News

1. Side guards

Jaclyn Hennessey. Photo: the In Loving Memory of Jaclyn Hennessey Facebook page

On Monday, November 17, 2008, 27-year-old Jaclyn Hennessey left the Tim Horton’s on Barrington Street (now a Starbucks) and was walking quickly southward, across Sackville Street, trying to beat the changing light. Just then, a dump truck driver was turning right from Barrington Street onto Sackville Street, apparently also trying to beat the light. Hennessey was pulled beneath the wheels of the truck, and crushed to death.

Johanna Dean

On Wednesday, May 21, 2014, Johanna Dean, 30 years old, was riding her bicycle north on Windmill Road in Dartmouth. Just as she was crossing the intersection of Albro Lake Road, a truck driver driving the same direction made a right hand turn onto Albro Lake Road. Dean was knocked off her bike and pulled under the wheels of the truck, and crushed to death.

These are the two local incidents most clearly identified as “right hook” deaths — when trucks turn into pedestrians or cyclists — but there have been others.

Right hooks happen with cars, too, but in those cases, at least the person being struck is knocked away from the vehicle. When a truck hits a pedestrian or cyclist, however, because the vehicle is so high the struck person is pulled between the wheels and the truck drives right over them.

The solution is to place side guards on trucks, so anyone struck is pushed away. Side guards save lives.

The city of Boston made truck side guards mandatory on all city-contracted trucks in 2015.

As Examiner transportation columnist Erica Butler reported in March 2016:

Side guards are mandatory in Europe and Japan. The US National Transportation Safety Board has twice recommended they become national policy. In the UK where they’ve been mandatory since 1986, there are now 61 per cent fewer cyclist fatalities in side collisions with trucks.

Butler was writing about the issue because the Halifax council’s Transportation Committee was then taking up the issue. Staff had recommended against requiring them, but committee members pushed back. It’s taken two years, but the committee is now trying to move forward with a motion about side guards.

The city doesn’t have the legal authority to require them on all trucks operating on city streets, but the committee felt it could at least require side guards on trucks that are bringing or removing material from city-owned properties. It’s a half-measure, but at least it’s something. If trucking firms want city business, they’ll need side guards on their trucks, and then those trucks will have side guards when they’re doing non-city work.

Representatives of the trucking industry, however, will have none of it. Tomorrow, two lawyers will present to the committee, arguing that requiring side guards is too onerous. It simply isn’t worth spending the money to save lives, apparently.

One of the lawyers is Bruce Clarke, of the Buchells law firm, which is representing the Transportation Association of Nova Scotia. Clarke wants unspecified “exemptions” to be written into the requirement.

The other lawyer is William Mahody, of Merrick, Jamieson, Sterns, Washington and Mahody, representing the Nova Scotia Association of Road Builders. Mahody doesn’t say exactly what his beef is, but he wants to talk to the committee about the side guards too.

The hourly rate Clarke and Mahody will charge their clients to show up at the committee meeting would undoubtedly have covered the costs of installing side guards on the trucks that killed Hennessey and Dean.

The Transportation Committee meets tomorrow, Thursday, at 1pm at City Hall.

2. Khyber

Halifax council voted last night to sell the Khyber for a dollar to the 1588 Barrington Building Preservation Society.

THE MOTION PASSES!! THE CROWD ERUPTS IN APPLAUSE!! WE HAVE A #KHYBERBUILDING FOLKS!! #friendsofthekhbyer #halifax #novascotia pic.twitter.com/IiCT35epoR

— FriendsoftheKhyber (@khyber_friends) May 22, 2018

The sale is just the first step for the organization, which now must raise money for the renovation of the structure.

3. Armoyan

I could write about council’s actions re: the Willow Tree development at length, but I’m out of time and this single tweet captures the gist of it anyway:

The plan now is that today, like for the next two hours, the CAO, the planning director, the city’s lawyer, and another staffer will actually sit down with an Armoyan exec and write an amendment that council will pass before supper.

— Halifax Examiner (@HfxExaminer) May 22, 2018

Council will soon schedule a perfunctory public hearing to supposedly accept citizen input, but the only citizen whose input matters is George Armoyan.

4. Fire stations

Lucky Fire Station 13 in downtown Dartmouth. Photo: Google Street View

I paid attention to the Armoyan discussion at council, but otherwise I was busy doing other stuff. It was good to see Francis Campbell from the Chronicle Herald at council, however, so I’ll let him report on council’s decision not to allow commemorative naming of fire stations:

Fire stations in the municipality were numbered at the time of amalgamation in 1996. Before that, stations were identified by a number and a street or community name. The 1996 numbering scheme has headquarters listed as Station 1 and the oldest existing station, University Avenue, taking the name Station 2. As new stations are built and moved into operation, they can receive a new number or an existing number from a decommissioned station.

