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Posts Tagged "traffic"

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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31Jan

‘There’s a stigma’: First responders gather in B.C. to talk trauma

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Camille Bains, The Canadian Press


Published Thursday, January 31, 2019 1:28PM PST

VANCOUVER – Eighteen years as a firefighter had exposed Greg Gauthier to endless trauma but a call involving a tour bus hitting a family triggered his descent into mental illness as intrusive thoughts and sleepless nights became his daily existence.

Gauthier, 48, could no longer function at work but the stigma of asking for help in a job where chaos is the norm initially prevented him from reaching out.

“I knew something was wrong right after that call,” he said of the August 2017 incident when an American man died and three others were injured as a bus rolled into a crowd of tourists, pinning at least two people beneath the vehicle.

Gauthier said it wasn’t the most horrific situation he’d encountered, but it was the one that broke him emotionally.

Over and over again, he would relive the scene of people taking cellphone video of the crash scene as police dealt with a hoard of visitors near a busy cruise-ship terminal and convention centre. Gauthier’s family life began to unravel and he felt helpless.

“When you don’t have control of your mind and when you can’t block those thoughts then you feel like you’re losing control and it’s an incredibly distressing feeling,” he said. “I’m still dealing with it a year and a half later but I’m certainly managing it.”

Gauthier finally realized that as a supervisor he had to set an example for the rest of his crew at a Vancouver fire hall so colleagues who had also been at the scene and others like it could feel free to talk about their struggles in a job that required them to soldier on day after day.

“There’s a stigma and we’re trying to break that down,” he said as he prepared to share his experience and gradual return to work at a conference of first responders meeting in Richmond, B.C., on Thursday and Friday.

About 350 people including firefighters, police officers, paramedics, dispatchers as well as their unions and associations are taking part in the event that will feature Gauthier and others in jobs where trauma is part of the job but talking about its impact is not.

Gauthier said he wondered if he’d have to prove himself all over again if he took time off, if he’d put the “brotherhood and sisterhood” of his job at risk.

“Part of my healing, part of my therapy, is talking about it,” he said, adding he got counselling. When he returned to work after five months he didn’t initially go out on calls, worked shorter days and slowly exposed himself to the rigours of the job, including driving past the accident scene that led to his breakdown.

WorkSafeBC, the provincial workers’ health and safety agency, brought together a committee of 14 first responder agencies that organized the conference.

Trudi Rondou, senior manager of industry and labour services for WorksafeBC, said the goal is to work toward dismantling the stigma of mental illness suffered by those who focus on protecting public safety but often need help themselves to cope with extraordinary stress.

The key to getting that help is a commitment from employers to put prevention, peer-support and return-to-work programs in place, she said.

“We did some research among first responders and that was one thing we clearly heard, that this has to be a culture change and we need to make sure our leaders are invested in this, not only with their words but with the budget and action behind it.”

Otherwise, the costs range from low productivity, a high number of sick days and the potential for long-term disability from post-traumatic stress disorder, Rondou said.

Last year, the British Columbia government amended legislation allowing first responders including emergency medical assistants, firefighters, police officers, sheriffs and correctional officers to make WorkSafeBC claims for compensation and health-care support if they’d been diagnosed with a mental health disorder, without having to prove it was related to their work.

Greg Anderson, dean of applied research at the Justice Institute of B.C., said most provinces have similar legislation, but coverage for first-responder jobs varies.

In Nova Scotia, for example, emergency-room nurses are included in so-called presumptive legislation while some provinces have coverage for post-traumatic stress injury and others only accept claims for post-traumatic stress disorder, Anderson said.

Federal first responders, including employees of the RCMP, the Correctional Service of Canada and those in enforcement roles for Fisheries and Oceans Canada, are not covered by presumptive legislation.


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25Jan

Out-of-control parking at Joffre Lakes, B.C., is a grey area for RCMP traffic enforcement

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An outdoor enthusiast from Vancouver’s North Shore became so outraged over illegally parked vehicles outside Joffre Lakes Provincial Park that he took matters into his own hands.

