ANCHORAGE, Alaska — The Trump administration on Wednesday effectively killed a contentious proposed mine in Alaska, a gold and copper prospect once envisioned to be nearly as deep as the Grand Canyon and could produce enough waste to fill an NFL stadium nearly 3,900 times — all near the headwaters of the world’s largest sockeye salmon fishery.The Army Corps of Engineers “concluded that the proposed project is contrary to the public interest” and denied a permit to build the Pebble Mine under both the Clean Water Act and the Rivers and Harbors Act, the agency said in a statement.The rejection was a surprise. It's at odds with President Donald Trump’s efforts to encourage energy development in Alaska, including opening up part of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to drilling, and other moves nationwide to roll back environmental protections that would benefit oil and gas and other industries.The Corps of Engineers also seemed to signal just a few months ago that after almost two decades of political wrangling, Pebble Mine was on a fast track to approval, a reversal from what many had expected under the Obama administration.But unlike drilling elsewhere in Alaska, the mine proposed for the southwestern Bristol Bay region could have negatively affected the state's billion-dollar fishing industry. Conservationists and even Trump’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., sounded the alarm on the project before the administration changed course again.The CEO of the Pebble Limited Partnership, the mine’s developers, said he was dismayed by the decision, especially after the corps had indicated in an environmental impact statement in July that the mine and fishery could coexist.“One of the real tragedies of this decision is the loss of economic opportunities for people living in the area,” CEO John Shively said in a statement. The environmental review “clearly describes those benefits, and now a politically driven decision has taken away the hope that many had for a better life. This is also a lost opportunity for the state’s future economy.”He said they are considering their next steps, which could include an appeal of the corps’ decision.“Today Bristol Bay’s residents and fishermen celebrate the news that Pebble’s permit has been denied; tomorrow we get back to work,” said Katherine Carscallen, executive director of the group Commercial Fishermen for Bristol Bay.The group wants Congress to pass laws protecting the region. “We’ve learned the hard way over the last decade that Pebble is not truly dead until protections are finalized,” Carscallen said.In July, the Corps of Engineers released an environmental review that the mine developer saw as laying the groundwork for key federal approvals. The review said that under normal operations, Pebble Mine “would not be expected to have a measurable effect on fish numbers and result in long-term changes to the health of the commercial fisheries in Bristol Bay.”However, in August, the corps said it had determined that discharges at the mine site would cause “unavoidable adverse impacts to aquatic resources” and laid out required steps to reduce those effects.Canada-based Northern Dynasty Minerals Ltd., which owns Pebble Limited Partnership, said it had submitted a mitigation plan on Nov. 16.Even if the corps had approved the project, there was still no guarantee it would have been built. It would have needed state approval, and President-elect Joe Biden has expressed opposition to the project.Critics saw Pebble Mine as getting a lifeline under the Trump administration. Last year, the Environmental Protection Agency withdrew restrictions on development that were proposed — but never finalized — under the Obama administration and said it planned to work with the corps to address concerns.However, Trump’s eldest son was among those who voiced opposition earlier this year. After senior Trump campaign adviser Nick Ayers tweeted in August that he hoped the president would direct the EPA to block Pebble Mine, Trump Jr. responded: “As a sportsman who has spent plenty of time in the area I agree 100%. The headwaters of Bristol Bay and the surrounding fishery are too unique and fragile to take any chances with.”The president later said he would “listen to both sides.”“The credit for this victory belongs not to any politician but to Alaskans and Bristol Bay’s Indigenous peoples, as well as to hunters, anglers and wildlife enthusiasts from all across the country who spoke out in opposition to this dangerous and ill-conceived project," said Adam Kolton, executive director of the Alaska Wilderness League.Alaska’s two Republican U.S. senators, who support oil and gas development and mining, hailed the rejection of the Pebble Mine permit. Sen. Lisa Murkowski said the decision affirmed her position that it’s the wrong mine in the wrong place.“It will help ensure the continued protection of an irreplaceable resource — Bristol Bay’s world-class salmon fishery,” she said.Sen. Dan Sullivan said he would remain an advocate for good-paying jobs derived from resource development.“However, given the special nature of the Bristol Bay watershed and the fisheries and subsistence resources downstream, Pebble had to meet a high bar so that we do not trade one resource for another,” he said. “Pebble did not meet that bar.”___Associated Press journalist Becky Bohrer in Juneau contributed to this report.Mark Thiessen, The Associated Press
EDMONTON — On a day Alberta hit a sobering 500 COVID-19 deaths, the Opposition accused Premier Jason Kenney of implementing short-sighted, half-baked health restrictions that will provoke the very economic collapse he seeks to avoid.“The premier is continuing his discredited, libertarian approach of pitting the economy against the health of Albertans, and he’s going to sacrifice both as a result,” NDP Leader Rachel Notley told the house Wednesday in a fiery exchange with Kenney during question period.“Let me be perfectly clear to this premier,” she added. “Your negligence is far, far more dangerous to our economy and the people who rely on their jobs than sound public-health measures.”The exchange came a day after the United Conservative premier announced new restrictions to reverse rates of COVID-19 that are consistently over 1,000 a day and threaten to overwhelm intensive care beds and trigger a disastrous domino effect throughout the health system.Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta's chief medical officer of health, announced 1,265 new cases Wednesday, with 355 people in hospital, including 71 in intensive care. There were eight more deaths, bringing that total to 500.“This is a tragic milestone,” Hinshaw said, adding that health officials are now working on moving and reassigning patients to free up more ICU beds for COVID-19 cases as needed.The new health rules include a provincewide ban on indoor extended gatherings, even in people’s homes. There are new restrictions on bars, restaurants and pubs, retailers, casinos, movie houses, hair salons, schools, places of worship and other businesses, backed up by fines of $1,000 to $100,000.The changes will be reviewed in three weeks.Kenney said the goal is to reverse COVID-19 case increases while keeping the economy afloat to prevent further harm to those who are relying on it to get by.Notley’s NDP, and hundreds of physicians and infectious disease specialists, have demanded Kenney institute a much sharper business lockdown, even for a short period, to give the beleaguered health system a chance to rest and reset. They say without it, cases will keep climbing and Alberta is headed for a devastating Christmas community lockdown.Kenney accused Notley of wanting to impose a blinkered, one-size-fits-all approach that doesn’t mesh with COVID-transmission data and would ultimately do more harm than good.“They’re socialists. They’re addicted to command and control of people’s lives,” Kenney told the house.“What they want to do is put hundreds of thousands of people out of work.”The two leaders vehemently disagreed on the contact-tracing data, with Notley saying the government is flying blind and Kenney responding that it has nine months’ worth of numbers to draw on.In recent weeks, Alberta’s contact tracing system has failed to keep up with the surge of cases. Of the 13,719 active cases, the government says it doesn’t know where 83 per cent of them are coming from.Hinshaw said the lack of recent data has been a challenge but officials also rely on earlier numbers and data from comparable jurisdictions.As of Friday, restaurants can have no more than six diners per table and they must all be from the same household. Owners say they are grappling with how to enforce that."At this point, it's looking like it's an honour system," said Ernie Tsu, an owner of Trolley 5 Restaurant and Brewery in Calgary and founding board member of the Alberta Hospitality Association. The association is meeting with government officials to get "refined details" on how restaurants should enforce the rule.Tsu said he’s pleased restaurants have not been closed to sit-down customers, as has been the case in some other provinces. “We still have to make sure that everyone understands that these restaurants are still paying full rent while employing Albertans and trying to work with diminished capacities," Tsu said.— With files from Lauren Krugel in CalgaryThis report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 25, 2020.Dean Bennett, The Canadian Press
