Kyle Brittain takes advantage of extreme cold in Alberta to transform a wet towel into a toboggan.
Kyle Brittain takes advantage of extreme cold in Alberta to transform a wet towel into a toboggan.
Canada's National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) now says the maximum interval between the first and second doses of all three COVID-19 vaccines approved for use in Canada should increase to four months in order to boost the number of Canadians being vaccinated. For the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, that means going from a three week interval to a full four months. "NACI recommends that in the context of limited COVID-19 vaccine supply, jurisdictions should maximize the number of individuals benefiting from the first dose of vaccine by extending the second dose of COVID-19 vaccine up to four months after the first," the committee said in a statement. Prior to this new recommendation, NACI had said that the maximum interval between the first and second shots of the Moderna vaccine should be four weeks, the interval for the Pfizer-BioNTech product should be three weeks and the interval for the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine should be 12 weeks. "While studies have not yet collected four months of data on vaccine effectiveness after the first dose, the first two months of real world effectiveness are showing sustained high levels of protection," NACI said. Since first doses of all three vaccines have been shown to dramatically increase immunity to the disease, or to significantly reduce the illness associated with contracting COVID-19, the committee said stretching the interval would help protect more Canadians sooner. NACI said that it reviewed evidence from two clinical trials that looked at how effective the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines were after a single dose. Those studies, NACI said, showed the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines started providing some level of protection 12 to 14 days after the first dose. By the time the second dose was administered — 19 to 42 days after the first — the first shot was shown to be 92 per cent effective. Population studies find lower protection Outside of clinical trials, NACI looked at the effectiveness of a single shot of these two vaccines in the populations of Quebec, British Columbia, Israel, the United Kingdom and the United States. NACI said that analysis showed the effectiveness of a single dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine was between 70 per cent and 80 per cent among health care workers, long-term care residents, elderly populations and the general public. "While this is somewhat lower than the efficacy demonstrated after one dose in clinical trials, it is important to note that vaccine effectiveness in a general population setting is typically lower than efficacy from the controlled setting of a clinical trial, and this is expected to be the case after series completion as well," NACI said. The committee said that published data from an AstraZeneca clinical trial indicated that delaying the second dose 12 weeks or more provided better protections against symptomatic disease compared to shorter intervals between doses. Earlier this week, before NACI changed its interval advice, B.C.'s Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced that the province would be extending the interval between doses of the Moderna, Pfizer and Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines to 16 weeks. Henry said data from the B.C. Centre for Disease Control and countries around the world showed a "miraculous" protection level of at least 90 per cent from the first dose of the Moderna or the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. The head of Moderna's Canadian operations, Patricia Gauthier, said Monday that the company's own trials, and the conditions under which the vaccine was approved by Health Canada, are tied to a four-week interval. "That being said, we're in times of pandemic and we can understand that there are difficult decisions to be made," Gauthier said. "This then becomes a government decision. We stand by the product monograph approved by Health Canada, but governments ... can make their own decisions." Gauthier said she was not aware of any studies done or led by Moderna on what happens when the interval between the first and second doses is changed from four weeks to four months. 'We have to do it safely and watch carefully' Dr. David Naylor, who has been named to a federal task force charged with planning a national campaign to see how far the virus has spread, said the data have been "very encouraging." "The evidence is there for the concept of further delay," Naylor told CBC News Network's Power & Politics today. "We [had] trial data from earlier showing that going out from 90 days, a single dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine is effective. So things are triangulating." He said health officials need to pay close attention to the data coming out of other countries to determine if the protection provided by the first dose remains strong four months after it was administered. "We do it because we can cover more people with a single dose of the vaccine, spread the protection, prevent more severe disease and prevent fatalities, and the evidence is clear that that's what you can do if you spread those doses out widely. But we have to do it safely and watch carefully," Naylor told host Vassy Kapelos. Watch: The evidence is there for the 'concept of further delay' of second doses: Dr. Naylor: Storage and transport recommendations also changed Health Canada also announced today that after reviewing a submission from Pfizer-BioNTech, it would authorize changes to the way the vaccine is handled in Canada. The new rules allow the vaccine to be stored and transported in a standard freezer with a temperature of between -25 C and -15 C for up to two weeks, instead of the previous requirement that it be stored in ultra-cold conditions of -80 C to -60 C. Vials of the vaccine stored or transported at this higher temperature for no longer than two weeks remain stable and safe and can then be returned to ultra-cold freezers once, said the department.
