Posts Tagged "traffic"


Indigenous woman alleges racial profiling at Nanaimo Tim Hortons

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An Indigenous woman from Edmonton who was visiting Vancouver Island over the weekend says she was racially profiled at a Tim Hortons in Nanaimo while trying to use the restaurant’s washroom.

The incident happened Saturday at the Tim Hortons location on Fifth Street in the city’s south end.

Ashleigh Cardinal shared her frustration immediately after the incident in a Facebook video that had been viewed more than 125,000 times by Thursday afternoon.

“The guy (employee) specifically at the front counter told me that he couldn’t let me in because I look suspicious of having drug paraphernalia,” Cardinal says in the video.

She says she was kicked out of the restaurant after confronting the employee.

A customer who was also waiting to use the washroom, witnessed the altercation and says Cardinal was being racially profiled.

“I think if it had been me asking to use the washroom that he would have said OK,” customer Mary Lefebvre told CTV News.

“Because she was a young native girl, he could pick on her and direct his anger towards,” Lefebvre added.

Cardinal said it was the first time she had experienced racism first-hand.

“Racism is real and it hurts,” she said.

Cardinal said she is writing a formal complaint to the company and has been in contact with a human rights lawyer.

In a statement to CTV News, Tim Hortons says the company has “zero tolerance for racism” and says the whole ordeal was a “misunderstanding.”

“We quickly investigated the details of this situation and believe this is a true misunderstanding,” the company said.

“The restaurant manager and the owner each reached out to this guest to understand her point of view,” the statement said. “After looking into this carefully, we believe there was no racist intent or language involved.”

The company said the Nanaimo store location “has been dealing with inappropriate uses of the washroom facilities, has been trying to monitor it more closely, and could have done a better job of explaining that to the guest.”

Someone  claiming to be the store employee involved in the incident wrote a social media post denying any racist intent, saying he was following store policy around bathroom use.

“It was decided that if you want to use the bathroom, you need to buy something,” he wrote.

The company said the franchise owner has apologized to Cardinal and is “undertaking retraining for all of his team members to ensure that situations like this one are better handled in the future.”


Vancouver park board votes to ease traffic restrictions in Stanley Park

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Article content continued

“We are joining Stanley Park businesses’ calls to remove uncertainty and restore broader accessibility to the park so customers can return and businesses can begin to recover. Moving forward, there should be a consultative and collaborative approach to working with the business community to improve environmentally friendly and low-carbon options to access the park.”

The Teahouse restaurant, which has been operating in Stanley Park for more than 40 years, has argued against a proposal to eliminate one of the two lanes of roadway and reduce available parking in Stanley Park.

“The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is the biggest crisis we’ve faced in 100 years, and we need normalcy rather than uncertainty,” said The Teahouse owner Brent Davies.

“The changes to Stanley Park are being made during an unprecedented time without consideration of the additional impact they will have. Reduced vehicle access and parking will be detrimental to employees and park goers.”

Dr. Bonnie Henry has backed the five members of the park board who don’t necessarily want to go back to the way it was pre-pandemic, saying she would be in favour of encouraging active transportation.

-with files from Gord McIntyre


Businesses call for traffic resumption in Stanley Park, park board set to vote | CBC News

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A coalition of businesses is urging the Vancouver Park Board to fully restore vehicle traffic to Stanley Park so struggling restaurants, shops and attractions can start taking in more customers.

Stanley Park Stakeholders — a group of 14 businesses and societies — signed a letter directed at the park board calling for the immediate opening of roadways and the removal of traffic calming concrete blocks. Members say they rely on vehicle traffic for their survival.

Among the signatories are representatives from the Teahouse, Ocean Wise, Stanley Park Brewing, and several tour companies.

“They’re all out of business,” said Nigel Malkin, a spokesperson for the coalition. “We need to stand up.”

The call comes ahead of an emergency meeting on Thursday where the park board will decide whether to open several traffic lanes that have been shut down since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. If approved, traffic would be restored as early as June 21.

