Roundup: COVID update, erosion threatens sacred Mi’kmaw site, Pictou Co. man and woman face theft charges, Queens Co. Special Olympian feted

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 — the people on the front lines of Nova Scotia’s real estate market have never seen a time like this

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.

COVID update
The Houston government is now releasing weekly COVID-19 updates instead of the daily reports, so it’s harder to get an accurate picture of how the disease is affecting the province, but the latest federal information shows it’s still widespread across the country.

There are 111,754 known active cases of the disease across Canada (excluding Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia, which are no longer reporting those numbers). The bulk of the recent new cases in the last week are in Ontario (12,156) and Quebec (7,877).

So far, COVID has killed 37,229 people in Canada, and 218 Nova Scotians.

Erosion threatens sacred site
Wild winter weather has accelerated coastal erosion, imperilling a sacred gathering Mi’kmaw gathering place. The Bras d’Or Lake island of Mniku (AKA Chapel Island) became a National Historic Site in 2006.

“It’s still actively used, regularly,” says Heather MacLeod-Leslie, senior archeologist with the Kwilmu’kw Maw-klusuaqn Negotiation Office. “The Grand Council meets there several times a year, so it’s a very special Mi’kmaw place … But climate change, sea-level rise, and coastal erosion don’t care about any of that.”

Workers are trying to stanch the problem for now with hundreds of bales of hay, but MacLeod-Leslie says the erosion will steadily worsen.

Drake Lowthers has the story for the Reporter.

Pictou County man and woman face charges
A 49-year-old man and a 39-year-old woman from Pictou County face multiple charges after a report of a theft from a New Glasgow business. Police say the man, who also faces four weapons charges, fled a traffic stop, leading to the arrests.

The Pictou Advocate has more.

Ben Theriau. Photo: Submitted

Queen’s County Special Olympian feted
Ben Theriau of Hunt’s Point recently earned an Athletics Nova Scotia award for athlete of the year, recognizing his dedication as a multi-sport Special Olympian.

“Ben is very dedicated to his sports,” says coach Betty Ann Daury. “Ben attends all his practices and he is a great all-around athlete … I think somewhere down the line he may become a coach.”

Kevin McBain reports for LighthouseNow.

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