People who visited curling facilities in two communities in northern Saskatchewan during specific periods in November are required to self-isolate due to the risk of COVID-19 exposure, the Saskatchewan Health Authority says.All individuals who attended any events at the Lakeland Curling Club in Christopher Lake between Nov. 16 and 22 are considered close contacts, and required under public health orders to isolate for 14 days from their last attendance, the health authority said in a Saturday media release.The order includes people who visited the Lakeland Curling Club board meeting on Nov. 16.People who visited the curling rink and lounge at the Richardson Pioneer Recreation Centre in Shellbrook also need to isolate if they curled or socialized at the facility at any time between Nov. 9 and Nov. 26, said the SHA.In addition to the required self-isolation, the agency strongly recommends COVID-19 testing for anyone who was at either location during the affected dates. People can book a testing appointment by calling HealthLine 811. Christopher Lake is about 35 kilometres north of Prince Albert, while Shellbrook is about 45 kilometres to the west of the city.
The Kingston Frontenac Lennox & Addington (KFL&A;) Public Health Unit has released a video detailing how a single case of COVID-19 was transmitted to up to 20 local individuals over the course of the past week. “You can see now how from one individual…that there’s a cascade,” said Kingston’s Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Kieran Moore. “This is 15 to 20 proven COVID-positive individuals now with threats to schools, to the acute care sector, to the business sector, to home case services. All the result of one transmission.” The case of COVID-19 was originally contracted when an individual had to travel to Toronto for work, Dr. Moore said, noting that he has changed a few details in the transmission description to protect the identities of those involved. “He had to go into a closed space, crowded with individuals and close faces, and hence as a result was exposed to the virus and brought the virus home to family,” Dr. Moore said. “Many of the family members also got ill. People who came and visited the family and got ill.” One of the family members then had to go to work, and while pre-symptomatic, also went to the gym. Dr. Moore did not identify the workplace or the fitness facility in the video, however KFL&A; Public Health has indicated that whenever they suspect a risk to the general public, that information is shared. “At work as a Personal Support Worker (PSW), there was incidental transmission to a patient, and from that patient to another PSW. When the person went to the gym, there appears to have been transmission at the gym to a healthcare worker,” he said. “That healthcare worker had exposure with another… so there’s an investigation at that workplace.” Kingston Health Sciences Centre confirmed on Thursday, Nov. 26, 2020 that two employees at Kingston General Hospital had tested positive for COVID-19. “One of the members of the gym went back to a different family. Everyone in that family was infected,” Dr. Moore continued. “That family has children that were school-aged so that’s another investigation to ensure that there’s no transmission in the school setting.” Dr. Moore noted that this is just one example of several investigations underway by Public Health this week. The key lessons he said, are to be careful when travelling outside the region, to minimize the number of contacts and to go for testing if symptoms arise. “Tremendous thanks to the community. We still continue to have a very high testing rate. We can’t do our work unless the community comes forward if they have symptoms to get tested, so that’s a big thanks. Our local lab is working very well, and our assessment centre,” he added. Dr. Moore noted that anyone accepting visitors into their home from the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) should feel free to screen them for COVID-19 symptoms. The latest information on signs and symptoms of COVID-19 can be found at COVID-19.ontario.ca. “The safest thing is not to travel,” he said. “Stay within your household setting, be very careful about the ‘Cs’ — crowded spaces and close faces.”Samantha Butler-Hassan, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, kingstonist.com
A North Vancouver not-for-profit is hoping to make the lives of hundreds of residents impacted by COVID-19 a little brighter this festive season with a surprise gift but is calling for a little bit of help to get the job done. North Van Cares has just launched its Holiday Helpers initiative and is asking the community to nominate someone they know on the North Shore who is senior, immuno-suppressed, isolated, bereaved or just needs a little extra cheer this year, to receive a special gift pack. The initiative has a lofty goal of handing out up to 300 presents to residents who are nominated. "We’re specifically looking for those folks who would never ask for help but could use a little extra joy this season," Jacquie McCarnan, the founder of the not-for-profit organization, said. "We all know people who give so much of themselves and never ask for anything. Those are the people we want to help." She said seniors and immuno-suppressed folks who may not have family around to help out this holiday season are their main target. "It’s not a charitable thing for the needy, it’s more a pick me up for people who just need a bit of joy," McCarnan said. McCarnan launched North Van Cares in March when the pandemic first hit hard as a Shopping Buddies initiative to help seniors get groceries and prescriptions during quarantine. “The reason I started North Van Cares is because my own parents, who live in Ontario, are 88 and 90, and they’ve never accessed social services and they wouldn’t even have a clue how to do that or how to get their groceries delivered,” McCarnan said. She said as she thought about her own parents, she realised there must be people on the North Shore having similar issues and set out to help them. From there the not-for-profit blossomed, and McCarnan has since created two T-Shirt campaigns, with nine North Shore neighbourhood designs, which have raised more than $2,000 to help support a variety of groups, including Backpack Buddies, North Shore Rescue, North Shore Black Bear Society, Neighbhourhood House, and the Greater Vancouver Food Bank. Profits from more recent T-shirt sales will also go towards the Holiday Helpers initiative. All the Holiday Helpers gifts will be North Vancouver-inspired and include donations from the community. The gifts will also have a handmade card created by local students – with the surplus of cards set to be delivered to residents at seniors’ homes in the area for Christmas. McCarnan said the initiative had already received a bundle of donations, so the gifts would “have really lovely surprises for so many.” “There are so many people who are going to be so lonely these holidays because they’re not going to be able to have their families come and visit like in the past,” she said. “I just thought, so what can we do to cheer them up?” For anyone who’d like to contribute, the group is still accepting donations. A donation of just $20 means they can add another nominee to the list. To nominate someone to receive a Holiday Helper’s gift pack go to Nominate a Neighbour. Nominations close Dec. 15. Elisia Seeber, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, North Shore News