The special motion was introduced by park commissioners Tricia Barker and John Coupar earlier this week.

Commissioner John Irwin says completely reopening the road flies in the face of a bigger threat to public health — a second wave of COVID-19.

“Everybody understandably wants to go back to one form of normal or quasi-normal, but are we really there yet?” he told CBC News.

Irwin is one of two commissioners who introduced a motion calling on staff to look at permanent traffic calming measures in Stanley Park, which the board voted in favour of earlier this month. Irwin says cycling traffic has risen substantially since roads were closed.

The coalition opposed to keeping the road partly closed to vehicles says the proposed changes would hamper accessibility for a number of groups, including seniors and people with disabilities. (Maggie MacPherson/CBC)

Temporary changes

In early April, as the pandemic continued to ramp up in British Columbia and officials feared overcrowding issues around Stanley Park, the picturesque seawall was closed to cyclists. 

Cyclists were diverted to Stanley Park Drive, which circles the park. That was in turn closed to all vehicle traffic, with exceptions for park board staff and some people accessing facilities like the Royal Vancouver Yacht Club. 

Commissioners Irwin and Stuart Mackinnon subsequently introduced a motion to direct staff to look at permanent traffic calming measures that would reduce vehicle traffic on Stanley Park Drive to a single lane while adding a separated bike path.

The coalition claims stakeholders haven’t been consulted on the proposed changes, which they say would hamper accessibility for a number of groups, including seniors and people with disabilities.

“It’s going to go and put in a bicycle lane that’s a velodrome for beyond seasoned cyclists,” said Malkin. “It’s not being inclusive, this is not something where families and children are going to be able to ride around.”

The group also fears a reduction in parking would have a negative impact on businesses.

Cars have been banned in Stanley Park since April 8. (Karin Larsen/CBC)

A permanent change?

Staff will brief the park board Thursday on the proposal to permanently reduce traffic in Stanley Park. Irwin emphasized that the park would still be accessible, noting that one-way vehicle traffic will still be permitted, and only a small portion of parking stalls would be lost.

The proposal would also consider introducing green bus service to the park. Irwin says the changes would dovetail with Vancouver’s climate targets.

“We have to start figuring out how to do behaviour changes to deal with [climate change], and one of those changes is to change the way we transport ourselves,” he said.

Advocates with HUB Cycling say the motion to immediately restore traffic in Stanley Park will throw a major wrench in long-term plans for a shared roadway.

“The motion appears to ignore that plan and push all the people on bikes to the seawall, where people are walking,” said Jeff Leigh, a HUB committee chair.

“The plan should be to create room for all groups in the park,” he added. “I think there’s lots of room for everybody.”


Traffic in Stanley Park could be permanently reduced as park board considers options

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Options to reduce traffic permanently in Vancouver’s Stanley Park are being considered by the city’s park board.

On Monday, the Vancouver Park Board voted to explore the feasibility of reducing vehicle traffic, including reducing roadways to single lanes while increasing accessibility for those with disabilities.

The park was closed to vehicle traffic in April to reduce the number of visitors during the novel coronavirus pandemic and provide those who do use the park more room to physically distance. Two park board commissioners put forward a motion to consider reducing traffic in the park permanently. 

But not everyone was happy with the suggestion, and a small group of protesters gathered to demand that Stanley Park Drive be entirely reopened.

Critics of the proposal say they’re worried switching to a single lane would cut off access to families with young children and people with mobility issues. 

The issue was discussed at length during Monday’s virtual park board meeting and while the motion was passed, it came with several amendments. Staff will now review the feasibility of several options, including adding more bus stops along the causeway. 

In the meantime, the park board says it plans to reopen the road to cars in the coming weeks.

With files from CTV News Vancouver’s Regan Hasegawa 


B.C. speaker wins injunction preventing protesters from blocking access to legislature

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The Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of B.C. has won a sweeping injunction preventing anyone from blocking doorways or driveways at the B.C. legislature ahead of planned protests Friday.

