Posts Tagged "News"

26Nov

Massey Hall in Toronto reopens after lengthy restoration – Toronto | Globalnews.ca

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After three years and four months of being closed, one of Toronto’s oldest and most beloved concert venues reopened Thursday night featuring a special performance by Gordon Lightfoot – finally allowing music fans to see what exactly has changed inside and what still looks the same.

“The hope is that people go in and say ‘I’m really not sure what they did to the place but it looks great,’” said Jesse Kumagai, president and CEO of Massey Hall.

The massive renovation and restoration project has a total price tag of $184 million.

“We’re dealing with a building that was constructed in 1894 so, a lot of things have changed both in the way people use the building and what we put on stage so, there was a lot of TLC that went into making sure we were preserving the character of the hall and making sure that it was going to be here for another 100 years,” said Kumagai.

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Gordon Lightfoot given key to the city by Toronto mayor as Massey Hall reopens

The new chairs are exact replicas of the wood-back, wood-bottom, cast iron standard chairs from 1894, only now they are cast aluminum.

“We added a little bit of cushioning on them. They’re also a bit wider than the previous gallery-level seats,” said Grant Troop, VP of Operations.

Probably most noticeable in terms of a welcome change, are the more than 100 stained glass windows which were carefully removed, restored and replaced.

Another obvious change on the exterior is the addition of passerelles – bridges made of concrete, steel and glass that answer the building’s main challenges over the years: accessibility, access to washrooms and bars all while improving patron safety in the event of an evacuation.


Click to play video: 'Toronto’s Massey Hall closing for major renovations'







Toronto’s Massey Hall closing for major renovations


Toronto’s Massey Hall closing for major renovations – Jun 29, 2018

The Allan Slaight auditorium will now be able to host both seated and general admission concerts. It’s all part of the bigger project called Allied Music Centre, which will house three new concert venues, educational spaces and a professional recording studio.

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Kumagai said that while many think his team picked the perfect time to close – ahead of the global pandemic which was declared in March 2020, he pointed out this meant even greater construction challenges along with a greater appreciation for live music.

“It was always understood that getting together with your friends and family to enjoy live music was an important part of society but I think we really came to understand just how critical that really was for us when it was taken away from us for so long,” said Kumagai.

Massey Hall was declared a National Historic site in 1981.




© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

26Nov

New Westminster police ask for public assistance following suspected child luring incident | CBC News

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Police in New Westminster are asking for public assistance in identifying a man suspected of child luring in the city’s Sapperton Park on Sunday evening.

Investigators say two boys were walking past a parked brown minivan in the area around 5:30 p.m. on Nov. 21 when a man approached them.

The man allegedly asked the boys if they would like to see a puppy inside his van, but both boys ran away and told an adult what happened.

Police are now looking for the suspect, and have asked local businesses to provide CCTV footage of the area in an attempt to identify him.

“We’re asking anyone who lives or drives through the area to please check to see if they have footage of the Sapperton Park area on November 21st between 5:00 pm – 6:30 pm, specifically of Sherbrooke Street and Fader Street,” said Sgt. Sanjay Kumar.

The suspect is described as a white man between the ages of 45 and 55 with a medium build and short beard.

Anyone with dashcam or CCTV footage is asked to contact the New Westminster Police Department and reference file number 21-18600.

23Nov

Some Merritt, B.C. evacuees head back home in first of 3-step plan | CBC News

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About 1,500 residents of Merritt were allowed to return to their homes Tuesday, a week after the entire city of 7,000 was forced to evacuate after the Coldwater River spilled its banks and caused the complete failure of the municipality’s wastewater system. 

Mayor Linda Brown announced the first phase of a three-step plan allowing people to return home. Certain properties remain on evacuation alert and under a boil-water advisory.

Returning residents have been asked to limit water usage as much as possible and brace themselves for substantial changes. Sewage treatment has been restored to parts of the city and some gas stations and grocery stores are now open.

“What you are coming home to is a city that’s changed,” Mayor Linda Brown said in a video statement.

Joe and Renee Green, along with their daughter Montana, were among those heading home Tuesday. The family had been able to live in their RV for the duration of the evacuation. 

They noted that many others — like some who were sent to Kamloops or Kelowna — were not so lucky.

“A lot of people were sleeping in their cars because they couldn’t get hotel rooms,” said Montana Green. 

“I feel kind of spoiled that we had this RV,” said Joe Green. “I feel kind of guilty all warm and cozy [with some people sleeping in their cars].”

Waiting to go home 

That’s not the same situation for Cherylle Douglas. 

