A curious otter hops around a dock on a snowy day in Burnaby, B.C.
A curious otter hops around a dock on a snowy day in Burnaby, B.C.
If Nick Legault could play disc golf everyday, he would. He gets his fix throwing his shiny discs at large five-gallon buckets, hanging off trees on the temporary nine-hole course at Langholm Park in St. Albert. A UDisc app showed the course, set up in June, was popular with players last summer. "We had over 500 recorded rounds," said Legault, who monitored usage via the app. "We know that not everyone's recording their rounds so that number's greater, so it worked out to be about three to four rounds per day," said Legault. He says the St. Albert Disc golf Facebook page now sits at over 100 members. In December Legault made a presentation to St. Albert councillors on the popularity of the sport and the need for a permanent location. Legault says the mature trees in Langholm Park and the size of the park make it an ideal spot. "After a successful summer of being able to measure how many people have used the course through the UDisc app, we wanted to present that report back to city council because their request was to help us understand the need, so we hope we demonstrated that," Legault said. The popularity of the sport is growing in surrounding communities too, with established courses in Beaumont, Spruce Grove, Wetaskiwin, Strathcona County, and several in Edmonton. 'Hole in one' The course in Edmonton's Rundle Park is busy 365 days a year. "It doesn't matter if it's warm, cold, rainy, sunny, just it's fresh air and friends, and trying to get a hole in one, " said Michael Elliot who was getting in a round with two friends last week. The rules are simple. Players throw discs at a target several hundred yards away. There are no fees, golf carts or wait times. Disc golf uses weighted discs. Some players carry more than 20 in their bags which can be worth as much as $500. Beginners, however, can find discs for as little as $12. "I actually had never heard about it before," said Kenny Cardinal, who's new to the sport. "The scene at Rundle Park is getting really big. I met these guys here this year and they're kind of showing me the ropes." The Hills at Charlesworth in southeast Edmonton is one city's newest courses. 'Don't have to pay for fees' Each hole has a concrete launching area, much like a tee box, with the rolling hills and trees providing an added challenge to golfers. With the pandemic, Eric Hanson was looking for something that wouldn't break AHS protocols. "This is different. It's just more casual; there's no tee times; there's no booking; I don't have to pay for fees," said Hanson who picked up his first set of discs last summer. "It allows us to be six feet apart and be with your friends outside safely, so that's good," he said. Morgan Chase is also a beginner. "I just started with two discs," he said. "They're like golf clubs, they do different things some turn, some dive so I've just been collecting discs and having fun out here." Others have taken their passion for the game one step further. Aaron Biblow moved into the neighbourhood two blocks away from The Hills last summer, saying the disc golf course was a huge selling point. "I figured that it was an outdoor sport I could get into and then just living nearby, I'll just run out on my break and throw a quick round and head home," Biblow said. Legault has also played at The Hills at Charlesworth course and says Langholm Park, if made permanent, would have a similar feel. "We're hoping we can get through the public engagement and park assessment over the winter and then hopefully get some baskets in for the summer so that people can come and try it out with a real target.
Quebec's police watchdog is investigating a series of altercations that started inside a cannabis store in Montreal's west end, and left three people unconscious, including a police officer. At around 5:40 p.m. on Monday, a man who appeared to be intoxicated physically assaulted another man inside the Société québécoise du cannabis store on Queen Mary Road in the Côte-Des-Neiges—Notre-Dame-De-Grâce borough, according to the information provided to the province's police watchdog, also known as the BEI. Once Montreal police arrived, the man who started the initial fight is said to have assaulted one of the officers. More officers showed up, and they unsuccessfully tried to neutralize him with a telescopic stick, according to the press release from the BEI. The man is said to have suffered a head injury during the altercation with police and he was eventually handcuffed. He was unconscious while being transported to hospital. The BEI's statement does not specify how he was injured. The police watchdog has assigned eight investigators to verify the initial information that was provided. The seriousness of the man and the officer's injuries are not known.
BETHEL, Alaska — Residents of an Alaska village met with health officials and government agencies to consider methods to restore running water after a fire destroyed the community's water plant. The Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation has provided bottled water and hand sanitizer to residents of Tuluksak since the community's water plant and laundromat burned Jan. 16. Alaska State Troopers said the fire burned as residents of the Alaska Native community northeast of Bethel unsuccessfully tried to douse the flames with water hauled from the Tuluksak River. Health corporation President Dan Winkelman said in a statement that everything possible will be done to help restore Tuluksak's water service. “We understand the importance of this resource, and our staff will continue to work hand-in-hand with Tribal, state, and federal representatives to bring about solutions to restore access to it as quickly as possible,” Winkelman said. The corporation hosted a meeting last week for local, state and federal agencies. The groups discussed connecting a community well to the school, which is equipped to provide running water. Residents could temporarily use the system for laundry and to transfer water to their homes. John Nichols of the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium, who attended the meeting, said the Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation has a portable water treatment plant in Bethel that could be operational in the village by the summer. But officials must determine if the plant can purify water from the Tuluksak River, a tributary of the Kuskokwim River. Residents have previously complained to the state Legislature about sediment making Tuluksak River water unsafe to drink. Nichols said purifying the water would require different processes than those used in other water sources. “If you were to, say, look at the waters of the Kenai River versus the Copper River versus the Kuskokwim River, you can tell just by looking that the water quality is very, very different,” Nichols said. If the corporation's purifier does not work, a portable system from the continental U.S. may be required. The tribe must verify whether the building was insured before agencies can release funds to subsidize any system. Community officials said the person who has the insurance information was not immediately available after testing positive for COVID-19. The Associated Press
The Municipality of Whitestone is considering launching an education campaign on invasive species in the region. Reports of Japanese knotweed in the Dunchurch area were brought to council over two years ago and, in October 2020, Coun. Joe Lamb brought the issue up again. During the Jan. 18 meeting, Coun. Beth Gorham-Matthews presented to council some recommendations on how to educate both municipal staff and the public. Some of the recommendations include webinars for residents, online training for staff and a clean equipment policy. Here are five quotes from the council discussion. “What the Ontario Invasive Plant Council suggests is whenever starting a program of invasive species, it’s best to begin with education and not just the education of the public, but for our staff as well because this is something new,” said Gorham-Matthews. “We have discussed putting a line in the (2021) budget for invasive species and I think the chief administrative officer (Michelle Hendry) thought $5,000 would be good for this year in terms of educating staff, public and doing these webinars,” said Gorham-Matthews. “We have applied for the TD Environmental Grant and we should hear back in April on that, which will go toward our training. We’re looking at protocols for clean equipment. I have reached out to the MTO and I’m waiting to hear back on the Japanese knotweed at the Highway 124 and Narrows bridge in Dunchurch,” said David Creaser, public works manager for Whitestone. “I’m supportive of the budget, I’m supportive of what you’re doing — my concern is we’re not scientists. I don’t want us to be doing things that (should) be assessed by the ministry that’s responsible. I don’t want our staff trickling over the bounds of what we should be doing and I’m concerned about liability that may come out of that … but no problems with training the staff but it should be limited,” said Lamb. “The Ontario Invasive Plant Council recommended a clean equipment policy ... where contractors we hire to come in and do work in the municipality have cleaned their equipment (beforehand) so that seeds and dirt that may be infected with invasive species don’t get transmitted from one area to another,” said Gorham-Matthews. The courses recommended for staff and the public, as quoted by the Georgian Bay Biosphere Reserve, would cost $650 for staff training and $900 for public outreach. Sarah Cooke’s reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative. Sarah Cooke, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Parry Sound North Star
