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TRICOUNTY VANGUARD YEAR IN REVIEW: April 2018

Yarmouth resident Glenn Bourque was excited to briefly meet actor Willem Dafoe, who is in town filming The Lighthouse. PHOTO COURTESY GLENN BOURQUE
Yarmouth resident Glenn Bourque was excited to briefly meet actor Willem Dafoe, who was in town filming The Lighthouse. PHOTO COURTESY GLENN BOURQUE - Contributed

A sampling of some of the news from the month.

A.F. Theriault and Son Ltd. in Meteghan River, Digby County, is moving ahead with a $6.65 million expansion project. TINA COMEAU PHOTO
A.F. Theriault and Son Ltd. in Meteghan River, Digby County, is moving ahead with a $6.65 million expansion project. TINA COMEAU PHOTO

A.F. Theriault and Son was moving ahead with expansion; feds, province announced contributions

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A.F. Theriault and Son Ltd., Nova Scotia’s oldest and largest family-owned shipyard, was forging ahead with a $6.65-million expansion of the business that would add jobs and double work capacity. The Clare firm was planning to construct a new marine railway, purchase new equipment and undertake office upgrades to accommodate the projected increase in production.

Once complete, the work would allow the shipyard to build and service larger vessels. The Meteghan River business was getting help with its expansion. The federal government was investing $2.315 million with a repayable loan contribution through ACOA’s Business Development Program. A.F. Theriault also was the first recipient of funding through the newly-created Innovation Rebate Program from Nova Scotia Business Inc. – a rebate of $1,536,877 to be received after completion of the work.


It was ‘back to square one’ on minority ridings, FANE official said

A spokesperson for Nova Scotia’s Acadian federation (FANE) said they were “very, very disappointed” that amendments they had hoped would be added to the province’s revised House of Assembly Act were rejected, saying this essentially brought them “back to square one” in their efforts to restore Nova Scotia’s minority ridings. At issue was a provision in the legislation allowing the establishment of non-contiguous ridings and another that would have a legislative committee determine the maximum and minimum number of electoral districts. FANE and other groups wanted those provisions removed. Marie-Claude Rioux, FANE’s executive director, said a non-contiguous district might, for example, combine Clare and Argyle, which the Acadian groups didn’t want. And it should be up to the electoral boundaries commission, she said, not a legislative committee, to decide how many ridings there should be.


Town of Yarmouth issues layoff notices to fire dispatchers

During contact negotiations for local fire services, the town of Yarmouth gave notice to Yarmouth's four fire dispatchers that the town would be laying them off at a future date and instead intended to outsource fire dispatch services, saying it could do so at a lower cost than the Yarmouth fire dispatch service. The town spoke of a broken funding model that saw the town and its taxpayers paying a disproportionate amount of the cost to run the dispatch service, compared to other municipal units and fire departments. It said the town was essentially subsidizing the service that was used by 24 departments in Yarmouth, Shelburne and Digby counties. The union vowed to fight the town on the layoffs, saying the local dispatchers were a valuable and needed service. 


Fundy Rose was not expected back on Digby-Saint John run until late April

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Seafood and trucking companies that relied on the Digby-Saint John ferry were frustrated over the disruption to the service, which had lasted longer than expected. The vessel had been removed from its regular schedule in late January in order to undergo some work. It had been expected to be back in service at various times since then. The latest estimate was that it would be sailing again April 26. By that date, the ship would have been off for three months.

Aside from the upgrades being done to the vessel, work was being done on the ferry terminal facilities in Digby and Saint John. Completion of the project in Saint John needed to be extended “due to a number of factors, including weather,” Bay Ferries said in a press release. Said one trucking company spokesman, referring to the extended absence of the Fundy Rose, “Three months is too long.”


Outlook was ‘promising’ for proposed new mine in East Kemptville

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The president and CEO of the company looking to establish a new mining operation at the site of the former tin mine in East Kemptville, Yarmouth County, said they were quite confident the project would become a reality, although the timeframe could hinge on various factors, with a potential startup perhaps by late 2019. “It’s looking quite promising, actually,” said Don Bubar of Avalon Advance Materials Inc., the company pursuing the project.

The former mine – run by Rio Algom – had closed in 1992. Avalon was looking to develop a smaller-scale operation that could employ 50 to 55 full-time personnel. Rio Algom had employed more than 200. The Rio Algom mine had opened in the mid-1980s and operated for a half-dozen years or so, but low tin prices were an ongoing issue and the mine finally was shut down in early ’92.


Ambulance response times remained a concern; petition called standards review

A petition tabled in the Nova Scotia legislature by Argyle-Barrington MLA Chris d’Entremont called on Randy Delorey, the minister of health and wellness, to review the province’s “emergency standards and the deteriorating state of emergency services in the Pubnico area.”

The petition, signed by 570 Pubnico-area residents, had been started as a result of concerns over ambulance response times raised both by citizens and the Municipality of Argyle. D’Entremont said there lately had been a couple of instances where the ambulance wait time had been up to 35 minutes. “Paramedics and first responders are doing their best in a system that is in complete chaos any given day,” he said.


The 'new' lighthouse constructed for the movie was built to look old. People in Yarmouth love its look and wish it could stick around for a while after filming ends. PHOTO COURTESY SANDRA ALBERT
The 'new' lighthouse constructed for the movie was built to look old. People in Yarmouth love its look and wish it could stick around for a while after filming ends. PHOTO COURTESY SANDRA ALBERT

Lighthouse film project was generating much interest as movie’s stars were spotted

There continued to be a lot of interest in The Lighthouse movie that was being shot in the Yarmouth area. The movie’s actors – Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson – had been spotted in many local businesses.

