History of Nova Scotia
with special attention given to
Communications and Transportation

Chapter 39
1998 August




August 1998

1,348 Taxis

In August 1998, there were 1,348 taxis licensed to operate in Nova Scotia. About 1,000 were operating in the Halifax Regional Municipality with the others serving the other 54 municipalities in the province.
[The Halifax Chronicle-Herald, 4 February 2000]


1998 August 3

Long Distance Price War Intensifies Again

Bell Canada Ups The Ante


Today, Bell Canada called, and raised. The ante in the long-distance price war was substantially increased by Bell by putting a cap on the amount customers pay for calls within Canada on evenings and weekends. Starting Monday, 3 August, Bell's new FirstRate Savings Plan allows customers to call weeknights from 6:00pm to 8:00am and all weekend long, anywhere in Canada for just 10¢ a minute up to a maximum of $20 a month. "You never pay more." This plan applies to calls direct-dialed from home. This is a better deal for telephone users than the radical new long-distance plan announced only 25 days ago, on 6 July, by Sprint Canada Incorporated, which offers a flat-rate monthly payment option for long-distance telephone calls to anywhere in Canada. Under the Sprint plan, a residential customer's long-distance bill will not exceed $20 a month, but it will never be below $20 a month. Sprint charges $20 no matter how much or how little time is spent talking on long distance in a month. The new Bell plan is identical, except there is no $20 minimum charge. Bell's minimum charge under this plan is zero, if the customer makes no eligible calls whatever during a month.

John Sheridan, EVP Bell Canada and President Ontario, put it this way: "Customers won't be charged for time they don't use. This is in sharp contrast to Sprint's new plan. Their plan has a fixed rate of $20 per month. With Bell's plan, FirstRate customers pay 10¢ per minute to a ceiling of $20 per month." When customers make less than 200 minutes of evening and weekend calling in Canada, they will pay only 10¢ per minute. If customers call more than 200 minutes, and regardless of how much more, all they pay is $20. Bell Canada, the largest Canadian telecommunications operating company, supplies telephone services to more than seven million business and residence customers in Ontario and Quebec.

[Excerpted from The Globe and Mail of 31 July 1998,
and http://www.bell.ca/bell/eng/promo/firstrate/res/default.htm
and http://www.newswire.ca/releases/July1998/30/c6168.html]

ICS comment, written 31 July:
This new rate offered by Bell does not directly affect any telephone customer in Nova Scotia, because Bell does not operate in this province. But there is no doubt that there will be indirect effects, and soon, because this long-distance rate war is being fought on a national scale. Other companies which do have operations in Nova Scotia will be burning the office lights well after midnight while they think out what will be the next move and who will make it.



1998 August 5

Wolfville CAP Site Launched

The Community Access Project (CAP) at the Wolfville Memorial Library was officially launched on this day. The CAP lab is located upstairs in the Charlotte Coombs Haley Community Room, in the former Dominion Atlantic Railway station at 22 Elm Avenue, Wolfville, which now serves at the Wolfville Public Library. Participant Rosemary Feener described the CAP site as a mecca. Feener, who does not have a home computer, says she now can communicate quickly through electronic mail with a friend in Singapore. Marion Pape, provincial librarian, said: "This is a public utility for the next millennium." MLA Robbie Harrison said: "This is the infrastructure for the coming age." The Wolfville CAP site was opened for public use on 20 June 1998, with the official opening following on 5 August. The CAP room is now equipped with five computers, each connected to the Internet. In addition, there are five Internet-access jacks located around the Community Room with six additional jacks located downstairs in the library, mainly intended for users' personal laptop computers. The Community Room also has a laser printer and a digital scanner.  The library's leaflet states: The CAP site is for anyone who is interested in learning how to use e-mail, the World Wide Web, to set up web pages, or to use selected software available at the site.  The site's e-mail address is <wocap@nsar.library.ns.ca>.  Canada's Community Access Program involves a joint venture between communities and Industry Canada (a department of the federal government) to provide Canadians in rural areas with adequate access to computers and the Internet.
Excerpted from the Kentville Advertiser, 11 August 1998,
a leaflet published by the Wolfville Memorial Library,
and the Wolfville CAP website at
    www.library.ns.ca/regionals/avr/wocap/wocap.html