JAKARTA, Indonesia — Indonesia’s confirmed coronavirus infections since the pandemic began crossed 1 million on Tuesday and hospitals in some hard-hit areas were near capacity. Indonesia’s Health Ministry announced that new daily infections rose by 13,094 on Tuesday to bring the country’s total to 1,012,350, the most in Southeast Asia. The total number of deaths reached 28,468. The milestone comes just weeks after Indonesian launched a massive campaign to inoculate two-thirds of the country's 270 million people, with President Joko Widodo receiving the first shot of a Chinese-made vaccine. Health care workers, military, police, teachers and other at-risk populations are being prioritized for the vaccine in the world's fourth most populous country. Officials have said that Indonesia will require almost 427 million doses, taking into account the estimate that 15% of doses may be wasted during the distribution process in the vast nation of more than 17,000 islands, where transportation and infrastructure are limited in places. Jakarta continues to be hardest hit city in Indonesia, confirming more than 254,000 cases as of Tuesday, including 4,077 deaths. Only 8.5% of a total 8,066 hospital beds in the city were left for new patients as of Tuesday, while beds with ventilators were filled. Other provinces across the country’s most densely populated island of Java, such as West Java, East Java and Yogyakarta, have also been seeing high bed occupancy rates, up to 95%, in the past few weeks. Even in Jakarta’s neighbouring province of Banten, the occupancy rates reached 100% last week. Health Ministry data showed hospital capacity nationwide was at about 70%. Abdul Kadir, the director general of health services at the ministry, called the situation “dire.” The government has issued a circular urging private hospital owners across the country to allocate up to 40% of beds for COVID-19 patients, Kadir said. Health experts have warned that adding hospital beds is merely a quick fix that will eventually falter if the number of daily cases continues to rise. Health policy expert Masdalina Pane from the Indonesian Epidemiologists Association said the government should instead amplify testing and tracing efforts as well as reinforcing health protocols and ensuring public compliance. She said high positivity rates are a sign of insufficient testing and wide transmission of the virus, and efforts to force asymptomatic people to quarantine at home would help slow the spread of the virus. The number of coronavirus-related cases and deaths has been rising dramatically since early December, prompting seven regional governments on the islands of Java and Bali to reimpose restrictions on public activity. The virus has killed more than 11,000 people in Indonesia since Dec. 1, representing 40% of the total number of casualties since the outbreak started in early March. “This is time for us to mourn as many of our brothers and sisters have died, including more than 600 healthcare workers, while dealing with pandemic,” said Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin said Tuesday in a televised addresss. He vowed his ministry will continue to proactively implement measures to curb the spread of the virus and urged people to observe health guidelines with discipline to reduce the burden of the country’s healthcare system. “This 1 million figure gives an indication that all Indonesian people must work together with the government to fight against the pandemic even harder,” Gunadi said. Niniek Karmini And Edna Tarigan, The Associated Press
A 23-year-old man has been sentenced to more than five years in federal prison for a violent home invasion in 2019 and assaulting two correctional officers while in jail awaiting trial. Luc Roger Nowlan of Dieppe pleaded guilty to charges of assault with a knife, break and enter and uttering death threats to a woman on May 13, 2019. He also pleaded guilty to assaulting two correctional officers in August and September 2019. "This was a planned and deliberate home invasion," provincial court Judge Ronald LeBLanc said of Nowlan's May 2019 crimes as he sentenced Nowlan on Monday afternoon. Crown prosecutor Maurice Blanchard outlined the facts of the case to the judge before Nowlan was sentenced. Blanchard told the judge that Nowlan exchanged Facebook messages with a woman he knew from school, asking if she wanted to buy marijuana. She refused, and Blanchard said there was a "heated argument" online. Tape, rope and knives used A week later, Blanchard said, the woman heard someone coming to her door and recognized Nowlan. He kicked the door open, punched the woman and pulled out a knife and tape. Blanchard said Nowlan was holding her down, trying to tie her up and stabbing the knife into walls and a counter. Blanchard said the woman was terrified, but didn't want to scream because she was worried it would further upset Nowlan. While swinging the knife around, he cut the woman in several places. "This was somewhat of a drawn-out incident," Blanchard told the judge. At one point, the prosecutor said Nowlan stabbed the knife into a wall and it got stuck. The woman saw a chance to escape and ran to a bedroom, closing the door behind her. She ran through a patio door out onto the street, flagging down a driver for help. "She said she was very worried throughout this," the Crown said. "But what scared her most was that he said words to the effect of 'I'm not going to to stab you, I'm going to have to kill you.'" Nowlan also admitted hitting a correctional officer while in jail on Aug. 8, 2019, and then pulling a shank made of plastic. A second assault occurred in jail on Sept. 25, 2019, involving a different correctional officer. Clearly, he has a significant mental illness, that cannot be denied, and he has an extreme addiction issue. - Defence lawyer Alex Pate In issuing the sentence, LeBlanc read extensively from a psychological report by Dr. Julian Gojer prepared for the defence, which traced Nowlan's addiction to drugs and declining mental state leading up to the crimes. The report described how Nowlan had started using various drugs in his late teenage years and sometimes wouldn't sleep for days. The report indicated Nowlan became mistrustful and paranoid of his parents, claiming they were filming him and posting the video online and making millions of dollars from it. The judge said Nowlan experienced drug-induced psychosis. He said the report points to a major mental illness, either a psychosis or schizophrenia. "Clearly, he has a significant mental illness, that cannot be denied, and he has an extreme addiction issue," Alex Pate, Nowlan's defence lawyer, told the judge. 'I feel bad about it' Nowlan told the judge he didn't mean to harm anyone, and that he's not a violent person. "I feel bad about it, I wish I would've never done it," he said. The judge pointed out he was sentencing Nowlan for three different violence offences and Nowlan previously assaulted his father. LeBlanc imposed an overall sentence of six years for the home invasion, 18 additional months for assaulting a correctional officer with a plastic shank, and 30 more days for assaulting the second correctional officer. Nowlan was given 933 days credit toward his prison time for the time he's spent in custody since arrest, reducing the total time he'll spend in prison to just over five years.