Douglas has been cooped up in a camper with five adults, 10 dogs and four pet birds for eight days when she spoke to CBC Monday. Douglas said the trailer park she has lived in for 15 years was engulfed by the Coldwater River.

“It’s hell, it’s real hell,” she said, her voice cracking with emotion.

Cherylle Douglas is seen in a Walmart parking lot just outside Merritt on Monday. Douglas has been living in a trailer with five people and several animals since fleeing Merritt eight days earlier. (Maggie MacPherson/CBC)

She has been told she can return to her home after repairs are done, but she doesn’t know exactly when that will be.

“Right now, what I need is not to be forgotten … we need to know when we’re going home,” she said.

Parking lot campers, according to Douglas, are technically within city limits and because people were told to leave town, their requests for help from the Merritt food bank and to the city to bring them some portable toilets have not been granted.

A Walmart parking lot near Merritt, where some evacuees, living in RVs, wait to hear when they can return home. (Maggie MacPherson/CBC)

Douglas is on disability assistance and likely lost her mobilized scooter, which had been parked in her yard, to the raging river.

“What are they going to do to help us to get back on our feet?” she asked.

The city says it’s updating its evacuation plan on Thursday for people still out of their homes. It could be weeks until residents in the hardest hit areas are able to return.

Those who stayed behind

Tom Folks decided to take his chances and stay at his property, which was not directly affected by the floodwaters. 

“We’ve got a house and it’s not got water around it or in it. So we stayed. We had food and water enough to last for a while, so that’s why we decided to do that,” he said. 

Resident Tom Folks, seen here on Tuesday, decided to take his chances and stay at his property, which was not directly affected by the floodwaters. (Maggie MacPherson/CBC)

Folks says there should have been more help from the authorities for the people who stayed behind, like access to bottled water and food. 

“When a flood like this happens, people get a little more stressed out and people should be helping each other and getting some food and water to help these people that stayed behind,” he said. 

“I know that people make the rules and orders for people to go but we decided to stay and I’m glad we did.”

More information about the city’s return plan can be found on the city’s website

19Nov

Mask exemptions don’t allow shoppers to ‘simply do what they please,’ B.C. tribunal says | CBC News

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Two new decisions from a B.C. tribunal have made it clear that store policies requiring masks for in-store shopping do not violate human rights law.

Both decisions outline how face-covering policies implemented by some businesses are justified if they’re adopted in good faith to protect staff and customers from COVID-19, and reasonable alternatives like curbside pickup are available.

In a decision dismissing a complaint against Lululemon, B.C. Human Rights Tribunal chair Emily Ohler explained that while there may be legitimate medical reasons preventing someone from wearing a mask, that doesn’t mean they can “simply do what they please” in a store that requires face coverings. 

That complaint was filed by Yvonne Coelho, who has been an active member of the movement against COVID-related restrictions in Vancouver and who filmed her confrontation with Lululemon staff in November 2020.

“The fact that Ms. Coelho said that she could not wear a mask did not give her an ‘exemption’ from the mask policy that allowed her to simply disregard it and enjoy unfettered, maskless physical access to Lululemon’s stores, which is what she appeared to assert in the video,” Ohler wrote on Wednesday.

“Rather, it obliged Lululemon to reasonably accommodate her to the point of undue hardship to mitigate any disability‐related impact on her.”

In this case, Coelho was told she could shop online or outside of the store, the decision says. She refused and left, saying she preferred browsing in-store.

“This alone would support a finding that Ms. Coelho herself thwarted the accommodation process in all the circumstances,” Ohler wrote.

This week’s decisions are part of a flood of human rights complaints about mask and vaccine rules that have overwhelmed tribunal staff for more than a year. 

Ohler told CBC News earlier this fall that the tribunal is on track to be inundated with triple the number of complaints it’s designed to handle in a year. She explained at the time that many of those complaints are rooted in “a misunderstanding of what discrimination is.”

‘I will pass out and smash my head on your damn floor’

Both Coelho’s complaint and one filed by Karleigh‐Laurel Ratchford against Creatures Pet Store in Victoria involve businesses that implemented their own mask policies before face coverings were mandated by provincial health officials. Both allege discrimination on the basis of disability.

Coelho provided the tribunal with a note from her naturopath that says she has a “medical condition that enhances her stress response and leads to an increased risk of panic attack,” while Ratchford said she has asthma, but did not provide any proof.

In Ratchford’s case, when she visited the pet store in August 2020, staff offered her a $5-face shield as an alternative to a mask if she wanted to enter the store, the decision says.

The human rights tribunal says online shopping and curbside pickup are reasonable accommodations for people who can’t wear masks for legitimate health reasons. (Chris Delmas/AFP/Getty Images)

She refused, and store employees told the tribunal she raised her voice, said they were breaking the law, and explained that she was a friend of the owner and they would be fired.

