Welcome to Weekend File, where you’ll find links to all the articles you might have missed last week. Jump to sections in this article:
Monday, June 20
Stephen Kimber’s been doing some thinking lately and he has questions: Whatever happened to Thursday? What’s so affordable about so much housing? Why so little information about power company pay? He looked into the answers this week.
2. Fuel costs, labour shortages slowing down growth, production of local foods and goods, chamber of commerce hears
Jennifer Henderson attended a virtual meeting hosted by the Truro and Colchester Chamber of Commerce where participants talked about how rising fuel costs are tough on farmers, manufacturers, truckers, and retailers. But the issue of labour shortages came up, too. And those shortages are slowing down the production of local food and goods, as well as stifling future growth.
3. Morning File: Small business owners should be advocating for off-market housing
Tim Bousquet wondered why small businesses owners who are struggling with labour shortages don’t advocate for affordable housing for their staff and potential customers. And he wondered, too, what organizations that advocate for small business are saying about housing. “For their own reasons, business owners, in particular, should be demanding that governments massively fund off-market housing,” Bousquet wrote.
Tuesday, June 21
Zane Woodford was at a virtual meeting of Halifax’s Board of Police Commissioners on Monday where the board unanimously passed a motion to go ahead with an independent civilian review of the police actions of August 18, 2021. At that same meeting, the board voted to recommend that Halifax Regional Police chief Dan Kinsella and the chief of Halifax-district RCMP work with a national organization to start reviewing sexual assault investigations.
2. Morning File: Calling the quarantine hotline
Philip Moscovitch spoke with Vuk Dragojevic, a 37-year-old Toronto-based photographer and documentary maker, who set up a voicemail called The Quarantine Hotline during the pandemic. Dragojevic put up posters across Toronto and asked people to call the line with their stories about how they were spending their time. Moscovitch also wrote about the difference between “clock time and “event time” after some party guests showed up early at his house.
3. RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki tried to ‘jeopardize’ mass murder investigation to advance Trudeau’s gun control efforts
Jennifer Henderson was digging through Mass Casualty Commission documents this week, and found ones that said a week after the murders of 22 people in Nova Scotia, RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki pressured RCMP in the province to release details of the weapons used by the killer. But RCMP commanders refused, saying doing so would threaten their investigation into the murders.
On Monday the province’s Auditor General Kim Adair submitted the new report, titled “Oversight and Management of Government Owned Public Housing,” that showed the province is “severely lacking” proper governance and oversight with its public housing. The report included 20 recommendations aimed at improving the governance of the province’s five housing authorities, which are collectively responsible for more than 11,000 government-owned homes. Zane Woodford had details on the report here.
Wednesday, June 22
Residents had a lot to say to the federal government about an application to infill Dartmouth Cove. Transport Canada received hundreds of comments about the proposal, yet the municipality missed the June 10 deadline to get its submission in. Zane Woodford heard from a spokesperson with the municipality, who told him while they missed the deadline, staff have prepared a letter for the Minister of Transport Canada.
2. Morning File: Taking the first steps on the drastic plastic problem
This week the federal government announced it’s banning six categories of single-use plastics. Ethan Lycan-Lang said it’s a good first step, but it will be challenging to eliminate plastic from our lives, “Not to mention what it will take to clean up what’s already out there.” And he explained why he likes having online and in-person options when it comes to making payments.
The Halifax Regional Municipality has a documented history on toxic workplace issues. Zane Woodford had this story on the city’s auditor general’s report tabled at a meeting of council’s Audit and Finance Standing Committee. That report, which covered a time period from the start of 2018 through to the end of July 2021, said the HRM isn’t doing enough to create a respectful workplace culture. Meanwhile, the city’s CAO Jacques Dubé said the report might just make things worse.
Yvette d’Entremont reported on Stats Canada’s consumer price index for May that was released this week. The numbers aren’t good, and the annual inflation rate is at an almost 40-year high. d’Entremont also interviewed Lars Osberg, McCulloch Professor of Economics at Dalhousie University, about his concerns and what this means for Canadians.