LOS ANGELES — Detectives are looking at data from the so-called “black box” of Tiger Woods' SUV to get a clearer picture of what occurred during the Southern California rollover crash last week that seriously injured the golf star, authorities said Wednesday. The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said traffic investigators executed a search warrant Monday to retrieve the data from the device from the Genesis SUV that Woods was driving. There was no information regarding what was found in the black box, Deputy Trina Schrader said in a statement. The 2021 GV80, made by the Hyundai luxury brand, is likely to have a newer version of event data recorders nicknamed “black boxes” after more sophisticated recorders in airplanes. They store a treasure trove of data for authorities to review. Woods suffered a serious leg injury when the SUV he was driving went off a Los Angeles County road and rolled over on a downhill stretch known for crashes. Sheriff Alex Villanueva said Woods was not drunk and was driving alone in good weather when the SUV hit a raised median, went across oncoming lanes and rolled several times. The crash injured his right leg, requiring surgery. California law allows law enforcement to seek search warrants for data recorders that were involved in motor vehicle crashes that result in death or serious bodily injury. Law enforcement must show that the recorders could have evidence of a felony or misdemeanour in the crash, and detectives must limit their review of the data to information directly related to the offence. USA TODAY first reported the search warrant. A black box is a computer that stores data from a vehicle’s sensors, which can be downloaded by police officers investigating a crash. The boxes usually are below the centre of the dashboard or beneath seats to be protected from damage. There aren’t any federal regulations requiring the boxes, but the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says nearly all vehicles have them now. The government does require the recorders to store 15 data points including speed before impact and whether brake and gas pedals were pressed. __ Associated Press Writer Tom Krisher in Detroit contributed to this report. Stefanie Dazio, The Associated Press
EDMONTON — The parent company of Canadian pay-television provider Super Channel has asked an Alberta court to block four Canadian retailers from selling set-top boxes that allegedly are designed to give customers access to pirated programming. Allarco Entertainment of Edmonton named Staples, Best Buy, London Drugs and Canada Computers in its application for an injunction to protect its intellectual property from theft. Allarco is also asking the court to issue an order against an unknown number of unidentified customers of the retailers as well as unidentified equipment suppliers. The allegations have not been tested in court. The Alberta court has scheduled several days of hearings this week to deal with Allarco's request and responses from the retailers. Staples Canada says in an emailed statement that it doesn't have a comment because the case is before the courts. A London Drugs statement says it disputes the allegations and will defend itself vigorously. The other retailers didn't immediately respond to requests for comment. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 3, 2021. The Canadian Press
Classes resumed on March 1 with the Jasper Dance Program following the province’s approval of such activities and owner Nicole Koebel couldn’t be happier. “It’s so nice to see the kids,” the longtime dance instructor said. “It’s such a positive thing to do.” From Monday to Thursday for the next three weeks, young folks from six to 17 will be attending classes at various times in the multipurpose hall at the Activity Centre. In line with health restrictions, Koebel and nine students will keep at least three metres apart while practicing a variety of dance styles. Koebel will also teach a dance class to residents at Alpine Summit Seniors Lodge on March 15 and 29 at 1 p.m. The Jasper Dance Program has been running since 2000. “I teach ballet, hip hop, jazz, musical theatre, world dance, contemporary and lyrical,” Koebel said. And she’s well-versed in this field as Koebel took her first official dance lesson at the age of four in Jasper. “It was highland dancing,” Koebel said. “I remember the class. The teacher kept me behind so I could show everyone a particular routine.” Right off the bat, Koebel tuned into her passion for teaching. When she got home from that class, she ‘taught’ her two-year-old sister, Tamara, the moves she had been shown. “Teaching is my passion - it brings such joy,” she said. “It’s something that’s in my blood. There’s so much to dance.” Her love of dancing was nurtured at home. “My dad loved music,” she said. She and Tamara, who went on to become a professional dancer, danced together for many years. Koebel went on to get a degree in dance education at the University of Calgary. When she returned to Jasper years later in 1996 after working at her full-time job, Koebel taught dance lessons part time. “It just grew - I eventually made that my career focus,” she said. “It was a leap of faith. When you really love something and you pursue it and you're in your element, then good things follow. I’m so blessed to be able to do this.” Joanne McQuarrie, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Jasper Fitzhugh
FREDERICTON — The New Brunswick government has ordered a review of mental health crisis care following the suicide of a teenager who waited eight hours at a hospital emergency room without being helped. Health Minister Dorothy Shepard says she has asked Norm Bosse, the province's child, youth and seniors' advocate, to conduct a review, although the terms have not been set. Lexi Daken, 16, took her own life on Feb. 24, less than a week after seeking help at the Dr. Everett Chalmers Hospital in Fredericton. Shephard says the regional health authority has also been asked to identify possible improvements and report back by the end of the month. Green Leader David Coon was seeking a public inquiry into the care Lexi received and says urgent action is needed. Chris Daken, Lexi's father, says he hopes her death is not in vain and that it prompts government to make changes that will help others in the future. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Mar. 3, 2021. The Canadian Press
SoftBank-backed British fund Greensill Capital is in talks to sell large parts of its business after losing the backing of two asset managers who underpinned parts of its multi-billion dollar supply chain financing model. WHAT IS SUPPLY CHAIN FINANCE? Supply chain financing, often also referred to as reverse factoring, is a method by which companies can get cash from banks and funds such as Greensill Capital to pay their suppliers without having to dip into their working capital.