With COVID-19 once again spreading through parts of Nova Scotia, the province is taking a different approach to testing for the virus than it did during the first wave.Capacity at the province's microbiology labs has been building since the early days of the pandemic, different types of tests have become available in recent months, and the province's current outbreak is affecting a different demographic — all contributing to the strategic shift.When COVID-19 first arrived in Nova Scotia, testing was restricted mostly to those with multiple symptoms and close contacts of known cases. Now, public health has a much broader call for testing, including to Halifax bar staff and patrons.At Friday's COVID-19 briefing, Nova Scotia Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Robert Strang said the new strategy is because of the prevalence of asymptomatic spread among the 18-35 age group in Halifax — the current epicentre of Nova Scotia's outbreak."With no symptoms, the only way to find people infected with COVID-19 is to test them," said Strang.This kind of widespread testing wouldn't have been possible during the first wave because of lab capacity.In March, the province's microbiology labs were able to complete only 200 and 250 COVID-19 tests per day.That capacity has been gradually building, and last month Strang said the province could handle 2,500 daily tests, although it was averaging far less than that. On Thursday, lab technicians completed a record-setting 3,109 tests in 24 hours.Even the opposition Progressive Conservatives offered some praise for the numbers, saying in a news release the uptick appeared to be "an indication that the need to extensively test is being taken seriously."PC leader Tim Houston said he remained disappointed that testing hadn't ramped up sooner, "but I am hopeful that the government has now turned the corner."Still, there are more people waiting for tests than the province can administer and process in a day. Strang said that as of Friday 8,000 people had identified themselves as bar staff and patrons in need of testing, creating a backlog.Everyone who has requested it will get an appointment and results, eventually, said Strang, but they may have to wait. Some of those people — like those who have been notified of a potential exposure that requires testing — are being asked to self-isolate while they wait.Strang asked for patience."We're very much building the plane and flying it at the same time when it comes to this asymptomatic testing as part of our outbreak response," he said.Nova Scotia's testing has also broadened with the introduction of rapid tests, also called point-of-care tests. While the rapid tests are more likely to yield false results than a standard lab test, experts say the data from widespread rapid testing can provide valuable insight into the spread of the virus, and inform decisions about public health restrictions and guidelines.Since last weekend, when the first rapid-testing site popped up for a few hours in an empty nightclub, rapid testing has attracted thousands of people to locations around Halifax. Strang said that as of Friday, 2,700 rapid tests had been administered. From those, at least 11 potential cases were identified, but positive results from a rapid test aren't counted in the official provincial tally of COVID-19 cases until they've been verified by a lab test. The province has not consistently reported results of followup lab tests.What's still to comeWith the recent detection of COVID-19 in wastewater in Wolfville, N.S., the province is setting up a rapid-testing site there on Monday. Strang said the research findings are not definitive, but Public Health will test that population as a precaution.Rapid tests were deployed in long-term care homes for the first time on Friday to volunteers, employees and designated caregivers.Strang described it as "serial testing" that will be repeated every two weeks. It launched at three Halifax-area homes and will eventually expand provincewide, he said."This is part of our effort to monitor, reduce and prevent the spread of COVID-19 in long-term care facilities, and none of us need a reminder about how important that is," said Strang. Earlier this week, Premier Stephen McNeil said rotational workers might also be targeted for rapid testing in the near future. On Friday, he said travellers coming in from outside Atlantic Canada could eventually be targeted, too.McNeil pointed to a pilot program underway in Alberta that's screening incoming international travellers to reduce quarantine time, and a recent pilot program for rapid testing by Air Canada at Toronto's Pearson airport."We won't be opening up to the rest of Canada any time soon," said McNeil.But, he added, rapid testing "would have to definitely be part of that opening up."MORE TOP STORIES
ST. JOHN'S, N.L. — Newfoundland and Labrador has announced two new confirmed cases of COVID-19, including a man who recently returned to the province from the United States. Health officials say the man in his 50s in the Eastern Health region travelled on Air Canada Flight 7480 from Montreal to St. John’s on Nov. 25.The province is asking anyone who travelled on the same flight to call 811 to arrange a COVID-19 test.Meanwhile, officials say the second confirmed case is a female in the Eastern Health region in her 60s.She is a member of the same household of a previously known case, which was connected to the recent cluster in Grand Bank. Newfoundland and Labrador has 32 active cases of COVID-19.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 28, 2020.The Canadian Press
Wymbolwood Beach residents are standing up for the rights of the animal that makes up Canada's official emblem. A deputation of neighbourhood residents makes its way to council this Monday. They're upset about the removal of a beaver dam at Skylark Road and Tiny Beaches Road South. The group, being led and represented at council by Julia Aronov, has also signed a petition to stop municipal staff from removing the beaver dam that has existed in the local creek since May. "The beaver dam created a beautiful wetland area that mallard and duck families called home," says the petition, "there were many fish, frogs, dragonflies, butterflies and numerous other wildlife and important pollinating insects. "Over the last six months, not once was the beaver's dam destroyed," continues the petition. "He was able to live free without fear of human interference in his daily life. With it being close to winter, destroying the beaver's dam now puts his life at risk as he does not have enough time to create a proper home that can sustain him over the long cold winter season." Another critter-related request is being brought forward Marjorie Dubeau. She wants council to allow the re-installation of 'Tiny Animals', which are wooden boards painted with animals on, on the trail between Balm Beach Road East and Concession Road 9. The 8"x8" boards can serve as an interactive game for people and children using the trail. Among other presentations will be one made by Skelton Brumwell and Associates on a short-term accommodations (STA) management strategy. The consultants are bringing forward recommendations around zoning, noise and disturbance, licensing, complaints process and municipal and private services. A second bylaw review is being brought forward by Barriston Law representatives around business licensing regulations bylaw (BLB) related to trailer parks/campgrounds. The report submitted as part of the committee of the whole agenda states that the BLB is not permitted to restrict or regulate land use, so a zoning bylaw amendment must be made. Some of the changes to that will clarify the number of mobile homes on trailer park/campground for caretaker use, specify prohibition of other mobile homes to prevent year-round living, and allow for removal of a mobile home within six months of the lapse of a licence. Council will also consider a staff recommendation of how the municipality should handle incidents related to racism and displaying of the Confederate flag. As well, councillors will also take a look at the recommended update to the definition of construction noise and prohibited time of use of domestic tools and lawn maintenance equipment. The report being brought forward suggests that the definition of domestic tools include, but not be limited to, air compressors, electric power tools and manual hammers. Lawn maintenance equipment and snow removal machines are to be included in a separate category. The report further notes that using items in these two categories should be limited to 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. on weekdays and 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. over the weekend. The meeting begins at 9 a.m. and will be streamed live via the township's YouTube channel.Mehreen Shahid, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, OrilliaMatters.com
