What do you miss most about flying? The tiny plastic cups? The lack of legroom? Waiting outside the bathroom door?
In a series of posts meant to make readers laugh, the Vancouver International Airport offered tips earlier this week to recreate the feeling of flying from your living room.
YVR posted what it described as “fun and easy activities” to do at home for those who miss travelling.
“With recreational air travel restricted, it’s important (to) try and find ways to still experience that exhilarating feeling of flying,” the airport posted earlier this week.
In a series of tweets, YVR highlighted some of the more mundane parts of travel.
Among the suggestions to recreate the experience: take a nap sitting up, drink diet soda from a tiny cup with two ice cubes, and make your entire family stand up to let you by when you use the washroom.
Drink a diet soda out of a tiny cup with two ice cubes. Or grab a tomato juice — it hits different at altitude. For real, check the science! pic.twitter.com/H9TyzuuEEI
A Pitt Meadows woman has been ordered to return her children to their father in Prince George after she failed to convince a judge the need to use the bathroom during the drive home would place them at increased risk of catching COVID-19.
The woman — known as T.S. — refused to send the children back to her ex-partner after they spent spring break in the Lower Mainland.
As justification, T.S. filed a series of reports about fatal cases of children contracting the novel coronavirus.
But Prince George Provincial Court Judge Cassandra Malfair wasn’t biting.
“She argues that asymptomatic people could be using the public washrooms,” Malfair said.
“Despite that risk, I note that health authorities have not sequestered everyone to their houses and banned all public outings. Rather, safety protocols have been implemented to mitigate the risk of transmission.”
‘Need to eat and use the washroom’
T.S. has a history of ignoring court orders related to child custody since splitting from her ex-partner — J.V.S. — in 2014.
The father is the primary caregiver for the three children, who spend Christmas, spring break and summer vacations with their mother.
In keeping with that arrangement, J.V.S. dropped the kids off in Pitt Meadows on March 15. But when spring break ended, T.S. refused to send them back to Prince George.
“The proposed method of transportation is that the children would be in the private motor vehicle of their parents from their mother’s residence in Pitt Meadows to their father’s residence in Prince George, with the children being exchanged between the parents part way,” the ruling says.
“T.S. argues that returning the children to Prince George is nonetheless unsafe because they would need to eat and use the washroom during their eight-hour journey, which would expose them to the risk of transmission of the virus.”
Custody and COVID-19
The ruling is part of a rapidly growing body of decisions considering the implications of COVID-19 for the various types of activities involved in custody agreements.
Judges have been asked to decide whether parents can open their houses to prospective home buyers and whether nurses should be able meet their children in person.
Malfair said the issue of food and snacks could be easily solved by T.S. packing something for the children to eat before they leave Pitt Meadows.
Even then, the judge noted that the government has not closed down restaurants for take-out service.
“With respect to the children’s need to use washrooms, there are numerous rest stops and gas stations on the highway between the Lower Mainland and Prince George,” Malfair said.
“The public health authorities have not considered such amenities to be of sufficient risk of viral transmission to warrant their closure. Indeed, numerous truckers and delivery persons continue to use these facilities during the course of this pandemic to keep the vital supply chains open.”
‘They should go home’
The judge gave T.S. a chance to find some directives or evidence relating to the specific dangers of public washrooms, but beyond a reminder that washing hands after using the bathroom was a good idea in or out of a pandemic, the judge was not impressed.
She said the children could use roadside rest stops so they don’t have to go into gas stations.
“The children could be given disposable gloves or towelettes to use as makeshift gloves when making contact with handles, lids, and paper rolls in the course of using the washrooms. They can lay down a toilet paper lid before they sit. They can wash their hands thoroughly upon completion,” Malfair said.
“In short, with the smallest precautionary measures, I can see no reason why the children cannot use a washroom safely during the eight- to nine-hour drive to Prince George.”
T.S. also pointed out that public health officials were discouraging non-essential travel. But the judge said she considered travel back to their primary home to be essential.
“They should go home,” she said.
