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

Chapter 48
1999 December 1-15

1999 December

Dominion Atlantic Railway Car Preserved

The Southern Ontario Locomotive Restoration Society is pleased to announce the acquisition of rail passenger coach MicMac. The National Museum of Science and Technology in Ottawa has released its interest in various passenger vehicles recently and SOLRS was fortunate to be the recipient of the car. The car has Dominion Atlantic Railway markings with the number 1303 and the name MicMac. The car saw service on the Dominion Atlantic Railway in Nova Scotia between Windsor and Truro, as well as CPR's Trans-Canada Limited and Mountaineer. MicMac was built in 1929 at National Steel Car in Hamilton, and trimmed out in CPR Angus Shops, Montreal. The car had a major refit in 1976, and is equipped with roller-bearing trucks. It is expected the coach will move to the St. Thomas, Ontario, area sometime in the next few months.
Source: Canada Calling, December 1999
Southern Ontario Locomotive Restoration Society

1999 December

Halifax Metro Transit Passengers

During 1999, Metro Transit carried 11,873,743 passengers. The fare remained steady at $1.65 throughout 1999 and into 2000. Metro Transit operates the public transit system in Halifax, Dartmouth, Bedford, and surrounding communities — mostly buses but including the Halifax Harbour ferries.
[Halifax Daily News, 6 March 2000]

1999 December

Changes in Freight Train Schedules
to and from Halifax

There are coming changes in schedules for freight trains operating to and from Halifax, Nova Scotia. Halifax will see 17 100-series trains arrive per week and 18 depart. Arrivals will be 106 (0515) except on Monday, Tuesday as 148 (0615) Monday & Tuesday 130 (0630) except Monday Tuesday and 132 (1400) except Monday Tuesday. One train, 134, will terminate in Moncton at 0400 on Monday. All other 100 series schedules will be abolished except 107 will be as required. The departure times are: 105 (0930) Tuesday to Saturday, 131 (1845) daily, and 133 (2200) except Tuesday. 148 from Chicago on other days terminates in Montreal. If 132 is large, he may also get 148's power added east of Turcot. Some additional days, 148 may operate through if enough traffic warrants. Train 131 six days week, if over 7400 feet (up to 10000 feet), will set off up to 2600 feet at Pelletier for train 133 to pick up, due to siding capacity problems on the Drummondville Subdivision. Toronto-Saint John will be provided seven days per week by trains 306-305. The Sunday morning departure from Saint John will be numbered 303, as it will go into Taschereau Yard enroute to Toronto.

Toronto-Truro will be provided six days per week by trains 308-307. On Saturday, 308 will terminate in Moncton. Service between Toronto and Moncton will be seven days per week. 308 will work at Folly Lake, 307 will work at Juniper, and 106 and 148 will work at Kinsac. Dartmouth traffic goes via Kinsac or Rockingham now.

Source: Canada Calling, December 1999
Canada Calling is an online monthly news update of happenings in the Canadian railway community. It covers motive power, equipment purchases, economic news, and activities by different companies, all having to do with Canadian railways big and small.

1999 December 1

Radio Station Websites

Known websites operated by Nova Scotia radio stations
as of 1 December 1999
listed by carrier frequency in descending order

1999 December 1

Television Station Websites

Known websites operated by Nova Scotia television stations
as of 1 December 1999

1999 December 1

Amateur Radio Station Websites

Known websites operated by Nova Scotia radio amateurs
as of 1 December 1999
listed alphabetically by call letters

1999 December 1

Nova Scotia Radio Frequencies

The radio frequencies assigned to fire departments in Nova Scotia are available online at http://911scanner.8m.com/~CAN_Nova_Scotia/

1999 December 1

Tougher Drunk Driving Penalties

Beginning this day, a second drunk-driving conviction in Nova Scotia means loss of a driver's licence for three years, up from the two-year penalty until now. The first conviction still comes with a one-year suspension of the driver's licence, same as previously. A third conviction means a ten-year suspension. A fourth will result in a lifetime ban on driving. In 1998, 33 people died and 289 were injured in 563 accidents in Nova Scotia in which alcohol was involved. For the purpose of these penalties, a person is defined to be drunk if he/she has in excess of 0.08 milligrams of alcohol per millilitre of blood.

An additional new procedure introduces a 24-hour administrative roadside suspension for drivers with a blood-alcohol level between 0.05 and 0.08 milligrams of alcohol per millilitre of blood. RCMP Staff Sergeant Parker Glencross said the Mounties support the tougher laws. He said people who are pulled over and lose their licence for 24 hours under the new law might have to get a taxi to continue their journey, or perhaps an impaired driver will have a sober passenger who could drive the car. If the driver is alone the vehicle could stay parked where it is, or be towed at the driver's expense if it is a hazard. The police have no responsibility to provide transportation for anyone in these circumstances.

[Halifax Chronicle-Herald, 11 November 1999]
[The Globe and Mail, 11 November 1999]

1999 December 1

High Gasoline Prices Federal Problem
Premier Says

The before-tax average cost of a litre of gasoline is about 35 cents, about half the retail price in Nova Scotia, said Premier John Hamm. The premier told a meeting of the Cape Breton Post editorial board the price consumers are paying at the pumps is a federal problem not a provincial one. The cost of a barrel of crude oil has doubled in recent months. He pointed out consumers pay three taxes, a federal excise tax ($130,000,000), provincial tax (more than $200,000,000), and the harmonized sales tax which brings it to about 69 cents a litre in Sydney and area. Consumers in Baddeck are paying about 62 cents per litre, while gas prices at Whycocomagh stations are an average of 10 cents a litre cheaper than Sydney. "Nova Scotians are looking at the rapid escalation of gas prices, but it has happened right across the country," the premier said.
[Cape Breton Post, 1 December 1999]

1999 December 1

EMO Advises Nova Scotians
Should Prepare for Emergencies

No one can predict what will happen with Y2K

The province's Emergency Measures Organization advises Nova Scotians to prepare for the Y2K bug as they would for any potential emergency. "The best advice I can give anyone on preparing for technological glitches related to the Year 2000 is, expect the unexpected," said director Mike Lester. "If you plan for and are prepared for any emergency, you'll know exactly how to react if a crisis arises." That means knowing what to do. EMO has developed a series of steps Nova Scotians can take to prepare for January 1 and other potential emergencies including severe snow and ice storms, hurricanes, tornadoes and floods.

