BC Ferries is seeking public input on some draft concepts for the redesign of its busy Horseshoe Bay terminal.
The West Vancouver terminal, which has three different routes connecting Metro Vancouver with Bowen Island, Nanaimo and the Sunshine Coast, is one of the company’s busiest.
Because the bay is tightly hemmed in by mountains, it’s reached its geographic capacity, says Tessa Humphries, a spokesperson with BC Ferries,
“[It] is at a point now where it’s going to need to be renewed,” Humphries said.
The company has already sought public feedback on the design plans. Nearly 1,500 people submitted responses on what they think is important for the future of the terminal.
Humphries said some key concerns included traffic efficiency in and out of the terminal, accessibility and integration with the Village of Horseshoe Bay.
BC Ferries took in all those ideas and have created some draft terminal concepts. These include creating another exit lane to improve traffic efficiency, creating a community hub and redesigning the terminal building.
Still, it will be quite some time before anything changes.
“This is a large, large project and it’s part of the overall 25-year plan for the terminal,” Humphries said.
“We wouldn’t expect construction to actually begin on the first phase until the mid 2020s.”
People can submit feedback online until Oct. 13 or attend a community engagement meeting on Oct. 7 at the Gleneagles Golf Course in West Vancouver.
Metro Vancouver Transit Police are searching for a suspect who allegedly committed two robberies in August, choking each victim until they became unconscious.
In both incidents, the suspect approached and began conversations with the victims before placing them in a headlock and robbing them, according to a Transit Police news release.
Early on the morning of Aug. 18, police say the suspect approached a 45-year-old man riding a bus headed toward the Marine Drive Canada Line station. According to police, he befriended the man, followed him off the bus, asked him for a cigarette and when the victim refused, tackled him and placed him in a headlock until he lost consciousness.
Upon regaining consciousness, the suspect asked the victim to buy him a drink at the Marine Drive Canada Line Station store, but when the victim entered the store, police say, the man stole his phone and fled on the train.
Police say the second robbery occurred late on Aug. 20 when the suspect started a conversation with a 26-year-old man at the Stadium SkyTrain Station.
The suspect grabbed the man when he tried to leave, placed him in a headlock and choked him until he was unconscious.
Watch: Robbery suspect caught on video before his alleged crimes
CCTV at Vancouver’s Stadium SkyTrain Station recorded a suspect before he is alleged to have taken part in a violent robbery. Transit Police say the man is responsible for two thefts in which he put his victims in a headlock, choking them until they were unconscious. 0:17
The victim’s wallet was stolen and his credit card used to make a $400 purchase at a convenience store.
The suspect is described as a Caucasian or Indigenous man in his late 30s, between five feet eight inches and five feet 10 inches with a stocky build and short brown hair.
Transit police say the level of violence used by the suspect is concerning and ask anyone with information about his identity to contact them at 604-516-7419 or by text message at 87-77-77.
A Vancouver man is frustrated TD Canada Trust will not reimburse him for $600 in fraudulent cheques that were cashed on his bank account this summer.
Preston Buffalo, a student at Emily Carr University of Art and Design, says he misplaced his chequebook but isn’t sure exactly when or how.
The bank says Preston Buffalo didn’t exercise due diligence in protecting his cheque book and said it won’t refund the money.
Buffalo discovered the theft in late July when he returned from a visit with family in Edmonton.
He said six cheques, each for $100, and none of them written by Buffalo, were cashed between July 15 and July 27.
The transactions wiped out his savings account.
“In Vancouver, $600 is the difference between being homeless, or not, in a month. It’s that tight,” said Buffalo, 39.
Buffalo lives on disability payments and is a mature student Emily Carr. His First Nation in Alberta pays his tuition.
Buffalo immediately reported the discrepancy in his account to the downtown Vancouver branch of TD Canada Trust.
He says he and bank staff compared his signature cards on-file to signatures on the half dozen cheques.
“It was nothing like how I sign my name,” said Buffalo.
