In the harbour
1. Integrated Mobility Plan
Despite delays, city hopes Integrated Mobility Plan will be rolling in February,” reports Chris Benjamin:
The Integrated Mobility Plan is essentially putting a framework over all the many pre-existing or ongoing transportation and land-use plans it has created over the years, including the Centre Plan, the Green Network Plan, the Commuter Rail Feasibility Study, the Moving Forward Together Plan, the Regional Parking Functional Plan, the Complete Streets Initiative, the Transportation Demand Management Functional Plan, the Active Transportation Priorities Plan and the Road Network Functional Plan, among others.
In theory, having an overarching and integrated game plan for transportation should change the way the city thinks about all these issues, relegating them to pieces of a grander puzzle. “An important question is how each component relates to other plans,” [city planner Bob] Bjerke says.
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2. Missing evidence
“The missing evidence at a Halifax Regional Police station isn’t sitting well with a Nova Scotia family who has spent decades trying to right what they’re calling an injustice,” reports CTV:
For over 30 years, the Fitzgerald family has fought to clear the name of Gordon “Paddy” Fitzgerald, who was sentenced to six years for rape.
The high-profile criminal lawyer and politician professed his innocence until his death two years ago.
Fitzgerald’s daughter, Allison Jones, collected Fitzgerald’s DNA before his death and wants it tested against evidence presented at trial; the trial happened before DNA testing was invented. That evidence, however, is missing. This is not a case of the police department losing evidence, but rather of normal court procedures:
According to the courts, after the completion of a case and the time for an appeal has expired, exhibits are either returned to their owners, sent to the Nova Scotia Archives, or destroyed.
“There should be something that states that they’ve been destroyed or where they went from the trial,” says Jones.
I’ve run up with this exact situation for Part 5 of the DEAD WRONG series (yes, it’s coming). I understand that evidence can’t be held forever, but it would be helpful if we knew how, and even if, it was disposed of.
3. Female firefighters
“Some female firefighters within the Halifax Regional Fire Department allege they have been bullied and harassed because of their gender,” reports Stephanie vanKampen for the CBC:
They describe a toxic work environment, abusive behaviour, and being devalued and demeaned by their male colleagues.
[Former firefighter Kathy Simington] filed a new complaint with the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission in April 2016.
The Human Rights Commission said in May that it is also holding an inquiry into claims of systemic gender discrimination within the Halifax Fire Department.
At least some of the missing whales have been found. You’ll recall that all 500 of the world’s North Atlantic right whales disappeared earlier this year, failing to show up at their regularly scheduled Bay of Fundy feeding grounds. But, “over the past few weeks, scientists have heard evidence that endangered North Atlantic right whales are swimming off the coast of Nova Scotia,” reports Chris Lambie for Local Xpress:
They’ve detected the rare creatures in the Roseway Basin, about 40 kilometres south of Cape Sable Island, using underwater listening devices dubbed Slocum Gliders, named after Joshua Slocum, the Nova Scotia sailor who was first to circumnavigate the world solo.
The right whales were first heard on June 28.
“We’ve heard them on four different days since then,” [Dalhousie oceanographer Kim] Davies said.
The low number of whales heard so far is not indicative of a good year for the right whales off our coast, Davies said.
“We’re going to have a number of aerial surveys and vessel surveys going out looking for these animals. So we hope to learn more as the summer goes on.”
As I’ve said before, Lambie is doing some excellent science reporting at Local Xpress.
5. Peter Kelly
“Charlottetown’s mayor is standing by his man,” reports Sara Fraser for the CBC:
Mayor Clifford Lee finally spoke out about today about beleaguered city CAO Peter Kelly, after some officials with the last municipality Kelly worked for claimed last week that he authorized hundreds of thousands of dollars in municipal spending without council’s knowledge or approval.
Lee said he communicated via email with the reeve of Westlock County Bud Massey, who assured him Kelly is on the right side of the law, and that the overspending on the real estate project was overseen by another employee.
Fraser’s article says “CBC obtained an eight-page report from Westlock County’s chief financial officer” about the issue — I first published the document here at the Halifax Examiner website. Fraser continues:
“I questioned [the reeve] about the CFO’s comments in the media as well. His comment to me is, ‘She is dead wrong in what she has said,’” said Lee.
Lee has no plans to further delve into the matter by talking with the CFO who tabled the report detailing the unauthorized spending.
