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20Sep

BC Ferries wants public input on major Horseshoe Bay terminal overhaul

by admin

BC Ferries is in the early stages of redeveloping its decades-old Horseshoe Bay terminal and is now seeking public feedback.

The terminal, which services routes between Vancouver Island, the Sunshine Coast and Bowen Island, hasn’t gone through significant upgrades since the 1960s. Over years of growth, small changes and add-ons have tried to accommodate an increase in travellers, but BC Ferries says the terminal is at capacity. 

“The Horseshoe Bay terminal plays a significant role in connecting communities and customers,” said Mark Wilson, vice president of strategy and community engagement, in a news release. 

“This makes it a good time to get more detailed input on how we improve the terminal to meet the community’s future growth and emerging needs.”

Last May, BC Ferries surveyed 1,500 people to get feedback on what they’d like to see in the redevelopment. Themes that came out of that process included efficiency, accessibility and integrating the village. Some design concepts were developed from that feedback. 

“We’ve developed these draft concepts with what we heard, and now we want to further define them with more input from the community,” Wilson said. 

As part of its process and based on that initial feedback, BC Ferries has created a “visual profile” that will be used in future designs. For example, several images are included to “reflect the kind of narrative you would like the design of the terminal to tell,” such as a West Coast shore, present ferry terminal and a seal. 

Some of the changes proposed include a second exit road, a new waiting area for foot passengers, a transportation hub and another storey being added to the terminal building.

From now until Oct. 13, anyone can give feedback online. There is also a community engagement event scheduled on Oct. 7 from 4 to 8 p.m. at the Gleneagles Golf Course in West Vancouver.

The engagement process is part of a long-term, 25-year plan for the terminal and construction likely wouldn’t begin until the mid-2020s.  

18Sep

First-of-its-kind Parkinson’s community centre opens in Victoria

by admin

For people living on lower Vancouver Island with Parkinson’s disease, there is now a community centre to help them through their journey.

Wednesday marks the official opening of the Parkinson Wellness Project (PWP) in Victoria, located at 2680 Blanshard Street. Staff refer to the facility as a community centre where people diagnosed with the progressive neurological disorder can come together and talk about their struggles with others going through the same journey.

Krista Lavoie, operations manager at PWP, says when someone gets diagnosed with the disease, often people suffer from depression and self-isolation.

One of the most important things someone can do for themselves at the time is to talk about it, she says. 

“We’re here sharing stories, we’re sharing food, we’re sharing laughter and we’re also sharing the hard stuff too,” said Lavoie.

“It’s important that everyone get a chance to do that here.”

Along with the emotional support, the centre emphasises fitness. While there is currently no cure for Parkinson’s disease, physicians globally recognize exercise as the number one way to combat the physical effects of the illness, according to Lavoie. 

“People with Parkinson’s need specific movements to slow their progression, so we use specific exercises that we introduce repetitively throughout our classes,” said Lavoie. “It’s helping regain those movement patterns that you’ve lost.”

Classes vary from circuit training to boxing classes, which benefit local residents like Sukhi Rai who was diagnosed with the disease nine years ago. 

Rai says he was an avid runner and knew something was wrong when he started having troubles with his left ankle. After seeing a multitude of health specialists, he finally had a diagnosis. 

“It was a relief to finally be diagnosed because I had been living with the symptoms for quite a few years,” said Rai. “I continued to work for a while but eventually I had to go on long term disability.”

For Rai, the centre offers him a weekly routine of exercise, conversation and a place to just come feel as though he is part of a community.

“Without it, I don’t know where I’d be,” said Rai. “It’s been a pillar of my health plan and my battle with Parkinson’s.”

The PWP is open to all people with Parkinson’s disease and those around them. 

“If you have Parkinson’s, everybody in your social circle potentially is living that journey with you,” said Lavoie. “We want all of those people in here and we just want to make them comfortable.”

