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

Chapter 56
2000 April 1-14




2000 April

Railway to Mulgrave May be Rebuilt

Superport Authority wants land held in reserve

A scarcity of building lots in the town of Mulgrave, on the west side of Canso Strait, has the town re-evaluating the future of some land it owns. Several years ago, the town bought surplus land from CN Rail — formerly used for the right-of-way of the Truro-Sydney main line of the ICR Eastern Extension Railway, later the Canadian National — with the intent of offering some of the land to abutting land owners and selling the rest publicly. This rail line was bypassed after the completion of the Canso Causeway in December 1954 and the construction of the relocated main line track from Linwood Station through Havre Boucher to Aulds Cove and over the Causeway to Cape Breton Island. The track from Linwood Station to Mulgrave, which had carried main line freight and passenger trains for seventy years, immediately saw a steep decline in traffic; eventually it was abandoned and dismantled.

However, last year the Strait of Canso Superport Corporation Limited asked the town to hold on to the former railway land because it had been determined that it is possible that rail service may be restored to Mulgrave. Since then, the town has received several requests for it to sell building lots from the railway land. At the regular monthly meeting of the Mulgrave Town Council in April 2000, councillors decided to ask the Superport to clarify what the future holds for rail. "We would like to determine where the Port Authority is on it, and how they're pursuing it," Mayor Leonard MacDonald said. "I don't think council wants to restrict development in either way, whether it's residential or commercial, and certainly I believe the railway would be a really important link to the port (at Mulgrave)," he said.

A study carried out by the Superport Authority last year identified about 200,000 tonnes of cargo per year which would be carried by a rail line to Mulgrave. The minimum needed to justify building the line is 250,000 tonnes per year (about 50-60 carloads per week). "So it's very close. They've identified over 80 per cent of their goal," he said. Mayor MacDonald said he does not think it needs to be a choice between new housing and the railway line. "I don't think you trade off one against the other, I think you can do both," he says.

[Guysborough County Journal, 13 April 2000]




Located at 45°36'N, 61°22'W, the main harbour of the Superport is capable of accommodating Ultra Large Carriers of the 500,000 tonne class. The Strait Superport is 20 km long, up to 1.5 km wide, with a limiting depth of 27 m.

References:
Town of Mulgrave
    http://www.strait-highlands.ns.ca/town_of_mulgrave.htm
Strait-Highlands Regional Development Agency
    http://www.strait-highlands.ns.ca/
Map of Canso Superport area
    http://www.strait-highlands.ns.ca/strait_of_canso_superport.htm
Strategic Direction 5: Effective Management of the Strait of Canso Superport
    http://www.strait-highlands.ns.ca/strategi.htm#STRATEGIC DIRECTION 5


2000 April

Free Internet Access
Now available in Halifax and Sydney areas

No Fees and No Usage Limits

Free Internet access has arrived in Nova Scotia. AltaVista, one of the world's top Internet search engines, began offering free Internet access in the United States last summer and last month announced plans to do the same in Great Britain.

The free service, which has attracted about 1,500,000 registered users to date, is now available in Nova Scotia, says Tim Jenkins, owner of Computer Renaissance stores in Halifax and Charlottetown. "It's fairly new to the region. It's only been around in Halifax maybe a month," he said in an interview from Charlottetown on Tuesday. "We're just in the starting stages and hope to be advertising it in the next very little while." The free CD-ROM program that provides Internet access is available through all four Computer Renaissance outlets in the Maritimes. The Halifax store is at 201 Chain Lake Drive in the Bayers Lake Business Park.

Although the service is free, users have to be willing to live with a small banner on their monitor screens that runs ads while the program is running. "Basically, they're trying to get you to look at this little advertising banner and they give you free access while you do that," Mr. Jenkins said. "That's how they make their money, selling the advertising." Other ISPs (Internet service providers) charge about $30 to $45 a month for providing an Internet connection for residential users.

The free Internet service offers good basic access, but it isn't designed for everyone, he said. "It's not designed for the high-volume user," he said. "It's designed for the person who wants access once in a while and is not going to be on it eight hours a day." And he said he doesn't think the service will pose a serious threat to large local Internet providers such as MTT and AT&TCanada. "I think it will have a small effect, but I really don't think the people that would be using AltaVista would be their prime target anyway," he said. "It'll take away the people who are on (MTT's) Sympatico now that are using their $5-a-month or $10-a-month access. It'll take away the cheapies."

The AltaVista service in Nova Scotia has local dial-up numbers in Halifax and Sydney [see below]. There is no cost for local dial-ups, but long-distance calls are required to get online from outside those areas and the user pays the long-distance cost charged by his/her long-distance phone company.

MTT spokeswoman Kelly Gallant said Tuesday that she wasn't aware of the local introduction of AltaVista's free Internet service. But she said MTT offers its customers a broad range of services, including quality Internet services, that are competitive with other providers and backed up with technical supports.

AltaVista, based in Palo Alto, California, is controlled by CMGI Inc. of Andover, Massachusetts. CMGI shares trade on the Nasdaq stock exchange.

