Roundup: Student housing scramble, 39 active COVID cases, Parks Canada seeks input on Keji’s future, Desmond inquiry reveals bureaucratic barriers

Glen Haven Manor and Pictou Landing First Nation urge every Canadian to donate $1 to ensure the Indigenous children buried at residential schools are found and interred with dignity.
Madeleine Stinson

With the pandemic putting an end to shared rooms, university residence spaces are scarcer than ever. Apartment vacancy rates in Halifax remain low. Rents are at all-time highs.

That all combines to mean that students preparing to resume in-person classes resume at universities this fall are already struggling to find affordable housing.

“The problem is a lot of those older buildings, less maintained buildings, in the city of Halifax are starting to be torn down and replaced by expensive apartment buildings and expensive condos but then students can’t afford to live there,” says Dalhousie University Student Union president Madeleine Stinson. “We’re running out of affordable housing in the city.”

And there’s no solution in sight.

Ameeta Vohra reports for Halifax Magazine.

COVID update
Nova Scotia has 39 known active cases of COVID-19, with two new cases and two recoveries reported in the latest government update. Two people are in provincial COVID units, including one in ICU.

As of July 7, health-care workers have dispensed 1,062,418 doses of COVID-19 vaccine in the province, with 348,034 Nova Scotians getting their second dose. That means that 72.7% of Nova Scotians have had at least one jab, and 35.4% have gotten the second. Across the country, 68.4% of Canadians have had at least one shot, and 39.9% are fully vaccinated.

“Nova Scotians can schedule their second-dose appointment 28 days after they received their first dose,” Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia’s chief medical officer of health, says in a press release. “The sooner you are fully vaccinated, the better. Vaccine appointments are continuously being added to the website. Do your part and book the first available appointment.”

New revelations from Desmond inquiry
The inquiry looking at the circumstances surrounding soldier Lionel Desmond’s murder of his family and subsequent suicide recently heard testimony about how government funding cuts affected his PTSD treatment.

“He felt he needed more support from professionals,” says Marie-Paule Doucette, Desmond’s Veterans Affairs case manager. “I personally … thought that the delays were a bit much. There were significant bureaucratic barriers and it complicated the process.”

She explains that after Desmond was admitted into a rehabilitation program in May 2015, it took six months for her to connect with him, which she blames on a lack of resources and a backlog of cases caused by the Harper government’s cuts to Veterans Affairs.

Read more in The Reporter.

Chief Andrea Paul

Support for Every Child Matters
Glen Haven Manor and Pictou Landing First Nation have launched a campaign calling on every Canadian to donate $1 to help ensure that the children buried in unmarked graves at residential school sites are found and interred with dignity.

“When … Glen Haven approached us with the idea of One Dollar One Canada and explained the concept, I immediately responded with my blessing and approval,” says Pictou Landing Chief Andrea Paul. “This is a way for people to come together. I am receiving so many calls and messages from citizens asking what they can do to help. This outpouring of love and solidarity tells me others sincerely want to help, but sometimes they are not sure what to do.”

The Pictou Advocate has details.

Pondering Keji’s future
The public has another chance to weigh in on how Parks Canada manages Kejimkujik National Park and National Historic Site. Parks Canada wants to hear what people think of a recently released draft management plan for the area, which will help shape the direction of the federal park for the next 10 to 15 years.

According to site superintendent Jonathan Sheppard, there are a lot of changes in the new document, including “a much stronger interest and commitment to work with the Mi’kmaq of Nova Scotia for more of a co-created and co-stewardship approach to management,” he says. “That’s, of course, in recognition of the fact that Kejimkujik is a Mi’kmaw cultural landscape.”

Kevin McBain reports for LighthouseNow. To learn more about the cultural significance of Kejimkujik and its ancient petroglyphs, see this Halifax Magazine column by Zack Metcalfe.

Need to know
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This story was originally published in Halifax Magazine.

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