Roundup: Restrictions for N.B. travellers spark anger, Mahone Bay’s new fire station cost climbs by $1M, Guysborough rolls out new alert system, big lotto win for New Glasgow couple

Premier Iain Rankin (right) and Dr. Robert Strang. Photo: Communications NS

After telling people a week ago to expect an Atlantic bubble soon, Premier Iain Rankin announced yesterday that anyone traveling from New Brunswick, including Nova Scotians on day trips, will be required to isolate.

Rankin defended the reopening plan in a Tuesday afternoon COVID-19 press briefing.

He says he’s not prepared to risk more losses “for the sake of opening up one or two weeks early.”

He says one dose of vaccine hasn’t proven effective against the highly contagious Delta variant, so the aim is to get the population that’s 65 and older fully vaccinated with two doses before opening up Nova Scotia’s borders further.

Rankin says he and Strang had many discussions about the New Brunswick border since last week to learn about that province’s border restrictions. His government tried to reach New Brunswick officials last week, but were unsuccessful. A hoped-for call between the four Atlantic premiers to discuss New Brunswick’s different tack never happened.

The Nova Scotia Business Alliance is a group of more than 110 business elites that banded together a couple weeks ago over their frustration about the premier’s re-opening plan.

Rankin seemed to appease the group last week when he announced plans to reopen the Atlantic Bubble a week early and gave a specific date for when other Canadians can come to the province. Editor’s Note: Learn more in this recent Halifax Magazine feature.

But they’re not happy with the modified bubble or Rankin’s failure to offer any details on how Nova Scotia might fit with the plan Prime Minister Justin Trudeau unveiled Monday to lift travel restrictions, effective July 5, for Canadians, permanent residents, and certain foreign nationals who are fully vaccinated.

Robert Zed

Effective June 30, other Canadians will be allowed to enter the province. They will have to following the same self-isolation rules, depending on vaccine status, the people travelling from New Brunswick must follow under the modified bubble.

Spokesman Robert Zed says the border restrictions undermine the $18 million the province is spending to woo Atlantic Canadians.

“The tourism marketing campaign announced last week largely is targeted at New Brunswick,” says Zed. “A week later they blow the bubble up. If that doesn’t show leadership without vision or care for Nova Scotians and the economy, where businesses have been brought to their knees, we do not know what does.”

Read more in this new Halifax Magazine story by Janet Whitman.

Last night and again this morning, people upset about the government’s decision blockaded Hwy. 104 near the New Brunswick border, egged on by local Conservative MLA Elizabeth Smith-McCrossin.

Rankin “has until 4 p.m. today to change these latest restrictions … or the residents of Cumberland are shutting down the TransCanada Highway,” she posted on Facebook yesterday.

The pro-blockade stance is an about-face for Smith-McCrossin, who in February 2020 urged government to immediately end an “illegal” rail blockade by First Nations protestors.

Two COVID deaths
Nova Scotia’s COVID-19 death toll climbed to 92 yesterday, as the government announced two more deaths: a man in his 60s in the Central Zone and a man in his 50s in the Western Zone have died.

Health officials are also reporting two new cases of COVID-19 and five recoveries. They say there continues to be “limited community spread” in the Central Zone. Two people are currently hospitalized in Nova Scotian COVID-19 units.

As of June 21, provincial health-care workers have dispensed 790,514 doses of COVID-19 vaccine, with 96,781 Nova Scotians getting the second jab that completes inoculation. That means that 70.6% of Nova Scotians have received one dose, and 9.9% are fully vaccinated. Nationally, 66.2% of Canadians have gotten one dose, and 20.5% have had both.

Mahone Bay Mayor David Devenne

Mahone Bay fire station to include emergency shelter
The fire station under construction in Mahone Bay will cost about $1 million more now that officials are fast-tracking construction of emergency shelter capacity, which Mayor David Devenne says was originally planned for years down the road.

“All the stars and planets seemed to have aligned at the right time to make it feasible to do [the] project now rather than waiting,” Devenne says.

In early June, the Mahone Bay town council awarded the $970,455 contract for the fire hall addition to Kings County-based Roscoe Construction. The Cambridge company had secured the original $3.4 million procurement for the fire station construction in September 2020.

Work on the project is ongoing, with the new five-bay station expected to be ready for operations before the end of the year. Devenne anticipates the hall addition will be largely finished by winter 2022.

Keith Corcoran reports for LighthouseNow.

Guysborough rolls out new alert system
A new system will have the ability to give Guysborough residents up-to-the-minute information for situations like changes to the waste collection schedule due to storms, water and wastewater issues, or evacuation notices during natural disasters.

“My understanding is that we can use it for a number of things,” Warden Vernon Pitts says. “Anything we have to let our residents know en masse what is happening, or what is not happening. It’s a good tool to have.”

Drake Lowthers has details for The Reporter.

Big lotto win for New Glasgow couple
Allyson and Lawrence Crosby normally by their lottery tickets on a regular schedule. But seeing the Lotto Max jackpot climb, Lawrence impulsively broke routine, buying the ticket that won them $1 million.

It wasn’t until two days after the draw that Lawrence realized what he was carrying in his wallet.

“I called Allyson and told her I think we won, but I wasn’t sure because I didn’t have my glasses on,” he says. “So, I finally went out to get my glasses and sure enough the numbers were all there.”

The Pictou Advocate has the story.

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This story was originally published in Halifax Magazine.

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