[Halifax Chronicle-Herald, 6 April 2000]


Source: The Altavista website at
    http://microav.com/
    http://microav.com/fcgi-bin/phone_numbers?pid=1&which=state&val=NS


Reference: Computer Renaissance website at
    http://www.compused.ca/



2000 April

Tufts Cove Plant Being Converted to Burn Natural Gas

The Tufts Cove Generating Station has been a landmark on the shore of Halifax Harbour since 1965. Situated between the two bridges on the Dartmouth side, its three high smokestacks are easily recognized from long distances. The station has three generating units, with a combined capacity of 350 megawatts. This year, major changes are underway at Tufts Cove, to modify the furnaces and burners, and the furnace and boiler control systems, to be able to burn natural gas from SOEP, the Sable Offshore Energy Project. This is one of the largest gas conversion projects in Atlantic Canada this year. Once these modifications are completed, the plant will be able to burn bunker C fuel oil and/or natural gas. "When gas comes through the Halifax lateral pipeline in October 2000, Tufts Cove will be ready to burn it," confirms Romaine Cook, project leader. "On any given day, we'll be making fuel choice decisions based on the going price of bunker C oil or natural gas. We'll be able to burn the most cost-effective fuel." Natural gas also offers environmental benefits, which will help NSPI to reduce harmful emissions into the atmosphere.
Source:
Nova Scotia Power's newsletter Current News, March/April 2000, distributed to customers enclosed with the March/April bills. (At this time, almost all customers received their bills printed on paper and mailed individually through the postal system; the electric company had, for many years, been enclosing with the bills a brief company newsletter, sometimes accompanied by various public-service leaflets.)


2000 April

Transponder in Each Cow's Collar

The supplemental feed system in this barn is electronically controlled. Each animal has a transponder on its collar that corresponds to its profile stored in the barn's computer system. When the animal steps up to the feeding station the computer automatically provides the animal with the proper mix of food and nutritional supplements for its individual needs. Each cow's production and feeding record is entered into the barn's computer system, enabling the owner to continually evaluate the herd at any time...

Excerpted from "River John Farm Employs Leading-Edge Technology" in the Halifax Chronicle-Herald, 6 April 2000, which describes a new dairy barn at Luchtenberg Farms, near River John in Pictou County, Nova Scotia.



2000 April

Intellectual Property Belongs to the School Board

At its April meeting, the Strait Regional School Board discussed a draft policy on intellectual property. The policy has not been approved, but is made available to the public and employees within the system for input. Intellectual property is defined to include, but is not limited to, writings, artwork, literary works, inventions, musical compositions, dramatic productions, performances, computer software, and learning materials produced and distributed through either print or electronic media. The policy states that all intellectual property created or produced by employees of the board in the performance of their job responsibilities belongs to the board. The proposed policy includes ideas which are created on board time, and/or with the use of board facilities, as well as anything commissioned by the board.
[Guysborough County Journal, 13 April 2000]


2000 April

False Fire Alarms Becoming a Problem

A new municipal bylaw slated for final reading this month will allow the Municipality of Annapolis County to assess fines for false fire alarms. Warden Peter Terauds says the legislation is designed to protect volunteer firefighters in the county, especially those plauged with false alarm calls.

The bylaw states that property owners may not have more than one false alarm in any year. More than that, and they can be subject to a fine of $200 for each false alarm. Terauds says the municipality responded to a request from Annapolis County Fire Services that something be done to encourage alarm owners to maintain and upgrade their alarm systems properly. He says the main idea is to put a little clout behine warnings issued by volunteer firefighters. "This bylaw will awaken proprietors to keep their systems in good working order," he says.

The Bear River Fire Department was the first to call for action after their alarm soundings more than doubled in one year. Department Fire Prevention Officer Jim Nixon says they received 138 alarm soundings in 1999, and nearly half of those were from the commercial section of Cornwallis Park. "Some of those buildings are so old that even moisture can trigger the sensors," Nixon says. He added it got so bad they had seven false alarms in one weekend. Nixon explains that it was costing the department a lot of time and money to respond, and he says they didn't want fire taxes to go up. "We're not doing this for the money" (from fines). He says they just want some way of forcing people to properly maintain and upgrade their alarm systems.

Annapolis Royal Fire Chief Russell Mackintosh says they have their fair share of false alarms as well. While Mackintosh doesn't like to call them "false alarms", but prefers "alarm soundings", he says the problem is on the rise for his area. Mackintosh says last year they had a total of 118 alarm soundings. Of those, 39 were false alarms, and they were attributable to just seven properties. He explains that for every call, they dispatch two pumpers, an equipment truck, and up to a dozen volunteer firefighters. He notes that if the call comes from the county, they will often request an auxiliary staff from another community like Bridgetown, to be on call in their absence, creating a domino effect.

Mackintosh explains that alarms can be triggered for a variety of unintentional reasons. For example, he says a change in the weather, humidity, dust, insects, pollen in the air, or a voltage variation in the power line can set them off.