There are two new cases of COVID-19 and one recovery in Newfoundland and Labrador on Saturday, bringing the number of active cases in the province to 32.The first reported case is a woman between the ages of 60 and 69 living in the same household as a previous case. She is a resident of the province and the case is connected to the Grand Bank cluster, but the woman is not a tenant of Blue Crest Cottages.The second case is travel-related, a man aged 50-59 who recently returned home to the province from the United States.The two cases are not connected, with both individuals in isolation and contact tracing underway.As a result of the travel-related case, the Department of Health is advising passengers who travelled on Air Canada Flight 7480 from Montreal to St. John's on Wednesday to get tested out of an abundance of caution.The two new cases bring the province's total number of cases to 333. Since the pandemic began, 297 people have recovered from the virus, with four reported COVID-19 related deaths.In total, 61,832 people have been tested for the virus — up by 512 since Friday. The province saw it's largest single-day increase in testing on Friday, when 742 people were tested in 24 hours.Earlier in the week, the province's department of health asked anyone who had visited a bar in the Halifax area in the past two weeks to get a COVID-19 test.3 cases with unknown source now travel-relatedPublic health provided an update on the three cases announced Friday with unknown sources. All three cases are travel-related.The first case reported in the Eastern Health region is related to travel from Europe, while the second case in the region is related to travel from Asia. Although both cases are located in the Eastern Health region, the cases are not connected.The third of four announced cases on Friday is a close contact of a worker who returned to the province from work in British Columbia. The individual is located in the Western Health region, and is not connected to the recent cluster in Deer Lake.Outbreaks at 3 Alberta work sitesThe Department of Health was also notified of outbreaks at three Alberta work sites by the Public Health Agency of Canada, as there are workers from the province who work at the sites.There are outbreaks at the Cenovus Energy Foster Creek oil sands project, the Cenovus Energy Christina Lake oil sands project and the Syncrude Canada Aurora mine site.Rotational workers returning from these sites must undergo a full 14-day isolation period and contact 811 for testing.As part of Friday's COVID-19 briefing, Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Janice Fitzgerald repeated her warnings against mass gatherings over the upcoming holiday season."This has the potential for a perfect storm as the threat of COVID and Christmas collide," she said Friday, adding the next four to six weeks will be a true test for the province.Fitzgerald has stated in previous interviews that health officials will be closely watching the early weeks of the new year as people return to the province from holiday travel.Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
The province's offer to help struggling restaurant owners during what's been a disastrous year for their bottom lines contains quite a bit of red tape — enough to leave them feeling let down and even abandoned by the Quebec government."People actually travel to eat in Montreal, that's a known fact," said Dyan Solomon, owner of three restaurants in the city, including Un po di Più. "And yet, at this moment, we are being completely forgotten."Since Oct. 1, restaurant dining rooms in red zones have been shut down, and they'll stay that way until at least Jan. 11, depriving them of vital revenue that often comes from a busy holiday season.It's the second time restaurant dining rooms in Quebec have been forced to close during the pandemic.Assistance from the province comes in the form of a loan of up to 50,000$, 80 per cent of which may not need to be repaid.Here's the problem: restaurant owners say accessing the federal government's programs was quick and painless.The provincial one? Not so much.To access Quebec's loan program, owners need to share information such as cost forecasts and budget statements, something small businesses living month-to-month may not have handy."They don't have people working in their offices, they don't have bookkeepers, they don't have time to sit at a computer for three days in a row and fill out forms that are very complicated," said Solomon.Solomon has been denied once by the province already, and she has two more requests pending."I'm a positive person. I try not to look at this from a very sinister point of view, but I'm starting to feel like there is something going on that's deep and bizarre," she said. "Because the process was made very, very complicated. It does leave you wondering if it wasn't supposed to discourage small businesses from applying."When comparing the federal programs to the provincial one, another restaurant owner referred to Quebec's process as one big, bureaucratic run-around."We are drowning right now in paperwork because we're trying to shift our money around, figure out how we're going to pay rent," said Nicole Turcotte, owner of Dinette Triple Crown. "So it just seems kind of like a cruel joke."A spokesperson for the province's Economy Ministry acknowledged CBC's request for comment Friday, but has yet to respond.Lockdown measures taking a tollThe Canadian Federation of Independent Business claims to have received many complaints from small and medium-sized business owners."It is important that the government improves its program, reduces red tape," said François Vincent, vice-president of the CFIB's Quebec branch, adding that a complex loan process hurts small businesses in particular. As for restaurants, he says many owners don't believe shutting down is justified."It was [initially] the 28-day challenge," said Vincent, in reference to the first period of red-zone restrictions this fall. "Now, it's more than 50 days. Some businesses are asking themselves why are they supposed to shut down if they didn't see any [virus] propagation in my sector."That sentiment was echoed Saturday, by a group of protesters in downtown Montreal.Many of them work in the restaurant industry and were calling on the province to allow restaurants to reopen during the holidays, considering the exception for small indoor gatherings between Dec. 24 and Dec. 27.According to Nick Pichereau, co-owner of McKibbin's Irish Pub in Vaudreuil-Dorion, holiday gatherings in restaurants would be much safer than get-togethers in private homes. "At home, once they lock the door, they will be touching, they will be hugging, they won't be wearing masks," Pichereau said.
