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Category "News/Canada/British Columbia"

1Oct

Ice Dream nightmare: hundreds of frozen vegan treats stolen from truck in Vancouver | CBC News

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Someone somewhere in the Lower Mainland has a truckload of hot ice cream that Naomi Arnaut is desperate to get back.

That’s “hot” as in “stolen,” not “hot” as in “melted,” although it is conceivable the thousands of dollars in frozen treats burgled from Arnaut’s Say Hello Sweets ice cream truck did not survive the crime.

“I suspect that they targeted me and had a plan, because they were very efficient,” said Arnaut. “They got in there fast, got what they wanted and got out.”

The pink and white truck was hit Sunday night while parked on Industrial Avenue in East Vancouver.

Arnaut is asking people to be on the lookout for Ice Dream Sandwiches or Say Hello boxed cubes of ice cream that may appear to be in the wrong hands. (Say Hello Sweets)

Beside making off with over 100 Ice Dream Sandwiches and eight cases of boxed ice cream, thieves also ripped out the truck’s generator leaving behind extensive damage and smashed doors and windows.

On Facebook Arnaut is asking people to be on the lookout for anyone trying to fence treats from Say Hello Sweets.

“If you see Say Hello being sold somewhere that doesn’t quite seem right, please alert us ASAP!”

Arnaut is hoping a neighbouring business has security camera video of the crime. 

Vancouver Police confirm they are investigating.

Owner Naomi Arnaut and dog Babycakes in front of the Say Hello Sweets ice cream truck.

1Oct

Transit Police issue arrest warrant for man wanted in 2 violent robberies | CBC News

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An arrest warrant has been issued for a man wanted in connection with two violent chokings and robberies.

Police say suspect Andrew Krizmanits, 42, may be headed to, or currently in, Eastern Canada or possibly the Sunshine Coast.

Krizmanits, of no fixed address, is well known to police. He has been charged with two counts of robbery and two counts of attempting to choke to overcome resistance.

On the morning of Aug. 18, police allege Krizmanits 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.

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

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 Krizmanits stole his phone and fled on the train.

Police say the second robbery occurred late on Aug. 20 when Krizmanits started a conversation with a 26-year-old man at the Stadium SkyTrain Station.

He grabbed the man when he tried to leave, placed him in a headlock and choked him until he was unconscious before stealing his wallet and credit cards .

Metro Vancouver Transit Police say they are “very concerned by the level of violence Krizmanits is willing to use.”

He is described as a Caucasian or Indigenous man, between five feet eight inches and five feet 10 inches tall with a stocky build and short brown hair.

Anyone with information on his whereabouts is asked to contact Transit Police at 604-515-8300 or text them using code 87-77-77 and refer to file 2019-15236.

 

30Sep

Search continues for 74-year-old Kelowna man missing since Thursday | CBC News

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The search continues for a 74-year-old Kelowna, B.C., man who went missing on Thursday.

Gordon Solloway left home in the morning and was headed to the James Lake area, about 25 kilometres east of the city, to sight his rifle. He was expected home by noon.

Kevin Birnie of Central Okanagan Search and Rescue said Solloway’s truck was seen on a security camera in a rural area east of Kelowna.

“A local resident had captured some images of his vehicle going up into the Goudie [Road] area,” said Kevin Birnie of Central Okanagan Search and Rescue. “That is the only evidence we have to support that he is in that area.”

Gordon Solloway was seen in this image captured at a gas station in Rutland shortly after he left home. He was driving a 2012 Dodge Ram with a B.C. licence plate HM3 670. (RCMP)

Searchers on foot, in ATVs and in helicopters have failed to turn up any trace of the man.

Solloway was driving a silver 2012 Dodge Ram 1500, with B.C. licence plate HM3 670. 

He is described as white, five foot nine inches tall, weighing 250 pounds, with brown hair and blue eyes. 

Solloway has mobility issues and uses a cane. 

Vernon Search and Rescue, Pentiction Search and Rescue and the RCMP are also helping in the search. 

22Sep

Lack of sleep makes child athletes more likely to get injured | CBC News

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On a rainy weekend morning, Joanna Mustovitch braces against the cold along with the other parents at Burnaby’s 8 Rinks Arena in greater Vancouver. 