1998 August 6

Cost of Hard Drive Data Storage
Falls Below 5¢ per Megabyte

Future Shop, Halifax, in a full-page advertisement in The Daily News on this day, offers for sale Western Digital 5.1-gigabyte EIDE hard drives, for use in personal computers. "Includes Partition Magic software." 3-year warranty. The store price is $311.99, plus 15% sales tax, for a total cost to the purchaser of $358.79. However, the drive package includes "mail-in and bundle" rebates, worth US$80.00. At the close of business on 6 August, the currency exchange rate was C$1.00 = U65.39¢. Using this exchange rate, the rebates are worth C$122.34, and the final cost of this hard drive is C$236.45, or 4.64¢ per megabyte.
Historical notes about Cost of Hard Drives
    http://ns1758.ca/winch/winchest.html



1998 August 6

TV Channels 63, 64, 68, & 69 Scrapped

At its open meeting 6 August 1998, the FCC [Federal Communications Commission, U.S.A.] licensed 24 MHz of wireless spectrum for public safety use, including a block set aside for development of interoperable networks so emergency workers can communicate on the same frequency. The newly-designated band can be used for voice, data, image and video. FCC Wireless Bureau Chief Daniel Phythyon said this doubles the amount of spectrum available to public safety entities and "takes them into the 21st century." The spectrum was reallocated from TV channels 63, 64, 68, & 69, and these channels thus disappear. [This move is reminiscent of an earlier FCC decision, which is the reason there is no TV Channel One. Long ago, the FCC decided to reallocate the frequencies set aside for TV Channel 1, with the result that channel 1 vanished from the spectrum. At the time, there was debate about whether the remaining channels should be renumbered, with each channel number being decreased by one. Eventually, it was decided to do nothing, because the confusion generated by existing equipment, especially receiving sets owned by citizens, having engraved numbers that would disagree with the revised channel numbers would cause more problems than the simple disappearance of channel 1.] TV Channels 63, 64, 68, & 69 have never been used in Nova Scotia, so this decision has no immediate impact here, but the movement toward developing better means for emergency workers of differing agencies to communicate directly with each other no doubt will have effects in Nova Scotia in the not-far-distant future. Of course the FCC is an agency of the United States government, and its decisions have no legal force in Canada, but in practice, FCC decisions which affect band allocations of the electromagnetic spectrum often do have an effect in Canada because electromagnetic waves do not stop at the border, and each country's regulating agencies have to be aware of and take into account actions of the other. The FCC explicitly takes this into account in item (6) of today's announcement, which requires "that licensees authorized to operate within 75 miles of the Canadian and Mexican borders be subject to the condition that no interference is caused to television reception in those countries and that their authorization also be subject to any further conditions imposed by final agreements or treaties concluded between the United States and those countries. "
[SOURCE: Telecom AM]
http://www.telecommunications.com/am/

Report No. WT 98-24: FCC Adopts Rules for Licensing Largest Block of Public Safety Radio Spectrum Ever Allocated The Commission establishes service rules for licensing 24 megahertz (MHz) of spectrum in the 764-806 MHz band (referred to as the 700 MHz band), establishes a band plan for use of this spectrum, seeks comment on how to license the remaining portion of the public safety spectrum (8.8 MHz) and on additional proposals to implement effective public safety nationwide interoperability. This 24 MHz of spectrum, recently reallocated for public safety use from TV Channels 63, 64, 68 and 69 in the broadcast service, doubles the amount of spectrum available nationally for state and local public safety communications. By this action, the Commission addresses an urgent need for additional pubic safety radio spectrum, and also designates spectrum to support nationwide interoperability among local, state, and federal entities. Entities eligible for licensing in this new public safety spectrum in the 700 MHz band include state and local governments and non-governmental organizations specifically authorized by appropriate state or local agencies. In compliance with statutory requirements, federal entities will not be eligible to be licensed in this spectrum, but will have access to the nationwide interoperability channels ... From the 24 MHz of spectrum in the 700 MHz band, the Commission designates 12.6 MHz for general use and 2.6 MHz for nationwide interoperability purposes among all public safety agencies...

