Roundup: 3 COVID deaths, long-time fishery advocate retires, Nature Conservancy marks 50 years, boxing club boosts young fighters

The $10-million Spring Garden Road transformation is nearly complete, and with minimal controversy — does Halifax finally have a handle on how to do these things?

COVID-19 has killed three more Nova Scotians, according to the latest update from the provincial government: a man in his 80s from the Central Zone, a man in his 70s from the Northern Zone, and a man in his 60s from the Eastern Zone. The pandemic death toll now stands at 114 in the province.

Health officials estimate there are 6,906 active cases in Nova Scotia, reporting 816 “lab-confirmed” new cases yesterday. Those numbers likely don’t reflect the disease’s true extent, though. Premier Tim Houston’s government stopped widespread testing, saying that the pervasiveness of the omicron strain requires focusing on vulnerable areas like hospitals. That means many cases in the general population are now going unreported.

There are 59 Nova Scotians in hospital with the disease (including two in ICU) with 29 new admissions and 19 discharges reported yesterday. Again, however, that number doesn’t give the full picture, as it only tallies people admitted for COVID, and not people who tested positive after entering hospital for other reasons.

Sue Uteck. Photo: Submitted

Spring Garden Road reborn
Halifax’s four-year Argyle and Grafton streetscaping project, which ended in 2017, was (in the words of Councillor Waye Mason) a disaster — missed deadlines, businesses inaccessible for months at a time, near fistfights in the all-but-inaccessible street between workers and passersby.

When the recent $10-million Spring Garden Road revamp began, many were expecting a similar fiasco.

But with the end now in sight, the project has been a pleasant surprise, completed with little disruption to local businesses. And the result will benefit the whole city, says area business lobbyist and former councillor Sue Uteck.

“Main streets are your central cores to your businesses and your community,” she explains. “People want to live, work, and play in the same area. And if you don’t have these downtown main streets revitalized, you’re just putting a donut into your centre and there goes to your tax base, and here comes urban sprawl. So, it’s important to have all the amenities downtown.”

Alec Bruce reports for Unravel Halifax.

Nature Conservancy marks 50 years in Atlantic Canada
For five decades, the Nature Conservancy of Canada has worked to conserve critical wilderness habitats throughout Atlantic Canada. The work began in 1971, when the group established Sight Point, its first nature reserve in Atlantic Canada, in Cape Breton Island’s Mabou Highlands.

As a charity, the Conservancy aims to make our communities better by conserving and caring for natural green spaces. Its field work includes land management, forest restoration, combating invasive species, clean-up operations, and conservation measures.

Learn more in this recent LighthouseNow guest column.

Boxing club boosts young fighters
With about 30 members, the Paqtnkek Red Tribe Boxing Club in Antigonish County, aims to be a place where young fighters can grow in the sport and stay out of trouble. The club targets the First Nations community, but welcomes anyone.

“The goal is just to give our youth a safe place to get the tools they need to navigate life,” says founder Dale Bernard. “We train them pretty good, but it also shows them respect and discipline. I had a lady approach me one day and said ever since her son started with and joined the boxing club, his attitude has changed and his grades improved, and that’s good to hear.”

Drake Lowthers has the story for the Reporter.

Ron Heighton. Photo: Steve Goodwin

Fisheries advocate retires
After 31 years at the helm of the Northumberland Fishermen’s Association, Ron Heighton is retiring.

During his tenure, he led the organization through several high-profile issues, including the prolonged fight to stop Northern Pulp’s pollution of the area’s coastal waters and an often-tumultuous relationship with government.

“DFO (the Department of Fisheries and Oceans) is downloading work to the fishermen, and there are all the other departments we need to deal with,” he says. “It’s very hard to dialogue with DFO and the other departments. That’s a challenge.”

Steve Goodwin has more for the Pictou Advocate.

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