It was a tough year here on Earth, but 2020 was a bright spot for space exploration. SpaceX sent its futuristic Starship to new heights, three countries launched Mars missions, and robots grabbed debris from the moon and an asteroid. Next year promises more, including a planned launch of the Hubble Space Telescope’s successor. Perhaps it's no surprise then that space themes are having a moment in home decor. When so many of us Earthlings are stuck at home because of the pandemic, space imagery can add a sense of adventure or whimsy to rooms, walls and ceilings. “I’ve done outer space, and starry skies," says New York interior designer Patrice Hoban. "My clients love using stars as a backdrop in nurseries. I’ve also worked with glow-paint to add an extra pop to kids rooms and home theatres.” She sticks tiny glow-in-the-dark stars to the ceiling; the light can last for hours. “It’s the closest thing I’ve found to being in a planetarium,” she says. Rachel Magana, senior visual designer at the sustainable furniture-rental company Fernish, picked up some cosmological decorating ideas from a colleague’s recent nursery project. “Base your colour palette around deep blue tones, then splash in bits of colour like yellow, white or red,” she says. “Or create your own galaxy wall,” she says. “Paint a blue wall, then use some watered-down white paint to splatter it with fine droplets. You may just create some new constellations.” She suggests adding fun, space-agey lamps, and vintage NASA posters. Outer space has inspired designers for decades. In the 1960s, the “space race” between the U.S. and the Soviet Union, along with the development of space age-y, synthetic materials, led to a surge in futuristic furniture like moulded plastic chairs and Sputnik-shaped lighting. These days, you can download artwork directly from NASA: https://solarsystem.nasa.gov/, or find it at retailers like Red Bubble, Etsy and Zazzle. Magana also suggests making a letter board with a space-themed quote like Neil Armstrong’s famous “One small step for man” phrase. Much of the astronomy-themed art in the marketplace would be striking in any room. There are lunar graphics on canvas at Target. Tempaper’s got constellation wallpapers, but if you can’t do wallpaper, consider Kenna Sato Designs’ constellation decals for walls or ceilings. Galaxy Lamps has a sphere that looks like a planetoid. Charge it up with the included USB and cycle through 16 colours with three lighting modes. There’s a moon version, too. And at Beautiful Halo, find a collection of rocket-ship ceiling fixtures. German designer Jan Kath has created a rug collection called Spacecrafted inspired by imagery of gas clouds and asteroid nebulae from the Hubble telescope. Studio Greytak, in Missoula, Montana, has designed a Jupiter lamp out of the mineral aragonite, depicting the whirling, turbulent gases of the planet. And there’s the Impact table, where a chunk of desert rose crystals is embedded with cast glass, as though a piece of asteroid had plunged into a pool. Zodiac wall decals and a Milky Way throw rug can be found at Project Nursery. There are hanging mobiles of the planets and of stars and clouds, at both Crate & Kids and Pottery Barn Kids. A glow-in-the-dark duvet cover printed with the solar system is also at PBK, but if you’re ready to really head to the stars, check out Snurk Living’s duvet set. The studio, owned by Dutch designers Peggy van Neer and Erik van Loo, has designed the set photoprinted with a life-size astronaut suit. Creating a night sky on the ceiling of a home theatre seems to be popular; Houzz has hundreds of examples for inspiration. Maydan Architects in Palo Alto, California, designed one for a recent project. “Our client’s grandfather was the owner of multiple movie theatres,” says Mary Maydan. “One of them had a retractable ceiling that enabled guests to experience the starry sky at night. When our client decided to build their home theatre, this installation was actually fulfilling a lifelong dream." The ceiling isn’t retractable, but has an eight-paneled fixture depicting the Milky Way and a shooting star. “It provides very soft light and was intended to be kept on during the screening of the movie and create a magical experience,” says Maydan. ___ Kim Cook writes AP's Right at Home column, which looks at themes in home decor and home products. Follow her at: www.kimcookhome.com Kim Cook, The Associated Press
Le ministère des Transports du Québec (MTQ) a statué. Une aire d’attente de 300 véhicules ainsi qu’une zone de préchargement seront aménagées à l’approche de la traverse de Tadoussac afin d’atteindre l’objectif des traversées aux 20 minutes. L’instance gouvernementale avait plusieurs scénarios dans la mire, dont cinq ont été analysés plus en détail. « L’option retenue est celle qui répond au plus grand nombre de besoins exprimés par les intervenants du milieu que nous avons rencontrés comme la municipalité, les citoyens, les commerçants, la SÉPAQ et la Société des traversiers du Québec (STQ) », a indiqué Lysanne Girard, lors de la présentation publique virtuelle du projet aux Tadoussaciens le 20 janvier. Ce scénario prévoit deux voies de circulation en direction est (vers Baie-Comeau), deux voies de circulation, réduites à une voie près de l’intersection de la rue des Pionniers, en direction ouest (vers Québec), une zone de préchargement (près du quai d’embarquement) et une aire d’attente hors route (face à l’Hôtel Georges) du côté sud. À l’entrée de la zone de préchargement, le MTQ prévoit deux systèmes de transport intelligent permettant de contrôler le processus d’embarquement. Il permettra, selon le MTQ, de respecter un délai de 20 minutes comprenant l’embarquement, la traversée et le débarquement des véhicules en plus d’éliminer l’attente en zone urbaine. « De plus, les utilisateurs auront un accès permanent à la voie de secours (lit d’arrêt) par la voie locale en libérant la zone en bas de la côte. L’accès aux rues municipales et aux commerces en sera également bonifié grâce à l’élargissement des voies de circulation, entre autres », de préciser Mme Girard. Même si plusieurs citoyens et résidents de la Côte-Nord contestent la nécessité de ce projet dont les coûts sont estimés à plus de 50 M$ en raison de la possibilité de construire un pont sur le Saguenay, il n’était pas permis d’interroger les intervenantes du ministère sur le sujet lors de la rencontre publique. « Nous ne discuterons que du projet qui nous concerne, celui du pont sur le Saguenay en étant un autre bien distinct », a précisé la conseillère en communications Sarah Gaudreault. Quelques questionnements de citoyens sont survenus à la fin de la rencontre en ce qui concerne le bruit et