Steve Jones got so frustrated with the state of Joffre Lakes north of Whistler that he filed a freedom of information request (CBC/Harold Dupuis)

Steve Jones filed a freedom of information request about parking enforcement around the Joffre Lakes trail which has had an explosion in popularity in recent years.

“It’s been getting busier and busier and busier, and part of it is that they made some upgrades to the trail so that more people can access it,” said Steve Jones. “But if we’re not proactive about making investments and ensuring that the experience for visitors is positive I think that we’re going to start to lose our reputation.”

Parking laws unenforced as jurisdictions argue

The documents he got back revealed Pemberton RCMP can’t ticket a vehicle without the driver being present. So even though vehicles are parked in front of “no parking” signs, police can’t do anything about it.

RCMP didn’t return CBC’s request for an interview. But in the documents, Cpl. Mike Hamilton emailed the Mainroad Group, a road maintenance contractor, urging it to put safety measures in place along the highway. 

He wrote about a failed attempt to educate the public about parking rules on Highway 99. “After approximately 2-3 hours I was forced to completely abandon this endeavour,” he said. “I experienced what I can only describe as driver anarchy and mass crowds. I was nearly struck head-on by an inattentive motorist.”

In a statement, a spokesperson with the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District said, “Provincial highways, such as Highway 99 near Joffre Lakes Provincial Park, are within the jurisdiction of the provincial government. As a regional district, the SLRD does not have the authority to implement a bylaw that would have jurisdiction over a provincial highway.”

However, a spokesperson with the provincial government said it is the responsibility of the district, “Currently, the SLRD does not have a bylaw preventing parking along the highway at this location. We have contacted them to inquire about such a bylaw, but the SLRD would need to respond re: any progress on this.”

The province is expected to provide further clarity on the issue next week.

Lake worth showing off

The brilliant turquoise blue of Joffre Lakes is perfect backdrop for photos and now a social media darling. Just kilometres away from the natural beauty is the crush of vehicles along Highway 99.

A log that sticks into the middle lake on the trail is a wildly popular photo spot. Many attribute the increased traffic at Joffre Lakes to its Instagram fame. (Shutterstock / karamysh)

Jones says the social media fame has come at a price, “I think Instagram has given us a very good reputation for the beauty on the front end, but we’re not proactive about making investments and ensuring that the experience for visitors is positive.”

The provincial park — about 45 minutes north of Whistler, B.C. — has become one of the South Coast’s most popular hikes, leaving B.C. Parks scrambling to manage concerns about overcrowding and environmental preservation.

In 2018, B.C. Parks made the decision to ban dogs from the trail because the animals have “led to issues with visitor experience, public health concerns and conservation efforts,” according to a news release from 2018.

Outhouses also a concern

Jones says another issue that came up in the documents is a lack of bathroom facilities. “The line for the outhouses is so long, people can’t humanly hold it in, and they’re just going to the washroom in the parking lot. It’s just disgusting that this is happening.”

He hopes the province will fund its parks adequately so that social media posts don’t begin to show B.C.’s packed parking areas rather than its natural beauty.

With files from Yvette Brend


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24Jan

Suspect followed woman, took photos in casino bathroom: RCMP

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Mounties are asking the public to help identify a suspect who is alleged to have followed a woman then took photos of her while she used a bathroom stall.

In a statement issued nearly two months after the incident was reported, Richmond Mounties said a woman had been followed from a Canada Line station to the River Rock Casino.

It was reported that the man followed her into the casino washroom in the early morning hours of Dec. 1, then used a cellphone to take photos while she was inside a stall.

The suspect fled when confronted, and was last seen heading toward Bridgeport Station, police said.

After following up on available leads, Mounties released a photo of a suspect Thursday.

“We are hoping that the security image of the suspect may prompt information from the public and possibly bring to light other unreported cases,” Cpl. Dennis Hwang said in a statement.

