Roundup: COVID update, five guns stolen from Pictou Co. home, top curlers sliding into Liverpool, driver who killed C.B. man ‘cooperating’ with police

Photo: Communications Nova Scotia

Plus: Throne speech lays out Houston government’s priorities, but barely mentions housing

Tim Houston’s first legislative session as Premier of Nova Scotia began yesterday, as Lt.-Gov. Arthur J. LeBlanc delivered the speech from the throne, outlining the government’s priorities.

Such speeches, particularly when following an election, generally contain few surprises. As during the campaign, the focus was largely on health care: more family doctors, more beds for long-term care, lower wait times, attracting more workers.

“Yes, the challenges are significant, but they can be addressed and doing so is the number one goal of our government,” read LeBlanc. “We have to return to the place where every person in this province knows that when they get sick, they will be able to access the care they need.”

In an exclusive interview with Unravel Halifax‘s Ameeta Vohra last week, Houston promised that Nova Scotia’s steadily worsening housing crisis is a priority for his government. As vacancy rates keep shrinking and rents keep climbing, many are finding themselves priced out of homes and neighbourhoods they’ve lived in for years.

“I understand the urgency,” he says. “There’s many, many Nova Scotians that are wondering: will they be able to stay in the existing housing that they have now? 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. We know we’re in the fourth wave right now, so there’s a there’s a bit of time to come up with a real solution.”

There was little sign of urgency in yesterday’s throne speech, though. Here’s all it said about housing: “There is a housing crisis in Nova Scotia. We have a plan to address this crisis, and attracting and training more trades people is critical to its success.”

The speech contained more references to blueberries (three) than to housing (one).

COVID update
Nova Scotia has 197 known active cases of COVID-19, with 99 new cases and 130 recoveries reported in yesterday’s update (the first since Oct. 8). Fifteen people are hospitalized in provincial COVID units, including two in ICU.

Of the new cases, 86 are in the Central Zone, where health officials continue to report community spread, “primarily among people aged 20 to 40 who are unvaccinated and participating in social activities.”

Since the last update, there have been multiple school exposures, with seven HRM sites added to the list since Oct. 8, including Halifax West High, Chebucto Heights Elementary, Dartmouth South Academy, Ian Forsyth Elementary, Seaside Elementary, and Joseph Howe Elementary.

Police hunt for stolen guns
Pictou County RCMP are investigating after someone broke into a Poplar Hill home and stole several guns.

Police say that sometime between Oct. 3 and 9, someone forced open the front door of a home on Macdonald Blackie Road, and stole five guns, ammunition, and cash. The missing weapons include three .22 Cooey rifles, a 20-gauge shotgun, and a .303 British rifle.

The Pictou Advocate has more.

Jill Brothers

Top curlers to slide into Liverpool
When Liverpool hosts Canada’s top curlers for an Olympic qualifying tournament on Oct. 26 to 31, the field will include one of Nova Scotia’s top competitors.

Bedford’s Jill Brothers and her Mayflower rink will be among 28 other teams competing in Liverpool, with the top finishers moving on to the national trials in Saskatchewan in November. The top men’s and women’s teams will represent Canada at the February 2022 Winter Olympics in China.

“Three years ago, we sat down and talked about where do we want to go,” Brothers recalls. “I didn’t know that the event was going to be in Liverpool. It’s all just icing on the cake. It’s been three years of work, ups-and-downs and babies and all that kind of stuff, but we made it.”

Kevin McBain reports for LighthouseNow.

Hit-and-run suspect “cooperating” with police
Inverness County RCMP say they’ve found the driver who killed a man on Highway 19 in Judique, and their investigation is continuing.

Until their latest update, police weren’t calling the incident a hit-and-run. While they release little information about the investigation, they urge people to stop speculating.

“The rumours are … very upsetting for the victim’s family who are grieving the loss of a loved one,” Cpl. Chris Marshall says. “This is why we are asking the community to refrain from spreading rumours.”

Jake Boudrot has more for The Reporter.

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