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Posts Tagged "News"

20Sep

BC Ferries wants public input on major Horseshoe Bay terminal overhaul

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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

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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

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.

16Sep

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

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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

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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.

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.”

10Sep

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

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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.

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