The injunction, which was granted at B.C. Supreme Court on Thursday, restricts activists from obstructing, intimidating or interfering with legislative staff, security or government workers on the legislature grounds.

The order authorizes police and special constables to arrest anyone contravening the order, including by blocking roadways or obstructing the view of CCTV cameras on the grounds.

Christohper Considine, the lawyer for the speaker who argued for the injunction, tells CTV News that demonstrators will still be allowed on the legislature grounds.

Anyone detained for breaching the injunction would be released if they agree not to contravene the order again, at the discretion of the arresting officer, Considine said.

The injunction comes as hundreds of protesters opposed to the construction of the Coastal GasLink pipeline in northern B.C. are preparing to blockade dozens of government offices in Victoria Friday morning.

The planned demonstrations would follow actions that saw hundreds of protesters gather at the B.C. legislature Tuesday, blocking entrances to the building as MLAs and staff returned for the start of the legislative session.

Read the full text of the injunction below:


‘It’s a sad day’: Thief makes off with Chemainus bear statue – again

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A popular Vancouver Island ice cream shop is pleading for the public’s help after one of the store’s wooden mascots was stolen overnight.

Baby Bear’s Ice Cream Shoppe owner Kathy Yeager says she was awoken at 2:30 a.m. Monday by an alarm on the shop’s security camera.

Video provided to CTV News appears to show a man kicking the statue, which Yeager says was secured to the ground with rebar and cement.

The man then leans on the bear until it collapses, before putting the 140-pound statue under his arm and walking away. Two other bear statues were left behind.

Yeager says it’s not the first time the business’s custom-carved wooden bears have been taken.

“After bear number three, it’s complete devastation,” Yeager said, alluding to two prior thefts of the statues. “It would be $4,000 to replace it if you could. We can’t.”

The custom bears are carved by an artist in Oregon, Yeager said.

“The kids of Chemainus know those bears,” she said. “It’s a sad day.”

Yeager said thefts from businesses appear to be on the rise in Chemainus and says police response times are too slow.

“We have a problem here,” Yeager said. “It’s affecting small businesses here. The RCMP are in Duncan and cannot get here fast enough.”

The Mounties have not yet responded to a CTV News request for comment on this story. 

Baby bear theft


Living near traffic corridors linked to risk of MS, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s disease: UBC study | CBC News

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Researchers at the University of British Columbia have found that living near major roads or highways is linked to an increased risk of neurological disorders, while proximity to parks and green spaces is linked to a decreased risk.

The findings are included in a study published this week in the journal Environmental Health.

“Neurological disorders are one of the leading causes of death and disability, globally, and we know very little about the risk factors associated with neurological disorders,” said Weiran Yuchi, the study’s lead author and PhD candidate at UBC school of population and public health.

Yuchi’s study looked at the neurological health effects of green space, air and noise pollution all together, but she said they made no findings regarding noise pollution.

The researchers found an increase in the incidence of multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and non-Alzheimer’s dementia among those living close to busy roads and highways. 

In the case of Parkinson’s, the risk increased by seven per cent among those living close to busy roads and highways. For non-Alzheimer’s dementia, the risk rose by 14 per cent.

But on the flip side, the study showed green spaces are associated with a three to eight per cent lower risk of neurological disorders, said Yuchi, who characterized the link as “protective effects.”

Study based on Metro Vancouver population

Yuchi said the study doesn’t demonstrate that busy roads and green spaces cause the increased and decreased risks, respectively, only that a correlation exists.

In terms of how close to a road one needs to live to fall into the affected population, Yuchi’s study used as its measure 50 metres from a major road and 150 metres from a highway. 

The researchers used a data set including nearly 700,000 adults living in Metro Vancouver for their study. They relied on hospital records, prescription information and doctor visits. They then estimated individuals’ exposure to air and noise pollution and proximity to green space using their postal codes.

In terms of access to green space, Yuchi said the study used 100 metres as a measure, and beyond the role trees play in creating clean oxygen to breathe, the positive effects could be associated with the likelihood of being more physically active and other benefits of living close to a park. 

