be repealed.




Regional Watersheds Advisory Board (Wednesday, 5pm, Alderney Public Library) — the committee will have a look at the Green Network Plan.

Campaign Finance Accountability (Wednesday, 6:30pm, City Hall) — info here.


Active Transportation Advisory Committee (Thursday, 4pm, City Hall) — Kelsey Lane will talk about cycling in winter.


No public meetings.

On campus



Thesis Defence, Philosophy (Wednesday, 12pm, Room 3107, Mona Campbell Building) — PhD candidate Katie Stockdale will defend her thesis, “Oppression and the Struggle for Hope.”

Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Seminar (Wednesday, 4pm, theatre A, Tupper Building) — Antonietta Pietrangelo will speak on “Bridging the Gap: OSBP-related Protein 4 (ORP4), Membrane Contact Sites and Lipid Transfer.”

Cheshire Calhoun

“Contentment with Imperfection” (Wednesday, 7pm, Halifax Central Library) — Cheshire Calhoun, from Arizona State University, will speak.


Pediatric Inflammatory Bowel Disease (Thursday, 7:45am, New Cineplex OE Smith Theatre, IWK) — “Research Priority Setting in Pediatric Inflammatory Bowel Disease: The Powerful Impact of Engaging Patients and Families in Research.”

Interdisciplinary Thesis Defence, Interdisciplinary Studies  (Thursday, 9am, Room 3107, Mona Campbell Building) — PhD candidate Jules Fauteux will defend his thesis, “Career Experiences of Canadian Information and Communications Technology Executives: Understanding Career Advancement Barriers and Enablers for Women and Men.”

Dogs and ponies (Thursday, 1pm, the theatre named for a fucking bank, Marion McCain Building) — Richard Florizone continues with his travelling road show.

Saint Mary’s


Violence on Campus (Thursday, 7pm, Sobey Building) — a panel discussion about violence on university campuses, with Constance Backhouse from the University of Ottawa, Kelley Castle from the University of Toronto, Farrah Khan from Ryerson, and the CBC’s Senior Investigative Correspondent Diana Swain.

In the harbour

The seas around Nova Scotia, 8:15am Wednesday. Map:

The Navy is looking to lease four tugs, two to operate in Esquimalt, BC, and two for Halifax Harbour:

The Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) will be purchasing four large tugs. Two large tugs will be required to move one Joint Support Ship (JSS). The large tugs will be of a commercial in service design and will require minimal customization to meet the requirements. The tugs shall perform a wide variety of tasks including harbour berthing, coastal towing, harbour fire fighting and other naval fleet support duties on a 24/7 basis. Daily services are scheduled; however, operational requirements often demand that services be initiated and/or continued outside of these regular working hours.

The tugs shall operate within 750 nautical miles of their respective home ports and conduct both in- harbour and out-of-harbour operations Out-of-harbour operations will have a maximum combined transit and on-station time of ten (10) days. Longer deployments are possible, but will require port stops to refuel and replenish stores.

The tugs shall operate throughout the year in the wind, wave, tide and current conditions found in Canadian and US harbours and coastal waters. The tugs shall be capable of operating throughout a 24 hour day, in both unrestricted and restricted visibility as defined by the Convention on the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea (COLREGS).

Interesting to me is that “the vessels will be operated by a civilian crew.” If I’m reading the Request For Information correctly, they are replacing five Glen Class tugs and two Fire Class tugs that are operated by the Navy itself, with naval crew.

5:30am: European Highway, car carrier, arrives at Autoport from Portbury, England
6am: ZIM Qingdao, container ship, arrives at Pier 41 from Algeciras, Spain
9am: State of Maine, the training ship of the Maine Maritime Academy, sails from Pier 23 for sea
10:30am: Amerigo Vespucci, the Italian navy’s sailing ship, sails from Pier 20 for sea
11:30am: European Highway, car carrier, sails from Autoport for sea
3:30pm: Atlantic Star, container ship, arrives at Fairview Cove from Norfolk


I have a 9:30am appointment so probably won’t be available most of the day.

I’ll be on The Sheldon MacLeod Show, News 95.7, at 2pm.

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

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  1. Re 4. Right to Speak With Jurors

    Strongly agree with you, Tim, and have always resented the firewall around juries in our justice system. Their legally-constructed, enforced segregation is paternalistic and a reflection of class and culture – that of perceived reputation [personal and institutional] being paramount. Remember when you satirized an HRM Councillor in your online reporting tweets and his rage about it, citing damage to his reputation?

    Jury insulation during trial is understandable and desirable, but should be removed in the aftermath, leaving jury members free to decide, individually, on whether to engage. Why should they be exempt from explanation and accountability? Suspect the answer from legal actors would be that the justice system determines the rules and allowing ignorant outsiders, i.e. the public and press, especially the press, to interact with the jury, a determinant interior body, could/would destabilize, even thwart justice. As if we haven’t had miscarriage of justice within the sacrosanct process – perhaps 16 years of Glen Assoun’s life, and that of late Donald Marshall, Jr. for sad certainty. And there are others.

    I’m not optimistic this will change soon or ever, but I’m grateful you’ve raised it during my lifetime. After all, we’re still dealing with opposition to cameras in courtrooms.

  2. I’m doing some good ole fashioned google digging to find out what company was the over see’er on the Canada Games construction. So far all I can find is this:

    The Guildfords Group of Companies is proud to have been part of this significant capital investment in world-class sports facilities through its member companies Guildfords Inc. and Scotia Sheet Metal Inc. Guildfords provided pipe insulation services under contract to Ainsworth Atlantic while Scotia Sheet Metal Inc. erected the facility’s structural steel and sheet metal cladding as a subcontractor to Eastern Canadian Structures Inc. The $40 million project remains on schedule for the Games which will be the largest multi-sport event in Nova Scotia history.

    1. Yeah, I was frustrated this morning trying to find the main contractor. Guildfords appears to be the subcontractor. I have calls out…

  3. The Navy’s Glen class tugs and other assorted small craft are currently operated by civilians, not the Navy. They are under the auspices of the “Queen’s Harbour Master” which is a civilian agency. They often advertise on the Government of Canada employment site looking for crews.