Roundup: 22 active COVID cases, gov spending $112M to make Halifax Transit greener, developer pulls plug on Goldboro LNG project, Pictou equestrian bound for Olympics, bear sightings abound

Photo: CNS

With Phase 4 of the provincial reopening plan now underway, Nova Scotia has tallied a second consecutive day with no new confirmed cases of COVID-19.

Nova Scotia has 22 known active cases of COVID-19. Two people are hospitalized in provincial COVID-19 units, including one in ICU.

“Our case numbers are encouraging and our active cases are steadily declining,” Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia’s chief medical officer of health, says in a press release. “But we cannot become complacent. The COVID-19 variants spread more easily and much quicker. Our greatest line of defence is to ensure that everyone gets fully vaccinated with two doses of vaccine.”

As of July 15, 73.5% of Nova Scotians have had the first dose, and 46.3% are fully vaccinated. Nationally, 69.2% of Canadians have had one shot, and 46.9% have had both.

Mike Savage. Photo: CNS

Greener transit
Nova Scotia’s pre-election spending blitz continued yesterday, as the provincial, federal, and municipal governments announced plans to spend a combined $112 million on 60 new electric buses for Halifax Transit, plus upgrades to the Ragged Lake bus garage to accommodate the new fleet and reduce the facility’s carbon footprint.

Officials promise that the new electric fleet will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 3,800 tonnes annually.

“The electrification of the Halifax Transit fleet is vital to our commitment to climate action,” says Halifax Mayor Mike Savage, adding that the move “brings us much closer to the modernization of a public transit service that will reliably and sustainably meet the needs of a growing community and make taking transit a better choice for more people.”

Construction on the facility is scheduled to begin in 2022 and finish by 2023. The first of the new buses should begin serving Halifax in 2023.

Photo: NS Archives

Everything old is new again
This isn’t Halifax’s first dalliance with electrified transit: before our embrace of automobiles, a network of streetcars (AKA Birney cars) criss-crossed our city, giving average people freedom and mobility like never before.

“Halifax loved those [Birney] cars,” historical columnist Dorothy Grant recalls. “Their light weight and twin motors were ideal for the city’s steep hills … By 1949, Halifax was operating 86 Birney cars. With many cities selling off their Birney fleet, Halifax was able to get an additional 62 cars second hand over the years. Halifax eventually ran a 100% Birney fleet consisting of 86 Birney cars.”

Read more in this Halifax Magazine column, originally published September 2020.

Natural gas terminal developer bows out
The developer for the proposed $10-billion Goldboro Liquefied Natural Gas facility is pulling the plug on the current project.

“We have not been able to meet all of the key conditions necessary to make a final investment decision,” Pieridae Energy Ltd. CEO Alfred Sorensen says. “It became apparent that cost pressures and time constraints due to COVID-19 have made building the current version of the LNG project impractical.”

The Reporter has the details.

Brittany Fraser-Beaulieu

Pictou rider headed for Olympics
Equestrian Brittany Fraser-Beaulieu, originally from Pictou County and now living in Montreal, has qualified for the Canadian Olympic team as its top-ranked rider, competing in the dressage discipline.

The journey will fulfill a long-held dream.

“I fell in love with horses from day one,” she says. “Ever since I was a child I loved competing and I loved competing for Canada. Going to the Olympics was my goal.”

Steve Goodwin reports for The Pictou Advocate.

Foxes and bears, oh my
Nova Scotian wildlife officials are reporting growing numbers of fox and bear sightings.

According to Kim Huskins, a forestry and wildlife technician with the Nova Scotia Department of Lands and Forestry, the sightings reflect healthy populations, and shouldn’t be a cause for concern.

“[Foxes] are one of the interesting critters that I deal with, where often they don’t become a nuisance unless people impact their behaviour and therefore, make them a nuisance,” she says.

Kevin McBain has the story for LighthouseNow.

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This story was originally published in Halifax Magazine.

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