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Posts Tagged "News"

16Jul

These 5 washrooms are finalists in an annual search for Canada’s best

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What’s your favourite local loo?

It might seem like a strange question, but the restrooms in five Canadian businesses are finalists in an annual contest to find the country’s best.

Two of the top contenders in this year’s search, put on by restroom supplier Cintas Canada, are located in Vancouver.

Bauhaus Restaurant was named one of Canada’s best 100 places to eat earlier this year. 

A few months later, the West Cordova Street spot that specializes in contemporary German cuisine is being recognized for a different feature: its bathrooms.

“Bauhaus Restaurant was inspired by the early 20th-century design movement ‘Bauhaus’ which was famous for its unique approach to architecture and design, where every form had a function,” a statement announcing the finalists said.

“The restaurant’s Berlin street art-inspired washrooms were commissioned by Olliemoonsta, an art duo from Spain with a background in Fine Arts and Graphic Design.”

Its walls include quotes from Bauhaus School founder Walter Gropius, original graphic designs and graffiti that all match the theme.
 

Bauhaus Restaurant
 

Also in the top five is Laurence and Chico Cafe, named after designers Laurence Li and Chico Wang.

The coffee shop on Bute Street is described by Wang as a “surreal opportunity…through a space that combines elements of design, furniture and home décor with a culinary experience.”

Those behind the Best Restroom contest praise its whimsical wallpapers, tiles and furnishings that replicate the clothing designers’ signature prints.

“You can Instagram every corner of the café, including the washrooms, which offer customers an escape from reality,” the statement issued by Cintas Canada Tuesday says.

“One of the washrooms is rubber ducky themed where if you look up, you’ll see the ceiling adorned with them. Another is a floral-themed washroom featuring paper mache flowers.”
 

Laurence and Chico
 

Heading east, the next restaurant to make the top five is located in a gas station in a hamlet in northeastern Alberta.

Lac La Biche is home to a population of about 2,300 and, apparently, one of Canada’s best restrooms. The loo that made the list is at the Beaver Hill Shell station.

It was designed with comfort in mind, contest organizers say.

“Unlike conventional rest-stops, they feature luxurious details throughout. Clean lines like herringbone-patterned wall and floor tile, paired with sleek wall sconces, shining chandeliers and large, decorative mirrors create a modern yet rustic look,” Cintas Canada said in the statement.

“Meanwhile, simple details like relaxing artwork and warm, wooden stall doors make the washrooms stand out.”
 

Beaver Hill Shell
 

Cluny Bistro, in Toronto’s Distillery District, is also a finalist, praised for its solid oak walls, cement flooring and white marble countertops.

The restrooms in the restaurant located within the heritage site of the Gooderham Building were designed by Studio Munge, Cintas says.

“The washrooms feature warm woods, delicate gold fixtures and frosted glass. Meanwhile, the tiled floor is decorated in shades of yellow, orange and duck-egg blue.”
 

Cluny Bistro
 

Rounding out the top five is Cosmos Cafe in Quebec City.

“With its eclectic décor and modern style, the Cosmos Cafe carries an atmosphere worth experiencing,” contest organizers said.

“The artistic elements found throughout the cafe flow into the washrooms where you’ll find sinks made of rock with waterfall faucets and touchless amenities.”

Among the features highlighted in the announcement were the restrooms’ one-way mirrored fish tanks.
 

Cosmos Cafe
 

The top five were selected based on criteria including cleanliness, visual appeal, innovation, functionality and unique design elements, organizers say.

Votes from the public will determine which toilet triumphs, which facility flushes out the competition.

Lavatory lovers can cast their bathroom ballots online.

The winner will be given a place in Canada’s Best Restroom Hall of fame, and a prize of $2,500 in facility services from Cintas.

Last year’s winning washroom was St. Albert Honda, which beat out four others including Vancouver’s Anh and Chi


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15Jul

New air passenger protections kick in today | CBC News

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Airline passengers have new rights starting today, as rules from the Canada Transportation Agency that have prompted backlash from industry and consumer advocates kick in. 

