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Posts Tagged "problem"

24Jul

Accessible parking scofflaws a problem for people with disabilities | CBC News

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Vincel Miele feels frustration and anger when he sees an able-bodied person parking illegally in a spot designated for people with disabilities.

“For them it’s a convenience, I suppose,” said Miele, 69, as he drove through the parking lot of Lansdowne Centre in Richmond in his specially-designed van. 

Miele was injured in an accident at 21 and has used a wheelchair since. 

“It just takes away from someone that does need it and, in a lot of cases, can’t go about their business because they can’t find a parking spot where they can get in and out independently.”

Miele’s van lets him get out into the community independently, but he needs to park in a special, wider disability stall so he can use his van’s ramp to get in and out of his vehicle.

Vince Miele, 69, was injured in an accident at 21 and has used a wheelchair since. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

He wants people to know how inconsiderate it is when someone who doesn’t need the spot takes it anyway.

Miele also wants to see improvements to what he calls a patchwork system of fines and enforcement in B.C.

He said rules, penalties and enforcement levels vary across Metro Vancouver.

Vancouver, for example issued more than 1,600 tickets for parking in accessible spaces in 2018, while Surrey issued 24.

Miele would also like to see tougher fines for those who violate disability parking rules, and stricter rules for disability parking on public and private property. Fines can be as low as about $60. 

‘They swear’

While driving in another Richmond parking lot with CBC News, Miele spotted an able-bodied person with a disability parking decal in an accessible spot.

The driver said she was waiting for her mother, who has a disability. She was legally using the space but Vince doesn’t get why she had to take the spot he needed instead of waiting somewhere else.

This Canada Post truck was spotted parked in a disability parking spot on Homer Street in Vancouver. The corporation said it has launched an internal investigation. (Eric Rankin/CBC)

“It’s a problem … mostly for people that use wheelchairs because they really depend on that wider spot,” he said.

Miele spoke to the driver. The conversation went well but he said drivers can turn nasty.

“They swear. Yeah. They tell you to mind your own business,” Miele said. “They tell you to, whatever off, and sometimes worse.”

Vince Miele says when able-bodied people park in the wider accessible parking spaces — like the driver of this white van has done — it inconveniences people in wheelchair vans, like the one on the left. (Vince Miele)

Private lots make own rules

A Lansdowne Mall spokesperson said it enforces parking rules, especially for disability stalls. Offenders, she said, are fined or towed.

EasyPark vice-president Gary Kohr said private lots — the kind you might find at malls, grocery stores or below ground at some highrise towers — are only obligated to include a certain number of disability parking stalls.

The buildings’ owners arrange enforcement, he said, and can waive tickets.

Private parking lots are only required by law to maintain a certain number of accessible spots, according to one lot operator. Enforcement of lot policies is up to the owner — who has the option to waive a ticket. (Vince Miele)

“The owner of the property will define the rules of engagement,” Kohr said, adding most owners follow guidance from operating companies like EasyPark, with fines starting at about $60.

City bylaw officers have no jurisdiction over private lots, he said.

Lorraine Copas, executive director of the accessibility advocacy group SPARC BC, said police can enforce rules on private lots, if called.

A CBC News team spotted this driver on Granville Island parked in an accessible spot with no permit. The vehicle’s back end encroaches onto a second accessible spot. (Ethan Sawyer/CBC)

Cities vary

Kohr would not say how many delinquent drivers his company tickets for breaking disability parking rules.

Numbers from Metro Vancouver’s four largest cities show a wide disparity in numbers of tickets handed out in 2018 for offenders on city-controlled lots and on-street parkers.

Vancouver handed out the most tickets — over 1,600. Burnaby issued 138, Richmond issued 107, while Surrey handed out 24. 

A City of Surrey spokesperson explained that’s because bylaw officers only actively patrol four locations in the city for violations, two of which are at city hall. 

Miele says it’s not just the malls — rule-breakers are commonly seen on Richmond’s streets and lots.

Richmond spokesperson Clay Adams said the city doesn’t have the power to enforce disability parking rules in private lots, leaving it up to drivers and lot owners to respect the parking laws.

“It really gets down to individual drivers and how much they want to respect the legality, but also the moral element, of these kind of parking stalls.”

Priorities

Miele wants to see rules for disability parking — on public and private property — better enforced, and a uniform, hefty fine to apply across B.C.

“Make it $400 as a even number,” he said. “Maybe that’ll get people’s attention.”

Most of all, he wants to see a change in attitude from some able-bodied drivers.