After the store owner emailed Ratchford to explain that she could use curbside pickup if she couldn’t wear a mask, Ratchford replied to say the mask policy was against “human rights law” and that masks are ineffective but “you go ahead and live in your irrational psychotic fears fuelled by media bullshit.”

In that reply, quoted in the tribunal’s decision, she wrote, “I’ll explain this slowly. If I wear a mask, I will be short of breath within 30 seconds, dizzy within a minute, and I will pass out and smash my head on your damn floor where you’ll then be sued tens of thousands of dollars for forcing me to jeopardize my health.”

In dismissing both Coelho and Ratchford’s complaints, Ohler wrote that there was no reasonable chance of success, and the stores appeared certain to prove they had taken steps to accommodate shoppers who couldn’t wear masks.

In recent months, the tribunal has posted a number of “screening decisions” about rejected mask and vaccine cases, in an effort to educate the public about what constitutes a valid complaint. The B.C. Human Rights Tribunal’s website has also been updated with information about how to determine if a mask or vaccine-related beef warrants a human rights complaint.

18Nov

COVID-19 update for Nov. 18: 324 news cases, seven deaths | Canadians returning from short U.S. trips won’t need PCR test for virus: Source

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Here’s your daily update with everything you need to know on the novel coronavirus situation in B.C.

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Here’s your daily update with everything you need to know on the novel coronavirus situation in B.C. for Nov. 18, 2021.

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We’ll provide summaries of what’s going on in B.C. right here so you can get the latest news at a glance. This page will be updated regularly throughout the day, with developments added as they happen.

Check back here for more updates throughout the day. You can also get the latest COVID-19 news delivered to your inbox weeknights at 7 p.m. by subscribing to our newsletter here.


B.C.’S COVID-19 CASE NUMBERS

As of the latest figures given on Nov. 17:

• Total number of confirmed cases: 213,682 (3,380 active)
• New cases since Nov. 15: 324
• Total deaths: 2,281 (seven additional deaths)
• Hospitalized cases: 379 (stable)
• Intensive care: 109 (up by two)
• Total vaccinations: 4,206,179 received first dose; 4,027,146 second doses
• Recovered from acute infection: 207,779
• Long-term care and assisted-living homes, and acute care facilities currently affected: 22

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IN-DEPTH:   Here are all the B.C. cases of the novel coronavirus in 2021 | in 2020


B.C. GUIDES AND LINKS

COVID-19: Here’s everything you need to know about the novel coronavirus

COVID-19: B.C.’s vaccine passport is here and this is how it works

COVID-19: Here’s how to get your vaccination shot in B.C.

COVID-19: Look up your neighbourhood in our interactive map of case and vaccination rates in B.C.

COVID-19: Afraid of needles? Here’s how to overcome your fear and get vaccinated

COVID-19: Five things to know about the P1 variant spreading in B.C.

COVID-19: Here’s where to get tested in Metro Vancouver

B.C. COVID-19 Symptom Self-Assessment Tool


LATEST NEWS on COVID-19 in B.C.

Canadians returning from short U.S. trips won’t need PCR test for COVID-19: Source

Fully vaccinated Canadians who leave the country for under 72 hours will soon no longer need to pony up hundreds of dollars for a negative PCR test to return home, according to sources.

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Full details of the policy changes are expected to be officially announced as early as Friday and will likely be welcomed with a sigh of relief by Canadian travellers, business groups and municipalities close to the American border.

The loosening of re-entry testing requirements are not expected to change for Canadians who leave the country for over three days, are not fully vaccinated, or for foreign travellers visiting Canada, according to government sources speaking on background.

As of now, all Canadian residents who travel abroad need to present a negative PCR COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of re-entering the country in order to be allowed through the border, regardless of vaccination status.

— National Post

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324 new COVID-19 cases, seven deaths

Health officials reported 324 new cases of COVID-19 in B.C. on Wednesday.

The new cases bump the number of active cases in the province to 3,380, including 379 people who are in hospital. Out of these, 109 are in intensive care.

Of the new cases, about a third are in Fraser Health, which had 108 positive tests. There were also 73 new cases in Northern Health, 33 in Island Health, 60 in Vancouver Coastal Health and 50 in Interior Health.

The seven deaths related to COVID-19 bring the total death toll in B.C. to 2,281 since the pandemic began.

The outbreak at Bulkley Valley District Hospital in Northern Health is now over. In total, 22 health-care facilities have ongoing outbreaks.

So far, more than 4.2 million British Columbians 12 and older have received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, comprising 90.7 per cent of the eligible population. Nearly 87 per cent are fully vaccinated.