la certitude d’effectuer les traversées aux 20 minutes. « Actuellement, il y a seulement une voie pour embarquer. Ce que la solution propose, avec la zone de préchargement, on devrait être en mesure d’embarquer avec les deux rampes, donc à deux voies. La STQ pourra venir précharger pour accélérer le processus, ce qu’elle n’est pas en mesure de faire pour le moment », a répondu Marie-Hélène Grenon, ingénieure au MTQ. Rappelons qu’en 2009, le MTQ et la Société des Traversiers du Québec (STQ) ont annoncé la construction de deux nouveaux navires d’une plus grande capacité (110 véhicules au lieu de 72) pour améliorer le service offert aux usagers de la traverse. L’objectif était d’offrir des traversées aux 20 minutes. « Des interventions seront nécessaires afin d’améliorer la fluidité de la circulation sur la rue du Bateau-Passeur (route 138) et de permettre le passage des véhicules en 20 minutes (embarquement, traversée et débarquement) », a conclu l’intervenante du MTQ. Le projet de réaménagement des voies à la traverse de Tadoussac-Baie-Sainte-Catherine en est présentement à l’étape de la conception, soit à l’avant-projet préliminaire. Prochaines étapes \- Octroi du mandat de conception par un appel d’offres public; \- Évaluation environnementale; \- Plans d’acquisition ; \- Inventaire archéologique; \- Appel d’offres pour la réalisation des travaux; \- Construction; \- Environ 5 à 8 ans seront nécessaires pour compléter le projet.Johannie Gaudreault, Initiative de journalisme local, Journal Haute-Côte-Nord
The European Union says it may move to curb shipments of COVID-19 vaccines to other countries after manufacturer AstraZeneca reported major production problems.
Des sculptures de glace dignes des expositions d’hiver les plus impressionnantes sont présentement exhibées devant l’entrée de la bibliothèque du Pôle culturel de Chambly, pour le plus grand plaisir des visiteurs. Suivant l’exposition des toiles d’Angélique Ricard, qu’il est aussi possible d’admirer, il s’agit de la deuxième exposition tenue au Pôle culturel depuis le début de la nouvelle année. De la magie entre les doigts La Ville de Chambly décrit l’œuvre du sculpteur de glace professionnel, Nicolas Godon, comme étant le « résultat d’un travail minutieux alliant la technique et la beauté de la nature », et elle n’a pas tort. Les quatre sculptures ont été façonnées par Nicolas Godon, des Entreprises Godon, basées à Mont-Tremblant, sous la thématique de l’hiver. Il s’est notamment servi de scies, mécanique et électrique, puis de couteaux pour sculpter dans 16 blocs de glace cristalline, de 300 lb chacun, afin de modeler les formes d’envergure qu’il a imaginées : des patins et des flocons tombants, un ours polaire et un pingouin taillés un peu à l’image des figurines en cristal de la marque Swarovski, mais en format géant. Le travail aurait pris une huitaine d’heures. « C’est un peu comme travailler le bois, mais en termes de finition, c’est un peu plus spécifique de la glace. » Une lignée de sculpteurs aguerris Diplômé en charpenterie et en menuiserie, Nicolas n’était pas particulièrement prédestiné à être sculpteur professionnel comme son père, Laurent Godon, un sculpteur de renommée internationale. C’est en travaillant avec lui pour l’aider au sein de l’entreprise familiale qu’il s’est découvert une véritable passion pour la sculpture sur glace, au point de s’y consacrer professionnellement. Parmi les événements notoires auxquels père et fils ont participé, on compte la Fête des neiges de Montréal, le Mondial des cidres de glace, Montréal en lumière et beaucoup d’autres. « Les Entreprises Godon, c’est une vocation qui se transmet de père en fils. C’est mon père qui m’a appris à sculpter. Je fais de la sculpture depuis quinze ans, mais cela fait cinq ans que j’ai pris les rênes de la compagnie », raconte Nicolas. « C’est par le bouche à oreille que nous avons obtenu ce contrat avec la Ville de Chambly. Nous faisons de la sculpture un peu partout au Québec. Ça marche assez bien, cette année, surtout parce qu’avec la pandémie, les options sont plus limitées en termes de format d’exposition. Une exposition à l’extérieur est de circonstance. » Quant à la présente exposition, elle témoigne d’un style bien particulier. « Depuis les trois dernières années, environ, je fais des animaux en sortant un peu de l’ordinaire, comme de l’origami. C’est un peu moins conventionnel et ça fait changement de la sculpture traditionnelle. J’ai toujours mon idée de base, mais c’est en sculptant que ça se dévoile dans ma tête. » Il sera possible d’admirer les œuvres aussi longtemps que la température les conservera.Chloé-Anne Touma, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Journal de Chambly
A Saint Andrews councillor who recently voted on a new short-term rental bylaw for his town has a history of challenging an Airbnb proposal in his neighbourhood. But Coun. Guy Groulx says this situation doesn't put him in a conflict of interest position but rather gives him "insight" into the weaknesses of the town's current zoning bylaw, which will allow him to help the town create better planning rules. "It's hard to be completely separate in everything. And the only thing you can do is act in the best interests of the town," he said. In 2019, Groulx made a submission to the Southwest New Brunswick Service Commission's Planning Review and Adjustment Committee outlining his objections to a planning application filed by Garth and Marissa Browne. The Brownes had received the green light from the regional committee to have a unit in their Ernest Street home be used “to provide sleeping accommodation for the travelling public,” according to a planning report. Judy Hartford, a development officer with the commission, reported to the committee in July 2019 that the Brownes had a “strong case for a variance” to allow for this arrangement. The property was zoned for mixed-use and both single-family dwelling, and tourist homes fit into that usage, she noted. The variance was granted, but then Groulx appealed the decision to New Brunswick's Assessment and Planning Appeal Board. It ultimately ruled in Groulx's favour and overturned the decision by the planning committee. Groulx said the case demonstrates that the planning committee didn't let his position as a councillor influence its decision despite his presentations against the variance. Saint Andrews council recently passed the first reading of its short-term rental bylaw. If implemented, the bylaw will develop a permit system to regulate short-term rentals in the town. It could potentially limit the number of short-term rental permits to three per person. Groulx voted on that first reading. Garth Browne declined to comment for this story this