News

1. DIY Government-Funded Training

The Workplace Innovation and Productivity Skills Incentive (WIPSI) is a provincial program that gives Nova Scotian “[b]usinesses, social enterprises and revenue-generating non-for-profit organizations” money to train workers.

Thanks to a Freedom of Information request that an unknown business filed, but which is now public, Mary Campbell discovers that the largest recipient (see clarification below) of WIPSI payments is Municipal Enterprises Ltd., better known as Dexter Construction.

Municipal Enterprises has been reimbursed 19 times by the WIPSI for training expenses; five of those reimbursements, totalling $127,738, were for training expenses that were paid entirely or partly to the Dexter Institute. Campbell continues:

Yes, the Dexter Institute … is owned by the Municipal Group. What does it teach? How much does it charge?

The Dexter Institute offers two registered programs: Heavy Equipment Operator and Heavy Civil Skilled Worker. Both programs involve approximately seven weeks of classroom theory, six weeks of practical training, and a roughly three-month paid work term. Graduates of the program are guaranteed an offer of employment. Acceptance into the program is competitive. There is no cost to apply; tuition for successful applicants is $8000 plus applicable taxes.

… Municipal Enterprises is getting government funding to pay itself to train its own workers… 

Click here to read “DIY Government-Funded Training?”

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.

Update, 9:15am: Campbell emails:

I know Municipal APPLIED for funding 19 times and received it for sure 10 times, but the gov’t wouldn’t confirm that all 19 applications were accepted.

They may not be the largest recipients in terms of absolute dollars — I didn’t do the math on all the other recipients and some of them got big dollar amounts.

2. Building the Blue Route

“It’s fair to say that taking to two wheels for fun is becoming a thing in Nova Scotia, and Ben Buckwold of Bicycle Nova Scotia is working to help grow that trend,” writes Examiner transportation columnist Erica Butler:

For the past three years, Buckwold has been working on the Blue Route, a proposed 3,000-kilometre long bike friendly route network throughout the province, from Yarmouth to Cape Breton. It’s an ambitious sounding project, he admits. “You talk about doing a 3,000 km bike network and you can almost convince yourself that you’re crazy just because it seems so different here,” says Buckwold. “But it’s not that far-fetched. We’re kind of joining the crowd on this one.”

Click here to read “Building the Blue Route.”

This article is behind the Examiner’s paywall. Click here to purchase a subscription.

3. Ships Start…

Irving Shipyard. Photo: Halifax Examiner

“Canada’s plan to buy an off-the-shelf design for the navy’s new frigates faces a ‘very high risk of failure’ unless the Liberal government rewrites its proposed requirements, one of the bidders has told the shipyard running the competition,” reports Murray Brewster for the CBC:

Documents obtained by CBC News show the unidentified company, which is bidding to supply the design and help with the $60-billion construction program, has warned the plan is more complex than initially advertised by the government. 

In a written submission last month, the company told Irving Shipbuilding the government’s request for proposals needs a major overhaul.

But Irving dismissed the bidder’s concerns, according to an exchange contained in a collection of questions and answers with prospective bidders that were circulated to all bidders by Irving on May 12, 2017, a copy of which was obtained by CBC News.

4. That’s so 2005

A city press release from yesterday:

Municipal Public WiFi initiative 
Today, public WiFi service is being introduced at the Dartmouth Waterfront and Grand Parade at City Hall. During this initial phase of deployment, it is expected that users may experience some connectivity interruption. WiFi service at these sites will continue to be assessed and service will be optimized over the coming days and weeks. 

WiFi installation at the Halifax Waterfront is currently underway and once network testing is completed, this location is expected to launch in the coming weeks, well in advance of the Rendez-Vous 2017 Tall Ships Regatta from July 29 – August 1, 2017.

The Municipal Public WiFi initiative, approved by Regional Council in February 2017, builds on a foundation for delivering the next generation of municipal services — aimed at increasing economic activity and providing both residents and visitors with greater opportunities by helping close the digital divide.  
 
Municipal Public WiFi is a managed service, meaning it is provided entirely by an external service provider, not municipal staff. The service will be provided in six selected locations:

Dartmouth Waterfront

Dartmouth Waterfront

Grand Parade at City Hall

Grand Parade at City Hall

Outdoor
• Dartmouth Waterfront 
• Grand Parade at City Hall • Halifax Waterfront 
Indoor
• Alderney Gate Public Library
• Halifax Central Library including the Plaza
• Halifax North Memorial Public Library including the Plaza

Installation at indoor locations will begin later this summer. 
The [above] maps indicate where Municipal Public WiFi (HfxPublicWiFi) is now accessible.