Vince Miele is an advocate for people with disabilities. He uses a special wheelchair-lift-equipped van that he can drive on his own. But if the wider accessible parking stalls in a lot are taken up, it’s hard for him to deploy the ramp and get out of the van. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

“I mean, is part of parking closest to the entrance that critical for the guy that has to run in and grab a case of beer or go buy a pack of smokes?” he asked.

“I think they should give … their heads at least one shake. Maybe two or more.”


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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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7May

When is your child’s problem behaviour a sign of a bigger problem? | CBC News

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This story is part of Amy Bell’s column Parental Guidance, which airs on CBC Radio One’s The Early Edition.


If you wrote down a list of all the behaviours my children exhibit on a near daily basis, it might look something like this: nervousness, lack of focus, hyperactivity, poor listening, trouble with school work, memory lapses, aggression — usually in the form of whacking their sibling— and emotional outbursts. 

Is this unusual? 

Not really. But some of these behaviours can be signs that something other than the normal childhood shenanigans are afoot. So, when should a parent begin to explore the possibility they might not have a problem child — but a child with a very real medical problem? 

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is the most common childhood psychiatric disorder in Canada —and many children with ADHD also fall under the spectrum of learning disorders such as dyslexia. But there are many other hidden disabilities that children can face, and if not treated, your child is at risk for less academic success, poor self esteem, additional mental health issues and substance abuse.  

Trust your gut

As with many things concerning your child, it’s always a good bet to trust your gut. If you sense they’re struggling socially or academically, reach out to friends and family to see if they’ve experienced anything similar with their own children.

It can be hard to gauge what children are like behind the well cultivated facade of social media, so do talk to someone who will feel comfortable telling you the truth. 

When is it time to see if something bigger is behind your child’s ‘bad’ behaviour?

Don’t forget that kids develop at very different rates and there are phases they’ll go through at different times, so what may be “normal” behaviour for a four year old —such as an inability to sit still and focus — may be a sign of a problem in in a 10 year old. 

Teachers — especially experienced ones — can often give you a clearer picture of what your child is like when you’re not around.  School can be a minefield at the best of times for any kid. For someone with a learning disability or mental health problem, it can be especially hard to connect and “fit in”.

Lower Mainland mom Jennifer Fullerton has two boys and both have been diagnosed with learning disorders.  For the past two years, they’ve been attending James Cameron School in Maple Ridge, which specializes in teaching children with learning and behavioural disabilities.

“Both children were incredibly stressed, particularly my youngest.” said Fullerton. “He knew something was wrong and he was too young to articulate it.”

Reach out and talk to others

So what happens when you do decide to reach out to get a professional diagnosis and discover that what you were hoping was something to grow out of is actually something long term?

Understand that what you’re experiencing isn’t unique or unusual —and that’s actually a great thing! Dr Ashley Miller, a child and adolescent psychiatrist with BC Children’s Hospital, works with kids who experience a host of different diagnoses, and she’s stresses how valuable it can be for families to reach out and talk to others who have gone through the same experience. 

“Tons of people are struggling with their child’s behaviour at home in isolation,” says Miller.  “It’s just wonderful when people can connect and realize they are not alone.” 

Yes, ADHD, dyslexia and many disabilities and mental health issues can mean life-long behavioural management for kids and their families.

But once you realize what you and your child are dealing with — and with the right supports and proactive behaviours — they most certainly can and will continue to grow and learn and generally amaze the heck out of you. 


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1May

Daphne Bramham: Alcohol, not opioids, is Canada’s biggest drug problem

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Alcohol is so much a part of our culture that 80 per cent of Canadians drink. But each year, nearly 15,000 people die from alcohol related harms.


Canadian governments are addicted to the revenue from alcohol


DALE DE LA REY / AFP/Getty Images

With so much focus on illicit drugs and overdose deaths, it might seem that opioids are the biggest addictions problem. Far from it.

Alcohol kills many more people each year (14,800 in 2014), results in more hospitalizations annually than heart attacks and is one of the most expensive and intractable health problems.

While cannabis was legalized a year ago and B.C.’s chief medical health officer is pushing hard for decriminalization and ultimately legalization of all illicit drugs, two Canadian addictions research centres want tougher regulations to mitigate the costs and harms of alcohol use and addiction.

The Victoria-based Canadian Institute for Substance Use Research and the Toronto-based Centre for Addiction and Mental Health want a minimum price of $3.50 for a standard drink in a bar or restaurant and $1.75 for off-premise sales. They also want a national minimum drinking age of 19, which is a year higher than national minimum for cannabis. Those are just two of the recommendations in reports they released last month that look at federal, provincial and territorial alcohol policies.

The reports also calling for stricter guidelines for advertising, restrictions on manufacturers’ and retailers’ promotions on digital and social media platforms, and a federal excise tax based on alcohol content that would replace the GST.