week. In a previous interview with the Telegraph-Journal, Browne said the web of zoning bylaws is “scaring away young people from this community.” “Which is a shame,” he added. Town clerk Paul Nopper said Saint Andrews' conflict of interest policy falls under the town's procedural bylaw and the Local Governance Act. A conflict of interest is defined as when a council member could make a personal profit or a financial gain from a decision. "As staff, I can't make judgment on it... From my personal point of view, and from what I've seen, there is no conflict of interest from Coun. Groulx," Nopper said, noting none of the council members own an Airbnb or any short-term rental. In the event of a conflict of interest, under the town's procedural bylaw, Saint Andrews council members have to declare any conflict themselves, and if they don't and there is a conflict, then there could be repercussions, such as an RCMP inquiry or investigation. Groulx said his duty as a councillor is to "promote the adherence and application of zoning bylaws." "I am not opposed to short-term rentals as they can play an important role in promoting tourism in our community, but a balance must be struck that protects the affordable housing stocks, respects the rights of neighbours and provides a level playing field with existing short-term rental providers," he said in an emailed statement. Deputy Mayor Brad Henderson said he's recused himself in the past from multiple debates, sometimes even if it's just because of a perceived conflict of interest. Groulx said he has recused himself before too. "It's a small community," Henderson said. "You certainly have to be more careful, in the fact that everybody knows everybody else, or seems to have a friend or a neighbour or a co-worker that's invested in a particular interest. So you do have to be careful." - With files from Mike Landry The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada. L'initiative de journalisme local est financée par le gouvernement du Canada. Caitlin Dutt, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Telegraph-Journal
While two-thirds of Canadians believe the new U.S. president's cancellation of a key permit for the Keystone XL pipeline expansion is bad for Alberta, most outside that province and Saskatchewan believe it's time to accept the decision and move on, a new poll suggests. Alberta Premier Jason Kenney has called President Joe Biden's decision to effectively kill the $8 billion US project an insult from the United States to its biggest trading partner and wants Ottawa to slap sanctions against the U.S. However, according to a poll released Tuesday by the Angus Reid Institute, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau must balance support for Alberta's economy against national public sentiment that is deeply divided along regional lines. The institute says its latest polling data found that 65 per cent of Canadians say Biden's decision is a "bad thing" for Alberta. At the same time, the majority of respondents in B.C., Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic Canada feel it is time to accept the decision and focus instead on other issues affecting the Canada-U.S. relationship. "Despite majorities in each province recognizing the negative consequences the cancellation has for Alberta, and to a lesser extent, Canada as whole, the will to push back and try to reverse this decision is more milquetoast," said the institute's report. The poll found that three out of five Canadians are inclined to accept the pipeline's cancellation. In Quebec, 74 per cent of respondents are of that view. However, on the Prairies, a strong majority — 72 per cent in Alberta, and 67 per cent in Saskatchewan — would like to see the Biden White House undo the cancellation. People in Manitoba are split on the issue. Institute president Shachi Kurl says people in the rest of Canada feel there are other, more pressing issues. "And it's important to note this is not the issue that Canadians want to put first and foremost in terms of how they frame the next four years of Canada-U.S. relations," she said. The polling data also suggests that the Keystone XL issue is viewed through a different lens depending on where in the country respondents are from. Among Albertans, the poll found that 73 per cent see it more as an issue of jobs and the economy, while 27 per cent believe it should be seen as an issue related to climate change and the environment. In Quebec, 63 per cent view the issue more through the lens of the environment and climate change, versus 37 per cent that see it as a jobs and economy issue, the poll suggests. Political party allegiances also seemed to affect how respondents view the issue. "Given the strong support the federal Conservatives have in Alberta and Saskatchewan, it is unsurprising that four in five past Conservative voters would apply pressure to reauthorize Keystone XL. Roughly the same proportion of Liberal, NDP and Bloc Québécois supporters say the opposite," the report said. The view that the cancellation of Keystone XL will hurt Alberta's economy is highest among past Conservative Party of Canada voters, at 87 per cent, a concentration of whom are from Alberta, the poll suggests. By contrast, among past NDP voters, 52 per cent are of that view. The 1,897-kilometre pipeline, first proposed in 2005, would have carried 830,000 barrels of oilsands crude from Hardisty, Alta., to Nebraska, where it would then connect with the original Keystone that runs to U.S. Gulf Coast refineries. Emergency Keystone XL debate in Commons The House of Commons held an emergency debate Monday night regarding the scuttling of the pipeline project. Seamus O'Regan, Canada's natural resources minister, argued that while the loss of Keystone XL is a disappointment, the new U.S. administration represents an opportunity to work together with a government aligned with Canada's priorities on clean energy. Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole accused the government of not doing enough to advocate for the project that was creating thousands of good-paying jobs. "Canada has been dealt a serious blow…. These are Canadians, thousands of them, being totally forgotten and left behind by this government," he said. The Angus Reid Institute conducted its online survey from Jan. 20 to 24 among a representative randomized sample of 1,559 Canadian adults who are members of Angus Reid Forum. The institute says that for comparison purposes only, a probability sample of this size would carry a margin of error of plus or minus 2.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. The margin of error is larger for subsamples by province in the methodology statement.