Bell Aliant is responsible for monitoring and responding to all questions and concerns regarding connectivity or access issues. Municipal Public WiFi has a 24/7/365 support desk available to all users. The toll-free number is 1-844-376-WIFI (or 1-844-376-9434).  

5. Twitterdumb

Hey Waye, who cares – just do the job you are being paid to do, answer your phone and keep quiet about it. I never had to post it.

— Gloria McCluskey (@DartmouthG) June 28, 2017

Hey Gloria – I never posted when I thought you did something differently than I would (which was often). Go enjoy retirement.

— Waye Mason 🇺🇦 (@WayeMason) June 28, 2017

McCluskey seems to have issues with Mason:

Listening to Mason saying how much time he spent in Dart. North over the last 5 years. News to me. Must be planning to run for Mayor.

— Gloria McCluskey (@DartmouthG) June 20, 2017

I must have had a dozen people contact me about the McCluskey-Mason exchange. It’s just Twitter, people.


Government

City

Thursday

Halifax Explosion 100th Anniversary Advisory Committee (Thursday, 3pm, IT Campus, NSCC, Halifax) — the committee will be talking about stuffing a time capsule.

Design Review Committee (Thursday, 4:30pm, City Hall) — Rescheduled from June 8. The committee will be looking at the Tatooine building.

Friday

No public meetings.

Province

No public meetings.


On campus

Dalhousie

Thursday

Poster Presentations (Thursday, 1pm, Mona Campbell Building) — English for Academic Purposes Level 2 students will present their research interests in concurrent poster presentation sessions and will be available to answer questions about the content and research.

Saint Mary’s

Thursday

Thesis Defence, Applied Science (Thursday, 9:30am, Science 345) — Khaled Hijazi will defend his thesis, “Effect of Creep Loading on the Nanostructure of Tendons.”


In the harbour

USS Dwight D. Eisenhower. Photo: Halifax Examiner

The USS Dwight D. Eisenhower arrived at Anchorage #1 yesterday, and lots of people went to have a look-see. You can get fairly close to it if you take the Woodside ferry.

Thursday
4:30am: YM Moderation, container ship, sails from Fairview Cove for Jebel Ali, United Arab Emirates

Acadian. Photo: Halifax Examiner
Acadian. Photo: Halifax Examiner Credit: Halifax Examiner

5:30am: Acadian, oil tanker, sails from Irving Oil to Saint John

Oceanex Sanderling. Photo: Halifax Examiner
Oceanex Sanderling. Photo: Halifax Examiner

6am: Oceanex Sanderling, ro-ro container, arrives at Pier 41 from St. John’s
6:45am: Maasdam, cruise ship with up to 1,510 passengers, arrives at Pier 20 from Sydney

Liberty. Photo: Halifax Examiner

6:45am: Liberty, car carrier, moves from Autoport to Pier 31
9am: Anthem of the Seas, cruise ship with up to 4,180 passengers, arrives at Pier 22 from Bar Harbor
9am: Argentia Desgagnes, cargo ship, sails from Pier 9 for sea
11am: Vera D, container ship, arrives at Pier 42 from Lisbon, Portugal
11am: Zim Antwerp, container ship, arrives at Pier 41 from New York
Noon: Oceanex Sanderling, ro-ro container, moves from Pier 41 to Autoport
3pm: Desert Osprey, cargo ship, arrives at achorage for bunkers from Valencia, Spain
3:30pm: Liberty, car carrier, sails from Pier 31 for sea
3:30pm: Maasdam, cruise ship, sails from Pier 20 for Bar Harbor

La Esmeralda. Photo: Halifax Examiner

5:30pm: Esmeralda, the Chilean Navy’s sailing ship, moves from Anchorage; La Esmeralda was used as a torture prison by the Pinochet government.
7pm: Anthem of the Seas, cruise ship, sails from Pier 22 for New York
7pm: Desert Osprey, cargo ship, sails from anchorage for sea

Friday
3:30am: Zim Antwerp, container ship, sails from Pier 41 for Kingston, Jamaica; at 114,000 tonnes, this is the largest container ship to have called in Halifax
4am: Brevik Bridge, container ship, arrives at Fairview Cove from Fos Sur Mer, France
7am: Nolhanava, ro-ro cargo, arrives at Pier 36 from Saint-Pierre
10am: YM Modesty, container ship, arrives at Fairview Cove from Colombo, Sri Lanka