TORONTO — Some of the most active companies traded Wednesday on the Toronto Stock Exchange: Toronto Stock Exchange (17,313.07, up 38.82 points.) Northern Dynasty Minerals Ltd. (TSX:NDM). Materials. Down 54 cents, or 51.43 per cent, to 51 cents on 19.34 million shares.Suncor Energy Inc. (TSX:SU). Energy. Down 16 cents, or 0.7 per cent, to $22.83 on 13.09 million shares. Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. (TSX: CNQ). Energy. Down 35 cents, or 1.13 per cent, to $30.76 on 9.28 million shares. Aurora Cannabis Inc. (TSX: ACB). Health care. Down 70 cents, or 5.84 per cent, to $11.29 on 9.27 million shares. Enbridge Inc. (TSX: ENB). Energy. Up 57 cents, or 1.4 per cent, to $41.31 on 8.7 million shares. Trevali Mining Corp. (TSX:TV). Materials. Down 2.5 cents, or 11.11 per cent, to 20 cents on 7.63 million shares. Companies in the news: Imperial Oil Ltd. (TSX: IMO). Down 59 cents, or 2.37 per cent, at $24.32. Calgary-based Imperial Oil said Wednesday it is laying off about 200 of its 6,000 employees across Canada as part of a cost-cutting initiative due to low oil prices. The oilsands, refining and energy retailing company, which has been reluctant to cut staff during the current and previous industry downturns, also confirmed Wednesday it has reduced the number of contractors it employs by about 450 since the start of the year.Cargojet Inc. (TSX: CJT). Up $10.83, or 5.4 per cent, at $211.51. Cargojet says it is preparing for record levels of online shopping over the holidays — as Canadians buy gifts digitally during restrictions at brick-and-mortar stores — and the company is taking unprecedented measures to try to keep package deliveries on time. The Mississauga-based company says it is hiring additional pilots and staff, and added a new plane to its fleet this month for the second time this year.Spin Master Corp. (TSX:TOY). Up 29 cents, or 0.99 per cent, at $29.52. Toymaker Spin Master has announced a deal to develop toys and games based on the Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts movies. The company says it has signed a global licensing agreement with Warner Bros. Consumer Products for the Wizarding World franchise.BRP Inc. (TSX:DOO). Up $2.21, or 3.25 per cent, at $70.24. BRP reported an improved outlook for the rest of the year on Wednesday as the company’s third-quarter earnings results beat analysts’ expectations and it raised its guidance for its full financial year. The maker of Ski-Doos and Sea-Doos reported higher third-quarter profit compared with a year ago, buoyed by strong sales worldwide despite COVID-19 lockdowns that hampered inventory and distribution.Cascades Inc. (TSX:CAS). Down 30 cents, or 2.02 per cent, at $14.55. Cascades says it will close its napkin plant in Laval, Que., at the end of June next year. The plant currently employs 54 workers. Cascades says it will offer to relocate as many employees as possible to its other operations in Quebec and employees who are not able or do not wish to relocate will be offered help in their search for other employment.CAE Inc. (TSX:CAE). Down 69 cents, or 2.05 per cent, at $33.03. CAE Inc. has signed a deal with Textron to buy TRU Simulation + Training Canada Inc. for US$40 million. The company says the acquisition expands its installed base of commercial flight simulators and customers.Exro Technologies Inc. (TSXV:EXRO). Up 16 cents, or 3.6 per cent, at $4.60. Exro says it has priced its shares at $3.25 each. The Canadian company, which is developing new control products to improve efficiency and performance in electric motors and powertrains, is aiming to raise between $30 million and $36.5 million through a public offering.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 25, 2020.The Canadian Press
COVID-19 outbreak at St. Martin school continues to grow. The outbreak was first declared at the elementary school in Smithville on Nov. 19. Two new cases were added on Nov. 23, bringing the total to four. The Niagara Catholic District School Board said there are now nine cases. The school has been in official outbreak status since last Thursday when the second case was confirmed. The first case was confirmed Nov. 13. NCDSB said since that time, the number of new cases at the school as grown to nine; however not all the cases so far have been linked to the outbreak, as their origin has not been determined. Niagara Region Public Health continues to investigate the situation. Two classes at the school will now be required to self-isolate for 14 days a result of the newly reported cases. Public health said they are not recommending St. Martin close at this time, as the virus is not widespread through the school community. Onsite testing will be available at the school on Thursday for staff who have not yet been tested and will be provided by public health. NCDSB said testing for staff at St. Martin is recommended, but not mandatory, while any parents of students who wish to have their children tested should do so at a an approved testing centre in Niagara.Bryan Levesque, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Grimsby Lincoln News
MONTREAL — The percentage of COVID-19 cases in Quebec among people over the age of 70 is increasing, but the number is significantly below what was reported during the peak of the pandemic's first wave.However, Dr. Quoc Dinh Nguyen, a gerontologist and epidemiologist at the Universite de Montreal hospital centre, said he's still worried about the rise in cases among the elderly."It might be slight, but one 85 year old who gets COVID will count for 600 20-year-olds in terms of mortality," he said in an interview Wednesday. "If we use the metric of deaths, even a slight increase in the number of cases is a huge increase in terms of mortality." Data from Quebec's national public health institute indicates 18.4 per cent of Quebecers with active COVID-19 cases since Nov. 22 were over the age of 70, up from 14.9 per cent the previous week.In September, 9.5 per cent of COVID-19 cases involved seniors, while in the first 24 days of November, it was 14.4 per cent. But that number is far below what was reported during the peak of cases last spring, when seniors over 70 years old accounted for 35.2 per cent of total COVID infections in Quebec.More than 90 per cent of people who have died in Quebec from COVID-19 were over 70, according to public health institute data. Many seniors who haven't caught the virus are faring badly as a result of the pandemic and the efforts to slow its spread, said Nguyen, who headed a team of experts appointed by the government last spring to improve COVID-19 prevention measures in long-term care homes.