With Chris St. Clair.
With Chris St. Clair.
(NASA/JPL-Caltech - image credit) When the Perseverance rover successfully landed on Mars last month, it arrived with a B.C.-made tool in its figurative tool belt. The six-wheeled, plutonium-powered U.S. rover landed on the red planet on Feb. 18, with a mandate to drill down and collect tiny geological specimens that will be returned to NASA in about 2031. That drilling will be done using a drill bit tip designed and manufactured by a company based in Langford, B.C. "It has great wear and fraction resistance so it is perfect for a Mars application," said Ron Sivorat, business director for Kennametal Inc., during an interview on CBC's All Points West. The drill bit tip is made from K92-grade tungsten carbide blanks, which Sivorat said are one of the toughest grades used for drilling here on earth and he is confident it will be good enough for Mars. According to Sivorat, the company has had a relationship with NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory since 2014, when the space agency first began ordering and testing Kennametal Inc. drill bit tips. In 2018, the company learned NASA wanted to work with it to build a bit for Perseverance. Sivorat said staff built the drill bit to NASA's specifications and then sent it to the agency who finessed it somewhat for its Mars mission. When Perseverance landed safely on the fourth planet from the sun, it was an exciting moment for Kennametal Inc. employees, many of whom watched the landing online and are continuing to check on Perservance's daily progress updates. "We know that we are going to be part of, in one way or another, an historical event that will be remembered for many years to come," said Sivorat. Sivorat said he expects the drill bit built in B.C. to start penetrating the surface of Mars in the next couple of weeks. And B.C. is not the only Canadian province with a connection to Perseverance. Canadian Photonic Labs, based in Minnedosa, Man., manufactured a high-speed and highly-durable camera that played an instrumental role in landing the rover. The Manitoba company's relationship with NASA dates back roughly 15 years, he said — but much of the work that's happened in that time has been cloaked in secrecy.
As COVID-19 vaccine supplies ramp up across the country, most provinces and territories have released details of who can expect to receive a shot in the coming weeks. Here's a list of their plans to date: Newfoundland and Labrador The province says it is in Phase 1 of its vaccine rollout. Health-care workers on the front lines of the pandemic, staff at long-term care homes, people of "advanced age" and adults in remote or isolated Indigenous communities have priority. Chief medical health officer Dr. Janice Fitzgerald has said Phase 2 will begin in April if vaccine supply remains steady. The second phase prioritizes adults over 60 years old, beginning with those over 80, as well as Indigenous adults, first responders, rotational workers and adults in marginalized populations, such as those experiencing homelessness. Adults between 16 and 59 years old will be vaccinated in the third phase of the rollout, and Fitzgerald has said she expects that to begin this summer. --- Nova Scotia Health officials began expanding access to COVID-19 vaccines on Feb. 22, opening community clinics for people aged 80 years and older. Dr. Robert Strang, chief medical officer of health, has said the province's plan is to open another 10 clinics in March for 48,000 people who will be mailed a letter informing them how to book an appointment. Strang said the vaccination program will then expand to the next age group in descending order until everyone in the province is offered the chance to be immunized. The age groups will proceed in five-year blocks. Future community clinics are to be held March 8 in Halifax, New Minas, Sydney and Truro; March 15 in Antigonish, Halifax and Yarmouth; and March 22 in Amherst, Bridgewater and Dartmouth. The province began its vaccination campaign with residents of long-term care homes, those who work directly with patients, those who are 80 and older, and those who are at risk for other reasons including First Nations and African Nova Scotian communities. Nova Scotia plans to have vaccine available to at least 75 per cent of the population by the end of September 2021. --- Prince Edward Island The province says the first phase of its vaccination drive, currently slated to last until the end of March, targets residents and staff of long-term and community care, as well as health-care workers with direct patient contact at higher risk of COVID-19 exposure. Those 80 and older, adults in Indigenous communities, and truck drivers and other rotational workers are also included. The next phase, which is scheduled to begin in April, will target those above 70 and essential workers. The province intends to make the vaccine available to everyone in late summer and fall. --- New Brunswick The province is also focusing on vaccinating those living in long-term care homes, health-care workers with direct patient contact, adults in First Nations communities and older New Brunswickers in the first phase, which lasts until at least March. The next phase is scheduled to begin in the spring