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Category "News/Canada/British Columbia"

20Nov

Vancouver Park Board approves $35K for trans programs in community centres

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In their first committee meeting since the municipal election, Vancouver Park Board commissioners voted unanimously to approve $35,000 in funding for new trans and gender diverse programs in the city’s community centres.

The funding will help the Queer Arts Festival develop arts workshops, staff training and appoint a representative to advise staff on implementing inclusive programming.

The board’s decision came the night before the transgender community marks its International Day of Remembrance on Tuesday. 

SD Holman, Queer Arts Festival artistic director, says the funding will be used to make community centres more welcoming for transgender people.

“For gender non-conforming people, gender diverse folks, going into parks and pools and change rooms is very dangerous, can be humiliating and really really very difficult,” Holman said.

One of the festival’s initiatives proposes to play videos created by trans artists in the common areas of community centres.

“We do everything at the Roundhouse [Community Centre] in the downtown,” said Holman. “Being able to get gender diverse, two spirit and trans art and videos that are going to be played much further out in Vancouver where you wouldn’t necessarily see that is going to be a very important piece of art.”

The Park Board’s trans, gender diverse and two-spirit inclusion (TGD2S) advisory committee was created in 2014 to increase accessibility to parks and community centres for trans people.

Since then, the board has appointed a steering committee to advise on TGD2S specific programming and in 2016 hired two TGD2S facilitators to train staff.

In 2018, new park board pilot programs have included a TGD2S weight room at the Britannia fitness centre, a teen Pride pool party at the Templeton Park Pool and queer and trans youth drop-ins at the West End Community Centre.

Commissioner John Irwin hopes the funding will continue to support trans and queer young people who are at higher risk of substance abuse and suicide.

“Hopefully, it’ll add to the empathy and support in the wider community,” Irwin said.


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17Nov

Woman assaulted after man follows her to Vancouver apartment, say police

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Vancouver police say they are looking for a “person of interest” after a woman reported she was sexually assaulted in the West End early Saturday.

Police say a woman was followed into an apartment building on Bute Street near Pendrell Street around 3 a.m., and was assaulted by a unknown man.

The victim did not know the suspect according to police. Officers say they are looking for a man whose image was captured on the building’s security camera.

May have a limp

The man is in his 20s or 30s, has a slim build, short dark hair and dark facial stubble.

He was wearing a burgundy toque, a black zip-up jacket, blue jeans and may walk with a limp.

Police are asking for the public for information to identify this man. (Vancouver Police Department)

Police say the assault appears to be isolated, but was sexually motivated.

Anyone with information is asked to call police at 604-717-0601 or through Crime Stoppers, which is an anonymous tip line 1-800-222-8477.




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16Nov

Vote No campaign calls to extend election reform vote due to low voter turnout

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The deadline for the referendum on electoral reform is in two weeks and, as the debate between first-past-the-post and proportional representation rages, some are calling for an extension.

The Vote No campaign has raised concerns about the referendum, saying an extension is needed because of the potential for low voter turnout and mail delivery disruption from the Canada Post strike.

“There are a lot of reasons for Elections B.C. to take action,” said Bill Tieleman, president of the No B.C. Proportional Representation Society.

His main concern is that, without a deadline extension, there simply won’t be enough votes on the issue.

As of Friday, less than 20 per cent of the ballots had been received by Election B.C. They are currently due on Nov. 30.

Less than 20 per cent of ballots have been received by Elections B.C. so far 9:50

“The volume of ballots to come anywhere close to 50 per cent would have to be massive, and there’s just no indication that is what is going on,” he told Stephen Quinn, the host of CBC’s The Early Edition.

The high point of voter turnout is currently about 16 per cent in some ridings, Tieleman said, but that falls to as low as one-and-half per cent in others.

“We could have an extremely small fraction of people deciding what is really fundamental in our democracy — how we elect our representatives,” he said.

Whether B.C. voters cast ballots in the future for individuals, political parties or a mix will be determined in November’s mail-in referendum. (CBC)

Voter turnout

Previous referendums in B.C., like those on the electoral system in 2005 and 2009 or on the harmonized sale tax in 2011, all had a voter turnout of more than 50 per cent.

However, There is no minimum voter participation threshold for any referendum.

“As it is with every election, it’s the voters who turn out who get to decide,” said Bowinn Ma, an NDP MLA for North Vancouver-Lonsdale.

She’s an advocate for proportional representation in the hopes that it will increase voter turnout.  

