News

1. Crane

The collapsed construction crane on South Park Street. Photo: Tim Bousquet

A fire department release from yesterday:

Halifax Regional Fire & Emergency (HRFE) Chief Ken Stuebing this evening exercised his authority to execute an evacuation order on several properties in the vicinity of South Park Street.

The evacuation order is necessary to protect the safety of residents living near a construction crane that collapsed during Hurricane Dorian.

Fire officials delivered evacuation order notices to the following civic addresses this evening:

  • 1445 South Park St., units 1306, 1206, 1105, 1005, 905, 805, 705, 605, 505, and 405
  • 1459, 1463, 1477, and 1491 South Park St.
  • 5688 and 5690 Spring Garden Rd.

The evacuation order is being issued for reasons of protecting the health, safety, and welfare of occupants in the above noted properties, and to remove them from present and imminent danger.

This decision follows advice received at a meeting this afternoon with structural engineers, as well as representatives from the Department of Labour & Advanced Education, Halifax Regional Police, Transportation & Public Works, and the associated property owners.

The evacuation order commences immediately and will continue until the situation can be stabilized and risk to residents can be mitigated.

HRFE will be meeting with partner agencies to provide input on the plan for safe removal of the crane.

I had intended to stop by the Stillwell beer garden yesterday but it was closed as it’s pretty much directly under the dangling remains of the crane. Police were keeping people well away but it looked from a distance like workers were trying to figure out what to do with the crane.

“The crane wasn’t supposed to collapse; however, it did,” Wadih Fares, president and CEO of WM Fares Group, told Star Metro reporter Zane Woodford, stating the obvious.

“A Global News investigation has uncovered what appears to immediate, life-threatening risk on some Nova Scotia construction sites, say sources with expertise in construction health and safety,” reports Elizabeth McShefrey for Global:

They allege the footage contains dozens of occupational health and safety concerns, ranging in severity from workers without hard hats under heavy metal objects to workers at extreme heights without any fall protection.

Other possible infractions captured in the tape include uncapped rebars, which can pose risk of impalement, inadequate or non-existent guard rails to protect workers from falls, sites with damaged or no fences to prevent public access, trip and fall hazards, and others.

The footage was shot and obtained in the Halifax area between July and August with assistance from whistleblowers, and raises serious questions about compliance with safety regulations in Nova Scotia.

This is excellent reporting by McShefrey — be sure to watch the video.

A few weeks ago, I watched as a construction crane was being assembled on a Sunday at another development site in town. I was so alarmed by what I considered a lax attitude on the part of the construction workers — no hard hats, workers climbing atop the structure with no fall protection, an open construction site that was ripe for drivers to drive into an open pit — that I contacted the developer. The developer contacted the crane company, and later forwarded the response to me, which in essence told me that I was all wet because I didn’t take photos:

You state that this is a highly respected journalist, yet he has made claims without so much as a picture to show proof of said claims. These false accusations could jeopardize the reputation and careers of two young, incredibly talented, and eager young individuals in a trade that is lacking youth interest.   

I know what I saw, and even commented to other onlookers as it was happening.

I’ve since been watching the site and have noted no safety concerns.

Regardless, I’m going to be looking at those cranes differently from now on. And taking photos.

2. Petite Riviere General Store

Petite Rivière General Store. Photo: Facebook

“The beloved General Store in Petite Rivière, N.S., is closed after a fire broke out early Monday morning,” reports Brooklyn Currie for the CBC:

The store’s co-owner, Peter MacNeil, said neighbours heard a loud bang around 1 a.m. AT and rushed to see what happened.

“It looks like it was the generator that we had going, and it looks like it blew up,” he said. “There could have been something faulty in the generator, it was only a three-year-old generator.”

Peter MacNeil was once the Director of Venture Capital at Nova Scotia Business, Inc. In that position, he helped shepherd $5.6 million in public money to Unique Solutions, the corporation that was going to make us all rich by selling body scans to people with self-image problems, so they wouldn’t have to try on clothes in American malls. Through his NSBI position, MacNeil became a board member at Unique Solutions, and then married Unique Solutions founder Tanya Shaw. The company subsequently went kaput, and we all didn’t get rich after all.

MacNeil and Shaw then bought the General Store. People through the years have asked me about that, but I figured Shaw and MacNeil are allowed to get on with their lives, and I don’t wish them any ill will, so I haven’t commented on it.

More recently, the couple has started the Osprey’s Nest Public House, part of a oceanside development called Atlantic Breezes, which has the following sales pitch:

Do you dream of living by the ocean?