The movie, which was being filmed on the Leif Ericson Trail at the Cape Forchu lighthouse and in a large hanger at the Yarmouth airport, also was creating an economic boon for the area. Shaun Clarke, film location manager, had said early in the process that, directly or indirectly, almost every business in town would get a slice of the economic pie. He said there would be upwards of 1,000 room nights for those involved in the production.

One aspect of the production that was very popular among local residents was the lighthouse that had been constructed for use in the film. Some hoped the structure would stay up after filming in order to get a closer look it, but this was not going to happen.

READ: INTEREST STILL VERY HIGH IN LIGHTHOUSE FILM PROJECT

READ: BEYOND THE BARRICADE


There was growing support for province’s proposed plastic bag ban

More municipal units were expressing their support for a ban on single-use plastic bags. What a ban might look like wouldn’t be known until the province actually said what it was going to do, said Gus Green, general manager of Waste Check, the solid waste-resource management authority for Region 7 (Yarmouth and Digby counties).

If there was going to be a ban, he said, the plastic bag industry hoped the province would use essentially the same ban that was introduced in Montreal, where the focus was on carry-out bags but where plastic bags in a grocery store’s produce department, for example, were exempt. As of late April, five of the six municipal units in Region 7 had expressed support for a ban. Region 6, which includes Shelburne County, also expressed its support, having done so as a group.


Wedgeport residents got long-awaited good news that they would get new school

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On the last day of April, the province released its multi-year school capital construction plan, which included a replacement for École Wedgeport. The project’s estimated start time was listed as 2019-20, according to the capital plan announced by Zach Churchill, minister of education and childhood development.

Parents and others cited various issues with the existing facility. Wedgeport was one of 13 communities slated to get new schools or major school renovations over the next few years. Other projects included a new elementary school for Clare that would replace four schools.


People in the tri-counties wore jerseys to honour the Humboldt Broncos on April 12 and to show their support. Yarmouth town council at their April 12 monthly meeting.
People in the tri-counties wore jerseys to honour the Humboldt Broncos on April 12 and to show their support. Yarmouth town council at their April 12 monthly meeting.

Sticks and jerseys for the Humboldt Broncos

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Canadians from coast to coast – including here in the tri-counties – wore jerseys to schools, workplaces and at their homes on April 12 to pay respect to those who lost their lives in the Humboldt Broncos bus tragedy in which 16 people – including 10 players – were killed and 13 more were injured as the team traveled to a junior A playoff game. The gesture was also to show support to the families and to those injured. People were also leaving hockey sticks outside their front doors as a show of respect and remembrance.

The team bus and a semi-truck collided at an intersection in eastern Saskatchewan.

The driver of the truck is facing 16 charges of dangerous driving causing death and 13 of dangerous driving causing bodily harm stemming from the April 6 crash.

The tragedy hit close to home for millions since hockey is a national tradition and favourite pastime.

READ ALSO: TINA COMEAU: YARMOUTH IS A HOCKEY TOWN WHERE WE WELCOME OUR MARINERS AND OUR HEARTS BREAK FOR THE HUMBOLDT BRONCOS


Tiffany Barrett, a crossing guard at Digby Elementary School, painted a mural on a wall at the school but she didn't expect the viral response when she posted it online.
Tiffany Barrett, a crossing guard at Digby Elementary School, painted a mural on a wall at the school but she didn't expect the viral response when she posted it online.

Viral online post in Digby

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Tiffany Barrett started painting the halls of Digby Elementary School three years ago.

“I just started painting and I didn’t want to stop,” she said. She paints quotes in the bathrooms, teacher’s doors and murals on the walls. “It all started as a way to inspire the kids.” After finishing a painting, she always posts a photo to Facebook.

Usually her pictures get close to 50 likes from friends, family and faculty of the school. Recently, she painted a quote on the school wall that she found on Pinterest by Bryan Skavnak. After posting it online she couldn’t believe the response. “It just sky rocketed, and I still can’t understand how.”

Within days of sharing it a photo she took with her son and the quote was shared more than 281,550 times.


Barrington’s lobster sculptures would be located at various sites

The Municipality of Barrington’s 10 Canada 150 lobster sculptures painted by local artists would soon be on the move to prominent locations throughout the municipality, creating a lobster trail for tourists and local residents alike to enjoy.

The planned locations included the Baccaro lighthouse, Island View Park by the Cape Sable Island Causeway, the Shag Harbour UFO Site, Barrington Municipal Library and the Visitor Information Centre. Installing the two-metre-tall sculptures would “be a bit of a process,” said Barrington municipal CAO Rob Frost.

“They will have to install concrete bases,” he said. “Hopefully by the end of May some of them will be up.” The sculptures had first been unveiled in February as part of the South Shore Lobster Crawl.


Offshore petroleum activity was ‘not worth the risk’ to fishing industry, official said

With the oilrig Seadrill West Aquarius on its way to the Scotian Basin, where BP Canada would begin preparatory work in advance of its planned drilling of an exploration well, concern was again being expressed about the potential environmental impact of petroleum activity.

Opposition to offshore petroleum exploration had been heating up in recent months, with many questioning if it was worth the risk, considering the growth and sustainability of Nova Scotia’s fisheries. “Our economic livelihood is completely wrapped up in fishing,” said David Levy, deputy warden of the Municipality of Shelburne. “Any danger to that is not worth the risk.”

While the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board had authorized BP Canada to have the Seadrill rig enter Canada-Nova Scotia waters and carry out preparatory work, it had yet to give authorization to drill, although a spokesman for the Clean Ocean Action Committee wondered why BP Canada would go through the costly exercise of moving the rig unless they knew they would get the green light to drill.

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