Kimber's Nova Scotia (April 22, 2007)

Kimber’s Nova Scotia

Judging letters by the numbers

The South Shore Regional Library is facing an “immediate funding problem [and] a gloomy future,” thanks to a combination of provincial funding formulas and the results of the 2006 census.

Statistics Canada’s latest head count shows the population of Queens and Lunenburg counties has dropped by 3,500 people since the last time the numbers were tallied in 2001. The province, which provides most funding for local libraries, doles out the money on a per capita basis

What that means, says board chair Marie Hogan Loker, is that the library is staring into the face of a $67,000 budget shortfall in 2008.

The South Shore library operates branches in Liverpool, Bridgewater and Lunenburg, as well as two bookmobiles that serve rural 61 communities.

Because the board is already being hit by increased prices for items like insurance and fuel, Hogan Loker says, “a decrease in funding means a decrease in books or services. There are no more areas to cut.”

The board is encouraging users to urge their local MLAs to urge the Minister of Education to either change the funding formula or come with more money for the library.

A new kind of N-I-M-B-Y

Gary Lunn can’t understand it. “We offer free garbage pick-up,” the Hants County bylaw enforcement officer points out, “but people don’t seem to care where they leave their garbage.”

They don’t. Last week, eight local residents were fined more than $200 each for illegally depositing their trash in the Vaughn’s area of the county, which he says has become a notorious dumping ground.

“In some places, two and three hundred bags are being dumped either in the woods or on someone else’s driveway… If [people] don’t leave their trash at another property for pick-up, they just dump it roadside or in the woods.”

Lunn isn’t sure what the attraction is. If people have more trash than the county’s six-bag limit, he notes, they can always go to the local landfill, which only charges $5.75 to take up to 900 pounds worth of junk off their hands. “That’s a good-sized half-ton truck load of garbage,” he says, “but people would rather pay the gas to drive around leaving their garbage anywhere else.”

The investigation continues. More charges are expected.

Not your usual parliamentary junket

Ottawa’s Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans usually doesn’t get much closer to real water than the water in their drinking glasses, or to real fish than what is being served that day in the parliamentary dining room.

So when members of the American Humane Society asked during the committee’s recent hearings on the seal hunt whether members had ever actually seen a hunt, the answer was a resounding… not yet.

Which explains how South Shore MP Gerald Keddy, the committee’s chair, and other members of his committee found themselves earlier this month bobbing in the ocean on a boat 45 kilometres off the Newfoundland coast, watching the controversial hunt unfold in front of them.

After watching the hunt, Keddy says “we’re very satisfied that it is [humane].”

No word on whether any of the committee members got seasick.

Peace for our time… and place

Proponents of the Pugwash Peace Exchange, “an important new facility that will celebrate Pugwash’s peace history while actively promoting peace around the world,” is facing some flak on the home front.

Some locals fear the proposed $6-million tourism development opposite the town’s famous Thinker’s Lodge will not only create traffic congestion in the middle of downtown but may interfere with water quality and, worse, end up looking like an unattractive “bunker.”

The project, which will include restoration of industrialist Cyrus Eaton’s original lodge where 22 of the world’s leading scientists met in 1957 to discuss what to do about the threat of nuclear war, is expected to attract 18,000 visitors a year and generate a $25-million economic spinoff for the region.

Perhaps not surprisingly — peace being the theme here — Peace Exchange board chair Stephen Leahy is eager to maintain peaceful relations with the neighbours. His group has agreed to a third-party evaluation of the project’s impact on the town.

Mystery under the letter A

Team Shelburne, the south shore group charged with figuring out what to do with the former Shelburne boys school in the town, has decided to go with “Proposal A.” The problem is that no one is saying what Proposal A is, and even the committee apparently doesn’t know who’s behind it.

That doesn’t sit well with Yarmouth developer Bernie Dockrill, who submitted “Proposal B,” which called for turning the school into a $527,000 seniors’ facility while giving the old gym back to the community for one dollar.