Over the past decades, the researchers found an erosion of effective policies and regulations.

“Overall, alcohol policy in Canada has been largely neglected relative to emerging initiatives addressing tobacco control, responses to the opioid overdose crisis, and restrictions imposed on the new legal cannabis market,” their report on the provinces and territories says. In several jurisdictions — Ontario is the worst example — “customer convenience and choice are being given priority over health and safety concerns … the responsibility of governments to warn citizens of potential risks is largely absent.”

British Columbia got a bare pass at 50 per cent based on its potential to reduce alcohol-related harm, which is not good. But it’s still better than the national average of 43 per cent.

Alcohol-related harm was estimated at $14.6 billion in 2014, according the Canadian Centre on Substance Use. Productivity loss due to illness and premature death accounts for $7.1 billion. Direct health care costs add another $3.3 billion and $3.1 billion is spent on enforcement costs for this legal drug.

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Tobacco was second at $12 billion followed by opioids at $3.5 billion and cannabis at $2.8 billion. But the data predate the opioid overdose crisis and cannabis legalization.

Alcohol’s costs and harms reflect the fact that 80 per cent of Canadians drink. It’s not surprising. Culturally, we associate drinking with celebrations and good times. It’s We’re bombarded with images in movies, TV and ads of beautiful people drinking and having fun.

Scarcely a week goes by that there isn’t a “good news” story about research showing that a glass of red wine might be good for your heart or that yet another populist politician is campaigning on a promise to slash the price of beer.

Yet less was made of University of Washington’s Global Burden of Diseases Study last summer that found alcohol was the leading factor in 2.8 million premature deaths in 2016 and is so harmful that governments ought to be advising people to abstain completely.

One problem is that Canadian governments are addicted to the revenue from alcohol. Liquor sales and taxes provided $12.15 billion to federal and provincial governments in 2017/18 — $1.6 billion more than five years earlier, according to Statistics Canada.

Last year, liquor consumption rose in British Columbia, which already had the highest drinking rates in Canada. There were also record sales, which meant that in addition to tax revenue, the Liquor Distribution Branch provided $1.12 billion in earned revenue, up from $1.03 billion two years earlier.

Good for taxpayers? Not really. The reports by the substance-abuse centres recommends B.C. “reconsider the treatment of alcohol as an ordinary commodity: Alcohol should not be sold alongside food and other grocery items as this leads to greater harm.”

It’s based on research done last year by Tim Stockwell of the Canadian Institute for Substance Use Research. He and his researchers found that when access to alcohol is easier, more people die.

Between 2003 and 2008, “a conservative estimate is that the rates of alcohol-related deaths increased by 3.25 per cent for each 20 per cent increase in stores density.”

Estimates have to be conservative because alcoholics’ fatalities are mistakenly counted as death from one of more than 200 other kinds of alcohol-related fatalities including car accidents, suicide, liver diseases, cancers, tuberculosis and heart disease.

What’s surprising is that more than a century after legalization, there are no federal or provincial policies aimed specifically at mitigating alcohol’s harms and costs.

The opioid crisis has been the catalyst for governments to finally think about addictions and drug-use policies and, it’s now impossible to ignore the slower moving crisis caused by alcohol abuse and addiction.

In the coming months, the B.C. health officer also plans to release an alcohol addictions report. The B.C. Centre on Substance Use recently developed guidelines for best practices in treating alcohol addiction, but the provincial government has yet to approve or release those.

Prohibition proved a failure. Yet, legalization and regulation are not panaceas either. Because even with more than 100 years of experience, there is still no jurisdiction in Canada or anywhere else that seems to have got it right.

[email protected]

Twitter: @bramham_daphne


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10Jan

B.C. gaming branch overhauling crisis services for problem gamblers

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The B.C. Lottery Corporation reported net income of $1.4 billion from casinos and lotteries in the 2017-18 fiscal year, based on record revenue of $3.3 billion.


The B.C. Lottery Corporation reported net income of $1.4 billion from casinos and lotteries in the 2017-18 fiscal year, based on record revenue of $3.3 billion.


Stuart Davis / PNG files

Almost 2,400 people were referred to counselling by the province’s crisis line for problem gamblers last year, but only half actually attended.

The current crisis-line service provider 211 British Columbia Services Society fields 3,243 calls a year, or 62 per week, and referred 2,373 people to a problem gambling counsellor.

According to the Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch’s annual report, 1,269 people received those services. Early intervention services and clinical counselling were delivered to a total of 1,612 people.

According to the Ministry of the Attorney General, 77 per cent of counselling clients showed “significant improvement.”

The branch is about to overhaul its crisis services for problem gamblers to include online chat support and mobile phone text support. Counselling is offered at no charge to anyone who calls for help.