“We’ve had abysmal voter turnout in elections in general which is why I’m so excited about proportional representation,” Ma said.  

“Generally, when we’re talking about voter response, it ultimately comes down to whether a  voter feels like the vote is important to them.”

Lack of engagement

Lack of voter engagement is at the heart of the matter, according to University of the Fraser Valley political science professor Hamish Telford.

“It doesn’t seem to me like there’s an overwhelming engagement on this issue,” Telford told Michelle Eliot, host of B.C. Today.

“That’s, I think, indicative of the very low return rate of the ballots so far … It may be the case that some people are either still deliberating or may be sitting on their ballots because of the postal worker issue.”

Elections B.C. says it is monitoring the Canada Post situation and, if there are significant delays or impacts on accessibility, extending the voting period is a possibility.

University of the Fraser Valley political science professor Hamish Telford on the proportional referendum and extending the deadline. Jake Fry, co-founder, Small Housing BC, and Rebecca Chaster, community planner at the City of Coquitlam, on tiny homes. 50:58

With files from The Early Edition and B.C. Today.


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16Nov

Public Guardian seeks to manage millions for B.C.’s ‘most vulnerable’ child

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At 11, he was tasered by police.

By 13, he was identified as one of B.C.’s “most vulnerable” children in a scathing report on the child welfare system.

And last year, the province agreed to a record-breaking multi-million dollar settlement for his future care.

Now — months after the young man reached his 19th birthday — the Public Guardian and Trustee has filed a petition in B.C. Supreme Court seeking to have him declared incapable of managing his own affairs.

If granted, the order would give the Public Guardian legal and financial responsibility for the man’s estate.

It’s a unique situation which the woman who highlighted the teenager’s plight says should be navigated carefully in order to avoid having one arm of government pay millions to another, while the individual whose future is at stake lives like a lost cause under 24-hour supervision.

“This is a very important case and this individual is a very significant individual — as is anyone else. But the level of jeopardy of his liberty, his choice in his life is enormous,” says Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond, B.C.’s former representative for children and youth.

“I want him to have peace in his life. I want him to get support. I want him to have siblings, friends, family, community and to have every opportunity to address the damage that was done. That was my wish for him when I had his case. But knowing how these systems work, it’s haunting when you think about the power of the state here.”

Neglect, abuse, isolation, cold showers

According to the Public Guardian’s petition, the young Aboriginal man turned 19 in June. He can’t be identified because of a publication ban.

The petition claims medical and factual evidence prove he can’t look after himself or his finances. The Public Guardian may be appointed to take on that role when no appropriate family or friends are willing, able and suitable to act.

Former B.C. Representative for Children and Youth Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond wrote a scathing report about the youth’s time in government care. (CBC)

Turpel-Lafond, who is now a law professor at the University of B.C., wrote about the young man in a 2013 report entitled Who Protected Him? How B.C.’s Child Welfare System Failed One of Its Most Vulnerable Children.

Her investigation painted a horrific picture of his childhood: his parents raised him for two years in an atmosphere of violence, neglect and substance abuse; he then bounced between foster homes; one family kept him locked in a shed; another punished bed-wetting with cold showers and bad behaviour with hot sauce in his mouth.

A succession of foster parents used unsanctioned “safe rooms” to punish him. Police were first called to deal with his tantrums when he was eight. He was tasered when he was 11 after he stabbed a group home manager with a knife.

In the wake of Turpel-Lafond’s report, the public guardian hired outside counsel to sue the province and a foster parent on behalf of the youth.

The case resulted in a settlement last February that included $2.75 million to pay for legal costs and the establishment of a trust fund that is not allowed to dip below $3 million over the course of the youth’s lifetime.

‘Too easy to blame the child and the youth’

Turpel-Lafond says she believes the settlement is the largest of its kind ever reached in Canada and will likely ultimately be worth tens of millions. She says the money at stake should trigger extra legal scrutiny.

Police tasered the youth when he was 11 years old during an incident in which he stabbed a group home manager with a knife. (CBC News)

“There should be a special kind of accountability when you have someone who’s been through foster care and been abused. They turn 19 and you go to declare them incapacitated; my feeling is there should be more accountability around how are they doing,” she says.

“Someone should be overseeing that as opposed to those who are administering those funds. Checks and balances need to be there. I’m not saying there’s problems. It’s just too easy to blame the child and the youth.”

