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Posts Tagged "washroom"

26Aug

Hidden camera found in winery washroom, Kelowna man arrested | CBC News

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A Kelowna, B.C., winery employee could be facing charges of voyeurism after police found a hidden camera inside a washroom at the winery.

Kelowna RCMP were called to Summerhill Pyramid Winery Friday after a witness reported seeing what they believed was a small camera concealed inside a staff washroom.  

A man, who police say is from Kelowna, was arrested Friday at the winery but has not been identified yet, as the investigation into the breadth of possible charges continues.

“Evidence has been seized in relation to this offence and once it has been properly processed, RCMP will be able to determine how many victims may be involved and further charges could be forwarded,” said Const. Lesley Smith with Kelowna RCMP.

The CEO for Summerhill Pyramid Winery said the employee has been fired and the company is communicating the news with its employees in person and in letter form.

Parents notified

“I am just going to be calling parents of underage staff members as well today,” said Ezra Cipes, CEO of the winery.  

Cipes said the company did a sweep of the winery and found no other cameras, and because of that, there is no danger to the public.

“We hope people care about us through this situation and don’t point a finger at us,” he said.

RCMP say they have released the male suspect. He is facing possible charges of voyeurism and has an upcoming court date.

2Jun

Prince George struggles to find public washroom solution | CBC News

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City council in Prince George is trying to find ways to increase accessibility to public washrooms in the downtown area.

There are few options available for people, and many businesses have chosen not to grant public access to their facilities because of fear of overdoses and safety concerns. 

City staff presented a report to council this week, which highlighted there are no perfect solutions and that other cities are also struggling with this issue. 

“This is a really tough topic, and I think if I were able to pull some themes it would be…that providing access to public washrooms for everybody that needs to access them, and ensuring that they are clean and safe, is challenging,” said Chris Bone, city manager of social planning.

“My research has shown that no community has figured out how to do this effectively and that some of the communities that were seen to be ahead of the curve are now faced with having to rethink initial solutions because we’re working in a very different world now.”

After a heated debate, council agreed to try one of city staff’s recommendations to provide additional funding to social service providers, such as Saint Vincent de Paul, which already grant public washroom access.

Many of these providers have restricted access to their washrooms in the past because they don’t have the resources to monitor them. The funding is intended to offset the cost of having an assigned washroom monitor during peak hours.

Other cities

One of the other options staff proposed, was giving businesses $500 to open their bathrooms. However, this was tried in Yellowknife, and most businesses weren’t willing to do it for that amount.

Another option considered was bringing in self-contained stalls — called a Portland Loo — which are difficult to vandalize.

The town of Smithers introduced them two years ago. However, staff received mixed reviews from other cities that had them because of concerns that opioid users would overdose inside.

Cost of opening washroom doors

The Prince George Public Library is one of the few places that offers public washrooms, but it’s come at a cost.

In the past, library staff have had to call paramedics because of overdoses, and the security budget has now increased from $55,000 in 2015, to more than $150,000 this year. 

Amy Dhanjal, communications coordinator for the library, said in a recent count, staff found that between 20 to 40 people were using the washroom per hour. 

“We looked at percentages and we saw that about 14 per cent of those people are just coming in to use the washroom and then they’re leaving the library,” she told Daybreak North’s Nicole Oud.

Everyone needs washrooms, says Dhanjal

However, despite challenges the library has faced from opening its washrooms to the public, Dhanjal believes it’s important for the city to be accessible. 

“I know often when people think about public washrooms and people are advocating for public washrooms, the conversation sometimes focuses on people who are experiencing homelessness,” she said.

“But, there are so many other people that need to use the washroom; people that have Crohn’s, people who are menstruating, people that are elderly sometimes need a bathroom right away.”

When you gotta go, you gotta go. But in downtown Prince George, it can be hard to find somewhere to do so. Nicole Oud reports. 8:31

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25Jan

Lawsuit over Saanich washroom videos can go ahead, judge rules

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Scales of Justice statue at B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver.


Jason Payne / PNG

A proposed class-action lawsuit against the Red Barn Market at Mattick’s Farm and a former assistant manager who allegedly video-recorded employees using the washroom is moving forward.

B.C. Supreme Court Justice Brian MacKenzie lifted a stay of proceedings this week on the claim by two former Red Barn Market employees. It had been imposed when the former assistant manager, Matthew Schwabe, filed for bankruptcy on April 24, 2018.

Schwabe had a monthly deficit of $50 and his total debts amounted to $4,484.

“The very minor financial difficulty in which Mr. Schwabe found himself when he decided to file for bankruptcy three months after the plaintiffs filed their claim leads me to conclude that he is not an ‘honest unfortunate’ who should be ‘rewarded by a release of liability,’ if he is found to be responsible for capturing and disseminating the explicit images,” MacKenzie wrote in his judgment.

The former employees also asked for a court order for disclosure of documents, recordings and images from Saanich police, which was granted.

“The plaintiffs are very pleased with the court’s decision today, as it allows the case to move ahead. From the police records we hope to obtain a better understanding of how many other people were recorded,” Victoria lawyer Sean Hern said. “And with the bankruptcy stay lifted, we are looking forward to bringing our application to certify the case as a class proceeding.”

