Early this morning, an emergency alert jolted many people awake in the Halifax area, warning them to not consume or use water from Grand Lake, citing an “unknown issue” that has killed animals and sent one person to hospital. The alert promises that more information and instructions are coming today.

While it’s a serious issue for people who draw their water from the lake, Halifax Water says its users aren’t in danger.

“Halifax Water wishes to inform our tap water customers that their water continues to be safe for normal use and consumption,” says a post on its website. “Halifax Water tap water remains safe for normal use and consumption throughout HRM.”

Halifax Water operates three water systems in the same watershed as Grand Lake (Bomont, Collins Park, and Bennery Lake) but says that none of them draw water from Grand Lake

To learn the source of your drinking water, follow this link.

COVID update
Nova Scotia has 164 known active cases of COVID-19, with 13 new cases (seven in the Central Zone) and 20 recoveries reported in the latest government update. There are 15 people hospitalized in COVID units, including seven in ICU.

Health officials identified another case of COVID-19 in schools, this time at Fairview Junior High, which is now closed until June 14 for cleaning and contact tracing.

The province also announced yesterday that Nova Scotians who received their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine on or before April 10 and are scheduled to receive their second dose on or before July 24 can move up their appointments. Most people will receive notification via email. If you didn’t provide an address when you booked your first appointment, call 1-833-797-7772.

“The province recommends people who received a first dose of AstraZeneca receive Pfizer or Moderna for their second dose,” says a government press release. “This recommendation is based on emerging evidence of a better immune response with an alternate second dose and the risk of rare but serious blood clotting events associated with AstraZeneca.”

Victims’ loved ones had to protest before government would order an inquiry. Photo: Raissa Tetanish

Mass shooting public proceeding dates announced
For 14 months since a gunman murdered 22 Nova Scotians, the victims’ loved ones have endured an agonizing wait for answers, as questions mount about the RCMP response. Yesterday, the Mass Casualty Commission finally shared the details on the public proceedings, which are scheduled to run Oct. 26 to Dec. 10 at the Halifax Convention Centre and other to-be-announced sites.

“These proceedings will contribute to the Commission’s fact-finding, research, policy, and analytical work,” says a press release from the Commission. “During the proceedings, there will be a focus on what happened leading up to and during the April 18 and 19, 2020 mass casualty. The Commission will review topics that include police actions, firearms, communications with the public, communications between and within law enforcement agencies, and other services, and the role of intimate partner violence.”

In a Halifax Magazine story originally published in April 2021, Tom Taggart, who represents the Portapique area on Colchester municipal council, describes how the long wait for the truth is affecting the victims’ families.

“We all lose family and friends sometimes, even tragically,” he says. “But, a tragedy of this magnitude, we can’t really imagine how traumatic it is for them and it’s continued in public view.”

Chief Wilbert Marshall

C.B. First Nations fishery deal
Fishers from the Potlotek First Nation in Richmond County are back on the water, days after federal fisheries department officials returned 196 lobster traps they confiscated last fall.

According to a recent press release from the Assembly of Nova Scotia Mi’kmaw Chiefs, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans has authorized Potlotek’s harvesters to fish and sell their catches.

“We didn’t sign any agreements—I told my community members that we wouldn’t,” says Potlotek Chief Wilbert Marshall. “Through talks, we were able to come to an understanding with DFO … We were open and transparent. We built a solid plan that laid out our tagging and reporting structures, and are developing enforcement protocols.”

Jake Boudrot has the story for The Reporter.

Deadline coming for Pictou house dispute
The owner of a dilapidated house on Kempt Street in Pictou has until Monday to rebuild or demolish it.

Tony Dolan has owned the building for five years, but his efforts to renovate it have stalled, leaving the building open to the elements, with a crumbling foundation. Town officials worry about someone entering the site and getting hurt, and the risk of fire.

“We were doing our best,” Dolan says. “I bought a lot of buildings in Pictou … This one got away from me.”

Steve Goodwin has more for The Pictou Advocate.

Bernadette Jordan

Government funds for Bluenose centennial
Three levels of government are committed to spend a combined $190,900 on events marking the 100th anniversary of the launch of the iconic Bluenose schooner.

The biggest chunk, $165,900 in grants, comes from the federal government. The province government is chipping in a $20,000 subsidy and Lunenburg, the birthplace of the Bluenose schooner, is spending $5,000.

The money is intended to help Lunenburg Marine Museum Society present virtual and socially-distanced events commemorating the iconic vessel’s 100th birthday.

“We want to help boost local tourism from coast-to-coast-to-coast and help the industry prepare for a strong and swift recovery,” South Shore-St. Margaret’s MP Bernadette Jordan says.. “We will be ready to welcome visitors again when the time is right.”

Keith Corcoran reports for LighthouseNow.

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Halifax Magazine