News

1. Northern Pulp

Northern Pulp Mill. Photo: Halifax Examiner

I reported yesterday:

Northern Pulp Mill is suing seven named and “various other” unnamed fishermen who the company says have blockaded survey boats from conducting the surveys necessary to route a pipe from the mill into the Northumberland Strait.

Named as defendants are Edwin Donald Shaw, Allan Francis MacCarthy, Chad MacCarthy, Daryl Wayne Bowen, Ben Anderson, Paul Scott Musick, Bradley Elmer MacDonald.

In the article, I went on to recount the history of the fishermen’s concerns and to detail the allegations in the lawsuit.

Click here to read “Northern Pulp Mill sues fishermen.”

Obviously, the fishermen are concerned that the Northumberland Strait fishery and therefore their livelihoods are at stake.

It was particularly rich that Bruce Chapman, the manager of Northern Pulp Mill, attached an economic impact report on mill operations to the affidavit he filed with the court. The economic impact report was prepared in August 2015 by (of course) Gardner Pinfold. The report claims that the mill generates $151 million towards the GDP of the province, and generates employment of more than 2,000 people.

The average mill employee earns a salary of $84,600, claims the report; in my quick scan of the report I didn’t see any attempt to define the median mill salary — this could be a situation akin to Bill Gates walking into a bar and suddenly the average wealth of everyone in the bar is $100 million.

Regardless, the report doesn’t get into the already existing or potential negative economic impacts of the mill. On the former, there’s a big hit to tourism because of the mill. This is anecdotal, sure, but soon after I first moved to Nova Scotia I toured the province and spent one night in Pictou, But the place smelled so bad I never again considered it as a potential tourism destination. (I’ve gone back for work, but not as a tourist.) Surely, I can’t be the only potential tourist who avoids the place because of the foul smell of the mill — what’s the financial hit from that?

And then there’s the enormous potential financial hit should the fishery be affected by mill operations.

Coincidently, the lawsuit was filed the same day Aaron Beswick at the Chronicle Herald reported that “Northern Pulp’s replacement effluent treatment facility appears to be much further behind schedule than publicly thought”:

A 2017 preliminary engineering consultant’s report obtained by The Chronicle Herald through a Freedom of Information Act request says that in order to meet the Jan. 31, 2020, legislated closure of Boat Harbour, the mill would have needed to receive approval to construct its new effluent treatment plant by May 7 of this year.

Delays finding an effluent discharge route means the mill doesn’t expect to register its environmental assessment until sometime in January.

Assuming the Department of Environment doesn’t seek additional information from the mill, a Class 1 environmental assessment takes 50 days.

However, a federal environmental assessment takes toward a year to complete.

Four maritime senators recently came out supporting a federal environmental assessment.

2. Port of Sydney non-news

The so-called “Novaporte” in Sydney will look nothing like this schematic supposedly representing it, because it will never exist.

“Our port ‘developers’ — Sydney Harbor Investment Partners (SHIP) formerly Harbour Port Development Partners (HPDP) — have been engaged in promoting the Port of Sydney as a ‘deep water, transshipment and intermodal mega hub’ capable of handling Ultra-Large Container Vessels (ULCV) since 2014 (although we only made it official in June 2015),” writes Mary Campbell for the Cape Breton Spectator:

Until February 2018, when he announced he was running for the leadership of the provincial Tory party, the port file was spearheaded by CBRM Mayor Cecil Clarke. In February, however, he announced his work there was done and it was time to leave the project in the capable hands of the private sector (in the form of Albert Barbusci and Barry Sheehy i.e. Sydney Harbour Investment Partners).

It probably seemed like a good time to walk away — Clarke had announced as early as November 2017 that big news was coming on the port front, possibly in time for Christmas, definitely early in the New Year.

But 12 months have passed and we’ve had no big news. We’ve had no small news, either. In fact, we saw so little of our port developers in 2018, I’ve all but forgotten what they look like.