"We can't predict what will happen with Y2K, no one can, but if people do those basic individual preparations so they are prepared for winter storms, ice storms and power failures, then they will be prepared should something happen with Y2K," said Louise MacDonald, the organization's communications officer. "Basically we're encouraging Nova Scotians to prepare so that if an emergency happens they can deal with it on an individual basis." Nova Scotians should post emergency numbers and learn about community emergency plans. Officials from every municipal unit in the province has received training in emergency preparedness. "And every municipality in the province has an emergency plan which gets activated in the event of an emergency," said Ms MacDonald. All family members should know how to shut off the water and electricity supplies and be ready to evacuate. Nova Scotians should also prepare emergency survival and food and water kits.

"Individual preparedness just means having enough supplies on hand so that you can survive for a three or four day period," she said. That includes a first-aid kit, candles and matches as well as flashlights, batteries and a radio. "The big thing is that people have means of getting news." Being prepared is the best protection in an emergency. "If there was an ice storm in Bridgewater and your community lost power, if the families in your community had emergency supplies on hand, which would be like canned food, a can opener, clean water, matches or whatever, they can survive," said Ms MacDonald. "That's basically what we recommend; that people take the initiative and do those basic emergency preparedness steps and then they are as best prepared as they can be."

[Bridgewater Bulletin, 1 December 1999]

1999 December 1

Power Company Will Dodge the Y2K Glitch

Date-related computer failures will not cause interruptions
in the electric power service: Nova Scotia Power Inc.

Windsor Town Council was assured last week that Nova Scotia Power is prepared for the next millennium, regardless of the perceived Y2K bug waiting to strike at midnight, December 31st. Jay Forbes, Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of NSPI circulated a letter to municipal government officials throughout the province. He said he felt it necessary to advise leaders in Nova Scotia of the nature and extent of his company's preparations for Year 2000. "Nova Scotia Power has long understood that the millennium change had potential to cause disruption in systems controlled by microchips. We also understood our obligation to do as much as we could to ensure such disruption would not occur in the electrical service we provide and have worked hard to that end." Forbes assured Council that Nova Scotia Power's systems "will continue to function without interruption caused by date-related computer failures."

This confidence comes as the result of a detailed program of testing, replacement, and repair related to Year 2000 issues that NSPI completed on June 30, 1999. Substantial resources were allocated to this program. A team of ten employees plus up to seventy others were involved over a three-year period, with a budget in excess of $8,000,000. "We based our program on the Year 2000 compliance standard defined by the British Standards Institution, which requires that neither performance nor functionality be affected by dates prior to, during, and after the Year 2000. Our scope included all of our computer applications, our information technology infrastructure, process control systems, external service providers, and facilities — everything from the essential system we use to monitor the transmission of power, through to our employees' desktop computers. "

Nova Scotia Power advanced the dates in its power plant operations, such that they were all operating in 2000. rather than waiting to see what would happen when the New Year arrived, they controlled the date change by advancing the electronic "calendars" in the generating units one by one over several months. "Should a problem have occurred in the lead plant, we would have been able to address it in the others before they reached the same date. We are pleased that the system has passed a number of key dates in addition to December 31, 1999, and continues to function effectively. As a matter of fact, several of our generating units have advanced into 2001, after operating 366 days in 2000 without incident," Forbes said.

[Windsor Hants Journal, 1 December 1999]

1999 December 1

Local Telephone Monopoly Ends
After a Hundred Years

First in All Canada

EastLink to provide local phone service

EastLink is launching a local telephone service in Nova Scotia. David Caldwell, president of EastLink, says the launch marks a milestone: in all of Canada, this is the first local phone service available to residential customers which is not part of the century-old monopoly telephone system. "EastLink is now ready to begin offering Nova Scotians their first opportunity to choose where they buy dialtone," Caldwell says. "We are very pleased to be the first cable company in Canada to offer local telephone service. More importantly, we are pleased to be doing so at rates guaranteed lower than out competition."

EastLink, the same company that provides community television over Channel 10 in Blockhouse, will soon be able to provide local telephone service in the Bridgewater area. Although the Canadian Radio, Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) deregulation cleared the way in 1996 for local telephone service competition, Mr. Caldwell said "no one has embraced the opportunity until now."

Mr. Caldwell said his company will be investing millions of dollars in Lunenburg County alone, to upgrade its systems to carry required two-way services. "Work is already under way and will take most of the year," Mr. Caldwell said. "Since our local telephone service is delivered on the same network as our cable television service, those residential customers living in one of the many areas where our cable service is already available will have the first opportunity to subscribe once the network upgrades are complete," said Mr. Caldwell. EastLink will also provide High Speed Internet as well as cable television and local telephone service. Mr. Caldwell said EastLink has just signed a multi-year agreement with Nortel Networks, who will supply EastLink with "an end-to-end network platform designed to enable local telephone service equivalent to or better than traditional phone service."

Mr. Caldwell said the new local telephone service will not be limited to residential customers. "In addition to local residential service, we'll be offering our telephone service to businesses." He said "EastLink customers will notice virtually no difference in using the service," compared to MTT, except for "pricing and packaging."

EastLink, the 7th largest cable provider in Canada, is a Maritime owned and operated company providing a range of communication services to residential and business customers. EastLink Cable Systems, EastLink's core business, provides cable television services to approximately 180,000 subscribers throughout the Maritimes. EastLink High Speed Internet provides residential and business connections through cable modem technology at speeds much faster traditional dialup connections. EastLink Cable Systems was formed in November 1998 by combining Halifax Cablevision Ltd. and Bragg Communications Inc. This arrangement includes several other local cable companies such as Viking Cable, Seabreeze Cable, Able Cable and Bay Cable. EastLink is privately owned and operated with its head office in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The Bragg family, based in Oxford, Nova Scotia, are the majority shareholders in all companies operating under the EastLink name; these include EastLink Cable Systems, EastLink Community Television, EastLink High Speed Internet, and EastLink Telephone. The Bragg family has interests in a variety of Maritime companies in a range of industries including agri-products, real estate and forestry as well as communications.

