Roundup: Another COVID death, telling Nova Scotia’s full history, the surprisingly successful Spring Garden Road revamp, Chester mourns local leader

A painting of Black Loyalists from Nova Scotia arriving in Sierra Leone.

Plus: After overlooking its own 125th anniversary, a Pictou County town decides to focus more on heritage

COVID-19 has killed another Nova Scotian, a woman in her 80s from the Central Zone. So far, the disease has killed 167 people in the province, and 35,118 people across Canada.

“This pandemic has taken so much, but the families who will never see or hug their loved one again have suffered the most,” Premier Tim Houston says in a press release. “We’re starting to ease restrictions, but we still need to be cautious and take steps to protect ourselves and others. Please continue to follow the public health measures as we work towards living with COVID-19.”

Health officials estimate there are 3,306 active cases of COVID in Nova Scotia, with 365 new lab-confirmed cases reported yesterday. But those numbers don’t reflect COVID’s true extent. Houston’s government recently stopped widespread testing and follow-up, saying that the pervasiveness of the Omicron strain requires focusing on vulnerable areas like hospitals.

Health officials also reported 10 new hospital admissions and eight discharges yesterday, for a total of 90 people hospitalized for COVID and getting treatment in specialized units, including 11 in ICU. There are also 129 people who were admitted to hospital for another reason but tested positive for COVID (or were in a COVID unit but no longer require specialized care), and 143 who contracted the disease in hospital.

Mayor Mike Savage and Sue Uteck on Spring Garden Road during the project. 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 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.

Mary Desmond

Telling the whole story
For much of Nova Scotia’s history, little has been said about the province’s Black history. For example, your average Nova Scotian knows little (if anything) about the Black Loyalist exodus, when the Loyalists who had settled in the province after the American Revolution tired of the systemic racism and harsh living conditions and relocated to West Africa.

This year marks the 230th anniversary of those events — an apropos time to learn more, according to Guysborough district Councillor Mary Desmond.

“History has no colour to it,” she says. “It’s Canadian history; we can’t just pull out what type of ethnic history we want to pull out. We have to share it and tell it as it is … the good, the bad, and the ugly.”

Drake Lowthers has more for the Reporter.

Pictou County town focuses on its heritage
Three years ago, the town of Westville’s 125th birthday slipped by unnoticed.

“I almost feel shameful to say this … there was very little done, if anything — in fact there was nothing done,” says Mayor Lennie White.

That’s why he’s pleased with the formation of a new historical advisory committee, tasked with ensuring local heritage is appropriately commemorated.

Raissa Tetanish has the story for the Pictou Advocate.

Bill Nauss

Chester mourns local leader
On Jan. 26, Chester lost a respected local government leader and “champion of the village.” Bill Nauss, chairman of the Chester village commission, died at age 69.

Councillor Derek Wells shared a tribute to him on social media. “Bill was an example of a true and faithful public servant, a genuine friend, and a loving family man,” Wells says. “That is how I will remember my friend Bill Nauss, who has left us too soon.”

Keith Corcoran shares the community reaction for LighthouseNow.

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