Members of Nova Scotia leagues who live in Halifax will miss the social connection of sports over the next couple of weeks, but organizers say the pause is vital to preserving the rest of their seasons.New regulations are clamping down on travel in and out of Halifax Regional Municipality until at least Dec. 9 to try to reduce the spread of COVID-19.The heads of three different leagues told CBC's Mainstreet on Friday how they will handle the break.Amy Walsh, Hockey Nova Scotia executive director, said Friday that those affected live in Halifax and some parts of Hants County, regardless of whether they actually coach or play for a team outside that zone.Walsh said the break means many kids will miss out on seeing their friends for a couple weeks, which will be the toughest part."At the end of the day, hockey is about developing individuals and building communities," Walsh said."But I think we need to put that aside for now and really focus on the health and well-being of our province and keeping everyone safe ... there's an overall understanding about that, that the pause is worth it for the long run."Some other hockey leagues, like the Nova Scotia U15 Major and Scotia Minor Hockey League, have voluntarily shut down all games across the province.On another type of ice, five curling rinks in the Halifax area also shut down for two weeks Wednesday.Virginia Jackson, Nova Scotia Curling Association executive director, said the move affects about 2,500 people.Everyone wants to get back into playing as soon as possible while staying safe, Jackson said, since there are a couple upcoming provincial competitions everyone hopes can still take place.Curlers have already adjusted to playing under public health restrictions like wearing masks on the ice if they prefer, staying physically distanced and more sanitation."It's going to be for the betterment of the clubs and the curlers all around going forward," Jackson said."I don't think you'll see any changes. I think a lot of things that we're doing now, you'll see going on into the future."Teams urged not to skirt rulesAlthough basketball hasn't started yet, the shutdown puts a damper on tryouts and getting teams up and running, said Katherine Brien, executive director of Basketball Nova Scotia.She said their organization is happy the break is happening now, since no games need to be rescheduled.Brien said basketball could start up as expected in January with minimal impact if things get back to normal in the next few weeks.She said BNS is still figuring out competition structure and how it will hold provincial tournaments. Those are about four months away and a lot can happen in that time.The most important thing right now is to work together to fight the virus, Brien said. That way there might be regular-season play early in 2021.She added that anyone trying to break the rules by squeezing in practices or looking for loopholes within the restrictions isn't helping."It's only two weeks," Brien said. "The sport of basketball ... isn't more important than everybody's health and safety."All school sports games, in all regions of the province, are paused until early December.MORE TOP STORIES
PARIS — Tens of thousands of critics of a proposed security law that would restrict the filming of police officers protested across France on Saturday, and officers in Paris who were advised to behave responsibly during the demonstrations repeatedly fired tear gas to disperse rowdy protesters who set fire to France's central bank and threw paving stones.The mood was largely peaceful, however, as dozens of rallies took place against a provision of the law that would make it a crime to publish photos or video of on-duty police officers with the intent of harming their “physical or psychological integrity.”Civil liberties groups, journalists, and people who have faced police abuse are concerned that the measure will stymie press freedoms and allow police brutality to go undiscovered and unpunished.“We have to broaden the debate, and by doing that, we say that if there were no police violence, we wouldn’t have to film violent policemen," Assa Traore, a prominent anti-brutality activist whose brother died in police custody in 2016, told The Associated Press.She was among at least 46,000 people who packed the sprawling Republique plaza and surrounding streets carrying red union flags, French tricolour flags and homemade signs denouncing police violence, demanding media freedom or calling for the resignation of French President Emmanuel Macron or his tough-talking interior minister, Gerald Darmanin.The crowd included journalists, journalism students, left-wing activists, migrants rights groups and citizens of varied political stripes expressing anger over what they perceive as hardening police tactics in recent years, especially since France’s yellow vest protest movement against economic hardship emerged in 2018.Violence erupted near the end of the march as small groups of protesters pelted riot police with small rocks and paving stone. The officers retaliated with volleys of tear gas, prompting minor scuffles. Rioters then set fire to the facade of the central bank and to police barricades; in the melee fire trucks struggled to reach the site.Macron's government says the law is needed to protect police amid threats and attacks by a violent fringe.But the chief editor of French newspaper Le Monde, Luc Bronner, argued at the protest that the law against publishing images of officers is unnecessary.“There are already laws that exist to protect civil servants, including police forces when they’re targeted, and it’s legitimate – the police do a very important job," Bronner said. “But that's not what this is about. It’s about limiting the capacity of citizens and along with them, journalists, to document police violence when they happen.”While journalists have been the most outspoken over the security bill, it could have an even greater impact on the efforts of non-journalists who film police during aggressive arrests, notably minorities who can try to fight police abuse and discrimination with a few seconds of cellphone video.“There were all those protests in the summer against police violence, and this law shows the government didn’t hear us... It’s the impunity. That’s what makes us so angry," protest participant Kenza Berkane, 26, said.Berkane, who is French and of North African origin, described being repeatedly stopped by police for identity checks in the metro or while going to school. while white friends were allowed to pass. “We ask ourselves, when will this stop?”The cause has gained renewed importance in recent days after footage emerged of French police officers beating up a Black man, triggering a nationwide outcry.Macron spoke out against the video images on Friday, saying “they shame us.”Video that surfaced Thursday showed the beating of music producer Michel Zecler, following footage of the brutal police evacuation Tuesday of migrants in a Paris plaza. The officers involved in the beating of Zecler were suspended pending an internal police investigation.An internal letter from Paris Police Prefect Didier Lallement called on officers to use “probity, the sense of honour and ethics” when policing Saturday's protests, which were authorized by authorities despite France's partial virus lockdown.Through most of the march police hung back, chatting while holding their helmets or watching silently as protesters shouted “Shame!” at them.The crowd was overwhelmingly peaceful, but some in the unruly minority came equipped with gas masks and helmets.Article 24 of the proposed security law criminalizes the publishing of images of police officers with the intent of causing harm. Anyone found guilty could be sentenced to up to a year in jail, and fined 45,000 euros ($53,000).Many protesters, police and journalists have been injured during protests in recent years, including several Associated Press journalists.Prime Minister Jean Castex announced Friday that he would appoint a commission to redraft Article 24, but he backtracked after hearing from angry lawmakers. The commission is now expected to make new proposals by early next year on the relationship between the media and police.___Alex Turnbull in Paris contributed to this report.Angela Charlton And Thomas Adamson, The Associated Press