COVID-19. Dominique Anglade, la cheffe du Parti libéral du Québec, voudrait que le premier ministre François Legault demande à la Santé publique d'étudier la possibilité de moduler les contraintes associées aux mesures sanitaires dans les régions moins touchées par la COVID-19. «Actuellement, plusieurs régions ont eu la chance d'être globalement épargnées par la pandémie. Bien qu'il y ait certaines éclosions et que la santé et la sécurité des Québécois demeurent nos priorités, ces régions doivent se résigner à appliquer les mêmes mesures sanitaires que les régions plus densifiées et aux prises avec une transmission beaucoup plus importante de cas et un taux d'hospitalisation en augmentation», expose Dominique Anglade, cheffe de l'opposition officielle. «Je demande à François Legault de considérer la particularité de ces régions et de demander à la Santé publique d'étudier en fonction de leur situation épidémiologique régionale, les impacts des contraintes associées aux mesures sanitaires établies de manière mur-à-mur sur l'ensemble du territoire du Québec. Évidemment, nous continuons à demander aux Québécois de suivre les consignes sanitaires», ajoute la cheffe libérale. Stéphane Lévesque, Initiative de journalisme local, L'Hebdo Journal
If supplies of COVID-19 Pfizer vaccines to Manitoba don’t resume, appointments at the Brandon vaccination supersite may need to be postponed. That’s according to Dr. Joss Reimer, a member of the province’s vaccination task force, who joined Dr. Brent Roussin for the daily COVID-19 update on Monday. "As you already know, last week, we were informed about a third reduction in our Pfizer vaccine shipments. Manitoba has been responsible in managing our vaccine supply, but we continue to see the effects of the supply reductions," said Reimer. The planned Feb. 1 supply dropped from 5,850 to 2,340 doses. "We had to stop making appointments for the supersites, both in Winnipeg and in Brandon. So far, we’ve been able to weather the supply disruptions better than most other jurisdictions based on the strategic approach that Manitoba has taken. However, we’re now in a position where we’re still concerned about ongoing supply and may have to postpone some of our appointments if the supplies don’t resume. Reimer said the province will receive an update from the federal government — which is responsible for vaccine deployment to provinces and territories — on Friday. The postponement decision will depend on what the province receives from the federal government on Feb. 8. "We will update Manitobans as soon as possible, most likely on Friday, to let them know if we are expecting that shipment to come in and what the implications are for people who have appointments coming up beginning next week," said Reimer. "We are going to be contacting everybody who has an appointment coming up to let them know about this unknown, as well. So, for now, we’re asking people to plan to keep their appointments for next week and the week after, but to keep your eye on the bulletins and on the website." As for the Northern health region, which has seen half of Manitoba’s new case counts, vaccines are headed up. Reimer said the phone line opened Monday morning to book appointments for the supersite in Thompson. Immunizers will begin putting needles in arms beginning Feb. 1. "This is a slight adjustment from our original plan because instead of using Pfizer, we’re using Moderna temporarily in Thompson," said Reimer. "Also building on feedback from the Northern health region, we will be scheduling appointments for eligible workers in The Pas and Flin Flon for the week of Feb. 8." Vaccination teams are on track to complete first doses at personal care homes by the end of this week — a week ahead of schedule — with enough doses to deliver a second round beginning the following week. The province also plans to release a priority list of all Manitobans Wednesday, with a tentative schedule for the entire vaccine rollout, which will depend on vaccine supply. "The dates that will be attached to that list will have to remain quite fluid because we still don’t know exactly when to expect the Pfizer numbers to change. But we will come up with at least the sequence for Manitobans," said Reimer. Reimer said, so far, there is a 70 to 80 per cent uptake in eligible health-care workers. She said there are various reasons some are taking the vaccine, including having health conditions, such as autoimmune conditions. That made them ineligible until the enhanced process was put in place. "Some people may have other health conditions or allergies that made them concerned and want to seek some opinion from their health-care provider before booking an appointment. Those folks may be in the process right now of discussing with their health-care provider whether or not the vaccine is the right decision," said Reimer. "We’ve also heard of health-care providers who wanted to let other people go first. They felt that their exposure or their own health status was such that they didn’t want to take up an appointment, when there’s other people who might be at higher risk because of their own health, their age." Reimer added 70 to 80 per cent is a high uptake rate for an immunization campaign. In personal care homes so far, the uptake is more than 90 per cent. Michèle LeTourneau, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Brandon Sun
The new role of Fredericton's poet laureate is still undecided. After a lengthy discussion council defeated a motion 6-5 that would have seen the role changed slightly, allowing the poet to not read at every council meeting and requiring four to six original poems. Instead, council sent the issue back to the livable communities committee for further consideration. "This is a clear case of much to do about nothing or almost nothing, really," said Coun. Stephen Chase. "I think the main issues for me are getting the cultural laureate that has original material and also engages the community. And I don't mind paying a bit more for those things." Chase, Stephen Hicks, Kevin Darrah, Bruce Grandy and Dan Keenan voted for the motion. "I didn't think that the scope was appropriate," said Coun. John MacDermid, who voted the motion down, along with Kate Rogers, Greg Ericson, Henri Mallet, Eric Price and Eric Megarity. "And in light of that, that subsequently the compensation was inappropriate," said MacDermid. "I felt that there was an opportunity for there to be more engagement between the poet laureate and council." The poet laureate receives $3,000 a year for two years, several councillors questioned whether that was appropriate compensation. Jenna Lyn Albert finished her two-year term as poet laureate Monday night. The last poem she "It's been a lovely two years," she said. "I have learned so much and had the opportunity to work with so many young impressionable poets who are really eager to explore the medium." For her last reading at council, she chose The Hill We Climb by Amanda Gorman, who read the poem at President Joe Biden's inauguration. The role of the poet laureate came into question after a meeting in September, where Albert read a poem about abortion access. Some councillors said the poem was too political. The issue will go back to staff for changes and come to council again in the coming months. In the meantime, council will do without a poetry reading at the beginning of meetings. "It's like hitting a reset button," said MacDermid. "'OK, guys, you know what? This is the moment where we start and sit down and get to business. Let's just take a pause before we move forward.' That's why this is important, contentious or not."