“They are more stressed out and worried about contracting COVID, righteously so because the chances of having a severe form of the disease is much greater,” he said. “So they're very worried, so they really respect this whole idea of social distancing and not seeing anyone, but they're also the most vulnerable to all of these new measures because, as we age, we're more vulnerable to anything that will disrupt our baseline activities.”People who are at the threshold of losing mobility or have few contacts will be more affected by those changes than others, he said. Nguyen said he and other gerontologists are still seeing the effects of the first lockdown in their patients.He said the government needs to do a better job of explaining to older people what activities are risky and how much risk those activities involve. Nguyen said he would also like to see health authorities focus on controlling the number COVID-19 infections in people over 70 and in health-care workers, rather than focusing on schools and the general population."What we'll remember about COVID is not going to the number of schools that had COVID — it's going to be the number of nursing homes residents who've died," he said.Syeda Nayab Bukhari, program coordinator at the Telehealth Intervention Program for Isolated Older Adults in Montreal, said many people using her services are feeling increasingly isolated as a result of the pandemic.Bukhari said volunteers in the program, which is run by the Jewish General Hospital, have told her that the older adults they speak to are no longer able to see friends, neighbours and family members and that some have lost friends to COVID-19.Mental health is a serious issues among older people, Bukhari said. "Some of them are struggling with other mental health issues, for example, stress, late-life depression, dementia," she said in a recent interview. "Losing that connection with the outside world makes it worse."Health authorities said Wednesday there were 18 private seniors residences where more than 25 per cent of residents have active cases of COVID-19. There are public two long-term care homes where more than 25 per cent of residents have confirmed cases of the disease. But Nguyen said that's an arbitrary cutoff. "The need to reinforce infection prevention control, screening, isolation and all of that starts as soon as there's a single case," he said. "If we get to 25, 50 per cent, it's because something has not been done correctly."Meanwhile, public health officials in Montreal said that hospital facilities — which already have a shortage of workers — will face a particular challenge over the holidays.Sonia Belanger, the CEO of the regional health authority that covers much of central Montreal, told reporters more than 200 health-care workers have active cases of COVID-19, while she said more than 150 are waiting for test results. Quebec reported 1,100 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday and 28 more deaths attributed to the virus, including 12 that occurred in the past 24 hours. The province has reported a total of 135,430 cases of COVID-19 and 6,915 deaths linked to the virus.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 25, 2020.———This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship.Jacob Serebrin, The Canadian Press
Government and election officials frequently call on shredding companies to dispose of personal and sensitive documents that are no longer needed.But in a suburban county of Atlanta this week, those routine waste removal appointments were twisted into yet another election misinformation story when social media users falsely claimed shredding trucks were destroying ballots and “evidence of voter fraud.”The unfounded allegations continue to spread online as Georgia officials carry out a machine recount of ballots after certified results showed Joe Biden had a 12,670-vote lead over President Donald Trump. Trump requested the recount, which follows a statewide hand tally.L. Lin Wood Jr., a conservative attorney who had unsuccessfully sued in an attempt to block the certification of Georgia’s election results, on Tuesday shared a series of videos taken by a Georgia resident. They showed a shredding truck outside the West Park Government Center in Marietta.“Evidence of voter fraud is being destroyed in Cobb County, GA TODAY,” Wood captioned one of his tweets. “Many people, powerful & not so powerful, are going to PRISON.”The real explanation for the truck’s visit was far less scandalous: a routine shredding of county tax documents.The county tax commissioner’s office, which shares a building with the county’s main elections office, has documents shredded twice a month, according to Ross Cavitt, communications director for the county.“No items from Cobb Elections were involved,” Cavitt told The Associated Press in an email.The false claims built on similar rumours from last week, when the same Georgia resident captured photos and video of a truck destroying election-related waste outside the Jim R. Miller Event Center in Marietta and claimed it was evidence of “ballots being shredded.”After Wood amplified those photos and videos on Friday, Cobb County officials refuted the claim, explaining that the shredding company was summoned to destroy non-relevant election materials, as happens after all elections.“Everything of consequence, including the ballots, absentee ballot applications with signatures, and anything else used in the count or re-tally remains on file,” Janine Eveler, the county’s director of elections and voter registration, said in a statement.Some of the photos shared on Friday appeared to show a trash can with a paper labeled “ABSENTEE BALLOT” inside. But Eveler said that was an inner privacy envelope used by voters to seal absentee ballots, and had “no evidentiary value.” County officials will hold on to the actual absentee ballots, as well as the outer envelopes signed by voters, for two years.Wood did not respond to a telephone call and email seeking comment.Despite the county’s responses, Wood’s tweets with the debunked claims continued to receive massive engagement on Wednesday, collectively amassing more than 200,000 retweets. And a separate Facebook user’s post falsely claiming a shredding company was “hired by Democrats” to destroy evidence was viewed nearly 150,000 times.County officials told the AP they have not seen any evidence of fraud or anomalies in vote tabulation in the 2020 election.“People nowadays, they post stuff immediately without asking any questions and without any proper context, and it spreads like wildfire,” Cavitt said of the false claims.Jude Joffe-Block And Ali Swenson, The Associated Press
When Treyton Middleton found out who was suspected of shooting his stepfather in the street outside their home on Saint John's lower west side, he looked him up on Facebook. On Wednesday afternoon, the jury heard that Middleton, now 19, sent a message to the man that night, threatening to round up some friends and kill him. In fact, when Const. Connor Bodechon arrived at 321 Duke St. West to take photos about an hour after the shooting, Justin Breau's Facebook profile is on the computer screen photographed in Middleton's bedroom. Breau, 37, is on trial for second-degree murder in the death of 42-year-old Mark Shatford. He is accused of shooting Shatford at about 4:25 a.m. on Nov. 17, 2019. Despite numerous surgeries at the Saint John Regional Hospital, Shatford died on Dec. 18. During testimony on Wednesday, Middleton said he awoke to banging and yelling in the early morning hours of Nov. 17, 2019. He peeked out of his bedroom and saw two masked men moving through the second-floor apartment where he lived with Shatford, his mother, three siblings, and his sister's boyfriend. Middleton said he followed the men down the stairs and managed to grab one of them at the front door. He said he threw the man to the ground outside and started punching him. As he continued to fight with the man, he saw his mother and Shatford pass by, heading to a vehicle parked on the street. Middleton said he continued to fight with the man until he heard a gunshot. As he turned, he said, he saw Shatford fall to the ground. He immediately went to Shatford's side. He testified that the man with the gun then pointed it at him and his mother and told them to shut up. Middleton said he tried to grab a large wrench that Shatford had dropped, but his mother wouldn't let him take it. As the vehicle pulled away, Middleton said, he threw the wrench at it but missed. What became of the wrench before police seized it in January remains unclear.Middleton and his mother, Melissa Daley, both testified they don't know how the wrench got back inside the apartment. But pictures taken by Bodechon, who arrived at the scene at 5:50 a.m., appear to show the item on top of the fridge. Bodechon took several pictures inside the home, including the one that show's the computer screen in Middleton's bedroom. "I did that on my own," Middleton said of the Facebook search. "I just wanted to see him."It was under cross-examination by defence lawyer Brian Munro that Middleton was asked about sending a Facebook message to Breau not long after the shooting. Middleton admitted sending a message that he was going to round up some people and kill Breau. He was also asked about his actions immediately after the shooting. Middleton said he went to a "buddy's" place but the person wasn't at home. He was repeatedly asked to name the "buddy" but he refused each time. "I'm not answering it," he insisted, before the jury was led out of the courtroom. After a short time — and some discussion in the absence of the jury and Middleton — the jury was brought back in and cross-examination resumed. Middleton was again asked to name the person and said it was his ex-girlfriend, Bella McCutcheon. He told the court that he called her "buddy" because they were not dating at the time. The trial is scheduled to resume Thursday morning.