Also see Report No. ET 98-1: FCC Reallocates Television Channels 60-69 (746-806 MHz) to Other Services
Speech text
Press release


1998 August 7

Modifications to Bridge
Toll Transponder System

Curtains of infra-red light are the latest high-tech gadgets to be installed on the venerable Angus L. Macdonald bridge, which spans Halifax Harbour. Steve Snider, general manager for the Halifax-Dartmouth Bridge Commission, said the infra-red beams will be installed at the five busiest toll booths. The system will help a new radio-activated tolling system flash the green light — to the right car. "The function of these light curtains is simply to separate the vehicles," said Steve Snider. "When no light beams are being broken there, that's where your car ends." The light beams are an unplanned refinement on a $1,100,000 electronic toll collection system that bounces radio waves off credit-card-sized transponders fitted to vehicle windshields. The $30 transponders will collect tolls for the Macdonald and MacKay bridges and the Cobequid Pass toll highway. Computers on both harbour bridges will pick up the signal as vehicles roll slowly through the booth, deducting 60¢ from each driver's account balance. While drivers normally won't have to stop, they will have to wait for a green light. If drivers don't pay monthly bills, the computer can trigger a red light, forcing them to use traditional tokens or pocket change. The system will be tested for 30 days beginning next week. Snider said the special infrared beams on the Macdonald Bridge — similar to light beams triggered by customers entering mall stores — are only necessary for the busy Dartmouth-side toll lanes and the left lane on the Halifax side. High congestion on those lanes had the original system lumping cars together because they were rolling through the toll booths too close together. "Less than adequate" accuracy led the commission to request improvements from the contractor, said Snider. No changes were needed for the MacKay Bridge. Snider said the extra expense caused by the change will be borne by contractor, Sirit Corp., of Markham, Ont. The 30-day trial was originally planned for last January, but was delayed until this month as software and the infrared system was being perfected. About 350 police cars, Access-a-buses, business vehicles and private cars will be take part. Snider said once electronic tolling is up and running, it will ease bridge congestion, save fuel, increase rider comfort, and reduce wasteful plastic token bags.
[Excerpted from the Halifax Daily News, 7 August 1998]

I have seen no mention anywhere of any consideration given by the Bridge Commission to privacy questions in the design of this toll collection system. See Background Notes on Electronic Toll Collection Systems for more information on the unintended and unexpected effects they have had on privacy of ordinary citizens.
   http://web.archive.org/web/20020227234405/http://alts.net/ns1625/electrictoll.html



1998 August 7

El Nino Hits Nova Scotia Power Profits

Warm temperatures are cutting into revenue and profits at Nova Scotia Power Inc. In a news release today, the company said the warmest seasonal temperatures on record affected its financial results throughout the first six months of 1998. Temperatures from January through May were 13% warmer than average in Nova Scotia, resulting in lower sales of electric energy.

