News

1. Police Review Board hearing continues

Halifax Regional Police Constables Kenneth O’Brien (left) and Brent Woodworth speak before Thursday’s Police Review Board hearing in Enfield. Photo: Zane Woodford
Halifax Regional Police Constables Kenneth O’Brien (left) and Brent Woodworth speak before Thursday’s Police Review Board hearing in Enfield. Photo: Zane Woodford

“The supervisor in charge of a Halifax Regional Police officer who arrested a Black man after he was found in a city park after hours said he was shocked to learn the incident had ended in arrest, but he said the constable was right to demand the man’s identification,” reports Zane Woodford:

Sgt. Brian Palmeter testified Tuesday at a hearing of the Nova Scotia Police Review Board. It was the continuation of a hearing into a complaint by Adam LeRue and Kerry Morris, who stopped to make a phone call in the parking lot near the Dingle in Armdale in February 2018.

LeRue, who is Black, ended up being arrested and spending the night in jail, charged with obstruction of justice, and ticketed for failure to provide a driver’s licence and being in a park after 10pm. Morris, LeRue’s common-law partner, who is white, was arrested as well, but she was released without charges.

LeRue and Morris filed an appeal of the internal decision not to discipline the two officers who arrested them — Constables Kenneth O’Brien and Brent Woodworth — triggering the review board hearing.

Click here to read “Halifax police sergeant tells review board he was ‘shocked’ Dingle park incident ended in arrest, but officer was right to ask for ID.”

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2. Port

The Seaport Market in happier days

“The viability of the port as a destination for a full-time farmers’ market and a stop for cruise ship visitors appears to have suffered a major blow as a result of the coronavirus,” reports Jennifer Henderson:

The Halifax Port Authority is also the landlord of the Seaport Market. COVID appears to have put the final nail in the coffin of efforts to establish a year-round, daily farmers’ market on Marginal Road…

Lane Farguson, communications director for the Port Authority, says the number of vendors and customers is currently about one-third of the usual number for this time of year. Compared to cities such as Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver, Gray noted the location of the market at Seaport “lacks the foot-traffic” to make it viable for vendors on a daily basis. The future of the port will include a farmers’ market, he said, but it will operate differently from the past.

Click here to read “Seaport Market continues to struggle, and the cruise business won’t recover any time soon.”

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“It’s very sad what happened with the market,” a reader comments; “the vision was over the top and I can’t help but feel it was driven at least in part by architect Keith Tufts personal drive to succeed, rather than by a need for such a large and fancy facility.”

It was very cramped in the old Brewery Market. I’m agoraphobic in such quarters, so avoided it completely, but to be fair I found the pre-COVID Seaport Market too crowded as well; I learned to go early on Sunday mornings when it wasn’t so crowded, and even then I wondered why all those healthy people walked so slowly.

Regardless, the move from Water Street to Marginal Road was overly ambitious and handled in such a way that it pitted vendors against each other. I’m told the Historic Market is now successful, but again: crowds, so I’ll just take your word for it.

I have the same problem at the Alderney Market. Maybe I just don’t like farmers’ markets.

So, what do I know? I’m obviously not the target market for farmers’ markets, but I’ve always maintained the waterfront is the wrong location for a farmers’ market. It should’ve been put up on or near Spring Garden Road, with all the parking and delivery mess that would’ve entailed. A seven-day-a-week farmers’ market cannot be supported by destination shoppers only; it requires tapping into existing foot traffic.

A farmers’ market at, say, the site later occupied by The Mary Ann complex at Queen and Clyde would’ve worked, and the market, the retail businesses, the library, and the university would’ve fed off each other.

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3. COVID testing

Photo by Georg Eiermann on Unsplash

This item is written by Jennifer Henderson.

Are wait times for COVID-19 tests reasonable?

A reader of The Halifax Examiner posed that question earlier this week after learning it can take 7-10 days to find out if a student tests positive for the COVID-19 virus. The reader wondered if the experience of the family she knows was the exception or the rule. (The Examiner is not naming the reader to protect the privacy of the person who was tested).

“Apparently it is 1-3 days for a testing appointment, then 7-10 days for a result — this discourages people from bothering with a test. We can get away with this now, with few cases, but this will be a shit show if the numbers increase…..like they have in New Brunswick…..where cases went from zero to 95 in a week.” 

The Examiner asked Nova Scotia’s Department of Health if it could confirm people in the Central Zone (which includes Metro Halifax) are waiting 7-10 days from start to finish. The answer from the Department of Health indicates it often takes about one week or 6-7 days from the time a person requests a test for COVID to when the results are delivered. Here’s the response we received from Marla MacInnis, senior communications officer for the Department of Health: 

Beginning October 1, instead of calling 811 as a first step, we recommend people do a COVID-19 self-assessment online. Since the introduction of the online tool and enhancement of testing capacity, timelines have improved and continue to be met.