EastLink Telephone Customer Information
July 6, 1999

The requirements for providing competitive local telephone service are set out in Telecom Decision CRTC 97-8 (which is available on the CRTC website www.crtc.gc.ca). EastLink Telephone has committed to adhering to the terms and conditions included in that decision.

EastLink Telephone provides equal access to other telecommunications service providers.  EastLink Telephone customers are free to choose their long-distance or enhanced service provider...

Maps of Eastlink Telephone Serving Area

Maps showing the serving area of EastLink Telephone are available for viewing at the Company's business office...

Directory Policy

Customers will receive, without charge, up to one copy per telephone, of the most recent telephone directory for their district, both white and yellow pages.  Updated directories, as they are published, will also be provided.

The contents of directories released by EastLink Telephone may not be published or reproduced in any form without the directory publisher's written consent...

Disclosure of Subscriber Listing Information

In accordance with CRTC requirements, EastLink Telephone makes names, addresses and telephone numbers available to publishers of paper and electronic directories.  Your listing can be removed from such lists by requesting a non-published telephone number...

Non-Published Numbers

Non-published numbers do not appear in the telephone directory and are not available from Directory Assistance Operators.  Non-published numbers are included in the Nova Scotia emergency 9-1-1 database...

CRTC website at

1999 December 1

Volunteer Firefighters Get a Break on Vehicle Registrations

New government regulations became effective on this day, that waive vehicle registration fees and provide special licence plates for volunteer firefighters and members of ground search and rescue organizations.  There are 314 volunteer fire departments throughout the province responding to more than 5,000 fire, rescue and medical emergency calls each year.  Twenty-three ground search and rescue teams conduct between 60 and 70 searches a year.

"We are recognizing the unique effort of thousands of Nova Scotians who voluntarily put themselves at risk to help their friends and neighbours, even people they've never met," said Neil LeBlanc, Minister of Business and Consumer Services.  "To recognize their dedication, I am honouring our government's commitment to waive the $114 fee for their two-year vehicle permit and introducing new licence plates for these groups."

The changes went into effect on Wednesday, December 1st, and benefit the province's 9,000 volunteer firefighters and 1,500 ground search and rescue volunteers.  "These volunteers are highly trained men and women, willing to put their lives on the line whenever and wherever they are needed," said Labour Minister Ron Russell.  "The distinctive licence plates are a symbol of our appreciation for the job they do," said Jamie Muir, Minister responsible for the Emergency Measures Act.  "These new plates will make it clear that these people are emergency workers and ensure their access to restricted areas during emergencies." Upon expiration of their current vehicle registration, volunteer firefighters and ground search and rescue members will qualify for the vehicle registration waiver and new licence plate.  To be eligible, applicants must be an active volunteer firefighter or ground search and rescue team member for a minimum of twelve months.  Application forms will be available from fire chiefs, search directors, Registry of Motor Vehicles offices and Access Nova Scotia centres.  By December 2001, all volunteer members should have the plate in place.

Windsor Fire Chief Fred Fox said one member of his department has already picked up a set of the new plates.  "We've had them before but now they are free.  It's really an unsolicited thank you from the provincial government, a very nice gesture.  The plates identify that the vehicle is being driven by a firefighter and would come in handy if we were required to respond to a fire in our own vehicle or to have the vehicle in a restricted zone." Chief Fox expects all volunteer firefighters will take advantage of the government offer.

Windsor Hants Journal, 8 December 1999
Digby Courier, 8 December 1999
Government Media Release 19991202004, Dec. 2, 1999

1999 December 2

Canso Strait Gas Liquids Pipeline
Completed and Ready for Operation

The Sable Project's eight-inch 20cm natural gas pipeline, approximately 56km long, to transport NGL (natural gas liquids) from Goldboro, Guysborough County, across the Strait of Canso to Point Tupper successfully passed its pressure test this week.
[Guysborough County Journal, 9 December 1999]

In the SOEP Development Plan Application, this pipeline was described as follows: NGL will be transported from the Gas Plant near Goldboro to the NGL facilities via a buried carbon steel pipeline, 219 mm outside diameter, 6.4 mm wall thickness.  The expected operating pressure will be between 4,137 and 6,895 kPag.  The maximum allowable operating pressure will be between 9,228 and 15,108 kPag, depending on the design rating selected.  Required depth of burial to the top of the pipe will vary from 1.2 metres in agricultural land to 0.6 metres in bedrock.  Typical burial will be approximately 1.0 metre.  The pipeline will be constructed in accordance with CSA Standard Z662-94: Oil and Gas Pipeline Systems. Pipeline corrosion protection will be achieved by polyethylene coatings and cathodic protection.

At Point Tupper, the NGL will be separated into propane and butane (often referred to as Liquid Petroleum Gases or LPG), and condensate and stored for shipping and sale.  Once separated, the propane, butane and condensate will be stored on site.  Pending satisfactory business arrangements, storage may be at the existing facilities at the Statia Terminal in Point Tupper.  Shipping facilities will include truck, rail, and/ or barge for the LPG.  Stabilized condensate will likely be shipped by tanker.

Sable Offshore Energy Incorporated
Natural Gas Liquids Pipeline and Liquids Facilities
Atlantic Petroleum

ICS Commentary (written 20 Dec. 1999):
"20 kPag" is read "twenty kilopascals gauge".  In the context of pressure measurements, "gauge" is an engineering term that means the pressure is that shown by an ordinary pressure gauge — that is, the reported pressure is pressure above atmospheric, not absolute pressure.

For example, when a tire manufacturer recommends an inflation pressure for an automobile tire, that recommended pressure is understood to be the "gauge" pressure, or pressure above the surrounding atmosphere.  Tire manufacturers do not explicitly specify "gauge", in the correct belief that everyone will understand that the stated pressure is the reading shown by an ordinary tire pressure gauge.