In a statement, the Public Guardian and Trustee said the office would have an obligation under the law to “act in the best interests of the adult represented” if the petition is granted.

The office won’t comment on the specifics of the case, but said that if a person is incarcerated, the Public Guardian would still retain the authority to act in their place.

‘Support workers ‘shadowed’ his movements’

According to the court documents, the youth has mostly lived at a Lower Mainland residential facility since 2012. He is the lone occupant. Support workers help him and monitor his activities 24 hours a day.

The youth was tasered in 2011 by police after he stabbed a manager at this group home in Prince George. (CBC)

“During his residence there, he was permitted to leave but when he did, two support workers ‘shadowed’ his movements to monitor his activities to try to ensure his safety,” the petition reads.

“(He) engages in high risk behaviour including seeking and taking illicit drugs but not medications prescribed for him, drinking hard alcohol, seeking sexual encounters in public places and walking non-attentively on roads with moving traffic.”

When he turned 19, support and services for the young man were handed from the Ministry of Children and Family Development to Community Living B.C..

The public guardian claims the youth has overdosed on illicit drugs, engaged in threatening behaviour and committed crimes that have resulted in criminal prosecutions and convictions.

He was detained and certified under the Mental Health Act in the spring and has been admitted to hospital several times since, most recently in July for a drug overdose.

‘A very sweet, personal young man’

The court file includes letters from two psychiatrists and a family doctor.

One gives a “guarded” prognosis for the future. Another says his “(intellectual disability), impulsivity and significant deficits in organizing means that he is not able to budget, plan and manage money even on a weekly basis.”

But there is hope.

“It is important to point out that (name withheld) can be a very sweet, personal young man,” writes another psychiatrist.

Turpel-Lafond says that given the amount of money available for the young man’s future care, the system should be able to come up with some creative ways to kindle that kind of possibility.

“It’s expected in our society that we’re going to have complex cases. But kids that are abused and maltreated in extreme ways, they don’t just recover. They need support and they need lifelong support,” she says.

“And it’s hard to point within the ministry for children and families or Community Living B.C. to the branch or arm that has that expertise.”


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16Nov

Arbitrator orders immediate freeze to ‘unreasonable’ Interior Health addictions policy

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Interior Health’s policy for handling hospital employees with addiction problems is discriminatory and must be suspended immediately, a labour arbitrator has ruled.

Arbitrator John Hall ordered Interior Health to amend several sections of the current substance use disorder policy, describing them as serious flaws in a ruling Tuesday.

“When the policy as a whole is scrutinized more closely — and especially as its practical application was explained and examined in general terms at arbitration — there are a number of shortcomings. Suffice it to say that several elements of the policy have been found to be unreasonable,” Hall wrote.

The ruling was issued in response to a grievance filed by the Hospital Employees’ Union (HEU), which represents about 8,000 workers in hospitals, clinics and care homes in the Interior Health region. The workers include clerical, housekeeping, laundry and food services staff.

Mal Griffin, Interior Health’s vice president of human resources, mental health and substance use, said he was pleased that the ruling upheld most elements of the policy.

“From time to time, it’s appropriate for us to review our policies, and he’s identified some really good opportunities for us to look at how we’ve been implementing the policy and some of the aspects of the policy,” Griffin told CBC.

He said, however, that health authority officials are still reviewing the ruling to decide if they should appeal.

Several changes mandated

Nonetheless, the arbitrator’s ruling amounts to a major overhaul of the current policy and a hopeful sign for other health-care workers pushing for change in how addictions are handled at work.  

Hall said Interior Health can no longer automatically put employees on leave when someone is suspected of having a substance use problem. Right now, people are taken off the job even if their work hasn’t been affected and no matter where the allegations come from.

And Hall said employees shouldn’t be forced to see the addictions specialists chosen by their bosses — if an independent medical exam is needed, the workers must be able to choose from a list of acceptable doctors.

Hospital employees must have a choice in which addictions specialist they see, the arbitrator said. (Shutterstock)

Other necessary amendments include ensuring the policy only applies to employees with severe addictions, new measures to protect workers’ private medical information from their bosses, and restrictions on when a worker’s belongings can be searched.

Hall went on to say that if an employee returns to work after treatment, the health authority can only demand drug testing if there is reasonable suspicion of a relapse.

He said the health authority must consult in good faith with the union for at least 90 days to resolve the problems with the current policy.

Similar grievances filed across B.C.