[Bridgetown Monitor, 18 April 2000]


2000 April 1

New Bridgewater Garbage Collection Contract Begins

G.E.'s All Trucking Ltd., the firm which currently picks up curbside garbage in Bridgewater, has been awarded another five-year solid waste collection contract valued at $746,149.54. The firm, which recently has also been re-awarded contracts in Lunenburg municipality and the Town of Mahone Bay, was the lowest of three bidders on the project. One competitor said they would do the job for $801,154.49 and the other wanted $1,726,574.45. During the first year of the contract, which begins April 1, 2000, the collection fee will be about $24,000 above the cost for the fiscal year 1999-2000.
[Bridgewater Bulletin, 23 February 2000]

2000 April 1

New Railway Radio Spectrum Licensing Agreement in Effect

All transactions associated with spectrum licencing and
management will be conducted over the Internet

MONTREAL, March 31 /CNW/ — Industry Canada has completed the streamlining of its radio licensing process for Canada's railways. One license for the radio spectrum — used to manage and operate the nation's freight and passenger railways — will be issued tomorrow, April 1st, to the Railway Association of Canada, replacing some 4,900 individual licences.

The RAC's 52 members represent more than 98 per cent of the railways operating in Canada today. To ensure essential radio frequency coordination, the railway industry will utilize Canada's advanced information highway infrastructure and all transactions associated with spectrum licencing and management will be conducted over the Internet. "This is the first time that the regulator, Industry Canada, has issued an industry-wide spectrum license. The RAC/Industry Canada agreement is a model that Industry Canada expects to use with other radio users," said RAC President Bob Ballantyne. "Issuance of one spectrum license will substantially reduce the administrative burden associated with the licensing process in the past for both Industry Canada and the railways, and will facilitate implementation of advanced technology in future by Canada's railways," he said.

The RAC will also be responsible for collecting all spectrum license fees from its members on behalf of Industry Canada. The new approach recognizes the importance of radio in all aspects of modern, safe railway operations and management through mobile units and fixed site installations in North America.

Canadian and U.S. railroads are allocated some 94 frequencies which are used for train control, yards, maintenance of way, police, automatic equipment identification, end of train units, hot wheel bearing detectors and mid-train locomotives used on unit coal trains. Demand for mobile radio services has increased dramatically because of new services such as wireless data, cellular phones and new applications for existing functions. Canada's railways move approximately five million carloads and containers of freight traffic and some 45 million rail commuters and inter-city travelers annually.

Sources:
Page 17, Branchline, May 2000 [a monthly newsletter published by the Bytown Railway Society, Ottawa, Ontario]
Railway Association of Canada media release carried on Canada News Wire
    http://www.newswire.ca/releases/March2000/31/c9163.html

Railways in Nova Scotia affected by this are:
Canadian National Railway
Cape Breton & Central Nova Scotia Railway
Windsor & Hantsport Railway
Devco Railway



2000 April 2

Air Nova Begins Summer Schedule to/from Halifax

On February 9th, Air Canada and its regional partner Air Nova announced an integrated network schedule for their 2000 summer schedules, to be effective beginning April 2nd. In Nova Scotia, Air Nova will offer better and expanded service to several destinations in Eastern Canada. A total of nine Dash 8 100/300 series aircraft will be transferred from Western Canada to markets in Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic Canada to fill the void created by the recent shutdown of InterCanadian. Air Nova will replace its 37-seat Dash 8s with 50-seat Dash 8s on its Sydney - Halifax, and Charlottetown - Halifax corridors, and will introduce an additional non-stop jet service to Ottawa from Halifax. Daily jet service will be provided between Halifax - Deer Lake & Gander, NF twice each business day. Air Nova's business day schedule enhancements in Nova Scotia are shown below.

From / To Halifax
Air Nova and/or Air Canada

From/to Halifax in Nova Scotia
     **  larger 50-seat Dash 8 flights on five of six daily return flights 
                          to Sydney, beginning April 2nd
     **  one daily non-stop Dash 8 service 
                          to Yarmouth, beginning April 2nd

From/to Halifax to/from Newfoundland
     **  two additional daily 77-seat jet flights 
                          to Deer Lake and Gander 
                          (for a total of 4), beginning April 2nd
     **  six daily non-stop jet service flights 
                          to St. John's and return, beginning April 2nd
     **  one new daily service to Stephenville and return, 
                          beginning April 2nd
                          with a second flight beginning June 5th
     **  one daily direct and non-stop service 
                          to/from Goose Bay, beginning June 4th

From/to Halifax to/from Prince Edward Island
     **  six larger 50-seat Dash 8 flights 
                          to and from Charlottetown, beginning April 3rd

   Charlottetown to Halifax              Halifax to Charlottetown
QK No. 1  departs 0635 arrives 0715   QK No. 1  departs 0800 arrives 0840
QK No. 2  departs 0930 arrives 1010   QK No. 2  departs 1120 arrives 1200
QK No. 3  departs 1250 arrives 1330   QK No. 3  departs 1410 arrives 1450
QK No. 4  departs 1525 arrives 1605   QK No. 4  departs 1655 arrives 1735
QK No. 5  departs 1750 arrives 1830   QK No. 5  departs 1900 arrives 1940
QK No. 6  departs 1955 arrives 2035   QK No. 6  departs 2105 arrives 2145

    Air Nova's service between Halifax and Charlottetown will be provided
    with a new 50-seat Dash 8 300 series aircraft, which will provide an 
    additional 78 seats on this corridor each business day and will replace 
    the 37-seat Dash 8 100 series that currently flies this route.