The use of sequential station numbers as identification makes dispatching communications clear for the fire service and other emergency services. A staff report concluded that using a station commemorative name as an identifier has the potential to impede communications, and it adds unnecessary talk time for the dispatcher in identifying response procedure and can add a response delay to an emergency call.

Yep. And the same logic should apply to roads, in my opinion. Just number the east-west roads sequentially as 234th (or whatever) Street, and the north-south roads sequentially as Eighth (or whatever) Avenue, and leave the imperialists and racists and such out of the equation entirely. Numbering the roads would help people navigate around, as they wouldn’t have to consult a map.

5. Francis Drouin

Francis Drouin. Photo: Facebook

“An Ontario Liberal MP who was accused of sexual assault during a visit to a Halifax bar during the party’s recent policy convention says his name has been cleared,” reports the Canadian Press:

Francis Drouin, who represents the eastern Ontario riding of Glengarry-Prescott-Russell, said in a statement Tuesday that Halifax police have determined the matter is closed.

“I am pleased it has been resolved based on the facts. I have no further comment,” Drouin said in the statement.

Last month, police confirmed they were investigating a report that a woman had been sexually assaulted at the Halifax Alehouse on April 21, but did not specifically name Drouin.

Police said Tuesday that the matter was investigated by its sexual assault unit and no charges were laid.

6. Turkeys

“The Truro Struttin’ Gobblers haven’t given up on their efforts to have wild turkeys introduced to Nova Scotia,” reports the Truro Daily News:

Wild turkeys from Maine have spread into New Brunswick, and there is now a considerable population around the Saint John, N.B., area.

Although some people have spotted turkeys in the wild in Nova Scotia, they’re domestic birds who’ve been released, or descendants of those birds.

“We want to have a pure strain of wild birds released,” said [Rick] Hill.

He feels the best way to introduce the birds would be to allow CWTF members to live trap wild turkeys in Ontario, have them vet checked, and release them in designated areas of Nova Scotia. The federation would cover the costs.

This is nuts. Turkeys are mean, vicious creatures. There was a — what do you call them, a pack? flock? murder? — of them in Chico Creek Canyon, and they’d straight out attack the random hiker, like me. I’d rather come across a black bear than some wild turkeys.

7. Survey time

The city this morning issued a Request for Proposals from firms that could conduct a citizen survey:

The Municipality has developed a methodology for randomly sampling using its database of the Municipality’s households. This sampling method was successfully used in the 2010, 2012, and 2014 Citizen Surveys, and it is expected that the 2018 Citizen Survey will follow the same methodology…

For reference, in 2010, 85% of residents completed the survey online (2057 responses), 13% (315) returned paper versions, and 2% (48) completed the survey by phone. In 2012, 89% completed online (1102), 6% paper (79), and 5% telephone (60). In 2014, 91% of respondents completed the survey online (538 responses), 7% by mail/paper (44 responses), and 2% (10 responses) by telephone.

t is expected that some residents of Halifax that were not randomly selected to participate in the survey will want the opportunity to make their opinions known. The Municipality would like to provide the opportunity to complete the survey to all residents that were not selected for the invitation-based survey. This “open” survey (hereafter referred to as Open) will provide respondents to answer the same questions as the invitation-based survey, via an online survey tool only. There will not be mail or telephone completion options. This Open survey would be hosted for a period of three (3) weeks following the close of the invitation-based survey, and results will be tabulated separately from the invitation-based survey by the successful bidder.

8. “Indefinite”

Yesterday, I wrote about how the word “indefinite” was taken out of Aly Thomson’s Canadian Press article about the aborted spaceport construction.

It’s suggested to me that it wasn’t the CBC that took the word out, but rather the Canadian Press itself. But no one will go on the record about this, so I can’t confirm that.


Government

City

Wednesday

Heritage Advisory Committee (Wednesday, 3pm, City Hall) — the committee is being asked to consider the “Preservation of Remaining Street Car Poles on Spring Garden Road.” I had no idea there were still street car poles standing on Spring Garden Road, so I went looking for them yesterday. There are a few on the south side of the street. Here’s one:

Western Common Advisory Committee (Wednesday, 6:30pm, Art Room, Prospect Road Community Centre) — just an update on the construction of the Nichols Lake Trail. At issue is a proposal for a bridge crossing the stream near the waterfall.

Thursday

Transportation Standing Committee (Thursday, 1pm, City Hall) — see #1 above.

Province

Wednesday

No public meetings today.