The centre is 100-percent funded by donors, with no medical or government support. All classes are completely free but often participants will donate what they can per class.

People who are interested in learning more about the Parkinson Wellness Project or are looking for ways to donate to the facility can find out more at their website here

16Sep

Here’s what SkyTrain users told TransLink they want for the new cars

by admin

Alyse Kotyk, CTV News Vancouver


Published Monday, September 16, 2019 11:18AM PDT


Last Updated Monday, September 16, 2019 11:19AM PDT

Transit users want to see more open and flexible spaces in SkyTrain cars, a survey conducted by TransLink says.

Earlier this year, about 13,500 transit users weighed in on changes they’d like to see inside SkyTrain cars as the transportation authority prepares to get more than 200 new cars. 

Results from the survey, released Friday, found that front-facing seats were the most popular, with 53 per cent of respondents preferring them. But perimeter seats were firmly in second place, with one-third saying they’d like some side seating in the new cars. 

Transit users were also very interested in seeing more leaning rails next to windows, particularly for those who have difficulty sitting. Across both its public survey and the TransLink Listens survey, 90 per cent of transit users were in favour of leaning rails. 

Opening up areas entirely for flex space was also a popular option, with about 60 per cent of respondents saying they’d like to see flex space on trains doubled. Right now, the newest train cars have two flex space areas – one at each end of the train. In those flex spaces, two-thirds supported bike racks being included. 

SkyTrain users also wanted improved signage showing the upcoming stop, destination and exit side. 

They also called for policies on washrooms to be reviewed. Currently, only washrooms at SeaBus terminals or on the West Coast Express are open to the public. There are also staff washrooms at stations, which are only accessible to the public with the permission of a TransLink staff member. 

However last December, TransLink’s board of directors approved a recommendation to create a policy that would see public washroom facilities on the transit system. 

According to a January staff report from the City of Richmond, TransLink staff have developed a washroom demand index for all stations and bus exchanges. Based on Compass card data, a draft “score” has been given to each station that considers the number of visits each site has per day. 

Data on those scores has not yet been released and there is no timeline on washrooms being made available at stations. 

The request for proposals for design and delivery of new cars will close at the end of this year. The new train cars will be used to replace the oldest “Mark 1” cars and will be in service sometime between 2024 and 2027.  

Read through the full report below.

12Sep

Surrey teen’s cardiac arrest leaves family pleading for defibrillators in schools

by admin

The sound of a phone ringing has put Surrey resident Esmeralda Gomez on edge for weeks.

Back in July, she received the kind of call every parent dreads. Her son Alex had been rushed to hospital after collapsing at the gym.

“It was the worst feeling,” Gomez said. “We got the phone call saying your son has collapsed, he may not make it so you need to get over here.”

Alex, who was then just 14 years old, had unexpectedly gone into cardiac arrest. He would spend the next 12 hours in a coma.

And Gomez said her son might not have survived at all if it hadn’t been for the lifeguards from an adjoining pool who rushed into the gym, used an automated external defibrillator (AED) on him and then performed CPR.

“The doctors at (BC Children’s Hospital) said if he didn’t have the AED machine used, he wouldn’t be here today,” Gomez said.

Before the incident, the family had no reason to suspect there was anything wrong with Alex. They described him as an athletic high schooler who played competitive soccer.

To their dismay, the cause of his episode is still unclear almost two months later.

“Tests all come back normal. They can’t find anything so we’re waiting for the genetic tests to come back,” Gomez said.

In the meantime, they’re terrified he could suffer another cardiac arrest somewhere that doesn’t have the kind of life-saving technology that spared their family a tragedy the first time – including at his school.

“We were extremely shocked to find out the school didn’t carry an AED machine,” Gomez said. “North Van has them, Coquitlam has them, why not Surrey?”

The provincial government doesn’t currently require schools across the province to stock an AED, something Gomez would like to see changed. The Ministry of Education told CTV News it follows the advice of B.C.’s provincial health officer, who currently supports the installation of AEDs in schools where there are children or staff with medical conditions that could require them.