And just in case, she gave RCMP the power to enforce her order.
Complaints about dog poop littering parks aren’t unusual, but at an East Vancouver park the issue is human feces, according to a neighbour and park user.
Zoe Raffard lives across the street from Commercial Drive’s Grandview Park. She regularly spends time there walking her dog and playing with her one-year-old daughter.
“Last weekend the human waste was in a children’s tree house,” said Raffard. “Somebody had soiled some blankets in the playground, where they were seeking shelter.”
Raffard dealt with the problem by wrapping yellow caution tape around the playground feature and reporting the incident to city officials by calling 3-1-1 — but she says she doesn’t usually get a satisfying response.
She’s urging officials to provide 24-hour toilet access at the park. Homeless people often spend the night there and the neighbourhood is popular with people living in vehicles.
“On two occasions over the summer, my dog came across some human waste in the park, and unfortunately ingested some before we realized what he was doing,” said Raffard. “We thought he was just just sniffing at a bush — we didn’t realize there was some feces, and he was eating some of it.”
The distinction between human and canine poop is often easy to make, she said, because there will be soiled clothing or toilet paper scattered around the human waste.
Vandalism a problem
Grandview Park has a sturdy washroom facility, but according to Howard Normann, director of parks, it’s closed overnight along with the rest of the city’s park toilets.
“We find that any anything we leave open overnight tends to either get vandalized — and Grandview has been vandalized on numerous occasions, even in the daytime — or people move into them,” said Normann.
He said there was a portable toilet left at the park in the summer as a trial, but it didn’t go well.
“The ongoing vandalism and drug use that [was] happening in that porta-potty had us remove it,” said Normann.
Raffard suggests either hiring an attendant to supervise the existing facility overnight, or invest in a separate, permanent one, like the Portland Loo, that could be left open.
New park toilet strategy being planned
Normann said Park Board staff are looking at all of the options as they work on a complete washroom strategy for the city’s parks.
“This one in Grandview is relatively new,” he said of the human feces problem. “We’ve been made aware of it on occasion. I wouldn’t say it’s increasing, but we know it’s been ongoing — on and off — for a while.”
Normann said the issue of people living in tents or vehicles around the park has been increasing over the last year or two.
Despite Raffard’s complaint that calling 3-1-1 doesn’t lead to anyone from the Park Board dealing with human waste found in the park, Normann said that is the best course of action.
“It’s not always that easy just to phone and say, ‘hey we found a pile here in the park, can somebody come and grab it,’ but we do our best,” said Normann.
Raffard wants to see her local park free of human feces, but she’s sympathetic to the people leaving their deposits in the park.
“I believe it’s part of the housing crisis. Having a home is not just about a place to sleep, it’s about a place to toilet and wash with dignity,” she said. “Being able to have access to private washroom is a basic human right that we all deserve.”
A Kelowna man has been charged with voyeurism and child pornography after a hidden camera was found in the washroom of a popular winery.
Ian Michael Leighton, 43, is charged with 13 counts of voyeurism, one charge of obstruction of justice, three charges of making child porn and one charge of possession of child porn, Kelowna RCMP announced Thursday.
”The investigation was led by the Kelowna RCMP general investigation section,” said Const. Solana Paré. “The investigators continue to support the victims involved, and will aid in supporting the prosecution as the investigation now transitions to the judicial process.”
In August, police were contacted after a witness found a small camera hidden in the staff washroom of the winery. After a police investigation, another staff member was arrested in connection with the camera.
VANCOUVER – During the ongoing Metro Vancouver transit dispute, bus drivers say one of the big issues they’re upset about is their daily workload.
They’re especially frustrated about the amount of time they get between finishing one route and starting the next.
CTV News Vancouver went on a ride on one of the region’s busiest buses to get a first-hand look at working conditions.
On a Friday morning 99 B-line route to the University of British Columbia, driver Adam Flores was scheduled to have a 9-minute break between runs.
Due to traffic, his route was delayed, leaving Flores only two minutes to offload passengers, park his bus and use the washroom.