Mustovitch has sacrificed her Sunday to bring her 13-year-old son here to play house league hockey, to support his dream of one day becoming a professional player. 

And as part of her efforts, every night at 9:30 p.m. Mustovitch gathers all of her son’s electronics to make sure he gets a good night’s sleep. 

“Once he has no distractions and gets to sleep he’s fine,” she said. “At this age, I don’t think he cares enough about being a good athlete to want to stop the electronics.”

70% increase in injury risk

Many parents understand how sleep affects their children’s performance the next day. But experts at the World Sleep Congress in Vancouver this week say that relationship may be even more important than parents realize. 

According to the World Sleep Society, the risk of injury increases by up to 70 per cent when young athletes get less than eight hours of sleep. Conversely, sleeping more than 10 hours a night has been shown to increase sprint speed, shooting accuracy and mental health of college-aged basketball players. 

“Injury is the leading cause of child and youth death and disability in Canada, with sports-related injuries being the most common one in populations at school age,” according to a description of one of the talks at the World Sleep Congress in Vancouver this week. 

Dr. Charles Samuels works with teenage athletes on their journey to the podium. Samuels helps them to get better sleep so they can become stronger athletes. (Doug Kerr/CBC)

Dr. Charles Samuels, president of the Canadian Sleep Society and medical director of the Centre for Sleep and Human Performance at the University of Calgary, works with teenage athletes as they make a hopeful journey to the podium.

“It’s the time in their life when they need the most sleep, and get the least sleep,” Samuels said from the congress on Sunday. “That does impact their ability to recover [and] train at a level that improves their performance over time.”

Pivotal role

While experts still can’t say with certainty what exactly sleep is, Samuels said they do better understand its pivotal role in basic human functions like cardiovascular, muscular and mental health. 

Samuels says a good or bad night’s rest can mean the difference between a medal or the sidelines.

One of the most common sleep issues that Samuels sees in teenage athletes is a natural age-related delay in sleepiness that makes them want to go to bed later and wake up accordingly. 

Dr. Charles Samuels says his clinic helps some teen athletes with insomnia by providing them with meditation techniques.

The issue is so common it has prompted some schools across the country to consider later start times for teenage students.

Samuels suggests parents not force their child to go to bed before they’re tired, and instead to encourage them to wind down at the end of day, and create a bedtime routine. 

“You can’t force them to fall asleep at 10 if their clock is set at midnight,” he said. 

Active minds

Another common issue Samuels comes across is wakefulness caused by electronics.

Many of the athletes he works with have enough drive to succeed that they will put their phones away before bed, but Samuels appreciates the difficulty parents can have with less motivated children. 

For them, Samuels suggests parents try tp find something their children are motivated to do and tie a good night’s sleep to that. 

Samuels also offers meditation to help athletes relax before bed when they have too much on their minds.

It’s important for athletes to monitor how much sleep they’re getting, Samuels said, and to seek help from a physician when sleeplessness becomes an issue.

 

 

22Sep

This Vancouver urinal has zero privacy and 100 years of history | CBC News

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In the summer of 2013, Matt Straw attended a wedding at Heritage Hall, a brownstone building in East Vancouver known for its elegant ballroom, stained glass chandeliers and historic clock tower.

But all anybody could talk about was that urinal.

A double-sided, or twin, urinal, to be precise, separated by what can barely be described as a divider. 

The unsuspecting men who are blindsided by its design must stand upright, a hair’s distance from each other, and count down the seconds while nature takes its course.

“You’re out there next to somebody who you’ve never met before and have to basically look them in the eyes,” said Straw, a 36-year-old lawyer.

“In my long and storied bathroom career, I have never seen anything like that before.”

For decades, the twin urinal has befuddled thousands of men who have streamed through Heritage Hall’s basement bathroom. And that notoriety has spilled outside of the restroom’s marble walls, turning the urinal into a bona fide historical attraction.

“It’s the abominable snowman of toilets,” said Graeme Menzies, who featured the urinal in his 2019 book 111 Places in Vancouver That You Must Not Miss.

The urinal has lurked in the basement bathroom since 1916, when the building originally opened as a post office.

The building on Main and 15th once housed the federal agriculture department and the RCMP. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

You can thank John Shanks for its cozy construction. The Scottish plumber patented more than a hundred urinal designs in the 19th century, when safe sewage disposal was essential amid cholera and typhus outbreaks, Menzies said.