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Nebraska zoo’s three ‘beloved’ snow leopards die of COVID-19

The Lincoln Children’s Zoo has described the snow leopards as silly, bubbly and handsome. They were one of the zoo’s main attractions, delivering a dose of mountain majesty to the Great Plains.

But on Friday, the zoo announced that the leopards — Everest, Makalu and Ranney — had died of complications from COVID-19, about one month after the animals had tested positive for the coronavirus.

While scientists are still studying the effects of the virus on animals, members of several species have been infected and died in zoos around the world. Snow leopards are considered vulnerable to extinction, with just a few thousand estimated to be living in the wild.

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The Lincoln cats “were beloved by our entire community inside and outside of the zoo,” the zoo said in a statement. “This loss is truly heartbreaking, and we are all grieving together.”

—Washington Post


B.C. MAP OF WEEKLY COVID CASE COUNTS, VACCINATION RATES

Find out how your neighbourhood is doing in the battle against COVID-19 with the latest number of new cases, positivity rates, and vaccination rates:


B.C. VACCINE TRACKER



LOCAL RESOURCES for COVID-19 information

Here are a number of information and landing pages for COVID-19 from various health and government agencies.

B.C. COVID-19 Symptom Self-Assessment Tool

Vancouver Coastal Health – Information on Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)

HealthLink B.C. – Coronavirus (COVID-19) information page

B.C. Centre for Disease Control – Novel coronavirus (COVID-19)

Government of Canada – Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Outbreak update

World Health Organization – Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak

–with files from The Canadian Press

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12Nov

TransLink reveals prototype for new SkyTrain cars | CBC News

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TransLink revealed a mockup of the redesigned interior for the next generation of SkyTrain cars, the Bombardier Mark V. 

Last year, Bombardier Transportation signed a $721 million deal with TransLink to provide 205 new rail cars for the Vancouver SkyTrain network, with options to include up to an additional 400 rail cars.

The mockup, which includes leaning pads, bike storage tools and new accessibility features, is being used to help TransLink make final decisions on the design.

The Mark V will look similar to the Mark III rail cars, with a few changes. Passenger display screens have been added to provide information, such as wayfinding details and transit alerts if routes have changed, according to TransLink spokesperon Tina Lovgreen. 

Translink spokesperson Tina Lovgreen shows off the new interior features of the Mark V, including passenger display screens. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

New indicator light strips, placed above doors, will signal to passengers who are deaf or hard of hearing when doors open and close. 

The new cars will also feature primarily forward-facing seating, and include more flex space for people using mobility devices, strollers and bicycles. 

Other design features being explored are bike storage options, including a slide-in rack or bike straps attached to the wall.

The new rail cars will feature more flex space with leaning pads and bike storage tools. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

According to Lovgreen, the first of these trains will arrive in 2023, with the complete new fleet arriving by 2027. 

She says the new trains will replace some of the aging Mark I trains and will support new projects, including the Broadway Subway Project.

8Nov

Heating with natural gas? There are other ways, but most people won’t do it | CBC News

by admin

Our planet is changing. So is our journalism. This story is part of a CBC News initiative entitled Our Changing Planet to show and explain the effects of climate change and what is being done about it.

You may have seen recent media warnings that the price of natural gas is soaring. 

As COP26 heads into its final week, those trying to help Canadians meet our climate commitments and prevent the world from overheating have a different view. The problem with fossil methane — the main component of natural gas — they say, is not that it’s expensive, but that it is still so cheap.

It is also efficient, reliable and in millions of Canadian homes. And at the burning stage at least, research shows it’s cleaner and far less greenhouse gas intensive than other fossil fuel alternatives.

Some, including former federal Conservative finance minister Joe Oliver, now chair of Ontario’s Independent Electricity System Operator, oppose the move to stop using natural gas, saying it will be prohibitively expensive and self-defeating

  • Have questions about this story? We’re answering as many as we can in the comments.

But there is a problem. It depends how you calculate it, but most figures show space heating comes in after oil and gas production and road transport as being the biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions. Of heat sources, natural gas is the biggest single GHG producer partly because it is so widely used. To reach net zero by 2050, experts say we have to stop heating with gas.

The warm glow of a gas furnace in a Toronto home, just one of millions across Canada contributing greenhouse gasses to the atmosphere. Gas is not just cheap but it is efficient and its widespread use will make it hard to displace without government rules. (Wendy Martinez/Don Pittis/CBC)

Despite battling a powerful industry lobby, deep-rooted infrastructure, consumer familiarity and challenging economics, a group of committed Canadians is beginning to move the needle on natural gas consumption that makes so many of us cozy in Canada’s chilly climate.