However, in some contexts it may be important to distinguish between "gauge" and "absolute" pressure.  The operating pressure in natural gas pipes connecting to homes is one of the contexts in which it is highly desirable that the pressure be stated unambiguously — which leads to the clarity of "kPag".  The need to state pressure unambiguously for lower-pressure residential gas lines leads to the same usage for higher pressure pipelines such as laterals and mainlines — it is best to have a consistent usage throughout the industry.

In the old Imperial system of measurements, pressures were stated in "psi", meaning pounds per square inch.  For example, ordinary tire pressures were in the range of 25 psi to 30 psi.  In contexts where it was desirable to be unambiguous, the terms "psig" (pounds per square inch gauge) and "psia" (pounds per square inch absolute) were used.

When the switch to SI (metric) measurements was made, the old terminology was adapted as "kPag" (kilopascals gauge) and "kPaa" (kilopascals absolute).

The expected operating pressure will be
between 4,137 and 6,895 kPag.

This statement, found in SOEP's website, is clear evidence that the organizations designing and operating Nova Scotia's natural gas pipelines are still working in the old Imperial system of measurements.

Nominal design parameters are almost always stated in round numbers.  "The expected operating pressure will be between 600 and 1000 psig" is the sort of thing one usually sees.  It is most unusual to see "the expected operating pressure will be between 4,137 and 6,895 kPag."  It is clear that "between 600 and 1000 psig" is the way the companies talk among themselves about these pipeline pressures.  "Between 4,137 and 6,895 kPag" is the way it turned out when someone rather ineptly converted from the companies' internal usage to the usage sanctioned for media releases.

This mixture of Imperial and SI metric measurements in the Nova Scotia gas pipeline operations, brings to mind the recent NASA (U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration) disaster.  On 1 October 1999, the Washington Post carried the following story:

NASA's Mars Climate Orbiter was lost in space because engineers failed to make a simple conversion from English units to metric, an embarrassing lapse that sent the US$125,000,000 craft fatally close to the Martian surface, investigators said.  Converting English measurements into metric units isn't exactly rocket science, but NASA is blaming the loss of its Mars Climate Orbiter on a conversion mishap.  The monumental goof caused the spacecraft to fly too close to the Red Planet and burn up or break apart in the atmosphere it was supposed to have studied, the space agency said yesterday...

In a preliminary report, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory said the spacecraft's builder, Lockheed Martin Astronautics, submitted acceleration data in English units of pounds of force instead of the SI metric unit called newtons.

At JPL, the numbers (supplied by Lockheed Martin) were entered into a computer that assumed metric measurements...

Noel Hinners, vice president of flight systems for Lockheed Martin Astronautics in Denver, admitted the numbers should have been submitted in metric units... NASA and outside experts will investigate the mechanisms that should have caught the discrepancy, said Edward Weiler, NASA's associate administrator of space science...
The Washington Post

1999 December 3

Additional Channels for Cheticamp Television

On this day, the CRTC approved an application by Acadian Communications Limited of Cheticamp, Inverness County, to amend the broadcasting licence for the radiocommunication distribution system serving Cheticamp by adding transmitters for the distribution, in encrypted mode, of Showcase, Teletoon and WSBK-TV Boston, Massachusetts.  The Commission noted that for the distribution of its services, including the three additional services noted above, the licensee will use the currently authorized channels as well as channels 28, 32 and 46, each with a transmitter power of 20 watts.
Source: CRTC Decision 1999-523, 3 December 1999

1999 December 3

Cape Breton Island Y2K Ready

Police holiday leaves cancelled

Police Chief Edgar MacLeod says the Cape Breton Regional Police Service doesn't expect to face any big millennium bug problems but has contingency plans in place anyway.  Holidays and leave for the 151-person force has been cancelled from December 27th to January 7th and extra police will be on duty New Year's Eve and into New Year's Day.  MacLeod said while the regional force isn't anticipating any big millennium bug problems, it will have the public order unit and emergency response team ready to go.  "Those things are all prepared and will be in the ready mode if required." Insp. Jack Banfield said extra police may also be needed to respond to buggy burglar alarms.  RCMP in the Cape Breton Detachment have also cancelled any vacations between December and March.
[Cape Breton Post, 3 December 1999]

1999 December 3

Pugwash CAP Site Launched

After nearly two years of planning, the new Pugwash CAP site is set up and running at the Village Hall in Pugwash, Cumberland County.  It was opened on this day.  The centre offers public email service, Internet access, word processing, spreadsheet and desktop publishing software.  The equipment is available to small businesses for making flyers, invoices, and envelop labels.  The Community Access Program (CAP) is run by Industry Canada with the objective of providing rural areas with computer training, and Internet access for the public.  Funding comes from the federal government, local governments, and businesses.  Sites are administered and operated by local volunteers.  Initial funding of $12k from Industry Canada has provided the machines and software now in the site, and two more instalments are expected later.  The Pugwash Village Commission has donated the space for the centre.  Paul Hopper and Corrine Burke of CREDA [Cumberland Regional Economic Development Association?] assisted the committee with the applications and interfacing with the federal government.  Additional money has come from the Municipality of Cumberland County, the Canadian Salt Company in Pugwash, F&D Shell, Waterfield's Clothing, and the Bank of Nova Scotia.  Peter Finley of Mystic Coast Realty donated a webpage.
[Amherst Citizen, 20 November 1999]

1999 December 6

Chester Area Road Priorities to be Discussed

Highway 12 said to be most dangerous school bus route

Chester-St. Margarets MLA and provincial Human Resources Minister John Chataway is fulfiling an election promise to organize road committees that will prioritize, and release publicly, a list of needed road upgrades.  Mr. Chataway promised to organize two committees, one for the eastern section of the large riding and one for the west. The first committee will consider the western section of the riding, which is basically the Municipality of Chester, the eastern half of Lunenburg County.  A preliminary meeting was held December 6th.  The committee consists of at least six community representatives, a councillor and two Department of Transportation employees. Councillor Cheryl Scott, whose district contains one of the province's most dangerous high-traffic school routes, Trunk 12, is council's representative.  At a recent meeting of council, Mr. Chataway encouraged all councillors to attend. In addition to road repairs and upgrades, such road related issues as signage will be considered. Deputy Warden Marilyn Publicover requested highway signage for East River and Bayswater Beach.  Mr. Chataway said he wants a list prepared well before the next provincial budget is written. "I'd like to get things done as fast as we can so when construction season starts, we can begin right away." The eastern road committee will be established in January. Mr. Chataway said he hopes people will once again feel need, not politics, governs road policy. "Even if the answer is no, at least with no, you know you're being listened to."
[Lunenburg Progress-Enterprise, 8 December 1999]