By Jamie Mountain Local Journalism Initiative Reporter ENGLEHART – The times are changing and it was a time for change for the Englehart Dental Office. Owned and operated by Dr. Julie Williams, the business has a new home as it recently opened the newly constructed office building at 35 Third Street. It’s located just down the street from its original office space at 39 Third Street. The Dental Office held an official ribbon cutting ceremony with its staff in front of the new location on February 24 to celebrate the move. “I was just ready to have my own space, something I designed myself,” explained Williams in an interview at the new office building. “It just felt like the next step in the career.” Williams said she put plans into motion for the construction of the new building in January of 2020 but the process really began that March. The old pizza place building that used to occupy the land of the new office then was demolished in July, she noted. “Once it finally got going, it got going,” said Williams with a smile. “I just had the design (of the new building), I made it myself. None of the designers liked it but I just wanted my own space. I didn’t want anything too big, just my size.” Once she purchased the lot from the town, Williams said she was able to design the building size-wise on it. She noted that she originally planned to have a basement in the new building but ran into sewer and water line issues as well as encountering poor soil conditions. “So it’s just on a (concrete) slab now and that changed plans a little bit, but it worked out OK, we still have some storage around. It changed the chemical room slightly, so it changed in the planning as well. That delayed us a good month, month-and-a-half with the redesigning.” Williams said that the COVID-19 pandemic also affected how she was able to carry out her construction plans. “It definitely made material sourcing and everything very difficult,” she said. “The flooring took eight weeks when it should have been like two weeks, that delayed everything. Thank goodness I ordered all the dental equipment like nine months before needed because that didn’t come in until November and it would have been bananas if it didn’t come in.” Williams said the pandemic also “put a little bit of a damper” with how everything surrounding the dental office’s operations flowed while the new building was being constructed, but it wasn’t too much to overcome. “We were able to get open for dentistry before ground broke, after the delays. We had to close to dentistry until the end of May (in 2020) and I was really worried about continuing but we got to open again,” she noted. COMMUNITY FEEDBACK Williams noted that the dental office has been open for three weeks and so far the reception from its patients and the community has been positive. “It’s been fantastic, they’re loving the new space,” she said. “A lot of them are saying ‘Thank you for investing in the community’ and it’s true, I didn’t really think of that effect, but it’s true. It was just always my game plan to stay (in Englehart) so now at least we have our own space to stay.” Williams said her goals for the future are just to enjoy the new office space and provide her patients with a lot more enhanced services. “We have digital x-rays, more computers and everything, we’re finally up to the 21st century” she noted. “Long-term I just want to practice for the next 20 years, really, in comfort and in my own space. This was just the next step, I was ready.” Jamie Mountain, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Temiskaming Speaker
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said today that Canada's vaccination campaign could wrap up before September if the country secures the necessary shots and if there's a change in dosing timelines. U.S. President Joe Biden announced Tuesday his administration will have enough supply on hand by the end of May to vaccinate every American — two months earlier than planned. Asked about that ambitious timeline, Trudeau said his government is confident that all Canadians who want a shot will be vaccinated by the end of September, but an earlier end date is "possible" if all goes well with deliveries and if other promising vaccine candidates are approved by the regulators at Health Canada. "As I've been saying since this past November, we expect all Canadians to be vaccinated by the end of September, for those who want it," he said. "It's possible that those timelines can be moved forward." He said Ottawa is focused on "bringing in more doses for more Canadians to get through this as rapidly as possible." Possible change to dosing schedule More Canadians could get vaccinated earlier than planned