n Oversight agency determines there is no evidence of sexual assault against Bridgewater police officer
The province's independent police oversight agency concluded a man's allegation of sexual assault against a Bridgewater Police Service officer lacked sufficient evidence. The man told the Serious Incident Response Team (SIRT) an officer put his or her hand down between his butt cheeks during a scuffle November 20, 2019 as he was being taken into custody on an outstanding arrest warrant. SIRT was contacted by the man four months after his arrest in Bridgewater, in March 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic impacted the speed of the investigation, SIRT said. Five police officers were involved, SIRT said in a statement, and one member sustained a bite wound during the events at Freeman House where the man was participating in a community services program. The man "was unable to say with any certainty which of the five police officers put their hand between his buttocks," SIRT indicated in a three-page report. "None of the four [Freeman House] employees who were present where the arrest took place observed what [he] said happened and there was no closed-circuit video to review," it added.
n Lunenburg passes terms of reference, names members of anti-racism committee
Several members - including two councillors - have been named to Lunenburg's new anti-racism committee tasked with developing an action plan for the town on ending discrimination and racism. The report will focus on, but won't be limited to, anti-black and indigenous racism. Alden Darville, Jerin Kottakkal, Rebecca Fisk, Saundra Vernon and Stephen Labrador are the citizen appointments, while councillors Peter Mosher, the town's deputy mayor, and Melissa Duggan were also named to the committee. Duggan, who is mixed race, is the committee chairwoman. Non-councillor members will receive a $225 per year honourarium. During a January 26 meeting when the matter was discussed, the town's council also green-lit a $300 advertising budget. The new committee is a step taken after Jessika Hepburn's presentation to civic politicians in the summer of 2020, which included advice on the formation of an anti-racism group. Hepburn put forward a petition requesting renaming Cornwallis and Creighton Streets to honour Mi'kmaq and Black communities. There have been calls for years to have Edward Cornwallis's name removed from monuments, rivers, schools and other fixtures in various communities because he called for a bounty on Mi'kmaq scalps soon after his Chebucto Harbour entrance in the mid-1700s. Creighton Street shares the same surname as one of the town's founding fathers who served in Cornwallis's militia and was said to be a slave owner.
n Ross Farm Museum is seeking more cash, Municipality of Chester signifies support
A provincially-operated agricultural museum in the northwestern end of Lunenburg is seeking a $1.5 million boost in standard operational funding as it works to maintain staffing and skill-set smarts at the Highway 12 property. Peter Cullen, Ross Farm Museum's executive director, told a recent meeting of Municipality of Chester civic politicians that efforts are under way to promote the positives of investment in living history and other benefits of the New Ross-based attraction to the province's Department of Communities, Culture and Heritage. The department funds provincial museums, including four in Lunenburg and Queens counties. There's been no change in operational structure funding since 2008, Cullen told council during a presentation broadcasted on the internet. "Some museums take the approach that we're provincial museums and the province should pay for all of it. That would be wonderful, but let's live in the real world and focus on what investing in museums can do," Cullen said. Council passed a motion supporting Ross Farm in its funding request, with local Councillor Tina Connors and Warden Allen Webber speaking to value of the museum and its traditional farming programs. Ross Farm has been providing services and educating visitors for over 50 years. More about the museum can be found at https://rossfarm.novascotia.ca on the internet.
n Big boat shed project finishes
A structure on Lunenburg's waterfront will again be a home to traditional boat building but with new viewing areas, exhibits and interactive displays, the big boat shed gives the public a new look into the province's boat building heritage. The new space and additional exhibits will be part of the programming planned for Bluenose Drive's Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic this summer and beyond. The hands-on small boat building area and interpretive centre are included in an expansion of the shed, which once served as the main vessel construction spot for Smith and Rhuland Shipyards. The Bluenose II, Bounty and Rose were built there. The expansion and restoration project, announced in 2019, cost $1.5 million and also encompassed work to stabilize the building, a floor re-construction, and installation of a full-length slipway. Project completion was announced by the museum January 19