Enhancements are to include a personal non-automated response to callers in less than one-and-a-half minutes, with service 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The branch also delivered 2,387 problem gambling prevention presentations to more than 86,000 people last year and organized a pilot program for early intervention counselling for at-risk gamblers.

But the most potent weapon in their toolbox is a voluntary self-exclusion program in which people can register to be barred from casinos, bingo halls or B.C. Lottery Corporation’s Playnow.com gaming website for as little as six months and up to three years.

Self-excluded gamblers were identified and removed from casinos more than 9,500 times last fiscal year.

People who self-exclude are escorted from gaming facilities if they are detected by security staff. About 10,000 people are registered for exclusion, about 7,000 from facilities and 3,000 from Playnow.com.

Everyone who registers is offered free counselling.

BCLC is investing in ID scanners and uses licence plate readers to help identify people in the program. Lookout bulletins are issued if a participant tries repeatedly to enter casinos.

While some people registered with the program have evaded security, they are ineligible to collect jackpots if they win. Nonetheless, problem gamblers can and do defeat the system, sometimes with terrible consequences.

Tyler Hatch claims to have lost $550,000 in disability payments on online lottery games and attempted to sue B.C. lottery officials for failing to intervene and help him.

Hatch received a lump-sum payout of $550,000 in disability benefits he had begun receiving after being diagnosed with a major depressive disorder and bipolar disorder.

He soon gambled away the entirety of his lump-sum payment settlement and had incurred approximately $50,000 in consumer credit debt, according to court documents. The lawsuit was dropped a few weeks after it was filed.

Attorney-General David Eby told media this week that improvements to the program will be considered as part of a comprehensive review of the Gaming Control Act triggered by reports of widespread money laundering through B.C. casinos.


Help for gamblers gets the smallest slice of the pie.

Government of BC

BCLC reported net income of $1.4 billion from casinos and lotteries in the 2017-18 fiscal year, based on record revenue of $3.3 billion.

That’s nearly $90 million more than expected and the Crown corporation achieved a “player satisfaction” rate of 80 per cent in the process, according to a third party survey.

Casino slot machines and table games showed the strongest growth. There were 18 casinos, 18 community gaming centres and five commercial bingo halls hosting BCLC games in operation last year.

The newly approved Cascade Casino Delta is expected to open in 2020 on the site of the Delta Town & Country Inn at the junction of Highways 99 and 17A.

Ten per cent of the casino’s profit will go to the City of Richmond, a stipend Gateway Casinos estimates will be between $1.5 million and $3 million a year.

Additional casinos are in the very early planning stages for Greater Victoria and the North Shore in Metro Vancouver, according to BCLC.

Income from gambling was used by the province to fund government services in fiscal 2017-18, such as:

• health care and education, $964 million.

• health research, $147 million.

• community non-profit organizations, $140 million.

• local governments that host casinos, $108 million.

• problem gambling services, $5.6 million.

[email protected]

With files from The Province.

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3Dec

North Van school addresses vaping problem by locking washrooms

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A high school in North Vancouver, B.C. is taking some extraordinary steps to curb the number of students meeting up during class time to vape. 

The number of teenagers using e-cigarette in washrooms, locker rooms and sometimes even classrooms has become a “very serious issue” at Seycove Secondary School, according to a bulletin that was distributed to parents on Friday.

“Students are arranging to meet in groups by texting each other during class time,” the bulletin said. “There is increased hallway traffic during classes, and a generally ‘casual’ response from students when (they) are asked to return to class.”

To curtail the vaping problem, staff said they are locking all student washrooms except one near the gymnasium and a gender-neutral washroom near the office.

Signs are being posted at closed washrooms alerting students they have been locked over “inappropriate use” and directing them to the locations that are still open.

Locker rooms are also being locked all day except at the beginning and end of classes, according to the bulletin, and supervision aides have been instructed to record the students they see in the halls during class time.

E-cigarettes simulate smoking by vapourizing fluid, which can vary in nicotine content and sometimes contains no nicotine at all. While the risks associated with the habit are still being studied, Health Canada currently believes vaping is harmful, but less harmful than regular cigarettes.

The agency is also unequivocally against nicotine use by teenagers.

“There is … clear evidence that nicotine exposure during adolescence adversely affects cognitive function and development,” the agency said in a May 2018 statement.

“Nicotine is a potent and powerfully addictive substance, particularly for youth. Vaping products containing nicotine could potentially lead to addiction, the subsequent use of tobacco products, and the renormalization of smoking behaviours.”

Not all parents are fans of Seycove’s response to the vaping problem. One woman told CTV News that limiting the number of available washrooms was an unacceptable response.  


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