He says bank staff told him “clearly, this is not your signature.”
The bank indicated the cheques had been deposited through an ATM. Buffalo understood that after the bank reviewed surveillance video, the footage would confirm that he was not the culprit depositing the cheques and he would get his money back.
‘No due diligence’ says TD
TD’s fraud division, however, had a different opinion.
After interviewing Buffalo and reviewing his case, it determined he didn’t exercise “due diligence” in protecting his cheque book.
He was told his money would not be returned.
In June, Buffalo had moved from one Vancouver apartment to another.
He was about to pay his July rent at the new place when he realized he couldn’t find his cheque book.
Buffalo simply assumed it was in one of his unpacked boxes and he would look for it when he got back from his Alberta visit.
In the meantime, he paid his rent with a bank draft and went on vacation.
Buffalo doesn’t know what happened to his cheque book. He isn’t sure if he left it at his old apartment or if he mistakenly threw it out, but somehow it fell into the wrong hands.
Buffalo is appealing TD’s ruling.
TD: ‘matter still active’
In an email, Ryan Sang Lee, TD Canada Trust’s manager of corporate and public affairs, said the matter is still active and the bank won’t provide an official statement until “the process plays out.” In a subsequent email, Sang said the bank is working with the customer to resolve the issue.
Meanwhile, a civil litigation lawyer says the bank could have prevented the fraud.
Priyan Samarakoone said most financial institutions only verify signatures on cheques deposited at automated teller machines over a certain value, and ones with lower amounts just pass through.
“The pressure needs to be on the big institutions to verify every single cheque that comes through,” said Samarakoone.
“There’s no excuse for banks to not verify all cheques.”
Verifying every cheque, he says, would protect consumers and banks.
One of the biggest issues for banks, he says, are people who wrongly claim they’ve been defrauded in an attempt to scam the bank.
Buffalo has reported the incident to Vancouver police. He wants whoever took his money to be stopped — and feels the bank is not interested in doing the same.
“It seems easy for them to be — ‘Nope, it was your fault. Stamp. Done. You’re not getting your money,'” said Buffalo.
Buffalo said before his money disappeared it was the first time in years that he felt he had his head above water.
The City of Vancouver has passed a new arts and culture plan for the next 10 years that is bold in ambition, if not in funding.
Entitled “Culture | Shift,” the plan aims for “blanketing the city in arts and culture” and prioritizes affordable and accessible spaces, cultural equity, accessibility, reconciliation and decolonization.
But while there are dozens of recommendations in the report, the amount of additional money budgeted over the next four years is just $3.2 million and would leave cultural service funding as a smaller percentage of the city’s budget in 2023 than it was in 2010.
“It seems like not a like a lot of money to me,” said Vancouver Coun. Adrianne Carr, who nonetheless voted in favour. “Is the amount of money being recommended sufficient?”
Jessica Wadsworth, co-chair of the Vancouver Arts and Culture Advisory Committee, said “we wanted to make a reasonable request, but certainly we can ask for more.”
However, she applauded the overall plan — which came after months of consultation with hundreds of artistic groups — and said the lack of major funding increases was mitigated by the city’s commitment to move more efficiently across different departments.
“The collaboration with urban planning, with people that do business with real estate and development … I think that collaboration is worth more than the dollars,” she said.
The city hopes to build 800,000 square feet of cultural space in the next decade, including 400 spaces that double as housing. In addition, the report calls for a a music task force, as well a hired person within city hall to lead its music strategy.
But the committee was equally as excited around the decolonization and equity recommendations, which included developing Indigenous grant programs and increasing investment and leadership opportunities for Indigenous arts and culture.
“If we articulate land acknowledgements, than we should decolonize arts and culture,” said Megan Lau, the committee’s other co-chair.
“If we say Vancouver values culture, we have to find a way for artists … of every type to make a living wage.”
The plan was applauded by most councillors, who said it was a necessary step to ensure artists could continue to live in Vancouver.