Scientists who track such things say that, combined with an underlying global warming trend, El Nino will probably make 1998 the warmest year in several centuries, world-wide. For the first six months of 1998, NSP's profit came to $50,400,000 (58¢ per share) compared to $62,300,000 (72¢ per share) in the first half of 1997. Revenue for the first six months of 1998 was $380,500,000, down from $389,400,000 for the first half of 1997. David Mann, president and CEO, said in a statement: "We intend to maintain our dividend at its present level, and to keep electricity prices stable for our customers again this year." Earlier this year, the company announced quarterly dividends of 20.5¢ per common share through Q2 of 1998. Sales to residential customers were down 8.0%, and commercial sales were 2.8% lower, during the first six months of 1998, compared to the same six months in 1997. For the same time intervals, industrial sales increased 13.7%.

Low precipitation had the effect of reducing production at the company's hydroelectric generating plants, and this reduced hydro production had to be made up by increased fuel consumption at the steam generating plants.

The company burned fuel worth $121,200,000 during the first half of 1998, an increase of $2,100,000 from the $119,100,000 worth of fuel burned in the same period in 1997. The bookkeeping category "cost of fuel" includes coal and fuel oil to burn in fossil fuel generating plants, and power purchased from generating plants owned by other companies. Nova Scotia Power normally burns approximately 2,800,000 tonnes of coal in a year. Interest payments on the company's debt cost $66,000,000 for the first six months of 1998, down from $72,400,000 for the same period in 1997.

Looking to the future, Mr. Mann said "Sable Island natural gas and increasing deregulation of the North American energy industry provide a range of new options for the future of Nova Scotia Power." The first agreement to purchase Sable Island natural gas was signed by Nova Scotia Power Inc.. According to the terms of the company's ten-year agreement with Shell Canada Limited, 62,000,000 cubic feet 1,750,000 cubic metres per day will be purchased to be used for electricity generation and other purposes. This amounts to approximately 11% of the initial production of Sable natural gas. With 430,000 customers across the province, and $2,793,000,000 in assets, Nova Scotia Power is by far the largest of Nova Scotia's eight electric utility companies, and is the principal producer of electrical energy in the province. The company provides about 95% of the generation, transmission, and distribution of electric power in Nova Scotia. NSP shares trade on the Toronto and Montreal stock exchanges under the ticker symbol NSI. On the TSE, NSP shares closed today down 60¢ from yesterday's close; the drop in price was attributed to the announcement of reduced profits.

Excerpted from:
the Halifax Chronicle-Herald, 8 August 1998,
the Halifax Daily News, 11 August 1998,
The Globe and Mail, 8 & 11 August 1998,
The New York Times, (as quoted in The Globe on 11 August), and
NSPI interim report for the six months ended June 30, 1998
    http://www.nspower.ca/ForInvestors/FinancialInformation/
        QuarterlyReports/1998q2.html


Reference:
Nova Scotia Power Inc. website http://www.nspower.ca/


1998 August 10

Stentor Alliance Unravelling

Ten-Member Consortium Being Torn Apart
by Competition, the Internet, and Corporate Infighting

The Stentor alliance of Canada's provincial telephone companies is cracking at the same time as its largest member, Bell Canada, goes forward with plans to launch a new national telephone venture next month. Industry observers say Bell's high-speed data network will drain big corporate customers away from Stentor, which, they say, has become vulnerable because internal bickering has prevented it from providing the same prices and services for large customers in various parts of the country. "It's slowly been unravelling. It has unravelled," said Eamon Hoey, telecommunications consultant and president of Hoey & Associates in Toronto.

The members of the Stentor alliance are: BC TEL, Bell Canada, Island Tel, Manitoba Telecom Services, Nova Scotia's MT&T, NBTel, Newfoundland's NewTel Communications, NorthwesTel, QuebecTel, SaskTel and TELUS.

Stentor was created in the early 1990s as a national marketing, lobbying, and co-ordinating organization, which would serve as a single voice for the ten provincial companies as they entered an era of deregulation of local and long-distance telephone service. The existing slashing competition in long distance services, and the explosive growth of the Internet and especially the World Wide Web, combined with the inability of Stentor members to agree on how to respond to these challenges, have taken a toll on the alliance. In the past two weeks, Bell Canada, Telus Corporation, BC Telecom Incorporated, and Manitoba Telecom Services Incorporated, have each launched their own plans to stay competitive with rivals Sprint and AT&T Canada Long Distance Services Company. It has been a long time since Stentor has made any significant announcements about the long distance market.

