In the harbour
Today, the NSCC Media class launches its investigative project, “untitled,” which explores the historic injustice done to Black Loyalists who were promised property in Nova Scotia but were never given title to the land they settled. Importantly, the class shows how that historic injustice continues to wrong the residents of North Preston.
Explains the untitled website:
Imagine having a piece of land that has been in your family for generations. Your ancestors were the first settlers on the land, land given to them by the Crown for their support during the American Revolutionary War in the late 1700’s, or as part of their freedom from slavery during the war of 1812.
It wasn’t very fertile land. In most cases it was land that no one else wanted. But your ancestors persevered and along with their neighbours, they eventually made a strong community on that land.
But from the start, there’s been a problem. Unlike others who were loyal to the Crown during the wars, and who were also given land in Nova Scotia, your ancestors were treated differently. Instead of being granted legal title to the land, they were given things called tickets of location and licences of occupation. Documents that gave them access to the land, but not ownership of it.
For many families, including yours, that tentative grasp on the land remains. So today you are in the same situation as your ancestors were two and a half centuries ago. Even though you’ve been paying taxes on your land, you’re not allowed to sell it or legally deed it to your children because it isn’t yours, under the law.
Not having legal title to the land means not having the financial stability that being a landowner can provide. And it means constant uncertainty. Can your land be taken away from you? It has happened. Remember Africville? Without legal title, your family and your whole community are vulnerable.
This is the reality facing many families in several historically Black communities in Nova Scotia. This project takes a look at the community of North Preston, part of the Halifax Regional Municipality. We hope to highlight a historic wrong, show how it’s affecting people today and what residents are doing to help ensure a better future.
This is really good work. The students found documents in the archives that have never before been published. The class won the trust of an understandably wary community, and interviewed residents like Elaine Cain, who has repeatedly hit a bureaucratic brick wall in obtaining clear title to property her family has occupied for hundreds of years.
Without clear title to their property, people cannot sell the property and cannot mortgage it to finance home upgrades or to send their kids to college.
The students also found that officialdom continues to turn a blind eye to the problem.
It’s worth spending some time on the untitled website, and checking out their YouTube channel.
2. Examineradio, episode #49
This week we speak with Tim Heneghan and Paul Conrod, two researchers with the Right to Know Coalition of Nova Scotia. They’ve just completed a report highlighting how awesome Halifax is when it comes to transparency and openness with regard to the sharing of information with the public.
Also, the provincial government has scrapped proposed changes to the Seniors’ Pharmacare program. Will this be enough to get them a second term, or will Geezergate spell their downfall?
Plus, a renegade cop who plays by his own rules but gets the job done has taken on the whole corrupt system at City Hall. Or at least one city councillor who might’ve said mean things about him on Twitter. Said councillor was forced to apologize after a lengthy meeting at City Hall. What transpired in the meeting? We’re not sure, since Halifax is awesome when it comes to transparency and openness with regard to the sharing of information with the public.
And finally, the bold and innovative team at Stillwell saw their brainchild of a German-styled beer garden on the waterfront get awarded to a more established corporation. Why? Did the winning bidder offer Waterfront Development significantly more money? Were bureaucrats promised unlimited bratwurst through the summer season? We don’t know because Halifax* is awesome when it comes to transparency and openness with regard to the sharing of information with the public.
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(Subscribe via iTunes
* Yes, that’s Waterfront Development, a provincial crown corporation, and not the city of Halifax.
3. Pedestrians struck
At approximately 6:20 p.m. on February 20, police were dispatched to a vehicle/pedestrian collision at the intersection of Queen and South Streets in Halifax. The victim, a 19-year-old woman, was in a marked crosswalk with the green walk light when she was struck by a vehicle turning west onto South Street from Queen Street. The vehicle was driven by a 24-year-old man. The victim was treated by EHS and cleared at the scene with minor injuries. The driver was issued a ticket for failing to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk.
Approximately five minutes later, a second pedestrian was struck by a motor vehicle at the intersection of Brunswick and Cogswell Streets in Halifax. The pedestrian, a 57-year-old woman, was in a marked crosswalk and the vehicle was turning left onto Cogswell Street from Brunswick Street. The driver, a 19-year-old man, was issued a violation for failing to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk.
People in Dartmouth are worked up about signs again.
We spent a gazillion dollars changing the signs, and now we’re going to spend another gazillion dollars changing the signs back again.
“They’ve had a year to prepare, but so far cable companies in Nova Scotia are remaining tight-lipped about new, less expensive cable options they’ve been ordered to provide effective March 1,” reports Yvonne Colbert:
In March 2015, the CRTC ordered cable companies to provide basic, so-called skinny packages for $25 that customers can supplement with individual pick-and-pay channels or small bundles of channels.