The Air Passenger Protection Regulations require airlines to meet certain obligations, including clear communication to passengers about their rights and timely updates for delays or cancellations. Passengers will also be compensated up to $2,400 if they’re bumped from a flight. 

In addition, passengers are now entitled to a certain standard of treatment when stuck on the tarmac. People will be allowed to leave the plane in certain situations if the delays exceed three hours — though that’s twice the time the Senate committee that studied the rules recommended.

Time spent on the tarmac became a huge point of contention when two planes were stranded for up to six hours on the tarmac at the Ottawa airport in 2017 due to bad weather. The passengers were kept on board with no air conditioning, food or water.

Air Transat was fined after the CTA found the airline broke its agreement with passengers. Transportation Minister Marc Garneau used the example to illustrate why the new bill of rights — then in the Senate — should be a priority.

Lost baggage procedures have also been updated to allow for compensation of up to $2,100. There are also clearer policies for transporting musical instruments. 

The regulations will apply to all flights to, from and within Canada, including connecting flights. Large airlines, those that have serviced two million passengers or more in the last two years, will have a slightly different regulatory regime than smaller airlines in some cases.

Smaller airlines, for example, will have to pay less compensation for delays or cancellations that are within the airline’s control but are not related to safety issues

Pushback from both sides

The rules have been controversial among airlines and passenger advocates, and the government will have to fend off attempts to kill the rules in court. 

The International Air Transport Association and several airlines are arguing the rules violate international agreements and Canada is overstepping its authority. It’s asking a federal court to invalidate the regulations. 

While the airlines say the rules go too far, passenger rights experts say they don’t go far enough.

WATCH: Incoming air passenger rights detailed ahead of new law 

Air passenger rights taking effect on July 15 include compensation for travellers bumped from their flights. 3:09

Two advocates are also challenging the tarmac delay rules, saying they violate the charter rights of some Canadians with disabilities who may not be able to sit for extended periods. 

Bob Brown, a disability rights advocate who is quadriplegic, says the rules reduce the distance he can travel by air without putting his health at risk by up to 2,000 kilometres. The case is currently before the Federal Court of Appeal.

These are only some of the changes coming in. Starting in December, airlines will also have to adhere to standards about flight disruptions and seating passengers with children. Compensation for cancelled flights and delays are part of phase two of the rollout.


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15Jul

New air passenger protections kick in today | CBC News

by admin

Airline passengers have new rights starting today, as rules from the Canada Transportation Agency that have prompted backlash from industry and consumer advocates kick in. 

The Air Passenger Protection Regulations require airlines to meet certain obligations, including clear communication to passengers about their rights and timely updates for delays or cancellations. Passengers will also be compensated up to $2,400 if they’re bumped from a flight. 

In addition, passengers are now entitled to a certain standard of treatment when stuck on the tarmac. People will be allowed to leave the plane in certain situations if the delays exceed three hours — though that’s twice the time the Senate committee that studied the rules recommended.

Time spent on the tarmac became a huge point of contention when two planes were stranded for up to six hours on the tarmac at the Ottawa airport in 2017 due to bad weather. The passengers were kept on board with no air conditioning, food or water.

Air Transat was fined after the CTA found the airline broke its agreement with passengers. Transportation Minister Marc Garneau used the example to illustrate why the new bill of rights — then in the Senate — should be a priority.

Lost baggage procedures have also been updated to allow for compensation of up to $2,100. There are also clearer policies for transporting musical instruments. 

The regulations will apply to all flights to, from and within Canada, including connecting flights. Large airlines, those that have serviced two million passengers or more in the last two years, will have a slightly different regulatory regime than smaller airlines in some cases.

Smaller airlines, for example, will have to pay less compensation for delays or cancellations that are within the airline’s control but are not related to safety issues

Pushback from both sides

“We have recognized that when somebody buys a ticket to take a flight, particularly when they are buying it for the whole family, it’s a considerable expense,” said Transportation Minister Marc Garneau.

To mark the date, the CTA launched a website where passengers can lodge complaints.

The rules have been controversial among airlines and passenger advocates, and the government will have to fend off attempts to kill the rules in court. 