“We’re not in a position to tell where people should live, but we do suggest that urban planning efforts to increase accessibility to green spaces and to reduce motor vehicle traffic would be beneficial for neurological health at population level,” she said.

Yuchi said the study accounted for socio-economic status — things like income and education — as determinants of health, but the researchers didn’t look at the effects of those factors directly.

She said she’s already working on a similar study with data from across the country, which includes 20 per cent of Canada’s population to get an even clearer picture of how environmental conditions relate to the risk of neurological disorders.

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Follow Rafferty Baker on Twitter: @raffertybaker


Living near major traffic routes increases risk of dementia and other conditions: UBC study

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People who live less than 50 metres from a major road or less than 150 metres from a highway are at a higher risk of developing dementia or Parkinson’s disease, according to new research from UBC.

Researchers looked at 678,000 adults living in Metro Vancouver between 1994 and 1998, and then followed up with them once again from 1999 to 2003. They used postal code information to assess each person’s closeness to the road and their exposure to air pollution, noise and green spaces. They ended up identifying 13,170 cases of dementia, 4,210 cases of Parkinson’s disease, 1,277 cases of Alzheimer’s, and 658 cases of Multiple Sclerosis (MS). Researchers classified the different categories of roads based on the traffic volume and the width of the lanes.

The study’s lead author and UBC PhD candidate Weiran Yuchi told CTV News Vancouver the research found living near a major traffic route increased the risk of dementia by 14 per cent, and increased the risk of Parkinson’s by seven per cent.

“We believe that the air pollution associated with traffic actually contributes to the onset of these neurological disorders,” she said.

Due to the relatively low number of Alzheimer’s and MS cases identified, researchers were not able to link an increased risk of those diseases to air pollution, specifically. They are now studying information from across the country to try and get a better understanding of any potential connection.

There was one thing researchers found could mitigate the effects of air pollution: living within 100 metres of a green space.

“There could be several reasons,” Yuchi said. “We believe that maybe the visual presentation … actually is one possible reason. Or, you know, people who live near green space, they’re more physically active, and they pay more attention to their health, and as a result they are at less risk of developing certain neurological disorders.”

Increasing access to parks is one of the goals the City of Vancouver set in its “Greenest City Action Plan,” but according to the Park Board, it hasn’t quite hit its stated target of having everyone within a five-minute walk of a green space by this year.

Senior environment and sustainability planner Chad Townsend said in an email to CTV News Vancouver: “99 per cent of people are within a 10-minute walk of a park or green space (80% are within a five-minute walk). However, distribution is uneven and some neighbourhoods are underserved.”

He singled out Grandview-Woodland and Fairview as areas which have less park land per 1,000 residents, comparatively.

Another goal was to plant 150,000 more trees between 2010 and 2020. Townsend said the Park Board expects to achieve that goal by the end of this year.

Yuchi said in light of Canada’s aging population, the study’s authors are hoping that city planners will take their findings to heart and find ways to increase access to green spaces while reducing traffic.

“The number of cases of neurological disorders are forecast to increase dramatically,” Yuchi said. “Neurological disorders (are) actually one of (the) leading causes of death and disability globally, and we know little about the risk factors of neurological disorders, so therefore we think that it’s necessary for people to pay more attention to neurological health.” 


Man left housebound after wheelchair stolen from apartment building

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A 75-year-old man who has a disability is now housebound after his custom wheelchair was stolen from his apartment building in James Bay.

Priya Diddee bought the wheelchair for her father and tells CTV News Vancouver Island she was in disbelief when she couldn’t find it on Thursday morning.

“The retail value of this chair is around $6,000,” she said. “I got it second hand, so I got a really good deal. The controls are on the left because he only has use of his left hand.”

They leave his wheelchair in a room off the lobby in their apartment building on Simcoe Street, but when she went to get the wheelchair Thursday, it was gone.