Thursday, June 23
After a year’s worth of singles and videos, the Halifax duo is finally releasing its first recorded project in the form of FLUTTER, a six-song genre-agnostic EP that’s deeply personal and incredibly catchy. Art Ross and Aaron Green return to the show to dish on their music-industry immersion, why Ross’ sapphic lyrics strike all kinds of chords, and where you can see them this summer.
The Heritage Advisory Committee is recommending heritage registration for the former Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children, Zane Woodford wrote on Wednesday. This is the second time an application for the home came to the heritage committee. In 1998, the former director of the home applied for heritage registration, but council declined to schedule a heritage hearing, because the building was deteriorating.
A group of protestors who called themselves the Last Hope camp wrapped up their 202-day stay at Beals Brook in Annapolis County this week. The group set up camp in December with the goal to get the province to stop a planned cut in the area. Then a visitor to the site found three species of at-risk lichen, and the province did scale back the cut. Ethan Lycan-Lang had this story, including the group’s plans for an education campaign.
Tim Bousquet headed to the South Shore on Wednesday to speak with residents about the “devastation” at a oceanfront site owned by former Halifax mayor Peter Kelly. Long-time area resident Brian Mourre took Bousquet on a tour of the property, which Kelly and PEI resident Diana Girouard purchased last year for $175,000. Residents told Bousquet about their concerns about dirt and mud flowing into the wetland in the area, as well as historic public access to a path at the site.
5. Morning File: Back to the office? Some employees just aren’t having it
There are lots of headlines out there about workers who aren’t happy about returning to the office. Suzanne Rent looked at what leaving remote work behind means to these workers, and why the employers are pushing for it. Also, a look at a new storybook map created to raise awareness about the St. Mary’s River, the longest river in the province.
Residents in the Windsor area who need emergency treatment this summer could have a problem. As Jennifer Henderson learned, the emergency department at Hants Community Hospital will be closed many nights this summer. The head of the emergency department said bonuses of $300 per shift are being offered to doctors, but most health care staff just want time off.
7. Women and gender diverse people are disproportionately affected by the housing crisis. Are we doing enough?
Gender shapes housing policy and design, and women and gender diverse folks have specific needs and challenges when looking for housing. Suzanne Rent spoke to some experts on the issue to find out the reasons why gender is such an issue in the housing crisis, and what we can all do about it.
New turn signals at intersections in Halifax could protect pedestrians from careless drivers, but the municipality’s engineers aren’t willing to risk added congestion to make it happen. That was in a report presented to the Transportation Standing Committee ahead of its meeting on Thursday. Zane Woodford had more details.
Friday, June 24
The Ecology Action Centre is asking the province to rescind or revoke a directive to Nova Scotia Power to maximize the burning of biomass to generate electricity. That instruction was first given by the McNeil government in May 2020. What is the current government saying? Jennifer Henderson got an answer Natural Resources and Renewable Energy Minister Tory Rushton and while he didn’t directly answer the question, it “sure sounds like a “no.”
2. Morning File: Bousquet talks to himself
Tim Bousquet had a little chat with himself on the way to the South Shore to learn more about the “devastation” on the property owned by former Halifax mayor Peter Kelly: “I was telling myself, ‘Self, you really need to find a new schtick. You’re really doing yet another article on that guy? Shouldn’t you get a life?’” Find out how he answered his own questions.
From our archives
The lazy, hazy days of summer are here and we look back at this story by Yvette d’Entremont from June 2021. As d’Entremont learned, unstructured outdoor play would be a good part of our pandemic recovery. d’Entremont spoke with Dalhousie University researcher Sarah Moore, who said kids’ activity levels plummeted during the pandemic. “We know that kids who are independently mobile have a higher likelihood to increase confidence and self-esteem as well as social skills,” Moore told d’Entremont. “The kids haven’t had that opportunity for almost two years now, so maybe this summer is an opportunity for us to just jump in and to do that.” Sounds good to us.