News

1. Keji braces for impact of invasive chain pickerel

The chain pickerel, aka the freshwater barracuda.

Chain pickerel first spotted last year in the water systems of Kejimkujik National Park are now spread throughout the park, reports Paul Withers for the CBC.

“It’s kind of like a bad dream and it just keeps getting worse,” said Chris McCarthy, a Parks Canada resources manager.

Once established in a water system, chain pickerel quickly take over. They eat everything they can — other fish, reptiles, frogs, dragonflies, even ducklings.

Withers, who has followed the chain pickerel for years in its progress through the river systems of Nova Scotia, talks about the plans in place to help prevent the “freshwater barracuda” from taking over. Parks Canada is putting in stricter fishing rules, asking fishers to keep any chain pickerel and smallmouth bass they catch and hand them over to Keji staff.  They’ve also invested in an electric fishing boat, which will be used in protected “sanctuary” lakes to stun large amounts of fish so that chain pickerel can be removed.

Invasive species are one of the five main factors listed in the recent report from the UN’s Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, which warns that globally we are now facing the extinction of 1,000,000 species, possibly within decades. The report ranks, “the five direct drivers of change in nature with the largest relative global impacts so far. These culprits are, in descending order: (1) changes in land and sea use; (2) direct exploitation of organisms; (3) climate change; (4) pollution and (5) invasive alien species.”

2. New Regional Centre developments approved for public hearing

Councillors approved first reading of bylaw amendments for three new regional centre developments, totalling 205 residential units and 163 new underground parking spaces. The next step for all three will be public hearings. Here’s a quick run-down of the three:

Wellington: Just down the street from a fairly controversial development approved back in 2015 and now under construction, this new proposal is for an eight story (plus penthouse) building with 101 residential units and 93 underground parking spaces. If you also count the 140 new parking spaces opening soon down the street, that’s a lot of new cars for this neighbourhood. I guess if these new residents are planning to leave their cars parked most of the time, it’ll be all right. Check out the city staff report on the proposal here.

Agricola: This is a proposal to replace a two-story residential building (also home to Obsolete Records) at 2440-2454 Agricola Street with a five-storey building with “34 residential units and 446 square metres of ground floor commercial/cultural” uses. This latest iteration of the building plan has removed an underground parkade, so the construction of this one would be far less disruptive than its counterparts.  Check out the city staff report on the proposal here.

Quinpool/Pepperell:  This proposal is for a nine-storey mixed use building facing Quinpool at the site of the current Sicilian Pizza building, and stretching back to Pepperell Street, where the height will drop to three storeys.  The entire development proposes 70 residential units, with at-grade residential along Pepperell, and ground floor commercial along Quinpool.  The plan also proposes 70 spaces of underground parking accessible from Pepperell.  Check out the city staff report on the proposal here.

3. Bridgewater gets $5 million to go towards alleviating energy poverty

Bridgewater has impressed the jury at the Smart Cities Challenge enough to bring home $5 million to help implement its Energy Poverty Reduction Program. The goal is to reduce the number of people who can’t afford to meet their basic energy needs; the project proposes to do this by coordinating and financing efficiency retrofits for people’s homes, mobility improvements, and “neighbourhood and community-scale energy systems such as solar farms, district heating systems, and microgrids.”

4. New hospital won’t necessarily be P3, but then again it almost certainly will be

Under the headline, “Halifax hospital redevelopments won’t necessarily use P3 models“, the CBC’s Michael Gorman quotes Paul LaFleche, the deputy minister for infrastructure renewal, saying that the province’s pursuit of a P3 model to design and build the $2 billion QEII Health Sciences Centre redevelopment is not “ideological”. To prove his point, LaFleche says that if the bids coming in for the project are not low enough, the province will “go back to the treasury board.” Over at Global News, Keith Doucette of the Canadian Press reports that LaFleche followed up that comment saying, “We don’t think that’s going to happen.”

Global’s headline, “Cost analysis of $2-billion Halifax hospital project to be released, official says,” refers to LeFleche’s agreement that the Deloitte report recommending a P3 approach will be released, although only once the province has completed the current bid process and made a decision.

5. New survey on political views and habits of Atlantic Canadians

The Perceptions of Change Project out of Dalhousie has released results of a 1000+ person survey on political views and habits of Atlantic Canadians. Notable results include 75% of people agreeing that climate change is “one of the most significant threats facing Canada”, and also 63% of respondents agreeing that a balanced budget should be a top priority for the federal government, demonstrating again how opinion polls are not really a great way to understand what kind of trade-offs people are indeed willing to make for the various things they value.

The survey covered a lot of ground, including people’s political habits. Turns out while 7% of the people surveyed said they had attended a demonstration in the last year, a much larger chunk, 44%, said they were open to protesting in the future.


Views

1.  Bill Nye & “Climate Hysteria”

This video of Bill Nye the Science Guy dropping a few F bombs in an “experiment” for John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight is making the rounds. He makes a great point— that transforming the economy to help avoid further climate change is going to cost something, one way or another.

For those of us who found Nye’s bit refreshingly frank (“You’re adults now and this is an actual crisis!”) it’s important to note that over at Fox News, the rant is being framed as something else entirely. Here’s a screen cap of  The Five, which has hundreds of thousands of viewers, discussing “Climate Hysteria”, and what they believe are the “psychological problems” of Democrats concerned with climate change.