Dockrill says he’s concerned their may have been “favouritism” in consideration of his competitor’s bid. He says a committee official went to Halifax to pick up the mysterious Proposal A from a consultant there. To make matters worse, Dockrill says, he now can’t even get to talk to the committee about his plans.

“I’m not here to get notoriety,” he told the Coast Guard. “I’m just mad. A lot of my time has been wasted.”

A spokesperson for Team Shelburne insists the process was fair. “Two proposals came in and they accepted one unanimous[ly]. Bottom line is [Dockrill] wasn’t the successful candidate.”

Waiting by the phone

Bill Fielding understands there are long waiting lists for medical procedures these days. He’d just like to know he’s at least on a list.

The 83-year-old World War II veteran — he suffered shrapnel injuries to his knee and shoulder when the ambulance he was driving was hit by enemy fire — injured his knee again in a fall nearly a year ago.

After getting the knee X-rayed, Fielding’s doctor referred the Bible Hill man to a specialist in New Glasgow. But before he could get an appointment with him, the specialist relocated and all Fielding’s paperwork, including his X-rays, got lost.”

“We’ll have to start over again,” his doctor informed him.

More X-rays. Another referral, this time to a specialist in Halifax.

Since then… nothing.

“I’m fed up to the neck,” Fielding complains. “If they had come and told me, ‘Bill, you have to wait’ or something like that …”

His wife Lillion worries the health care system may not be taking Bill’s problems seriously “because of his age.”

For now, Fielding sits and waits by the phone. “I’d like to go out. I like to fish but I’ve done nothing … I’ve stayed here now everyday, expecting a phone call… I mean, I haven’t got much time left. I’d like to get out around a little bit.”

Who knew?

Did you know that last Thursday was National Hanging Out Day? Neither did I. But it was. And it wasn’t for celebrating hanging out at the mall.

The day is set aside to celebrate the lowly clothesline — and to educate communities about energy conservation. According to American statistics, six to 10 per cent of our energy consumption is consumed running clothes dryers. Who knew?

There’s even a website — — with its o
wn list of top five reasons to use “natural solar and wind power” to dry your clothes, ranging from the fact that clothes smell better and last longer to the important reality you can save money doing it.

Lorraine Blakeney of MacPhersons Mills celebrated National Hanging Out Day the way she usually does — hanging out a load of washing. “I try to use it all year-round,” she told the New Glasgow News, adding that another benefit of using the clothesline is that it gives her “a little bit of exercise. The motion of picking up the basket, taking them outside and pinning them up — it burns a few calories.”

The good news is…

With the money you save hanging out your laundry, you might be able to buy a lobster… leg.

Fishermen along the Gulf Shore and Cape Breton got their traps ready for their two-month lobster season this week, buoyed by reports from the other end of the province that the tasty crustacean was fetching $15 a pound in Southwest Nova.

But that may be a mixed blessing, explains Leroy MacEachern, a DFO resource management officer. “Lobster prices are very high [but] I hear the supply of lobster is very low.”

Internet horse sex… er, sense

Soon after Judy Bateman’s mare, Twobit, gave birth to a foal on the evening of April 2, the operator of High Meadow Quarter Horses in Prospect got a phone call congratulating her on the joyful occasion. It was from a man in Montreal she’d never met. He just wanted to thank Bateman for “letting him watch.”

This winter, Bateman and her husband began 24-hour live broadcasts from their barn over the Internet using a service called The service hosts webcams from barns around the world.

Though they’ve had a camera in their barn for five years so they could observe their horses from a TV in the house, Bateman says sharing that view on the Internet offers “convenience and security. With all the time zones of people watching, I can go to bed and know there are still people watching.”

She adds that a lot of people check in to the website “just watching for the miracle of birth.”

How many? When their last foal was born, she says, “we had 10 calls before we got out to the barn asking us, ‘Did we know the foal was coming’?”


Amherst Daily News, Bridgewater Bulletin, Cape Breton Post, King’s County Register, Liverpool Advance, New Glasgow News, Shelburne Coast Guard, Truro Daily News.

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