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13Feb

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

by admin

VICTORIA —
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:

27Jan

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

by admin

VICTORIA —
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

23Jan

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

by admin

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.


Do you have more to add to this story? Email rafferty.baker@cbc.ca

Follow Rafferty Baker on Twitter: @raffertybaker

23Jan

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

by admin

VANCOUVER —
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.” 

5Jan

Man left housebound after wheelchair stolen from apartment building

by admin

VICTORIA —
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. 

12Nov

Vancouver Island substitute teacher suspended for comments made during field trip

by admin

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.  

1Nov

‘Some little brat’: Former janitor says Comox school where VP fired was ‘overrun with feces’

by admin

COMOX – A former custodian who worked at a Comox francophone school is giving new insight into a controversy that resulted in the school’s vice principal being fired for professional misconduct.

Chamela Smith was a day janitor at École Au-coeur-de-l’île in Comox in 2018 when the vice principal undertook a controversial action to try to determine who left soiled underwear and feces inside a boy’s washroom.

Smith says it was far from an isolated incident.

“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,” Smith said.

Delphine Yvette Andrée Guérineau was originally placed on paid leave and was then terminated from her position after disapproval was shown for one technique used in her investigation. Guérineau had male students show them the waistband of their underwear.

Smith says while she agrees Guérineau could have handled the situation better, she doesn’t think the matter warranted termination.

“She was really, in effect, trying to protect the other students in the school from disease, germs and the simple fact that their school was overrun with feces,” Smith said. “I had to clean – I don’t know how many times in a day – feces, urine out of garbage cans, off floors, off walls, it was put on the inside of toilet paper rolls … it was everywhere.”

Smith says the ongoing issue was the reason she no longer wanted to work at the school.

The B.C. Commissioner for Teacher Regulation found that Guérnineau failed to consider the consequences of her actions, which “had the potential to cause emotional harm to students.”

An online petition was started in support of Guérineau, but she has since moved to Winnipeg.

Neither Guérineau nor the school district overseeing the Comox school have responded to CTV News Vancouver Island’s requests for interviews.  

29Oct

Comox school official fired for making boys show her their underwear

by admin

Todd Coyne, CTV Vancouver Island


Published Tuesday, October 29, 2019 1:15PM PDT


Last Updated Tuesday, October 29, 2019 3:02PM PDT

VICTORIA — A Vancouver Island school vice-principal was fired after forcing male students to show her their underwear in an effort to discover who had left a soiled mess in the boys’ washroom.

That’s according to a document released Tuesday by the province’s teacher regulation commissioner, which details the events that led to the dismissal of a Comox vice-principal last October.

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 the school secretary announce that she would be visiting all Grade 3 to 6 classrooms to check if the boys were wearing underwear.

Guérineau did so, with each male student showing her the waistband of his underwear. 

The vice-principal then had all male students in grades 7 to 11 line up in the hallway so she could check if they too were wearing underwear.

Two days later, the school district placed Guérineau on paid leave pending the conclusion of a board investigation. On Oct 1, 2018, the vice-principal was fired for professional misconduct, effective Sept. 17. 

The B.C. Commissioner for Teacher Regulation found that Guérnineau failed to consider the consequences of her actions, which “had the potential to cause emotional harm to students.”

Guérineau agreed to the findings on Sept. 14, 2019.

In 2018, shortly after the event occurred, an online petition in support of Guérineau garnered dozens of signatures calling on the school district to reconsider its decision to fire the vice-principal. 

Guérineau has since relocated to Winnipeg. 

18Sep

First-of-its-kind Parkinson’s community centre opens in Victoria

by admin

For people living on lower Vancouver Island with Parkinson’s disease, there is now a community centre to help them through their journey.

Wednesday marks the official opening of the Parkinson Wellness Project (PWP) in Victoria, located at 2680 Blanshard Street. Staff refer to the facility as a community centre where people diagnosed with the progressive neurological disorder can come together and talk about their struggles with others going through the same journey.

Krista Lavoie, operations manager at PWP, says when someone gets diagnosed with the disease, often people suffer from depression and self-isolation.

One of the most important things someone can do for themselves at the time is to talk about it, she says. 

“We’re here sharing stories, we’re sharing food, we’re sharing laughter and we’re also sharing the hard stuff too,” said Lavoie.

“It’s important that everyone get a chance to do that here.”

Along with the emotional support, the centre emphasises fitness. While there is currently no cure for Parkinson’s disease, physicians globally recognize exercise as the number one way to combat the physical effects of the illness, according to Lavoie. 

“People with Parkinson’s need specific movements to slow their progression, so we use specific exercises that we introduce repetitively throughout our classes,” said Lavoie. “It’s helping regain those movement patterns that you’ve lost.”

Classes vary from circuit training to boxing classes, which benefit local residents like Sukhi Rai who was diagnosed with the disease nine years ago. 

Rai says he was an avid runner and knew something was wrong when he started having troubles with his left ankle. After seeing a multitude of health specialists, he finally had a diagnosis. 

“It was a relief to finally be diagnosed because I had been living with the symptoms for quite a few years,” said Rai. “I continued to work for a while but eventually I had to go on long term disability.”

For Rai, the centre offers him a weekly routine of exercise, conversation and a place to just come feel as though he is part of a community.

“Without it, I don’t know where I’d be,” said Rai. “It’s been a pillar of my health plan and my battle with Parkinson’s.”

The PWP is open to all people with Parkinson’s disease and those around them. 

“If you have Parkinson’s, everybody in your social circle potentially is living that journey with you,” said Lavoie. “We want all of those people in here and we just want to make them comfortable.”

The centre is 100-percent funded by donors, with no medical or government support. All classes are completely free but often participants will donate what they can per class.

People who are interested in learning more about the Parkinson Wellness Project or are looking for ways to donate to the facility can find out more at their website here

7Sep

Victoria Conservatory of Music shows off new technology lab at open house

by admin

News staff, CTV Vancouver Island


Published Saturday, September 7, 2019 4:31PM PDT

The Victoria Conservatory of Music showed off its facilities at its open house Saturday.

Members of the public were invited to tour the conservatory, including performance halls, practice rooms and a library featuring more than 60,000 music sheets and books. Visitors also got to enjoy free concerts by VCM faculty and students.

One of the stars of the show, from the conservatory’s perspective, is the recently opened Music Technology and Creativity Lab, which was made possible by a donation from Pitt and Sheila Linder.

The lab features computers and software for music recording, editing and production, and it’s open to both beginners and experts.

“It’s something we’ve dreamt about for years,” said Stephen Green, dean of the conservatory.

In addition to the software and the computers, the room includes a multi-channel audio system that will allow students to hear their creations and discuss with instructors and peers. There is also a large smart TV that allows the conservatory to connect live with professional musicians and teachers from around the world.

“It’s all here,” Green said. “We want to make sure that anyone who has an interest in music technology knows that it’s not just one particular group. You don’t have to be, like, a professional musician. It’s all open to everyone.”

The new space means greater accessibility for the conservatory, he said, adding that it helps the organization meet the needs of the 21st century musician.

The space cost roughly $50,000 to create, according to the conservatory.

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