Sheena Sharp, a Toronto architect whose firm, Coolearth, has specialized in low carbon and low energy design since 2008, is one who fears it isn’t going to be easy. That’s because cutting back on natural gas has to face a tough economic reality. Sharp said that since the oil and gas industry developed hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, offering a bounty of new and inexpensive natural gas from formerly “dry” geology, schemes to reduce the use of it simply don’t pay off.

WATCH | CBC’s Johanna Wagstaffe outlines what she is watching for at COP26 this week:

Science takes centre stage at COP26

As the COP26 climate summit moves from big announcements to nitty-gritty details, the focus on science could be the bridge between opposing sides of climate debates. 2:21

Won’t pay for the windows

“Saving half of something that is not very expensive does not give you a lot of money to play with,” Sharp said in a recent phone conversation.

In other words, if your gas bill is about $1,000 a year, even doing something as simple as replacing old leaky windows — while it will likely make you more comfortable — may never pay back your capital investment.

Sharp said that even at its maximum, years from now, carbon taxes will only go part way toward compensating for the cost of refitting an old building to make it net zero. Sharp’s main clients are businesses or public institutions that see a public relations value in demonstrating they are acting to fight climate change.

She has a few clients who are homeowners with spare cash to spend for the sake of their conscience and comfort, but if it doesn’t add to the selling price, most others will stick to natural gas. Most businesses that must go head to head with competitors are unwilling to splash out on a low carbon refit that can put them at a financial disadvantage, she said.

“After you’ve done the low-hanging fruit, which is essentially changing the light bulbs and putting in more efficient gas boilers,” said Sharp, “most of the energy-efficient measures are pretty expensive.”

That’s why she and many others who are trying to get Canadians off natural gas say the only solution is regulation by municipal or provincial governments that create a level playing field for businesses and homeowners, at the same time spawning a whole new industry that will make fuel-switching increasingly cheap and easy.

Heating buildings in Canada’s chilly climate is the third-biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions after the oil and gas industry and transportation. (Government of Canada)

Leading the charge to carbon-free

That’s exactly what the City of Vancouver is doing, and Chris Higgins, the city’s senior green building planner, is one of those leading the charge. Vancouver is one of several Canadian cities to declare a climate emergency, and its first step, Higgins said, was to target new construction and major renovations, the stage when making buildings climate friendly is the cheapest and offers the biggest payoff. And he’s moving quickly.

“Vancouver as a city, we have our own building code,” Higgins said in a phone interview. “As of Jan. 1, 2022 … we’re no longer allowing fossil fuels — natural gas being the most common — to be used for heating a home or to heat hot water.”

That deadline is less than two months away, and it comes with other conditions including thick insulation, triple-glazed windows, a draft-free building envelope and ventilation that reclaims the heat from exhausted air.

Chris Higgins, Vancouver’s head of green building planning, poses with his new heat pump that he says will suck the warmth out of outdoor air down to –25 C. (City of Vancouver)

Altogether, he said, the requirements will mean newly constructed homes will use 90 per cent less energy to heat compared to homes built in 2007. And that means the cost of heating shrinks in importance.

In fact, the majority of those new homes, small- and medium-sized ones, will cost less to heat than older homes that use gas, said Higgins.

Experts like Katya Rhodes at the Institute for Integrated Energy Systems in Victoria say a healthy support network of local businesses is already growing up to do the job and B.C. community colleges are training a new generation of specialists.

WATCH | COP26 protesters increase pressure on leaders to take action on climate change:

Protesters increase pressure on COP26 to deliver on climate goals

Protesters in Glasgow are increasing pressure on COP26 to deliver on climate action goals during the summit’s second week. 2:00

Targeting existing homes

But Higgins and his team are not satisfied with climate-proofing the roughly 1,000 low-rise homes the city builds in a year. Shortly after the new-home policy passed through council just before the pandemic hit, Higgins began work on policy for existing homes.

Homes built before 1940 when few houses were insulated are the biggest challenge, said Higgins, but Heritage Vancouver is offering grants and support to retrofit the oldest homes.

The city is also offering a $12,000 grant to any homeowner willing to turn off the gas and install a heat pump — a device like an inverse refrigerator that concentrates warmth from outdoor air using a fraction of the electricity of a standard baseboard heater.

Higgins, whose own home was built in 1905, heats with a Mitsubishi H2i heat pump that cuts electricity use by two-thirds and can continue to suck heat out of outdoor air down to –25 C. Below that, in colder climes, the device is supplemented by radiant electric heat.

