News
Views
Government
On campus
Noticed
In the harbour
Footnotes


News

1. Misogyny at Dalhousie

Dalhousie University has dismissed a formal complaint filed by four professors concerning the 2015 DDS Gentlemen’s Club Facebook group. “It is my judgment that the matter is ‘subject to action as an alleged failure to meet standards of professional conduct’ as required by the School of Dentistry and therefore not eligible for consideration under the Student Code of Conduct,” wrote Vice-Provost Anne Forrestall in a letter to the four profs.

The profs responded with their own letter saying that “it is distressing that the only formal process the student conduct is subject to now is ‘review by the Faculty of Dentistry Academic Standards Class Committee for DDS4.’”

2. Wind farms

Nova Scotia Power has published a map of large wind farms in the province. The company says wind now accounts for nearly 10 percent of the electricity generated in Nova Scotia.

3. Mi’kmaq invented hockey

Cheryl Maloney, president of the Nova Scotia Native Women’s Association, and historian Gerald Gload went on Global to discuss a documentary film they’re making that claims the Mi’kmaq invented hockey. In particular, Mi’kmaq craftspeople made hockey sticks from the wood of hornbeam, and a linguistic analysis shows that there was an extensive pre-contact lexicon for ice games using sticks and pucks.

Meanwhile, the world’s oldest known hockey stick has been sold for $300,000. The stick was carved from a tree growing next to Pottle Lake in the 1830s.

4. Plum assignment

Janice Stairs, chair of Nova Scotia Business, Inc., tells the Chronicle Herald’s Michael Gorman that the crown corporation will announce a new CEO “this month.” My bet is that former deputy minister Ian Thompson will walk right back in through the revolving door, but I guess time will tell.

5. That long, lonesome whistle

Remember when people, mostly MLAs, renting apartments in Barrington Gate complained about the music from the ancient and legendary blues bar down on the corner and got it shut down? Or when the people buying condos in Bishops Landing complained about the foghorn on Georges Island and got that shut down? Well now those people are moving to Dartmouth… developer Francis Fares has sold hundreds of condo units in King’s Wharf, on the Dartmouth waterfront right next to the railroad tracks, and those residents are upset that the train blows its whistle at night while crossing the access road into King’s Wharf.

In other train news, a CN freight train derailed in Mont-Joli, Quebec Friday night. “The derailment forced a passenger train that left Montreal Friday evening for Halifax to stop in Mont-Joli around 3:20 a.m. Saturday,” reports the Presse Canadienne. “The 91 passengers waited between five and seven hours before boarding three buses to continue on their way Saturday morning.”

One New Year’s Eve I was on the VIA train pulling into Halifax, and the engine derailed on the iced-up tracks in the rail cut. No one was hurt, but they told passengers to sit tight until the engine could be put back on the tracks. We waited several hours, but the porters wouldn’t serve up booze or even give us peanuts or whatnot. As the new year approached, my disgruntled fellow passengers began to leave the train, trudging through the snow to their parties. I waited it out, and got home in time to turn on the TV and watch those silly people standing in the freezing cold at Grand Parade.


Views

1. Unions

This week will see the culmination of the Liberal government’s war against the Nova Scotia Government Employees Union. “Dumping on the NSGEU may be politically popular but it appears to be a slap in the face to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms’ freedom-of-association provision, not to mention a dog’s breakfast of international labour laws and treaties to which Canada is a signatory,” notes Stephen Kimber. “The validity of this law will almost certainly ultimately be decided by the courts—at a great financial and social cost.”

2. Payday loans

Rachel Brighton brings some hard facts to the payday loan discussion:

Confidential evidence submitted by Service Nova Scotia to the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board estimates the total value of payday loans granted from July 1, 2013, to June 30, 2014, was $89,276,435. 

The total number of loans was 206,165. 

An average payday loan issued in Nova Scotia in 2014 was about $430, and the average loan default was $550.

Brighton argues that credit unions and nonprofit organizations should be offering short-term loans to the mostly low-income people now patronizing the high-cost vendors.

3. Cranky letter of the day

 To the Chronicle Herald:

Kudos to the Nova Scotia government for negotiating a five-year contract for land-line telephone service with Bell Aliant worth $15 million to $16 million, a 30-to-40-per-cent price drop. 

The day prior to reading this, Bell Aliant notified me, and I assume all individual land-line customers, of a $3.50 per month increase in our rates, effective in March. 

This constitutes a 13.8-per-cent increase for basic land-line phone service, with no added features. This follows an increase of $4.50 per month last July. 

Don Nelson, Black Rock, Colchester County


Government

City

Police Commission (12:30pm, City Hall)—the proposed budget for the police department will be presented.

Districts 7 & 8 Planning Advisory Committee (4pm, Room 301A, Halifax Central Library)—the committee will look at a proposed eight-storey apartment building on Maynard Street. This is the building that city council fast-tracked last month, overriding a staff suggestion that a plan for the quickly developing area be developed before more buildings are constructed.

Update: My mistake, the committee will look at the Maynard development next week. Today is just an orientation meeting for the committee. No doubt fascinating, but not about the development.

Province

No public meetings.


On campus

Dalhousie

Parasites (12:30pm, Room 3-H, Tupper Building)—Shelley Adamo will discuss “How parasites hijack the brain of their host.”

Senate (4pm, University Hall, Macdonald Building)—you have three guesses as to what’s going to be discussed.

Planetarium show (7:15pm, Room 120, Dunn Building)—Tony Schellinck will present “Love is in the stars“:

The first soap opera was not aired on radio or TV, but was displayed in the night sky. The Greeks and Romans created a drama of the gods, the main characters are visible each clear night and the show has had a run of over two thousand years!

Five bucks at the door. Leave your screaming children at home.


