Lunenburg County Culvert Repairs

Work is underway to restore a key piece of infrastructure for Lunenburg County residents.

The Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal has finished preliminary design work to replace the large steel culvert on Bruhm Road, near Bridgewater, that was washed away during a storm in December. Staff have also completed surveys of the site, stabilized the embankment with rock, and removed the steel structure that washed downstream.

The replacement is expected to be an open-bottom structure. The department will now be seeking the usual required regulatory approval before tendering the construction.

Construction is anticipated to begin this summer and be completed by fall.


Source: Release
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Bursary Supports Gaelic Language Learning for Nova Scotians

Nova Scotians are getting the opportunity to further their study of Gaelic language and culture in Scotland.

The bursary program is funded by the Scottish Government and administered by Gaelic Affairs. Now in its third year, the program supports Nova Scotians attending language training in Scotland with travel, meal and accommodation costs or distance learning costs.

"The program provides further opportunity and motivation for Nova Scotians to acquire Gaelic language and cultural skills through international travel and study or distance learning," said Gaelic Affairs Minister Randy Delorey. "The province appreciates the Scottish Government's support and is pleased to help promote this program through Gaelic Affairs and its community partners."

Recipients will enroll in Gaelic-language study at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, a national centre for Gaelic language and culture on the Isle of Skye, Scotland and attend formal classes. Recipients may also enroll in a distance learning course.

"This scheme stands as one of the many strong links between Scotland and Nova Scotia," said Dr. Alasdair Allan, Minister for Scotland's Languages, The Scottish Government. "I encourage Nova Scotians to apply and to contribute to strengthening both the Gaelic language and the links between both our communities."

Applicants must be at least 18 years old and permanent residents of Nova Scotia to qualify for the bursary. The deadline for applications is Feb. 20.

For more information about applying to the bursary program, contact Lewis MacKinnon at 902-424-4298 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .


Source: Release
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New Industrial Approval Issued To Northern Pulp

The Department of Environment has issued a new industrial approval to Northern Pulp in Pictou County. The approval or operating licence replaces the existing one which expired today, Jan 30.

"We have heard the concerns raised by the people of Pictou County and the new approval demonstrates that the status quo is no longer an option," said Environment Minister Randy Delorey. "The changes, once implemented, will help to address the concerns of residents and bring Northern Pulp in line with other kraft pulp mills of this type in North America."

The new industrial approval, effective until 2020, includes tighter limits in three key areas - air emissions, water usage and wastewater effluent. The timing of the limits are staged over the five-year period.

Changes include a significant reduction in particulate emissions from the recovery boiler. The new limit is about five times lower than the previous approval. The approval also includes an annual cap on overall emissions from the facility and requires quarterly stack testing of the recovery boiler and power boiler, rather than twice a year.

Daily maximums will now be imposed on water use and wastewater effluent. Water use will be limited to 63,000 cubic metres per day. Wastewater volumes will be capped at 67,500 cubic metres per day. These reductions will be phased in over the next five years. The previous industrial approval placed no limits on water use or wastewater volumes.

Public consultations on the draft approval drew 96 written submissions.

The new industrial approval and other documents can be found at http://www.novascotia.ca/nse/issues/northern-pulp-boat-harbour.asp .


Source: Release
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Community Forest Pilot Project Begins

Government signed an agreement today, Jan. 30, with Medway Community Forest Co-operative Ltd. to begin managing a community forest in Annapolis County, the first one in Eastern Canada.

A community forest is managed by local people to benefit the local economy.

"Government wants our forests managed in ways that bring us economic, environmental and social benefits. This pilot project is a key part of that mix," said Zach Churchill, Minister of Natural Resources.

The community forest is part of the natural resources strategy. The co-operative will develop a long-term, ecological plan to manage the working forest and nurture forest-based businesses that support the local economy. The proposal was chosen through an expression of interest process by the provincial government.

The three-year pilot project will be on 15,000 hectares (37,000 acres) of provincial Crown land. Government will contribute $274,000.

"Community forests across the country have helped contribute to rural economies and support direct community involvement in decision making," said Will Martin, chair of the co-operative. "We are hopeful to see this become a new collaborative model for forest management that will support long-term sustainability."

A map of the community forest is at www.novascotia.ca/natr .

The Medway Community Forest Co-operative is supported by several groups including the Mersey Tobeatic Research Institute, Wind Horse Woods, the North Queens Board of Trade, the Federation of Nova Scotia Woodland Owners, Nova Scotia Woodland Owners and Operators Association, Nova Scotia Co-operative Council, and the Ecology Action Centre, as well as numerous local community members, forestry contractors and local mills.

More information about the community forest is a www.medwaycommunityforest.com .


Source: Release
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Nova Scotia Painting to Hang in Canada's High Commission in London

Nova Scotians visiting the Canadian High Commission in London might get a glimpse of home and a piece of their art collection after a recent loan from the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia.

Arthur Lismer's Docks on Bay of Fundy was painted in 1943, when he was likely on one of many visits made after his tenure as principal of the then-Victoria School of Art and Design, now NSCAD University.

“As a Nova Scotian, I am proud that this wonderful painting is being loaned to Canada House,” said Premier Stephen McNeil. “Mr. Lismer’s depiction of a dock on the Bay of Fundy is a scene out of my childhood and that of many Nova Scotians. I look forward to it being shared with visitors to Canada House.”

The painting is being loaned to Canada House as it re-opens after renovations. For the first time in more than 50 years, the revitalized Canada House on Trafalgar Square brings together all Canadian High Commission activities under one roof in the heart of London. The building includes meeting rooms named after every province and territory. These rooms include art and design pieces from their namesake. The new Canada House will be officially opened in late February.