The Central Interior Hockey League (CIHL) has cancelled its senior men’s ‘AA’ 2020/21 season, but league officials are keeping the door open to the possibility of exhibition games in the new year. The league includes the Terrace River Kings and teams in Prince Rupert, Kitimat, Smithers, Hazelton, Williams Lake and Quesnel. “We had a schedule to start December 4th but with recent restrictions feel that in in any circumstances less than a super miracle vaccination, we would probably not return to play with spectators in time to salvage a 20-21 season,” said Ron German, CIHL President, in a media release. German thanked the communities, fans, volunteers and sponsors for their support. He said that if conditions regarding the COVID-19 pandemic change in 2021, the league would explore the possibility of playing exhibition games if BC Hockey and local guidelines could be met.Ben Bogstie, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Interior News
OTTAWA, Ill. — Canada's watchdog for crime victims is calling on Parliament to overhaul their bill of rights, saying the five-year-old legislation has fallen "far short" of delivering on its promise. Rules meant to amplify victims' voices in the justice system have failed to make them heard following "sporadic" implementation of a regime that needs more teeth, clarity and public awareness, federal ombudsman Heidi Illingworth said in a report Wednesday. "The situation of victims of crime has not fundamentally changed since it was passed," she wrote. The previous Conservative government introduced what it called a victims' bill of rights in 2015 that allowed crime victims to get information about offenders in the corrections system and have their views considered when decisions are made about those perpetrators. Illingworth said the legislation should be amended to provide a legal remedy for violations, such as allowing victims to formally challenge authorities on whether their rights have been honoured. "There was no right to appeal, there was no right to seek damages," Illingworth said Wednesday in a phone interview. The 2015 statute was an important firs step but "really more of a statement of principles," she added. "It did not give people real rights, because in law you have to be able to have a remedy for rights to be real." The justice system demands heavy lifting from people subjected to a criminal act, including those involved in the 2.2 million crimes reported to police each year. "They are expected to report the crime, provide evidence, bear witness, be cross-examined on the stand and relive their traumas over and over again as they tell their truths — yet we provide them with little assistance to do so," Illingworth wrote. "Unsupported victims are less likely to come forward. When victims are not treated as full partners in the criminal justice system, the system is less effective." Victims should automatically receive information about their rights, rather than having to ask for it, she said. Up to two-thirds of crime victims do not go to the police, said Irvin Waller, professor emeritus in criminology at the University of Ottawa. Other reforms demanded in the report include a simplified complaint process filtered entirely through the ombudsman's office rather than a patchwork of agencies, more clearly defined obligations for criminal justice officials and more funding to train front-line workers in treating victims with "courtesy, compassion and respect." The ombudsman is also calling for better data collection by courts, prisons and law enforcement agencies to understand police interactions with targeted populations, including Indigenous women and LGBTQ individuals. "We know that there’s distrust, and this is especially concerning among communities of colour, racialized communities, Indigenous people. And how survivors of sexual violence are cheated by the justice system has been very, very problematic," Illingworth said. Waller pointed to England and France as models on training guidelines for officials and restitution for victims, respectively. He said up to half of French criminal cases result in restitution payments, access to which should be guaranteed, according to the ombudsman's report. In contrast to Canada, France also grants victims legal "standing" to appeal to courts for review when their rights are not upheld. "We are a long, long way behind these countries," Waller said. Illingworth's report further recommends amendments that commit to core funding for community-based restorative justice programs as well as a list of officials who have direct responsibilities to crime victims. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 25, 2020. Christopher Reynolds, The Canadian Press
Dr. Juveria Zaheer eagerly volunteered to work the sleepless overnight shift on the Centre of Addiction and Mental Health’s new emergency department. Other clinicians, she said, requested the same. “There’s just so much excitement happening,” said Zaheer, a psychiatrist at CAMH. This excitement is driven by the long-awaited unveiling of two new buildings at Canada’s leading mental health hospital: a new emergency department and a state-of-the-art recovery complex at CAMH’s Queen Street West campus, both featuring central themes of bright, open space and natural light. The new spaces are part of an ongoing, ambitious redevelopment plan that began in 2006 to integrate CAMH into one campus and build a vision for what the future of mental health care could look like, CAMH’s CEO Catherine Zahn said. The goal, Zahn said, is for CAMH to move away from an institutional environment by building a bridge with the community that surrounds it, lending to “the acceptance of mental illness, not as something that’s behind walls anymore,” but something that is central to the overall health of the community. “There’s no health without mental health,” Zahn said. Over a two-day period starting Wednesday, more than 200 patients were to be transported from the old building on College Street to the new buildings: The Crisis and Critical Care Building, which includes the new emergency department, and the McCain Complex Care and Recovery Building. It’s a challenging feat due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but one that proved to be timely due to the new buildings’ abundance of space. “Moving into these new spaces is actually extremely desirable for us during the pandemic,” Zahn said. The new emergency department is double the size of the old one and features more spacious patient rooms, each equipped with a private bathroom, which will limit the sharing of common spaces. As of Tuesday, CAMH had two patients and seven staff who tested positive for COVID-19, according to the hospital’s website. Zahn said patients will be transported to the new building with the help of moving companies who are following rigorous sanitation procedures to ensure a safe move. The move includes COVID-19 positive patients, where Toronto Public Health was also consulted. In addition to more physical space, the Crisis and Critical Care Building features an outdoor terrace for patients to access fresh air, and more rooms for group therapy sessions and other recovery programs. It also offers more space dedicated to triaging patients. “In our current space, I’ll walk into the (emergency) department and there will be people in rooms, but there will also be people in stretchers and people sitting in seats and sleeping there,” Zaheer said. “Having more rooms will make a world of a difference.” There are 235 new patient beds in total between the new Critical Care Building and the Complex Care and Recovery Building. This includes an increase of Psychiatric Intensive Care Units from nine to 41 — more than quadrupling the previous capacity of beds that were fully at use by both CAMH and patients from other area hospitals. Alongside housing patient beds, the McCain Complex Care and Recovery Building will also serve as a unique, transformative hub for patients to