From/to Halifax to/from New Brunswick
     **  six daily flights to Saint John and 8 return flights, 
                          beginning April 2nd
     **  six daily non-stop services to Moncton and return, 
                          beginning April 2nd
     **  five daily flights to Fredericton and 6 return flights, 
                          beginning April 2nd

From/to Halifax to/from Quebec
     **  one daily non-stop service to Quebec City and return, 
                          beginning April 2nd
     **  one daily Dash 8-combi service to Iles-de-la-Madeleine, 
                          Gaspe, Mont Joli, Quebec City and Montreal, 
                          beginning April 2nd

From/to Halifax to/from Ottawa
     **  five daily direct non-stop jet services to Ottawa and return, 
                          beginning April 2nd

From/to Halifax to/from Vancouver
     **  one new daily non-stop service on a new Airbus A319 
                          to Vancouver and return, beginning June 5th

From/to Halifax to/from United States
     **  six daily flights to/from Boston, including jet service 
                          beginning June 4th 
     **  two daily flights to New York/Newark and Washington, DC., 
                          beginning April 2nd


Sources:
The Halifax Chronicle-Herald, 10 February 2000
The Halifax Daily News, 10 February 2000
Air Nova media releases
    http://www.newswire.ca/releases/February2000/09/c2391.html
    http://www.newswire.ca/releases/February2000/17/c4922.html

The Air Canada website at
    http://www.aircanada.ca/about-us/news/090200a.html

2000 April 4

300 Applications for
Canada's First Digital TV Channels

Salter Street Going After Digital Specialty Channels

Files 30 applications for new television services

Salter Street Films has decided to stake out its share of a 500-channel universe. The company has filed 30 applications with the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission in response to the commission's call for digital specialty programming services. And a CRTC spokesman said Salter Street is certain to get at least some of them. Salter Street Films Limited has its main office at 1668 Barrington Street, Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Midnight Monday evening, April 3rd, was the CRTC's deadline for applicants to file in this round, the Commission's first-ever call for digital television services. The Commission received more than 300 applications.

For the first time, the CRTC will licence channels that cable operators are not required to carry, opening the door for an unlimited number of speciality channels. Salter Street's applications include channels for addicts (Recovery TV), horror fans (Scream TV) and kung-fu enthusiasts (Martial Arts TV). Catherine Tait, Salter Street's president, said the applications are based on the company's strength "as an innovative producer and distributor of Canadian comedy, non-fiction and niche film and television programming, as well as our expertise in Internet content production. Salter "hopes to have the opportunity to create the first broadcast centre for specialty programming services in Atlantic Canada," she said in a release.

The company has applied for two types of broadcast licences.

Category One licences are the "must carry" channels. Cable operators are required, depending on capacity, to carry these as a condition of their own licences. Only ten of these will be granted for all Canada. CRTC spokesman Denis Carmel said successful applicants in Category One have to meet Canadian-content regulations and help fund Canadian productions. With their must-carry status, Category One channels have a better chance at commercial viability via the revenues they bring in from their share of cable fees. Salter Street's applications include Independent Film Channel Canada, formed in partnership with The Independent Film Channel (U.S.) and Triptych Media; and Girls TV, entertainment and information programming focused on building confidence and positive self-image in young girls.

In Category Two, the only real requirement is the channels not be in competition with existing services. The only catch is the licence holder has to go out and convince cable operators they have a channel viewers want to see and pay for. "The challenge is to get it on the air, otherwise it's a very expensive hobby," Carmel said. Salter Street's Category Two applications include Aviation TV, Classics TV, Corporate TV, Jobs TV and New Age TV.

CRTC hearings on the new applications are expected to begin in mid-August, with a decision likely before the end of 2000.

Sources:
The Halifax Daily News, 5 April 2000
The Globe and Mail, 5 April 2000
The National Post, 6 April 2000


Salter Street Films Announces Proposed
Digital Specialty Television Services

Halifax, Nova Scotia
Salter Street Films announced today, April 4th, that it has filed 30 applications with the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) in response to the Commission's call for digital specialty programming services. The proposed services cover a wide range of English language genres. "Salter Street Films hopes to have the opportunity to create the first broadcast centre for specialty programming services in Atlantic Canada," says Catherine Tait, President and COO of Salter Street Films. "We have prepared our proposed new channels based on Salter Street Films' strengths as an innovative producer and distributor of Canadian comedy, non-fiction and niche film and television programming, as well as our expertise in Internet content production."