There is also a private member’s bill in the works to create clear regulations around AEDs for the entire province, and to improve accessibility.

But the Surrey school district said for now, it’s facing issues around funding and maintenance.

“It’s not as simple as saying let’s put an AED in the school. I think there’s a number of things, a number of considerations outside the reach of the school district,” spokesperson Doug Strachan said.

Strachan promised the district will be addressing the situation with Gomez’s family, however.

“We will work with the family if there’s a need identified by a medical professional,” he said.

Gomez and her husband hope something will be done quickly. Experts caution that just 15 per cent of British Columbians who suffer cardiac arrest manage to survive.

“For every minute that goes by, your survival reduces by 10 per cent, so there’s really a small time frame where doing CPR and using an AED are extremely important,” said Gillian Wong of the Heart and Stroke Foundation.

11Sep

338 ridings, 40 days, 1 vote: Election kicks off today

by admin

OTTAWA – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will ask Gov. Gen. Julie Payette to dissolve the 42nd Parliament at 10 a.m. this morning, setting in motion Canada’s 43rd federal election campaign.

  • Watch LIVE @ 9 ET on CTVNews.ca and CTV News Channel: Lisa LaFlamme leads special coverage as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is set to launch the 2019 federal election campaign

It will be a 40-day race to the ballot box, with all party leaders crisscrossing the country in an effort to pitch themselves, their candidates, and their platforms to Canadians, before election day on Oct. 21.

Following the formalities of ending a Parliament and launching a federal election campaign with races in all 338 ridings, Trudeau will emerge from Rideau Hall and speak to the media.

There, he’s likely to explain why it is election time and take the first chance to frame what the vote will be about. Trudeau had a deadline of Sept. 15 to call the election under new time limit rules passed since the last election, which kicked off four years, one month, and nine days ago.

Before visiting Rideau Hall, Trudeau joined his wife Sophie Gregoire Trudeau in walking their three children to school.

Trudeau is then departing for Vancouver, the same city he was in for the 2015 kickoff that resulted in his historic majority victory.

The main opposition party leaders will also address the media from strategically selected locations across the country where they will respond to the election call, and offer their first real campaign messages.

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer will kick off his first federal election at the helm of his party from Trois-Rivieres, Que. NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, who is also embarking on his first campaign on the federal stage will deliver his response to the election writs being issued from London, Ont.

Green Party Leader Elizabeth May will speak from her home territory of Victoria, where she’s looking to make big electoral gains; Bloc Quebecois Leader Yves-Francois Blanchet will mark his party’s official campaign kickoff for more seats in the province, from Quebec City. People’s Party Leader Maxime Bernier is beginning the first-ever federal election for his team, from the Toronto area.

Pre-campaign summer posturing

While the official campaign will last just over five weeks, the political positioning for votes has been underway all summer long. Parties have been ramping up their war rooms, testing out partisan attack lines, and unveiling campaign ads and slogans.

With the formal launch, expect the battling for votes to ramp up, more partisan mudslinging, contenders across the country knocking on doors and debating, as well as a daily offering of new platform proposals and policy ideas for Canadians to weigh when deciding who they’ll cast their ballot for.

New elections law, spending rules

Since the 2015 campaign there have been changes to the federal elections law. From new limits on third-party and foreign participation, to new measures aimed at boosting accessibility and voter participation.

There are also new campaign spending limits. Over the election, each registered party can spend approximately $28.1 million, while individual candidates can spend on average $110,000, but it varies depending on the riding. That means — should each party run a full slate of candidates — they can spend a combined total of approximately $65 million. Third-party interest groups have a spending cap at just under $512,000.

Party standings as of dissolution

Heading into the campaign the Liberals hold 177 seats, the Conservatives have 95, the NDP hold 39, the Bloc Quebecois have 10, and the Green Party has two seats. The 42nd Parliament also had eight independents as of dissolution. A party needs to win 170 seats for a majority government.

