1. Northern Pulp waste is being discharged into the Bay of Fundy

Northern Pulp Mill during a shutdown in October 2019. Photo: Joan Baxter

“Wastewater from Northern Pulp’s mill is being discharged into the Bay of Fundy,” reports Joan Baxter:

Since July 2020 Northern Pulp has been shipping run-off and “landfill leachate” from its hibernating pulp mill site on Abercrombie Point in Pictou County to Colchester County’s municipal sewage treatment facility in Lower Truro, which discharges into the Bay of Fundy.

Baxter gets into how the deal was shielded from the public, with most of the discussions happening in secret sessions of the Colchester County municipal council.

And, reveals Baxter, Northern Pulp has been exceeding regulatory limits:

The approval also permitted Northern Pulp to exceed the discharge limit for chemical oxygen demand (COD).

However, in accordance with the Municipality’s sewer use by-law and policy, the approval stipulated that Northern Pulp abide by this “extra-strength wastewater discharge agreement” and that:

COD must not exceed 3,000 mg/L [milligrams per litre] at any time. A surcharge rate of $0.385 per kg of COD will be applied for amounts exceeding the By-law limit of 600 mg/L.

It didn’t take Northern Pulp very long to break that rule.

Click here to read “Wastewater from Northern Pulp’s hibernating paper mill is being discharged into the Bay of Fundy.”

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2. Robie Street developments

Credit: Contributed

“Halifax councillors green-lit two developments for Robie Street Tuesday night, approving up to 679 residential units,” reports Zane Woodford:

The Halifax and West Community Council, comprising councillors from districts 7 through 12, held two virtual public hearings.

First was for the corner of Robie and College streets. Zzap Consulting applied on behalf of Peter and Argyris Rouvalis’ 3088962 Nova Scotia Ltd. to build two towers of 30 and 29 storeys with a three-storey streetwall.

The second public hearing of the evening saw councillors considering a 23-storey proposal from Danny Chedrawe’s Westwood Developments at 2032-2050 Robie St.

Click here to read “Halifax councillors approve two big Robie Street developments, 30 and 23 storeys.”

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Woodford describes all the comments brought forward by people opposed to the projects, and those people can speak for themselves. But besides all that, because of all the looming construction, the Robie Street corridor will soon and for several years be an utter mess from North Street to Inglis Street, both for people in vehicles and for pedestrians.

One aspect of the Robie/College development is the removal of 110 units of affordable housing in order to make way for the new development, and as I read it there is no requirement that the new building contain any affordable units at all. (The development application predates the Centre Plan, which likewise doesn’t require the inclusion of new affordable units but does requirement payment into a new affordable housing fund.)

Way back in something like 1991, a friend named Ann Harrington (hi Ann! that conversation has stuck with me all these years) told me about her successful effort to enact a “replacement ordinance” in the city of Reno, Nevada. The ordinance required the big casinos then bulldozing themselves through old Reno to replace each unit of affordable housing they tore down with a new unit of affordable housing nearby. Affordable housing is an issue everywhere, and I have no idea how things are going in Reno nowadays, but it strikes me that 30 years ago a po-dunk city in the heart of the ultra-conservative Nevadan desert had a more progressive regulatory approach to affordable housing than does Halifax today.

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3. Black News file

Matthew Byard continues with his weekly round-ups of provincial Black news.

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Photo: Martin Sanchez/Unsplash

Yesterday, Nova Scotia has announced 29 new cases of COVID-19 over four days — Friday through Monday.

Premier Tim Houston and Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Robert Strang have scheduled a COVID briefing for 3pm today, presumably to discuss school reopening and the plans for the start of Phase 5 of the reopening.

Phase 5 is conditioned on 75% of the entire population (including young children) having received two doses of vaccine. It had been hoped that Phase 5 would start on September 15, but it’s clear the 75% threshold won’t be met by then  — it appears to me that it may not even be reached by the end of the month.

As we move into the fall, I think it likely Nova Scotia will experience a sort of echo from the Fourth Wave most other jurisdictions are experiencing — that is, this province will likely have relatively good success in controlling the virus, but there’s really no way to prevent people travelling into the province with it. The self-isolation requirement for unvaccinated travellers (if followed) combined with the province’s very high vaccination rates will likely blunt most of the impact, but that’s of little comfort to those who will fall ill.

I haven’t quite figured out how to present it yet, but I want to move away from presenting daily case counts as the primary metric of the pandemic and instead use a triad of indicators: the number of hospitalizations (which show severity of the pandemic), the number of new cases among those under 19 (as close as we’ll get to any indication of spread in schools among unvaccinated kids), and the vaccination progress.

Yesterday, those numbers were: two new hospitalizations, people 19 years old and younger being 24% of new cases, and 72.4% double-dosed, as adjusted for military personnel stationed in Nova Scotia. I’ll try to work that into a regular graphic for easy daily reading.