Noticed

Atlantic Lotto spent about $12,000 buying out 788 parking metres in downtown Halifax for the day yesterday.  That’s about $7,000 more than the city normally makes. I get the lure of extra revenue, but parking fees are actually there to help control the demand for parking, not just to pull in money.

Parking meters throughout downtown Dartmouth and Halifax are capped with Lotto Max bags. The free parking event is for today only (at this time) #hfxtraffic pic.twitter.com/bwdfuE9GWh

— Halifax Traffic (@hfxtraffic) May 14, 2019


Government

City

Wednesday

Special Events Advisory Committee (Wednesday , 9am, City Hall) — divvying up grant money.

Audit and Finance Standing Committee (Wednesday, 10am, City Hall) — there are no action items on the agenda.

Thursday

Community Planning & Economic Development Standing Committee (Thursday, 10am, City Hall) — staff is recommending that the committee decline a request from the Bus Stop Theatre for $500,000 in funding to purchase its building. But the staff report continues with a long discussion about how the Bus Stop might achieve its goal.

Active Transportation Advisory Committee (Thursday, 4pm, City Hall) — no action items on the agenda.

Youth Advisory Committee (Thursday, 5pm, City Hall) — a discussion about how young people learn about elections.

Public Information Meeting – Case 21863 (Thursday, 7pm, Sackville Heights Community Centre) — Walid Jreige wants to build some townhouses in Sackville.

Province

No public meetings for the rest of the week.


On campus

Dalhousie

Wednesday

Targeting telomerase by synthetic dosage lethality (Wednesday, 4pm, Theatre A, Tupper Medical Building) — Franco Vizeacoumar from the Saskatchewan Cancer Agency and the University of Saskatchewan will talk.

Weather and Climate: Not What Our Grandparents Knew (Wednesday, 7pm, Room 105, Weldon Law Building) — David Phillips, Senior Climatologist, Environment and Climate Change Canada, will tell us:

Deluges, ice rains, winter heat waves, megadroughts – if you think we’ve been cursed and clobbered a lot harder and a lot more often recently, you are not imagining it. It used to be that our weather was “normal” and dependable. Now, more and more Canadians are asking: What’s happening to our weather? If our weather is becoming weirder and wilder, are people responsible? Is it nature doing this to us? Or both? What has become clear is that the Earth is warming, and the number of weather-related disasters appears on the rise. We can no longer assume that yesterday’s weather will apply tomorrow.


In the harbour

06:30: Grande New York, car carrier, arrives at Autoport from Valencia, Spain
08:00: Tropic Hope, container ship, sails from Pier 42 for Palm Beach, Florida
08:00: Fram, cruise ship with up to 318 passengers, arrives at Pier 24 from Yarmouth, on a nine day cruise from New York to St. John’s
14:00: Mol Paramount, container ship, moves from Fairview Cove to Bedford Basin anchorage
14:00: Grande New York moves to Pier 31
15:00: YM Movement, container ship, arrives at Fairview Cove from Norfolk
19:30: Fram sails for Baddeck


Footnotes

Did anyone stay up last night to try to catch the northern lights?


The Halifax Examiner is an advertising-free, subscriber-supported news site. Your subscription makes this work possible; please subscribe.

Legal fund

To contribute to the Halifax Examiner’s legal fundplease contact Iris.

Join the Conversation

4 Comments

Only subscribers to the Halifax Examiner may comment on articles. We moderate all comments. Be respectful; whenever possible, provide links to credible documentary evidence to back up your factual claims. Please read our Commenting Policy.
Cancel reply
  1. On the Bill Nye story . . .
    The facts are now known by everyone and the picture is grim. We need governments and industry to work together as they did during the wars to create the tools for solving the problem. Solutions like the carbon tax that persuades people to abandon trucks and SUVs for SMART cars running on bio-butanol, as well electric cars and transport trucks, and ones running on hydrogen (made from seawater using solar and wind energy driven electrolysis).
    The price Bill Nye talks about . . . no fossil fuel industry and its jobs (or its tendency to hollow out the rest of an economy), everyone making do with a lot less stuff, and everyone getting ready for the inevitable hard times as the climate ramps up to whatever it is going to because we didn’t get started back in the 1990s.
    No Dorothy, this ain’t Kansas anymore.

  2. In reading the Wellington St staff report I was awed with the number of “ generally aligned with” and reasonably consistent with” statements I came across. Of interest because the new development proposal ( 8 stories , FAR 4.8 ) is neither consistent with or aligned with the current MPS ( 35 ‘height) , the draft 2017 CP ( 3 stories , FAR of 3.5) or in fact the new 2019 CP ( 5 stories, no FAR) now coming before Council. Residents have pointed out the discrepancies as has the Planning Advisory Committee…to no avail. It points to a bureaucracy that has demanded that staff find a way to justify a project, no matter how many “weasel”words are required . As always developers 1 residents 0. Public consultation remains a farce.

  3. Of course the Liberal pursuit of P3s is ideological. While P3s have been proven to be abject failures at saving public funds everywhere, they will always pursue them. No matter what part of the country you live in, the federal or provincial Liberal party will only pursue funding structures that permit private capital to skim off the top. This is the only thing Liberals stand for anymore; it is their only consistent and coherent ideology.