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney declared a state of public health emergency for the province on November 24, 2020, at a joint press conference with the Alberta Health Minister, Tyler Shandro, and Alberta Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw. After grimly detailing the province’s current COVID-19 situation, the Premier announced new public health measures and restrictions for the province aimed at slowing our current rate of infection. Jason Kenney disclosed that 1,115 new cases and 16 more deaths had been reported for the day alone. The additional 16 deaths bring the total number to 492 people who have died since March, with 103 of that number occurring in just the past two weeks. By all metrics, the spread of the virus appears to be picking up speed. Kenney explained the rationale behind the new public health measures saying, “Yes, our policy is based partly on protecting the vulnerable while minimizing damage to our broader social health. But to protect the vulnerable, we all have to do our part in limiting community spread.” The public health measures and restrictions announced will be in place for a minimum of three weeks, at which point they will be reviewed. If there has been a significant drop in our daily number of new cases, we may be able to ease some of them. If these measures have not been shown to have a meaningful impact, more drastic measures may be implemented. Here is a breakdown of the new restrictions: Social Gatherings (Effective Immediately Across Alberta) • Indoor social gatherings will no longer be permitted. Indoor social contact should be limited to those within a single household. People that live by themselves can have up to two non-household social contacts. Does not apply to home-based services (Healthcare, Homecare, and Childcare). • Outdoor gatherings will be limited to a maximum of 10 people. • Wedding ceremonies and funerals will be limited to a maximum of 10 people and receptions will not be permitted. • People that do not follow these restrictions may be subject to fines. The province will be looking at ways to allow Peace Officers to deliver fines to anyone who violates these limits. The fines mentioned were $1000 for a ticketed offence and up to $100,000 through the courts. • The Emergency Alert System will be used later this week to notify Albertans of these limits. Businesses (Effective Friday, November 27 in Enhanced Status Regions) Closed For In-Person Businesses • banquet halls, conference centers, concert venues, community centers, trade shows, children’s play places, Indoor playgrounds, All levels of team and individual sport (Leagues can apply for exemptions if they have well-developed safety plans). Open with Restricted Capacity • Retail businesses and services can remain open but are restricted to 25% of their occupancy limits or a minimum of 5 customers, whichever is higher. • Entertainment and Event Services – movie theatres, libraries, museums, and galleries. • Indoor Entertainment – racing centers, bingo halls, water parks, and amusement parks. • Fitness and Recreation Centers – pools, physical activity centers, dance and yoga studios, martial arts studios, and gymnastics centers. No group fitness classes, group training, team practices or games. Centers can be open for individual time, exercise, or training only. Instructors can use facilities to broadcast virtual fitness classes, but in-person group classes will be permitted. • Casinos – slot machines only, no table games. Liquor sales must cease by 10 PM. • Retail – grocery stores, pharmacies, clothing stores, computer and tech stores, hardware stores, automotive stores, farmers markets approved by Alberta Agriculture and Forestry, and outdoor seasonal markets (providing that public health measures are in place). • Restaurants, bars, pubs, and cafes – A maximum of 6 people per table, and they must be from the same household. No movement between tables is permitted. Only seated eating or drinking is allowed. No other services are permitted (bar service, entertainment, billiards, darts). Must stop serving liquor at 10 pm and close by 11 pm. If the restrictions are not followed, fines and orders will be issued. Inspections will be increased to make sure public health measures are being followed. Open by Appointment Only • Hair salons, barbershops, aesthetics, professional services, hotels and motels, hunting and fishing lodges, private 1 on 1 lessons (Music lessons, and personal training). Workplace • Masks will be mandatory for all indoor workplaces in Edmonton and Calgary medical zones. This includes employees, delivery drivers, visitors, and contractors. Exceptions are when working alone, alone in an office or cubicle, or where an appropriate barrier is in place. • Workers who can work from home are asked to do so. School • Grades 7 – 12 – Starting November 30, all students in grades 7 – 12 will move to at-home schooling. Winter break will be from December 18 - January 3, 2021. Will return to in-person schooling on January 11, 2021. Diploma exams will be optional for the rest of 2021. • Kindergarten – Grade 6 – Will remain in regular classes until Winter break, from December 18 - January 3, 2021. Will school from home from January 4 – January 8. Will return to in-person schooling on January 11, 2021. Places of Worship (Enhanced Status Regions) • Attendance will be capped at 1/3 of the building’s maximum occupancy according to the fire code. Attendees will need to wear masks and must maintain physical distancing between households. • In-person faith group meetings can continue if attendees maintain physical distance and follow public health measures.Dean LaBerge, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Grizzly Gazette
Wife of OPP Const. Marc Hovingh, Lianne Hovingh, spoke at his funeral Saturday and read an email from the son of a family friend. Const. Hovingh died last Thursday in a shooting that also left a civilian dead in Gore Bay, Ont., on Manitoulin Island.
A year after Canadian Forces soldiers helped clear snow in the great snowfall of January 2020, the military may be called to domestic duty again in Newfoundland and Labrador to help distribute COVID-19 vaccine. Premier Andrew Furey says he not only welcomes it, he’s already been in touch to make it happen. “We know how important a role our friends in the military played early this year during Snowmageddon,” he said during Friday’s virtual COVID-19 briefing in St. John’s, “so we’re very happy to continue to welcome their efforts in helping us get through the next phase in this pandemic.” That phase may start within the next few weeks, but Furey admitted the delivery of vaccine to Canada will be gradual. According to some quick math, he said the province may receive up to 50,000 doses by March 2020. Those will go to vulnerable groups such as elderly and Indigenous groups, as well as health-care workers on the front lines. The province saw four new confirmed cases Friday, all between the ages of 40 and 70. Three of them have not been linked to another case yet, but the chief medical officer of health said that’s not a major concern. “It’s still very early in the investigation, so it doesn’t mean we don’t know the source,” Dr. Janice Fitzgerald said. “It just means that we’re starting the investigation.” The province now has 31 active cases. Fitzgerald said the current influx of cases still doesn’t surprise her, but the next four to six weeks could be a tipping point. “This has the potential for a perfect storm as the threat of COVID and Christmas collide,” she said. “But we know so much more than we did seven months ago. We have the tools to prevent COVID from taking hold in our province.” Added Health Minister Dr. John Haggie: “We have said before, and will probably end up saying it again, that we will see cases from time to time. The important thing is that these are identified, contained and traced.” Fitzgerald says her office has been flooded with questions about what partners and children of rotational workers can or can’t do under current policies. So she offered some rules, which only apply if the worker is asymptomatic and has not returned from outside Canada or a workplace with an outbreak. A partner: • can go to work at any time if a worker is asymptomatic; • can work in a personal care home, as long as personal protective equipment is worn; • should wear a mask if around other people (that includes teaching); • should wear a mask when in another house with extended friends or family. However, she said the rules for children have not changed. “The reason that we did not include children in this policy change is that we do not want to be further stigmatized any more than they sometimes already are,” she said. “And let me be very clear in saying stigmatization should not be happening. It is completely unacceptable and, to be honest, it is heartbreaking for me to hear.” She said parents should act if they witness any form of bullying going on. “Ask your child to imagine themselves in the classmate’s position and how sad and worried they must be feeling. Teach them the golden rule, to treat others as you want to be treated.” She advised parents to make sure they’re setting a good example. “Your children see when you’re afraid, and little ears are everywhere. If you voice concerns about a neighbour or another parent who recently travelled, your child will pick up on that.”Peter Jackson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Telegram
