NEWS

1. Halifax Infirmary delayed

A homeless encampment is next to a sign announcing the construction of a new Halifax Infirmary, which is now delayed. Credit: Jennifer Henderson

“There is an indefinite delay in the tender process for the redevelopment of the Halifax Infirmary,” reports Michael Gorman for the CBC:

The deadline for a financial submission from the lone bidder was Thursday, but Premier Tim Houston told reporters that Plenary PCL will not meet that deadline.

He could not say when a submission might come, or how long the delay will be.

“It’s going to take some time,” Houston said Thursday.

“The department will work with the proponent to understand.”

Officials with Plenary PCL declined comment. CBC News has previously reported that the consortium may need the province to provide an indemnity to help cover project risk because its size makes it difficult to secure sufficient insurance coverage.

Jennifer Henderson tells me that back in 2017, then-Health Minister Leo Glavine said in a scrum with reporters that the Victoria General hospital would be demolished in 2022. That obviously isn’t happening.

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2. 16 more people have died from COVID

Weekly reported COVID deaths in Nova Scotia since January.

Nova Scotia has reported 16 new COVID deaths recorded in the latest reporting week, Oct. 18-24. In total in Nova Scotia, throughout the pandemic, 588 people have died from COVID, 476 of whom are considered Omicron deaths (i.e., they’ve died since Dec. 8, 2021).

Due to a lag in the reporting of deaths, it’s likely that many of the newly reported deaths preceded the reporting period, but the overall trend is not at all good — the province is now experiencing in the neighbourhood of 50 COVID deaths per month, and this is before the expected fall increase in cases.

“We” have apparently decided that since almost all of the deceased are elderly — at latest count, 93% were 70 years old or older, and about half were nursing home residents — the death toll can be ignored; “if it wasn’t COVID, they would’ve died from something else,” seems the prevailing attitude. That’s a far cry from the mournful anguish of the public when COVID ripped through the Northwood long-term care facility early in the pandemic.

We’re now experiencing a Northwood level of death every month.

Additionally, in the Oct. 18-24 reporting period, 48 people were hospitalized because of COVID.

Nova Scotia Health reports the COVID hospitalization status as of yesterday:
• in hospital for COVID: 42 (5 of whom are in ICU)
• in hospital for something else but have COVID: 152
• in hospital who contracted COVID after admission to hospital: 115
These figures do not include any (if any) children hospitalized at the IWK.

Weekly new lab-confirmed (PCR tests) new cases in Nova Scotia since January. The gap reflects a temporary change in testing protocols that make weekly comparisons meaningless. Credit: Tim Bousquet

Also in the reporting period, there were 919 lab-confirmed (PCR tests) new cases. This is a weak metric because many people can’t or don’t bother to get a PCR test.

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3. Renoviction

Stacey Gomez, lawyer Mitch Broughton, and MLA Lisa Lachance at a news conference at Broughton’s office in Halifax on Thursday, Oct. 27, 2022. Credit: Zane Woodford

“A Halifax tenant who’s been fighting renoviction for months has been served a new notice of eviction after her apartment was condemned due to mould,” reports Zane Woodford:

It’s the latest development in the fight between Stacey Gomez and her landlord, Marcus Ranjbar. Last month, Gomez won a residential tenancies hearing and was allowed to stay in her apartment on Church Street. Ranjbar is appealing that decision to small claims court.

But last week, the municipality told Gomez she would have to leave due to high levels of mould in the air inside the apartment.

Gomez was worried on Monday she’d have nowhere to go. She packed some of her belongings and moved into a hotel provided by the provincial government on Tuesday.

And then Ranjbar served her with a new notice to quit.

“Imagine going away temporarily. Let’s say you went on vacation, and then your landlord tells you that your tenancy is up, permanently. That’s how I feel,” Gomez said during a news conference at her lawyer’s office on Thursday.

Click here to read “Halifax tenant fights eviction from condemned apartment.”

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4. Foster parents

Viola Cain, left, and June Ross hug after a ceremony where they were recognized for their longtime roles as foster parents. Credit: Contributed

“Two women from North Preston and Cherry Brook have been recognized for their work as the most tenured foster parents in the Halifax area,” reports Matthew Byard:

Viola Cain and June Ross were honoured for their 75 combined years as foster parents at a recent foster families appreciation banquet.