11Sep

338 ridings, 40 days, 1 vote: Election campaign kicks off

by admin

OTTAWA – Justin Trudeau has set in motion the 2019 federal election campaign.

On Wednesday morning, Gov. Gen. Julie Payette accepted his request to dissolve the 42nd Parliament, setting in motion Canada’s 43rd federal race, with campaigns in all 338 ridings.

It will be a 40-day race to the ballot box, with all party leaders crisscrossing the country in an effort to pitch themselves, their candidates, and their platforms to Canadians, before election day on Oct. 21.

Speaking to the media outside of Rideau Hall with a backdrop of Liberal supporters, Trudeau took the first opportunity to frame what the election will be about.

“This fall Canadians once again get to vote for the kind of Canada they want to live in. We’ve all got a choice to make, keep moving forward and build on the progress we’ve made, or go back to the politics of the Harper years,” Trudeau said.

Trudeau had a deadline of Sept. 15 to launch the campaign under new time limit rules passed since the last election, which kicked off four years, one month, and nine days ago.

Before visiting Rideau Hall, Trudeau joined his wife Sophie Gregoire Trudeau in walking their three children to school.

This afternoon, Trudeau is departing for Vancouver, the same city he was in for the 2015 kickoff that resulted in his historic majority victory.

The main opposition party leaders also will address the media from strategically-selected locations across the country where they will respond to the election call, and offer their first real campaign messages.

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer will kick off his first federal election at the helm of his party from Trois-Rivieres, Que. Instead of flying directly in, however, fog has forced his plane to fly into Quebec City first, and the campaign will then travel by bus to the rally location. Before boarding his campaign plane in Ottawa ahead of the formal election call, Scheer took aim at Trudeau over the latest development in the SNC-Lavalin scandal. A new report in The Globe and Mail that published on the eve of the election call citing unnamed sources said the government has not lifted cabinet confidentiality for all witnesses, which has limited the RCMP’s examination of potential obstruction of justice in the handling of the Quebec construction and engineering firm’s prosecution.

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, who is also embarking on his first campaign on the federal stage, will deliver his response to the election writs being issued from London, Ont. where he has already disembarked his campaign bus and was greeted by supporters.

Green Party Leader Elizabeth May will speak from her home territory of Victoria, where she’s looking to make big electoral gains; Bloc Quebecois Leader Yves-Francois Blanchet will mark his party’s official campaign kickoff for more seats in the province, from Quebec City. People’s Party Leader Maxime Bernier is beginning the first ever federal election for his team, from the Toronto area.   

The latest Nanos Research numbers show that the Liberals have a slight lead heading into the campaign, sitting at 34.6 per cent in the polls. The Conservatives have 30.7, the NDP are at 16.6, Greens are at 11 per cent, the Bloc Quebecois have 4 per cent, and the People’s Party are sitting at 1 per cent.

“We’ve got a tight race. There’s no majority government in sight right now, and it’s anyone’s game,” said pollster Nik Nanos.

Pre-campaign summer posturing

While the official campaign will last just over five weeks, the political positioning for votes has been underway all summer long. Parties have been ramping up their war rooms, testing out partisan attack lines, and unveiling campaign ads and slogans.

With the formal launch, expect the battling for votes to ramp up, more partisan mudslinging, contenders across the country knocking on doors and debating, as well as a daily offering of new platform proposals and policy ideas for Canadians to weigh when deciding who they’ll cast their ballot for.

New elections law, spending rules

Since the 2015 campaign there have been changes to the federal elections law. From new limits on third-party and foreign participation, to new measures aimed at boosting accessibility and voter participation.

There are also new campaign spending limits. Over the election, each registered party can spend approximately $28.1 million, while individual candidates can spend on average $110,000, but it varies depending on the riding. That means — should each party run a full slate of candidates — they can spend a combined total of approximately $65 million. Third-party interest groups have a spending cap at just under $512,000.