learn life skills needed on their path to recovery. Part of this is a “therapeutic neighbourhood,” which holds a laundry room, an exercise room and an industrial-sized kitchen affiliated with George Brown College, where patients can take classes and learn how to perform daily tasks. The building is also home to music and art studios for various forms of art therapy. Erin Ledrew, a recreation therapist at CAMH, said the McCain complex was created with the help of existing literature on what mental health care can and should look like, and will serve as “a central programming space” for patients. “I think that will create a real sense of community,” Ledrew said. The McCain building also features a library that is open to the public and tied to CAMH’s larger vision of connecting the hospital with its surrounding community. Both buildings also feature artwork from previous CAMH patients, some of whom are Indigenous and channelled their culture and recovery journey into their art. For now, patients will be engaged in physically distant in-person tours of the new space, while virtual ones will be offered simultaneously. Ledrew said the building is large enough to offer some programming in a safe and distant manner as well. “Right now, we have a hybrid model that will allow us to still offer all of that programming, while maintaining not mixing (units) and continuing to follow all the protocols during COVID,” Ledrew said. The hope is that the new buildings will offer better care for patients and their families while providing the space and facilities to guide them in life beyond their time at CAMH, Ledrew said. “We’re really trying to offer spaces for people to feel safe to explore the strategies that work for them in their recovery,” she said. Nadine Yousif is a Toronto-based reporter for the Star covering mental health. Her reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative. Follow her on Twitter: @nadineyousif_ Nadine Yousif, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Toronto Star
OTTAWA — Newly released documents show the navy will need help resupplying its fleets at sea even after two multibillion-dollar support vessels are built. The documents obtained by The Canadian Press show that the navy plans to rely on Chantier Davie's MV Asterix and allies to ensure there is no “capability gap” even after the two new joint support ships are finished in next few years. Canada originally planned to buy three new navy support ships when it launched the project more than a decade ago, but cost overruns saw the order cut down to two. The vessels are being built in Vancouver at a combined cost of $4 billion. Yet navy officials have continued to indicate that two support ships are not enough to meet the maritime force's long-term needs, as the government’s policy requires the military be able to operate two fleets at sea at the same time. The fear is that the navy will be hamstrung whenever one of the two so-called joint support ships is out of commission, either for repairs or for some other reason. While the documents play down such a threat, they also acknowledge that to prevent a “capability gap,” the navy will need to rely on the Asterix as well as “sailing with and leveraging allies and partners who have support-ship capabilities.” Canada was forced to rely on allies when its previous two support ships were taken out of service earlier than expected in 2014. Yet such an approach has been criticized as undermining the Canadian military’s autonomy and flexibility, which is why the government decided to start leasing the Asterix from Davie in January 2018 until the two new joint support ships arrived. The vessel is in the midst of a five-year leasing arrangement between Ottawa and the Quebec company, with an option to extend the lease by another five years in 2023. The government could also buy the vessel. Parliamentary budget officer Yves Giroux last week estimated the cost of buying the Asterix at $633 million, while extending the contract could cost more than $500 million. Giroux estimated Asterix’s sister ship, MV Obelix, could cost $797 million. The Liberal government has so far resisted calls to purchase the Asterix or Obelix, despite pressure from opposition parties as well as Davie and the Quebec government. It has instead repeatedly described the Asterix as a stopgap until the two new joint support ships arrive, the first of which is due in 2023. Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan’s spokeswoman Floriane Bonneville repeated that message Wednesday. “Our investment into the new joint support ships will provide the full suite of military requirements for at-sea support that the Royal Canadian Navy requires to do the challenging work we ask of them to protect Canadians,” Bonneville said in an email. “Until the arrival of the two Protecteur-class joint support ships … the RCN is mitigating its gap of at-sea support capability through the interim auxiliary oiler replenishment commercial-based service contract involving MV Asterix and collaboration with Canada’s allies.” In a separate email, Defence Department spokeswoman Jessica Lamirande said a decision on whether to buy the Asterix or extend the lease with Davie “will come in due course and while considering the broader context of the needs of the CAF as a whole.” The Asterix, which was at the heart of the failed prosecution of now-retired vice-admiral Mark Norman, is currently docked in Halifax. Since entering service with the navy, it has sailed on a number of Canadian military missions around the world. Conservative defence critic James Bezan, who has been among those pushing the government to buy the Asterix as well as the Obelix, said it is clear the Navy needs the vessels to be able to function properly at sea. "We believe that Asterix should stay in service, that Obelix should be built and that both (joint support ships) be built so that we have the ability to maintain that blue-water fleet,” Bezan said. “That way we can send the navy out and if one of our supply ships happens to be out of service, we can backfill it with (Asterix or Obelix)." NDP defence critic Randall Garrison said it has long been clear that Canada needs more than two support ships to ensure the navy isn't impaired whenever one is out of service, though he questioned whether the Asterix is the best fit. The military has previously said the new joint support ships have better systems to avoid mines, protect against chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear threats, a better propulsion system, a bigger helicopter hangar and more self-defence capabilities. "We've always supported three joint supply ships," Garrison said. "Can the Asterix serve as the third in some capacity even though it has reduced capability? I think we should ask the navy that." Davie spokesman Frederik Boisvert in a statement described the Asterix and Obelix as "a class-leading design which has become the envy of global navies." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 25, 2020. Lee Berthiaume, The Canadian Press