Until 1992, the Stentor group had a monopoly on all long-distance telephone services within Canada. In August 1998, Stentor is Canada's largest long distance phone "company". The second largest is Sprint Canada Inc., and third is AT&T Canada Long Distance Services. Relative sizes of these companies is measured by comparing long distance revenues.

Similar intense competition is rapidly building up in the local telephone service market, where alternative carriers, such as MetroNet Communications Corporation, are getting ready to steal customers from the provincial companies, which, until 1998, enjoyed a monopoly in local telephone service.

Canada's biggest telephone company is Bell Canada, owned by BCE Incorporated of Montreal. ["BCE" is derived from Bell Canada Enterprises.] BC [British Columbia] Telecom Inc. of Burnaby, [a suburb of Vancouver], and Telus Corporation of Edmonton, are the second- and third-largest telephone companies in Canada. BC Telecom is controlled by GTE Corporation of Stamford, Connecticut.

[Excerpted from The Globe and Mail, 10 August 1998, and other sources.]

References:
Members of the Stentor Alliance
    http://www.bell.ca/bell/eng/about/family.htm#stent


Bell Canada website http://www.bell.ca/

MT&T website http://www.mtt.ca/Splash.html

Sprint Canada Inc. website
    http://www.sprintcanada.ca/index.asp


AT&T Canada Long Distance Services
    http://www.attcanada.com/attc/index.html


GTE Corporation (General Telephone and Electronics) website
    http://www.gte.com/



1998 August 12

Proposal to Build Post-Panamax Container Terminal

Nova Scotia took an historic step today when all three political parties presented a united proposal for federal support of Halifax's bid to become North America's first post-Panamax super port. Don Downe, deputy premier and Minister of Finance, Darrell Dexter, New Democratic Party jobs and economic development critic, and Dr. John Hamm, leader of the Progressive Conservative Party, met with key members of the federal government to discuss what they believe is a matter of national importance. Halifax is the only Canadian port competing against eight United States ports in its bid to win post-Panamax container traffic with the construction of a new shipping container terminal.
Excerpted from a government media release,
    http://www.gov.ns.ca/news/details.asp?id=19980812009



1998 August 13

MetroNet Added to TSE 300 & 200 Indexes

Included in
TSE Telephone Utilities Subgroup Index

MetroNet Likely First in Local Telephone Competition


MetroNet Communications Corporation announced yesterday that the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSE) is adding the company's Class B Shares to the TSE 300 Composite Index and TSE 200 Index, effective today, 13 August 1998. MetroNet will be included in the TSE's Telephone Utilities subgroup. MetroNet is Canada's first national provider of local telephone services and the country's largest competitive local exchange carrier (CLEC). Deploying the most advanced fibre optic networking and switching platforms, MetroNet offers business and government customers across the country a full suite of voice and data services, with one point of contact. MetroNet is a public company with its common stock traded on the Toronto and Montreal stock exchanges under the ticker symbol MNC.B and on the NASDAQ National Market System under the symbol METNF.
[Excerpted from a MetroNet media release, 12 August 1998]

It is likely that MetroNet will become the first company to provide, in Nova Scotia, an alternative local telephone service. "Alternative" means any company other than MT&T, which for most of the twentieth century held an effective monopoly on local telephone services in Nova Scotia.