Despite temperatures that fall toward -50 C, Whitehorse has been a leader in imposing strict rules for residential buildings, aiming to reach net zero by 2050. (Dave Croft/CBC)

Critics in colder places might complain that Vancouver, where temperatures rarely fall below –8 C, has it easy.

But cooler cities, including notably Halifax, are also leaders, especially in the use of heat pump technology.

And Higgins’s model for his building code plan? It’s Whitehorse, where temperatures have plunged to –50 C, a city that issued its first climate-friendly building code in 2009 and has tightened the rules steadily since, said city engineer Nick Marnik, although homes there are not connected to Canada’s natural gas network.

At COP26, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau committed Canada’s biggest GHG generator, the oil-and-gas sector itself, to reducing emissions. With improving technology and falling costs, electric cars seem destined to send gas motors to the scrapheap.

But as architect Sharp noted, while people on average turn over their cars every 15 years, all the buildings you can see out your window now in all probability will still be there in 2050, a time when Canada has committed to net zero.

As Vancouver has demonstrated, the private sector has the skills and technology to meet that target. But in places like Toronto, Sharp said, a lack of government rules that would stimulate the virtuous circle of better technology and a faster transition mean increases in energy efficiency have slowed to a crawl.

“It’s critical for … government to make a decision and it’s critical that they do it soon,” said Sharp.

Follow Don on Twitter @don_pittis


Have questions about this story? We’re answering as many as we can in the comments.


 

7Nov

Young stroke survivor shares story in hopes of helping others | CBC News

by admin

Ten years after suffering a stroke, Angela Wright is proving that it’s possible to have a full and active life as she helps other young stroke survivors move forward. 

Wright was 38 years old when she woke up with a terrible headache while on a fishing trip with friends. 

“I honestly thought, we were up late around the campfire, probably a bottle or two passed around, this is just a hangover,” she told CBC News.

Wright, now 48, had suffered a minor stroke, which is not uncommon for people under the age of 60. 

Young stroke patients

The Heart and Stroke Foundation says each year in Canada, 62,000 strokes occur, with 20 per cent of those happening to people under the age of 60.

Strokes are a leading cause of death in Canada and a major cause of disability. And that was what Wright was facing when her situation worsened while being transferred to Vancouver General Hospital for treatment.

She suffered a brain hemorrhage.

“Instead of just dealing with probably a fairly minor stroke, what they were dealing with now was emergency brain surgery and a massive brain hemorrhage.”

100 days in hospital

Wright spent more than 100 days in hospital and doctors were not optimistic about her recovery.

“There was a doctor there that was talking to my mom and step-dad saying, ‘You guys need to figure this out, things are different now,'” she said.

“‘Your daughter is never going to walk again, she’ll never live independently, and she’ll never hold down a job.'”

Over the past 10 years Wright has fought against that prognosis, re-learning how to walk and eventually travelling the world. 

Part of her struggle though, she said, was finding peer support and programs to help her. The majority of stroke survivors are older patients and she said many resources are geared toward them.

She helped develop a program to help others in her situation called Young Stroke Survivors Learn, Engage and Achieve Potential, which has been adopted by the Stroke Recovery Association of British Columbia.

It includes services and resources to address the specific priorities for working-age stroke survivors so they can learn, adapt, and set goals for active and connected lives.

Wright is also hopeful about medical advances like those being developed by stroke neurologist Dr. Jaskiran Brar at Surrey Memorial Hospital.

“I’m always looking at why the stroke happens so I can prevent it,” Brar said.

Brar is testing a technology that monitors patients hearts for years at a time in order to prevent second strokes in people like Wright. 

“Once you’ve had one stroke, you really don’t want to have a second stroke, because recovery from a second stroke might not be as great as your first stroke,” she said.

Wright says she will continue to advocate for more treatment options like these for young stroke patients.

In the meantime, she says helping others has played a role in her own recovery.

“It’s been strangely and ironically cathartic to help other people that are going through it.”

5Nov

COVID-19 update for Nov. 5: 596 new case, eight deaths | Good news as B.C.’s reproductive rate falls below one | Europe could see 500,000 new deaths by February, WHO says | Pfizer says antiviral pill cuts risk of severe illness by 89 per cent

by admin

Here’s your daily update with everything you need to know on the novel coronavirus situation in B.C.

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Here’s your daily update with everything you need to know on the novel coronavirus situation in B.C. for Nov. 5, 2021.

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We’ll provide summaries of what’s going on in B.C. right here so you can get the latest news at a glance. This page will be updated regularly throughout the day, with developments added as they happen.

Check back here for more updates throughout the day. You can also get the latest COVID-19 news delivered to your inbox weeknights at 7 p.m. by subscribing to our newsletter here.