“The reason I became a foster parent is that there were a lot of kids that needed care and there weren’t enough foster parents,” said Ross in an interview with the Halifax Examiner. “I did it for the need, and I’m so happy that I did. That was 35 years ago, and I’m still doing it.”

The banquet, which was hosted by the Federation of Foster Families Nova Scotia as part of Foster Families Appreciation Week, recognized Nova Scotia foster parents for every five years of their service.

Click here to read “Women from North Preston, Cherry Brook recognized for longtime work as foster parents.”

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5. Dartmouth bike lane

Victoria Road near the intersection with Farrell Street in 2021. Credit: Google Street View

“Bike lanes are en route for North Dartmouth,” reports Zane Woodford:

Council’s Transportation Standing Committee voted on Thursday in favour of a plan to connect Highfield Park Drive to Victoria Road to Wyse Road with 2.2 kilometres of new cycling infrastructure.

“At the corner of Victoria and Highfield, there’s a library, a community centre, a transit terminal, a junior high school,” active transportation planner Chloe Kennedy told the committee. “And the roadway network isn’t necessarily a comfortable environment, per se, for pedestrians and cyclists.”

At an estimated cost of $2.31 million, a protected bi-directional bike lane will run the full stretch of Highfield Park Drive to Victoria Road, and then turn onto Farrell Street, down through the park to Wyse Road.

The route adds a sidewalk to Victoria Road between Highfield Park Drive and the pedestrian overpass.

And it adds traffic lights to the intersection of Victoria Road and Farrell Street. Kennedy said families and children regularly cross the road mid-block.

Click here to read “Transportation committee approves North Dartmouth bike lane plan.”

This is a big improvement, but it misses the source of the problem: there’s a frickin’ freeway going through a residential neighbourhood.

As councillor Sam Austin wrote in 2017:

The priority of planners and engineers following World War Two was to move cars as quickly as possible above all else. Rapid suburban growth created lots of traffic and the professionals of the time mistakenly thought adding more and more road capacity would resolve the problem. It’s become clear since that continually adding more lanes just induces more people to drive and for developers to build more car-dependent neighbourhoods farther away. The induced traffic quickly fills up new road space. We get what we build for. It’s a vicious circle and it took us decades to learn the lesson. The result is that today we have a legacy of infrastructure from 1960s-1990s that isn’t built for people and just doesn’t work very well.

To get a sense of the old City of Dartmouth’s thinking that was the norm for the time, checkout the nightmarish vision for a Victoria Road expressway (a confidential 1971 report now freely available through the municipal archives).

Imagine Victoria Road as a sunken expressway cutting across Dartmouth, demolishing half of the Flower Streets, an overpass at Thistle Street, all of the cross-streets like Cherry and Russell cut off, and a giant roundabout at the foot of Maple that, in some future phase, would have its own flyover ramps Cogswell style. Sullivan’s Pond adjacent to a spaghetti interchange of fast moving traffic? Truly an awful vision, but pretty standard thinking for the era.

Thanks goodness the City of Dartmouth didn’t have enough money to destroy itself in 1971 and the Victoria Road expressway was never built. Still, we ended up with scattered sections of roadway based on these ideas about how a city should function. The Cogswell Interchange is the most prominent local monument to the era, but Wyse Road, Alderney Drive, Prince Albert Road, and Victoria from Albro Lake to Highfield all have shades of the same. We’re passed all that now and cities around the world are rethinking how our streets are used and actively making changes to correct past mistakes. Prince Albert will never be four lanes down to Ochterloney and Alderney so why are we holding onto extra lanes that go nowhere?

I went further:

The Expressway engineering of Victoria north of Albro Lake Road kills people. People die on that stretch of road with alarming regularity — not just pedestrians (as if they don’t matter), but also people in cars and, last year, a motorcyclist, as people are driving too fast.

And in downtown Dartmouth, Alderney Drive (and the entire Alderney Landing complex) is a mess. It’s a wind tunnel, it’s unfriendly to pedestrians, and worse of all, it’s ugly. The 1980s rebuild of the area blocked views down Queen Street to the harbour, and further north, effectively blocked pedestrian access to the waterfront (the recent addition of the railroad fence doesn’t help).  I know it would cost a lot of money, but the old Dartmouth City Hall will soon be torn down anyway, and Alderney Landing is a piece of junk so should be torn down as well… let’s tear out the street and the railroad tracks and all the buildings we possibly can and start anew.