The CRTC's call for applications specified two categories of licences. Salter Street Films' applications in Category One, with "must carry" status, are: All of Salter Street's Category One applications are also filed in Category Two.

Salter Street Films is also participating in Corus Entertainment Inc.'s application for Chrome, a channel featuring information, entertainment and lifestyle programming for men — a television environment that celebrates and embraces the unique interest and lifestyles of Canadian men;
CHROME Incorporated
CRTC Application No. 2000-0780-9 Category One
Corus Entertainment, BCE Place, Bay-Wellington Tower, 81 Bay Street, Suite 1630, Toronto, Ontario

Salter Street's applications in Category Two are: Salter Street Films' main office is at 1668 Barrington Street, Suite 500, Halifax, Nova Scotia. The company's shares trade on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol SSF. It is an integrated entertainment company that develops, produces and distributes original film and television programming. Salter Street's television programs include the award-winning and top-rated comedy series This Hour Has 22 Minutes and Made in Canada (currently broadcast in the U.S. as The Industry on PBS affiliated stations); the second series of The Awful Truth with Michael Moore (for Bravo, The Film and Arts Network, and Channel 4 U.K.); Emily of New Moon (currently broadcast on Encore's WAM! family channel); and the science fiction series LEXX (recently launched in the U.S. on the SCI FI Channel).

Sources:
Salter Street Films press release, 4 April 2000, at
    http://www2.cdn-news.com/scripts/
        ccn-release.pl?2000/04/04/0404100n.html?cp=ssf

CRTC's Preliminary List of Applications, 11 April 2000, at
    http://www.crtc.gc.ca/ENG/PROC_BR/Call%20for%20applications/
        PN2000-22/Alphabetical%20list%20(pn2000-22).htm


Reference:
Salter Street Films Limited's websites at
    http://www.salter.com/

    http://www.investorcanada.com/ financial information for Canadian investors
    http://www.bargoon.com/map.html
a local auction site
    http://www.Q1234.com/
Canada's first Internet broadcaster of quarterly earnings calls


CRTC Received 452 Applications
for New Digital Television Services

In response to its February 4th, 2000 call for applications, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) was inundated by 452 applications for new digital services. Of these applications, 446 are pay and specialty services (91 in Category One, 355 in Category Two); 2 are pay-per-view; and 4 are video-on-demand. The Commission will consider these applications in August 2000 at a public hearing in Hull, Quebec. The CRTC expects to release its decisions on these applications at the end of 2000.

Sources:
The National Post, 12 April 2000
CRTC media release dated 11 April 2000, at
    http://www.newswire.ca/releases/April2000/11/c2873.html
    http://www.crtc.gc.ca/ENG/NEWS/RELEASES/2000/R000411e.htm


Reference:
CRTC's Preliminary List of Applications, 11 April 2000, at
    http://www.crtc.gc.ca/ENG/PROC_BR/Call%20for%20applications/
        PN2000-22/Alphabetical%20list%20(pn2000-22).htm


ICS comment (written 12 April 2000):
Today, the CRTC said it received more than twice the number of applications that it expected to receive in this round.

The reason for the large number of applications is the Internet. This is the first time in Canada that the door has been opened to digital television services aimed at the general public. The Internet is the obvious distribution method for any ditigal television service. While the Internet is now able to handle satisfactory video only in a very few locations (one is the experimental service now being operated by Aliant in Moncton, New Brunswick) it is being rapidly upgraded in many locations and there is no doubt that digital television will soon become a commercially-feasible medium. The Internet television service — providing seventeen channels — which iCraveTV began operating in Canada in November 1999 is the most spectacular demonstration that Internet television will very soon be a reality, and any organization looking in that direction must get serious now.

The 452 CRTC applications are for digital television services that will be distributed, not over the Internet, but through cable TV. However, any digital content produced for cable TV today can easily be re-directed to the Internet tomorrow. These applicants are looking past cable TV to the high-bandwidth Internet that now is coming over the horizon.



2000 April 4

Baddeck's Bell Museum a Success

The Alexander Graham Bell museum annually draws 120,000 visitors to one of four federal sites and parks operated by Parks Canada and the Department of Canadian Heritage in Cape Breton. Each of the sites is unique in its own way, Bell Museum spokesperson Sharon Morrow told a dinner-meeting of the Sydney Rotary Club on Tuesday, April 4th. The Alexander Graham Bell Museum chronicles the life of the Mr. Bell in the years after he invented the telephone when he became immensely wealthy and moved to Beinn Bhreagh, near Baddeck. The Cape Breton Highlands National Park, Marconi Museum, St. Peter's canal and Fortress of Louisbourg are the other sites that add to Cape Breton's charm. Today the museum offers interactive displays of Bell's inventions that formed in an inquiring mind. They appeal to children of all ages who delight in the kite making sessions and other scientific experiments demonstrated by the staff. Fees are charged during the peak season from mid-May to mid-October, but the museum is open to the public year-round. Kite making and flying sessions are held during the summer.
[Cape Breton Post, 5 April 2000]


2000 April 6

Watts Call Centre Work Gets Under Way

Former Dawson Hospital Photo: Work was well under way by mid-morning April 6th, on a project to strip away the bricks from the former Dawson Memorial Hospital in Bridgewater. A portion of the building is being renovated to provide office space for the teleservice company Watts Communications Inc. Mayor Ernie Bolivar said a Dartmouth firm, Rank Incorporated, "are actually going to salvage part of the structure and make offices out of the three levels."