If the online assessment determines that a person requires a test, the Nova Scotia Health Authority or the IWK Health Centre will call them within 24 hours to book an appointment. Overall provincial testing turn-around time is between 48-72 hours. A break-down by region is not available. Once the test is complete, it takes an average of 24-48 hours in to get the test results, depending on the volume of tests.”

Obviously, we aren’t talking here about the testing of “close contacts” of people who have already tested positive. They get fast-tracked. And Nova Scotia is fortunate to be in a position where there does not appear to be community spread. In the absence of a rapid test, is a one-week wait period for students and working parents the best the system can do? Just asking.

 There were over 600 tests carried out by the lab yesterday. One new case of COVID-19 was reported Tuesday to bring the total number of active cases in Nova Scotia to six. No one is in the hospital.

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4. Work stoppage at shipyard

Irving Shipyard. Photo: Halifax Examiner

Yesterday, two workers at the Irving Shipyard alerted me that there was a work stoppage because of concerns about a worker from outside the Atlantic Bubble who had not self-isolated. Wrote one:

There is a contracted worker here from outside the ‘Atlantic bubble’ who was exempted from self isolation. He/she has been here since the beginning of last week. The work force was just told about that person and the exemption today.

He is currently working on Ship 2, which has a tight passage way for getting on and off. We are unaware if the person has his or her own washroom. We do know that people have been in the same room with that person and have interacted without a mask.

Management communicated this to the workers in this morning’s safety meeting. And the workforce decided it was unreasonable and unnecessary to grant that person an exemption. If that person has asymptotic spread it would be a disaster. It would spread so easily at the yard.

Our precautions are very rudimentary. We are required to wear masks as we enter and leave the yard but only for approximately 20ft before and after the gate.  They have extra cleaning supplies and separated tables in the lunch rooms and every second urinal taped off in the washrooms. But that’s about it. When it comes to the actual working environment, there is hardly ever any social distancing. Signs encourage social distancing but it rarely happens.

Premier Stephen McNeil and Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Robert Strang are scheduled to give a COVID briefing at 12:15 today (they’re typically late to begin). I’ll be in on the briefing. You can livestream it here.

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5. Moose

The Mainland Moose. Photo: Barbara Delicato / Nova Scotia Department of Lands & Forestry

“Protesters blocking a logging road not far from the Tobeatic Wilderness Area in Nova Scotia’s Digby County say the forest is prime habitat for endangered mainland moose,” report Emma Smith and Phlis McGregor for the CBC:

The small group of protesters set up camp last week on a road southeast of Weymouth in an attempt to prevent logging trucks and equipment from accessing the Crown land. They’re located about six kilometres west of the Tobeatic Wilderness Area and not far from the Silver River Wilderness Area.

“We have quite a span of evidence that [moose are] continuously around that area, and there aren’t very many parts of the forest in that zone that have not been completely chopped up by logging roads. I mean, it’s really startling when you start to drive around,” Nina Newington, one of the protesters at the site, told CBC’s Information Morning on Tuesday.

According to the province’s Harvest Plans Map Viewer, several harvests have been approved on Crown land in the area, but it’s unclear how many have actually been cut. There are also a few parcels of private land in the area protesters are occupying.

Newington said the logging that’s slated to happen is “clearcut equivalent” and she believes it could begin any day.

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6. Surfers

A group of people from Quebec have rented an Airbnb at Martinique Beach and have been surfing without self-isolating, reports Chris Lambie for the Chronicle Herald:

“Anyone arriving in Nova Scotia from outside of the Atlantic bubble is required to self-isolate for 14 days,” said Marla MacInnis, who speaks for the Department of Health and Wellness.

“Self-isolation means staying on your property and avoiding contact with other people. Surfing on a public beach is an example of an activity that is prohibited during self-isolation.”

The RCMP seems hesitant to charge the people, and this bothers another surfer:

The beach wasn’t crowded Tuesday morning.

“But it was this (past) weekend,” said Nadia Baer, who was using her paddle board Tuesday to ride the waves at Martinique Beach.

There were big swells on the weekend that attracted lots of surfers to Martinique, she said.

“When there’s other surfers out you can get kind of close in the surf,” Baer said.

People who are quarantining here shouldn’t get close to Nova Scotians until their 14 days of isolation are up, she said.