1999 December 6

Post Office Changing Addressing System

Canada Post Corp., in conjunction with the Cape Breton Regional Municipality (CBRM), will be implementing the use of the civic addresses in the spring of 2000.  Residents of CBRM will begin using their civic address, which consists of a street number and name, community name, province and a new postal code, as their new mailing address.  Civic addressing is part of an initiative, known as the Service Improvements for Underserviced Customers project, which is specifically aimed at resolving mail service issues in smaller community post offices.  CBRM has been identified as a priority area in Atlantic Canada for this project and is scheduled for service improvements to take place over the next ten to fifteen months.  "Changing the addresses of everyone in Cape Breton Regional Municipality is a major undertaking," said Terry McDonald, of delivery services for Canada Post Atlantic.  "But we believe the long-term benefits are enormous."
[Cape Breton Post, 6 December 1999]

1999 December 7

Halifax Regional School Board
Spends $450,000 on Y2K Fixes

A $450,000 flyswatter has squashed the millennium bug before it could bite metro schools, says Halifax Regional School Board. Nova Scotia's largest school board believes it has dodged a millennium meltdown, debugging its computer networks, implementing a contingency plan and protecting all its critical services from Y2K problems. "We are ready for the year 2000," the board's Y2K troubleshooter Ted MacNeil told the Board's committee of the whole Tuesday, December 7th. The board ran a final test on its systems December 3rd, declaring them Y2K compliant. All essential systems are expected to run without a glitch when computers roll over to 2000. It's been an expensive fix, however, costing the cash-strapped board close to half-a-million dollars. Despite the high level of confidence, many employees will be on the job January 1st to make sure there hasn't been a new-year crash. Employees will be checking all computer systems. Bus drivers have been asked to gas up their buses December 23rd and start their engines between January 1st and 3rd to ensure they will work when classes resume January 6th.
[Halifax Daily News, 9 December 1999]

1999 December 8

MTT Plans Move into Variety of Communications Businesses
Including Television

Video on demand is part of the plan

Maritime Telegraph & Telephone Company (MTT) wants to build on an already loyal customer base to expand into communication-related businesses, said Wendy Paquette, president of the company. It already has a phone in almost every home and in has expanded to deliver Internet service and home security. Next year the company plans to move into the television business and will be investing heavily in the next few years in high speed Internet service. Digital television will have essentially the same programming as satellite TV. It will allow people to access the Internet and email through their television. Eventually it will evolve to offering video on demand and timeless TV. Assuming they get CRTC approval it will begin to roll out in Halifax next year. Paquette told an editorial board meeting of the Cape Breton Post today that stiff competition for long distance service forced them to cut staff by almost half to about 2,800. Recently the four Atlantic telephone companies amalgamated to form Aliant, designed to be a growth company.
[Cape Breton Post, 9 December 1999]

1999 December 9

Y2K Damage Waiver

Students who live in residence at Halifax's Saint Mary's University might head home for the holidays concerned that Y2K will hurt their rooms. At the beginning of term, all students in residence at the university were asked to sign a waiver freeing SMU of responsibility in case of damages because of Y2K. Saint Mary's spokesman Chuck Bridges says it's nothing to be worried about. "What we have done is notify all of our residents, as part of our overall Y2K planning, that while we will be Y2K ready, and can guarantee that, we are not able to guarantee that those who supply goods and services to us are in the same state," Bridges said. "In late August, we were four months out and didn't know what might take place. Four months ago, with the number of organizations we deal with, who knew?"
[Halifax Daily News, 9 December 1999]

1999 December 10

Silicon Island Celebrates First Anniversary

Cape Breton's showplace of high-tech companies celebrated its first anniversary on this day. Silicon Island Art and Innovation Centre, 70 Crescent Street, Sydney, which overlooks Wentworth Park, opened its doors for tours and a reception to mark the occasion. The centre is now home to some of Nova Scotia's best and brightest companies which, in total, employ 95 people. The state-of-the-art facility is housed in the former Cape Breton County Courthouse which underwent nearly $4,000,000 in renovations. The project was the dream of two local entrepreneurs — Donnie Snow and Ken MacLeod — who transformed the facility into a thriving centre for multi-media and digital technology companies. The building, with 3060 square metres of floor area, is now filled and there are demands for increased space. As the centre celebrates its first anniversary, MacLeod said plans are in the works for Silicon Island II.
[Cape Breton Post, 11 December 1999]

Also see the Silicon Island website at

The vision for Silicon Island originated when two local businessmen saved the Cape Breton County Courthouse in Sydney, Nova Scotia, from the wrecking ball. They saw in that abandoned building the potential for a synergistic center for multi-media and digital technology companies. Their goal was to provide Island companies with high-tech facilities and access to powerful and integrated technologies. Today, after more than $3,500,000 in renovations, the former courthouse has been turned into the state-of-the-art home to more than a dozen digital media-based companies. The technology available at Silicon Island:

Silicon Island Art and Innovation Centre

The following are tenants at Silicon Island:

1999 December 11

Parrsboro Radio

The Parrsboro Radio Society has received a big boost with the arrival of some valuable equipment. About $10,000 worth of electronic equipment, including an audio mixing board, has been sold to the group for $1, thanks to the efforts of society member Gordon Heffler. "This has saved us a lot of major expenses, and gives us a big shot in the arm," said society president Guy Bergeron. "It's a big step forward." The group has been progressing slowly since its inception last summer, with interest growing in the project aiming to bring broadcast radio station to the Parrsboro area. The society has been in touch with the Cumberland Regional Economic Development Association (CREDA) and members are now in the process of gathering marketing information and preparing a business plan, Bergeron said. "It's starting to take shape. The business plan will be our next step, and it will start snowballing from there."
[Parrsbobo Citizen, 11 December 1999]