According to a brief news release issued by town hall late Monday, an "offer to purchase" the former hospital property closes April 21. "The town is providing preliminary cleaning of the site at a cost of $75,000 after which the property will be conveyed to Rank Inc. for $1.00," the news release said. Mayor Bolivar said the decision to sell the property for only a token amount was made to save the town demolition costs of between $300,000 and $350,000 to tear down the 37-year-old structure. That money was to have been considered for this year's budget.

And, he said, "we've had it on the market for eleven or twelve years and we haven't been able to market it." Mayor Bolivar said with new development on the prime Dufferin Street property the town will receive tax revenues from the building. "Right now it's an eyesore. "We're going to dress it up and it's going to be an attractive building and produce some income as an asset to us," the mayor said. Mayor Bolivar said that part of the $75,000 clean-up costs will include the price of removal of remaining asbestos in the building. He said about 75 to 80 per cent of the asbestos originally in the structure was removed during a failed attempt a few years back to convert the structure into an deluxe adult residential complex.

"The town is excited about the potential development of this property and the realization of about 500 jobs," the mayor said. "We anticipate a fall completion of the project. Watts Communications Inc. is in the process of setting up a call centre in Bridgewater. The firm has set up offices in the MTT building on Logan Road where 40 to 60 workers are said to be at work in a space occupying about three-quarters of the sprawling building. John Brennan, Watts project manager, would only confirm the company is working at that site on a temporary basis. All inquiries were referred to Watts president Colin Taylor or vice-president Ian Simpson, at head office in Toronto. They did not respond to repeated telephone calls. A company official said in mid-February that Watts plans to employ 180 people in its first year of operations and that the employment level would reach 300 within three years. In February, it was announced the firm would locate its permanent headquarters in the South Shore Mall. The mall is now reported as being sold to a numbered company from Ontario.

Demolition crews started work April 8 gutting the interior of the former hospital. A spokesman for the firm, Marinas Verhagen Enterprises Ltd. said the walls of the building which has been vacant since 1988, were being removed. But, he said, "we're leaving the concrete structure to be used" in a renovation project that's expected to follow the partial demolition. The brick facade, roof, all windows and all non-load bearing walls were being taken out of the structure as well as mechanical and electrical systems. "The concrete structure will remain for future use," concurred a spokesman in the town's engineering department. The demolition permit for work valued at $95,000 was issued to the contractor Thursday. The permit was paid for by the demolition firm which has headquarters in New Glasgow and the work is to be carried out over the next three weeks.

[Bridgewater Bulletin, 12 April 2000]

2000 April 10

Avid Users of Public Internet Facility

Residents of St. Mary's district are the region's most avid users of public Internet-access computers, according to CAP site spokesperson Robert Jordan-Robichaud. In a presentation to the St. Mary's District Municipal Council in Sherbrooke on Monday evening, April 10th, Robichaud held up a red binder full of sheets of paper, about twelve centimetres thick. Each page in the binder represents a St. Mary's resident who has registered to use a public-access terminal, Robichaud said. St. Mary's residents logged 2257 hours on public Internet terminals in 1999, slightly more than was recorded in the larger municipality of Port Hawkesbury, which came second with 2194 hours. The St. Mary's Community Access Project (CAP) operates five public Internet-access computers in Sherbrooke, Guysborough County — two at St. Mary's high school and three at the Sherbrooke Library. An additional computer is maintained by the Eastern Counties Regional Library at its Sherbrooke branch. More elderly people are learning how to use computers and the Internet to do everything from look up health information to exchange email with relatives, Robichaud told the councillors. The CAP site is an important learning and information resource for people who otherwise would not be able to afford it, he added.
[Guysborough County Journal, 13 April 2000]


2000 April 12

CRTC Approves CKDU-FM's Plan
to Change Frequency, Increase Power

CKDU-FM Society, Halifax, Nova Scotia

The CRTC approves the application to amend the broadcasting licence for CKDU-FM Halifax by changing the frequency from 97.5 MHz (channel 248LP) to 88.1 MHz (channel 201A) and by increasing the effective radiated power from 33 watts to 520 watts. The Commission authorizes the licensee to operate the undertaking on the basis of the contours and particulars resulting from the above-mentioned changes. The Department of Industry has advised the Commission that this application is conditionally technically acceptable. The Department will only issue a broadcasting certificate once it has determined that the proposed technical parameters will not create any unacceptable interference with aeronautical NAV/COM services.
Source:
CRTC Decision 2000-98, 12 April 2000
    http://www.crtc.gc.ca/archive/Decisions/2000/DB2000-98.htm



2000 April 13   6:31pm

Harry and Parker Brought Down the House

Legislature shut down for lack of quorum,
first time in seventeen years

On this day, two television commentators caused the unplanned closure of the Nova Scotia Legislature. When Harry Flemming and Parker Barss Donham began their scheduled political discussion on CBC's supper-hour news, the legislature's business ground to a halt. The politicians went home from the legislature early after the government lost quorum in the House of Assembly because too many of its members were off the floor watching the The Harry and Parker Show. The two political commentators, both columnists for The Daily News, are a regular part of the early evening news, appearing weekly.

