Roundup: COVID still surging, French school board seeks more autonomy, Ontario biz plans Lunenburg Co. wind farm, a unique project to share First Nations heritage

Looking to immigrate from the U.S., the Winstons came to Halifax in January to find a new home.

Plus: Soaring prices, few vacancies, and fierce competition — stories from the frontlines of Nova Scotia’s frenzied real estate market

Planning to immigrate from Southern California, Anthony Winston III and his family visited Nova Scotia in January for a few days of housing hunting. With a budget of $700,000, they thought they had several potential neighbourhoods.

But as the search went on, they crossed one tony suburb after another off their list: Kingswood North in Hammonds Plains, Fall River’s Schwartzwald, Westwood Hills, and Bedford’s Ridgevale subdivision. Finally they found something further afield, near the airport in Oakfield. 

“We got lucky,” says Winston, who’s opened a subsidiary of his engineering consulting business here to ease his family’s immigration path. “Most people aren’t looking for homes during the holiday break. They got our offer and accepted it.” 

If it was that tough for an established business owner with hundreds of thousands to spend, how much harder is it for someone with an average income?

Janet Whitman heads to the front lines of the real estate market in the latest Unravel Halifax cover story.

Dr. Tara Moriarty

COVID counts keep climbing
The COVID-19 count continues to climb worldwide, with the World Health Organization tallying 404,271 confirmed new cases globally in the last 24 hours.

The real number of infections is likely much higher though, as many jurisdictions (including Nova Scotia) are now withholding daily data, making it impossible to get an accurate picture of the disease’s spread.

Dr. Tara Moriarty, director of an infectious diseases research laboratory and professor at the University of Toronto medical school, recently estimates that Nova Scotia has about 16,000 new cases per day, more than tenfold the government’s lab-confirmed figures.

So far, COVID has killed 6,200,571 people worldwide, including 38,207 people in Canada and 277 Nova Scotians

French school board seeks more autonomy
Michel Colette, executive director of the Conseil scolaire acadien provincial (which administers Nova Scotia’s French public schools) is calling on government to support an Opposition motion that would give his organization more independence.

“This is what’s in the best interests of the 6,500 students … those 13,000 parents, and that 1,200 staff,” he says. “I truly hope that nobody makes it political, and they stop and look at the document, which was skillfully written, and make decisions based on that document.”

He says his organization worked with the Liberals for months on the proposed legislation, which Clare MLA Ronnie LeBlanc says is needed to protect the rights of francophone students.

“Right now, the approach is a one-size-fits-all and French-first education is not the same as English education,” he adds. “The needs are sometimes different. There needs to be some flexibility.”

Jake Boudrot has more for the Reporter.

Ontario business plans Lunenburg County wind farm
Ontario-based Invenergy is eyeing Lunenburg County for a farm with 16 wind turbines, which the company says can power up to 35,000 homes with zero-emission electricity.

Some residents are concerned about the proposed Laconia Wind Energy Centre though, as the proposed location is near the Petite Riviere watershed, the source of Bridgewater’s drinking water supply and home to the endangered Atlantic whitefish.

Keith Gebhardt has a home on the shores of Minamkeak Lake, and worries that residents’ concerns will go unheeded. “To me, it sounds like it’s being rubber stamped,” he says. “It has all the makings for it without any of the consideration.”

Keith Corcoran reports for LighthouseNow.

A Mindful Maple Leaf. Photo: Submitted

Rock of ages
Some people believe labradorite harbours healing properties, which makes it fitting that a new project, the Mindful Maple Leaf, supports residential school survivors through the Legacy of Hope Foundation.

Each Mindful Maple Leaf is a uniquely carved labradorite stone produced at the Great Caribou Studio, a Labrador workshop that adheres to the Indigenous principles of artists and craftspeople. 

Janice Ruddock is co-founder of SimpliCanada, the ecommerce site that’s partnering on the project

“We wanted to do something that resonated with us,” Ruddock explains. “Being in the moment is one of the things that always helps me through a challenging time … We wanted to immerse ourselves in a project that reminds us to be mindful, to stay in the moment, and be grateful for what we have. When you hold a Mindful Maple Leaf stone in your hand it reminds you to stay grounded.”

Connie Boland has the story for East Coast Living.

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