Roundup: 58% of N.S. fully vaccinated, C.B. internet woes, Pictou Landing salt-marsh restoration continues, developer seeks rezoning for Mahone Bay apartment complex

Allen Beck, Restoration Specialist, holding salt marsh cord grass that workers will plant at Sitmu’k on Aug. 5. Photo: Submitted

Nova Scotia has nine active cases of COVID-19, with two new cases (both in the Eastern Zone) and six recoveries reported in the latest government update.

As of July 27, 74.7% of Nova Scotians have had their first vaccine shot, and 58.0% have had the second. Countrywide, 70.4% of Canadians have had one jab, and 56.2% are double dosed. Health officials say that Nova Scotia won’t enter the fifth and final phase of its reopening plan until at least 75% of the province’s population is fully vaccinated.

Pictou Landing salt-marsh restoration continues
The next phase of the Sitmu’k Living Shoreline Restoration Project is about to get underway.

“The Clean Foundation and the Mi’kmaw Conservation Group will be undertaking phase two of the project next week with the removal of a rock pile from the salt marsh and planting grasses with the community,” says an update from organizers. “The hope of the project is to increase the resilience of the coast in Pictou Landing First Nation to adapt to storm events and sea-level rise.”

Read more in The Pictou Advocate.

Poor internet service continues in Cape Breton
Despite frequent promises of imminent improvements from Bell and the provincial government, sluggish internet service continues to plague much of Inverness County.

According to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, the minimum range for “acceptable broadband Internet speeds” is 50 Mbps for downloads and 10 Mbps for uploads.

Last Friday afternoon, testing showed Port Hood was getting a speed of 2.0 Mbps for downloads and a 0.4 Mbps for uploads.

Jack Johnson, a marine navigation technology student at NSCC, says poor connectivity has had a big impact on his studies

“During my first year for the online learning portion of my course, it was common to not being able to learn that day’s lesson with the rest of my class due to a horrible internet connection,” he says. “I would mostly have to wait on emails from teachers or fellow students to try and educate myself rather than learn the same material that my classmates had been taught the day before.”

Grant McDaniel has the story for The Reporter.

Bezeau, Austria. Photo: Tammy Fancy

Lessons from rural Europe
There’s nothing like a provincial election campaign to underscore Nova Scotia’s rural-urban divide.

For generations, we’ve taken it for granted that it has to be this way: two solitudes in one province, with rural and urban communities perpetually divided; rural dwellers blaming Halifax for most anything that goes wrong, while urbanites remain largely indifferent to their communities, except as vague day-trip destinations.

And meanwhile, neither side experiences sustained prosperity.

But it doesn’t need to be this way. In 2017, photographer Tammy Fancy and I visited Vorarlberg, Austria. Like Nova Scotia, it’s a largely rural area, heavily dependent on natural resources, with a few relatively small urban areas.

But there’s no apparent rural-urban divide.

Policymakers have focused for a generation on making the entire state, from the smallest hamlet to its biggest city, a high-quality place to live. The results of those efforts are enviable: the economy is diverse and sustainable, infrastructure like transit is just as good in rural communities as in urban ones, arts and traditional crafts thrive, and the unemployment rate is astonishingly low (just 2.5% when we visited).

Learn how Vorarlberg accomplished this, and what lessons Nova Scotia can import, in this Halifax Magazine column, originally published August 2017.

Developer seeks rezoning for Mahone Bay apartment complex
Mahone Bay’s planning advisory committee is examining a Chester company’s request to have 3,160 square metres of Clairmont Street land rezoned so it can develop a 48-unit apartment complex.

“The key to economic sustainability and viability of communities today relies on their ability to increase population density in areas where services already exist,” says Jane Raeburn, project development vice-president with developer MADE for Mahone Bay. “Improved packing density means a higher rate of revenue generation per square foot, compared to sprawling suburbs.”

Keith Corcoran reports for LighthouseNow.

Editor’s Note: The Halifax Magazine Roundup is taking a brief pause. Look for the next edition on Aug. 4.

Need to know
Know a community group, good cause, or inspiring local story we should share? Email the editor.

This story was originally published in Halifax Magazine.

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