Pictured is the Archibald Lake Wilderness Area in Guysborough County.

ST. PETER’S: The RCMP said damage to a boat involved in the First Nation fishery was not related to previous incidents.

On Dec. 26, 2019 Richmond County RCMP received a report that a fishing boat was sunk at the St. Peter’s Canal.

Cpl. Lisa Croteau explained the boat appeared to have holes in the hull which they believe were caused by a drill.

Cpl. Croteau said the RCMP did not believe this was “linked to any previous incident.”

MULGRAVE: With tensions boiling over, Mulgrave’s fire chief considered resigning amid a conflict with the town’s Chief Administrative Officer (CAO).

During the regular council meeting on January 6, approximately a dozen volunteer firefighters sat in support as Breen, the chief of the Mulgrave Volunteer Fire Department, delivered an update.

Councillors delivered him a letter asking him to resign due to health concerns, but Breen says it’s really because he doesn’t get along with CAO Darlene Berthier-Sampson.

Berthier-Sampson indicated the fire department is a town service, operated from the town’s budget, and insured by town officials, so they require information on what’s going on.

Berthier-Sampson highlighted how during the town’s past budget process, financial statements were requested from the fire department which refused their request. She said the building is burning excessive amounts of oil, and during a recent walk through, she discovered expired fire extinguishers and a furnace that hadn’t been cleaned in seven years since installation.

Mike Breen (right)

PORT HOOD: An in-camera session lasting almost two hours topped off Inverness Municipal Council’s meeting last January where allegations against staff were discussed.

Former Inverness Warden Betty Ann MacQuarrie said the matter was a dead issue.

The matter related to a letter council received on Dec. 9, 2019 signed by councillor John MacLennan. The four-page correspondence critiqued Chief Administrative Office (CAO) Keith MacDonald in four specific areas: hiring practices, the awarding of municipal contracts, mismanagement, and breaching public trust.

Some confusion followed regarding whether or not MacLennan had written the letter or if it came from a constituent he was representing. In a press release issued Dec. 19, MacLennan confirmed he was the writer. He had received some help with preparing the document, but “the letter was written by me with information provided to me by several residents of Inverness County.”

He confirmed his support for the people who came forward with the information found in the letter.

MacQuarrie said she saw very little left for council to discuss about the issue.

PORT HAWKESBURY: A former Strait area businessman, who previously had convictions for sexually abusing minors thrown out due to Charter violations, was sued by six complainants who say they have endured a lifetime of emotional trauma from alleged sexual abuse.

The six complainants, all of whom are male and range in age from 56 to 64, say Ernest Fenwick MacIntosh repeatedly sexually abused them in the early 1970s when they were children living in the region.

In documents filed with the Nova Scotia Supreme Court in Port Hawkesbury on Dec. 23, 2019 MacIntosh is described as a “prominent businessman and community leader who abused his position of trust, social status, and wealth to prey on and sexually abuse vulnerable young boys.”

MacIntosh was convicted of 17 sex-related charges, involving boys from the Strait area dating back to the 1970s, two of which are included in this lawsuit.

He was acquitted on all 17 charges by the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal because MacIntosh’s right to be tried within a reasonable time was infringed, partially because he had to be extradited from another country. A Canadian warrant was first issued for MacIntosh’s arrest in 1996 but he wasn’t extradited from India until 2007 and wasn’t seen before a judge until 2010.

After he was arrested in Nepal in 2014 on charges of luring a 15-year-old boy to his hotel room for sex in exchange for cash, MacIntosh would only serve half of his seven-year sentence before he was released from prison. Authorities cited age and his health condition as reasons for his release and deportation from the country.

The complainants were each seeking general and aggravated damages in the amount of $300,000, punitive and exemplary damages in the amount of $50,000, and special damages in an amount to be determined prior to trial.

Ernest Fenwick MacIntosh

HALIFAX: The decision to provide provincial wilderness protection for a property in Guysborough County could impact a potential gold mine project in the area.

On Jan. 10, Nova Scotia Environment launched public consultations on six new protected areas, including the Archibald Lake Wilderness Area in Guysborough County.

About 10 hectares around Archibald Brook is subject to mineral exploration rights, which are permitted under the Wilderness Areas Protection Act, provided activities do not degrade the wilderness area.

Archibald Lake is also identified as a water source for Atlantic Gold’s proposed Cochrane Hill Gold Project, but as a result of the decision, the company’s proposed use of Archibald Lake cannot be permitted within a wilderness area.

Nova Scotia Environment spokesperson Rachel Boomer told The Reporter that the province “reconsidered” their decision to not include the Archibald Lake area in the final Parks and Protected Areas because it will complement other existing and proposed protected areas in the St. Mary’s watershed.

Atlantic Mining Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of Atlantic Gold Corporation, is proposing the construction, operation, decommissioning, and reclamation of an open-pit gold mine in Goldboro. The Cochrane Hill Gold Project would include one open pit, material storage, site infrastructure, crusher and concentrator facilities, an above-ground tailings management facility, mine site haul roads, and access roads.

