Roundup: 102 known COVID cases, temporary protections for renters, notorious derelict ship leaves Bridgewater, concerns over Canso ambulance service

Somebeachsomewhere. Photo: Horse of a Lifetime

As of yesterday (Nov. 25), Nova Scotia has 102 known active cases of COVID-19, with 16 new cases reported in the latest government update. The new cases are in the Central Zone.

The Nova Scotia Health Authority did 1,621 tests on Nov. 24, including 604 at a rapid-testing pop-up site in downtown Halifax, which yielded one confirmed case.

“The majority of positive cases right now are in young adults from age 18 to 35 and they’re contracting the virus from asymptomatic people in social settings,” says Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia’s chief medical officer of health. “While otherwise healthy younger adults are not at the highest risk for severe outcomes, their actions are crucial to protecting those around them who are more vulnerable.”

Chuck Porter

Temporary protections for renters
As the pandemic drags on, many Nova Scotians have lost their homes or seen their personal finances strained due to large rent increases. After months of cries for help, the McNeil government has finally brought in some temporary measures.

Yesterday, Chuck Porter, the minister responsible for housing and the Emergency Management Act, ordered immediate protections under the Emergency Management Act.

  • Rents can’t increase by more than 2% per year. (Retroactive to Sept. 1, 2020).
  • Landlords can’t evict people so they can do renovations (AKA “renovictions“).

The government is also creating the Nova Scotia Affordable Housing Commission, which aims to bring together various stakeholders to make non-binding recommendations within six months about affordable housing strategies and actions.

“It is clear that our housing market is going through an unprecedented situation, made worse by COVID-19, and people need us to take immediate action as we look for sustainable solutions,” Porter says in a press release. “We will be working with our partners to identify opportunities and make evidence-based decisions.”

While these measures will help, affordable-housing advocates continue to hope for long-term solution. Even before the pandemic rent, soaring rents and shrinking vacancy rates were making housing unaffordable for many.

“The last number of years people have been talking about the cost of rent going up,” says industry expert Neil Lovitt, in this January 2020 Halifax Magazine story by Kim Hart Macneill. “But up until this year, we’d seen existing buildings more or less continuing along the same trajectory they always had. This year is the first evidence we’re seeing that just because the market is so tight, the existing buildings are now starting to escalate in prices as well.”

The story of Somebeachsomewhere
Author Marjorie Simmins has been busy this year promoting her latest book, Memoir: Conversations and Craft, but horse lovers worldwide are already looking ahead to her spring 2021 release, Somebeachsomewhere, the story of the racehorse of the same name.

Bred in Truro, Beach was a world record, won 20 of 21 races, and sired multiple champions. “Beach is a magical horse and it was a magical experience for me to write [the book],” says Simmins. She tells Raissa Tetanish about it in this new Hub Now report.

Ambulance concerns in Canso
Guysborough Warden Vernon Pitts and his fellow municipal councillors are sounding the alarm over ambulance service in the Canso area after a seven-hour delay transporting a patient led to a burst appendix, turning what should have been a routine procedure into a life-threatening ordeal.

“We want some answers,” Pitts says. “There’s a disconnect here: they’re telling us one thing, but in actuality other things are happening. We want to get this straightened out sooner rather than later.” Drake Lowthers has the story for The Reporter.

Derelict ship leaves Bridgewater
For more than 20 years, the derelict remains of HMCS Cormorant have languished on the Bridgewater waterfront, a pollution-oozing eyesore.

Over the last two decades, various politicians have made (and broken) promises to deal with the problem. “This has been five years since we’ve been talking about this one, so it’s a pretty exciting day to see it leave,” says area MP Bernadette Jordan. The hulk is now in Sheet Harbour, where workers are dismantling it. Gayle Wilson reports for LighthouseNow.

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This story was originally published in Halifax Magazine.

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