“When you come from another place you do the respectful thing,” Baer said. “You do as the Romans do.”

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6. Homicide victim

In a press release yesterday, Halifax police identified the person killed on Primrose Street Monday as Zachery Jordell Charles Grosse.

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7. John Risley’s former car

John Risley was once a moderately successful race car driver. It helped that he had a great car, which he crashed in 1971, but was restored and sold various times, and now, taking refuge from the California fires, has ended up in Jay Leno’s garage.

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Views

1. Parrsboro Shore

Photo: Stephen Archibald

“Earlier this season we spent a couple of days on what I call the Parrsboro Shore,” writes Stephen Archibald. “Others might think of it as part of the Glooscap Trail, or the heart of the newly declared Cliffs of Fundy Geopark. I suspect that many Nova Scotians have not spent time in this region. It is totally bubble visit-worthy.”

He of course took photos.

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Government

City

Wednesday

No public meetings.

Thursday

Halifax Regional Council Swearing in Ceremony (Thursday, 6pm, Halifax Convention Centre) — by invitation only; live webcast available. More info here.

Province

No public meetings.


On campus

Dalhousie

Wednesday

Brexit: Breaking the EU, UK, British Isles… and the Law? (Wednesday, 11:30am) — with Vincent Power from A&L Goodbody, Dublin. Info and link here.

Safe Space for White Questions Online Pandemic Edition (Wednesday, 12:30pm) — Ajay Parasram hosts. Link here.

Roll Wisdom: Philosophy and Tabletop Roleplaying Game (Wednesday, 5:30pm) — with philosopher, writer, and game designer Trystan Goetz. More info here.

Open Dialogue Live: Neighbourly Relations (Wednesday, 7pm) — This isn’t about the Airbnb party house next door — it’s a panel discussion exploring the impact American politics have on gender, race and class issues, immigration, journalism, Canada-U.S. relations, international politics and trade, diplomacy, and global security. Attendees are invited to participate in the discussion by posting questions and comments during the live event. More info and link here.

Thursday

Primary Health Care Research Day Virtual Poster Session (Thursday, 9am) — open to anyone with an interest in primary health care research. Advance registration required; info here.

Reclaiming Power and Place Virtual Read (Thursday, 10:30am) — a group reading of Reclaiming Power and Place: The Final Report on the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (2019). More info here.

Anna Semaniakou. Photo via loop.frontiersin.org

Changes in vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP) amount in Cystic Fibrosis (Thursday, 11am) — Anna Semaniakou will talk. Info and link here.

Habitat (Thursday, 12pm) — Matthijs Bouw  from the University of Pennsylvania and Han Meyer from TUDelft will talk. More info here.

Sophie Pheasant. Photo via wheatinstitute.com

Indigenous Dance: Movement in History and Today (Thursday, 12pm) — with Sophie Pheasant, academic, artist, community engagement specialist and Shiibaashka’igan (Jingle Dress) knowledge keeper. More info here. Wheatinstitute.com

Arithmetic Sphere Packings (Thursday, 2:30pm) — Alex Kontorovich from Rutgers University will

describe a broad class of sphere packings generalizing the classical Apollonian circle packing, and classify those which, like the Apollonian packing, support special arithmetic structures. No prior knowledge of these topics is assumed.

More info here.

Speak Truth to Power: Living the Peace & Friendship Treaty through Netukulimk (Thursday, 6pm) — This year, Mi’kmaw history month comes amid the Sipekne’katik First Nation issue around their right to fish for lobster under the 1752 Peace & Friendship Treaty. This Zoom forum’s aim is to

provide an avenue for critical analyses and evidence-based discussions so that we can all learn, grow and take positive actions as a collective of different peoples and cultures. Panel members will include representation from Dalhousie University and the Mi’kmaw community.

More info and links here.

The Impact of the COVID19 Pandemic on Addictive Behaviors and Addictions Services: A Public Conversation (Thursday, 6:30pm) — this virtual panel will answer questions such as

What are the complexities of the relationship between stress and substance use disorders?; Did alcohol or cannabis use increase during the pandemic and who was most susceptible?; How were behavioral addictions like problem gambling impacted during COVID-19?; How has addictions care had to adapt in response to the pandemic?

Panelists include Kathleen Brady from Medical University of South Carolina; Simon Sherry, Igor Yakovenko, and Selene Etches from Dalhousie University; moderated by Dalhousie’s Sherry Stewart.

Info and registration here.

Saint Mary’s

Wednesday

Proud to be Mi’kmaq: A Speaker Panel Hosted by Raymond Sewell (Wednesday, 5pm) — Sewell and a guest panel of Mi’kmaq knowledge holders and storytellers share their ways of knowing. Info and registration here.