Party standings as of dissolution

Heading into the campaign the Liberals hold 177 seats, the Conservatives have 95, the NDP hold 39, the Bloc Quebecois have 10, and the Green Party has two seats. The 42nd Parliament also had eight independents as of dissolution. A party needs to win 170 seats for a majority government.

 

10Sep

Art too sexy for this bar? Human rights complaint launched over decor

by admin

Jasmine Mooney is a successful entrepreneur who owns three Vancouver bars – but lately she’s been defending her taste in art.

Five employees from the Hotel Belmont have launched a human rights complaint over what they contend is an unsafe work environment, caused by what’s on the bar walls.

A large print of a nude woman bent over a muscle car hangs in The Basement, Mooney’s watering hole in the hotel’s lower level. There are also bright neon outlines of a naked woman and man outside the washrooms.

The employees do not work for Mooney, but in other departments in the hotel.

They sought aid from Union Here, the same group that helped employees of the Hotel Georgia launch a sexual harassment claim.

“My reaction was that it was very grotesque and offensive to women,” said Sharan Pawa, spokesperson for Union Here local 40. “The excuse for these images is that they are just trendy and fun, but we don’t think that it’s appropriate because fun doesn’t equate to sexualizing women.”

The F-word is also prominently displayed twice the main bar area, and drawings of dozens of breasts are on the washroom’s ceiling.

Mooney says she choose the artwork herself and does not find it offensive.

”It’s edgy and it’s out there and it’s different” she said. “That’s the thing with art, it’s so subjective.”

She argues similar works are displayed in galleries all over the world, and they are revered by critics.

Her intention was to design a fun establishment that reminds people of the 1950s and their parents basement. The décor is bright. It has a bowling alley, arcade and jelly bean dispensers.

Mooney said minors will never be permitted inside, and none of her employees have complained to her.

“Absolutely not. No, we go above and beyond to ensure our staff are comfortable and secure,” she insisted.

8Sep

VPD ask public for help locating senior with disability

by admin

Vancouver police are asking the public for help locating wheelchair-using senior who was last seen Saturday in the Downtown Eastside.

In a release, the Vancouver Police Department said Garry Molyneux didn’t return to his care facility near West 12th Avenue and Ash Street Saturday night. Police said they are concerned for Molyneux’s safety.

Molyneux was last seen Saturday near the intersection of Main and Hastings streets around 7:30 p.m., police said.

Police said Molyneux is paralyzed from a stroke, adding that he can’t speak and uses a motorized wheelchair. Because of this, police said, he is unable to ask for assistance.

Molyneux requires medication for diabetes and may seem confused or disoriented, police said.

Police described Molyneux as white, with fair skin. He is 5’7″ tall with a medium build, short grey hair and brown eyes, and was last seen wearing blue jogging pants and a long jacket.

Anyone who sees him is asked to call 911 and stay with him until first responders arrive.

7Sep

Victoria Conservatory of Music shows off new technology lab at open house

by admin

News staff, CTV Vancouver Island


Published Saturday, September 7, 2019 4:31PM PDT

The Victoria Conservatory of Music showed off its facilities at its open house Saturday.

Members of the public were invited to tour the conservatory, including performance halls, practice rooms and a library featuring more than 60,000 music sheets and books. Visitors also got to enjoy free concerts by VCM faculty and students.

One of the stars of the show, from the conservatory’s perspective, is the recently opened Music Technology and Creativity Lab, which was made possible by a donation from Pitt and Sheila Linder.

The lab features computers and software for music recording, editing and production, and it’s open to both beginners and experts.

“It’s something we’ve dreamt about for years,” said Stephen Green, dean of the conservatory.

In addition to the software and the computers, the room includes a multi-channel audio system that will allow students to hear their creations and discuss with instructors and peers. There is also a large smart TV that allows the conservatory to connect live with professional musicians and teachers from around the world.

