Friday night bikes: helping immigrants get rolling in their new city
It’s an unexpected sight to say the least. On most Friday evenings, if you walk past reception at the Citadel Community Centre and climb a flight of stairs, you’ll find eight or so people repairing bicycles — on the landing.
If you squeeze past the commotion, you’ll find a large storage room dominated by countless old bicycles. They’re awaiting repair and then assignment to new owners from the city’s fast-growing immigrant population.
“We’re one of the few organizations like this that does not need more volunteers right now, but I expect that to change as we grow, so we’re always glad to hear from skilled mechanics,” says Adam Berry, who manages the Welcoming Wheels project for the Ecology Action Centre and its partners.
And it turns out that sharing a passion for biking is a great way to overcome linguistic and cultural barriers. Adam estimates 80 per cent of the volunteers at Welcoming Wheels are themselves recent immigrants.
On the face of it, the project is simple: repair donated bicycles and give them to newcomers. But there’s more to it. Some volunteers are regulars on Friday nights, others take on tasks such as collecting the bikes, managing inventory, raising money, training people to ride safely on Halifax streets, translating, and organizing the distribution of street-ready bikes.
Ephraim Mapendo walked in with his bike while Adam and I were talking about all this. Adam eyed the tires and suggested Ephraim add some air. That segued into a discussion about whether narrow or wide tires are better for riding in the snow.
“Yep. Ephraim lives in Spryfield and needs his bike to get to work at the Walmart in Bedford.”
Adam, an enthusiastic BMX biker who recommends narrow tires for snow, said Ephraim is an example of one of his earliest insights at Welcoming Wheels: “Like most of the world, immigrants want bikes for economic reasons, not recreation. North Americans see it is as hobby, which is probably why we have the lowest bike ridership anywhere.”
Well, hobby or not, volunteers are drawn to the landing on Friday nights to fix bikes and, at break-time, enjoy traditional Canadian cuisine — pizza.
After a year of secrecy, the victim gets a name: Corey Rogers
The Nova Scotia Public Prosecution Service says a conflict of interest prevents it from providing legal advice to the Serious Incident Response Team regarding the death of Corey Rogers, 41.
This is the first official identification of Rogers since his death in a Halifax police cell on June 16, 2016. The delay constituted a level of secrecy that is unacceptable in a democracy.
Rogers, of Spryfield, had been arrested for pubic intoxication but not charged. He was well-regarded by people who posted on his Facebook page.
The PPS says it has asked its counterpart in Manitoba
to provide advice to SiRT Director Ronald J. MacDonald on whether a criminal prosecution is warranted. It’s my belief that MacDonald has wanted a prosecution since early this year, but hit a roadblock with the PPS.
From the news release: “As we examined the material being gathered by SIRT, it became apparent the prosecution service was in conflict,” said Martin Herschorn, director of public prosecutions. “To avoid any conflict of interest or appearance of conflict, the involvement of another prosecution service is necessary to ensure public confidence in the PPS and in the administration of justice.”
You can find the full PPS news release here and in the text box below.
You can find my most recent post on this story here. For all six previous posts on Corey Rogers, click on the “CR” category at the bottom of this page.
Public Prosecution Service Calling in Manitoba to Advise SIRT Investigation
Public Prosecution Service
July 5, 2017 2:21 PM
The Nova Scotia Public Prosecution Service (PPS) has asked the Manitoba Prosecution Service to provide legal advice to the Serious Incident Response Team (SIRT) on its ongoing investigation into a 2016 death in Halifax Regional Police cells.
On June 16, 2016, Corey Rogers, 41, was found unresponsive in a police cell at 1:45 a.m. Emergency Heath Services were called but Mr. Rogers could not be revived. SIRT was then called in to investigate.
The Public Prosecution Service provides legal advice to any police agency during an investigation, when requested.
“As we examined the material being gathered by SIRT, it became apparent the prosecution service was in conflict,” said Martin Herschorn, director of public prosecutions. “To avoid any conflict of interest or appearance of conflict, the involvement of another prosecution service is necessary to ensure public confidence in the PPS and in the administration of justice.”
The Manitoba Crown has agreed to advise SIRT as it moves forward with its investigation and will prosecute any criminal charges that may result.
It is common practice for prosecution services across Canada to help each other in conflict cases. Currently, for example, Nova Scotia Crown attorneys are dealing with matters in Newfoundland and New Brunswick.
FOR BROADCAST USE:
The Nova Scotia Public Prosecution Service has asked the
Manitoba Prosecution Service to provide legal advice to the Nova
Scotia Serious Incident Response Team as it investigates a 2016
death in Halifax Regional Police cells.
On June 16th, 2016, 41-year-old Corey Rogers was found
unresponsive in a police cell at 1:45 a.m. Emergency Health
Services were called but, when resuscitation efforts were
unsuccessful, SIRT was called in to investigate.
Martin Herschorn, director of public prosecutions, says
that as the Crown examined the material being gathered by SIRT,
it became apparent the Nova Scotia Public Prosecution Service
was in conflict. He says the involvement of another prosecution
service was necessary to avoid a conflict of interest or any
appearance of conflict.
The Manitoba Crown will advise SIRT as the investigation
progresses and will prosecute any criminal charges which may
It is common practice for prosecution services across
Canada to help each other in conflict cases.
Media Contact: Chris Hansen