if the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) agrees to adjust the recommended interval between first and second vaccine doses — a change that some provinces, notably B.C. and Quebec, have implemented already. "We're seeing some of the science shift, some proposals put forward which are very, very interesting, which could result in rapider timelines," Trudeau said. Asked if he was reluctant to amend the timelines because of past supply hiccups, Trudeau said there have been "disruptions" in supply from Pfizer and Moderna "from the very beginning." Trudeau said any comparisons between the pandemic experiences of Canada and the U.S. must recognize that there have been many more cases — and more deaths — reported south of the border. "Obviously, the pandemic has had a very different course in the United States," Trudeau said. On a death-per-caseload basis, however, Canada has fared worse than the U.S. because of how many seniors have died of the virus in long-term care homes in this country. About 2.5 per cent of all COVID-19 cases have resulted in death in Canada, compared to 1.8 per cent in the U.S. Health Canada's recent approval of the AstraZeneca product will add more than 20 million shots to the country's vaccine stockpile over the next six months, but the delivery schedule for most of these shots has not yet been finalized. One shipment of 500,000 AstraZeneca shots produced by the Serum Institute of India arrived today, but questions remain about who should have access to this product. WATCH: Some provinces won't give AstraZeneca to seniors Even before Biden's announcement, the U.S. was well on its way to ending its inoculation campaign before Canada. The U.S. is on track to fully vaccinate at least 34 per cent of the population by the end of March, while Canada hopes to vaccinate about 8 per cent on the same timeline. After accounting for population size, the U.S. will have administered about 4.5 times more shots per capita by month's end. Canada has administered 2 million doses so far, while the U.S. is nearing 80 million. At least 26.4 million doses — 23 million from Moderna and Pfizer combined, 1.5 million AstraZeneca doses from the Serum Institute and another 1.9 million AstraZeneca doses from COVAX, the global vaccine-sharing initiative — are set to arrive in Canada between April and June. All told, the country is projected to have enough supply to fully vaccinate at least 16.45 million people by Canada Day. The supply is expected to grow once delivery schedules for the AstraZeneca product are confirmed. The U.S. campaign has benefited from a robust domestic vaccine manufacturing sector and massive investments by former president Donald Trump's administration in companies like Moderna and Johnson & Johnson. Trump also signed an executive order last December to mandate that all U.S. facilities fulfil their contractual obligations to the U.S. government before shipping products abroad — a decision that has forced Canada to rely on European plants for our shots. Biden has maintained Trump's 'America First' approach to vaccines and his spokesperson, Jen Psaki, told reporters this week that the U.S. will not send any doses to allies like Canada or Mexico until the vaccination campaign is complete stateside. According to the latest federal budget documents, the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) has budgeted up to $5 billion for COVID-19 vaccines and other treatments, such as therapeutics. The specific costs for each vaccine candidate are protected by confidentiality clauses in the federal government's agreements with drug makers. Canada has promised to buy more than 240 million doses of seven different vaccines if all of them are approved.
Innovation Minister François-Philippe Champagne says the federal government is spending $518 million on efforts to boost Canada’s ability to produce vaccines, among more than 100 research projects receiving new money. He says the funding will help provide Canadian researchers with equipment and shared databases, among other things.
The social media persona "Roaring Kitty," whose online posts helped spark January's trading frenzy in GameStop Corp shares, appeared before Massachusetts securities regulators on Wednesday to testify as part of an examination into his activities. Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth William Galvin, the state's top securities regulator, last month subpoenaed Keith Gill, who touted GameStop stock in his spare time while he was a registered broker and working at the insurer MassMutual. He was a key figure in the so-called "Reddit rally," which saw shares of GameStop surge 400% in a week before crashing back to pre-surge levels.