The International Air Transport Association and several airlines are arguing the rules violate international agreements and Canada is overstepping its authority. It’s asking a federal court to invalidate the regulations. 

While the airlines say the rules go too far, passenger rights experts say they don’t go far enough.

WATCH: Incoming air passenger rights detailed ahead of new law 

Air passenger rights taking effect on July 15 include compensation for travellers bumped from their flights. 3:09

Two advocates are also challenging the tarmac delay rules, saying they violate the charter rights of some Canadians with disabilities who may not be able to sit for extended periods. 

Bob Brown, a disability rights advocate who is quadriplegic, says the rules reduce the distance he can travel by air without putting his health at risk by up to 2,000 kilometres. The case is currently before the Federal Court of Appeal.

These are only some of the changes coming in. Starting in December, airlines will also have to adhere to standards about flight disruptions and seating passengers with children. Compensation for cancelled flights and delays are part of phase two of the rollout.


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14Jul

Tiny Village of Deep Cove needs big solution to address ‘growing problem’ of crowds

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Hundreds, if not thousands, flock to the tiny Village of Deep Cove each day in the summer to enjoy the area’s picture-postcard beauty.

The crowds in recent years have increased so much that officials had to introduce new parking rules and a limit on how many people can use the local trail.

But some businesses and locals believe more measures are needed to handle the influx of visitors.

“The locals, for lack of a better word, have resigned to the fact that they have no ownership of the cove for six to seven months of the year,” said Arash Memarzadah, who runs the family-operated Pomegranate Grillhouse and Café.

Memarzadah said many of his regular customers avoid the village in the summer because of parking and overcrowding issues.

He said the experience isn’t always a positive one for visitors, either.

“You spend 20 minutes trying to get down into the cove. You spend another 20 minutes trying to find parking. You get out, it’s way too busy. There’s no corner store, there’s no tourism centre, you go down to the restaurants and everyone has wait times.”

The District of North Vancouver has been trying to combat the overcrowding on its popular hiking trails.

For the second year in a row, it introduced a restriction on the number of hikers for Quarry Rock.

It also implemented new parking rules, including adding more permit parking spots and overflow parking lots; limiting how long people can stay in some lots; and increasing enforcement.

District Mayor Mike Little said the issue is not unique to Deep Cove.

“It’s a growing problem. It’s a growing concern. It’s something that we’re going to have to manage traffic in more than just Deep Cove — in several sites across the District of North Vancouver,” he said.

But Memarzadah said parking is just one of the issues and businesses are finding themselves having to deal with other tasks.

“We just have people walking in needing an ATM, needing cigarettes, needing washrooms, needing to know which direction is Quarry Rock,” he said. “We didn’t sign up for that. It’s not Pomegranate Café and Public Washroom.”

Little said none of the recreation destinations on the North Shore have publicly funded information centres, including Grouse Mountain and Capilano Suspension Bridge.

He said many of the visitors are from other parts of the Greater Vancouver Area and a long-term solution would require collaboration from the region and the province.

“We’re seen as the backyard playground for much of the Lower Mainland. It’s something that’s going to take a regional response,” he said.

Memarzadah said he would like to see a big-picture solution that changes the dynamic of the village.

“It’s not that we don’t want people coming down to the cove. We have to decide, what do we want to be? The infrastructure was not built to handle this many people,” he said. 


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13Jul

Western Forest Products, union disagree over mediator as strike drags on | CBC News

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Western Forests Products and the union representing about 2,600 striking forest workers in British Columbia say both sides want to begin negotiations but can’t agree on a mediator.

The strike began on July 1 and involves hourly employees and contractors, affecting the company’s six mills and its timberland operations in the province.

United Steelworkers local president Brian Butler said in a news release the union is ready to negotiate and well-known mediator Vince Ready has agreed to make himself available for talks.

Butler said the company’s refusal to use someone as qualified as Ready indicates it’s not serious about reaching an agreement.

Susan Dolinski, vice-president of corporate affairs at Western Forests Products, said in an interview the company has been asking for mediation for weeks through the Labour Relations Board and both sides have expressed their preference for a mediator.