It's the duty of government whip Jim DeWolfe to make sure enough Tories are in the legislative chamber to meet the minimum requirement of fifteen MLAs, including the Speaker. But there were only nine MLAs — just three of them Tories — in the chamber at 6:31pm, when Cape Breton West MLA Russell MacKinnon moved for adjournment

DeWolfe was among a tri-partisan crowd of MLAs gathered around a television in an adjacent room, watching Flemming and Donham discuss the budget on CBC. "It happened so quick, I guess, that it was just one of those things," an embarrassed DeWolfe sputtered as MLAs filed out of Province House 1½ hours early. Government House leader Ron Russell, who was at a briefing during the gaffe, said DeWolfe won't be disciplined, but he expects him to be more vigilant in cracking the whip. "No real harm done. We'll get on with the business tomorrow."

The last known time the House shut down because of a lost quorum was May 9, 1983.

[Halifax Daily News, 14 April 2000]


2000 April 14

Shaw Expands Digital Cable Service
in Dartmouth, Bedford and Sackville

Calgary, Alberta, April 14, 2000 — Shaw Communications Incorporated announced today its plans to offer the most advanced cable technology available, Shaw Digital Cable, to residents of Dartmouth, Bedford and Sackville, Nova Scotia. Shaw Digital Cable subscribers can now get up to 200 channels of top television entertainment, children's programming, quality digital music, headline concerts, first-rate movies and exciting special events.

Shaw Digital Cable is currently available in over thirty cities and has attracted more than 135,000 subscribers. Last year, the company announced a $100,000,000 investment to expand digital service to most of its 1,800,000 customers coast-to-coast.

"Residents in Dartmouth, Bedford and Sackville will now enjoy the unmatched clarity of digital technology and an unbeatable package of entertainment " said Ron Bell, Vice President Operations, Shaw Cablesystems, Eastern Canada. "With Shaw Digital Cable, we deliver the cable technology of the future, today." Shaw Digital Cable offers up to 200 channels of unmatched picture and sound quality, 30 channels of uninterrupted DMX Music in Dolby Digital (AC-3) sound and customized programming — including a programmable interactive program guide, Navigator. Dartmouth, Bedford and Sackville customers will now have access to Pay Per View Movies, Events, and Cable exclusives like NFL Sunday Ticket. They will also be eligible for one month of free digital service with Shaw's Total Entertainment Package. This value-packed entertainment extravaganza includes our Full Cable Service (Basic and all Tiers), five US Superstations (WSBK Boston, KTLA Los Angeles, WGN Chicago, WPIX New York and WTBS Atlanta), TMN-The Movie Network 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, thirty channels of DMX Music, and more for only $49.95. Purchase a Shaw Digital Cable Terminal now and receive a free installation, first month free, and six Pay Per View movies.

Shaw Communications Inc. is a diversified Canadian communications company whose core business is providing broadband cable television and Internet services to approximately 1.8 million customers. Shaw also has significant interests in direct-to-home satellite and in Internet, interactive television, e-commerce and telecommunications companies.

Source: Shaw news release, 14 April 2000
    http://www.shaw.ca/investor_relations/press/2000/000414.htm


Reference:
Shaw Communications Incorporated website
    http://www.shaw.ca/



2000 April 14


2nd Annual Nova Scotia Skills Competition

April 14, 2000

Nova Scotia Community College
Institute of Technology Campus
5685 Leeds Street, Halifax