“I plugged it in the night before … and came back to pick it up the next morning to take him to watch the Star Wars movie and it was gone,” said Priya.

Her father, who goes by the name J.K., said he thought to himself, “Does that mean I am stuck inside the house?”

The custom wheelchair allows him to explore Victoria after two strokes left him disabled.

“I don’t know what type of desperation that person would be facing in their life,” he said of the thief.

Priya said the person would have needed a key to get into the building or would have had to sneak in with someone.

“I’m shocked, in disbelief and angry,” she said. “Who steals from a disabled person? Why would anybody need a chair like that unless they had disabilities?”

Victoria police said they are investigating and hope to be able to return the wheelchair to the Diddee family.

“Often, thefts like this don’t target the chair itself, but the components like batteries and electric motors,” said VicPD spokesperson Bowen Osoko.

Police say the wheelchair is a JAZZY make with the model number 1113 ats. It also has a distinguishable BC Transit sticker on the front of the chair.

“We’d very much like to reunite Mr. Diddee with his only mode of transportation,” said Osoko.

Priya said he will now be stuck at home alone for the next five days while she is working.

“They robbed my father of his independence,” she said.

A stranger reached out to Priya offering to make a GoFundMe campaign so they could purchase a new wheelchair.

“It’s heartwarming to see the community coming together,” said Osoko.

Anyone who recognizes the chair or has information about the theft is being asked to call police at 250-995-7654. 


Vancouver Island substitute teacher suspended for comments made during field trip

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CAMPBELL RIVER – A Campbell River substitute teacher had his teaching certificate suspended after complaints were made of troubling behaviour during a Grade 8 field trip in November, 2018.

According to the B.C. Commissioner for Teacher Regulation (BCCTR), substitute teacher Joshua Frederick Roland Laurin was overheard making concerning comments by students, many of which involved violence.

The consent resolution agreement for Laurin’s suspension lists the comments heard by students, which included Laurin saying that he did not like his job or being around kids, that he wished to use one student to beat two other students to death and injure a third, and that he wanted to use one of the students to “whack” two others.

After the field trip had concluded, and students were back in their classroom, Laurin also said that if he was going to die the next day he would want to hurt students as he would not face any consequences.

The consent resolution agreement says that some students described Laurin as “weird” and reported feeling shocked by his comments. However, the students also say they believe Laurin was joking.

On Nov. 8, 2018, two days after the field trip, the Campbell River School District (SD 72) issued Laurin a letter of discipline and suspended him from the teachers on call (TOC) list from Dec. 3 to Dec. 21, 2018. Following the suspension, he was also required to complete a course by the Justice Institute of BC called “reinforcing professional boundaries”, which he did in March 2019.

Once the BCCTR was contacted and became involved in April 2019, the organization decided to issue Laurin a one-day suspension as SD 72 had already suspended him for three weeks and required him to complete the professional boundaries course. The organization added that Laurin admitted to making the comments that the students heard and acknowledged that they were inappropriate and constituted as misconducted. 

“Laurin failed to appreciate how his comments might be interpreted by students,” reads the consent resolution agreement.

In a statement, SD 72 said that Laurin would no longer be employed by the Campbell River School District.

Meanwhile, another central island educator recently faced disciplinary action. On Oct. 29, the BCCTR released a document which detailed the events that led to the dismissal of a Comox vice-principal

The commissioner found that on June 19, 2018, a soiled pair of underwear was found on the lid of a toilet in the boys’ washroom at École Au-coeur-de-l’île and feces was found on the floor. 

In an effort to identify who the underwear belonged to, vice-principal Delphine Yvette Andrée Guérineau had male students line up in hallways and show her the waistband of their underwear. 

Guérineau was later fired for her controversial actions, though a former custodian at the school said that misplaced feces in the boy’s washroom was an ongoing issue.

“It wasn’t just some kid having an accident, it was definitely some little brat thinking that he could just go around and do what he wanted,” the former custodian, Chamela Smith, told CTV News earlier this month.  

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