Noticed

There are no good total eclipses coming our way anytime soon, but we’ll be a short drive away from one in 2024.


In the harbour

The seas around Nova Scotia, 7:45am Monday. Map: marinetraffic.com

AlgoNova, tanker, Sydney to Imperial Oil
SCL Bern, general cargo, Moa, Cuba to Pier 31


Footnotes

Later today, I’ll publish a preview of tomorrow’s city council meeting.

Tim Bousquet

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

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  1. Yes, many of us have either read or listened to the complaints concerning the CN Autoport train’s whistle blowing at the King Street entrance to King’s Wharf. As a matter of fact, given the right atmospheric propagation and the engineer’s desire, that whistle can stop a conversation at the patio table at the top of Victoria Road during a summer’s evening.

    We have owned a home in the Downtown Dartmouth Neighbourhood (three south of Thistle St.) for thirty-three years and having taken almost daily walks down along the waterfront I can attest to the fact that until residents began to occupy the first completed building the train *did not* blow a whistle at any time in relation to the new crossing – guess they didn’t care about the construction vehicles crossing the tracks.

    Having spent many years jogging/walking, at various times of the day, down in this area along Dartmouth Cove and up through Alderney Landing I can attest to the fact that the train very rarely blew its horn when crossing the entrance to the old Coast Guard Base, the Dominion Diving site, old Dartmouth Slips (now King’s Wharf), nor at the pedestrian/vehicle crossings at Alderney Landing. Occasionally, in the middle of the night, one might hear a whistle blast from the shunt-yard below Shore Road; and, yes it was quite loud up on Victoria Road. The blast was usually muted and although it might have woken me up I rather considered it a warm sound from my youth when travelling by train. This was the exception, not the rule.

    Prior to the completion of the first building at King’s Wharf my wife and I purchased an apartment at 1 Prince Street in Dartmouth where we have my elderly mother (now in her 90th year) living. Eventually, we will live in this apartment. At no time, prior to the opening of King’s Wharf had we ever heard whistle blasts to the number, duration and magnitude of decibels that began after residency in the project. Notwithstanding the regulations may have changed, I remember trains running through Alderney Landing with only the clanging of the train’s bell – no horns. For the first couple of years, since occupancy at King’s Wharf, these engineers were blasting their horns as loud as possible three to four times at the crossing with long durations day and night – uncalled for.

    The railway level at Alderney Drive and King Street is equipped with automated arms (both directions), flashing lights, and the *loud* clanging bells similar to those on an engine – a properly regulated railway level. So now, why the horn blowing? This is redundant at this crossing as far as I’m concerned and it should be noted that there is no consistency when the engine crosses the other levels noted above – sometimes horn blasts and sometimes not.

    I will say that some courteous engineers blow a more muted and shorter whistle which is much appreciated. When we bought at Admiralty place we were well aware of the sound of the wheels on the tracks; but, there were no whistles being blown directly across from our apartment. Surely there must be a reasonable compromise such as only using the engine’s bells similar to what is at the King’s Wharf crossing level.

    Sucking it up? Yep. Should we have to? No. Anyone run over by a train at the Alderney Drive/King Street railway level would only have themselves to blame given the arms, lights, bells provided – no need for a whistle. Oh, and BTW, these empty or loaded trains (depending on the direction) travel along this rail line at an incredibly slow pace; not as if they’re barrelling along in the countryside.

    Just my *somewhat* cranky letter of the day…

  2. Any idea of Credit Unions supplanting Payday loan places is foolish. Why do you think those kinds of places popped up to begin with? Because Credit Unions are now just as tight with their money as the major banks are.

    1. Credit unions are run by boards from the local community. Members make up the boards, and to some extent, influence the policy of the credit union. However, risk and insurance requirements are set by government, and compliance with those often does indeed make credit unions tend to be more conservative.

      Unlike in the US, credit unions are not non-profits here, the profits are returned to the running of the business or distributed to members in dividends.

  3. Is there a Districts 7 and 8 Planning Advisory Committee or did
    you mean the PAC for Distracts 6 and 7?

  4. On the train tracks, reddit indicates to me that its a self-inflicted pain. Below some (car) traffic level, trains aren’t required to use the whistle at these “private” crossings; above, they are. (and I guess, there is some threshold where CN would install lights and gates, or a bridge)

    Maybe it was the 18th unit occupied, or the 76th, but at some point the residents themselves triggered the requirement that CN do the needful, per some obscure Transport Canada regulation.

    That TC, CN, HRM, developers or potential purchasers of new units accept or allow net-new grade level crossings in the urban core is crazy.

    Its also crazy that the response from McCluskey to the residents wasn’t “don’t waste my time with such crazy”.

  5. I don’t like urban noise…I live in the suburbs, I will retire in the country near a small town. Why do people think they can move into an area then change the area to suit their desires. Foolish.

  6. I hear that train a-comin’ — and wait for the same complaints from whoever buys in the new condo building under construction at the south end of Barrington Street, between Superstore and Tim Hortons at the foot of Green Street. Neighbors in Peninsula Place have already warned that their new neighbors will be subject to noise from the train yard and the container pier. Yet the site was deemed appropriate for high-density residential. Complaints to follow.

  7. I lived at Bishop’s Landing after I got married around 2003. Part of the attraction for me was the fog horn, and the container ships drifting by like city blocks.
    For someone to move into an apartment or condo, aware of the local “features”(Gus’ Pub has loud music, fog horns in the fog on a working harbour) is such a sure sign of Entitled Prickery.
    I look foreard to the King’s Wharf folks, after taking the horns out of trains, complaining and solving the problem of too much wind off the North Atlantic, blowing into the harbour.

    1. Love “Entitled Prickery” — best, most unique descriptor I’ve heard in long, long time. Bravo!