But Colleen Hardwick abstained from the vote, saying that while she had worked in the creative sector for over three decades, the plan was a sign of the city’s “mission creep.”
“I’m supportive of the creative industries. I eat, live and breathe it. But I’m also very mindful … that we have to live within our means,” she said.
“We are continuing to ask for more and more on things that fall outside the scope of local government.”
However, all other councillors voted in favour.
“This isn’t mission creep,” said Pete Fry. “This is how we build pride in our city. This is how we build the economy, [and] how we build a city for everyone.”
Brion Kurbis-Edwards knows exactly what he wants to do with the money he makes from his job clearing trays and cleaning tables at the Lonsdale Quay Market.
He wants to see his “favourite superstars” in concert: Nickelback, Lady Gaga and Katy Perry.
Kurbis-Edwards has Down syndrome. And, at 24, this job marks the first time he’s been paid for his work.
Kurbis-Edwards’ complex medical needs and the stigmas associated with his cognitive disability made it difficult for him to find paid work. Paired with his low self-confidence — which sometimes escalates into panic attacks — it was a bumpy road to paid employment.
Until he met with Amanda Meyers.
“I think it’s really important that everyone has a place in the community where they can show their strengths and abilities,” said Meyers, who is Kurbis-Edwards’ employment specialist at WorkBC.
Seven months after meeting Meyers, Kurbis-Edwards was hired by the facilities management company Dexterra at Lonsdale Quay.
“Amanda helped me,” said Kurbis-Edwards. “She helped me find my job.”
In Canada, the employment rate for people with disabilities varies greatly depending on the severity of the condition, with 76 per cent of people with mild disabilities finding employment, according to Statistics Canada’s most recent numbers. But that figure drops to 31 per cent if the disability is severe.
The path to employment
When Kurbis-Edwards first met with Meyers, she says he was shy and reserved.
“I think that’s just because he faced a lot of challenges getting into the employment market,” Meyers said.
The first task was to identify what type of settings and work would be a good fit for him.
That part was easy — he loves football and has a season’s pass for the BC Lions. Now he volunteers with the team, handing out programs.
“I love the touchdowns,” Kurbis-Edwards said.
At the same time, he began trial shifts with Dexterra, where he was eventually hired.
“Now, he’s more confident than ever and his sense of humour is really coming out,” Meyers said.
“That’s what I really love to see, when someone really finds something that’s meaningful for them.”
As part of the job training, Meyers coaches Kurbis-Edwards on-site. She takes him step-by-step through his responsibilities. As he becomes more comfortable and confident, Meyers will “fade out” so he no longer relies on her and can work independently.
She says this helps develop a sense of confidence and belonging.
Inclusive hiring a benefit, not a burden
In today’s digital era, Meyers says the job market presents a number of hurdles for people with disabilities. Most jobs are listed online and followed up by an in-person interview, which, she says, is a process that sets up people with disabilities for failure.
“Our clients are better when they are able to show their abilities,” Meyers said.
Along with the difficulties of the traditional hiring process, she says there’s a stigma surrounding people with disabilities; there’s a preconceived notion that they are a burden for the employer, which she says couldn’t be further from the truth.
“Inclusive hiring is really beneficial for the employer and the individual. We customize jobs to fill specific needs,” said Meyers, adding that, when it’s a good fit, employees with disabilities tend to stay in their jobs longer.
“Companies don’t have to re-hire and re-train employees every month.”
Tina Hustins, who is Kurbis-Edwards’ boss at Dexterra, agrees.
She says his hard work, eagerness to learn and happy attitude make him a valuable hire.
“I’m ecstatic that I’m seeing him progress. You’re giving someone a chance to see that they can do what other people do,” said Hustins.
Nyoka Campbell has been a Canadian citizen for more than a decade, but her ongoing struggle to secure a B.C. photo ID has left her feeling like an outsider.
The 29-year-old has spent much of her life on the move, immigrating to Canada from Jamaica when she was just a child. Now living in the Lower Mainland, she has two primary pieces of ID to her name: a Canadian passport and a B.C. services card without a photo.
