Roundup: Another record-high COVID count — StFX cases may have plateaued, South Shore fish farm draws complaints, Pictou Co. rink fundraising for renos

Premier Tim Houston. Photo: CNS

Plus: Building for two million people — in a year-end interview, Premier Tim Houston looks to Nova Scotia’s future

COVID-19 continues to spread rapidly in Nova Scotia, with the province tallying another all-time high count yesterday, as health officials announce 485 new cases in the latest government update.

Andy Hakin

It’s been almost two weeks since the government released a total active-cases count, citing a delay in data entry. Nine people are hospitalized with the disease, including two in ICU.

Of yesterday’s new cases, 317 are in the Central Zone, 57 in the Eastern, 36 in the Northern, and 75 in the Western.

At St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish (the epicentre of this outbreak, according to provincial officials), president Andy Hakin claims the case count has plateaued, a day after the school announced 184 cases.

“I’m told that the increase in new cases reported over the last few days are students who had already been isolating and were late to notify,” he says in a Facebook post.

Premier Tim Houston and Dr. Robert Strang are scheduled to webcast an update today at 2 p.m.

Building for two million people
Since taking office in September, Premier Houston has spent much of his time grappling with pressing issues like the housing crisis and the pandemic. But challenges looming decades down the road also have his attention.

Demographers say that Nova Scotia is on pace to have a population of two million by the year 2060, which means issues like housing and transportation require long-term planning, of a sort the province rarely undertakes. That’s why, Houston says, he recently created a provincial housing taskforce.

“There’s lots of times when I would read a particular council in some part of the province saying (housing is) a provincial issue,” he says. “And then maybe in the next article down, they say, ‘The province better not interfere in what we’re trying to do.’ With the establishment of the task force, we’re saying, ‘OK, housing is a provincial issue. Here we are.’”

Read more in Janet Whitman’s year-end interview for Unravel Halifax.

South Shore fish farm draws complaints
Chester’s municipal government is pondering its next steps after getting complaints from several people in the Bayswater area about noise from Cooke Aquaculture’s Saddle Island fish farm.

“It is our understanding that Chester municipality has no jurisdiction over any noise generated from the open net fish farm,” resident Chris Stackhouse says in a written report to council. “We ask that you … acknowledge the continuing and increasing disruption and address that by opening a dialogue with (the provincial government) to review and modernize the existing noise regulations to include low frequency noise limits in order to return our area to the peaceful natural sounds, which are still enjoyed by everyone else along our coastline.”

Keith Corcoran reports for LighthouseNow.

Pictou County rink prepares for reno
Planning and fundraising has begun for upgrades to the Westville Miners Sports Centre. The work is necessary but not urgent says rink manager Colin Dorrington, adding that the scope of the project isn’t clear yet.

“Everything depends on funding,” he explains. “We want to start working to be ready instead of waiting until the last minute.”

Steve Goodwin has details for The Pictou Advocate.

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Editor’s Note: The Unravel Roundup is taking a holiday break. Look for our next edition on Jan. 7, 2022.

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