The HEU said it has filed grievances against every single health authority in the province over similar addiction policies. Those grievances were put on hold pending the outcome of the dispute with Interior Health, and the union said it’s ready to proceed with them if similar changes aren’t made across the board.

HEU’s complaints closely mirror that of Byron Wood, a former Vancouver nurse who has been battling a similar policy that cost him his job five years ago.

Byron Wood lost his job as a nurse after refusing to continue with daily Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. (Bethany Lindsay/CBC)

Wood says the mandatory 12-step program he was required to attend for treatment of his alcoholism didn’t work for him, and when he requested an alternative, he was refused. He asked to be referred to a new doctor, but his union told him it only uses addictions specialists who require attendance at AA.

On Thursday, Wood said he was encouraged by the ruling, but he believes much more still needs to change.

“I hope that the decision encourages all employers, including the respondents in my case and the College of Nurses and the College of Physicians and Surgeons, to reflect on their own substance use polices,” Wood told CBC News.

“People with substance use problems should be treated compassionately, and offered science-based treatments.”

Wood is currently awaiting the outcome of a complaint he filed with the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal, alleging he was subjected to discrimination on the basis of religion and mental disability.


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12Nov

Civil liberties group calls out federal government over appeal of solitary confinement ruling

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A civil liberties group is calling out the federal government for a perceived double standard, questioning how it can appeal a ruling against solitary confinement while at the same time saying it is trying to end the controversial practice. 

In the B.C. Court of Appeal in Vancouver on Tuesday, Ottawa will attempt to overturn a B.C. Supreme Court decision from January that found isolating inmates for an indefinite amount of time was unconstitutional.

It comes a month after Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale tabled legislation to end the use of solitary confinement in federal prisons.

“If you say that you’re going to eliminate solitary confinement and the very same day you give instructions to your lawyers to preserve solitary confinement and fight against the ruling that found it unconstitutional … it makes absolutely no sense,” said Josh Paterson, executive director the B.C. Civil Liberties Association, the respondent fighting to uphold the original ruling.

“When solitary confinement is indefinite, as it can be in federal prisons, some people are held for months, sometimes years in rooms that are no bigger than someone’s small washroom, the court said that is unconstitutional,” Paterson told The Early Edition host Stephen Quinn.

“There has to be a time limit and there has to be independent oversight over people who are being placed in these conditions.”

Josh Paterson, with the B.C. Civil Liberties Association, says the new legislation doesn’t include a required cap on how long an inmate may be isolated for. (Don Marce)

‘A new coat of paint and a new name’

According to Goodale’s bill, a new system called Structured Intervention Units (SIU) would be implemented to house inmates that are a danger to others or are in danger themselves.

While in the units, inmates would be permitted to leave their cells for four hours a day, as well as have access to mental health care and other programs.

But there is no cap on how long a prisoner can be kept in an SIU — a requirement of the B.C. Supreme Court ruling.

“As it is now, guards make lots of arbitrary decisions in relation to prisoners. We don’t have any reason to trust that in a new system, with a new coat of paint and a new name, that prisoners won’t have these opportunities taken away from them arbitrarily and that’s why there needs to be [independent] oversight,” said Paterson.

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale says his tabled legislation on solitary confinement looks to address the needs of the most vulnerable in federal prisons. (Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)

A statement from Goodale’s office says the government is committed to addressing the needs of the most vulnerable in the federal corrections system.

“[The proposed bill] will eliminate segregation and establish a fundamentally different system focused on rehabilitative programming and treatment. This new approach will allow us to maintain separation when necessary to maintain safety, and at the same time allow programming and human contact.”

The statement adds that the government is appealing the ruling in order to to seek judicial clarity on the issue.

Law discriminates against mentally ill: ruling

The B.C. Supreme Court ruling by Justice Peter Leask found that the law surrounding administrative segregation jeopardizes prisoner and staff safety and discriminates against mentally ill prisoners.

“I am satisfied the law … fails to respond to the actual capacities and needs of mentally ill inmates and instead imposes burdens in a manner that has the effect of reinforcing, perpetuating or exacerbating their disadvantage,” Leask wrote.

He added that under the existing rules a warden becomes judge and jury in terms of deciding how long to keep an inmate isolated.

The appeal hearing is expected to last for two days.

