Roundup: COVID update, N.S. spending $978K on rink upgrades, developer plans Bridgewater projects, Stellarton hockey player Olympic-bound

Advocates of Truth. Photo: Submitted

Plus: Music City — Challenges remain, but Halifax’s music scene is transforming, with more offerings and opportunities

Nova Scotia has 85 people in hospital (including 11 in ICU) receiving specialized care in a COVID-19 unit, according to the latest government update. Health officials also say there are 83 people hospitalized with the disease who were admitted for another reason or no longer require care in a COVID unit, and 119 were infected after hospitalization.

The government also reports 503 new lab-confirmed cases yesterday, and 502 on Saturday.

It’s unclear how many active cases there currently are in the province, as the Houston government stopped widespread testing and follow-up, saying that the pervasiveness of the Omicron strain requires focusing on vulnerable areas like hospitals. Nova Scotia Health is now asking people to self-report their test results to “collect information to help quickly identify people who are eligible for and may benefit from COVID-19 medications and treatments.”

Government funds rink upgrades
Last week, the Houston government announced plans to spend $978,483 for renovations to 33 skating rinks around the province.

The money will make a big difference for sites like Antingonish’s aging rink, according to town warden Owen McCarron.

“The province came through with some funding: our arena management has looked at some areas and some equipment … that are in need of replacing,” he says. “Those are pieces that would need to be replaced anyhow, so getting funding opportunities to help support that is huge for us. Every time we get an opportunity to get a little cost-sharing around our recreational facilities, that’s a great thing.”

Jake Boudrot has more for the Reporter.

Blayre Turnbull. Photo: Hockey Canada

Turnbull heading to Beijing
Stellarton hockey player Blayre Turnbull is returning to the Winter Olympics, joining the Canadian women’s team in Beijing in February.

Her previous Olympic experience in 2018 was something of a mixed bag, as she won silver (rather than the expected gold) and had to accept her medal from a stretcher, after sustaining an injury in the tournament’s final game.

Her family is keen to see her get another shot at the biggest prize in women’s hockey.

“I can’t wait,” says father Ron Turnbull. “I’ve had my fingers crossed for a month that they get to the Olympics and make up for the last Olympics. The teams are so close, but these guys have trained every day for four years, and they’re a tight group.”

Steve Goodwin reports for the Pictou Advocate.

Halifax developer plans South Shore project
Black Bay Real Estate Group, which owns several properties in the area, is proposing two seven-storey residential developments for downtown Bridgewater.

If they proceed, the projects will lead to more vehicle traffic in an already congested area. “We know it’s not going to be status quo,” Mayor David Mitchell says. “We know changes have to be made. We just have to figure that out.”

Developer Adam Barrett says he hopes the as-yet-undetermined cost to taxpayers for those changes won’t impede his plans. “You need investment and outside developers spending money,” he adds. “And it may result in the town spending money on infrastructure upgrades to accommodate some of this revitalization and new development.”

Keith Corcoran has the story for LighthouseNow.

Music City
Amidst a sea of Celtic, rock, and country, artists in styles like Afrobeat have struggled to get their fair share of opportunities in Halifax. But a shift is underway, and Advocates of Truth — fronted by brother duo Moses “Rajab Ally” and Galina “Gallyna” Korongo — is at the vanguard.

Originally from Congo, they came to Canada nearly six years ago after moving around Africa after fleeing violence at home. “We mix everything,” says Rajab, who was primarily a hip-hop performer. “R&B, hip-hop, jazz, whatever. Everything.” Gallyna brings his sweet R&B flavours, seasoned by years showing off in church, to the group.

The audience has always been out there, but getting in front of it has been the challenge.

“The diversity of the province is starting to open up,” says Rajab. “They reach out to us now, which is really cool. When we were starting, it wasn’t that way.”

In the latest issue of Unravel Halifax, Robyn McNeil dives into the city’s fast-transforming music scene. Read more.

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