The two cards would usually be enough for someone to qualify for a B.C. photo identification card. But a small discrepancy between her documents — her passport includes her middle initial, while her care card does not — has kept ICBC from issuing her a card.
ICBC is the provincial Crown corporation that insures cars and is also responsible for issuing B.C. ID cards.
“I feel like I am almost not a person because of the way they’ve treated me.” Campbell told CBC News from her Richmond home.
“I am Canadian, I am a citizen of the Province of British Columbia, and I feel that I am entitled to be able to identify myself,” she added.
ICBC confirmed with CBC News that the documents she’s provided are insufficient for a photo identification card.
“In this case, while we sympathize with Ms. Campbell, we’ve reviewed the provided documents and unfortunately, they do not meet the requirements,” spokesperson Lindsay Wilkins said in an e-mailed statement.
Campbell says she now needs to obtain a citizenship certificate in order to clear up her ID troubles, but she can’t afford it.
A prolonged dispute
Campbell moved to Vancouver in 2015. She says she was issued a provincial care card which by default did not include her middle initial.
“I didn’t choose the way my name was presented on the [services card], it was just generated by Health Insurance B.C.” said Campbell.
She doesn’t have her Jamaican birth certificate, and her Canadian citizenship card was stolen along with her wallet several years ago.
When she sought out a photo ID from ICBC in 2016 using what documents she had left, she was denied by staff. She claims her account has been red flagged by staff as potentially fraudulent due to the discrepancy between her passport and services card.
She’s kept pursuing the ID ever since, providing the insurance provider with mail, her SIN card, her son’s birth certificate and bank statements, but says it hasn’t swayed ICBC’s position.
“We do look at customer’s situations on a case-by-case basis, but it is more difficult in cases where there isn’t a verified photo record in our database,” said ICBC’s spokesperson.
The Canadian government no longer issues citizenship cards, but Campbell has been advised to apply for a citizenship certificate — a commemorative slip of paper that doesn’t qualify as identification but would confirm her citizenship. She could use it at the ICBC office. It can take up to five months before a certificate arrives.
However, the document requires a primary piece of photo ID. The only photo ID Campbell has — her passport — is now expired. She says doesn’t have sufficient documents to renew it.
And even if she could, Campbell, a single mother living off disability payments, says she would have trouble finding the money — about $200 in total — to retrieve both documents.
“I get about $1,500 per month … [my rent is] $1,248 plus my utilities, plus my insurance — and I also have my eight year old,” said Campbell.
She wonders just how long it will be before she has an official photo ID to her name — a circumstance she says is particularly troubling because it prevents her from boarding an airplane. Her grandmother, who lives in Ontario, is struggling with kidney failure.
“At any moment I could need to go to Ontario, but I’m not able to,” she said.
The ramp that zigzags across the steps at Robson Square in downtown Vancouver will not be modified to address accessibility concerns because of the “architectural significance of the site.”
Accessibility consultant Arnold Cheng says the ramp, which was designed in the 1970s by Vancouver architect Arthur Erickson, is too steep to safely navigate in a wheelchair or while pushing a stroller.
Cheng says the ramp is also a tripping hazard for people with visual impairments because the stairs are all the same colour, which makes it difficult to determine where one step ends and the next one begins.
“A lot of people use architectural significance to justify not making any changes, but historically it has not been a problem for many, many buildings,” he said.
“The Louvre in Paris has more historical significance than Robson Square, but they have changed a lot of things over the years.”
Any changes to the design would have to be approved by the provincial government.
The province conducted accessibility audits of Robson Square in 2010 and 2018, both of which determined the stair ramps may be difficult for some people to use.
Despite the findings, the B.C. government will not alter the design.
“There are no plans to update the ramps and as such they should be primarily considered ornamental,” the Ministry of Citizens’ Services said in an emailed statement.
“Access to the building can be attained through a number of other means.”