She said the difference of opinion should in no way be interpreted as the company refusing mediation.

“In fact, we made multiple requests to the Labour Relations Board for mediation since June 25. We would certainly welcome a return to the bargaining table.”

Dolinski says the timing of the union’s announcement came on the heels of an important Labour Relations Board decision where it ruled that the strike was illegal for three company contractors.

Strike unlawful for 105 employees

The board ruled Thursday that the strike was unlawful for about 105 employees who work for the contractors.

The B.C. Federation of Labour issued a so-called hot edict on the company earlier this week, asking its members to no longer handle Western Forests Products coastal lumber, logs and wood products.

The union says it’s on strike over the potential loss of pensions, seniority rights and long-term disability benefits.

Dolinski said the coastal forest industry is experiencing significant market challenges and the strike is only going to exacerbate that situation.

The union said in a release the company continues to conflate problems with fibre shortages and mill closures in the Interior with issues on the coast, which has very different fibre supplies, markets and product values that make them separate industries.


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13Jul

Aerosol can forces evacuation at Victoria airport

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Passengers departing Victoria International Airport Saturday morning were forced to go through security twice after a prohibited item passed through the airport’s security checkpoint.

The airport tweeted that a “security breach” had forced the evacuation of the departures area and caused “minor delays to a few flights.”

Airport spokesman Rod Hunchak told CTV News the security breach was caused by an aerosol can that was identified during the security screening process, but couldn’t be located before the passenger it belonged to had retrieved their bag.

“It was a matter of timing,” Hunchak said. “They couldn’t positively identify the passenger immediately.”

After evacuating the departures area, airport staff reviewed security camera footage and were able to determine who the aerosol can belonged to.

Hunchak said the owner of the prohibited item had already boarded a WestJet flight that was waiting to depart. Officials boarded that flight and retrieved the aerosol can, which turned out to be sunscreen, Hunchak said.

A total of four departing flights were grounded during the incident.

The departures area was deemed secure shortly after 10:30 a.m., at which point evacuated passengers were re-screened. Hunchack said this process was expedited by extra staff from the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority.

Early Saturday afternoon, the airport tweeted to thank passengers for their patience during the incident.

Hunchak said the situation was a good reminder to travellers to double-check the list of prohibited items before heading to the airport.

“It’s good to check right before you go through security so you don’t get your items taken,” he said.




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13Jul

Updated voting technologies coming to B.C., likely in time for next provincial election | CBC News

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A new, modernized voting system will likely be in place when British Columbians cast their ballots in the next provincial general election.

Elections BC received a letter July 3 from Attorney General David Eby, indicating the province’s intention to introduce the legislative changes aimed at increasing accessibility and efficiency come election day.

“Should voting modernization be adopted, it will improve the voting experience for British Columbians, make voting faster, improve accessibility, speed up results, and provide candidates with current participation information to assist them in their efforts to get out the vote,” said Anton Boegman, B.C.’s chief electoral officer, in a news release Thursday.

The proposed changes include:

  • Being able to vote at any polling place in the province.
  • All votes, including absentee ballots to be counted on election night.
  • Voting activity recorded in an electronic voting book covering the entire province, for faster ballot counting.
  • Participation captured in real-time, electronically, with votes uploaded to central servers.
  • Uploaded votes to be instantly shared with candidates and political parties. 

The new technologies would also increase accessibility for voters with disabilities by way of updated assistive voting devices.

The goal is for the new systems to be in place for B.C.’s next scheduled general election on Oct. 16, 2021.

The estimated cost to develop and implement the proposed voting model in B.C. is $11 million.

If the Legislative Assembly adopts the amendments, it would be the most significant update to voting procedures in at least 20 years, according to Boegman.


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12Jul

Forestry workers reject mediator after asking for help: union

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VANCOUVER – The union representing as many as 3,000 British Columbia forest industry workers on strike at Western Forest Products says now that it’s willing to work with a mediator, the company has rejected the plan.

The strike began July 1 and involves the firm’s timberland operators and contractors and affects all of its manufacturing and timberland operations in the province.