Probably my plan to rebuild all of downtown Dartmouth is unrealistic, but can we at least get the Victoria Road extension deconstructed? There is no reason at all to have that four-lane divided highway running from Albro Lake Road northward. It ripped a neighbourhood in two, and returning it to a two-lane road will bring back a sense of place, as Victoria Road south of Albro Lake has.

There’s no need for that pedestrian bridge. It should be replaced with a street-level crosswalk over a two-lane road. And one side of the present-day four-lane road can be repurposed for bikes and pedestrians and even (there’s a lot of room!) for affordable housing in a neighbourhood that needs it.

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6. We’re ready for war

The first-in-class aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) steams in formation with Spanish Armada frigate Alváro de Bazán (F 101), German frigate FGS Hessen (F 221) and Ticonderoga-class cruiser USS Normandy (CG 60), Oct. 20, 2022. The Gerald R. Ford Carrier Strike Group (GRFCSG) is deployed in the Atlantic Ocean, conducting training and operations alongside NATO Allies and partners to enhance integration for future operations and demonstrate the U.S. Navy’s commitment to a peaceful, stable and conflict-free Atlantic region. Credit: U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jacob Mattingly

As you can see in the “in the harbour” listings below, there’s an armada of U.S., Dutch, Danish, German, and Spanish warships arriving in Halifax Harbour today, including the aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford, which will be parked just north of McNab’s Island.

There’s enough potential explosive power on the harbour today to make the Halifax Explosion seem like a picnic.

Otherwise, expect shenanigans on Argyle Street this weekend, as the sailors get a taste of our quaintness. Oh, also, Halcon, which could lead to some fun misunderstandings.

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7. CBRM cop charged with assault

The sign outside the SIRT office.

The Serious Incident Response Team (SIRT) has filed two charges of assault against Cst. Lawrence Doucette, a 52-year-old member of the Cape Breton Regional Police (CBRP). According to the SIRT report:

On the afternoon of September 23, 2022, SiRT was contacted by the Cape Breton Regional Police (CBRP) who reported two allegations of assault on an Affected Person (AP) by a CBRP officer, the Subject Officer (SO). The incidents are alleged to have occurred in July 2022 and September 23, 2022. An investigation began that day and concluded on October 17, 2022.

Information obtained during the investigation included a statement from the AP, statements from two civilian witnesses and the involvement of various members of the Cape Breton Regional Police.

On October 25, 2022, two charges of assault were laid against Cst. Lawrence Doucette. Cst. Doucette is scheduled to appear in Sydney Provincial Court on November 10, 2022.

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Government

City

Board of Police Commissioners Special Meeting (Friday, 11am, online) — agenda

Province

Legislature sits (Friday, 9am, Province House)


On campus

Dalhousie

Sufism, Kingship, and The Politics of Patronage at the Ghaznavid Court: Sanā’ī (d. 1131) and His Royal Patron Bahrāmshāh (r. 1117–1157) (Friday, 3:30pm, Room 1170, Marion McCain Building, and online) — Parisa Zahiremami will talk

Violin and Cello Masterclass (Friday, 4:30pm, Rom 406, Dalhousie Arts Centre) — with Robert Uchida and Joseph Johnson

Saint Mary’s

The Challenges of Mexican Democracy: Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) and Mexican-Canada Relations (Friday, 12pm, McNally Main 227) — launch of the new Global Development Studies Department, with a guest talk by Dr. Oliver Santín Peña