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5. Contract flipping

“The Canadian Union of Postal Workers local in Cape Breton is calling on Canada Post to move its parcel delivery service in-house after the Crown corporation hired a new contractor, which will result in job losses,” reports Tom Ayers for the CBC:

Gordie MacDonald, president of CUPW Local 117, said “contract flipping” means the union has to fight for workers every time the contract gets switched from one company to another.

The new contractor, NovaXpress of Halifax, takes over from Quebec-based Nor-Pel on Sept. 30.

MacDonald said the only reason Canada Post hired a new contractor is to save money.

“We were out on strike with the Nor-Pel bargaining unit in 2018 for a collective agreement and here we are in 2021, three years later in the middle of a pandemic, and Canada Post decides to flip this contract once more,” he said.

“It’s been a steady race to the bottom for these guys.”

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1. Not quite as east Eastern Shore

Photo: Stephen Archibald

Stephen Archibald continues his tour of the Eastern Shore, apparently returning towards Halifax. Of the above photo, he writes:

The curvy false front on an abandoned shop in Goldboro was too good to miss. We turned around and went back to get this shot before it was swallowed by vegetation. At the time the curves reminded me of clouds but now I can imagine some of you scamps will see a poop emoji.

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Halifax and West Community Council (Tuesday, 6pm) — on YouTube, with live captioning on a text-only site


No meetings

On campus



Mapping the Different Positions and Politics of Biosocial Research on Race and Health (Tuesday, 4pm) — online seminar with Latricia Best from the University of Louisville

As a social demographer, Professor Best’s research focuses on how the intersection of social, biological, and demographic factors impact our understanding of racial disparities in health outcomes across the life course, methodological issues in studying race, gender and health, and international health and aging issues, particularly across the African Diaspora. Some of Dr. Best’s current and emerging research projects include examining Black women’s contribution to food systems and subsequent health of communities and the implications of the evaluating the increased use of genetic/ancestral information in population-based surveys.


Spatial regulation of cell signaling and development in worm and fly model organisms (Wednesday, 4pm) — online seminar with Kimberley Gaulthier from the Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto

In the harbour

05:30: Tirranna, car carrier, arrives at Autoport from Zeebrugge, Belgium
06:30: Nolhanava, ro-ro cargo, arrives at Fairview Cove from Saint-Pierre
08:00: East Coast, oil tanker, arrives at Irving Oil from St. John’s
10:00: AlgoNorth, oil tanker, sails from Imperial Oil for sea
10:00: Algoma Verity, bulker, sails from Gold Bond for sea
10:30: Tirranna moves to Pier 31
12:30: Manzanillo, bulker, arrives at Berth TBD from Sorel, Quebec
13:00: Tirranna sails for sea
15:30: Atlantic Star, container ship, arrives at Fairview Cove from Liverpool, England

Cape Breton
00:30: Niagara Spirit, barge, and Tim McKeil, tug, sail from Aulds Cove for Georgetown, South Carolina
02:00: Algoma Integrity, bulker, arrives at Aulds Cove quarry from Baltimore
23:00: Algoma Vision, bulker, arrives at Aulds Cove quarry from Belledune, New Brunswick


I’ve been under-the-weather, hence this too-short and not very insightful Morning File, but the home testing units I took home last week tell me I don’t have COVID, so there’s that. You can pick them up at the convention centre testing site.

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

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  1. I went into an abandoned school when I was on the Eastern Shore a couple of months ago and took some pics. Definitely felt quite strange.

  2. I agree that all those metrics should be reported on……….vaccination rates, hospitalization rates, rates amongst unvaccinated and rates amongst under 12s….all this is important information. But I disagree with you about not reporting the overall numbers, which puts all the other metrics into context. I’m not sure what this would achieve. I’m hearing this argument from people lately. The prevailing attitude I’m hearing is, ‘We’ve got vaccines now, we need to get on with it….this will always be with us….we don’t need to hear about it daily… just makes people afraid.’ I’m not saying this is what you’re advocating, Tim, but by not reporting on ALL metrics, including the total daily numbers, you’re omitting information that contextually is important. As a person that medically can’t be vaccinated, I need to know the whole picture and assess my risk as necessary. I realize that my situation is the minority…in the extreme….but until now your Covid reporting has been my main source of info during the pandemic.

    1. Oh, I won’t stop reporting the daily numbers. It just won’t be the primary stat — the first.

  3. We did an Eastern shore trip last year so we really enjoyed Stephen Archibald’s blog. The problem is we only saw 30% of what he did. Now we have to go back. We enjoyed this immensely!

  4. I don’t know the details about Reno but the last time I was there, which was 4 years ago, there were many, many homeless people. I found it very stark and disturbing to see so many destitute people hanging around the casinos.