Roundup: Another COVID death, Lunenburg fire displaces seven, Antigonish solar project advances, fundraising for Ship Hector restoration

Premier Tim Houston. Photo: Communications Nova Scotia

Tim Houston thinks Nova Scotia has a ton of potential — if he can sort out health care and housing. An interview with the premier

Nova Scotia’s had one of North America’s most effective responses to the pandemic, which Premier Tim Houston says believes will parlay into economic prosperity when COVID’s threat (eventually) wanes

But he has some big issues to sort out first.

“There’s many, many Nova Scotians that are wondering: will they be able to stay in the existing housing that they have now?” he says. “There’s a lot of fear in the province right now. So, a couple things — the rent cap is in place as long as the state of emergency is in place, and there’s no imminent plans for the state of emergency to be removed.”

Issues like rent, which affect people’s quality of life every day, are key to the economic prosperity he envisions.

“That’s why I’m so focused on health care, on education, on housing,” he says. “If the government does its job — and makes sure that people can access health care, make sure that people can have confidence that their children and grandchildren are going to get a world class education, and that they have access to housing — that really gives the economy lots of runway to grow.”

Ameeta Vohra interviews him for Unravel Halifax.

Tim Houston. Photo: Communications Nova Scotia

Another COVID death
A woman in her 70s from the Central Zone has died from COVID-19, health officials reported yesterday, raising the disease’s death toll in the province to 98.

Nova Scotia has 254 known active cases of COVID, with 25 new cases and 18 recoveries reported yesterday. Fifteen people are hospitalized in provincial COVID units, including five in ICU.

Twenty of the new cases are in the Central Zone, where officials say there continues to be community spread “primarily among people aged 20 to 40 who are unvaccinated and participating in social activities.”

Government also announced four more school exposures yesterday. Follow this link to see the list.

The provincial government announced yesterday that it’s making vaccinations mandatory for its workers, and now HRM is following suit, with a just-announced policy requiring all municipal employees to be fully vaccinated by Dec.15 or face “employment consequences, including unpaid administrative leave.”

Fire displaces family
A fire has driven a Lunenburg family of seven out of their home and killed their three cats. No one was home when the fire began; one of the residents discovered it when returning home for lunch on Sept. 27.

That was a lucky break, according to local fire chief Darren Romkey.

“It was a good quick knock down,” Romkey says. “If (the resident) had not have come home, (the house) would have been gone.”

Keith Corcoran reports for LighthouseNow.

Let the sun shine in
The Town of Antigonish recently updated residents on plans to create a “solar garden” — an ambitious project to make green energy available to the community.

“Instead of putting panels on your roof, you basically subscribe to those panels on the solar field, and you’ll receive a credit back on your bill,” explains Sean Flemming, a member of the Alternative Resource Energy Authority. “It gives folks the alternative to putting solar on your roof. If you’re a homeowner, maybe you don’t like the look of solar panels, maybe there’s some shade on the south side of your roof, or maybe you’re a renter and not able to participate in solar at all.”

Drake Lowthers has more for The Reporter.

Fundraising for Ship Hector
It has been a long time coming, but the financial campaign has begun to restore Pictou’s Ship Hector. Organizers say they’ll need to raise about $2.5 million to restore the replica of the ship that brought many of Nova Scotia’s original Scottish settlers.

Ship Hector Society chairman Wes Surett says he’s glad the official campaign launch is on, after much delay and uncertainty.

“I’m really excited,” he says. “The pandemic really stalled us, but it’s really exciting. (The Ship Hector) is an icon that impacts the Northumberland Shore. It drives people here and keeps people here.”

See Steve Goodwin’s story in The Pictou Advocate.

Editor’s Note: Look for the next edition of the Roundup on Oct. 13.

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