Neither of the two big cable companies in Nova Scotia — Eastlink and Bell Aliant — have any information about the changes on their websites and neither is willing to talk about what they will offer next week.
Do people still have cable TV? Huh. Maybe it’s a retro thing, like sporting Walkmans or using typewriters. But I’ve gone full retro: I still use rabbit ears.
1. Audit Nova Scotia Power
It is well past time the Stephen McNeil government and/or the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board ordered a comprehensive, independent audit of Nova Scotia Power’s performance going back to before it was turned back over the private sector.
Has Nova Scotia Power’s role as cash cow for parent Emera led to reductions in maintenance and emergency personnel, and/or a failure to update and maintain the power grid?
2. Cranky letter of the day
On Feb. 5, Parks Canada delivered a shocking and devastating message (‘Parks Canada scraps plans for war monument at Green Cove,’ Cape Breton Post), which flummoxed, disgusted and inflamed the anger of the citizens North of Smokey.
After four years of support from the Canadian government, a proposed veterans’ memorial was tossed to the curb. This was a project the vast majority of citizens from Smokey to Meat Cove had rallied to support. The almost 1,700 members of ‘the People North of Smokey Who AGREE to Having Our Monument at Green Cove’ united the community. Far from splitting the community, the Mother Canada project gave a united resolve to us. The naysayers were mainly from away.
So once again the people North of Smokey have been let down by Parks Canada. The expropriation of land at $6 an acre and the promise of jobs decades ago was the first kick. Now the politicos and mandarins operating out of Ottawa have disappointed and a wonderful project has been disparaged. Hopes have been dashed.
Despite receiving hundreds of postcards from veterans’ loved ones, 10 petitions with 1,115 signatures, a support letter from 60 former Highlands employees still living North of Smokey and despite Parks Canada’s own mandate, which has been in place since 1985, it chose rocks over veterans.
Article 3.2.5 of the Park’s Management Plan states: “Parks Canada must ensure that cultural resources and cultural landscapes are recognized, protected and presented so that the public can learn about and better appreciate the Park’s cultural heritage.”
The armed forces figure prominently in our culture and our veterans are forever on our mind. Putting up a little birdhouse and acquiring a part-time interpreter for visiting dignitaries does not present our cultural heritage.
So this war is not over. Local veteran Ron Clarke showed us the way when he fought against the closure of the Veterans Affairs offices. Parks Canada, which appointed an overseer to guide the Never Forgotten National Memorial (NFNM) Foundation, has to be held accountable for its about face. The decision makers at Parks Canada, along with Environment Minister Catherine McKenna, must provide answers.
To Minister McKenna, I ask did you meet with the NFNM Foundation or local MP Mark Eyking? Have you visited Green Cove? Did the hundreds of postcards from veterans’ loved ones resonate with you? Did the 10 support petitions get read?
I sent you a comprehensive information package. Was that read? Did you consult with other ministers about the opportunities this memorial would bring to employment, families, small businesses, heritage and veterans? Will you come to Ingonish to explain your decision? And, please, don’t have the temerity to tell us it was a Parks Canada decision.
Ray Stapleton, Ingonish Center
Executive Standing Committee (10am, City Hall) — nothing much on the agenda. Without a vote of the full regional council, it’s been decided that “interim” CAO John Traves will hold onto the job until after the election in October.
Police Commission (12:30pm, City Hall) — The commission is reviewing the police department’s operating budget; maybe they’ll hire a bunch of psychics to solve future crimes. You never know.
No public meetings.
Virtual Environments (2:30pm, Rowe 3001) — Jamshid Beheshti, from McGill University, will speak on “Designing Virtual Environments for Children and Teens: Challenges and Opportunities”:
Virtual environments (VEs) provide the unique experience of a sense of being within a 3D space, where the user is involved by interacting with objects. In education, immersion and presence can have strong motivational impact for students, who can actively be engaged in building their own internal models of the world. VEs may also be used as an alternative information retrieval tool by presenting a more engaging browsing environment for children and teens. Creating informational and educational VEs, however, can be perplexing, requiring multitudes of experts, advanced technologies, funds and time. In this presentation the challenges and opportunities in the design process of two different VE projects will be discussed.
Senate (3pm, Theatre A, Sir Charles Tupper Building) — the communications people at Dal make it damn near impossible to find the Senate agendas. Instead of simply posting the agenda on the event page, which would be logical and helpful, they make a separate Today@Dal post a week or so before the meeting with the agenda, and so I have to hunt around for it. Today I can’t find it at all.
The PR professionals at Dal get paid a lot of money, but can’t seem to convey simple event information to the public. The university is a public institution, and what goes on there — especially governance issues like Senate meetings — is the public’s business, but the communications department appears not to give two shits about actually informing the public.
Elizabeth May (5:30pm, Room 105, Weldon Law Building) — in this free and public talk, May will speak about democratic reform in Canada.