Then look no further than Atlantic Breezes, where oceanside living meets affordability in 30 estate lots by the sea.

Purchase prices have recently been adjusted, making Atlantic Breezes a very viable location to acquire your dream property.

Situated in the picturesque rural community of Petite Riviere along Nova Scotia’s famed South Shore where Samuel Champlain first set anchor in 1604, Atlantic Breezes is a new subdivision development with very high standards for those looking for real estate with a lifestyle.

A leisurely 90 minute drive from Halifax, the South Shore of Nova Scotia captivates even the most seasoned world traveler. Better known as the “Lighthouse Route,” it is renowned for its magnificent beaches, picturesque fishing villages, and historic landmarks. Combined with the delights of local restaurants, shops, galleries and cultural events, in communities such as Lunenburg, Chester and Mahone Bay, the South Shore offers a very high quality of life and slower pace — and some of the most down-to-earth and friendly folks around.

On a prominent hillside location with outstanding views, the professionally planned Atlantic Breezes development provides a unique residential opportunity. Located adjacent to Rissers Beach Provincial Park, Atlantic Breezes offers the following:

  • A private upscale 30-parcel residential subdivision adjacent to the ocean
  • Varied locations to build a new home from ocean view settings to forested sites
  • Thirty distinct acreage parcels ranging from 1.5 to 3.9 acres in area size
  • Paved road access to each residential parcel
  • Underground hydro and high-speed internet service
  • Professionally designed and landscaped front entrance
  • Boulevard street tree planting
  • Newly constructed 1.9 km of walking trails
  • Preservation of natural areas
  • Tree retention
  • Alternative energy options
  • Housing design guidelines
  • Recently adjusted pricing
  • Listing of local home builders
  • Very affordable pricing with flexible financing options

We invite you to explore the possibility of pursuing your dream of living on the South Shore of Nova Scotia within a high quality residential setting and at an affordable price, while you still can.

Now that annoys me.

So far as I can determine, however, neither the General Store, the pub, nor the development have received any public financing.

3. Peter Kelly

Peter Kelly at a Charlottetown city council meeting. Photo: Halifax Examiner

“Coun. Bob Doiron isn’t letting go of his accusations that the City of Charlottetown and its CAO Peter Kelly spent close to $1 million on asphalt paving without council’s approval,” reports Dave Stewart for the Charlottetown Guardian:

Doiron, who has been pressing the subject for months, was back at it again during council’s regular monthly meeting on Monday.

Doiron is referring to the 2018/19 budget year when the city had set aside $3 million for paving. He said two tenders council approved came to about $2 million but the city went out and spent another $940,000 on some additional streets.

4. Wray Hart

Wray Hart. Photo: Gary Julien

“A young New Brunswick man has admitted he was impaired by alcohol when the car he was driving struck and killed Wray Hart on a sidewalk in south-end Halifax in January 2018,” reports Steve Bruce for the Chronicle Herald:

Dennis Donald James Patterson, 24, pleaded guilty Monday in Halifax provincial court to a charge of causing death by driving with a blood alcohol level above the legal limit of .08.

Wray Hart, 62, of Halifax died after he was mowed down on a sidewalk on Queen Street by an out-of-control Toyota Corolla just before 3 a.m. on Jan. 27, 2018.

Hart was a familiar face in the south end, where he could be seen collecting recyclable cans and bottles and hanging around in front of the former library on Spring Garden Road.

5. Shellfish

The red borders on this map from DFO indicate the areas that have been closed. Graphic: Department of Fisheries and Oceans via the CBC

“The Department of Fisheries and Oceans has announced the closure of a large number of shellfish fisheries in the Maritimes following heavy rainfall from Hurricane Dorian over the weekend,” reports Nicole Williams for the CBC:

In a release, it said the closures will remain in effect for at least a week and are in addition to closures already in place.

For Nova Scotia, it includes portions of Cumberland, Colchester and Pictou Counties, from Lewis Head near the mouth of the Philip River to Cape John. 

DFO said the closures are to protect fishermen and the public because “eating contaminated shellfish can lead to serious illness or even death.”


Noticed

Ozen Rajneesh claims to be the successor of Osho. Photo: Ozen Resort/Facebook

My friend and sometimes colleague Hilary Beaumont has published her last article for Vice, “How a ‘Fake Guru’ Set Up a ‘Wild Wild Country’-Style Commune in the Mexican Jungle,” and boy howdy, what a read. It follows Ozen Rajneesh, who “claims to be the successor of Osho… the controversial spiritual leader who had built communes in India and Oregon and was featured in the popular Netflix series Wild Wild Country.”