1999 December 11

Radio Club Recognizes New Germany Man

Life membership for VE1AOQ

It was a surprise that meant a lot to the recipient. New Germany resident Eddie Zwicker was awarded a life membership in the Lunenburg County Amateur Radio Club December 11th. It was presented at the club's Christmas party and, although many people knew about it beforehand, the gift came as a complete surprise to Mr. Zwicker. "It means a lot," he said Monday. "I'm pretty interested in the ham society. I check in every night. I'm probably the first one on nearly every night." It's that long-standing commitment that led to Mr. Zwicker receiving the award. "We've only awarded a very few of those," club president Al Cyples said. "We've never awarded one to a member through my involvement with the club and that's been about five years now. This is the first one that I've ever seen presented. "We just wanted to make a special recognition to him because of his dedication to radio," the club president added. Mr. Zwicker, known in the club as Eddie AOQ because his call sign is VE1AOQ, has been involved with amateur radio for more than thirty years. He's retired and spends about two hours a day involved with amateur radio, whether it's actually on the air or working at his equipment. He was one of the first members of the Lunenburg County Amateur Radio Club when it started around 1970. When the local club conducts its network check each night at 9pm, Eddie AOQ is almost always the first one to call in. He hardly ever misses a night, so when he does members check up on him make sure he's okay. Mr. Zwicker says he enjoys amateur radio as much today as he did when he started. "I sure do," he said.
[Bridgewater Bulletin, 22 December 1999]

1999 December 13

Stock Up on Food and Water for Y2K: Purves

Nova Scotians should stock up on three days' worth of food and water and other emergency goods in case of Y2K troubles, says the province's science and technology minister. While Jane Purves said the government is "well on track" for the new millennium, she said in a news release Monday Nova Scotians should prepare as they would for a major snowstorm, loading up on groceries, candles, matches, a transistor radio and extra batteries. Ms. Purves said people should assume government systems will operate as normal, unless told otherwise. She said a contingency plan is in place in case of a province-wide emergency. The news release [next below] stated Nova Scotians should not be worried about receiving emergency and regular health care during the Y2K transition, and social assistance, family benefits, and government pension cheques will be distributed as usual.
[Halifax Chronicle-Herald, 14 December 1999]

Provincial Services Ready for Y2K: Purves

Government Media Release 19991213002
December 13, 1999   1:50pm
The Nova Scotia government is well on track and in an excellent state of preparedness for the year 2000 transition. "Essential and mission critical services are substantially ready for the transition now, with the remainder expected to be completed by year end," said Jane Purves, Minister of the Technology and Science Secretariat. "Provincial government departments and agencies have done all that they can reasonably do to ensure readiness. Contingency plans are in place to ensure that provincial government services will be maintained in the unlikely event of a Y2K-related disruption."

Essential services are those which are vital to health and safety. For example, Nova Scotians should not anticipate difficulties in securing emergency and routine medical care during the Y2K transition. The Department of Health has worked closely with the IWK Grace Health Centre, Queen Elizabeth II Health Sciences Centre, Cape Breton Healthcare Complex, the Nova Scotia Hospital and regional health boards to prepare for Y2K. The department has also monitored and supported the year 2000 rojects of home care agencies and long-term care facilities. These co-operative efforts should help avoid disruptions in health care services. Community Services clients will receive their social assistance and family benefits cheques as usual. Likewise, government pensioners will receive their cheques at the regular time. Building maintenance for public housing in the province will also be unaffected by Y2K.

Other essential services now ready for the date change include: policing, supervision in correctional institutions, highway maintenance and regulation, and the integrated mobile radio system which provides the vital communications link between provincial government departments, municipal governments, school boards and the RCMP. Mission critical services are those necessary for government departments and agencies to meet their legislated mandates. Those services, including financial and administrative, are also Y2K compliant.

"All government departments have contingency plans in place to provide essential services, even in the unlikely event that there are problems associated with the Y2K transition," said Ms. Purves. For example, the daily cheque production system at the Department of Community Services has been tested and is Y2K compliant. In the unlikely event of a system failure, each Community Services district office will have a cheque production process in place. Cheques will be produced manually and caseworkers will notify clients and arrange to have the cheques delivered or picked up.

Although few problems are anticipated during the Y2K transition, individual Nova Scotians have a responsibility to make reasonable personal preparations. The Emergency Measures Organization advises that people should prepare as they would for any other eventuality, such as major winter storms. Every household should always have enough food and water on hand to last for three days. And, at any time, it is advisable to have candles, matches, transistor radio and extra batteries readily available.

Unless advised otherwise, Nova Scotians should assume that provincial government systems and services are operating as usual throughout Y2K transition weekend. A contingency plan is in place for use in the unlikely event of a province wide emergency.

Sources: http://www.gov.ns.ca/news/details.asp?id=19991213002
and the Guysborough County Journal,23 December 1999

Nova Scotia Government says:

At no time in our history has there been an issue with the potential to impact so many. Y2K or the millennium bug can touch us all, from those of us who use computers to calculate monthly household expenses, to the large organization with many computers spread over an intrinsic network. Even governments are affected as they strive to ensure that services can go on uninterrupted into the next century. Information about Y2K and what it can do can be found just about anywhere and now that the Internet is so accessible this information can be obtained from all over the globe and many different sources...
Source: http://www.gov.ns.ca/y2k/gov/default.stm

1999 December 13

AVRSB Says it is Ready for Y2K

The Annapolis Valley Regional School Board doesn't expect any major Y2K problems. Board officials have been working closely with the Department of Education in Halifax for the last two years to ensure all its operating systems are prepared for the calendar change. "Things are pretty well covered," Ed Getson, the Board's Y2K co-ordinator, said in a media release dated this day, but the Board has a contingency plan just in case. The Board administers more than forty schools in Annapolis County, Kings County, and the Municipality of Hants West. A team has checked and rechecked all operations, including transportation, buildings, student records, curriculum, accounting, and payroll. "We've gone the whole distance. We're very optimistic we will encounter only very minor problems." Mr. Getson said some older classroom computers may be affected and technicians will work with them in the first few weeks of 2000 as problems arise. The contingency plan involves checking all systems, including heating and electrical, before students return to class on January 6th. Even though air handling systems and elevators are certified Y2K compliant by the manufacturers, they also will be checked in the first week of the New Year. Getson noted that as a Y2K precaution, students are getting an extended Christmas break this year, from the last class day on Friday, December 17th to the first class day of the New Year on Thursday, January 6th. The longer-than-usual break "gives us sufficient time, if there are any problems, to get repairs done," Mr. Getson said. "It gives us a little extra time just in case we need it."
[Halifax Chronicle-Herald, 14 December 1999]
[Kentville Advertiser, 17 December 1999]

