Local area office: 902-798-2369 Fax: 902-798-2927 -30- HANTS COUNTY: Elmsdale Bridge Trunk 2 between Elmsdale and Lantz will have intermittent laneclosures for construction of detour approaches and bridge. Traffic control will consist of traffic control persons. Workwill take place from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. and is expected to becompleted by Friday, Oct. 10.
People using courts feel safe and disturbances are rare, a review of provincial court security released today, Nov. 21, shows. The review was overseen by an advisory committee that included a former director of security operations for Alberta, a staff sergeant with the RCMP security section and staff from the departments of Justice and Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal. “Our court facilities see a tremendous amount of traffic every year, often in emotionally charged situations,” said Justice Minister Cecil Clarke. “This review has shown us that our courts are safe places for Nova Scotians, and will help us focus on areas to strengthen.” The goals of the review were to develop a baseline study of security, seek public input, determine if current measures are meeting security needs and identify areas to strengthen. Sheriffs do a daily risk assessment to determine that day’s security needs in each court setting and, if required, will add measures, such as metal detectors or additional sheriffs. Earlier this year, the province invested $70,000 to purchase 14 portable walk-through metal detectors that can be set up in courts, when required. Assessments at all 34 court facilities examined facility layout, signs and security procedures. Metal-detection equipment was also set up at each full-service justice centre. More than 13,000 people were screened entering court buildings and no objects were found in 98 per cent of screenings. In the two per cent of screenings where objects were found, they were everyday items, such as nail clippers, scissors, multi-tools or pocket knives. Court users, including members of the public, judges, police, court staff and lawyers, were surveyed, with 99 per cent of respondents saying they felt safe in court facilities and 100 per cent saying they saw at least one sheriff officer in the court facility. The report also identified areas to strengthen, including developing an on-going security assessment program, improving communication among sheriffs and court users, and safety and security awareness training for staff and justice professionals who use court facilities on a regular basis. The Department of Justice will also review the layout and structure of each court site for possible improvements. The full report can be viewed online at www.gov.ns.ca/just .
The findings of Phase 1 of the Province’s Independent Financial Review by Deloitte were released today, Aug. 17, showing the financial situation is worse than was presented by the previous government. The report focuses on the province’s current and future financial position with emphasis on the economic assumptions underlying the May 2009 budget, the impact of the former government’s Building for Growth infrastructure plan, and an analysis of revenue and expenditure forecasts. “The previous government was on an unsustainable path. That is going to change,” said Graham Steele, Minister of Finance. “If the province continues down this path, Nova Scotia’s deficit will soar to over $1.3 billion within three years, and the debt will climb to over $16 billion. “That is mainly because of flat or declining revenue, matched against a pattern of spending that has been rising faster than either inflation or revenue.” Mr. Steele said government’s operating principle is that it will balance the budget next fiscal year. The independent review highlights several areas of concern for the province: Nova Scotia is facing many of the same challenges as other governments in Canada, but also has the additional challenge of expiring short-term revenue sources upon which the province has become dependent. This, combined with sharp declines in offshore revenues and equalization payments, will make the next several years extremely difficult from a financial management perspective. “The report tells Nova Scotians where the province stands today,” said Mr. Steele. “This government will have a considered response to the challenges. Tomorrow, we are going to take the first of many steps down a new path.” Copies of the report are available at www.gov.ns.ca/finance/site-finance/media/finance/final_report.pdf . Nova Scotia was facing a projected annual deficit of $1.3 billion by 2012-13 If the deficit continued, provincial debt would reach $16.7 billion by 2012-13 Nova Scotia’s revenue growth is expected to remain flat as a result of external factors, including the economic recession, offshore petroleum royalties and the reduction in equalization payments Growth in expenses is expected to outpace revenue growth in the coming fiscal years
While the commission was not bound by county or municipal boundaries, it has used them where feasible. It has worked with, and accommodated, existing polling districts as well as geographical features such as highways and bodies of water that provide natural separation of population areas. With the help of Elections Nova Scotia, commissioners examined boundary adjustments to ensure the 48 non-protected constituencies would be within 25 per cent of the average number of electors. Despite the challenges the proposed changes would have, all of province’s six geographic regions fall within 10 per cent of the average. Elector populations in 37 constituencies would be within 15 per cent of the average and 29 would fall within 10 per cent. The commission thanked Nova Scotians for their interest shown in the first phase and looks forward to more engagement in the next round of public consultations, which begin June 6 in Antigonish. The interim report can be found online at