All of which got me to thinking about how many false alarms we’ve had about the port project’s “momentum” over the past few years and so, in the spirit of year-end stock-taking, I thought I’d recap some of the highlights.

In her usual fashion, Campbell goes on to list port (non)activity in exhaustive detail.

Click here to read “Weren’t We Expecting Big Port News This Year?”

As with the Examiner, the Cape Breton Spectator is subscriber supported, and so this article is behind the Spectator’s paywall. Click here to purchase a subscription to the Spectator, or click on the photo below to get a joint subscription to both the Spectator and the Examiner.
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3. Halifax Transit’s revolving management door

The headhunting firm Knightsbridge Robertson Surrette is advertising for a new manager of transit operations for Halifax Transit, at a potential salary of $107,000 to $144,000 annually.

This comes not long after another such headhunting operation nabbed Guelph Transit manager Mike Spicer for the Halifax job. “I said to my staff…it’s not that I am leaving Guelph because of anything other than this is a great opportunity for me,” Spicer told Village Media in January. “I’m not really a selfish person, but this time I had to be.” It was such a great opportunity that Spicer has already announced his retirement, just 10 months into the job.

Spicer had replaced Glen Bannon, who held the job for four years and is now the manager at King’s County Transit.

As with Spicer, the new transit manager will report to Halifax Transit director Dave Reage, who makes $171,000 a year.

4. Stadium PR push continues

Some $2.4 million in public money went to design this 25,000-seat stadium at Shannon Park, and a half a million dollars more to study building a 10-14,000 seat stadium at Shannon Park, and then another million dollars to study building a 20,000-seat stadium at Shannon Park. Now the city is being asked to look at another stadium proposal for Shannon Park.

“Singer-songwriter Tom Cochrane has been lined up as a potential investor in the newly named Atlantic Schooners, the group trying to land a CFL franchise for Halifax said Wednesday,” reports the Canadian Press:

A short statement from the ownership group said the Manitoba-born Cochrane, a multiple Juno Award winner, has been a long-time friend of Bruce Bowser, one of the group’s founding partners.

Well if Cochrane is a “potential” investor, maybe he won’t invest at all, and if he does, maybe it’s like a buck 98 or some other tiny amount. Basically, we have a news article about two guys at the end of the bar talking smack. “Screw you, Tiger Cats fan! I’m going to invest in Bowser’s little football team and they’re going to kick your Tiger Cat ass; now, buy me another beer!”

But I guess we’re supposed to think Cochrane’s maybe-sorta involvement makes the stadium cool.

5. November sucked

We all knew it, but Nathan Colman, reporting for the Weather Network, confirms it:

By average wind, it was Halifax’s windiest November on record at 23.57 km/hr. You have to go back to 2004 for the number two November which had an average of 22.60 km/hr.

Couple that with a well above average amount of snow at the airport (44.7 cm) and above average rainfall (159.2 mm) and it was a miserable month for anyone who enjoys a calm day at the beach.


Government

City

Thursday

Environment and Sustainability Standing Committee (Thursday, 1pm, City Hall) — Mark Butler from the Ecology Action Centre will ask the committee to get the ball rolling on banning plastic bags in the city.

Friday

No public meetings.

Province

No public meetings this week.


On campus

Dalhousie

Thursday

Reading of Dalhousie’s Bicentennial Epic Poem (Thursday, 3pm, Art Gallery, Dalhousie Arts Centre) — former Parliamentary Poet Laureate George Elliott Clarke and pianist Tim Crofts will perform “To Tell Dalhousie’s Story: Speak a Poem Insurgent / Sound a Piano Insolent!”

Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and the Nova Scotia Office of Immigration Information Session (Thursday, 4:30pm, in the auditorium named after a bank, Marion McCain Building)

Friday

Thesis Defence, Mechanical Engineering (Friday, 9am, Room 430, Goldberg Computer Science Building) — PhD candidate Usman Ahmad will defend his thesis, “Novel Multilateral Teleoperation and Cooperative Control Approaches for Multiple Manipulators​.”