In the harbour
NYK Deneb, container ship, arrived at Fairview Cove this morning from New York; sails to sea this afternoon
Bahri Yanbu, general cargo, Norfolk to Fairview Cove, then sails to sea
Harmony Leader, car carrier, Sagunto, Spain to Autoport
Singelgracht, cargo, Portland, Maine to anchorage
CSL Meti, bulker, Brayton Point, Rhode Island to National Gypsum
Atlantic Concert, ro-ro container, Norfolk to Fairview Cove
OOCL Antwerp sails to Cagliari, Italy
Halifaxexaminer.ca hit some resource limits over the weekend, and a lot of people had problems accessing the site. I’ve been working to resolve the issue, but I see the site is still a bit sluggish this morning, and I suspect that some people may still have difficulty accessing their accounts. Thanks for your patience.
Tim asks ” do people still have cable TV?” Some of us still do. The numbers are dropping, but according to StatsCan in 2014, 58.8 % of Canadian households had cable, and another 19.9 % had satellite television, down from 65.3% for cable and 23.2% for satellite in 2010.
Source : http://www5.statcan.gc.ca/cansim/a26?lang=eng&retrLang=eng&id=2030027&tabMode=dataTable&srchLan=-1&p1=-1&p2=9
We disconnected our cable earlier this year, annoyed at the cost, the company’s hard sell, and eagerness to bundle all communications services together, am mostly annoyed at paying for stuff we didn’t want or watch.
But because I miss some things that i can’t figure out how to watch online, we plan on calling up the cable company next Tuesday just to see what we can get under the new plan.
The “untitled” project by the NSCC Media class deserves high praise indeed! Let’s give credit to the instructor, Erin Moore, and to Emma Halpern from the Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society, who approached her with the idea.
Maybe there will be court challenge going forward soon – after all, paying taxes on land for generations is usually sufficient to earn a title outright.
A note on nomenclature: “Black Loyalists” are those people of African descent who came to Nova Scotia after the Revolutionary War in the 1780s (both those who fought for the British and those who were enslaved by white Loyalists tend to be lumped in as “Black Loyalists.” Those who came after the War of 1812 in similar circumstances are considered a separate group, the Black Refugees. The latter group are those whose descendants make up most of the Black population of Nova Scotia.
Clearly, the answer is 2 signs everywhere. One that says Halifax and one that says Dartmouth. Then people can choose which one to look at.
More on pedestrians …
I agree with Sean Ryan’s comments above. Many pedestrians move onto the street without even looking and the lighting is poor. But there is another issue, and that is the dreadful driving one often sees in this city. An orange light is not a warning here, but an exciting invitation to accelerate through an intersection, most of that on what has turned into a red light. Tough on pedestrians. Likewise the prohibitively slow pedestrian crossing lights that generously favour the cars. Better attention and care needed by drivers, pedestrians and planners. The orange flags now installed here and there around the city by a citizens movement in Dartmouth (Norm Collins and others, I believe) are a recognition that improvement is possible.
I had two grandfathers who fought in the first world war, both wounded in action, and I don’t want their efforts commemorated by defacing that beautiful cove with that ridiculous monstrosity.
Re: Dal Senate Meeting
The Agenda has been posted here: http://www.dal.ca/content/dam/dalhousie/pdf/university_secretariat/Senate%20Docs/1.%20%202016_02_22%20Senate%20Agenda.pdf
It’s frustrating, I agree. It seemed that communications people at Dal changed up the posting so that it now fits the same manner in which the Board of Governors info is shared, without telling anyone.
To be fair, their has been many issues prior with how the information was shared – often times the event posting was problemed in formatting, stuff linked incorrectly, etc – so the shift makes sense. But it’s still frustrating.
There have been two times I have almost struck a pedestrian with my vehicle. Both times I was traveling through a crosswalk, at night, less than 20 km/h and actively scanning for pedestrians. My vehicle was maintained/clean and the weather was dark but otherwise pleasant.
I agree that driver awareness, speed, and many other factors regarding responsibility of the driver are relevant to the conversation, but Halifax’s unusual number of incidents per capita should show that there must be something else at play, otherwise one would need to assume Halifax’s drivers are just more careless by design or are actively out to kill people.
I have driven in several countries and in cities all over North America, and there are two unique factors in Halifax that seem to extremely aggravate the situation:
1) Lighting. Halifax is the dimmest city I have ever been in. There is no lighting at most intersections outside of the downtown core. Several major marked crosswalks have essentially zero street lighting, or more often, depend on a single average street-lamp at one, or if lucky then both sides. Take a guy in dark clothes at 10pm and put him in the centre of a wide crosswalk with typical street lamps over the sidewalks and you are left with an invisible person.