P.E.I.'s Department of Justice and Public Safety says it is dealing with a spike in people seeking approval to come to the Island.Officials say since the closure of the Atlantic bubble and the chief public health officer's recommendations to not travel during the holidays, the province has seen five-times the amount of inquiries.Justice and Public Safety Minister Bloyce Thompson says the province was bracing for a spike following the announcement P.E.I. was pulling out of the Atlantic bubble because of increased COVID-19 cases in neighbouring New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. He says people need to be patient, adding the province will get through the backlog within the next couple of days. "We've been doing this for almost eight months now and as every announcement comes there's an influx of inquiries, applications," said Thompson. "So to address this announcement Monday we've brought in six new staff to deal with some of the backlog."On Monday, P.E.I.'s chief public health officer announced P.E.I. was pulling out of the Atlantic bubble and said Islanders should only travel outside of P.E.I. for essential purposes or work. 'They haven't received an approval or denial'Anyone who needs to travel to the Island, including residents of Atlantic Canada, now has to apply for pre-travel approval.Island residents do not require pre-travel approval, but will be required to self-isolate 14 days once they return to the Island. Frustrations over the growing wait times spilled over onto the floor of the P.E.I. Legislature Wednesday. Cory Deagle, PC MLA for Montague-Kilmuir, said he had been contacted by a couple that had been waiting 168 hours for a response, much longer than the 72-hour response time the province tries to achieve.The couple is moving from B.C. to his district, and the couple's parents — who have also reached out to him — are his constituents.Deagle said they first sent their letter to the province on Nov. 18, long before P.E.I. pulled out of the Atlantic bubble. He said the couple was asked for more information on Nov. 21. "It's now Nov. 25 and they haven't received an approval or denial letter and they are travelling across Canada," said Deagle.'What they are going to do when they get here?'"They received approval to enter New Brunswick but they don't know about P.E.I. What they are going to do when they get here?"Thompson said he would get the name of the family and follow up immediately to ensure they have an answer before they get to the Confederation Bridge.Deagle said the family is growing increasingly frustrated."These two individuals are travelling across Canada, they said today they tried calling, no one's answering the phone, they tried leaving voicemail but the inbox is filled."Thompson did admit wait times have increased significantly because of the closure of the Atlantic bubble."We will be back to 72 hours very soon," Thompson said from the floor of the legislature. 'I hate making politics out of something so important'But Deagle fired back saying, "You shouldn't have to contact your MLA to find out if you can get approval to come to P.E.I."Thompson then took a shot at his PC colleague."This is a very important question and I hate making politics out of something so important," said Thompson. "I sat beside this member in caucus, I wish he had brought this to me then."In an interview after question period, Deagle said he makes no apologies for raising the concerns of his constituents."The premier has said that we can ask tough questions, even though it's our own party, we can ask tough questions that are important to our constituents and Islanders," Deagle told CBC News."We've never been told one way or another to not do something, if we feel it's important and we want to ask it, we can ask the questions."More from CBC P.E.I.
The City of Toronto will ramp up winter maintenance so residents can spend more time outdoors.Mayor John Tory says the city wants people to stay active despite COVID-19, even in sub-zero temperatures. He says residents can spend time in parks alone or with members of their household during the lockdown.He says there are also 23 toboggan hills, eight new snow loops at golf courses and numerous outdoor ice rinks.The rinks will have a capacity of 25 people to follow provincial pandemic rules. The city will also maintain an extra 60 kilometres of paved trails and pathways."Much as the pandemic makes things different, we're committed to giving people more things to do outside safely," Tory said on Wednesday. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 25, 2020.The Canadian Press
Regina, Shellbrook – Sports have not been shut down entirely, but games have, and practices are now reduced to eight people. All but the youngest of children are now expected to wear masks when appropriate. Those were some of the latest restrictions the Saskatchewan Ministry of Health announced another round of new restrictions to combat the spread of COVID-19. Those restrictions in many ways do not go as far as some of what has been implemented in Alberta and Manitoba in recent days and weeks. Saskatchewan’s new cases on Nov. 25 came in at 164, but the 7-day average is now 214.3, a relatively levelling off over the last four days. While Manitoba has entered another lockdown, on Nov. 24, Alberta announced that it would soon be closing junior high and high schools, reverting to online learning as of next week, and extending the winter break for all students until Jan. 11. Saskatchewan will be doing neither, as it stands. Premier Scott Moe, who is personally self-isolating after a possible exposure to COVID-19 at a Prince Albert restaurant 10 days earlier, made the announcement via videoconference on Nov. 25. He was joined by Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Saqib Shahab, who was in the Legislature in Regina. The new Saskatchewan measures come into effect at 12:01 a.m., Friday, Nov. 27. Moe said, “Our goal is to find the right balance, on behalf of the people in this province to protect Saskatchewan people from the spread of COVID-19, while at the same time, protecting the Saskatchewan people's jobs and their livelihoods. Our goal is to not shut down businesses, services and activities that ultimately put people out of work, and at times, may threaten their mental health. Our goal is to find ways for those things to operate and to do so safely, so that people can continue to participate in athletics and continue to work, while at the same time, continue to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in our communities.” Public gatherings Moe said, “All indoor public gatherings will be limited to 30 people. This includes all types of social gatherings, including weddings, funerals, as well as worship services. No food or drink maybe present or served at these events, and capacity will also be restricted to 30 people at all casinos bingo halls, arenas live performance venues and movie theatres, as well as any other facilities that currently have the capacity of up to 150 people.” He noted that private gatherings in your home are still limited to five people. Restaurants, bars and night clubs will not be shut down, but they will have to space out indoor clientele even more, with limits of four people per table, and three metres between tables unless they have barriers installed, in which case two metres is sufficient. Sports All team/group sports, activities, games, competitions, recitals, practices, etc. are suspended, according to the release on Nov. 25. This includes amateur and recreational leagues for all age groups. Examples include hockey, curling, racquet sports, cheerleading, dance practices in group setting, etc. “All team sports are going to be paused until Dec. 17,” Moe said. “However, athletes under the age of 18 may continue practicing or training in groups of eight or fewer.” Masks strengthened Mask use is now required for all indoor fitness activities, except for swimming. Individual and group fitness activities can continue, but with three metre spacings and limits of eight people in a group. “All students, employees and visitors in schools and daycares are now required to wear a mask, except when they need to eat or drink. And mask use is now required in all common areas of businesses and workplaces,” Moe said. Children ages zero to two years-old are exempt from wearing masks. Children ages 3-12 should wear a mask if they are able to. All employees and visitors in all common areas in businesses and workplaces, even in those areas which the public does not have access (e.g. construction sites, manufacturing facilities). “Large retail stores, must limit their capacity to 50 per cent or four square meters per person, whichever is less,” Moe said. Sports led to school, work infections Shahab explained the reasoning behind the sports restrictions, saying that the nature of play always has a