Competition Gold Silver Bronze
Architectural CADD Shaun Lowe Scott Morrison Samuel Hirtle
Auto Body Repair Kevin Hallett Paul Jenkins David Dodge
Auto Service Eric Doucette Aaron Johnson Kevin Brownell
Cabinet Making Chuck Close Rudolph Reist Scott Chestle
Carpentry Secondary Ryan Sparks Russell Dowling  
Carpentry Post Secondary John Withrow Stephen Wade Brian Caldwell
Culinary Arts Suzanne Beniot Scott Morrison Steve McKenzie
Electronics Dirk Bouter Toby Parsons Lisa Johnson
Electrical Wiring (Residential) David LeBlanc Jason Joudrie Andrew Wallace
Environmental Systems Refrigeration Rob Nauglen Kevin Gallant Mike Morris
Graphic Design
Secondary
Chris Bray Kristen Murchison David Toews
Graphic Design
Post Secondary
Paul Woodfrod Amy Barkhouse Paul Diamond
Internet
(Web Page Design)
Secondary
Robert Church
and
Darrel Dean
David MacLeod
and
Aaron Tennant
Anthony Ha
and
Keith Jesso
Internet
(Web Page Design)
Post Secondary
Garth Holmes
and
Chris MacInnis
Mark Kirshaw
and
Brian MacDonald
Jason Mingo
and
Christopher Newell
Job Skills Presentation Max McQuinn Heather Robbins Andrew Ward
Job Interview Skills Christain Poth Ellien Seto Thomas Staves
Mechanical CADD Leigh Sabean Mike Ernst Randy King
PC Network Support Anthony Allen Adam LeDue  
Plumbing Earl Comeau Darren Ford Craig Mills
Precision Machining CNC Andrew Morash Terry O'Neil Ryan Coutre
Prepared Speech Cheryl Patton    
TV Video Production Julie Stinson
and
Susie Murphy
Amy-Nicole Alexander
and
Matt Lemieux
Justin Mattie
and
Adam Connor
Welding Bruce McGeen Billy Cook David Wright
Source:   http://skillsns.ednet.ns.ca/2000/results.htm
References:
2nd Annual Nova Scotia Skills Competition website
    http://skillsns.ednet.ns.ca/Events/NSComp.htm

Skills Canada — Nova Scotia website
    http://skillsns.ednet.ns.ca/Programs/SkillNS.htm

Skills Canada website
    http://skillscanada.com/



2000 April 14

Possibility of Restoration of Passenger Train Services

A year round rail service between Halifax and Sydney is not only viable, say supporters, but would boost the morale and economy of the entire island. "There would be a number of jobs created and it would be a service for people who are travelling off-island," says Cape Breton Regional Municipality Mayor David Muise. "I'm very encouraged by this, considering the minister has singled out this rail line for mention. And I'm sure the lobby groups will get right on it." Muise was referring to federal Transport Minister David Collenette making specific mention Wednesday, April 12th, of his hopes that Via Rail would restore year-round rail service between Sydney and Halifax. Collenette made the statement at an Ottawa press conference where he announced an extra $401,900,000 in funding for Via Rail over the next five years. Service between Sydney and Truro was abandoned in January 1990, when Via's funding was slashed by the federal government. The service moved more than 114,000 people in the last year it was in operation. Collenette's statement was good news to Jack MacLeod of Ingonish, a CNR veteran of 26 years who did a feasibility study on a passenger rail service for BCA Holdings in 1998.
[Cape Breton Post, 14 April 2000]


Transport Minister Announces $400 Million in New Funding for VIA

OTTAWA — Transport Minister David Collenette today announced a new funding package to revitalize VIA Rail Canada worth $401,900,000 over the next five years.

" Today, the Government of Canada is acting to significantly renew passenger rail in Canada," said Mr. Collenette. " By providing VIA with important new capital funds, we are putting an end to the deterioration of Canada's passenger rail system, ensuring that VIA can operate safely and efficiently in the years to come, and demonstrating our ongoing commitment to providing and improving remote and regional services. This announcement truly marks the beginning of a renaissance for passenger rail in Canada." The investment is to be targeted for spending in these categories: " This investment will give Canadians more frequent services, more modern VIA trains, and a more reliable system," said Mr. Collenette. " By providing a stable, safe and environmentally friendly transportation option to Canadians, passenger rail will help reduce both highway congestion and greenhouse gas emissions in the Quebec City - Windsor corridor. At the same time, a revitalized VIA Rail will provide greater opportunities for tourism in Western and Atlantic Canada."

VIA Rail Canada Inc., a Crown corporation, was created in 1977 to operate Canada's national passenger rail service.

References:
Transport Canada website
    http://www.tc.gc.ca/

VIA Rail website
    http://www.viarail.ca/

Backgrounder, New Funding for VIA Rail

Under the new funding package, the Government of Canada has set aside $401,900,000 in new funding for major investments at VIA Rail Canada over the next five years. The Minister of Transport has asked VIA Rail to prepare a five-year corporate plan that details how the new funding will be spent.

Transport Canada and VIA Rail Canada will also initiate the commercialization of certain remote and regional passenger rail services to tap into the expertise and sense of community that local and regional rail operators can offer in the provision of better and more efficient passenger rail services. This initiative will fulfill the government's commitment to " pilot test" the concept of franchising before the end of this year.

Since its creation in 1977, VIA Rail Canada, a dependent Crown corporation, has operated passenger trains on a cross-Canada network stretching from the Atlantic to the Pacific and from the Great Lakes to Hudson Bay. The company's network comprises 14,000 kilometres of track carrying 430 trains per week. VIA Rail Canada's headquarters are located in Montreal. The company's fleet of trains are serviced at three maintenance centres located in Montreal, Winnipeg and Vancouver.

Source:
Transport Canada news release No. H026/00, 12 April 2000
    http://www.tc.gc.ca/releases/nat/00%5Fh026e.htm






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