B.C.’S COVID-19 CASE NUMBERS

As of the latest figures given on Nov. 4:

• Total number of confirmed cases: 207,716 (4,451 active)
• New cases since Nov. 3: 596
• Total deaths: 2,200 (eight additional deaths)
• Hospitalized cases: 438
• Intensive care: 130
• Total vaccinations: 4,176,649 received first dose; 3,968,494 second doses
• Recovered from acute infection: 200,749
• Long-term care and assisted-living homes, and acute care facilities currently affected: 37

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IN-DEPTH:   Here are all the B.C. cases of the novel coronavirus in 2021 | in 2020


B.C. GUIDES AND LINKS

COVID-19: Here’s everything you need to know about the novel coronavirus

COVID-19: B.C.’s vaccine passport is here and this is how it works

COVID-19: Here’s how to get your vaccination shot in B.C.

COVID-19: Look up your neighbourhood in our interactive map of case and vaccination rates in B.C.

COVID-19: Afraid of needles? Here’s how to overcome your fear and get vaccinated

COVID-19: Five things to know about the P1 variant spreading in B.C.

COVID-19: Here’s where to get tested in Metro Vancouver

B.C. COVID-19 Symptom Self-Assessment Tool


LATEST NEWS on COVID-19 in B.C.

Good news as B.C.’s COVID-19 reproductive rate falls below one

The reproductive rate that determines how British Columbia is faring in the COVID-19 pandemic has fallen below one for the first time in months, the provincial health officer said on Thursday.

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This means that for every 100 cases of the disease, it is being passed on to fewer than 100 people, and so can slowly dwindle.

“For the first time in several months, across the board we’ve dipped down below one,” Dr. Bonnie Henry said.

“What we have been seeing is sort of bouncing around at one, which means for every person who’s infected, they infect one other person on average. Now we’re seeing that below one. That’s good news, but it’s just below one, which means that we have right now a fragile balance. We’re going down slowly.”

There were 596 new cases of COVID-19 reported over the past day and eight deaths. There are now 4,451 active cases of the disease in B.C., of which 438 are being treated in hospital including 130 in intensive care.

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—David Carrigg

Europe could see 500,000 new COVID deaths by February, WHO says

“Europe is back at the epicentre of the pandemic, where we were one year ago,” the World Health Organization’s head of Europe said Thursday.

The number of new COVID-19 cases per day has been rising for nearly six consecutive weeks, and the number of new deaths per day has been climbing for just over seven consecutive weeks, with about 250,000 cases and 3,600 deaths per day, according to official country data compiled by the AFP newswire.

The WHO’s European region spans 53 countries and territories and includes several nations in Central Asia, and has already seen 78 million cases. Over the past four weeks, new case numbers have grown by more than 55 per cent, prompting WHO Europe director Hans Kluge to allow that the “current pace of transmission … is of grave concern .”

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Kluge cited one “reliable projection” for the prediction that the current trajectory would mean “another half a million COVID-19 deaths” by Feb. 1, 2022.

Although one billion doses have been administered in Europe and central Asia, Kluge blamed insufficient vaccination coverage and the relaxation of public health and social measures for the latest increases.

“If we achieved 95 per cent universal mask use in Europe and central Asia,” he noted, “we could save up to 188,000 lives of the half million we may lose before February 2022.

“Preventive measures, when applied correctly and consistently,” he said, “allow us to go on with our lives, not the opposite. Preventive measures do not deprive people of their freedom, they ensure it.”

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—National Post, Reuters

Pfizer says antiviral pill cuts risk of severe COVID-19 by 89 per cent

A trial of Pfizer Inc’s experimental antiviral pill for COVID-19 was stopped early after the drug was shown to cut by 89% the chances of hospitalization or death for adults at risk of developing severe disease, the company said on Friday.

The results appear to surpass those seen with Merck & Co Inc’s pill, molnupiravir, which was shown last month to halve the likelihood of dying or being hospitalized for COVID-19 patients also at high risk of serious illness.

Full trial data is not yet available from either company.

—Reuters

Spending spike during COVID-19 could hamper health-care rebuilding post-pandemic: group

A spike in health-care spending during the COVID-19 pandemic could lead to some serious financial challenges for provinces as they work to rebuild their health systems in the aftermath, according to the Canadian Institute for Health Information.

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The spending surge is expected to reach a record $308 billion in 2021, say newly released projections from CIHI.

That is roughly $8,019 per Canadian.

“COVID-19 resulted in the single biggest increase in health spending we have ever seen in this country,” said CIHI president David O’Toole in a news release.

Health spending is projected to have increased 12.8 per cent between 2019 and 2020. That’s more than triple the average annual growth rate seen from 2015 to 2019, which was approximately four per cent per year.