KENAI, Alaska — A petition by the state of Alaska to delist three species of Arctic ringed seals as threatened has been rejected. The decision by the National Marine Fisheries Service on Wednesday was based on “threats associated with ongoing and projected changes in sea ice and on-ice snow depths stemming from climate change within the foreseeable future." The federal agency also said that the state of Alaska's petition did not present new information that had not been previously examined. The National Marine Fisheries Service listed three subspecies of ringed seal — the Arctic, Okhotsk and Baltic — as threatened in 2012. The federal agency had listed them as threatened because warming temperatures and diminished sea ice had an adverse effect on the population and overall health of the species, the Peninsula Clarion reported. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game criticized the decision to reject the petition in a statement on Wednesday. “Ongoing research, along with traditional knowledge compiled since the listing shows no evidence of declines in ringed seal populations,” Alaska Department of Fish and Game Commissioner Doug Vincent-Lang said in the statement. “The seals are handling current environmental changes well. ESA listings should be reserved for imperiled species. It is difficult to believe that a species with a healthy, robust population that numbers in the millions can be threatened with extinction.” The state agency also said that keeping the seals' listing “will have significant consequences for the economy of the State and subsistence opportunities for Alaska Natives with little to no conservation benefit to ringed seals.” The Associated Press
LONDON — The British government appointed a vaccines minister on Saturday as it prepares to inoculate millions of people against the coronavirus, potentially starting within days. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Conservative lawmaker Nadhim Zahawi will oversee the country’s biggest vaccine program in decades. The U.K. medicines regulator is currently assessing two vaccines — one developed by Pfizer and BioNTech, the other by Oxford University and AstraZeneca — to see if they are safe and effective. The Guardian newspaper reported that hospitals have been told they could receive the first doses of the Pfizer shot the week of Dec. 7, if it receives approval. The U.K. says frontline health care workers and nursing home residents will be the first to be vaccinated, followed by older people, starting with those over age 80. Britain has ordered 40 million doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, enough for 20 million people, and 100 million doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine. In all, the U.K. government has agreed to purchase up to 355 million doses of vaccine from seven different producers, as it prepares to vaccinate as many of the country’s 67 million people as possible. Decisions about which, if any, vaccines to authorize will be made by the independent Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency. Pfizer and BioNTech say their vaccine is 95% effective, according to preliminary data. It must be stored at ultra-cold temperatures of around minus 70 degrees Celsius (minus 94 Fahrenheit). The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine can be stored at conventional refrigerator temperatures, and is also cheaper than its main rivals. But some scientists have questioned gaps in its reported results. Oxford and AstraZeneca reported this week that their vaccine appeared to be 62% effective in people who received two doses, and 90% effective when volunteers were given a half dose followed by a full dose. They said the half dose was administered because of a manufacturing error, and they plan a new clinical trial to investigate the most effective dosing regimen. The British government hopes a combination of vaccines and mass testing will end the need for restrictions on business and everyday life it imposed to curb the spread of the coronavirus. Britain has had Europe’s deadliest COVID-19 outbreak, with more than 57,000 confirmed virus-related deaths. The prime minister said this week that officials hope to inoculate “the vast majority of the people who need the most protection by Easter.” But he warned that “we must first navigate a hard winter” of restrictions. A four-week national lockdown in England is due to end Wednesday, and will be replaced by three-tiered system of regional measures that restrict business activity, travel and socializing. The vast majority of the country is being put into the upper two tiers. The restrictions have sparked protests, with police arresting scores of people at an anti-lockdown demonstration in London on Saturday. Several bottles and smoke bombs were thrown as anti-mask and anti-vaccine demonstrators scuffled with officers in the city's West End shopping district. The Metropolitan Police force said 155 people were arrested. Johnson also faces opposition to the measures from dozens of his own Conservative Party’s lawmakers, who say the economic damage outweighs the public health benefits. Bur Cabinet minister Michael Gove said the restrictions were “grimly” necessary to avoid the health system being overwhelmed this winter. Writing in The Times of London, Gove said there are currently 16,000 coronavirus patients in British hospitals, not far below the April peak of 20,000. A rise in infections would mean coronavirus patients would “displace all but emergency cases. And then even those.," he said. “If, however, we can keep the level of infection stable or, even better, falling, and hold out through January and February, then we can be confident that vaccination will pull the plug on the problem,” Gove wrote. Jill Lawless, The Associated Press
York Regional Police has launched its annual holiday RIDE program in the hopes of convincing people not to drink and drive."We consider a suspected impaired driver a crime in progress and you should never hesitate to call 911," Cecile Hammond, deputy chief of the force, said on Friday night at a news conference in Markham.The program, which began on Friday, runs until New Year's Eve. Police have laid more than 1,600 impaired driving-related charges in York Region this year. More than 4,400 calls have been made to police from citizens reporting impaired drivers in 2020. Police have investigated two fatal crashes this year in which alcohol or drug impaired driving is believed to be a factor.The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted the police service to change its RIDE program somewhat and the community should expect to see RIDE spot checks in places this year where they may not have been previously. Those places include back roads and residential neighbourhoods, which police said impaired drivers are using to avoid police."We know that the locations where people often consume alcohol have changed as bars, clubs and restaurants have been either closed or have reduced capacity," Hammond said."If you still feel that drinking, or using drugs, and getting behind the wheel of a vehicle is worth the risk, despite the high probability of being caught, the criminal charges, the criminal record, the legal fees, insurance costs and the embarrassment that will follow, what about the possibility of killing innocent people?" Hammond asked.Hammond said drivers need to make the right choice.'Just don't get behind the wheel,' says woman who lost dadNirusha Mahendram, a woman who lost her father to impaired driving, also spoke at the news conference. Her father, Mahendram Sellathurai, 68, was killed on Dec. 31, 2019 at about 7:20 p.m. His death came the day before her 30th birthday.Stanley Choy, 40, was travelling nearly 200 km/h with more than twice the legal limit of alcohol in his system when he struck Sellathurai's car. Choy was sentenced to seven years in prison, Hammond said. "The trauma doesn't end. The suffering does not end," Mahendram told reporters in front of a check spot in Markham. Four months earlier, she had lost her mother."That night had just practically changed my entire life for me. My goals, my future, any life plans that I had had been shattered in a moment," Mahendram said."The only word I can hang onto is the word hope, hope for change, the hope that the police officers here, and those of you who are watching, help to make sure that everyone gets home safe," she added.For anyone who is considering driving even the slightest bit impaired, she said: "Don't. Just don't get behind the wheel."She said her father was a "kind, loving" man who was hard working and a "go-getter who would not let an opportunity slide by." He was always smiling and would never argue, she said.Her father had been out getting groceries and had stopped to grab dinner for the family before he was killed.Mahendram shared her story just metres away from where her father was killed and where police set up its first stop check of the RIDE campaign.Jennifer Neville-Lake, who lost her three children and father to a impaired driving crash in 2015, was also at the news conference to lend her support for the campaign.