risk of transmission, even if you follow all the guidelines. “But over the last two to three weeks, they were becoming so frequent, and many cases, they were resulting in, for example, in children's sports, multiple cases then being imported into schools. For adult sports, multiple cases and became imported into workplaces. So, it was really important to have that pause for three weeks to slow down transmission in that setting.” Once cases come down, Shahab said the guidelines may be adjusted again. Moe explained how these particular restrictions were chosen, saying, “It would be great if we could just pinpoint or two venues or one or two activities where this spread is occurring, and just restrict those zones. But the reality is, it’s COVID, it’s in our communities, and it has been spreading in a number of different places, both inside and outside of our homes, and that's why we need to enact a number of different measures to get our numbers under control.” As for why the restrictions didn’t go further, such as a complete shutdown, lockdown or circuit breaker, similar to what was done in the spring, Moe said, “We do understand this virus better than we did back in the spring. We do know more about how it is spread. And we know what we need to do to reduce the spread of this virus, to keep ourselves and keep others safe. We need to just slow down a little bit. “The overwhelming majority of Saskatchewan businesses and their employees in this province are operating safely, day to day. So, it would be terribly unfair, and it would have a huge negative impact, to close down all those businesses and put thousands of Saskatchewan people out of work. Yes, that is what we did, temporarily, this past spring. We took a very sweeping, broad brush approach to shutting down businesses, services and activities in our communities,” he said, adding, “But we don’t believe the solution is another wide-scale lockdown. Moe said, “Putting thousands of Saskatchewan people out of work, devastating small businesses and families, ending their livelihoods in many cases; a much better approach for us is to find the right balance; to find ways for us to operate and to do so even more safely than we have. By ensuring, yes, we are following all the existing guidelines that are in place. And by implementing some additional protocols so businesses and services can remain open and can do so safely.” Moe said, “We’re not prepared to look at a shutdown of our economy, in our communities, at this point in time, and we don’t believe it’s imminent that we will have to do a shutdown, here in the province. But, in saying that, if we’re not able to bend the growth and rate of transmission of this disease, obviously, that is a conversation that may come in the weeks and months ahead.” He said the actions taken thus far, and those added today, will hopefully not only flatten the rate of increase of infections, but bend that curve back down. He thanked the business, athletic and worship organizations that took part in recent consultations with regards to these measures. Both Moe and Shahab held out some hope that some restrictions might be lifted in time for the upcoming holidays. One possibility might be some allowable visits to long-term care homes, with multiple levels of personal protective equipment, but we’re not at that point in time, yet. The Ministry of Health is now posting a listing of outbreaks in long-term care homes on the Government of Saskatchewan website. Brian Zinchuk, Local Journalism Initiative reporter, Estevan Mercury
The federal government has announced more than $50 million for research into marine and freshwater ecosystems across Canada. The projects range from improving habitat for Atlantic salmon to measuring the effects of shipping on whales off the British Columbia coast to studying trout-bearing waters in Alberta's Rocky Mountains where coal mines are being considered. "We're targeting entire ecosystems and not just specific species," said Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, Bernadette Jordan. "Working on ecosystems is what's going to protect species at risk." The money, from the previously announced $1.3-billion Nature Legacy fund, will pay for 50 studies run by governments, non-governmental organizations and First Nations across Canada. Some have already begun. The largest chunk of money, nearly $11 million, will be spent on 13 projects in B.C. About two-thirds will go to research and improving fish habitat in rivers such as the Fraser. The rest will be spent studying the effects of shipping noise on whales. The biggest single grant — $5.6 million — goes to Alberta's Environment Department, where the province is to conduct research with other partners to support the protection and recovery of native trout species in the eastern slopes of the province's Rocky Mountains. Biologists are concerned the rivers that originate there — the source of drinking water for most of southern Alberta — are coming under increasing pressure from development. West slope cutthroat trout are considered a threatened species. Fisheries scientists are also concerned about Alberta's bull trout. Alberta recently rescinded a decades-old policy that prohibited any development in large areas of the eastern slopes, the headwaters of those trout habitats. The province, together with the federal government, is currently conducting an environmental review of a proposed coal mine that would remove a mountaintop adjacent to those headwaters. More mining companies are expected to apply to the province's regulator for similar projects. "We know that the cutthroat trout are a species at risk and there's a lot of work that needs to be done there," said Jordan. She said Alberta officials have raised the issue with her. Alberta Environment spokeswoman Jess Sinclair said in an email the money will help rebuild habitat for threatened trout species. The projects, with participation from non-governmental groups, are to be complete by 2023. Sinclair said the most important areas in the eastern slopes will continue to be protected. "The protective notations reflect our commitment to continue to manage public land in the eastern slopes to preserve watersheds and other sensitive areas and protect areas of high tourism and recreation value," she said. Sinclair added development that is permitted is subject to environmental review. Jordan said the grants announced Wednesday will help more than 100 endangered or threatened species. "That's one of the things we looked at: How many species can be helped by the work that we're doing?" she said. "When you look at the ecosystem that supports the species, you're actually helping more." Most of the projects are expected to take several years to complete. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 25, 2020 Bob Weber, The Canadian Press
President-elect Joe Biden appealed for unity Wednesday in a Thanksgiving-eve address to the nation asking Americans to "steel our spines" for a fight against the coronavirus that he predicted would continue for months. (Nov. 25)