Atlantic Cartier. Photo: Halifax Examiner
Atlantic Cartier. Photo: Halifax Examiner

11am: Atlantic Cartier, ro-ro container, arrives at Fairview Cove from Norfolk
11:30am: Vera D, container ship, sails from Pier 42 for Mariel, Cuba

Saturday
1am: Atlantic Cartier, ro-ro container, sails from Fairview Cove for Liverpool, England
2am: YM Modesty, container ship, sails from Fairview Cove for New York
10:am: Celebrity Summit, cruise ship with up to 2,100 passengers, arrives at Pier 22 from Saint John
5pm: Celebrity Summit, cruise ship, sails from Pier 22 for Portland


Footnotes

We’re recording Examineradio today, which will go live tomorrow afternoon.

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

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11 Comments

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  1. Why did HRM not insist on a bike trail link between St Mary’s and the end of the harbour boardwalk when the roadways through the port were upgraded a few years back? ( Recall MP Megan Leslie’s spill on her bike crossing the rail tracks?).

    Forget the proposed expensive and largely redundant new bike footbridge across the rail cut when at a fraction of the price a commuter bike trail could be built down the slope by switch-backs to make this vital link. Perhaps it’s the Ports authority not listening? If so why cannot the Federal MP take this on?

  2. The Old Coach/Old St Margaret’s Bay, Greenhead, Old Halifax and Fire Roads within the Western Common Park and Five Bridge Lakes Wilderness Protected Area should become registered sections of the proposed Blue Route Bicycling Network. Most of these trails/roads are already actively being used by bicyclists and others are actively planned to be restored to facilitate bicycle usage. These areas are a natural for use as an Eco-tourism resource.

  3. Not sure what the city wifi program is about. Is it a Bell service or is it a city service? How much profit is Bell making? Is it simply PR for the city? In the digital age data is currency.

    Who gets the data collected and what do they do with it? How ironic in our new age of openness and transparency.

    1. It costs HRM some $2.6million for the newly rolled out selected-area WiFi service; the nearest competitor’s bid was somewhere around $3.6million from IBM.

      1. It’s interesting that the city is claiming the library sites as new. Halifax Public Libraries have been providing free wireless, inside and outside libraries, for years! And this comes out of the library budget. And it’s available from all libraries! The coverage outside may not be the best, but it’s there.

  4. The USS Eisenhower is using Murphy’s tourboats to move it’s personnel to and from the shore. Because Murphy’s can’t keep up with the demand, the Eisenhower is also utilizing private boats at $500 per hour. Why the Eisenhower isn’t using it’s own tenders or ribs is beyond me, but it must be a surreal experience to go ashore from one of the most heavily armoured, high-tech fighting ships in a lobsterboat or in Theodore!

    1. Just be glad it isn’t your government wasting all that money.

      On the other hand, given the levels of waste in the US military it might actually be cheaper for them to spend $500/hour hiring a lobster boat to ferry crew than using the carrier’s own boats.

      Seeing Theodore helping with the aircraft carrier was a treat. If I was still five I probably would have found it incredibly exciting.

    2. It is embarrassing that one of North America’s oldest harbours does not have an active and well developed Water Taxis Service.

      1. They wanted to use the ferries to transport their people. Thankfully, Transit management said no.

    3. I believe the US security geniuses demanded the shut down of the ramp next to the casino used by the Harbour Hopper. Thus the HH is on a different route until July 7
      https://docs.wixstatic.com/ugd/d4b918_83f7f61f0246489184ad8b7f56aede8a.pdf

      I forget. Is this Canada’s Birthday? Is Halifax Harbour one of the most historic sites in Canada? Did the convoys assembled here keep England going while the US dithered on Hitler? Should a Canadian kid be able to enjoy a HH tour on Canada Day?

      I guess not.

      1. I find it odd that the security apparatus has stopped the Hoppers from using the ramp at Carlson’s wharf, but they are fine with using lobster boats to take their people ashore. From what I hear from other captains who are going out to the Eisenhower that its like a war zone out there, more sailors pointing machine guns at them, all in the name of security. They’ve called for an ‘exclusion zone’ of 200 metres surrounding the ship and are patrolling it. Personally, I think that if they are this paranoid about being in Canada, maybe they should stay away in the future.