ALBANY, N.Y. — Besieged by sexual harassment allegations, a sombre New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo apologized Wednesday, saying he “learned an important lesson” about his own behaviour around women, but he said he intended to remain in office. “I now understand that I acted in a way that made people feel uncomfortable,” Cuomo said at a Wednesday press conference. “It was unintentional and I truly and deeply apologize for it.” Cuomo said he will “fully co-operate” with the state attorney general’s investigation into sexual harassment allegations. Attorney General Letitia James is in the process of selecting an outside law firm to conduct an investigation into the allegations and produce a report that will be made publicly. Cuomo had avoided public appearances for days as some fellow Democrats call for him to resign. Before Wednesday's press conference, the governor last spoke to reporters during a teleconference call on Feb. 22. His last media briefing on video was Feb. 19. He hadn't spoken publicly since giving New York Attorney General Letitia James a referral to investigate claims that he sexually harassed at least two women in his administration. One former aide, Charlotte Bennett, 25, said Cuomo quizzed her about her sex life and asked whether she would be open to a relationship with an older man. Bennett rejected Cuomo’s attempted apology, in which he said he’d been trying to be “playful” and that his jokes had been misinterpreted as flirting. Another former aide, Lindsey Boylan, said Cuomo commented on her appearance inappropriately, kissed her without her consent at the end of a meeting, and once suggested they play strip poker while aboard his state-owned jet. Cuomo has denied Boylan’s allegations. And another woman, Anna Ruch, told The New York Times that Cuomo put his hands on her face and asked if he could kiss her at a September 2019 wedding. Cuomo started Wednesday's press conference focusing on the latest data on the coronavirus pandemic. He highlighted a disproportionately high number of hospitalizations in New York City, news that the state is receiving an initial shipment of 164,000 doses of the new one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine and that three vaccination sites will temporarily shift to 24/7 operations. __ This story has been updated to correct the day of the press briefing. It was on Wednesday, not Tuesday. Marina Villeneuve, The Associated Press
The Paradise Warriors Minor Hockey Association may be formidable foes on the ice, but they’ve been doing plenty of good off the ice. In mid-February, Chief Medical Officer Dr. Janice Fitzgerald, who has become a household name during the pandemic, asked residents to consider donating to local food banks and charities, rather than sending her personal gifts. Groups, businesses, residents, and sports leagues across the province, including the Warriors, took Fitzgerald’s request to heart. The Warriors hosted a virtual fundraiser which ran from February 19 to February 28. In just that short amount of time, the association raised $5,540. “As an association, we are extremely proud of our members for being able to help out the community during this latest lockdown,” said Paradise Warriors Minor Hockey President Greg Barton. “It is a testament to how lucky we are to have so many great people involved with our association.” Barton said the virtual food drive helped meet a community need while keeping players, who are currently unable to play due to the pandemic restrictions, active in the association. Mark Squibb, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Shoreline News
Most kids are introduced to probability math by rolling dice over and over on a desk or floor. But Maureen Richardson’s Grade 3 class will learn the likelihood of rolling snake eyes (hint: it’s low) by programming a small hand-held device to display numbers on a screen at the push of a button. “Instead of just going and getting a bag of dice ... we can code a dice or coin flipper,” she said. “They’re learning code, but we’re using it as a tool to help us with our math.” Richardson, a teacher at St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Elementary School in Waterdown, is using code to teach her Grade 3 class everything from probability and temperature to spelling to social-emotional skills. Thanks to Microsoft and Fair Chance Learning, a Canadian company working to bring technology to classrooms, Richardson has a class set of micro:bits, which are minicomputers “the size of a child’s palm” — about $25 each — that she uses to teach kids the basics of coding. “When they get a device in front of them, their eyes light up,” she said. “They’re excited about it.” Richardson uses block coding, a language in which Lego-like bricks are connected to create commands. “You just sort of click and drag the code that you need over into the workspace and that’s how they write their code,” she said. “It’s very simple.” In the fall, Richardson introduced the class to coding through a simple activity: programing the micro:bit to “write” letters in the device’s 25 LED lights. “When you start the program, it will then spell their name based on the blocks they put it in the order,” she said. “It’s just teaching them that each of these little blocks connect together.” Once they mastered the device’s functions, the students could practise spelling other words using the device. Other activities include programming the micro:bit, which has a temperature sensor, to act as a thermometer, coding happy — or sad — faces to express emotion and using the built-in accelerometer as a step-counter to measure physical activity. “We know that’s what’s ahead for them, that coding will be part of their jobs in the future,” said Richardson, who has two daughters in post-secondary STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) programs. “Knowing what their career path is like, I thought, ‘You might as well start introducing them now.’” Kate McCullough, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Hamilton Spectator
OTTAWA — Efforts to boost Canada's ability to produce vaccines are among over 100 research projects receiving new federal money. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced $518 million Wednesday he says will support the work of nearly 1,000 researchers. The projects receiving the cash also include ocean sensors to track climate change and setting up a digital archive to house records related to residential schools. The vaccine-related funding will be directed to the researchers from the Universite Laval-affiliated hospitals in Quebec City. Their aim is to create a public vaccine production program that will help develop and test vaccines and launch related startup companies. Frustration that Canada is reliant on foreign manufacturers to access the COVID-19 vaccine has led to calls to boost Canada's domestic capabilities. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 3, 2021. The Canadian Press
Zoom said the glitch was likely due to a localized internet service issue. The platform has seen a meteoric rise in users, thanks to remote work and online learning against the backdrop of stay-at-home orders. Separately, telecom operator Verizon Communication Inc's internet services were also affected earlier, with nearly 5,400 users registering complaints at 10 a.m. ET, according to Downdetector.