Western Forest Products said after the strike began that it applied for a mediator in June to help with negotiations, but the union had not agreed to meet.

United Steelworkers local president Brian Butler says in a news release that they are ready to negotiate and well-known mediator Vince Ready has agreed to make himself available this weekend for talks.

Butler says the company’s refusal to use someone as qualified as Ready indicates it’s not serious about reaching an agreement.

A spokesperson from Western Forests Products wasn’t immediately available for comment on the union’s claims.

The B.C. Federation of Labour issued a so-called hot edict on the company earlier this week, asking its members to no longer handle Western Forests Products coastal lumber, logs and wood products.

The union says it’s on strike over the potential loss of pensions, seniority rights and long-term disability.


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12Jul

Mediator rejected after forestry workers asked for help: union

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The Canadian Press


Published Friday, July 12, 2019 1:17PM PDT


Last Updated Friday, July 12, 2019 3:52PM PDT

VANCOUVER – The union representing as many as 3,000 British Columbia forest industry workers on strike at Western Forest Products says now that it’s willing to work with a mediator, the company has rejected the plan.

The strike began July 1 and involves the firm’s timberland operators and contractors and affects all of its manufacturing and timberland operations in the province.

Western Forest Products said after the strike began that it applied for a mediator in June to help with negotiations, but the union had not agreed to meet.

United Steelworkers local president Brian Butler says in a news release that they are ready to negotiate and well-known mediator Vince Ready has agreed to make himself available this weekend for talks.

Butler says the company’s refusal to use someone as qualified as Ready indicates it’s not serious about reaching an agreement.

A spokesperson from Western Forests Products wasn’t immediately available for comment on the union’s claims.

The B.C. Federation of Labour issued a so-called hot edict on the company earlier this week, asking its members to no longer handle Western Forests Products coastal lumber, logs and wood products.

The union says it’s on strike over the potential loss of pensions, seniority rights and long-term disability.


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11Jul

7 playgrounds in Vancouver slated for $4.5 million facelift | CBC News

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Seven playgrounds in Vancouver are in line to get a $4.5 million revamp, with a focus on “fun and challenging” play. 

The Vancouver Park Board oversees 160 playgrounds across the city, and city officials say many of them need upgrades as they reach the end of their lifespans. 

“We have a large park system that’s city wide,” said Tiina Mack, manager of park development with the park board.  

“But we really see in the eastern and northern parts of our city [areas] where we have some aging facilities.” 

The park board undertook a city-wide assessment of all the playgrounds in 2015, looking at things like age, condition and the potential for fun the parks have for people of all ages.

“It’s not only play value for the very young, but also for kids of older ages and maybe even for teenagers and adults,” Mack told CBC’s On The Coast.

“There’s nothing like a set of swings for someone of any age to have some fun.” 

A design for what one of the playgrounds, Charleson, would look like with the upgrades. (Vancouver Park Board)

That’s part of what is behind the $4.5 million price tag: developing natural areas and gardens, protecting the trees in the area, adding additional amenities like seating and accessibility features.

“They become not only play spaces but social spaces,” she said. 

The playgrounds slated for renewals are: Ash, Beaconsfield, Cedar Cottage, Charleson, Jones, Kaslo, and Winona parks. Construction is expected to start in the summer or early fall. 

Two preschool play areas at Trout Lake and Thunderbird are also in the works. The park board is in conversations about upgrading the playgrounds at Champlain Heights Community Centre and Granville Park.

A map of where the upgrades are happening – mainly in the north and east parts of Vancouver. (Vancouver Park Board )

Replacing playgrounds is a priority for the city, the park board said in a written statement, and 17 playgrounds in Vancouver have been renovated since 2015. 

Mack said play is crucial for kids to learn social skills and risk management and be active.  

“Not only is it [good for] physical development but also cognitive development,” Mack said. 

“We want kids to be able to be creative and use their imaginations.” 

The Vancouver Park Board oversees 160 playgrounds across the city and, city officials say, many of them need upgrades as they reach the end of their lifespan. 6:04


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