The Cape Breton Regional Municipality does not plan to challenge a decision to give a Leitches Creek man large amounts of financial data free of charge. Joe Bushell is looking for detailed information on municipal council and staff salaries and the amount of money that’s spent on each vendor the municipality does business with. In August, the province’s acting freedom of information officer ordered the CBRM to comply with the request from Bushell. Carmen Stuart also ruled that the CBRM had not met its duty to assist and had not calculated the 780 dollar fee estimate for gathering the information fairly and accurately. Municipal Clerk Deborah Campbell says the CBRM will comply with the ruling because it would cost taxpayers more to appeal it. Meanwhile, Bushell says he’s glad the municipality isn’t contesting the decision and adds he expects this is just the beginning of a lengthy process of delving into the CBRM’s books.
The Emergency Department at the Northside General Hospital is unexpectedly closed until 4:00 this afternoon. The Cape Breton District Health Authority says the closure is necessary because the Department has reached patient capacity. District spokesperson Lynn Gilbert says closing an Emergency Department because it’s full is rare, but adds it has happened in the past. She adds a combination of patients being discharged or transferred should allow them to clear the backlog by this afternoon.
Union protesters are gathered outside the Nova Scotia legislature again today as the Liberal government fast-tracks its controversial Health Authorities Act. Some blocked traffic outside Province House as police moved in quickly and could be seen handcuffing at least one protester and putting him in the back of a police van. The proposed bill will roll nine health authorities into one and streamline collective bargaining by spelling out which union will represent nurses, technologists, administrative and support workers. Union leaders and the opposition have been critical of the government over the move, accusing it of dictating to workers and being undemocratic. However, Health Minister Leo Glavine says other public sector workers don’t get to choose the union that represents them either. Meanwhile, the Opposition Tories say they want the Liberals to split the bill into two parts, one addressing the amalgamation of health boards and the other dealing with the labour provisions. The NDP say they can’t support the Liberal bill. The government has scheduled the legislature to sit until midnight in order to push the bill through second reading.
A Sydney doctor facing a single count of sexual assault is due back in court today for a preliminary hearing. 65-year-old Dayananda Kodagoda is accused of committing the offence in Sydney in August of last year. He remains free on conditions including that he not perform examinations on female patients without another female in the room. The Cape Breton District Health Authority says the condition also applies when the doctor is working at any of the District’s hospitals.
A Future Uses Study for the former Holy Angels High School and Convent site in Sydney has been completed. Community development corporation New Dawn Enterprises commissioned the study in August of last year to look at possible uses for the buildings. It was carried out by Toronto-based Lord Cultural Resources. New Dawn says the study concludes that there’s a local need for social innovation, art and culture centres. The organization also notes that great strides have been made in transforming the former High School into the New Dawn Centre for Social Innovation in the past year. It adds there are now more than a dozen tenants in the building. New Dawn says the study also reveals that the adjoining former convent building needs substantial renovation and the effort to raise money to carry out the work will now get underway.