1998 August 14

High-Definition Television
Special Filming Begins

The first documentary capturing the scenic beauty of Canada, intended for broadcast on high-definition television, began shooting this day over Nova Scotia. The show — claimed by the producers to be the first high-definition aerial portrait of Canada — is scheduled to be shown Thanksgiving Weekend, 1999, on CTV, Quebec's TVA, and PBS in the United States. Friday, 14 August, the red and white Over Canada helicopter filmed over Halifax and Peggy's Cove; Saturday, Nova Scotia's southwest, west, and northwest coasts; and Sunday, Sable Island. On Monday, Cape Breton, then on to Charlottetwon, Prince Edward Island. The chopper will spend the next year collecting footage across the country.
[Excerpted from the Halifax Daily News, 14 & 17 August 1998]


Over Canada Television Documentary
Shooting in Newfoundland
Returns to Halifax Sept. 8th

The first ever High Definition Television documentary capturing the beauty and diversity of Canada will continue shooting in Newfoundland 4-8 September 1998. Due to the poor weather conditions, filming was postponed and is now scheduled to resume. Royal Bank's Over Canada, an aerial tour of the world's second largest country, will capture the essence of Canada, in both film and still photography, in celebration of the new millennium. The red and white Over Canada helicopter will cross our country over the next 12 months collecting footage.

Filming Update: The above locations are just a sampling of the areas the film crew will capture. Filming is subject to weather, mechanical requirements, and permit changes. Royal Bank's Over Canada will be the first-ever High Definition aerial portrait of Canada. The Over Canada project will consist of three major components; a 60-minute, High Definition film for television and video cassette, a 200-page hard-cover book with companion 12-month calendar, and a compact disc containing the original music from Canadian composers who will lend their talents to the visual imagery on the video production. The resulting portrait of Canada will premiere on CTV and TVA, on Thanksgiving weekend 1999. The program will also be seen on KCTS Television and on other PBS member stations throughout the United States. CTV and TVA will repeat the one-hour show on New Year's Day 2000 and on Canada Day 2000.

[Excerpted from a media release dated 3 September 1998.]


1998 August 19

Global Y2K Action Day

500 Days To the Triple Zero

On 19 August 1998, only 500 days remained until January 1, 2000. The objective of the Global Y2K Action Day exercise was to involve all radio, TV and print media as well as public and private organizations in every country in worldwide. For many organizations, this date marked the end of the time in which effort could be spent to raise awareness of the Y2k problem — with barely enough time left to provide and test fixes. The announcement continued: Be sure and tune in to year2000.com on August 19 to stay on top of the event. We will be continuously update our press clippings section to bring you links to all the online coverage, and expect to also be running some special features on the home page.
Sources:
A newsletter distributed Friday, 7 Aug 1998 19:44:56 -0500 CDT
to the Year2000.com Announcement List, and
year2000.com website at http://www.year2000.com


The 500-Day Conference


Facile Assertions of "All's Well"
by Leaders Who Can't Bring Themselves to Speak the Truth

So where are we now? We are at the most dangerous period in this process. Having come through the excruciatingly painful and drawn out awareness raising period we now have reached a point where senior management is being forced to acknowledge that a Y2K problem exists. They are lining up along with key government bureaucrats to state unequivocally that they are on schedule, that everything is going to be fine, and that there is absolutely nothing to worry about. When questioned they revert to name calling such as "fear mongers," "panic merchants," and, worst of all, "profit seekers" to discredit their challengers. The message is clear, "Don't worry, be happy." Sadly, that is exactly what we want to be told. We want to be reassured that something as trivial as dates in a computer can be fixed quickly. We do not want to confront the frightening truth that we have let computers become essential to our well being, our safety, our health, our very way of life. So we are at a point where we must decide to ask the hard questions or accept the facile assertions of "leaders" who don't understand or can't bring themselves to speak the truth. There is not one shred of evidence, or one success story, that should give anyone the idea that all will be well...
Reference: The complete article, The Dangerous Phase
    http://www.year2000.com/archive/NFphase.html




The deeper they dig, the bigger the problem seems to get.
"Y2K is like an onion: the more you peel, the more you cry."