The suspect has been described as approximately 25 years old and possibly Indigenous. He is about 5’8″ with a slim build, and was wearing a black jacket and dark coloured pants at the time.

Anyone with any information is asked to contact the RCMP at 604-278-1212, quoting the file number 2018-34811.


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22Jan

Roughly 2/3rds of Canadians are concerned about mobility, hearing and vision issues: new study

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A new study from the Rick Hansen Foundation and the Angus Reid Institute suggests more than two-thirds of Canadians fear someone in their lives will face mobility, hearing or vision disabilities in the next 10 years.

Roughly the same two-thirds concerned about a family member or a friend are also worried they too may face similar challenges.

Overall, almost one quarter of Canadians say they have a disability or face mobility, hearing, and vision challenges.

According to the study, 28 per cent of adults aged 35-54 expect to deal with a disability in the next five to 10 years – that number rises to 32 per cent for adults over age 55.

Canadians are also concerned about accessibility to buildings, the study indicates.

Seventy per cent of respondents said they believe any new building that can be made accessible for all should, and one in five Canadians would support a business more knowing it was certified as accessible.

The study also looked at the economic backgrounds of the respondents, and found nearly half of all people who say they’re directly affected by a disability come from households with combined incomes of less than $50,000 annually.

But for those directly affected and earning $100,000 or over, the number plummets to only 14 per cent.

The poll data comes from an online survey that ran from Nov. 14 to Nov. 20 2018, from 1,800 randomized members of an Angus Reid study group.


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18Jan

Warrant issued for suspect in theft of ‘priceless’ guitars from 54-40

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An arrest warrant has been issued for a man suspected in the theft of seven “priceless” guitars from local rock band 54-40, police say.

Documents filed in court by New Westminster police say Yannick Lepage, 39, was the tenant of the Surrey storage locker where five of the seven guitars were found last fall. 

Lepage can also be seen on surveillance footage carting what looks like guitar cases, the documents say.

“We’ve been to a number of addresses looking for him,” Staff-Sgt. Stuart Jette told CTV News. “As recently as last week we had someone attend a residence in the Fraser Valley but (we) have been unsuccessful so far trying to find him. We’re still looking.” 

It’s not the first time Lepage has been publicly called out by police – in December, he appeared on the Surrey RCMP’s “naughty list.”

The guitars were stolen from the back of a truck outside the Queen’s Park Care Centre On Oct. 5, before 54-40 was slated to do back-to-back shows.

Guitarist Dave Genn called one the “fire breathing dragon”, and another “irreplaceable” at the time. The band offered a $5,000 reward for any information to find them.

The next day, according to the documents, the New Westminster Police Department got a tip pointing them to a self-storage facility on 104 Avenue in Surrey.

“I viewed the CCTV and observed multiple people rolling in 5 large guitar cases…some of them matched the description,” wrote NWPD Const. Eric Blower in the document.

Police gained access to the locker, where they found five of the seven guitars.

The band was relieved – and said they’d keep playing with them despite the risk.

“These instruments were made to be played, as opposed to locked away in a safe somewhere,” said Genn at the time.

The two guitars that are still out there are a Gibson Dove Acoustic and a Gibson SJ200 Acoustic.

Even as New Westminster police were hunting for Lepage, Surrey RCMP were looking for him for two alleged breaches of probation and an accusation of driving while prohibited. That led to his inclusion on its 10-person “naughty list.” 

Lepage has a number of convictions involving possession of stolen property, mischief and theft in 19 criminal files going back to 1998, according to records.

On his Facebook page, Lepage appears to acknowledge some of his time served: in one post, he writes, “16 days left of house arrest look out LOL.”

CTV News reached out to Lepage but didn’t hear back from him. 


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11Jan

RCMP at UBC warning public of voyeurism incident

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RCMP at the University of British Columbia are asking potential victims to contact them after a voyeurism incident last week.

Police say the incident happened on Jan. 3, in a public restroom in the 6300-block of Agronomy Road.

The victim told police someone reached and placed a cell phone over top of the bathroom stall while they were using the washroom. The cell phone has a unique black case with a cubed and striped pattern, police say.