“Who does one believe? At this point in time, in most worlds in municipal government, the mayor/reeve speaks for that municipality,” said Lee. “It makes you wonder what really is happening in that community out there.”
I was in Charlottetown once. Nice place. Home of Confederation. There’s that fancy church, and you can bet on the ponies. The people were kind, and helpful. I wouldn’t wish ill upon them, but boy howdy it’s going to be great fun watching this train wreck unfold.
Oh, and back in Westlock County, still more details of Kelly’s financial malfeasance are emerging. The newest information relates to work done at a ski facility leased by the county, reports the Westlock News:
The invoice from NCV Industrial, the company hired to lift the chalet in 2015, included $63,354 worth of extra work, plus an outstanding balance of $28,605 from the initial contract.
According to a briefing to council, former CAO Peter Kelly approved the extra work and did not seek council approval.
1. Cranky letter of the day
To the Charlottetown Guardian:
A few years ago a Charlottetown woman, Mrs. Madrien Ferris, asked a question of the Royal Canadian Legion through a letter to the editor. Was she permitted to wear her late husband’s medals on her right breast while attending a Remembrance Day Service? The Legion promptly told her no, it was against the law under section 419 of the criminal code.
Now, I’d like to ask another question of the Legion. Please explain to me the following. While it is against the law for a widow to wear her late husband’s medals, medals actually earned in the service of his country, it is quite legal for any Legion member, with no requirement to be a veteran, to purchase legion medals for the lowly sum of $25 each.
These cheap tin medals can then be legally worn on the right breast to all legion functions. The latest reason the Legion offers for support of section 419 is this: To allow a widow to wear her late husband/veterans medals, dilutes the value of those medals.
I’m having a great deal of trouble understanding this Legion policy of support for such a law. Surely we do not buy our medals, we earn them, often the hard way. Allowing non-veteran to wear a right chest full of $25 medals is clearly the only dilution I see.
F. Ben Rodgers Lt (N) Ret CD, Wellington Br. 17, Abram-Village
No public meetings.
Not much going on at the universities this week.
In the harbour
11:30pm: Strategic Synergy, bulker, arrives at anchorage for bunkers from Cadiz, Spain
5am: Strategic Synergy, bulker, sails from anchorage for sea
6am: Mignon, car carrier, arrives at Autoport from Southhampton, England
6am: Aeneas, container ship, arrives at Pier 42 from New York
6am: ZIM Constanza, container ship, arrives at berth Fairview Cove from Valencia, Spain
6:30am: Oceanex Sanderling, ro-ro container, moves from Pier 41 to Pier 36
7:15am: Nolhanava, ro-ro cargo, arrives at Pier 36 from Saint-Pierre
8am: Akademik Ioffe, cruise ship, arrives at Pier 27 from Gdansk, Poland
10am: Atlantic Sail, ro-ro container, arrives at Fairview Cove from New York
10:45am: Mignon, car carrier, moves from Autoport to Pier 31
11:30am: Oceanex Sanderling, ro-ro container, moves from Pier 36 to Autoport
3:30pm: Performance, container ship, arrives at Fairview Cove from Cagliari, Italy
4pm: Atlantic Sail, ro-ro container, sails from Fairview Cove for Liverpool, England
4:30pm: ZIM Constanza, container ship, sails from Fairview Cove for New York
4:30pm: Oceanex Sanderling, ro-ro container, moves from Autoport to Pier 41
9:30pm: Aeneas, container ship, sails from Pier 42 for Kingston, Jamaica
6am: Atlantic Concert, container ship, arrives at Berth TBD from Liverpool, England
9am: Shunwa, bulker, arrives at anchorage from Kantvik, Finland
4pm: Mignon, car carrier, sails from Pier 31 for New York
The Akademik Ioffe, which pulls into port this morning, is a former Russian Arctic research vessel refitted as a 96-passenger luxury liner; it is in Halifax to prepare for a nine-day cruise that starts and ends in Louisbourg, with tickets starting at a mere $3,000 per passenger. Next week, nearly 100 people will be tramping around Sable Island as they “even encounter the fabled wild horses of Sable Island.”
The map above shows the Yarmouth waterfront at 8:10 this morning, a half hour before the Yarmouth ferry departs for Portland. The ferry is that yellow blob, which is hilariously (to me, anyway) still registered as the HSV Alakai, the Hawaiian word for “guide.”
I’ll be on The Sheldon MacLeod Show, News 95.7, at 2pm.