Another person in Saskatchewan who tested positive for COVID-19 has died.The person is in the 80-plus age group and is from the northwest zone, the province said in its Saturday COVID-19 update.The province also reported 197 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total to date in Saskatchewan to 7,888.Community transmission has been found in a number of locations, the province reported.That includes: * A recent outbreak among a teenage hockey team resulted in nine players and one coach testing positive. Multiple teams are currently self-isolating as a result. * A recent outbreak at a curling bonspiel resulted in positive cases on teams from several cities and towns across the province. * Positive cases among attendees at a recent funeral has led to the potential exposure of more than 200 people. * Seventeen nurses working in one hospital were recently required to self-isolate after being identified as close contacts to positive cases linked to sporting events and community transmission.The province said investigating and contact tracing these incidents has delayed notification of possible exposure resulting in further transmission."With significant outbreaks continuing to occur among larger gatherings and sporting events, the public is urged to follow the public health orders in place and are reminded these orders are enforceable," said the news release.Regina had the most new cases on Saturday, with 73, followed by Saskatoon, with 56 new cases.The other cases were in the far northwest (six), far northeast (four), northwest (five), north central (17), northeast (five), central west (one), central east (five), southwest (16), south central (five) and southeast (two) zones.The location of the two other new cases is pending.The seven-day average of daily new cases is 234 (19.3 new cases per 100,000 population). Of the 7,888 reported cases, 3,322 are considered active, with 4,521 people having recovered from the illness.There are now 106 people in hospital with COVID-19, including 88 people receiving in-patient care.Thirty of those patients are in Saskatoon, and 18 are in Regina. There are 19 patients receiving in-patient care in the southeast zone, nine in the northwest and seven in north central. The far northwest, northeast, central east, southwest and south central zones each have one person receiving in-patient care.Eighteen people are in intensive care, including 11 in Saskatoon and five in Regina. The north central and southwest zones each have one patient in intensive care.A total of 244 health-care workers have been infected with the virus.In the last three days, the province has recorded eight deaths. There have now been 45 deaths in total related to COVID-19 in the province. Saskatoon now has 1,108 active cases and Regina has 636 active cases.On Friday, 3,359 COVID-19 tests were processed in Saskatchewan.
The end is in sight for thousands of Islanders who have had to adjust their daily commute to and from Charlottetown because of the Capital Drive construction project.The project, which began in early November, was expected to take up to five weeks to complete.Traffic has been detoured, causing congestion in residential areas such as Lewis Point.The closure was needed to replace twin stormwater culverts under Capital Drive.Scott Adams, the city's manager of public works, estimates up to 25,000 vehicles would normally travel along Capital Drive every day.He said if everything continues to go well, it should reopen to traffic by the end of next week. "We've been very fortunate this year, the weather has been excellent for this time of year," he said."So Monday we're looking at concrete curb going in and then, the following two to three days, asphalt. So we're hoping by the end of next week, Capital Drive will be reopened to through traffic."More from CBC P.E.I.
OTTAWA — There was a strong message conveyed to cabinet ministers last week as senators grilled them on the Trudeau government's bill to expand access to medical assistance in dying.We told you so.Ministers were repeatedly reminded that when the federal government introduced its first bill in 2016 to legalize doctor-assisted death in Canada, senators warned it was unconstitutional and predicted it would be struck down by the courts. A majority of senators voted at that time to drop the central pillar of the bill: that only those whose natural death is reasonably foreseeable should be eligible for an assisted death.The government rejected the amendment and senators ultimately backed down. But, as they'd predicted, the near-death provision was subsequently struck down in a Quebec Superior Court ruling in September 2019.Now, some senators are convinced the bill introduced to bring the law into compliance with that ruling is also unconstitutional. And they're pondering how far they should go to protect the rights of Canadians seeking access to medically assisted death.All legislation must be approved by both houses of Parliament. The Senate can defeat a bill outright, although that has rarely happened.If the Senate amends a bill, it is sent back to the House of Commons to decide whether to accept or reject the changes. The Senate can dig in its heels and insist on an amendment rejected by the Commons, potentially leading to legislation ping-ponging back and forth between chambers without resolution.In practice, however, because senators are not elected, they generally acquiesce to the will of the Commons, as they did on the 2016 assisted-dying bill.But some senators argue that a different standard applies when fundamental constitutional rights are at stake."If it's a very clear violation of a constitutional right, I think we have the right, the moral obligation even, to stick to our position and to insist (on amendment)," says Sen. Pierre Dalphond, a former Quebec Appeal Court judge who sits with the Progressive Senate Group.Dalphond is highly skeptical that the government's latest assisted-dying bill, C-7, is constitutional. He's awaiting further explanations from the government before making a final decision.Appointed in 2019, Dalphond was not in the Senate when the chamber last debated medical assistance in dying legislation. But some senators who did live through the 2016 debate seem particularly determined not to let history repeat itself.Conservative Sen. Claude Carignan believes Bill C-7 violates the guarantee of equality rights in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms by specifying that people suffering solely from mental illnesses will not be allowed access to an assisted death. He thinks the proposed two-track approach to eligibility — one set of rules for people who are near death and more restrictive rules for those who aren't — is similarly problematic."I think the government has created another bill that will have to come back … in two or three years after a court challenge," Carignan says.He believes the government is determined to proceed cautiously on assisted dying and is quite content to have the courts force its hand every step of the way. The trouble with that approach, in his view, is that it forces vulnerable people who are suffering unbearably from serious illnesses to spend time, money and energy fighting for their rights in court."That's really tough. So I think if we want to protect those people we have to insist and say, 'Look, don't go there another time.'"Fellow Conservative Sen. Pierre-Hugues Boisvenu is hopeful the Senate will propose, and the government will agree, to a compromise this time: amend the bill to remove the mental illness exclusion but give the government one or two years to come up with guidelines and safeguards before that part of the law goes into force.He said that could "be a good compromise" that would avoid a potential standoff between the Senate and the government over the issue.Dalphond is inclined to support such a compromise because it would force the government to act on the issue, rather than leave it to be discussed, possibly without resolution, during a promised parliamentary review. That review must grapple with other thorny matters, such as whether to allow advance consent for assisted death, as well as access to the procedure for mature minors."We have an opportunity maybe to straighten things up now. Why wait another one, two, three years? … People will be suffering during that period."The composition of the Senate has changed considerably over the past four years so it's not yet possible to gauge whether the current crop of senators will go as far as — or further than — senators did in 2016 to protect charter rights. There are certainly many senators who are passionately opposed on moral grounds to any expanded access to assisted