The RCMP confirmed in a statement that the victim first called Campus Security, who then alerted University RCMP, which caused what they say is a “slight delay” in their response time.

A man believed to be the suspect was arrested for obstruction, but later released, police added. The investigation is still ongoing at this time.

University RCMP says anyone with a similar experience should call 604-224-1322, and reminds the public that if a crime is being committed you should call 911 immediately.


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11Jan

Bathroom voyeurism reported at UBC; RCMP investigating

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RCMP at the University of British Columbia are asking potential victims to contact them after a voyeurism incident last week.

Police say the incident happened on Jan. 3, in a public restroom in the 6300-block of Agronomy Road.

The victim told police someone reached and placed a cell phone over top of the bathroom stall while they were using the washroom. The cell phone has a unique black case with a cubed and striped pattern, police say.

The RCMP confirmed in a statement that the victim first called Campus Security, who then alerted University RCMP, which caused what they say is a “slight delay” in their response time.

A man believed to be the suspect was arrested for obstruction, but later released, police added. The investigation is still ongoing at this time.

University RCMP says anyone with a similar experience should call 604-224-1322, and reminds the public that if a crime is being committed you should call 911 immediately.


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3Jan

Trampoline park apologizes for denying entry to B.C. boy’s service dog

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A Langley, B.C. trampoline park is apologizing to a local family after refusing entry to a boy’s service dog.

Danica Dutt said she took her brother, Kai Chand, to Extreme Air Park Wednesday. The 11-year-old has autism, and has a registered, professionally trained service dog named Rosie who came along.

Rosie, who Kai describes as his best friend, has tags, permits and paperwork in her vest, and Danica told CTV News she and Kai had photos of their service ID cards on them.

But before Kai could even get to the trampolines, a staff member told them the dog would have to leave as she was not needed, Danica said.

She said she was told the facility only allowed dogs with a “purpose,” such as seeing-eye dogs, are allowed in the facility.

“I explained to her, ‘Oh no, the dog’s going to sit with me in the waiting area,’ and she says, ‘No, your dog’s not allowed,'” Danica said in an interview Thursday.

She told CTV staff didn’t look at their paperwork or IDs, and when she tried to get a refund, staff refused. Instead, she said, they offered a credit so Kai and Danica could return without Rosie.

“But what good is a credit when Kai’s service dog is denied access because she’s not ‘needed?'” Danica wrote in a Facebook post which has been shared nearly 3,000 times. 

Her brother, who did not understand what was happening, then began to cry, Danica said.

She told CTV he was so excited he even begged her to buy him a T-shirt with the park’s logo on it. The one-hour visit was supposed to be his reward for “being really good that day,” she said.

In the end, his mother came and brought the dog home so Kai’s day wasn’t ruined, but Danica said she felt the situation was not handled professionally.

“The fact that they said Kai’s dog wasn’t needed broke my heart because they don’t get to decide who needs a service dog and who doesn’t,” she said.

She explained that the dog’s role is to help keep him calm.

“When he gets overstiumlated he self-hurts and he screams and cries, and having this dog there can just give him a moment to step back and have some relief,” she said.

“I just want Kai to be treated as an equal. That’s all I want. And I want people to know that his service dog is there to help him.”

Kai’s mother, Tara Allen, ended up recording part of her interaction with an employee.

“It was just kind of mindblowing that they turn them away and wouldn’t refund their money,” she said.

She told CTV she’d called and asked to speak to the manager, but staff wouldn’t provide contact information.

“I think they just need to educate themselves on kids with special needs or service dogs,” Tara said.

William Thornton, CEO of BC and Alberta Guide Dogs, said the organization will be following up with the company about their policy. Rosie was trained by BC and Alberta Guide Dogs, one of the only accredited schools in the province.

“Wherever the public has access or is paying to go in is a public domain by definition and these dogs are allowed to enter that building,” he explained.