Listen to the full interview below:

The Early Edition host Stephen Quinn speaks with Josh Paterson about his teams’ efforts to defend the Supreme Court of B.C.’s ruling that indefinite solitary confinement is unconstitutional. 7:40

With files from Jason Proctor


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7Nov

Strata tries to pin $15K security camera bill on landlord — after catching tenant doing nothing

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A Chilliwack, B.C., strata that hired its own security company to try to catch a tenant breaking the law has lost its battle to have that extra security paid for.

One of the main reasons it lost? The cameras didn’t catch the tenant doing anything illegal.

The Windsor Pines complex strata went to the Civil Resolution Tribunal this year, asking a unit’s landlords to put $15,000 toward the cost of surveillance.

Neighbours suspected the tenant was doing something illegal in the home.

The strata lost, largely because security footage from the company only captured the tenant going in and out of the building, letting guests in and holding the front door.

“The hours of the comings and going may give an appearance of something untoward, [but] they do not show … the former tenant … was engaged in any illegal activities,” read the ruling, dated Oct. 30.

The Windsor Pines complex in Chilliwack, B.C. (Google Streetview)

Neighbours complain

Neighbours in the building believed the tenant was up to something illegal a number of times leading up to August 2017.

They went to their strata, which hired a third-party security firm.

That security firm gathered footage from August 2017 to March of this year — but nothing other than the tenant coming and going, walking their guests to and from their suite and propping the front door open appeared on the tape.

In February, other owners in the building voted to cover the $18,257.40 cost of the past year’s surveillance with the strata’s contingency reserve fund.

The strata went to the CRT later in the year, asking the tenant’s landlords to pay for $15,000 of that cost.

‘You always have to justify it’

Jennifer Neville, who has been a strata property lawyer for 15 years, said the strata didn’t succeed for three reasons.

First, it didn’t prove the tenants broke any building rules.

“Arguably, they certainly were going to argue that the security camera was necessary for remedying the contravention of the bylaw, but what they failed to prove was that there was a bylaw breach in the first place,” said Neville, who didn’t work on the case but read a copy of the ruling.

Second, if the strata had proven a breach, it would have had to notify the tenant or their landlord.

Third, the strata also didn’t point to a bylaw that would have allowed them to claim the money in its case with the tribunal.

The Civil Resolution Tribunal resolves small claims disputes of $5,000 or less as well as strata property disputes of any amount. (CBC)

Neville said strata corporations can claim money against an owner to cover any repairs or remedies that come from the owner breaking a bylaw, but there are common mistakes made.

“I regularly see this situation where strata corporations are trying to charge a cost and they’re probably doing it because they feel in their gut it’s the right thing to do, but what they forget is you always have to justify it,” she said.

The strata had also asked the owners pay $1,200 in bylaw fines and hire a property management company to help choose tenants in future. The tribunal dismissed both those issues.


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30Oct

Into the Wild: Renfrew Ravine premieres new walkways and staircases

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The Renfrew Ravine, a little bit of wilderness in the City of Vancouver, just got a lot more accessible.

The Vancouver Park Board and the Still Moon Arts Society have collaborated to add staircases, bridges and walkways to the East Vancouver nature spot.

The upgrade’s grand opening was Tuesday.

“It’s really amazing that it’s here. It’s just so spectacular,” said Carmen Rosen, artistic director of the Still Moon Arts Society, speaking to On the Coast‘s Margaret Gallagher.

Accessibility 

Both Renfrew Community Park and Renfrew Ravine Park have been redeveloped in order to give residents easier access to the ravine’s habitat and Still Creek, according to the project’s master plan.

Renfrew Ravine is part of the Still Creek watershed. There are seven blocks of wild ravine near the 29th Avenue Skytrain station, says Rosen. The creek goes underground at 22nd Avenue and emerges at the Renfrew Community Park.

Carmen Rosen of the Still Moon Arts Society, left, and Alexandre Man-Bourdon of the Vancouver Park Board, right, were part of a collaboration to add staircases, bridges and walkways to the Renfrew Ravine. They are pictured here in the ravine prior to its grand opening. (Margaret Gallagher/CBC )

“We didn’t want to have too much of an impact on this ecosystem. So we built an elevated boardwalk to ensure that the water has the ability to move underneath the boardwalk,” Vancouver Park Board landscape architect and project lead Alexandre Man-Bourdon told Gallagher.

The upgrades include staircases with improved access to trails, an accessible walkway into the trail system from the parking lot on Renfrew Street, bridges across Still Creek and enhanced trails.

