Roundup: 2 weeks without power, aging population worries MP Fraser, no new COVID deaths, International Theatre Festival returns

A Chinese troupe performs at the 2018 Liverpool International Theatre Festival. File photo

Plus: The growing appeal of booze-free craft drinks

Two weeks after hurricane-cum-storm Fiona hit Nova Scotia, North Shore residents continue to clean up and tally the damage.

Ken Pettipas lives on the coast in Toney River. He was shocked to discover Fiona snapped the brackets holding his home’s solar panels. They were rated to withstand winds up to 130 km/h.

“I wouldn’t stay (for another hurricane) if I didn’t have to,” he tells the Pictou Advocate. “If we have another storm like this, I wouldn’t be here. I’d come back and assess the damage.”

And thousands of people in the area are about to enter their second week without electricity. As of 7:30 a.m., Nova Scotia Power still reports 945 service failures provincewide (mostly clustered in the Northumberland Strait area), affecting 2,615 customers.

Sean Fraser. File photo

Fraser calls for more immigration
Canada’s aging population worries federal immigration minister and Central Nova MP Sean Fraser.

“About 50 years ago, there were seven workers in Canada for every retired person,” he says. “Today, there’s three. In Nova Scotia it’s a little more than two. And by the time I retire, if something is not done, it’ll be on that same downward trajectory. Aside from populating Canada the old fashion way, I think that leads us to severely boost our immigration levels.”

Drake Lowthers has more for the Reporter.

No new COVID deaths
For the first time in two months, Nova Scotia has passed a week without any new known COVID-19 deaths, according to the latest government update. From Sept. 27 to Oct. 3, 51 people were hospitalized with the disease (down from 56 last week), with 46 currently in care receiving COVID treatment, including four in ICU.

But World Health Organization officials caution COVID is still spreading and mutating, with more severe outbreaks likely over the winter, even as testing and vaccination rates wane.

“Without adequate testing … the world is blind to the evolution of the virus and potential new variants,” Mustaqeem De Gama, co-chair of a WHO group studying the problem, says in a press release. “People in low and middle-income countries continue to die due to a lack of access to antiviral treatments and oxygen. We must push on for equitable access to COVID-19 tools, despite multiple competing priorities.”

WHO reports 466,669 confirmed new COVID cases around the globe in the last 24 hours. So far, the disease is known to have killed at least 6,530,281 people, including 45,218 in Canada and 544 Nova Scotians.

Jean Robinson-Dexter. Photo: Twitter

Theatre festival returns
After multiple pandemic cancellations and postponements, the biennial Liverpool International Theatre Festival returns to the South Shore next week, running Oct. 13 to 16.

The event is the only Eastern Canadian festival of its kind and is set to feature troupes from Georgia, Belgium, Morocco, Canada, Algeria, Egypt, the U.S., Mexico, Italy, and the U.K.

“We have always been considered one of the top 10 amateur theatre festivals in the world,” says organizer Jean Robinson-Dexter. “We have a wonderful reputation and I think troupes are excited to come here.”

Kevin McBain reports for LighthouseNow.

Going booze-free
East Coast brewers are seeing growing demand for craft drinks that have all the flavour of local beer, without the alcohol.

“That hard line between who drinks and who doesn’t is quickly disappearing,” says Mike Hogan, co-founder and brewmaster of P.E.I.-based Libra and Upstreet Craft Brewing, which also has a brewpub in Burnside. “People come into our taproom for a beer after work, followed by two non-alcoholic beers. So, the stigma around who drinks alcohol-free beer is vanishing, and the most rewarding thing for us is allowing people to be social on their terms.” 

Colleen Thompson explores the trend in the latest issue of Unravel Halifax.

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