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The Integrated Mobility Plan needs to have a 50 to 100 year look ahead. HRM does not have the tax-base to ever really accomplish anything by funding bandage projects that have a 3 to 5 year lifespan. HRM needs to really define what needs to be done to actually fix the public and commercial transportation issues in this region. Then HRM needs to start saving and building up funds while acquiring the properties it would need to redevelop in order to effectively change the existing transportation landscape into something efficient. This cannot be done overnight, in 3 years, 5 years, or even 10 years… it will need a 50 to a 100 year look ahead and commitment to do the extensive changes needed to correct the existing problems that have been created due to the short-term planning decisions that have been made in the past. Otherwise, one can expect another bandage fix 3-5 years down the road and another one 3-5 years after than and so on, with the result that a real solution will never be achieved.
It is time to start doing some planning that embodies developing true solutions that can be funded by accruing funds over a long period of time… of course means thinking outside the box… is HRM ever going to be capable of that concept?
It’s cute to say that the whales “disappeared”, though that suggests that at certain times the whereabouts of all or most of them is know. At any time of year, a large portion of that population is “missing”, as all of their habitat areas are simply not known.
CBC’s French language outlets have reported this week on the relatively unusual sighting of right whales way north in Quebec. Looking for their missing food?
“They’ve detected the rare creatures in the Roseway Basin, about 40 kilometres south of Cape Sable Island, using underwater listening devices …”
If the whales have learned to use underwater listening devices it’s no wonder they’ve been able to avoid detection. If I were them I wouldn’t want humans knowing where I was either.
Re 5. Peter Kelly
The “she” referred to above is Sue Oberg, the CFO [Chief Financial Officer] who succeeded Kelly, and according to CBC piece, informed Westlock Council in June that “almost $400K was spent under Kelly’s tenure” that was “unbudgeted and unapproved by Council.”
1. Who in Westlock has the definitive voice and designated authority to speak factually and financially? Unless we’re now in an alternate universe, it’s the CFO.
2. CBC PEI journalism is definitively and negatively different from CBC Nova Scotia in its scope, its reporting, and its absence of political neutrality. While the reporter on this story is among their best, something is – and has long been – seriously amiss with CBC PEI operation. ‘Pull up the drawbridge and defend all and sundry on PEI’ saturates anything controversial – when controversy is covered at all. Silence is usual. They’re late to this story; you broke it, and without your continuing attention to it, including the embarrassing audio from Messrs. Rice and Duffy, Mayor Lee and CBC would not have connected.
3. Kickbacks is the recurring, unspoken word in this toxic Kelly brew. History…pattern… again.
4. Anyone who’s worked in a competent, honest, ethically- and accountably-structured operation accepts that the person in charge is ultimately responsible for its operation, good and bad. The attempt here to place blame on a rogue Westlock subordinate is egregious, managerially offensive, and unacceptable in logic and reality.
5. Kelly is responsible here. Whether he knew or not; it was his job to know. And facts [and Kelly history] strongly suggest otherwise.
6. There appear to be conflicting factions and motives in Westlock Council, and perhaps therein lies the reason and purpose Kelly was hired, questionably similar to his hiring in Charlottetown and related Charlottetown Council events, i.e. Kelly’s pre-hiring role in consulting and recommending Council raises. Amazing coincidence, that. Or quid pro quo?
7. Kickbacks … quid pro quo … can take many and varied forms. On one charge against PEI Senator Duffy, the judge in his case reasoned that since money didn’t go into Duffy’s pocket, there was no personal gain to Duffy. On its face, that was/is ludicrous.
8. In this bizarre Westlock case, the developer gained, and whom else remains to be seen. The CFO and government should go to police in the hope they’ll institute a broad financial forensic accounting of the parties involved. Whatever the outcome, Kelly’s documented history alone proves to any unbiased person that he should never be in his current position.
Okay, forget the shot of the Oceanex Sanderling. You want to see the future of containerized shipping, get a shot of the Atlantic Sail when she is on her way out at 4pm. The containers are all held securely in vertical cells; no more losing containers over the side, thereby creating shipping hazards.
I’ll try to catch it! I’m on Young Street until 3, so could maybe get a shot from the top of Fort Needham… oh, wait. I guess I’ll walk down to that spot overlooking the narrows from Barrington Street.
How many other Peter Kelly’s do we have in politics, I am totally Mike Duffyed out. It’s like a Trevor Zinc nightmare over and over.