SOUTH DUNDAS – Two employees of the Municipality of South Dundas have left their positions in the last month, and a third person is retiring. Recreation program coordinator Jamie Scott resigned from his position, with his last day being on February 16th. Scott was with the municipality for nearly two years and hired in May 2019. Meagan Bingley, who was business retention and expansion coordinator for South Dundas’ economic development department, departed to return to the insurance industry. Bingley was hired in October 2020. Director of Corporate Services andClerk Brenda Brunt informed council last week of her upcoming retirement. Her nearly 31 year career with South Dundas and pre-amalgamation Williamsburg Township has seen Brunt serve as clerk, marriage commissioner and at one point acting-CAO. More information on Brunt’s retirement will be presented in a report to council, which is expected on March 22nd. Phillip Blancher, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Leader
While applicant and the Township are working to iron out concerns with a proposed townhouse project in King City, the matter is still headed to an LPAT hearing. Councillors, staff and members of the public offered input into Stateview Homes’ plan to build 49 residential cluster townhouses on Keele Street. The applicants are seeking amendments to zoning and King’s Official Plan to allow for the development. A public meeting was initially held in March 2019 and since then, both the applicant and Township staff have held working meetings. This led to two revised applications. The applications have been appealed to LPAT and a hearing is scheduled for this coming June. The outstanding issues include consideration for King’s OP, the proposed density, environmental buffers and traffic concerns. The property is currently zoned established neighbourhood, which doesn’t permit large-scale development. Townhouses are not considered a suitable use in this zoning. Staff said this application is fundamentally opposed to current planning rules and fails to meet many criteria. The applicant wants to redesignate the lands as medium density, but they’re currently deemed low density, limited to 25 units per hectare. The bid is to up that to 40 units per hectare. King plans also require vegetative buffers of 30 meters adjacent to natural heritage features, and this plan has zones that vary from 20 to 46 metres. The application included three-storey townhouses, but the surrounding neighbourhood is largely single, detached homes. An architectural design is still under review. Staff have been working with the applicant to address compatibility, particularly the lots in the eastern and southern boundaries. Also, staff are concerned with some minimum lot areas, as well as front and side yard setbacks. Staff are also concerned with limited amenity space. They favour further revision to include fewer or small units, which would allow for better lot coverage and comply with zoning provisions. Staff noted concerns have been raised over access to the site and traffic generated. Residents have asked that traffic lights be installed. However, the current application does not propose any signals. At this time, staff will report back to the Committee of the While, prior to the LPAT hearing, to outline the status of the applications and any further revisions. Consultant Murray Evans, representing Stateview, said this plan has several credible elements and they’ve made changes to improve setbacks, in hopes to mitigating any impacts on existing residents. He admitted there’s work to be done, mostly of a technical nature. The zoning standards, he contends, are reflective or an urban area. Their objective is to create a pedestrian-friendly street front. The issue of access is important to them, he said, noting they are working with the Township on the signal lights, perhaps at Norman. Bruce Craig, on behalf of Concerned Citizens of King Township (CCKT), said rows of townhouses will drastically change the streetscape. The combination of the five lots along the edge of the East Humber River Valley provides an excellent setting and opportunity to create an attractive residential subdivision with clusters of new homes that integrate well with the surrounding neighbourhood known as Heritage Park. However, in CCKT’s view there would need to be significant changes to the present concept and site plan. Reducing the number of residential units and including two or three different forms of housing arranged carefully on this large parcel of land would address a number of concerns. Many mature trees could be preserved, impervious surface area reduced, the 30-metre buffer retained and a suitable transition to neighbouring lots achieved. The Established Neighbourhood designation in the new King Ofﬁcial Plan is intended to maintain the character and general fabric of the surrounding residential neighbourhood. The current proposal, with a density of 40 units/ha and blocks of three-storey townhouses does not achieve the goals