The claim by Jennifer Burke and Mallory Colter alleges that on multiple occasions and over lengthy periods, Schwabe installed a video-recording device in the washroom near the grocery store’s produce section and recorded women when they used the toilet and in various stages of undress.

The surreptitious recordings, taken between 2009 and 2014, were posted online on a revenge-porn website and paired with screenshots from the women’s Facebook pages so viewers could identify them.

The claim alleges that this is a grievous and ongoing breach of their privacy for which Schwabe is responsible.

The women became aware of the images when Saanich police contacted them in February 2016. Burke was shown facial images of six other women. She recognized five as Red Barn Market employees and one as Schwabe’s former roommate.

In June 2016, Saanich police told Colter that Schwabe had been arrested for voyeurism and publication of intimate images without consent. He was released and no charges have been laid.

In January 2018, Saanich police said nine victims had been identified.

“The matter is still under investigation and our detective office is still actively working on it,” said Sgt. Jereme Leslie.

Affidavit evidence filed by the women suggest Schwabe made sexist remarks and inappropriate comments about women’s bodies in the workplace. Another former employee said he exposed himself to her during an early-morning shift.

The women say they have suffered psychological harm, including significant anxiety.

Schwabe has said the plaintiffs’ efforts to link him to the breach of privacy events “are speculative at best.” He conceded he had been arrested but has not been charged, said MacKenzie.

[email protected]

Click here to read more stories from The Victoria Times Colonist.


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10Jan

Alleged voyeur arrested after incident with cellphone in UBC washroom

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An alleged voyeur was arrested after an incident in a University of British Columbia washroom, police say, and they are asking other possible victims to come forward.

In a statement, University RCMP said the man allegedly placed a cellphone over the top of a bathroom stall in a public women’s washroom on Agronomy Road, between East Mall and Health Sciences Mall, around 10 p.m. PT on Jan. 3.

The victim, who was using the washroom, called campus security who were first on the scene. Security then called police who arrested the suspect for obstruction. He was later released.

RCMP spokesperson Janelle Shoihet said officers believed he may have destroyed some evidence prior to arrest. 

“The cellphone was described as having a distinctive case — black with a cubed and striped pattern,” RCMP said in a statement.

“We would like to remind the public that if a crime is being committed that you should call 911 immediately.”

The suspect has not been charged. Shoihet said police are not releasing a name, photo or description of him at this time.

Shoihet said that police do not believe this case is related to another incident of voyeurism in a UBC women’s washroom reported in Sept. 2018.

Police are asking any additional victims of the alleged voyeur to call them at (604) 224-1322.


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3Dec

North Vancouver school limits washroom access to cut down on vaping

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North Vancouver’s Seycove Secondary has temporarily limited the number of washrooms available in an effort to cut down on instances of student vaping.


Justin Sullivan / GETTY

A North Vancouver high school has temporarily limited the number of washrooms available in an effort to cut down on instances of student vaping.

Some parents, however, have expressed concerns over the restricted access to toilets.

In bulletins sent to parents and students last week, school officials at Seycove Secondary said there had been a “recent increase in the amount of vaping at Seycove.”

“It has now become a very serious issue which needs to be addressed,” the bulletin reads.

A school bulletin listed the most popular places for vaping as being school washrooms, locker rooms, in classrooms or inner rooms and off-site in the nearby woods.

As a result, the school is taking a number of steps to try to curb vaping activity on school property including:

• Locking all student washrooms with the exception of a set on the school’s main floor and a gender-neutral washroom by the school’s office “until further notice.”
• Locking physical education locker rooms at all times except during the beginning and end of class for changing.
• Teachers are being asked to restrict the number of students permitted out of class during class time and to monitor the length of their absence.
• Supervision aides will speak with students loitering in hallways during class time.
• Students not scheduled to be in class are required to report to the school’s library, cafeteria or DL centre.

“Vaping poses significant and immediate health risks for all those who do it,” the bulletin continues.

“The bottom line is that vaping is having a significant negative impact on our community and our learning environment and it is illegal for all of the students in this building for a reason.”

More to come.

Are you a student or parent at Seycove Secondary and want to weigh on this issue? Email us at [email protected].


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24Sep

Sketch shows man seen masturbating in UBC women’s washroom

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Mounties at the University of British Columbia have released a sketch of a man who allegedly exposed himself in a women’s washroom earlier this month.

According to police, a woman at a residence in the Lower Mall heard a man speaking to her while she was taking a shower on the evening of Sept. 14.

A second witness walked into the washroom and saw the man, who was allegedly naked and masturbating.

The suspect fled the scene on foot and police have not been able to locate him.

He is described as South Asian or Middle Eastern and is in his 30s or early 40s. He is between 5-7 and 5-8 with an average build and has hair that’s dark on the sides and lighter on top. The suspect was wearing a light-coloured hoodie or long-sleeved shirt, grey sweatpants and a small diamond or crystal earring at the time of the incident.

Anyone who can identify the man in the sketch is asked to contact investigators at 604-224-1322 or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-8477.

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