“We need that recovery time for our mental aspect and just to get out of the seat,” Flores said.
Another driver, Krista Lee Hanson said in these situations, drivers may have no time to get up.
“The worst part about it is you kind of have to think … ’do I stop here and run into a coffee shop?’,” Lee Hanson said. “If I do that I have to tell the passengers I’m running into a coffee shop … so I am inconveniencing them if I take care of my needs and there is always a risk of violence when you do that.”
Coast Mountain Bus Company president Michael McDaniel said the company hears drivers loud and clear; agreeing there needs to be more recovery time.
“I share that concern,” McDaniel said. “We have talked to our operators many times over the last number of months, it is something we’ve been working on prior to bargaining and in the bargaining process.”
CMBC said its latest offer to the union will promise more break time, but the two sides remain far apart and are not even talking.
A Kelowna, B.C., winery employee could be facing charges of voyeurism after police found a hidden camera inside a washroom at the winery.
Kelowna RCMP were called to Summerhill Pyramid Winery Friday after a witness reported seeing what they believed was a small camera concealed inside a staff washroom.
A man, who police say is from Kelowna, was arrested Friday at the winery but has not been identified yet, as the investigation into the breadth of possible charges continues.
“Evidence has been seized in relation to this offence and once it has been properly processed, RCMP will be able to determine how many victims may be involved and further charges could be forwarded,” said Const. Lesley Smith with Kelowna RCMP.
The CEO for Summerhill Pyramid Winery said the employee has been fired and the company is communicating the news with its employees in person and in letter form.
“I am just going to be calling parents of underage staff members as well today,” said Ezra Cipes, CEO of the winery.
Cipes said the company did a sweep of the winery and found no other cameras, and because of that, there is no danger to the public.
“We hope people care about us through this situation and don’t point a finger at us,” he said.
RCMP say they have released the male suspect. He is facing possible charges of voyeurism and has an upcoming court date.
City council in Prince George is trying to find ways to increase accessibility to public washrooms in the downtown area.
There are few options available for people, and many businesses have chosen not to grant public access to their facilities because of fear of overdoses and safety concerns.
City staff presented a report to council this week, which highlighted there are no perfect solutions and that other cities are also struggling with this issue.
“This is a really tough topic, and I think if I were able to pull some themes it would be…that providing access to public washrooms for everybody that needs to access them, and ensuring that they are clean and safe, is challenging,” said Chris Bone, city manager of social planning.
“My research has shown that no community has figured out how to do this effectively and that some of the communities that were seen to be ahead of the curve are now faced with having to rethink initial solutions because we’re working in a very different world now.”
After a heated debate, council agreed to try one of city staff’s recommendations to provide additional funding to social service providers, such as Saint Vincent de Paul, which already grant public washroom access.
Many of these providers have restricted access to their washrooms in the past because they don’t have the resources to monitor them. The funding is intended to offset the cost of having an assigned washroom monitor during peak hours.
One of the other options staff proposed, was giving businesses $500 to open their bathrooms. However, this was tried in Yellowknife, and most businesses weren’t willing to do it for that amount.
Another option considered was bringing in self-contained stalls — called a Portland Loo — which are difficult to vandalize.
Scales of Justice statue at B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver. Jason Payne / PNG
A proposed class-action lawsuit against the Red Barn Market at Mattick’s Farm and a former assistant manager who allegedly video-recorded employees using the washroom is moving forward.
B.C. Supreme Court Justice Brian MacKenzie lifted a stay of proceedings this week on the claim by two former Red Barn Market employees. It had been imposed when the former assistant manager, Matthew Schwabe, filed for bankruptcy on April 24, 2018.
Schwabe had a monthly deficit of $50 and his total debts amounted to $4,484.
“The very minor financial difficulty in which Mr. Schwabe found himself when he decided to file for bankruptcy three months after the plaintiffs filed their claim leads me to conclude that he is not an ‘honest unfortunate’ who should be ‘rewarded by a release of liability,’ if he is found to be responsible for capturing and disseminating the explicit images,” MacKenzie wrote in his judgment.