Spending is estimated to have increased another 2.2 per cent between 2020 and 2021.

The agency said its estimates will be updated as final spending amounts are tabulated, and may be less accurate than normal given the nature of emergency funds spent during the pandemic.

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—The Canadian Press

Vast majority of federal public servants comply with mandatory vaccination policy

Treasury Board President Mona Fortier says 95.3 per cent of federal public servants have indicated they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

She says another 2.7 per cent of the roughly 268,000 employees of the core federal public service say they have been partially immunized.

Fortier says 1.2 per cent – or about 3,150 public servants – are requesting exemptions, which are being assessed on a case-by-case basis by each federal department.

She says 0.5 per cent have declared they are unvaccinated and 0.3 per cent have so far not attested to their vaccination status, which they were supposed to do by Oct. 29.

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—The Canadian Press


B.C. MAP OF WEEKLY COVID CASE COUNTS, VACCINATION RATES

Find out how your neighbourhood is doing in the battle against COVID-19 with the latest number of new cases, positivity rates, and vaccination rates:


B.C. VACCINE TRACKER



LOCAL RESOURCES for COVID-19 information

Here are a number of information and landing pages for COVID-19 from various health and government agencies.

B.C. COVID-19 Symptom Self-Assessment Tool

Vancouver Coastal Health – Information on Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)

HealthLink B.C. – Coronavirus (COVID-19) information page

B.C. Centre for Disease Control – Novel coronavirus (COVID-19)

Government of Canada – Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Outbreak update

World Health Organization – Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak

–with files from The Canadian Press

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4Nov

COVID-19: Good news as B.C.’s reproductive rate falls below one

by admin

Despite stubborn hospitalization rates, each case of COVID-19 in B.C. is now transmitting, on average, to fewer than one person

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The reproductive rate that determines how British Columbia is faring in the COVID-19 pandemic has fallen below one for the first time in months, the provincial health officer said on Thursday.

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This means that for every 100 cases of the disease it is being passed on to fewer than 100 people, and so can slowly dwindlet.

“For the first time in several months across the board we’ve dipped down below one,” Dr. Bonnie Henry said.

“What we have been seeing is sort of bouncing around at one, which means for every person who’s infected, they infect one other person on average. Now we’re seeing that below one. That’s good news, but it’s just below one, which means that we have right now a fragile balance. We’re going down slowly.”

There were 596 new cases of COVID-19 reported over the past day and eight deaths. There are now 4,451 active cases of the disease in B.C., of which 438 are being treated in hospital including 130 in intensive care

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Henry’s COVID-19 modelling update showed a vast difference in infection and health outcomes between vaccinated people and unvaccinated.

For example, 60 per cent of people infected with COVID-19 in October were from among the 10 per cent of people aged 12 and over in B.C. who had not received at least one dose of vaccine. Also, 72 per cent of hospitalized cases in the same month were among unvaccinated, as were 90 per cent of all cases in intensive care.

“When we look at vaccination progress, we can see that we’ve made tremendous progress across the board. So we are at about 90 per cent coverage of people over the age of 12 and that is fantastic,”Henry said.

“But it also reflects that that small percentage of people left still has a tremendous burden on our health-care system.”

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She said that half of the 2,200 COVID-19 deaths so far were in unvaccinated, and those who were vaccinated and died tended to be older people.

Henry said the rate of infection in those aged 11 and under was continuing to fall, after spiking when children returned to school at the start of September. Data showed that the rate of infection is especially high in the Northern Health region where vaccine hesitancy is also high. The percentage of COVID-19 tests that come back positive in Northern Health at the moment is 18 per cent compared to four per cent on average across the province.

Henry said that COVID-19 was now a preventable disease and the risk of getting very sick from the virus was dramatically higher for people who are not yet vaccinated.

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She said that hospitalization rates in B.C. were “stubborn” and were not falling despite the rate or transmission falling below one. This is because the Delta mutation of COVID-19 that is dominant in the province caused more severe illness than the virus that first arrived in B.C. in January, 2020.

Meanwhile, the Vancouver school board has joined Surrey schools in a decision to not impose a mandatory vaccination order on teachers and staff.

dcarrigg@postmedia.com


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Comments

Postmedia is committed to maintaining a lively but civil forum for discussion and encourage all readers to share their views on our articles. Comments may take up to an hour for moderation before appearing on the site. We ask you to keep your comments relevant and respectful. We have enabled email notifications—you will now receive an email if you receive a reply to your comment, there is an update to a comment thread you follow or if a user you follow comments. Visit our Community Guidelines for more information and details on how to adjust your email settings.

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