“I think the public are still playing a little bit of catch-up, that there are other types of dogs and the need is not as obvious to a person that has a hidden disability.”

B.C.’s Guide Dog and Service Dog Act makes it an offense to deny a certified dog and handler team access or accomodation, and those convicted could be fined up to $3,000. More information about the act is available on the province’s website

In an email, Extreme Air Park told CTV services dogs are welcome, and staff do their best to accommodate all customers’ needs. In the statement, staff said that the issue arose during a conversation about the dog going into the trampoline area.

They said they’d reached out to Danica but had not heard back.

Kai’s sister confirmed that she did receive an apology over social media, as well as an offer for free access for a year. She showed CTV a screen grab of a message from Instagram sent by an account called “extremeairparkscanada” which read in part, “The person that our staff talked to on the phone regarding your service dog was misinformed.”

The sender, who appeared to be one of the owners of the park, said he was sorry and that he knew the year jump pass wouldn’t make up for their experience, but that he wanted to provide a positive experience in the future for all, including Rosie.

“I know how important animals are and how much of a difference they can make in people’s lives,” the message read.

Despite the offer, the family doesn’t think they’ll return.

With a report from CTV Vancouver’s Maria Weisgarber


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31Dec

Hundreds of years to fix impassable Vancouver curbs: documents

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It could take anywhere from dozens to hundreds of years to fix all of the Vancouver curbs that remain impassable to people who use wheelchairs, according to city documents obtained by CTV News.

Despite a promised $1 million in 2019 to replace upwards of 150 corners with sudden drops to slopes, thousands remain, each of them an insurmountable barrier to many people with disabilities.

“It’s frustrating,” said Kerry Gibson, the CEO of EcoCentury Technologies who has used a wheelchair since she was injured in a crash when she was in her 20s.

“In most cases you have to backtrack. You lose time. It might as well be a wall,” she said.

And that’s when she’s prepared. At night a surprise curb can send her flying, she said.

“I’d flip backwards and hit my head and be stunned, hoping that someone would help me out while I’m shaking the stars from my eyes,” she said.

A city document from 2013 estimated that there are some 27,000 corners in the city. Nineteen thousand have been done over the past 60 years, but there are about 8,000 corners left over.

With $200,000 a year budgeted for curb ramps, and a budget of $8000 per ramp, the city could fix 25 curbs each year. At that rate, it would take 320 years to finish them all, the document said.

“I’m quite speechless when you told me that stat,” said Jane Dyson, the retired director of Disability Alliance B.C. “That is not good enough. Not even close.”

The city should consider every policy on this with a final date in mind that city streets will be accessible, she said.

In August, TransLink funded 140 curb ramps close to transit routes. The city also upgrades curbs near reconstruction projects, and the city asks developers to upgrade curbs near major construction, which has resulted in as many as 100 more curb ramps each year.

The city also responds to complaints – though in February there was a backlog of 600 requests to fix those curbs, city documents say, with a wait time of several years.

Since 2015, the city has put $325,000 to make around 50 ramps per year, and with the other methods, city documents say it now upgrades around 100-200 a year.

The city’s most recent budget and capital plan allocates $1 million in 2019 for curb ramps.

“It should be a priority to speed it up,” said Christine Boyle, a Vancouver City Councillor with OneCity. She said it’s important for people with disabilities, but also for other groups like parents with strollers, for whom a high curb can be a problem.

“It’s certainly a commitment of OneCity’s to support moving that strategy forward,” she said.

Melissa de Genova, a city councillor with the NPA, said she didn’t like hearing stories about people who were going blocks out of their way before finding an accessible crossing.

“I was happy to see money in the budget for that. We definitely need to do what we can to make the city accessible,” she said.

But even at 100-200 curbs per year, it could take 40-80 years to upgrade all the curbs that are left in the city.

“In 80 years I’ll be dead,” said Gibson with a laugh. “You have to laugh. It’s a coping mechanism.”

“Any increase is obviously welcome. But – another 20 years to navigate your own neighbourhood. We need to move beyond that attitude,” she said.


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