The Archibald Lake area encompasses 684 hectares of woodlands, lakes and several small wetlands in the watershed of Archibald Brook, an important tributary of the St. Mary’s River. The area consists of Archibald, McDonald and Rocky lakes (240 hectares altogether), along with surrounding provincial lands.

OTTAWA: The release of child poverty rates in Nova Scotia by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) garnered a lot of reaction.

In the CCPA’s 2019 Report Card on Child and Family Poverty in Nova Scotia, Richmond County has a rate of 26.4 per cent, Inverness is at 26 per cent, Guysborough’s rate stands at 23.1 per cent, and Antigonish has one of the lowest rates in the province at 20.2 per cent.

Federally, the rate in Cape Breton-Canso stands at 26.9 per cent, and in Central Nova, the rate is 24.1 per cent.

Despite the work done nationally that has helped decrease child and family poverty rates, Cape Breton-Canso MP Mike Kelloway acknowledged there is more work to do locally.

Also of concern to Kelloway are poverty rates among seniors and First Nations communities, and he is promising to work on the problem.

PORT HOOD: Roughly 9,000 vehicles cross the Canso Causeway every day to enter Cape Breton, which has become a world class tourism destination. Sadly, the first experience those drivers have is far from world class.

That was the point made by Port Hawkesbury Mayor Brenda Chisholm-Beaton, who was visiting Inverness Municipal Council on Jan. 16. The mayor was visiting council on behalf of a group advocating the Strait of Canso Causeway Gateway Project.

She also said the Visitor Information Centre in Port Hastings could be overhauled dramatically, and signage inviting folks to return is nowhere to be seen.

The Strait of Canso Causeway Gateway Project is an effort to address those problems. In the project, all five municipal governments and all five First Nations would join forces with the province and federal government, as well as other stakeholders, to make the gateway to Cape Breton more pleasant.

In November, 2019 Chisholm-Beaton and President of the Cape Breton Partnership Carla Arsenault met with transportation minister Lloyd Hines and members of the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal staff. The replacement of the rotary in Port Hastings was discussed, and the mayor was told designs are in the early stages.

POINT TUPPER: A gypsum wallboard manufacturer planned to expand its workforce and plant.

On Jan. 21, Nova Scotia Business Inc. (NSBI) announced that Cabot Manufacturing was approved for an innovation rebate to upgrade its current operation. According to a press release from NSBI, the company was proceeding with a $6,535,000 capital investment to help to meet increased demand for its products throughout Canada and support additional export initiatives to the United States.

Cabot Manufacturing confirmed it was undertaking a “significant upgrade” to its facility in the Point Tupper Industrial Park, which president Marcel Girouard told The Reporter could create up to 40 direct and indirect new jobs and entailed the expansion of its plant. He said the company was unsure of the scope of the expansion since it was in the design stage.

The company said this increased capacity, along with other upgrades, will allow for an expansion of its product portfolio, including new 54-inch wallboard products. Cabot Manufacturing will modernize existing manufacturing equipment and implement innovations to increase recycling capabilities.

The company is eligible to earn a maximum innovation rebate of $1,633,750 upon completion of its project, based on eligible capital spending of $6,535,000.

Cabot Manufacturing is the only gypsum wallboard facility in Nova Scotia.

File photo Pictured is Cabot Manufacturing in Point Tupper.

GUYSBOROUGH: The Afghanistan war veteran who purchased a rifle to use later that same day to kill his family and then himself were victims of “systemic failures” that created barriers to accessing mental health care, Nova Scotia’s chief medical examiner told the inquiry.

Dr. Matthew Bowes was the first witness called on the opening day of the fatality inquiry looking into what caused retired Cpl. Lionel Desmond to kill his 52-year-old mother Brenda, his 31-year-old wife Shanna, and his 10-year-old daughter Aaliyah, before turning the gun on himself, in the family’s Upper Big Tracadie home on January 3, 2017.

Desmond was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after serving in Afghanistan in 2007 with the 2nd Battalion Royal Canadian Regiment’s India Company. He was deployed to Kandahar just one month after the birth of his daughter.

A then 24-year-old rifleman, he was in direct combat with the Taliban as they ramped up their guerilla campaign in one of the Canadian military’s bloodiest combat missions.

Bowes told the inquiry under his own investigation, which led to the call for an inquiry, he concluded there were issues in communication and transferring of information between government agencies which treated Desmond in different provinces.

Bowes also raised his concerns on the fact Desmond, who had a self-admittance to St. Martha’s Regional Hospital as being a mentally ill person the day before, was still able to obtain a firearm.

Bowes’ investigation suggests if Desmond wasn’t suffering from PTSD and depression, and wasn’t continuously experiencing nightmares and flashbacks for nearly a decade after returning home from combat, he would not have killed himself or his family.

During Bowes’ testimony, he highlighted his reservations about recommending a fatality inquiry, since the jurisdiction is limited to Nova Scotia, and the federal agencies involved wouldn’t be included.

He told Judge Warren Zimmer he worried the recommendations wouldn’t prompt change in the Department of Defence and the Department of Veterans Affairs.