SMUEC Talks: Turning Science into Business (Wednesday, 6pm) — Zoom event. Info and registration here.

Natural solutions: How Canada Can Fight Climate Change and Wildlife Loss(Wednesday, 5pm) — webinar with Megan Leslie. Info and registration here.

King’s

Thursday

A still from “The Golem”.
A still from “The Golem”.

The Golem (Thursday, 7:30pm) — live-stream performance with musical accompaniment of the 1920 German expressionist film. More info here.


In the harbour

06:00: Ef Ava, container ship, arrives at Pier 42 from Argentia, Newfoundland
06:30: Nolhanava, ro-ro cargo, arrives at Fairview Cove from Saint-Pierre
06:45: Atlantic Kestrel, offshore supply ship, arrives at Pier 9 from the Sable Island field
07:30: Yulia, bulker, arrives at Pier 27 from Recife, Brazil
11:30: Monza, car carrier, arrives at Autoport from Southampton, England
11:45: Ef Ava sails for Portland
14:00: Yulia sails for sea
15:00: Algoma Integrity, bulker, sails from National Gypsum for sea
20:30: Monza sails for sea


Footnotes

If you owe the bank a thousand dollars, that’s your problem. If you owe the bank $287 million, that’s the bank’s problem.

I have no copy editer today. Be kind.

Please subscribe, or drop us a donation. Thanks!

Tim Bousquet

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

Jennifer Henderson

Jennifer Henderson is a freelance journalist and retired CBC News reporter.

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14 Comments

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  1. 1 anecdote: Took 24 hours to get a call-back to make an appointment. Appointment was 3 hours after the call, results arrived via email overnight that same night.

    Multiple anecdotes: I’m hearing from people who don’t get the email right away, even though the test is done, and has been done for a day or two by the time they call to check on the result. I assume this is an issue NS Health is urgently working to solve.

    1 general point: it would be really interesting to know how many are taking the 7-10 days, and how many are matching the anecdotes I’m hearing (24-48). 95% of tests meeting a 48 hour turnaround is just fine for contact tracing.

  2. Re: Government, City, Thursday. I’m sure new councillors may feel as if they’ll soon be on the hot seat, but I bet they’re surprised to see their welcome to City Hall described as a “sweating-in ceremony!”

  3. I think there is no point in getting the Covid test if it really takes as long as 1-3 days for an appointment and 5 – 7 days for a result. How could contact tracing be done in that situation? I haven’t had to have the test but of the several people I know who have been tested their experience was similar to Peter Ziobrowsk. test within a day of calling and result in an email in less than 24 hours.

  4. The RCMP seems to be permanently confused generally. Sadly.

    The market would have been terrific in the area you suggested. When we first arrived here, I was excited by the market and made my way there on the Friday before Christmas – there were maybe half-a-dozen yearvendors there. Quite appalling considering the time of year and the availability of space – that was 9 years ago. Last year I tried it again, and still it was largely empty. On a Saturday right now they only allow so many people in at a time (good), so there is a line-up outside. However all of the vendors are on the ground floor, and mostly on one side, so that distancing is difficult.(bad) Why they are not spread out in that large space is a puzzle.

  5. I was under the mistaken impression that COVID isolation was uniformly applied.

    I had to go to Ontario in August. When I came back, I was told at the border to go straight home, only stopping for gas or to use a washroom, and to stay home for 14 days. I couldn’t even leave my property by myself for a drive in the car with the windows up. I had no problem with it and I complied.

    I don’t understand why the RCMP are dithering over the surfers.

  6. Reading from Ontario, it’s true alarming seeing those cops sitting so close together. If anyone tried to sit that close to me, I would run away (with my triple-layer mask on). Enjoy your Atlantic Bubble!

  7. Lady cyclist passed me from behind in the lower graveyard on Dartmouth Common yesterday at 5:30 pm and after I shout out ‘Use your bell’ she says “Sorry. I tried to ring my bell but it isn’t working”.
    Just hours earlier the federal government announced $8.7 million for affordable housing in HRM. In late July 2019 the federal government announced $12.9 million for bike lanes in HRM.

  8. just before thanksgiving, I experienced the covid test system.
    the online form was submitted. got a call within 2 hours, asking me to go to the testing centre in an hour and a half. 20 min for the test, and the negative result arrived by email just after 1 am. probably 15 hours start to finish. IIRC there were 700ish tests done that day.

  9. We have been going to the Parrsboro shore at least once per summer for several years now. Wonderful place, and I have a story coming up elsewhere about some folks there.