Traffic at Year 2000 Website Entry Page:
During July 1998 there were 558,894 accesses
to the Year 2000 Information Center home page.
[Source: 500-Day conference: Y2K T-Minus 500 Days



There was an early warning.  "No terrorist organisation or disillusioned hacker could plan a more skillful, destructive or international trap"
Chris Anderson's ad, 30 June 1986
    http://www.cinderella.co.za/cind007.htm



Jim Seymour's Biggest Worry About Year 2000
PC Magazine 6 October 1998
http://www.zdnet.com/pcmag/special/y2k/features/worry/index3.html

...Given all that they have to do, the power companies must have made a good start on this, working on Y2K problems for years, right?  In January 1998, the Public Utility Commission of Texas surveyed the state's 176 generation and distribution companies on their Y2K readiness.  Only 44 percent responded.  None were yet compliant, and none had any clear idea when they would be.  Among Texas electric co-ops, only 18 percent had written plans for Y2K preparations, and 24 percent said they hadn't yet begun planning.  So the PUC, which has absolute regulatory control over these agencies, roared back with a list of recommendations, including "continuing to monitor Y2K issues" and putting up a Web page about the problem... About 20 percent of U.S. electric power comes from nuclear plants.  But the Nuclear Regulatory Commission is required by law to shut down plants that cannot show they can operate safely.  In June 1998, the NRC wrote the operators of America's 108 nuclear plants, demanding a statement of compliance, or concrete plans to be compliant by the end of 1999.  The number of compliant plants so far: 0 (zero)... Still, it would be unfair to say that electric utilities have done nothing.  Many have spent a great deal of time and money, invariably on fixing their billing systems for Y2K.  What are we going to do?  No one knows.  Many power-industry experts admit privately that they think large-scale and extended power outages, beginning in January 2000, are inevitable.  And one more thing: January 1, 2000, is in the dead of winter...


1998 August 20

Sambro Lighthouse Renovations Begin

A contractor hired by the Coast Guard started building scaffolding today around Sambro Island Lighthouse, North America's oldest operating lighthouse, a granite tower built in 1758 at the mouth of Halifax Harbour. The $200,000 project is planned to include repair or replacement of concrete sections at the top of the tower. The work had been scheduled to start earlier this summer, but as of last week no supplies had been brought to the ten-hectare island. The first helicopter landed with materials today. The delay was caused partly from the need to find more money than had been planned when the Coast Guard budget was set last winter. The lowest tender came in higher than estimated, which meant cuts had to be made in other parts of the budget. Ernest (Rip) Irwin, a Truro resident who persuaded the federal government to classify Sambro Lighthouse as a heritage site in 1996, said he's glad the work is finally getting done, but he sympathizes with the Coast Guard. Many of the people in the government wanted to fix the building, but had little cash after recent budget cuts. Last he heard, there was only $40,000 a year in its budget to maintain all lighthouses. Irwin, who wrote the manuscript for a book on Nova Scotia lights and lighthouses, hounded the federal heritage office in Ottawa to recognize Sambro's significance. After numerous phone calls and much correspondence, he got frustrated and drove to Ottawa — twice. The heritage office then agreed to recognize the granite tower, and gave it the highest level of protection available in Canada. Irwin recounted how Captain James Cook included the lighthouse in his 1762 notes when he described the entrance to Halifax Harbour for British Admiralty records. During reconstruction, the light is expected to continue operating.
[Excerpted from the Halifax Daily News, 22 August 1998]