In the harbour

Halifax
06:30: East Coast, oil tanker, sails from Irving Oil for Charlottetown
06:45: USS Gerald R. Ford, U.S. aircraft carrier, arrives at Anchorage 1 (north of McNabs Island)
07:30: Norwegian Breakaway, cruise ship with up to 4,819 passengers, arrives at Pier 22 from Saint John, on a seven-day roundtrip cruise out of New York
10:00: USS Normandy, U.S. naval cruiser, arrives at NB 4 in Dockyard
10:30: HNLMS De Zeven Provinciën, Dutch naval frigate, arrives at NB 4 in Dockyard
11:00: FGS Hessen, German naval frigate, arrives at NF2/3 in Dockyard
11:30: USS Ramage, U.S. naval guided missile destroyer, arrives at NB 2/3 (2) in Dockyard
11:30: Oceanex Sanderling, ro-ro container, moves from Pier 36 to Pier 42
12:00: HNLMS Van Amstel, Dutch naval frigate, arrives at NB 4 (2) (alongside USS Normandy) in Dockyard
12:30: HDMS Peter Willemoes, Danish naval frigate, arrives at NC 2/3 in Dockyard
13:00: Álvaro de Bazán, Spanish naval frigate, arrives at NC4 in Dockyard
14:00: Great Eastern, oil tanker, arrives at Irving Oil from Saint John
15:00: Atlantic Sun, container ship, arrives at Fairview Cove from Norfolk, Virginia
16:30: Grande Baltimora, car carrier, sails from Autoport for sea
18:00: Oceanex Sanderling sails for St. John’s
19:30: Norwegian Breakaway sails for New York

Cape Breton
06:00: Marlin Santorini, oil tanker, sails from EverWind for sea
06:30: Voyager of the Seas, cruise ship with up to 4,099 passengers, arrives at Sydney Marine Terminal from Charlottetown, on a seven-day roundtrip cruise out of Boston
07:00: Silver Whisper, cruise ship with up to 466 passengers, arrives at Liberty Pier (Sydney) from Charlottetown, on a nine-day cruise from Quebec City to Boston
07:15: MM Newfoundland, barge, and Lois M, tug, arrive at Sydport from Cap-aux-Meules (Grindstone), Magdalen Islands
14:30: Silver Whisper sails for Halifax
17:00: Voyager of the Seas sails for Boston


Footnotes

We keep improving the functionality of the new website. That’s mostly stuff the average reader will never notice, but one thing subscribers will see is that as of yesterday, our new rates are in place and being charged as people’s monthly subscription payments are made on their credit cards. This will in turn allow us to do more and better reporting. Thanks to all!


Tim Bousquet

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

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  1. What puzzles me the most about the current covid policy is the apparent indifference to the impact of the disease on the health system. CBC reports 128 health sector employees were off work last week because of covid. Isn’t that a problem?

  2. Re: Dartmouth Bike Lane

    If I’m reading and understanding this all correctly, there will eventually be four sets of traffic lights between Highfield & Victoria and Albro & Victoria, with two sets located not even a full block from each other. For the latter, I’m referring to the set of traffic lights already at Victoria & Primrose and the proposed set at Victoria and Farrell. Seems excessive to me and likely to be frustrating for all users.

  3. Response to Tim’s piece on the “current indifference” with regard to Covid deaths and the “contrast to earlier public anguish”.A climate had to be created to allow this indifference to flourish. Politicians in power did that maneuvering. Those same politicians restricted an info. flow that had previously more fully informed people;some groups are trying to fill that gap -with limited success though.The breeding ground for widespread indifference was in place, and it has been effective. Very few people continue to mask. Observe the N.S. Legislature in session; observe the House of Commons in session.(Aside from the clerks and one MLA who regularly masks?)
    It’s up to you – follow the herd or not. Hospitals still require masking, and, despite that, entire floors have had to be closed as the number of active Covid cases has soared.This is the reaping of what was sowed; health care workers and patients are at the exhaust pipe of this government choice. And, yes, the deaths continue to occur in no small part because mask mandates have been removed.
    There’s the breeding ground for more infection- courtesy of crass indifference to the suffering it causes people of all ages and ignoring of what the numbers should be telling all of us. Despite knowing how this virus and its mutations replicate,decision makers have decided that a change of label from “pandemic” to “endemic” makes a difference. It makes no difference except in this regard- it is a warning to thinking people- don’t accept that narrative; take the precautions that you know, from earlier experience, work.

  4. There are more crew on that aircraft carrier alone than in the Regional Municipality of Guysborough.
    If you laid it down on Brunswick Street below the Citadel it would stretch from Sackville Street to Duke and Gottingen and the top of it would be about 30 m above the highest point on citadel hill.
    The largest warship ever constructed. The cost to build it is almost exactly the entire provincial budget of Nova Scotia around 13 billion dollars.