Thursday

Resources (Thursday, 10am, One Government Place) — Marcus Zwicker, the general manager of WestFor Management Inc., and Jeff Bishop, the executive director of Forest Nova Scotia, will be asked about “the current state and future of the forestry industry in Nova Scotia.” This should be comedy gold.


On campus

Dalhousie

Wednesday

Phosphatidylcholine (Wednesday, 4pm, Theatre A, Tupper Medical Building) — Jonghwa (Kyle) Lee, Ph.D. Candidate, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, will speak on “The role of phosphatidylcholine in lipid droplet biogenesis and lipoprotein secretion.”​

Creating Ethical Space for Indigenous-led Biological Health Research (Wednesday, 6pm, Pier 21) — Amy Bombay from Dalhousie University and Nadine Caron from the University of British Columbia are speaking.

Thursday

Planetarium show (Thursday, 7:15pm, Halifax Planetarium, Dunn Building) — “The Eye and the Sky,” $5, reductions for families, but leave kids under eight out in the car. Reservations: www.astronomynovascotia.ca.

Saint Mary’s

Thursday

Growing the Entrepreneurial Ecosystem in Halifax and Beyond (Thursday, 11:30am, Bluenose Ballroom, Delta Halifax) — SMU Prez Robert Summerby-Murray talks to the Halifax Chamber of Commerce about how we should all stop complaining about shit paying jobs and start our own businesses already. From the event listing:

Vibrant and thriving entrepreneurship is increasingly recognized as a key contributor to Nova Scotia’s future prosperity. What happens when we collectively make developing and supporting entrepreneurship a priority? And what does ‘thriving entrepreneurship’ look like in practice?

Join Dr. Robert Summerby-Murray, President and Vice-Chancellor of Saint Mary’s University, to hear his insight and to experience Halifax’s growing entrepreneurial ecosystem first-hand. Learn how the region’s foremost business school and one of Canada’s pioneering entrepreneurship programs are leading and newfangling to rise to the challenge, and see how fostering entrepreneurial mindsets can address some of the province’s most pressing issues.

If for some reason you want to hear this bullshit, you gotta pay $50.


In the harbour

5am: Atlantic Sun, container ship, arrives at Fairview Cove from Liverpool, England
5:30am: Elektra, car carrier, arrives at Autoport from Southampton, England
6am: ZIM Qingdao, container ship, arrives at Pier 41 from Algeciras, Spain
7:45am: Acadia Desgagnes, cargo ship, arrives at Pier 25 from San Antonio, Chile
3:30pm: Atlantic Sun, container ship, sails from Fairview Cove for New York
4:30pm: ZIM Qingdao, container ship, sails from Pier 41 for New York


Footnotes

We’ll be publishing Part 2 of Joan Baxter’s “Fool’s Gold” series at noon today.

I’ll be on The Sheldon MacLeod Show, News 95.7, at 2pm.

Tim Bousquet

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

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  1. There is no historical evidence of wild turkey being found in N.S. given the issues we have with non-native species, why would we want another one? The only reason this group wants them is so they can shoot them.

  2. Membership of the Transportation Standing Committee (should you wish to contact them):

    Councillor Tim Outhit – Chair – District 16 – Bedford-Wentworth
    Councillor Lorelei Nicoll – Vice-Chair – District 4 – Cole Harbour – Westphal
    Deputy Mayor Waye Mason- District 7 – Halifax South Downtown
    Councillor Lindell Smith- District 8 – Halifax Peninsula North
    Councillor Shawn Cleary- District 9 – Halifax West Armdale
    Councillor Richard Zurawski – District 12 – Timberlea-Beechville-Clayton Park-Wedgewood

  3. Providing an “opportunity to complete the survey to all residents that were not selected for the invitation-based survey” sounds like an innocent, democratic reform, but in reality, it will obliterate the survey’s randomness. It will no longer be a random sample, from which valid inferences about overall citizen opinion can be drawn, but will more closely resemble those on-line and TV polls that invite folks to weigh in n the issue of the day. At a minimum, the results will disproportionately reflect the opinions of those most deeply invested in the issue; At worst, the survey will be open to deliberate gaming by folks and organizations with a vested interest in the outcome.

    1. Happily the tender specifies the open survey “results will be tabulated separately from the invitation-based survey by the successful bidder” (quote from above, not the source). So the actual survey’s value will not be impaired. Hopefully they are wisr enough to not release the results of the open survey, or at least to label every chart and table “meaningless flimflammery”…

  4. The Willow Tree machinations at Council were indeed absurd. I didn’t realize there was to be a public meeting to come. I guess they have to go through the motions, but the chicken is in the pot and I wouldn’t waste my time attending it.