Roundup: N.S. hits 600 COVID deaths, Fiona helps repair ship, exploring ‘green’ hydrogen, South Shore teens face arson charges

Premier Tim Houston's recent decision to defund the new AGNS building leaves observers questioning his commitment to the arts. Photo: Bruce Murray

When the provincial government announced in July that it was reneging on its commitment to fund a new Art Gallery of Nova Scotia building, Premier Tim Houston cited a $25-million increase in cost estimates.

“We value the arts,” he said. “But now is not the time.”

But there’s always time and money for the things government wants to do, so that leaves some people worrying about Houston’s priorities.

“Nova Scotians deserve this public space designed by a visionary team of artists and architects,” says Visual Arts Nova Scotia executive director Benny Welter-Nolan. “It’s disappointing to see this government undercut the value of the arts in their decision to defund the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia. The message it sends is that the arts are their lowest priority; that connecting with each other and our humanity, being exposed to new ideas and perspectives, and having public access to beauty and inspiration isn’t a valuable investment.” 

Alec Bruce has the story for Unravel Halifax.

N.S. hits 600 COVID deaths
Nova Scotian health officials are reporting 14 more COVID-19 deaths in their latest update, which spans Oct. 25 to 31. During the same period, 36 were hospitalized for the disease, with 43 currently in care receiving COVID treatment, including four in ICU.

The World Health Organization reports 256,585 confirmed new COVID cases around the globe in the last 24 hours. So far, the disease is known to have killed at least 6,573,968 people, including 45,389 in Canada and 602 Nova Scotians.

Workers Ray MacPhail (left) and Alex MacDonald with some of the local wood salvaged for the Hector restoration. Photo: Steve Goodwin

Fiona helps repair ship
When the remnants of hurricane Fiona hit Nova Scotia in September, the storm toppled thousands of trees, and in hard-hit Pictou County, workers are putting that deadfall to good use, repurposing it for the restoration of the Ship Hector, a replica of the sailing ship that brought the region’s early Scottish settlers.

They’ve found a bounty of massive elm and oak, mixed with good-sized trees that include maple, ash, poplar, cherry, and olive. It’s a boon both for the restoration project and for people unable to remove their downed trees.

“It won’t speed up the project, but it will save us a pile of money,” says project manager Vern Shea. “For years to come, we’ll be able to say that wood from a disaster went into the ship. Some seniors had no way to get the wood off their properties.”

Steve Goodwin reports for the Pictou Advocate.

Exploring ‘green’ hydrogen
Management at Port Hawkesbury Paper want to build an eco-industrial business park at their Point Tupper site that will house a small hydrogen production project — so-called “green hydrogen,” billed as an environmentally friendly alternative fuel.

“What we’re talking about initially is producing about 200 kilograms a day of hydrogen,” says business-development manager Geoff Clarke. “Not to create energy elsewhere or anything else, but it might be able to establish that type of demand on a local market … (Are) there vehicles or equipment inside our wood yard that could convert over, partially or in whole, to green hydrogen as a way to lower our footprint?”

Jake Boudrot has more for the Reporter.

Youths face arson charges
Two teenagers face mischief and arson charges after someone set a fire in the clubhouse at the former Olde Town Golf Course in Bridgewater. Fire chief Michael Nauss says his crew used portable extinguishers to fight the small blaze, which didn’t spread.

“We went in and made sure there was no extension and mopped up and handed (the matter) over to the Bridgewater police department for further investigation,” he adds.

Keith Corcoran reports for LighthouseNow.

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