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Fix coming for Hantsport aboiteau destroyed by tide in 2017 – Halifax

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The Hantsport aboiteau was a wooden structure that helped to protect the community from the Minas Basin’s tide for hundreds of years. But in September 2017, it gave way to the water.

Area resident and spokesperson for the Aboiteau action group, Traci Curry, says the aboiteau had been in need of repair for years.

“It had been used by a rail line, that rail line is now defunct,” said Curry.

“Repairs didn’t get made and so one big push by the tide, a little bit bigger than the usual tide devastated that aboiteau and released the water.

Curry says since then, the gap has only widened with each passing tide. During high tide the waters flood over what was once used as farm land, and has been eroding surrounding land. A cemetery sits atop a hill nearby and there is concern with water eroding the banks that the cemetery could be at risk.

Nearby homeowners are also suffering from the impact.

“Saltwater has come over the road and impacted my well,” said Evan Merks, who owns two nearby properties.

“It turned my freshwater well into a saltwater well. Along with that it’s killing the vegetation along the bank that stabilizes the bank that my houses reside on.”

WATCH: Multi-level government funding committed to study dikes at N.S., N.B. border






After about 500 hundred people marched in protest across a bridge near where the aboiteau once stood, the government announced change is coming.

“We’re going to come in with a temporary solution at first, we’re going to be on it quickly very soon and then we’re looking at the longer term solution,” said Minister of Municipal Affairs Chuck Porter.

The announcement was met with applause and cheers from protesters, but many also questioned what took so long.

“It’s taken time to get to where we are,”said Porter. “First of all we don’t own the property.”

The property is owned by the Windsor and Hantsport Railway Company Ltd. and the provincial government has issued the president of the company an emergency directive to address the issue. The matter is now before the courts, but Porter says a solution can’t wait.

“We’ve made a decision, the province has made a decision we’re going in to fix it cause it needs to be done and we don’t want to wait on this any longer.”

Rail tracks that used to cross over the river before the aboiteau was destroyed.

John Belbin

But for Merk, it’s too late. He says even with a fix, it will take years to clear up from all the saltwater contamination.

“I think my problem is going to be never ending,” he said.

Community members are standing behind Merk and other property owners affected. While they are happy the aboiteau will be fixed, many say there is still more to do.

“People need to be compensated,” said Dale Janes, who has lived in the area her whole life. “For the loss of their wells, and their property and septic systems.”

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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‘Business as usual’ for Dorel Industries after terminating go-private deal

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MONTREAL — Dorel Industries Inc. says it will continue to pursue its business strategy going forward after terminating an agreement to go private after discussions with shareholders.

« Moving ahead. Business as usual, » a spokesman for the company said in an email on Monday.

A group led by Cerberus Capital Management had previously agreed to buy outstanding shares of Dorel for $16 apiece, except for shares owned by the family that controls the company’s multiple-voting shares.

But Dorel chief executive Martin Schwartz said the Montreal-based maker of car seats, strollers, bicycles and home furniture pulled the plug on a deal on the eve of Tuesday’s special meeting after reviewing votes from shareholders.

“Independent shareholders have clearly expressed their confidence in Dorel’s future and the greater potential for Dorel as a public entity, » he said in a news release.

Dorel’s board of directors, with Martin Schwartz, Alan Schwartz, Jeffrey Schwartz and Jeff Segel recused, unanimously approved the deal’s termination upon the recommendation of a special committee.

The transaction required approval by two-thirds of the votes cast, and more than 50 per cent of the votes cast by non-family shareholders.

Schwartz said enhancing shareholder value remains a top priority while it stays focused on growing its brands, which include Schwinn and Mongoose bikes, Safety 1st-brand car seats and DHP Furniture.

Dorel said the move to end the go-private deal was mutual, despite the funds’ increased purchase price offer earlier this year.

It said there is no break fee applicable in this case.

Montreal-based investment firm Letko, Brosseau & Associates Inc. and San Diego’s Brandes Investment Partners LP, which together control more than 19 per cent of Dorel’s outstanding class B subordinate shares voiced their opposition to the amended offer, which was increased from the initial Nov. 2 offer of $14.50 per share.

« We believe that several minority shareholders shared our opinion, » said Letko vice-president Stephane Lebrun, during a phone interview.

« We are confident of the long-term potential of the company and we have confidence in the managers in place.”

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Anglais

Pandemic funds helping Montreal businesses build for a better tomorrow

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Many entrepreneurs have had to tap into government loans during the pandemic, at first just to survive, but now some are using the money to better prepare their businesses for the post-COVID future.

One of those businesses is Del Friscos, a popular family restaurant in Dollard-des-Ormeaux that, like many Montreal-area restaurants, has had to adapt from a sit-down establishment to one that takes orders online for takeout or delivery.

“It was hard going from totally in-house seating,” said Del Friscos co-owner Terry Konstas. “We didn’t have an in-house delivery system, which we quickly added. There were so many of our employees that were laid off that wanted to work so we adapted to a delivery system and added platforms like Uber and DoorDash.”

Helping them through the transition were emergency grants and low-interest loans from the federal and provincial governments, some of which are directly administered by PME MTL, a non-profit business-development organization established to assist the island’s small and medium-sized businesses.

Konstas said he had never even heard of PME MTL until a customer told him about them and when he got in touch, he discovered there were many government programs available to help his business get through the downturn and build for the future. “They’ve been very helpful right from day one,” said Konstas.

“We used some of the funds to catch up on our suppliers and our rents, the part that wasn’t covered from the federal side, and we used some of it for our new virtual concepts,” he said, referring to a virtual kitchen model which the restaurant has since adopted.

The virtual kitchen lets them create completely different menu items from the casual American Italian dishes that Del Friscos is known for and market them under different restaurant brand names. Under the Prasinó Soup & Salad banner, they sell healthy Greek options and their Stallone’s Sub Shop brand offers hearty sandwiches, yet the food from both is created in the same Del Friscos kitchen.

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Downtown Montreal office, retail vacancies continue to rise

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Some of downtown Montreal’s key economic indicators are heading in the wrong direction.

Office and retail vacancies in the city’s central core continued to climb in the fourth quarter of 2020, according to a quarterly report released Thursday by the Urban Development Institute of Quebec and the Montréal Centre-Ville merchants association. The report, whose first edition was published in October, aims to paint a socio-economic picture of the downtown area.

The survey also found office space available for sublet had increased during the fourth quarter, which may foreshadow even more vacancies when leases expire. On the residential front, condo sales fell as new listings soared — a sign that the downtown area may be losing some of its appeal to homeowners.

“It’s impossible not to be preoccupied by the rapid increase in office vacancies,” Jean-Marc Fournier, the former Quebec politician who now heads the UDI, said Thursday in an interview.

Still, with COVID-19 vaccinations set to accelerate in the coming months, “the economic picture is bound to improve,” he said. “People will start returning downtown. It’s much too early to say the office market is going to disappear.”

Public health measures implemented since the start of the pandemic almost a year ago — such as caps on office capacity — have deprived downtown Montreal of more than 500,000 workers and students. A mere 4,163 university and CEGEP students attended in-person classes in the second quarter, the most recent period for which figures are available. Border closures and travel restrictions have also brought tourism to a standstill, hurting hotels and thousands of local businesses.

Seventy per cent of downtown workers carried out their professional activities at home more than three days a week during the fourth quarter, the report said, citing an online survey of 1,000 Montreal-area residents conducted last month.

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