One of Shanks’ “twin twinklers,” as Menzies calls it, ended up in Heritage Hall. In a biography of the building, an architect speculated the urinal may have been an industrial fitting during the building’s early post office days.

It’s the abominable snowman of toilets.– Graeme Menzies, co-author of  111 Places in Vancouver That You Must Not Miss

But it’s not clear why Shanks shunned privacy in this particular design, Menzies said. In fact, the Scotsman only made it worse by angling both sides of the urinal toward each other.

“It’s kind of startling to look at,” Menzies said. “You wonder if it’s Photoshopped or if it’s a joke. And then no, it gets real.”

The urinal stubbornly survived as the building switched hands over the decades, housing the federal agriculture department from 1965 to 1976, and later the RCMP (proving useful for the male-dominated force, Menzies noted).

The building was then abandoned and fell into disrepair, before undergoing a massive restoration in the early 1980s. In the building’s biography, project architect Susan Parker recalled her delight at discovering the twin urinal.

“There’s nothing like that in the women’s washroom,” she mused.

The urinal is highlighted in a biography about Heritage Hall. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

Today, the building houses non-profit offices and is mainly used as an event space. The urinal remains one of its original features.

Jan Tollefsen, the building manager for Heritage Hall, said she’s barely had to maintain it in her three years working at the site.

“It was made to last,” she said.

While the urinal flushes on its own every 20 minutes, there is, ahem, a smell of pee that lingers. Not even a urinal deodorizer can thwart it, Tollefsen said. Still, nothing stops visitors from revelling in the contraption.

“I’ve even had people do photo shoots down around it,” Tollefsen said.

But gentlemen, if you’re thinking of checking out this one-of-a-kind john, don’t unzip just yet.

It’s only open for private events, meaning you’ll either have to host a wedding — or be invited to one — to take part in what has become a strange Vancouver tradition.

“Everyone’s fascinated by it because it’s so bizarre,” Tollefsen said.

The twin urinal at Heritage Hall still remains in tip-top shape to this day. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

17Sep

BC Ferries seeks public input on Horseshoe Bay redesign | CBC News

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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.

12Sep

Metro Vancouver Transit Police looking for suspect in 2 violent robberies | CBC News

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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.

12Sep

TD Bank refuses to refund art student $600 in fraudulent cheques | CBC News

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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. 

Two of six fraudulent cheques different signatures. (Submitted by Preston Buffalo)

 

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. 

TD Canada Trust has Preston Buffalo’s appeal under review but has given no timeline as to when there may be a resolution. (Maggie MacPherson/CBC)

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.

Lawyer Priyan Samarakoone, says there’s no excuse for financial institutions to not verify all cheques no matter their amount. (Maggie MacPherson/CBC)

 

‘No excuse’ 

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.  

Police investigation 

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. 

Now, he’s struggling again. 

With files from Paisley Woodward

11Sep

Vancouver passes a culture plan for the next decade — with no major increase in funding | CBC News

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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. 

The full report can be read here

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?”

Cross-collaboration

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.” 

The City of Vancouver wants to add 800,000 square feet of new cultural spaces over the next 10 years. (Boombox)

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.”

Drummers who call themselves Star Child at the Squamish Nation 32nd Youth Pow Wow in West Vancouver on Sunday, July 14, 2019. (Maggie MacPherson/CBC) (Maggie MacPherson/CBC)

‘Mission creep’

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.” 

Vancouver’s new plan looks to “blanket the city in arts and culture,” with an emphasis on reconciliation, decolonizing, cultural equity and accessibility. (City of Vancouver )

11Sep

‘Everybody deserves a shot’: Job offers more than a paycheque to man with Down syndrome | CBC News

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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.

Amanda Meyers provides Brion Kurbis-Edwards with job coaching, teaching him his workplace responsibilities. (CBC News/Tristan Le Rudulier)

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.

Along with his paid job, Brion Kurbis-Edwards also volunteers with the BC Lions. (Submitted by Amanda Meyers)

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.

Brion Kurbis-Edwards jokes around with his boss Tina Hustins as they work at the Lonsdale Quay Market. (CBC News/Tristan Le Rudulier)

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.

“Everybody deserves a shot.”

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