The province says there is signage to direct people to more than 20 elevators that are located at Robson Square, but more signs and assistance for people with a variety of disabilities will soon be added to the site.
Cheng says he welcomes the changes but he doesn’t think they go far enough.
“The signage definitely has to be better,” Cheng said.
“For some reason, people think you automatically know where everything is.”
Erickson’s father lost both of his legs in the First World War.
Arthur Erickson Foundation director Simon Scott says accessibility was an issue that was always close to the architect’s heart.
“He wanted to make public spaces accessible and enjoyable,” Scott said.
“The steps here, which are part of this wonderful public space, have stairs and ramps so that everybody can enjoy it.”
Maya Bosdet says she’s excited for the beginning of classes next week because it means continuing a family tradition of attending high school at Claremont Secondary, in Saanich, B.C.
But a tour of the school this week has her concerned the building won’t be accessible enough to meet her needs as a wheelchair user.
A previous visit to the school revealed a lack of ramps and an unreliable elevator. Maya also says the door to the accessible bathroom is really heavy, while the lock and light are situated too high for her to reach.
Maya has a rare genetic disease called mucopolysaccharidosis, which causes sugar molecules cells to build up in her body. She has joint pain, a dislocated hip, and regularly sees specialists and undergoes surgery.
Lisa Bosdet, Maya’s mother, said the pair took a tour of the school in June and were disappointed to learn that the “archaic” elevator regularly breaks down, the desks are too high, and there aren’t any wheelchair ramps.
Bosdet said the elevator is currently being repaired, but is still concerned it will be unsafe.
“We expressed lots at that tour about what we saw [were issues],” she said. “I don’t want [Maya] to have to ask a friend to take her to the bathroom at 14 years old.
“I feel like it’s a basic human right for her to be able to use the bathroom.”
On a second tour of the school this week, the pair said they found not much had been improved for the start of the school year.
Bosdet said Maya’s therapists expressed concerns to the school staff about the lack of accessibility, but the response was that it would cost too much money.
CBC was not granted access to the school, and requests for interviews with school staff were declined.
Justina Loh, the executive director of the Disability Alliance B.C., says that was long before buildings were designed with accessible features.
“In the last few years accessibility has become more of a buzzword and more important … especially as our population ages,” Loh said.
‘Most of my friends are going to this school’
Maya said she doesn’t want to attend another high school because Claremont is close to her home.
“My dad went here,” she said. “Most of my friends are going to this school.”
She added that her friend, who also uses a wheelchair, attends the school with a caregiver who helps him move around and use the restroom.
Maya said she wants to maintain her independence.
Dave Eberwein, the superintendent for the Saanich School District, said while retrofitting an older building isn’t easy, “that doesn’t mean we don’t make them accessible. All of our schools are accessible.”
“Our goal is to, within reasonable amounts, accommodate all … students’ needs in each building,” he said, adding that things such as a light switch that’s too high, or a door that is too heavy, can be fixed relatively quickly.
He noted, however, that “sometimes it’s just not physically possible to install every accessibility [measure] in every building [because it’s] just not going to fall within our budget.”
‘We need to progress’
Bosdet said it seems accessibility issues often don’t take priority in a school’s budget, and the change needs to come from the higher ranks in the school district.
“It’s almost 2020, and I really believe we need to step up now … We need to progress,” she said.
She’s adamant that Maya will not attend another school.
“I resist changing a school because … the path I’d rather take is speak up and get them to make these changes so [my daughter] can have a choice.
B.C.’s Human Rights Tribunal will hear the case of a pharmacist who claims restrictions on opioid replacement medication for working healthcare professionals is discriminatory — even though he’s been cleared to re-apply for his licence.
The 16-year pharmacist, who is not named or identified in any way by the tribunal, is now free to return to work following a second opinion from an addictions specialist. It’s unclear if he has applied to do so and he argues his screening process took too long.
The pharmacist argues there’s no scientific reason to restrict healthcare workers from using medications that curb drug cravings and withdrawal in order to aid addiction recovery.