1999 December 14

Y2K Sessions Avoid Zero Hour

Fed's information briefings won't be held
when New Year's clock strikes midnight

Even if the lights don't go out, Canadians could be kept in the dark for extended periods on New Year's Eve about what's going on across the country and abroad. On this day, federal officials announced they have scheduled two information sessions December 31st and two January 1st to update the public on Y2K developments. None of the briefings is scheduled for the hours around midnight — the first one slated for January 1st is around mid-day. Members of the media will also be barred from entering Emergency Preparedness Canada's monitoring centre on New Year's Eve, where information will be collected and disseminated about any troubles across the country. Guy McKenzie, the federal Y2K spokesman, said the government's priority is to put out accurate reports and not unverified anecdotal information. He added that officials from several departments, such as National Defence and Foreign Affairs, will be available to answer questions when needed. Extra briefings could be scheduled as events unfold, he said. "When we'll be communicating information, we want to make sure that the information is as confirmed as possible - this is not entertainment for us," McKenzie told a news conference. "This has always been an issue related to health, safety and economic well-being of Canadians and we take it seriously." The U.S. government's Y2K council will hold briefings approximately every three hours in Washington, increasing in frequency around midnight, U.S. government officials said. The British government hasn't decided on its information sessions yet, a government official said.
[Halifax Daily News, 15 December 1999]

1999 December 14

ACHC Ready for Y2K

Staff will shut systems down before midnight and restart after

Annapolis Community Health Centre administrator Fran Duggan and information systems technical specialist Bill Whitamore will be spending New Year's Eve at the Health Centre, just in case. However, they do not expect anything to go wrong. The Western Regional Health Board claims its Y2K plan for the health centre "is on track and on time." More than 4,000 pieces of medical equipment have been assessed, and any computerized equipment that was not Y2k-compliant has been replaced or repaired. The health centre is in the final stages of updating its emergency plans and documenting contingency plans to cover any internal or external problems that may affect functioning during the Y2K period and beyond. A steering committee began Y2K preparations fifteen months ago. "We are feeling confident that things will go smoothly," says Duggan. She and Whitamore will be on hand for the calendar rollover. "There will be a total shut down, then back up after midnight," says Duggan. "We will be working with two sets of files for the two centuries. But we are preparing for any unexpected events which may disrupt the delivery of health services to the people of the region." Duggan says the health centre considered a worst-case scenario — the ice storm in Quebec two years ago. "We looked at every aspect of a disaster plan. That is how we got prepared." The health board has established a special inquiry telephone line for residents who have a comment to make, or want to ask a question regarding Y2K readiness. The toll-free number is 1-877-864-2704.
[Annapolis Royal Spectator, 14 December 1999]

1999 December 14

East Hants Municipal Systems Are Year 2000 Compliant

East Hants Municipality's systems are ready for the year 2000, council was told this day by chief administrative officer Ian Glasgow. "In the areas for which the Municipality exercises responsibility and influence, we are year 2000 compliant," Mr. Glasgow said. "We will not experience major failures in municipal systems," on January 1, he said. The entire Y2K compliancy project for East Hants cost about $96,000, Mr. Glasgow said, including about $31,000 in staff time. East Hants senior staff will be on "standby" between 10:00pm December 31st and 2:00am January 1st, to answer telephone inquiries from the public, he said.
[Halifax Chronicle-Herald, 16 December 1999]

1999 December 14

Nav Canada Grounds Inter-Canadian Plane

Nav Canada has won its bid to ground one of Inter-Canadian's Halifax-based planes until the regional carrier pays its bills. On this day, Nova Scotia Supreme Court Justice Felix Cacchione granted a seizure order, meaning the non-profit corporation could seize one plane's logbooks and keep it from leaving its hangar. Nav Canada, which provides air-traffic control services to airports across the country, says the beleaguered regional carrier owes it $2,800,000 in overdue fees.
[Halifax Daily News, 15 December 1999]

1999 December 15

New Publisher at the Cape Breton Post

Roger Brown has been named publisher and general manager of the Cape Breton Post. The announcement was made in Sydney today by Michael Sifton, president of Hollinger Canadian Newspapers G.P. Inc. and regional manager Don Brander. Brown, 46, replaces Milton Ellis who returned to Cornwall as publisher of the Standard Freeholder. Ellis, who has been publisher of the Cape Breton Post for the last three years, was in Cornwall as the publisher from 1994-96. Brown becomes the first Cape Bretoner since 1971 to head the daily newspaper. "I'm honoured to be named publisher in my home community," said Brown, who has been in the industry since 1978. Brown started as an advertising sales representative at the Cape Breton Post and was named advertising manager in 1984. He left the newspaper business in 1995 and returned in 1996 as director of advertising services, the position he held until his appointment.
[Cape Breton Post, 9 & 16 December 1999]

1999 December 15

Lunenburg Senior High School
Using the Information Highway

Lunenburg Senior High School students are successfully completing a project under Industry Canada's Generations Can Connect initiative to open up the information highway to local seniors while learning about the history of their community and contributing to a national Internet-based archive of Canadian seniors' special memories and experiences. The project, undertaken by Grade 12 English students with their project leader, Mr. Paul Brison, along with the two student co-ordinators, Alishia Ernst and Tanya Forward, enables students to photograph and interview local seniors about a treasured object or special memory. The resulting profiles of each person are to be put on a website created by the students. "I expect that the project will deepen the students' appreciation of the sacrifices and contributions made by the men and women who served in the Second World War and the Korean War," said Mr. Brison.