WASHINGTON — U.S. home prices jumped in November at the fastest pace in more than six years, fueled by demand for more living space as Americans stick closer to home during the pandemic. Home prices soared 9.1% in November compared with 12 months ago, according to Tuesday’s report on the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller 20-city home price index. That is the largest increase since May 2014. Low borrowing costs are also contributing to rising home sales, which have sharply reduced the number of dwellings available. The limited inventory of homes is pushing up home prices. Sales of existing homes rose in December and home sales for all of 2020 rose to the highest level in 14 years. Phoenix posted the largest price gain in November from a year earlier for the 18th straight month, with a 13.8% increase. Seattle's 12.7% gain was the second-highest, followed by San Diego at 12.3%. All 19 cities reported larger year-over-year price gains in November than in October. Detroit wasn’t able to fully report its home sales data because of delays related to a coronavirus lockdown. Home sales may slow in the coming months, consistent with declining sales in the winter, but are expected to remain elevated. The number of people who signed contracts to purchase homes fell in November compared with October, but was at a record high for November. Contract signings are usually followed by a completed sale within two months. Christopher Rugaber, The Associated Press
In a swift reversal of his previous comments, the Progressive Conservative candidate for Cartwright-L'Anse au Clair says he will continue to run in the provincial election after all. Joshua Nolan will remain in the race, telling CBC News he spoke with his campaign manager Tuesday morning and that chat convinced Nolan to continue campaigning. Nolan's flip-flop comes after he initially told CBC News in an email Monday night that he couldn't run in an election where a candidate — from a different party, in a different district — was "being bullied." In that email, Nolan said the decision to step down came on the heels of criticism of Devon Ryan, the Liberal candidate for Torngat Mountains. Ryan has been widely called a parachute candidate since he does not live in, nor has he visited, the district where he is running. "I am seeing how much this Devon Ryan is being bullied and I am [an] advocate against bullying. And I am not going to be a hypocrite over my beliefs," Nolan wrote. "I respect [PC Leader] Ches Crosbie, but I respect myself and beliefs more." The news that the PCs may have been without a candidate in southern Labrador caught Crosbie off guard during a press conference in Corner Brook, where Crosbie said he was "not personally aware" of the resignation. Neither was Elections NL, which confirmed no resignation paperwork had been filed. Nolan, in fact, had changed his mind prior to filling out any forms, and refused a recorded interview with CBC on the subject, saying that he wants to stay away from the media as the campaign continues ahead of the Feb. 13 election. 'Very bothered by the critics and form of bullying' In his initial message about stepping away, Nolan cited the 2019 provincial election, when Michael Normore was the PC candidate in Cartwright-L'Anse au Clair and came under fire for his anti-abortion, anti-gay views, with Crosbie later saying that if elected, Normore would not sit in the Tory caucus. Nolan said as a gay man, he demanded an apology from Normore — which he said he never got — and doesn't want to see himself as a hypocrite. Nolan said he has also contacted Ryan, saying he was "very bothered by the critics and form of bullying" he's receiving. "I support you 100%. And if you need anything, please reach out," reads a screen shot of the message, sent to CBC by Nolan. Nolan said he remains concerned about Ryan's situation. Nolan, who lives in St. John's, faces one other political opponent for the Cartwright-L'Anse au Clair seat, Liberal incumbent Lisa Dempster. She was surprised to hear of Nolan's initial decision to not to run, but said she had "stepped up to support Devon Ryan simply because I believe voters needed a choice," and respected what turned out to be Nolan's momentary resignation. "My opponent stepped down because he couldn't support or condone bullying, and I have a tremendous, tremendous respect for him in doing that," she added. "He may have saved lives because he is speaking out against bullying. And in particular, in this case …cyberbullying." 'The democratic process' Torngat Mountains has a largely Indigenous population, said resident Andrea Andersen, who thinks the Liberals could have fostered a young Indigenous person from the district to run instead of Ryan. "To me, as a young Inuk person, if they're putting Mr. Ryan in for him to gain experience, then why didn't they do that to another Indigenous youth?" she said. Ryan had previously sought the Liberal nomination in his home district of Labrador West, but conceded to Wayne Button, before putting his name forward for Torngat Mountains. Liberal Leader Andrew Furey came to Ryan's defence Monday, suggesting critics of the nomination were criticizing the democratic process. "This is the democratic process, and you know, we want to give the people a chance to vote for a Liberal majority government and Mr. Ryan has stepped up, and that's part of the democratic process," Furey said while in Labrador City. "Anyone who says otherwise is frankly not defending democracy and that's not something that I'm willing to tolerate." Other Liberal candidates have also defended Ryan's nomination, including Burgeo-La Poile candidate Andrew Parsons, who called the decision a great way to encourage interest in politics for young people. Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
If it wasn’t for the pandemic, Timon Wientziak probably wouldn’t be buying a car while living in downtown Toronto. He’s looking into purchasing his first vehicle after the pandemic pushed him into carpentry work outside of the city, instead of his usual work as a composer and sound designer. But the purchase isn’t just based on his job: Wientziak said it’s easy to feel stifled in the city during COVID, and having the freedom to get out of town is a plus. “Toronto is such a concrete place,” said Wientziak, a first-time buyer who’s in the market for an affordable, older used car. “Even though it’s called a city within a park, we would love to get out more, and doing it with the GO train is just not as enticing.” Data from auto industry analysts shows there are many people like Wientziak who’ve been nudged towards buying a car during the pandemic. And prospective buyers should be aware that higher demand usually means higher prices. According to research by online marketplace autotrader.ca, the pandemic has caused a surge in demand as people avoid public transport and ride-hailing services. A survey released by the company in December showed 46 per cent of people who were interested in buying a new car listed the pandemic as a direct reason for their purchase. The website also saw a nearly 28 per