EDMONTON — Two emergency room doctors say Alberta's increased public health restrictions don't go far enough to deal with rising COVID-19 cases that are already straining hospitals in the province. The government brought in tighter restrictions Tuesday that include a ban on gatherings in people's homes and changes for schools, churches, restaurants and retailers. Dr. Shazma Mithani, who works at two Edmonton hospitals, said she saw first-hand why more restrictions were necessary a day earlier when she arrived for her shift at the Royal Alexandra Hospital. "I saw the most COVID patients ever," Mithani said Wednesday in an interview with The Canadian Press. "I didn't even see that many patients that shift because we were so bed-blocked." Some patients, she explained, were taking up emergency department beds because there weren't enough staffed beds available in the ward they needed. Mithani said she saw about 10 or 11 patients that night. "Three of them were confirmed COVID and three were presumed COVID ... and one of them I actually had to put a breathing tube in and send to the ICU," she said. "It's here. It's just the beginning." Alberta Health reported 1,265 new cases on Wednesday — the seventh consecutive day with numbers above the 1,100 mark. There were 355 patients in hospital, 71 of them in intensive care. Eight more people died, bringing that total to 500. Mithani, who's also a spokeswoman for the emergency medicine section of the Alberta Medical Association, said the rising numbers have been hitting Edmonton particularly hard. There were 175 COVID-19 patients in Edmonton hospitals, with 40 in intensive care. In Calgary, there were 121 infected patients in hospitals and 20 were in intensive care. Dr. Joe Vipond, who works at Rockyview General Hospital in Calgary, said he hasn't worked an ER shift in about a week, but noted that he's had COVID-19 patients every day in the last month. "I've had two deaths in a month," said Vipond, who added he typically only sees a few deaths a year in the emergency department. Both Vipond and Mithani said they would have liked to see stronger restrictions. "We're now at the stage that nothing short of a strong lockdown is going to help," said Vipond. "These middle measures are not going to do it, unfortunately." Mithani said the restrictions simply turn earlier recommendations into rules. The only positive step, she said, was banning indoor gatherings, which she suggested should have happened long ago. Dr. Daniel Gregson, an infectious diseases expert at the University of Calgary, agreed it was good to see recommendations on gatherings turned into actual restrictions. "The other thing we've done is moved to mandatory masking from a suggestion to a requirement," he said. "That's a good thing as well." However, Gregson said some areas have been left open to interpretation. "They've said 10 (people) for weddings and 10 for funerals, which is good to have an absolute number because people focus on what they can do," he said. "But other settings such as faith-based activities, which can be fairly widely interpreted, are not limited to that 10. "That's a concern. A lot of our problems have been in group settings where people are not using appropriate precautions ... and that really translates into transmissions in households." Mithani added that the decisions don't appear to be based on data, since contact tracing has broken down and up to 80 per cent of cases have no information about where they were contracted. "I'm really disappointed with the half measures that were put in," she said. "I, 100 per cent, understand there needs to be a balance between the economy and managing this pandemic, but we are now at a point where our health-care system is about to break and that needs to be made the priority right now. "Our economy relies on the health of Albertans." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 25, 2020. Colette Derworiz, The Canadian Press
Immediate action needs to be taken to resolve the roadside parking problem by visitors to Mono Park. This was the general theme presented by all of Mono Council during a conversation with Ontario Parks staff on Tuesday, Nov. 24. “It’s absolutely imperative that we find a solution to this as quickly as possible,” said Coun. Sharon Martin. Nearly a month ago, council had submitted a letter to parks superintendent, Jillian Van Niekerk, asking for a solution to the chaos caused by visitors to Mono Cliffs Provincial Park this year. With a lack of available parking in the lots, this has led to vehicles parking up both sides of 3rd Line. This created a dangerous situation for drivers trying to pass through in vehicles and farming equipment, pedestrians walking to and from the park, and a total disregard of private residential properties. “Individual residents have had the experience of people putting garbage on their lawns, putting quite incredible things on their front lawns, and leaving human waste,” said Mayor Laura Ryan. Creating a no-parking zone on both sides of the road has been one possible solution, but it would bring with it a number of challenges. “All it’s going to do is push the problem further down the road,” said Ryan. “It’s going to take a lot of our OPP constable time in order to issue tickets if we put up a no parking zone.” As Ryan noted in previous meetings, the burden is falling on Mono taxpayers to resolve these issues, as it is taking the town’s resources. “Quite frankly, we’re not creating the problem,” said Ryan. Expanding the current parking lot was one idea raised by council to alleviate the overflow of parking. But Van Niekerk explained doing so wouldn’t be feasible. “It doesn’t make sense ecologically or financially,” she said, noting that the location of the current lot is part of that reasoning. “We are exploring the option to have an additional parking lot around the same size on the 2nd Line,” she added. This second lot could hold another 100-130 cars. If approved, it would not be completed until next fall, just in time for the crowds coming to see the leaves. The option would require some considerations by both the town and Ontario Parks. “The park is there to protect the area,” said Van Niekerk. “We have to think about how many people do we want in there, and what does that do to the land?” Parking, littering, and overcrowding challenges have not been limited to Mono Cliffs. Van Niekerk shared that Ontario Parks has also been working with the Town of Caledon regarding the same issues at Forks of the Credit. One thing that has helped them work through the challenges is a committee of parks staff and Town staff to work together. In some cases, it included giving special consideration to park wardens to allow them to enforce the no-parking and tow-away bylaw surrounding the park. This is one possible solution Mono could look into as well, according to Van Niekerk. “We would be designated under certain sections; we wouldn’t be coming into town and enforcing the bylaws, but we would be able to do so just outside of the park boundaries,” she explained. The Town of Mono will move forward with a group to work with Ontario Parks to address the long term issues, but made it clear that interim solutions need to be found immediately. “It’s time sensitive; we really need this done now,” reiterated Martin. In a normal year, she added, enforcement for the winter wouldn’t be an issue, but trends have demonstrated an increase in winter trail usage, especially during COVID-19. “Right now, you can’t buy skis, you can’t buy snowmobiles; you can’t buy anything for the winter, just like what we went through with bikes and canoes,” said Martin. “I’m thinking that this is far more urgent than saying ‘let’s just have a meeting’.” Van Niekerk assured council that the issue is serious to them as well, and parks staff are willing to work hard to help find solutions. “We really have come with listening ears to see how we can work together, what your thoughts are, and start from there,” said Van Niekerk.Tabitha Wells/Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Orangeville Banner
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COVID-19. En date du 23 novembre, 3492 cas actifs de COVID-19 (2847 élèves et 645 membres du personnel) étaient rapportés dans 1023 établissements préscolaires, primaires et secondaires du Québec. Par conséquent, un total de 1139 classes sont fermées. Les élèves concernés suivent donc leurs cours à distance. Le nombre total d’écoles comptant un ou des cas positifs rapportés avec diagnostic depuis le début de l’année scolaire est de 1999. Notons que l’on peut consulter la liste des écoles concernées sur cette page publiée par le gouvernement du Québec : https://cdn-contenu.quebec.ca/cdn-contenu/adm/min/education/publications-adm/covid-19/reseauScolaire_listeEcoles.pdf?1600113647 Stéphane Lévesque, Initiative de journalisme local, L'Hebdo Journal