“It’s all here,” Green said. “We want to make sure that anyone who has an interest in music technology knows that it’s not just one particular group. You don’t have to be, like, a professional musician. It’s all open to everyone.”

The new space means greater accessibility for the conservatory, he said, adding that it helps the organization meet the needs of the 21st century musician.

The space cost roughly $50,000 to create, according to the conservatory.

27Aug

Human rights complaint dismissed after man with sex addiction banned from yoga studio

by admin

A man who says he has a sex addiction had his human rights complaint dismissed after alleging he was discriminated against when he was banned from a White Rock yoga studio.

According to a BC Human Rights Tribunal application to dismiss, Erik Rutherford said he attended classes at Westcoast Hot Yoga for over 10 years. When he asked for coaching services from one of the studio’s employees who has her own outside business, however, he was turned down. 

Background in the dismissal application says Rutherford had told the coach “he was seeking help with sex addiction,” but the coach said this wasn’t her field of expertise. He also opened up to other staff about his former experiences with addiction.

Rutherford added that he had reached out to the coach “out of trust as she had offered her health coaching business to me as she had male clients from our studio, but admittedly I contacted her partly due to my mental disability as she is an attractive healthy woman.”

After asking for coaching help and telling staff about his addiction background, Rutherford alleges he was discriminated against by staff, saying they looked at him differently, gossiped about him and eventually wouldn’t let him take yoga classes at the studio. 

The yoga studio, however, said their decision to not allow Rutherford to attend classes anymore had nothing to do with his mental health. 

Instead, Westcoast told the tribunal that Rutherford “began phoning, texting and emailing Westcoast staff at all hours, making staff and some clients uncomfortable,” after his coaching request was denied. 

The yoga studio went on to say that the reason he was asked to practice somewhere else was because he didn’t “stop harassing (them) with emails and false accusations against teachers.” The yoga studio even went so far as to speak to police for help. 

Tribunal documents show that, on May 13, 2018, Rutherford sent an email to the yoga studio, stating he had talked to his 12-step advisor about the situation. 

“My main thing is alcohol but only on vacation,” the email said. “My main issue is internet or cyber pornography that is not related to the studio. If I am paying for yoga, kindly tell your instructors to not silently judge.”

The next day, Rutherford attended a yoga class and later that afternoon, got an email response from the studio. 

“I have had some very upset conversations this morning from my staff, in regards to voice messages left late last night and also teachers receiving messages from you late last night,” the email to Rutherford said. 

“On Saturday I did have a lady concerned about you staring constantly in class … it makes people very uncomfortable, and your constant approaching (the coach) at all hours, and sharing your personal issues has made her and some other staff after your message very uncomfortable.”

The email went on to say that Rutherford’s recently purchased class pass would be refunded. 

“Please do not send any further messages to all these parties, or there will need to have the police involved,” the email said. 

The BC Human Rights Tribunal has the authority to apply for a complaint to be dismissed before it goes to a hearing, particularly if the tribunal member feels the complaint doesn’t “warrant the time or expense of a hearing.” In this case, tribunal member Emily Ohler explained she did not think Rutherford’s complaint would succeed. 

Rutherford responded, saying his “disease is spiritual, mental, physical and social and financially void disease with many different facets and can easily display itself in sexual manifestations especially when abstaining from drugs and alcohol.” 

He went on to say he hasn’t “used the dangerous chemicals since early 2003.”

However, when Rutherford spoke to a doctor to get a diagnosis for his mental health issues and submit a letter to the tribunal, the doctor did not supply a diagnosis. Instead, wrote that Rutherford “does not always recognize personal boundaries,” adding that “he was more likely barred because of some behaviour that either annoyed, scared or offended an instructor.”

In her decision, Ohler said she was “reasonably certain” the yoga studio would be able to prove in a hearing “that continuing to allow Mr. Rutherford to practice yoga at its studio in the circumstances would constitute undue hardship.” 

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