The former employees also asked for a court order for disclosure of documents, recordings and images from Saanich police, which was granted.
“The plaintiffs are very pleased with the court’s decision today, as it allows the case to move ahead. From the police records we hope to obtain a better understanding of how many other people were recorded,” Victoria lawyer Sean Hern said. “And with the bankruptcy stay lifted, we are looking forward to bringing our application to certify the case as a class proceeding.”
The claim by Jennifer Burke and Mallory Colter alleges that on multiple occasions and over lengthy periods, Schwabe installed a video-recording device in the washroom near the grocery store’s produce section and recorded women when they used the toilet and in various stages of undress.
The surreptitious recordings, taken between 2009 and 2014, were posted online on a revenge-porn website and paired with screenshots from the women’s Facebook pages so viewers could identify them.
The claim alleges that this is a grievous and ongoing breach of their privacy for which Schwabe is responsible.
The women became aware of the images when Saanich police contacted them in February 2016. Burke was shown facial images of six other women. She recognized five as Red Barn Market employees and one as Schwabe’s former roommate.
In June 2016, Saanich police told Colter that Schwabe had been arrested for voyeurism and publication of intimate images without consent. He was released and no charges have been laid.
In January 2018, Saanich police said nine victims had been identified.
“The matter is still under investigation and our detective office is still actively working on it,” said Sgt. Jereme Leslie.
Affidavit evidence filed by the women suggest Schwabe made sexist remarks and inappropriate comments about women’s bodies in the workplace. Another former employee said he exposed himself to her during an early-morning shift.
The women say they have suffered psychological harm, including significant anxiety.
Schwabe has said the plaintiffs’ efforts to link him to the breach of privacy events “are speculative at best.” He conceded he had been arrested but has not been charged, said MacKenzie.
An alleged voyeur was arrested after an incident in a University of British Columbia washroom, police say, and they are asking other possible victims to come forward.
In a statement, University RCMP said the man allegedly placed a cellphone over the top of a bathroom stall in a public women’s washroom on Agronomy Road, between East Mall and Health Sciences Mall, around 10 p.m. PT on Jan. 3.
The victim, who was using the washroom, called campus security who were first on the scene. Security then called police who arrested the suspect for obstruction. He was later released.
RCMP spokesperson Janelle Shoihet said officers believed he may have destroyed some evidence prior to arrest.
“The cellphone was described as having a distinctive case — black with a cubed and striped pattern,” RCMP said in a statement.
“We would like to remind the public that if a crime is being committed that you should call 911 immediately.”
The suspect has not been charged. Shoihet said police are not releasing a name, photo or description of him at this time.
A North Vancouver high school has temporarily limited the number of washrooms available in an effort to cut down on instances of student vaping.
Some parents, however, have expressed concerns over the restricted access to toilets.
In bulletins sent to parents and students last week, school officials at Seycove Secondary said there had been a “recent increase in the amount of vaping at Seycove.”
“It has now become a very serious issue which needs to be addressed,” the bulletin reads.
A school bulletin listed the most popular places for vaping as being school washrooms, locker rooms, in classrooms or inner rooms and off-site in the nearby woods.
As a result, the school is taking a number of steps to try to curb vaping activity on school property including:
• Locking all student washrooms with the exception of a set on the school’s main floor and a gender-neutral washroom by the school’s office “until further notice.” • Locking physical education locker rooms at all times except during the beginning and end of class for changing. • Teachers are being asked to restrict the number of students permitted out of class during class time and to monitor the length of their absence. • Supervision aides will speak with students loitering in hallways during class time. • Students not scheduled to be in class are required to report to the school’s library, cafeteria or DL centre.
“Vaping poses significant and immediate health risks for all those who do it,” the bulletin continues.
“The bottom line is that vaping is having a significant negative impact on our community and our learning environment and it is illegal for all of the students in this building for a reason.”
More to come.
Are you a student or parent at Seycove Secondary and want to weigh on this issue? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.