Archive for January, 2008

Halifax Harbour is Clean!


A few months ago this was a cesspool of green sludge. Look at it now!

I was out walking in the balmy 6 degree and sunny weather at lunch today (balmy for the beginning of January in Halifax anyway), and was astounded at the condition of Halifax Harbour. It’s amazingly clear.

Never before have I seen such clean water in the harbour. It’s apparent and obvious all along the boardwalk, but most especially apparent and obvious near the wave sculpture, where for so many years an almost opaque green sludge spewed forth from submerged concrete pipes, and various flushed flotsam and jetsom (and then-some) disgorged from the most filty-of-filthys, the Halifax sewer “system”.

Now, you can look down at that exact same spot and count individual starfish and urchins. The ducks dabble and you don’t feel so sorry for them. There’s a clear sparkle to the waves as they lap at the muscle and barnacle encrusted rocks.

At some spots you can make out interesting features. There are old mounds of ballast marking the graves of important warves of the days of sail. I imagine around these mounds are probably all sorts of things lost overboard, or tossed by stevedores and dock workers. So many ships have come and gone with the tides in Halifax Harbour. It was a major port for commerce and military activity. Ships came from all over the world to unload trade goods from far off places, and to take on board lumber, fish, furs and various other items.

There must be cannon and shot and articles from broken barrels; the main shipping container of the past.

We came across an old bicycle someone had pulled up. It was rusted to bits and broken where soft metal had corroded to nothing, but a couple of stainless steel nuts were like new and there was still air in the front tire.

What will summer be like now? It will surely smell better. Will we see sea life at wharf edge? Will seals swim about? Some friends speculate that the water is less attractive now to marine life due to the loss of nutrients. Nutrients? Yuck! I don’t think the previous centuries of sewer and other waste would have held any attraction to marine animals. Will the Sackville River salmon population rebound? Wouldn’t that be cool.

I’ll be posting follow up articles from time to time and welcome your comments as well. Go check it out of you can.


Originally posted in my Halifax Herald MyConnect blog

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