or intent of the designation, the group points out. Regarding the revised site plan submitted by Stateview Homes in December 2020, CCKT recognizes several improvements, which include screening, retention of trees, wider planting strips, and more. CCKT said the density of proposal “far exceeds what is envisioned in the Established Neighbourhood designation.” The group would like the number of units reduced substantially. Craig pointed out that the blocks of townhouses stretching along Keele Street with small spaces between blocks is “not appealing and does not complement and integrate well in the existing neighbourhood with a more open space character.” They’d like to see the plan include single-detached, semi-detached, duplexes and/or one or two well-designed small blocks of two-storey townhouses carefully placed on the overall property to integrate well with homes in the existing neighbourhood. Also, the building heights of 12.5 metres is “far beyond the heights of the surrounding residential units which are made up of bungalows, and two-storey dwellings. Heights need to be reduced. CCKT recommends a maximum height of 9.0 metres.” CCKT advocates for retaining the full 30-metre buffer, and recommends that residential units and lots be adjusted to be completely outside of the buffer zone. CCKT, to, would like to see signalization at Norman Drive and the roadway entrance into High Crown Estates. Signals with sensors should be installed to allow the traffic to ﬂow well on Keele Street, and to provide for access on to Keele Street from Norman Drive and the High Crown Estates roadway in peak rush hour times. Dennison Drive should not be used for through trafﬁc in and out of this site. CCKT contends that with “signiﬁcant revisions to the current site plan, a creative and attractive subdivision plan can be achieved that is well-received by the neighbouring community.” Resident Jennifer Hobbs, representing King Heritage Park Ratepayers Association, made a comprehensive presentation to council. Her group represents some 220 King City residents. While residents understand growth pressures, this development doesn’t quite fit in with the neighbourhood and needs to be more forward-thinking. “If there is to be departure from the existing character of the neighbourhood, the development needs to provide adequate transition,” she said. The site includes many natural heritage features and is home to many mature trees and wildlife. The fear is many of these trees will be removed to make room for the development. Official Plan mandates, she said, include achieving a high degree of compatibility; minimizing impacts to vegetation, and having no negative impacts on adjacent properties. KHPRA, she stressed, is trying to ensure compatibility. The bid could change the design to soften the impact, and provide wider transition buffers. They suggest reducing the building height, setting buildings back further from the road, and planting larger streets. Increase traffic congestion is a major concern among residents. Hobbs said backups are common on Keele and this project will make matters even worse. It will add pressure to Keele and neighbouring streets, most of which don’t have sidewalks. The proposal, KHPRA contends, has no park space, and no safe pedestrian crossing. The group said they’re willing to work with the applicant and the Township to see a development that meets the needs of the community. There’s a need to find a balance between growth and residents’ safe enjoyment of their properties and the surrounding neighbourhood. “The latest changes to the proposal are an improvement, but still a long way from a plan that KHPRA would find acceptable.” A Martin Street resident said her street has become a shortcut for motorists, and traffic in her area is often at a standstill. She is concerned the new development will add to the mayhem in this family neighbourhood. She said there needs to be a plan for pedestrian safety, as well as adequate traffic calming measures. Mayor Steve Pellegrini said staff, through its traffic management plan, is always looking at speed limits in King’s villages. Another man said the project still has many deficiencies and he’d like to see two sets of traffic lights in the area. Mark Pavilons, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, King Weekly Sentinel