“[You can go] down quite deep into the ravine,” said Man-Bourdon. “From down [there], when you look around, you can’t see the houses around you. And except for a few passing cars and the rain, you really can’t hear anything except the water.”

One of the Renfrew Ravine’s new walkways. (Margaret Gallagher/CBC )

Renfrew Ravine, which is much more wild than the community park, was logged in the late 1800s, making it a second-growth forest, according to Rosen. But visitors can still see old-growth tree stumps.

“Renfrew Ravine really gives you a flavour of what the city was like hundreds of years ago,” said Rosen.

Man-Bourdon says that the park board strives to provide the city with accessible ways to explore nature.

“In the eastside of Vancouver, there are only a few locations where you get this kind of wild nature access. This is really a gem,” said Man-Bourdon.

Listen to the full story:

The Renfrew Ravine is a little bit of wilderness in the city of Vancouver. And it just got a lot more accessible. The Vancouver Park Board and the Still Moon Arts Society collaborated to add staircases, bridges and walkways to the eastside gully. 7:06

With files from On the Coast and Margaret Gallagher.


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23Oct

Canadians brace for Hurricane Willa’s ‘vengeance’

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Hurricane Willa is expected to make landfall Tuesday eveing along the coast of Mexico south of resort towns like Puerto Vallarta and Mazatlan where people — including many Canadians — who live or holiday there are bracing for the storm in their homes or hotels.

The storm has weakened to a Category 3 but still threatens to hit west and southwestern Mexico with a “life-threatening storm surge,” according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center.

Surging waves already obliterate the usually calm beaches in the resort town of Mazatlan.

Winds at the heart of the storm are expected to top 193-kilometres-per-hour.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center warns that Willa is likely to bring life-threatening wind and rainfall. 0:34

Denise King headed to Mexico from Chase B.C., in late September.

On Tuesday, she described the gloomy skies and says she has built herself a little nest in a washroom to weather the storm.

She said she has bought ice and lots of fresh fruit and vegetables to prepare.

But she’s nervous, as she’s already experienced one tropical storm.

Denise King with her husband Mike on a sunnier day in Chase B.C., before she headed to Mexico, where she is now hunkered down awaiting the wrath of Hurricane Willa. (Facebook)

“That even freaked me out. The thunder is like trains smashing. I never heard anything like that in my life,” she said, as the surf roared in the background.

Former Vancouverite Alastair Porteous spent days sandbagging his Mazatlan restaurant, the Water’s Edge Bistro, which often floods during regular storms.

Alastair Porteous is worried about his house in Mazatlan with Hurricane Willa scheduled to hit Tuesday. In this early photo, he shows off a rock that came loose near his backyard, and he wonders how the hillside and trees will be affected by the high winds and rain. (Alastair Porteous/Facebook)

He said that he’s also hoping his older home — which is on a hill under tall trees — survives and does not get hit with any debris.

After a decade of life in Mazatlan, he’s used to dramatic storms but said that this one seems different.

“I was in tropical storm Rick and I was amazed at the power of a tropical storm. It’s amazing after going through something like that how really small the human race is when Mother Nature decides to exact revenge on us. And this is going probably be exponentially more powerful and more dangerous,” said Porteous.

As he and others hunker down, Mike Valdez, 51, is doing the opposite.

The New Yorker says he’s heading out to help his Mexican relatives who live closer to the zones where 7,000 to 8,000 people have been evacuated in the lower areas of Sinaloa state.

He loaded up his truck with supplies — from water to tuna fish and baby wipes — and headed south down the coast.

Waves starting to get wild as Category 3 hurricane heads towards Puerta Vallarta on Oct. 23, 2018. (Willis Johnston)

He plans to drive an hour or more to get to Rosario and Esquinapa where his aunts and uncles and other relatives lives.

This, as the city shuts down public transportation, cancels road tolls and shuts all services.

When asked if that’s wise, he bristles.

“It’s what you gotta do when things are bad,” said Valdez.

The Rio Cuale river in Puerta Vallarta’s old town as Hurricane Willa gets closer to the coast of Mexico on Tuesday. (Willis Johnston)

View of piled up sand bags, to protect a restaurant from Hurricane Willa, before its arrival in Mazatlan, Sinaloa state, Mexico on Oct. 23, 2018. Mexico braced Tuesday for the impact of Hurricane Willa as the Category 3 storm barrelled toward its Pacific Coast with what forecasters warned would be potentially deadly force. (Daniel Slim/AFP/Getty Images)


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