"On behalf of everyone involved with this ambitious revitalization of Canada House, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the people of Nova Scotia and Premier Stephen McNeil for their generosity in loaning us this key piece of art with such strong ties to both Nova Scotia and the United Kingdom," said Gordon Campbell, High Commissioner of Canada.

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Province Keeps Seniors' Pharmacare Affordable

Government will maintain the annual maximum premiums and co-payments for the Seniors' Pharmacare Program in 2015-16. Seniors currently pay a maximum premium of $424 and a maximum co-payment of $382, these rates haven't changed since 2007. About half of all seniors in the program do not pay a premium at all.

Minister of Health and Wellness, Leo Glavine, is committed to offering a good, affordable program for both seniors and taxpayers.

"The cost of prescription drugs is a concern for many seniors, which is why we're holding the rates the same for another year," said Mr. Glavine.

Government is removing the 75:25 cost-sharing formula that had been used to calculate the premiums and co-payments seniors paid each year. The formula is based on the total estimated costs of the program for the next program year and the premiums and co-payments that seniors paid collectively. The total of the seniors' contribution was 25 per cent (plus or minus three per cent) of the total program costs.

"With a rapidly changing demographic, new drugs coming into the marketplace, and rising drug costs, we need to make adjustments to the program so it will continue to meet the needs of seniors in the future," said Mr. Glavine.

There are about 123,000 seniors enrolled in the program, an increase of 22,000 people compared with 2009-10. With the removal of the ratio, program costs can be affordably spread across the growing number of new clients every year.

Nova Scotia continues to work to lower the cost of drugs through the province's Fair Drug Pricing strategy, and its participation in the Pan-Canadian Competitive Value Price Initiative for Generic Drugs.

The Seniors' Pharmacare Program is a provincial drug insurance plan that helps eligible seniors with the cost of their prescription drugs. The total program cost was 169.5 million in 2014-15.

More information on Seniors' Pharmacare can be found at: novascotia.ca/dhw/pharmacare/seniors-pharmacare.asp .


Source: Release
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Snow Amounts

Model snowfall forecasts

Snowfall forecasting is very difficult.  Subtle shifts in wind direction from southeast to northeast can make an extreme difference in snow totals.   While a storm of 1 million square km in size is well forecast, the difference between very heavy snow and nothing can be as small as 50km.

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Minister's Action Plan to Modernize and Improve Education System

A stronger emphasis on math and literacy in the early grades is one of the initiatives parents and students will see next September from a new five-year education action plan.

Education and Early Childhood Development Minister Karen Casey released the plan, 3 Rs: Renew, Refocus and Rebuild, Nova Scotia's Action Plan for Education, today, Jan. 29, to provide a better future for Nova Scotia's students.

The plan focuses on fundamental changes to improve and modernize the education system for the first time in a generation, create an innovative curriculum, promote inclusive school environments and advanced excellence in teaching and leadership.

"Nova Scotians' message has been received and understood and we are making changes now to ensure that all students are better prepared for life by providing a modern education system that reflects today's needs and opportunities," said Ms. Casey.

"The action plan will make sweeping changes to renew, refocus and rebuild a system that has not kept pace with changes in society, the labour market or technology. Each change is geared to increase student achievement and student success."

The streamlined curriculum will include more time for teaching both math and literacy in the early years, reduce the number of learning outcomes and identify essential ones, increase access to modern technology and include culturally diverse learning materials.

Other initiatives to be implemented between 2015 and 2020, include:
–- support Department of Health and Wellness screenings for preschoolers at 18 and 36 months
–- an improved Individual Program Plan process
-- new mandatory Grade 10 citizenship course
–- an audit of school boards by the auditor general to look at their current structure and review their efficiency and effectiveness of their operations
–- restructuring of the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development to align with the actions in the plan.

The action plan reflects the views from successful public consultations when more than 19,000 Nova Scotians had their say before the Minister's Panel on Education. It is also driven by data from student assessments that show a growing and disturbing trend.

The department will release an annual progress report on the action plan that will be available at ednet.ns.ca


Source: Release
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Test Drive: 2015 Honda CR-V Touring

photo 5

By Kevin Harrison

Not too long ago, I was asked at a party why there were so few wagons on the road these days. My response?

“What do you mean? I can’t leave the house without seeing wagons everywhere!”

The dumbfounded look on the gentleman’s face required me to clarify.

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2014 Tourism Season Numbers Released

According to numbers released today, Jan. 29, Nova Scotia's 2014 peak tourism season saw a five per cent increase in accommodation revenues, the largest increase in room nights sold in one year since 2002.

Nova Scotia welcomed 1.8 million visitors in 2014 as of November 30, with more than half arriving during the peak season of June to September. Overall visitation in some key markets was also up with New England accounting for the largest increase of 19 per cent.

"We made a concerted effort this year through the Nova Scotia Tourism Agency to target key markets that held the most potential for tourism growth," said Economic and Rural Development and Tourism Minister Michel Samson. "Today's numbers are positive proof that our efforts, particularly in the eastern United States, have real impact. These results show solid momentum and give us a great jumping off point for 2015."

Room nights sold increased by three per cent, compared with the same period in 2013. This growth was seen in most regions of the province. The largest increases were seen on the South Shore with five per cent and Yarmouth and Acadian Shores with 16 per cent. This growth was influenced by the re-introduction of ferry service between Portland and Yarmouth.

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