cent increase in traffic from May to December. But the demand was underpinned by supply shortages in both new and used car markets, since some manufacturers stopped production at the start of the pandemic and continue to deal with supply chain issues. Baris Akyurek, Director of Marketing Intelligence at autotrader.ca, said a lower number of new car sales at the start of the pandemic translated to fewer vehicles being traded in, leading to tighter supply in both markets before an increase in demand. As a result, the average listing price of a vehicle on the marketplace in December was 5.2 per cent higher than the previous year, now sitting at $19,888. Akyurek said used cars are a particularly hot commodity because they’re an economical option at a time of financial uncertainty, and depreciation isn’t as much of a concern. “Moreover, with certified pre-owned programs, you are eligible for extended warranties on used vehicles,” said Akyurek, which protects consumers from the risk associated with used cars. The Canadian Automobile Dealers Association says it’s optimistic about the growth of new car sales, which have benefited from low interest rates and greater demand as more people move further away from city centres in search of larger homes as a result of the pandemic. The industry saw an unprecedented 20 per cent drop in sales this year, which CADA Chief Economist Oumar Dicko says was much higher than the 11 per cent drop in auto sales during the 2008 global financial crisis. Even though sales have rebounded and the pandemic has created strong demand, Dicko said manufacturers are still vulnerable to COVID-19. “The auto forecast is very closely dependent on the trajectory of the virus in the months to come and the ability to broadly roll out the vaccine,” said Dicko. “We’re also very concerned about the impact of COVID outbreaks even if they’re very localized, on the global supply chain. This could create labour shortages and there’s a concern right now about the shortage of semiconductor microchips that are used in the production of vehicles.” Dicko said the current shortage of microchips will already affect inventory in 2021. Despite the challenges the pandemic has placed on the auto industry, both Akyurek and Dicko expect it to have a lasting and positive effect on auto sales. “Given the current circumstances of COVID-19, the restrictions and overall fear of contracting the virus by Canadians, this is a better than expected performance by the industry,” said Dicko. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 26, 2021. Salmaan Farooqui, The Canadian Press
Officers of the Lennox & Addington (L&A) County Detachment of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) responded to the report of a possible break and enter in progress on Richmond Point Lane in Stone Mills Township at approximately 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 23, 2021. According to a release from OPP, dated Tuesday, Jan, 26, 2021, a gate had been found open, along with footprints in the snow and a suspicious vehicle on the cottage road. Police arrived on scene and located an individual on private property. OPP say break in tools and stolen property, including an outboard motor, a wood splitter and chain saw were seized. The individual was subsequently arrested and transported to detachment for processing. L&A County OPP have charged Joel Dean, age 31, of Kingston with: - Break and Enter; - Possession of Property Obtained by Crime; - Possession of Break in Instruments; - Mischief; and, - Possession of a Schedule I substance - Methamphetamine. The accused was held for a bail hearing and appeared in the Ontario Court of Justice in Greater Napanee on January 24, 2021. Jessica Foley, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, kingstonist.com
Les Producteurs et productrices acéricoles du Québec (PPAQ) se montrent inquiets devant la Stratégie nationale de production de bois présentée par le ministère des Forêts, de la Faune et des Parcs (MFFP), le 16 décembre dernier. Visant une relance économique, le ministre Pierre Dufour entend augmenter la récolte forestière d’ici 2080 de façon significative. Les PPAQ se disent oubliés dans ce plan de relance et estiment que c’est leur propre secteur économique qui en pâtira. Dans son plan stratégique, le Ministère soutient que « le gouvernement du Québec franchit ici une étape charnière qui fera grandement progresser la foresterie québécoise. Il cultivera notre richesse collective à partir du bois en privilégiant une approche axée sur l’augmentation de la productivité des forêts aménagées tout en améliorant les caractéristiques de la matière ligneuse pour favoriser la récolte d’un plus grand volume de bois qui répond aux besoins de l’industrie forestière (...) Cette stratégie s’inscrit d’ailleurs dans le cadre du plan de relance économique du Québec, et ce, en donnant une place prépondérante au secteur forestier pour contribuer à la relance du Québec et de ses régions ». Selon les PPAQ, « cette stratégie (...) ne tient pas compte d’une économie propre au Québec, réellement durable, soit celle du sirop d’érable ». Pour eux, il faut se demander à quel point le Québec tient à son acériculture lorsqu’on envisage de couper deux fois plus de bois. Notons qu’au Québec, ce sont pas moins de 902 municipalités dont le secteur forestier génère d’importantes retombées économiques, représentant 2 % de l’activité économique globale du Québec en 2018, avec un produit intérieur brut (PIB) de 6,5 milliards de dollars (G$) et 60 000 emplois qui en dépendent. On recense 11 300 producteurs et productrices et 7 400 entreprises acéricoles assurant en moyenne 72 % de la production mondiale de sirop d’érable chaque année. L’industrie acéricole constitue également une richesse locale, puisqu’une importante communauté de producteurs acéricoles est établie en Montérégie-Est, soit 39 et 37 dans les MRC de La Vallée-du-Richelieu et de Rouville. À Rougemont, à Richelieu et à Marieville, on compte bon nombre d’érablières et de transformateurs réputés pour leurs produits du temps des sucres, dont Mont Rouge, Broleau, la Cabane Chez Nous, Tartopom (verger biologique et érablière), ou encore l’Érablière Raymond Meunier & Fils. « En tant que producteur du milieu acéricole, je privilégie de préserver nos boisés le plus possible. Cette année, d’ailleurs, je prévois justement reboiser une partie de la plantation d’érables pour la prochaine génération, notamment pour mes trois enfants, que je vois comme ma relève », indique Philippe Meunier, de l’Érablière Raymond Meunier & Fils. L’Ordre des ingénieurs forestiers du Québec (OIFQ) a, quant à lui, accueilli la stratégie du gouvernement avec ouverture, sans toutefois se garder d’émettre quelques doutes quant à la faisabilité du dessein ministériel : « Les objectifs et les moyens de la stratégie sont clairs. Mais pour que cela se concrétise réellement sur le terrain, le MFFP et les utilisateurs du milieu forestier devront collaborer afin de revoir certaines de leurs façons de faire. »Chloé-Anne Touma, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Journal de Chambly