Walk-in testing clinics have been set up in the Miramichi region, Zone 7, amid new cases and "the likelihood of a variant being present," Public Health said Wednesday. The mass testing clinic is intended to determine if there has been any further spread in the area, the department said. Testing will be available without an appointment for individuals who do not have any symptoms of COVID-19, and will be held on Thursday and Friday, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., in the gymnasium of the Dr. Losier Middle School, 124 Henderson St., in Miramichi. Screening tests will be done on a first-come, first-served basis. Asymptomatic people do not need to self-isolate while awaiting results, unless advised to do so by Public Health. People with symptoms are asked to request a test online or to call Tele-Care 811 to get an appointment at the nearest screening centre. There are currently 37 active cases in the province.(CBC News) Three new cases reported Public Health reported three new cases in two zones on Wednesday. The cases break down in this way: Fredericton region, Zone 3, two cases: two people 20 to 29 years old. Both cases are travel-related and both individuals are self-isolating. Miramichi region, Zone 7, one case: an individual 50 to 59 years old. The case is under investigation and the person is self-isolating. The number of confirmed cases in New Brunswick is 1,438, and the number of active cases is 37. Since Tuesday, two people have recovered for a total of 1,372 recoveries. There have been 28 deaths. Three patients are in hospital, and two of them are in intensive care. A total of 230,540 tests have been conducted, including 753 since Tuesday's report. Exposure notifications in Miramichi Public Health has identified potential public exposures to the virus at the following locations in Zone 7. Individuals who tested positive were in these establishments, but do not have the exact times they were present in these businesses, the department said, "but it is believed it was for a short duration on these dates": Sobeys, 273 Pleasant St., Feb. 15, Feb. 19, Feb. 24 and Feb. 25 Atlantic Superstore, 408 King George Hwy, Feb. 15, Feb. 23 and Feb. 28 Shoppers Drug Mart, 397 King George Hwy, Feb. 15, Feb. 17 and Feb. 26 Dollarama, 100 Douglastown Blvd., Feb. 20 Winners, 2441 King George Hwy, Feb. 22 and Feb. 24 Giant Tiger, 2441 King George Hwy, Feb. 24 Walmart, 200 Douglastown Blvd., Feb. 24 Bulk Barn, 100-99 Douglastown Blvd. on Feb. 27 NB Liquor, 221 Pleasant St., Feb. 27 What to do if you have a symptom People concerned they might have COVID-19 symptoms can take a self-assessment test online. Public Health says symptoms shown by people with COVID-19 have included: A fever above 38 C. A new cough or worsening chronic cough. Sore throat. Runny nose. Headache. New onset of fatigue, muscle pain, diarrhea, loss of sense of taste or smell. Difficulty breathing. In children, symptoms have also included purple markings on the fingers and toes. People with one of those symptoms should: Stay at home. Call Tele-Care 811 or their doctor. Describe symptoms and travel history. Follow instructions.
CHARLOTTETOWN — Health officials in Prince Edward Island say there is no evidence of widespread community transmission and the health orders that closed schools and most non-essential businesses for three days will end at midnight Wednesday. Chief medical officer of health Dr. Heather Morrison told reporters that health officials haven't identified the source of an outbreak on the Island. But, she said, officials believe "there is a link" between the cluster of cases in Summerside and Charlottetown that led them to impose a three-day lockdown. "All new cases detected over the weekend are linked to other cases and close contacts or to travel outside of the province," Morrison said. "We are not seeing unlinked cases and there is no evidence of widespread community transmission." Premier Dennis King said the 11,000 COVID-19 tests conducted since the weekend provide confidence restrictions can be eased. "These are decisions we are comfortable in making because of the information we have gained through the testing," King said Wednesday. "We encourage Islanders to remain extremely vigilant and to continue to practise public health protocols, not just for your own safety but for the safety of all Islanders," he added. Morrison reported one new case of COVID-19 Wednesday, involving a woman in her 20s who is a close contact of a previously reported case. The woman has mild symptoms and is self-isolating. Morrison said results from about 800 tests are still pending, so there may be more positive cases. There are 22 active reported cases in the province — the highest number since the start of the pandemic. She said the three-day modified red alert gave officials time to determine the extent of the outbreak and to interrupt the chain of transmission. Starting Thursday, the province returns to the circuit-breaker measures announced last Saturday, which will remain in place until 8 a.m. on March 14. Each household can identify up to six consistent individuals to gather with. Organized gatherings are limited to 50 people and include concerts, worship services, movie theatre viewings, weddings and funerals. Fitness facilities, museums, libraries and retail stores can operate at up to 50 per cent of standard operating capacity. Morrison said the province expects to get the first shipment of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine in the next week. King said he spoke to the prime minister Tuesday and told him P.E.I. will gladly accept the newly approved vaccine. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 3, 2021. The Canadian Press