The Statistical Mechanics of Hydrogen Bonding at the Liquid Water Interface (Friday, 1:30pm, Room 226, Chemistry Building) — Adam P. Willard from MIT will speak.

King’s College

Amos Paul Kennedy Jr. talks Printing & Civil Rights (Friday, 7pm, New Academic Building) — hosted by Katherine Victoria Taylor and El Jones.


In the harbour

05:30: Mignon, car carrier, arrives at Autoport from Southampton, England
06:00: Oceanex Sanderling, ro-ro container, arrives at Pier 41 from St. John’s
06:00: RHL Agilitas, container ship, arrives at Pier 42 from New York
0:600: Horizon Star, offshore supply ship, moves from Pier 27 to Pier 9
07:00: Ef Ava, container ship, arrives at Pier 41 from Argentia, Newfoundland
08:30: Nolhanava, ro-ro cargo, arrives at Pier 34 from Saint-Pierre
09:30: Augusta Sun, cargo ship, moves from Pier 31 to Pier 28
11:00: Ef Ava sails for sea
12:00: Asian Sun, container ship, moves from anchorage to Pier 42
16:00: Atlantic Sky, ro-ro container ship, arrives at Fairview Cove from Liverpool, England
16:30: Mignon, car carrier, sails from Autoport for sea
17:00: Oceanex Sanderling moves from Pier 36 to Autoport
21:30: RHL Agilitas, container ship, sails for Kingston, Jamaica
22:00: Oceanex Sanderling moves from Autoport to anchorage


Footnotes

I’ve got nothing.


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Tim Bousquet

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

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  1. If we could get St. Pierre and Miquelon from the French (they might not notice if we just invaded, considering the protests going on there) we could build a port even closer to Europe on them.

  2. Some people believe more bikes lanes are essential if HRM is to attract and retain the next generation of talented workers, aka ‘world class talent’. You can buy a home in metro for well under $400,000 and be close to lakes,the ocean and an airport to anywhere in the world – a combination which is not on offer in Toronto,Montreal,Calgary or Vancouver.

    1. It seems like your second sentence is supposed to be negating your first sentence, but I don’t think it works like that. Even aside from the fact that home prices in Montreal are roughly comparable to Halifax, owning a home in Halifax doesn’t amount to much if you can’t get around the city easily. I live in the south end and haven’t left the south end/downtown area more than 10 times in the last 18 months because it’s virtually impossible to get anywhere in Halifax in a timely fashion without a car.

      That’s not a problem you’re going to deal with in any other major city in Canada and it overrides many supposed benefits Halifax has.

      1. It is colder in Montreal, and summer can be much hotter. Montreal is too far from the ocean, too far from warm beaches, and HRM is much more than south end or peninsula Halifax. HRM is 400,000 people and greater Montreal has 1.7 million as well as a great orchestra. And we don’t have the language police. The best thing about Montreal is they dumped the fat slug of a mayor.

  3. Missed opportunity. Should have had the byline “November Blew” because of all the wind.
    I’ll show myself out.

  4. Re Northern Pulp’s injunction application: I note that the named defendants include “John Doe and Jane Doe”. This is intended to include anyone who is not specifically named, or who is not yet known. An injunction applies to named defendants, of course, but it can extend to any member of the public who has notice of the injunction.

    It’s a legal detail, but an important one in this context. The principle was upheld by the Supreme Court of Canada in a 1996 case arising from the Clayoquot Sound logging protests in the early 1990s.

    1. On a related note, I see that Canada Post is seeking a similar Jane/John Doe injunction against “persons picketing or watching and besetting or obstructing at our near the premises of the Applicant”

  5. So Tom Cochrane, a former music star is thinking about investing in a fictitious football team. Another well-to-do-white male who has no other local interest joins the crowd. Whoop dee friggin do.