Lunenburg high school principal, Bill Roblee, says, "This project is, in my opinion, an excellent initiative on the part of these students. When teenagers initiate an interview with a veteran everyone benefits. The veteran gets to pass on the knowledge of their experiences. The student will gain a respect for the effort of the veteran and the sacrifice of his comrades. The veteran will gain a new outlook on today's teen by getting to know one a little more personally." While working on this project, youth showed the seniors how to make use of the range of possibilities offered by the Internet: email to keep in contact with family and friends, getting information on just about any subject, and accessing government and business services on-line. The results of the project will be shown to seniors, youth, staff and invited guests on a date in mid-January at the high school. There will be demonstrations of the internet and its uses, and seniors will be able to view their own profiles as well as undertake activities on-line with students.

[Lunenburg Progress-Enterprise, 15 December 1999]

1999 December 15

Abandoned Railway Bridges Unsafe

The Department of Natural Resources is assessing the condition of bridges at Gold River, Martins River and Cooks Branch-Half River on the abandoned CN railway lines. Because of time, unauthorized use of the bridges and vandalism, they are no longer safe for public use. Allen Webber, Warden of Chester Municipality, said municipal recreation officials will watch the study closely to ensure it doesn't affect a proposed trail development along the abandoned lines. The trail development hasn't been approved yet.
[Lunenburg Progress-Enterprise, 15 December 1999]

The railway bridges across Gold River and Martins River in Lunenburg County, were built about 1903 by MacKenzie and Mann, the contractors for construction of the Halifax and South Western Railway. Trains operated across them until 1993.

1999 December 15

New Street Lights in Western Shore

Chester Municipal Council has decided to arrange with Nova Scotia Power to install streetlights at twelve intersections throughout Western Shore as requested by residents. To pay for the new lights, a special area tax rate of 2.3 cents per $100 of assessment will be charged each year to properties close to the light locations.
[Lunenburg Progress-Enterprise, 15 December 1999]

1999 December 15

Windows 2000 Released to Manufacturers

After an arduous three years of development, Microsoft today announced the release of the finished code for Windows 2000, the latest operating system in the Windows software family. "We haven't shipped it until it's ready, and today it's ready," Brian Valentine, senior vice president of Microsoft's Windows Division, said at a morning news conference. Code for Windows 2000 was being delivered today to software manufacturing plants in the United States, Europe and Asia to begin duplicating disks, building boxes and delivering the product. Retail customers will be able to purchase Windows 2000-based products beginning on 17 February 2000. Windows 2000, which will succeed Windows NT version 4.0 for Microsoft's corporate customers, is coming nearly a year later than Microsoft intended. The delay has meant more opportunities for other software makers such as Sun Microsystems and the numerous companies supporting the free Linux operating system. That makes this version of Windows doubly important, as Windows 2000 represents the company's technological and financial future for the next few years. Windows 2000 is designed for high-powered computers and networks for businesses, and is based on a different software architecture than Windows 98, which is aimed at the home market. Prices begin around $149 US for each user, while versions for network computers start around $599 US and climb according to the number of users licensed. But industry analysts say the software price alone is only a small portion of the total cost to convert to the complex new system. The complex operating system, with an estimated 35 million lines of code, can give even the most tech-savvy company pause. Windows NT, first introduced in 1993, had not been updated since 1997, although Microsoft periodically released additional software, called service packs, to fix problems or add new features. NT currently has a majority market share for business desktops, but has seen stiff competition for servers, in part due to the delay in releasing Windows 2000. The Linux operating system, for example, currently holds anywhere from 18 to 25 percent of the server market — better estimates are difficult to make since the system is available to download free of charge. Linux gained nearly all of its market share while Windows 2000 was in development.
The Globe and Mail, 16 December 1999
and http://www.infobeat.com/stories/cgi/story.cgi?id=2562635291-bfe

1999 December 15

WHIP Website Expanded and Upgraded


Western Nova Scotia's premiere health information service has expanded. Citizens in Kings, Annapolis, Lunenburg, and Queens counties have joined residents of Shelburne, Digby, and Yarmouth counties in being able to access consumer health information via the Internet. The Western Health Information Project (WHIP), in existence since 1996, has broadened its coverage to include all seven counties in the western part of the province, has updated its website, and has embarked on a campaign to raise awareness and use of this unusual service. WHIP is a partnership of the Western Regional Health Board and the Western Counties Regional Library. Its purpose is to coordinate access and delivery of consumer health information in western Nova Scotia. The WHIP website has been given an entirely new look, including a new logo and layout, and it now has its own domain name. Project manager Michael Durkee will be conducting training sessions for the general public, CAP site volunteers, community health boards, and public library staff, between January and June 2000. These training sessions will be held in CAP site rooms, health centres and libraries in each of the seven counties. The training will be aimed at showing people how to use the WHIP website to find quality health information on the Internet.
[Bridgewater Bulletin, 8 December 1999]
[Liverpool Advance, 15 December 1999]

Western Health Information Partnership website at
Brief history of WHIP:

And Resolution 108, Hansard, 26 November 1997, page 243:

1999 December 15

Coal Imports Continuing

DEVCO's only mine still not producing coal

Coal production at Devco's lone mine remains at a standstill as miners continue to work through the start up of the new 1-North wall at Prince in Point Aconi. Devco is using its coal pier and railroad to move imported coal for its single customer, Nova Scotia Power. Devco has not been able to meet its coal commitment to Nova Scotia Power for several years. "1-North is not ready to produce and miners don't make those kinds of decisions," said United Mine Workers District 26 president Steve Drake today. He dismissed management projections the wall would be producing coal by December 13th, five months after the previous wall was mined out. Drake cited past projections by management that showed Phalen Colliery in Lingan would have a 20-year life and now it is gone and the fact Prince is still out of production since the former production wall was mined out and the new wall wasn't ready. "It is very frustrating for miners," especially when management blames the problem on absenteeism. "It is a problem inherent in the industry, they can't blame this issue on the failure of the big decisions," Drake said. "I don't have faith in management's or the board of directors' projections based on the five year past history of this team." Devco president George White and chairman Joe Shannon could not be reached for comment on when Prince will be back in production.
[Cape Breton Post, 16 December 1999]

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