The 16-year pharmacist, who is not named or identified in any way by the tribunal, was initially denied his license when he tried to return to work two years ago after a voluntary suspension due to an “addiction-related disability” that led to a $1,300-per-week heroin habit.
He wanted to use Suboxone — a medication that curbs opioid cravings — and be allowed to return to his job dealing with high-risk drugs. Doctors and nurses in many U.S. states and Quebec are permitted to take Suboxone, and in some cases methadone, while working.
Suboxone allowed him to live ‘a normal life’
According to an Aug. 22 tribunal decision, the pharmacist struggled with opioid addiction, including heroin, for several years, then returned to work. But he relapsed in 2015, despite a return-to-work plan that included monitoring. The pharmacist voluntarily suspended his license, returning to in-patient treatment.
He was prescribed Suboxone, a medication used to curb craving for opioids and ultimately taper opioid use, in 2016. The pharmacist reported Suboxone helped him live a normal life.
But when he attempted to return to work in 2017, the addictions specialist who evaluated him determined the pharmacist was not fit for duty in a “safety-sensitive” job — such as a clinical pharmacist who handled opioids — if he continued to take Suboxone.
The doctor also recommended he enter a 12-step program, faith-based treatment program that requires abstinence from all drugs. He objected because he is an atheist and claimed the drug-free rule wasn’t based on scientific evidence.
The pharmacist sought a second doctor’s assessment and the college eventually accepted new recommendations in August 2018 which allow him to submit an application to register as a full pharmacist.
The first doctor and the College of Pharmacists of B.C. then requested his human rights complaint be dismissed. But the tribunal ruled Aug. 22 that the hearing will proceed, in part.
‘Hurt and shocked’
In the pharmacist’s initial complaint to the Human Rights Tribunal he argued that he was discriminated against because he was referred to a religious-based treatment program when he’s an atheist, and he wasn’t allowed to return to work unless he stopped using medication needed for his disability.
That precondition prevented his return to work in a “reasonable time frame,” he argued.
The pharmacist said the first doctor who assessed him “demonstrated unfair and offensive stigma and stereotyping of people with addiction issues.”
He described feeling “hurt and shocked” when the assessing doctor asked if a return to work would make him feel “like being a kid in a candy store” since he would be near so many drugs.
Tribunal Member Emily Ohler said she read more than 1,300 page of submissions from all parties before determining a hearing was needed.
Ohler denied the pharmacist’s claim of discrimination based on religion, as the 12-step treatment program was not mandatory. She did order a hearing into the discrimination claim based on mental disability.
In her ruling Ohler cited an expert who confirmed past workplace addictions policies in this province restricted healthcare workers from using drugs like Suboxone, but said that practice needed more study.
In Quebec, doctors overcoming addiction can use methadone. An American study published by the Mayo Clinic in 2012 reported dozens of healthcare worker discipline programs permitting nurses and doctors to return to work while using similar addiction treatments.
A Kelowna, B.C., winery employee could be facing charges of voyeurism after police found a hidden camera inside a washroom at the winery.
Kelowna RCMP were called to Summerhill Pyramid Winery Friday after a witness reported seeing what they believed was a small camera concealed inside a staff washroom.
A man, who police say is from Kelowna, was arrested Friday at the winery but has not been identified yet, as the investigation into the breadth of possible charges continues.
“Evidence has been seized in relation to this offence and once it has been properly processed, RCMP will be able to determine how many victims may be involved and further charges could be forwarded,” said Const. Lesley Smith with Kelowna RCMP.
The CEO for Summerhill Pyramid Winery said the employee has been fired and the company is communicating the news with its employees in person and in letter form.
“I am just going to be calling parents of underage staff members as well today,” said Ezra Cipes, CEO of the winery.
Cipes said the company did a sweep of the winery and found no other cameras, and because of that, there is no danger to the public.
“We hope people care about us through this situation and don’t point a finger at us,” he said.
RCMP say they have released the male suspect. He is facing possible charges of voyeurism and has an upcoming court date.
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