If the city improves lighting then this would help. If they don’t, the pedestrian can make themselves more visible. This isn’t me attacking the pedestrian’s fashion choice, but it is common sense that being visible will protect you. I know some nations actually require reflective striping on pedestrians in major areas at night. Maybe not a requirement here, but each pedestrian can choose to make themselves more safe until lighting improves.
2) Pedestrian confidence. Halifax, has by far, the most carefree class of pedestrians I have ever laid eyes upon. In both incidents I describe above, it was night, and they were both dressed in pitch black. Both had intersections that were poorly lit. This is all besides my point that in both cases, both of them walked into the crosswalk, saw me approaching and not slowing down, continued moving through the crosswalk and at no point stopped until narrowly avoiding my vehicle and vice-versa. I am not blaming them as I was wrong under the law, but in both cases they ASSUMED I saw them. Compare that to other cities where there is a noticeable and healthy fear or vehicles when out and about on foot, at least more than Halifax.
I am not denying that there are all sorts of crappy driver behaviours that cause accidents, but I am denying that Halifax would have more crappy drivers on average than any other place. There is simply no reason for this. The above two factors are something that I notice that is different about this place, that might be the cause for the death carnival every winter.
I agree with you Sean… if every pedestrian focused their attention on all vehicles and considered them all a continuing threat until they had safely crossed the road, there would likely be an astounding decrease in vehicle-pedestrian incidents.
Even in the downtown core intersections are dark.
I find it fascinating that when two pedestrians are hit in what look like (I can’t be 100% certain, but knowing the intersections…) drivers turning *left* the pedestrians in the sidewalk, and the drivers are ticketed, that people’s immediate response is “well, yeah, but two years ago a pedestrian walked out in front of me!”
Yes, it is strange. Especially on nights when the roads are moist and shiny, left turns at night are very sketchy – pedestrians, especially those crossing from the left (driver’s perspective) of the street that you are turning left onto are nearly invisible in the glare from the cars waiting at the intersection, and those coming from the other side are nearly as hard to see. I’m not sure what the solution is, but it seems to me like lighting that would effectively illuminate pedestrians crossing would be a good idea. If the lights in crosswalks were angled slightly, at say, 30 degrees to the vertical and aimed to illuminate the sides of people rather than just their head and shoulders, it might work better. Also, that way the reflections from the lights would tend to bounce away from the driver instead of towards the driver.
This would make the lighting worse from the perspective of drivers who are going straight or turning right, but the car’s headlights will make up for it, unlike in a left turn where headlights do not illuminate pedestrians until you are about to hit them.
Of course, its just a theory.
Or, when conditions limit visibility, drivers could just slow the fuck down.
Well, yeah. But [i]come on[/i]
I suspect that if, as you say above, their are more carefree (crappy) pedestrians in Halifax than elsewhere then the same logic could also be that there are more crappy (carefree) drivers in Halifax than elsewhere.
I did agree with your first point that perhaps the physical environment in different in Halifax some how than elsewhere. It is worth looking more closely at and figuring out what changes could be more easily made to help.
Are there more pedestrian incidents in Halifax than elsewhere? I’ve never seen any data on it.
First of all, while street lighting has been found to decrease the risk of collision (1), 64% of collisions in Halifax in 2015 took place during clear and/or sunny conditions, while 46% happened in clear, sunny conditions during daytime hours. (2) There must be something other than street lighting at play if so many collisions happen during good conditions. Of course, some of this can be explained by exposure risk (more people out walking/biking/driving during clear, sunny, daytime hours, so more chance of collision) but I suspect it doesn’t account for all of the issues, especially with the frequency that I spot drivers on their phones, among other distractions.
According to the data, the best way to reduce the number of collisions is to ban driving from 5-7pm.
(1) (Guttenplan, M., Chu, X., Siddiqui, N.A., 2006. Crossing locations, light conditions, and pedestrian injury severity. Transportation Research Record 1982, 141–149.)
“Both times I was traveling through a crosswalk, at night, less than 20 km/h and actively scanning for pedestrians.”
If this is true,you shouldn’t be driving at night at all.
I also agree with Sean, and I find that most crosswalk markings in the downtown core, especially between, say, city hall and Spring Garden Road, are faded out, in dire need of repainting. Not all of the crosswalks were converted into zebra stripes last time I drove through. Zebra stripes reduce accidents and have long since been proven to be the best type of crosswalk marking.
The Motor Vehicle Act establishes that every intersection is a crosswalk, whether it’s marked or unmarked, so those lines are irrelevant: If a pedestrian is waiting at an intersection, stop to let them cross.
That section should be abolished, “Cross only at a marked crosswalk ‘ should be the modern normal.
But if that were to happen, then pedestrians would no longer have the right of way at any stop sign, which would encourage more rolling stops and fewer drivers paying attention.