1998 August 25

Nova Scotia Power
Imports Coal

More Fuel Imported to Ensure Electricity Supply

Nova Scotia Power Inc. (NSPI) announced today it will be importing additional coal and oil in order to ensure the company's ability to generate electricity for customers. Production problems at the Cape Breton Development Corporation (CBDC) mean that the company is currently unable to provide Nova Scotia Power with any significant amount of coal. As well, CBDC has no remaining coal inventories. "With CBDC not supplying us with any significant amount of coal, our inventory is nearing a critically low level," said NSPI's Vice President of Power Production, Phil Sidebottom. "We must purchase fuel from outside sources in order to ensure our ability to serve customers. We remain committed to buying all the coal CBDC can produce." Nova Scotia Power has ordered additional oil to burn at the Lingan and Tufts Cove generating stations. Lingan Generating Station normally burns coal. As well, NSPI has ordered an additional 100,000 tonnes of coal from the United States. "The total amount of fuel we must import will depend on CBDC's ability to supply us with coal," said Mr. Sidebottom. "We are continuing to communicate with CBDC daily to monitor this situation."
[Source: NSPI's website
    http://www.nspower.ca/AboutUs/WhatsNew/



1998 August 31, Monday   11:00pm

CTV National News
Moves to 11:00 O'clock

On this day, the CTV News was broadcast in the Maritime Provinces at eleven o'clock for the first time ever. Previously, the regular broadcast time had always been twelve midnight, because it was a live transmission of the news scheduled at eleven in Ontario and Quebec. "Ever since I moved from CBC to CTV 22 years ago, it's been a subject that's been considered," said Lloyd Robertson, during a stop he made in Halifax on 24 August to plug the new time slot. "We've always felt that to truly be a competitive newscast out here, we needed an earlier time slot. But there were always huge economic and technical considerations." Technical innovations over the years made the idea more feasible, but the biggest factor, according to Robertson, was CTV's recent change from a loose group of owners and stations to one controlling owner — Baton Broadcasting. Baton acquired control of ATV at that time. "You're talking pretty well to one company now, who can make decisions quicker on their own, as opposed to dealing with a lot of cooks. I suppose what it's done is make the network more cohesive," said Robertson, who anchored the CBC National News from 1970 to 1976, before moving to CTV.

This schedule change applied only in Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and New Brunswick. Newfoundland Television http://www.ntv.ca/ chose to continue carrying the CTV National News at 11:00pm Eastern Time, 12:30am Newfoundland Time, thus giving Nova Scotians — at least those whose cable TV companies elected to carry NTV (such as Cross Country Cable TV in Canning) — the welcome choice of watching this news either at 11:00pm or at 12:00 midnight.

Of course, the addition of an 11:00pm Maritime newscast did present problems. Because this region is an hour ahead of Eastern Standard Time, a lot of the most popular American programs aired here at 11:00pm. Several prime-time shows were shifted to an earlier hour to accommodate the earlier news. Also, the move allowed the local Maritimes ATV late-night news, which follows the CTV News, to move from 12:30am to 11:30pm. Providing an 11:00pm newscast for the east means Robertson and crew, who work in Toronto, will be doing an extra news broadcast every night. They will deliver the news at 10:00pm Toronto time, just for the Maritimes, and will then do another one at 11:00pm Toronto time for the rest of the country. Lloyd Robertson's first words, on the CTV News at the new 11:00pm time today, were:
Good evening. We launch a new era at CTV News tonight. For the first time, viewers in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island are now able to watch us at eleven o'clock. We welcome you, and hope you'll be able to make us a regular habit.

Now — the top story of the day on a very busy news day — stock markets in North America collapsed onto the critical list today. Losses were staggering in Toronto and New York. The reasons by now are familiar to most. The snowball effect of political and economic chaos in Russia and Asia, and renewed fears of a world-wide recession.

Naturally the loonie didn't like what it saw. Let's take a look now at some of the damage. The Canadian dollar closed at sixty three point seven six cents US on Monday, down point three two cents from Friday's close. The Toronto Stock Exchange tumbled two hundred and thirty three points, but the Dow-Jones Industrial Average suffered its second-largest point loss ever, five hundred and twelve points...
[Excerpted from the Halifax Daily News, 25 August 1998,
the Halifax Chronicle-Herald, 28 August, and other sources.]





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