http://nselectoralboundaries.ca/. The independent Electoral Boundaries Commission is submitting and releasing its interim report, today, June 1, as mandated by the House Select Committee. Commission members were appointed at the end of December to establish not more than 52 seats and maximize parity of voting power. The commission was asked that all constituencies be within 25 per cent of the average number of electors. It was asked to provide advice on how legislators can address concerns about the size of geographic areas, community history and interests, and linguistic and cultural diversity, noting the Acadian and African-Nova Scotian populations. A wide range of views and interests were presented during the public consultations in March and April. “The key issues confronting the commission today are essentially those that challenged the two previous commissions,” said commission chair Teresa MacNeil. “They are the status of ‘protected constituencies’, achieving relative voter parity to the extent possible, and population shifts requiring adjustment.” The majority of commissioners determined that: there should continue to be 52 members in the House of Assembly the four “protected constituencies” should be retained one constituency should be removed from urban Cape Breton and another from mainland Nova Scotia two new constituencies should be added to the Halifax area to accommodate population growth on the western side of the harbor boundary adjustments in the remaining constituencies be guided by the goal of relative voter parity, to the extent possible
Provincial government offices in Cape Breton and Victoria counties are closed this morning, April 2, due to the weather. A decision on whether to open this afternoon will be made later this morning and an annnouncement will be made by noon. -30-
Nova Scotia needs and values the significant contribution businesses of all sizes make to our communities and our economy. Their success is our success. They employ people, build skills through training, innovate, invest, provide Nova Scotians with the goods and services they need, and export those goods and services abroad. They also volunteer their time and expertise in countless areas. For these reasons, we’re always looking at ways to help businesses succeed. Jan. 23 to 27 is Red Tape Awareness Week, drawing attention to ways governments can reduce the regulatory burden on businesses and free up needed time to grow their business – and the economy. Across government, we’ve made reducing red tape a priority. Just 18 months ago, we created the Office of Regulatory Affairs and Service Effectiveness to help with this work. The office, together with many departments, has made progress I’m proud of. We’ve removed unnecessary or redundant requirements such as eliminating the video retailer licence and the requirement for alcohol manufacturers, like our local wineries, to maintain a separate retail space. We’ve made changes to the Residential Tenancies Act to make compliance easier for landlords and tenants. We’re moving services online, like new vehicle registrations for car dealerships, to make things simpler and faster for business. We’re piloting a new service, the first of its kind in Canada, to help businesses navigate what can be a complex regulatory environment. We have people dedicated to answering questions and providing advice to help businesses. We’re also working with our regional neighbours to eliminate unnecessary differences to make it easier for businesses to succeed across the region. For example, there’s now one date for changes to the minimum wage and one standard for record-keeping requirements across the Maritimes. There’s a shared look and feel for some procurement documents to make bidding for government work across the Maritimes easier. Soon, businesses across the region will be able to register for all four Atlantic workers’ compensation systems through Canada Revenue Agency’s One Business Number, saving time and money. And we’re harmonizing trucking standards from Ontario to Nova Scotia for long-combination vehicles, lowering costs for trucking companies and their customers. A handful of these initiatives will save Nova Scotia businesses $2.2 million every year and that’s only a fraction of what’s been saved overall. This is the work we’ve been doing over the past year. There’s much more to do – but we’re on it. -30-
NEW WORK INVERNESS COUNTY: West Lake Ainslie Road The Hayes River Bridge on West Lake Ainslie Road has a 15-tonne weight restriction. HALIFAX REGIONAL MUNICIPALITY: Trunk 2 Sections of Trunk 2, from the south end of Acorn Drive, near Oakfield, to the Hants County line, are reduced to one lane for patching and paving until Thursday, Aug. 31. Expect delays. Work takes place from sunrise to sunset. SHELBURNE COUNTY: Shore Road Shore Road, from Trunk 3 for about nine kilometres to Ford Point Road, has alternating lane closures for paving until Thursday, Aug. 31. Traffic control people are on site. Work takes place from sunrise to sunset. -30- ANNAPOLIS COUNTY: Bayard Bridge, WilmotBayard Bridge on Bayard Road, Wilmot, will be closed for repairs from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. from Tuesday, May 30, until Friday, June 2. Drivers can detour on Route 201, Trunk 10 and Trunk 1. INVERNESS COUNTY: Crowdis Bridge, Valley Mills Crowdis Bridge, in Valley Mills on Marble Mountain Road, is closed until further notice. Detour via Eden Road, Barren Road, Northside River Denys Road and Southside River Denys Road. Signs are in place. CUMBERLAND COUNTY: Highway 104 Highway 104, westbound near Exit 4, is down to one lane until Friday, June 9 to replace a damaged girder on the overpass. MacDonald Road, which runs over the highway, will be closed 24 hours per day until Friday, June 9. Traffic will be detoured between Trunk 2 and Route 204 onto Robert Angus Drive. Work takes place from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. CONTINUING WORK