I especially like this part:

When I reached out to him, Ozen said he had suddenly been hospitalized and couldn’t answer my questions, but he continued to send frantic WhatsApp messages for days. He said the real story was that his Icelandic model ex-girlfriend was trying to murder him, accused me of being “a fraud or hacker” and colluding with a former member to take him down, and repeatedly referred me to his website.

We all have an Icelandic model ex-girlfriend trying to murder us, but that doesn’t usually cause us to claim to have superior spiritual insight.

More seriously, people get taken by shit like this — lots of money, and perhaps maybe even a life in this case.

It makes me think of the Shambhala mess. Or my own Catholic upbringing. Or… well, a lot of people seem to have this inordinate need to give themselves up to the unknowable, and there’s no shortage of people who will step in to take advantage of that need.

There are no Buddhas, no saviours, no answers.

There might, however, be murderous Icelandic models. One can hope, anyway.


Government

City

Tuesday

No public meetings today or Wednesday.

Province

Tuesday

Health (Tuesday, 10am, Province House) — all about doctor recruitment.

Wednesday

Public Accounts (Wednesday, 9am, Province House) — the committee will ask TIR deputy minister Paul LaFleche about the use of a P3 for twinning of the Highway 104 between Antigonish and Pictou Co.


On campus

Dalhousie

Tuesday

Street naming ceremony (Tuesday, 10:30am, Room 1004, IDEA Building) — for two new streets on the Dalhousie Sexton campus: Norma Eddy Lane and Da Costa Row.

Democracy and manipulation (Tuesday, 12pm, Room 1020, Rowe Management Building) — a panel discussion titled “Election 2019: Democracy and Manipulation in the Internet Age,” featuring Tom Clark from Global Public Affairs; Alex Boutilier, Toronto Star; Elizabeth Dubois, University of Ottawa; Natasha Gauthier, Elections Canada; and Anatoliy Gruzd, Ryerson University. More info here.

SKIP Open House (Tuesday, 4pm, Room 521, Collaborative Health Education Building) — celebrating the new space for Solutions for Kids in Pain. More info here.

Authors reading (Tuesday, 7pm, Halifax Central Library) — poet Zachariah Wells and fiction writer Elliott Gish will read from recent work.

Wednesday

Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Seminar (Wednesday, 4pm, Theatre A, Tupper Medical Building) — Dane Sands will present “Alternative detection of a winter flounder antifreeze protein,” followed by Dandan Zhao with “Eukfinder: a bioinformatic workflow to retrieve eukaryotic genomes from metagenomic data.”​

Saint Mary’s

Wednesday

Saint Mary’s University Mawio’mi (Wednesday, 12pm, Burke Building) —Mi’kma’ki drumming and dance, traditional foods, storytelling and song.


In the harbour

Tuesday
04:00: CMA CGM Orfeo, container ship, arrives at Pier 41 from Colombo, Sri Lanka
05:00: George Washington Bridge, container ship, arrives at Fairview Cove from Colombo, Sri Lanka
05:00: YM Enlightenment, container ship, sails from Fairview Cove for Rotterdam
05:30: Toledo, car carrier, arrives at Autoport from Southampton, England
07:30: CLI Pride, cargo ship, arrives at Fairview Cove from Rotterdam
07:30: Marco Polo, cruise ship with up to 850 passengers, arrives at Pier 23 from St. John’s, on a 31-day roundtrip cruise out of London
11:30: CLI Pride sails for New York
12:00: Acadian, oil tanker, moves from anchorage to Irving Oil
12:30: Seagull Wind, bulker, arrives at anchorage from Aarhus, Denmark for inspection
15:00: George Washington Bridge sails for New York
15:30: Toledo moves to Pier 31
17:30: CMA CGM Orfeo sails for New York
18:00: Seagull Wind sails for sea
19:15: BNS Leopold, Belgium Navy frigate, arrives at Dockyard
20:00: Marco Polo sails for Charlottetown
20:30: Toledo sails for sea
21:00: AIDAluna, cruise ship with up to 2,500 passengers, arrives at Pier 22 from St. John’s, on a 17-day cruise from Kiel, Germany to New York


Footnotes

I was tied up all day yesterday on a special project, so today’s Morning File is a bit skimpy. I’ll tell you about that project soon, I hope.

Tim Bousquet

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

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  1. If you see an unsafe situation on a work site, don’t call the developer, call Occupational Health and Safety.