death, and especially opposed to extending it to people suffering solely from mental illnesses.But senators with extensive legal backgrounds — both veterans like Carignan and more recent appointees like Dalphond — who grilled ministers last week during committee hearings on the bill all questioned its constitutionality.The most recently appointed senator, Brent Cotter, a prominent legal ethicist and former senior public servant in Saskatchewan, pointedly asked Justice Minister David Lametti whether he believes senators have a duty to ensure legislation is constitutionally valid.Lametti did not answer and Cotter concedes it's a question he's wrestling with himself."The nice thing about the Senate is, on the one hand, I do think we have to advance our viewpoint on the basis of principle and we have much more luxury to do that in a less partisan Senate," says Cotter, a member of the Independent Senators Group."And on constitutionality, it's quite possible that senators need to be firm … But at the same time I don't think we have the right to overreach because we are involved in a role where we are appointed, we are not elected by constituents and we need to be respectful of the electoral process that leads to government according to law."This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 29, 2020.Joan Bryden, The Canadian Press
Residents in the Moodyville area are calling on the City of North Vancouver to “preserve the character of their neighbourhood” with the proposal of a new development they say is set to “cast a shadow” over their homes and lives. The public will have the chance to once again voice their concerns or support for the Cascadia Green redevelopment at 402-438 East Third Street and 341-343 St. Davids Ave. next week. After a robust discussion at the Nov. 16 general meeting, council voted to move forward with a public hearing on the developer’s application to change the land use and permitted height in the city’s official community plan and zoning bylaw, which would allow the development to go ahead. The proposed changes would give the developer permission to increase from four storeys to five storeys as well as add a commercial laneway and extra retail and office spaces to the development. The proposed 5,516.5-square-metre mixed-use development includes three separate buildings: the West building, a four-storey building along East Third Street with 82 market strata residential units, including ground-floor live-work townhouse units; the East building, a five-storey mixed-use building with 71 market strata residential units, 14 commercial retail units, office spaces and a childcare facility on Level 1, and the North building, a four-storey mixed-use building with 16 market strata residential units. In the report prepared for council, staff said they supported the OCP amendment, stating it would “increase the commercial component in the development to provide significant amenities to the Moodyville area.” Staff also highlighted the inclusion of childcare, improvements to active transportation infrastructure and intersections, and housing pilot programs were all consistent with the City’s policy framework. "The form of development has also been evaluated and considered appropriate in the site context," the report states. "On balance, the proposed application will support the continued growth of Moodyville into a more sustainable neighbourhood - environmentally, socially, and economically." Members of the surrounding community already voiced both grievances and support for the developer’s proposal at a town hall meeting in November 2019 – with more than 85 comment sheets and emails submitted after the event, with 23 expressing opposition and 62 expressing support. A virtual town hall was then hosted in July this year, to provide an update on changes to the proposal which resulted in a further 316 comments. Those in support have praised the project for offering relatively affordable housing, with a Rent-to-Own and Affordable Home Ownership Program, its pedestrian orientated design and the proposed mix of neighbourhood retail and restaurants. Residents in opposition are hoping council will make developers stick to the original plans. More residents came forward to speak against the OCP ammendments at the Nov. 16 council meeting, echoing the same key concerns about the heights, size, and shadow impacts of the three buildings. Residents in opposition fear the massive development will impact traffic, on-street parking, privacy and noise in area. The community is also worried the development would put pressure on Ridgeway Elementary, which is already at capacity. Jeff Murl, an East Fourth Street resident, said the current plan being proposed dramatically altered the “density, form and character” of the neighbourhood. Murl argued the change was not “marginal” and the new plan proposed five times the residential density and 10 times the commercial density of the OCP. “What is proposed is seeking to overwrite the hours of work and consideration of public input already encapsulated in the OCP,” he said. Murl said the neighbourhood was not “looking to be an experiment” when it came to the activation of a laneway behind their homes, suggesting the nearby TransLink bus depot site, zoned for commercial, was the better retail development option. Fellow resident Brian Charleton, who bought into the neighbourhood in January, said he was previously aware of the four-storey development before purchasing, but was astounded to find out the potential height changes could mean he’d have an almost 70-foot building towering over his home in the future. “The only time we will see direct sunlight is during the summer solstice, all other seasons of the year we will be shaded,” he said. Staff say since consultations with the community a number of changes have been made to the application, highlighting the North building has been redesigned in order to respond to the neighbouring houses along East Fourth Street, site circulation has been improved to significantly calm traffic surrounding the site, and the childcare space is now located at the breezeway, away from East Fourth Street. But East Fourth resident Melissa McConchie, who has written twice to the city to voice her concerns and spoke at Monday’s meeting, said the adjustments weren’t good enough. “We’re not anti-development but this proposal is just way too big for our neighbourhood and it will have a significant negative impact on my family and the other families who live on this street,” she said. “Particularly because we’re on the south side of Fourth Street, these buildings are literally directly in my backyard – our duplex is going to disappear in a sea of buildings. “If approved, this will turn our quiet, residential street into a busy commercial zone with 30,000 square feet of commercial space along Third Street, St. Davids Avenue and our laneway.” She said the community just wanted “city council to preserve the family character of this street.” “This is a great neighbourhood and it would be a tremendous shame to see it completely overhauled when the official community plan already provides the roadmap for how to balance the need for new development with the impact on existing residents,” McConchie said. At Monday’s general meeting, the vote to move to the public hearing was carried five to two. Coun. Jessica McIlroy was happy to move forward, saying she’d like to hear more from the public and staff on the development. “We have heard concerns from members of the public about the project, but I feel that the application has gone through the necessary steps to move to a public hearing,” she said. Meanwhile, Coun. Holly Back was “quite concerned” about moving the application forward. She had similar issues with the project as the community, including a fifth storey being too high, future overcrowding at the local school, and the increased size of the development compared to the original plans. With similar concerns about the heights and size of the development, Coun. Don Bell, who had also previously opposed the project, voted against moving forward to a public hearing, agreeing with the community that the development would change the area’s character. “I think this project is too dense for that site and too massive in terms of form,” he said, mentioning he also wasn’t convinced it was the right spot to introduce a commercial laneway. “I think the project is, you know, attractive and I would have liked to have seen it kept within the OCP limits.” The virtual public hearing has been set for Nov. 30. Click here to register and for more project details.Elisia Seeber, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, North Shore News