and includes residents and staff of communal settings, other health-care workers including pharmacists, first responders and critical infrastructure employees. The government website says once the vaccine supply is continuous and in large enough quantities, the entire population will be offered the shots. --- Quebec Quebec started vaccinating older seniors on Monday, after a first phase that focused largely on health-care workers, remote communities and long-term care. In Montreal, mass vaccine sites including the Olympic Stadium opened their doors to the public as the province began inoculating seniors who live in the hard-hit city. The government announced last week it would begin booking appointments for those aged 85 and up across the province, but that age limit has since dropped to 70 in some regions, including Montreal. The province says the vaccination of children and pregnant women will be determined based on future studies of vaccine safety and efficacy in those populations. --- Ontario The province began vaccinating people with the highest priority, including those in long-term care, high-risk retirement home residents, certain classes of health-care workers and people who live in congregate care settings. Several regions in Ontario moved ahead Monday with their plans to vaccinate the general public, while others used their own systems to allow residents aged 80 and older to schedule appointments. Toronto also began vaccinating members of its police force Monday after the province identified front-line officers as a priority group. Constables and sergeants who respond to emergency calls where medical assistance may be required are now included in the ongoing first phase of Ontario's vaccine rollout, a spokeswoman for the force said. A day earlier, Toronto said the province expanded the first phase of its vaccination drive to include residents experiencing homelessness. The provincial government has said it aims to begin vaccinating Ontarians aged 80 and older starting the week of March 15, the same day it plans to launch its vaccine booking system, which will offer a service desk and online portal. It has said the vaccine rollout will look different in each of its 34 public health units. When asked about the lack of provincewide cohesion, Health Minister Christine Elliott said that public health units know their regions best and that's why they have been given responsibility to set the pace locally. --- Manitoba Manitoba is starting to vaccinate people in the general population. Appointments are now available for most people aged 94 and up, or 74 and up for First Nations people. Until now, vaccines have been directed to certain groups such as health-care workers and people in personal care homes. Health officials plan to reduce the age minimum, bit by bit, over the coming months. Dr. Joss Reimer, medical lead of the province's vaccine task force, has said inoculations could be open to all adults in the province by August if supplies are steady. --- Saskatchewan The province is still in the first phase of its vaccination rollout, which reserves doses for long-term care residents and staff, health-care workers at elevated risk of COVID-19 exposure, seniors over the age of 70 and anyone 50 or older living in a remote area. In all, nearly 400,000 doses are required to finish this stage. The next phase will be focused on vaccinating the general population by age. It hopes to begin its mass vaccination campaign by April, but there if there isn’t enough supply that could be pushed back to June. Saskatchewan will begin immunizing the general population in 10-year increments, starting with those 60 to 69. Also included in this age group will be people living in emergency shelters, individuals with intellectual disabilities in care homes and people who are medically vulnerable. Police, corrections staff and teachers are among the front-line workers not prioritized for early access to shots. The government says supply is scarce. --- Alberta Alberta is now offering vaccines to anyone born in 1946 or earlier, a group representing some 230,000 people. Appointments are being offered through an online portal and the 811 Health Link phone line. Shots are also being offered to this cohort at more than 100 pharmacies in Calgary, Red Deer and Edmonton starting in early March and the government has said there are also plans to include doctors’ offices. Health Minister Tyler Shandro has said all eligible seniors should have their first shots by the end of March. But he said Monday that the province will not give Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine to anyone over the age of 65 after the National Advisory Committee on Immunization expressed concerned there is limited data on how well it will work in older populations. The first phase of the vaccine rollout also included anyone over 65 who lives in a First Nations or Metis community, various front-line health care workers, paramedics and emergency medical responders. Phase 2 of the rollout, to begin in April, is to start with those 65 and up, Indigenous people older than 50 and staff and residents of licensed supportive living seniors’ facilities not previously included. --- British Columbia British Columbia will extend the time between the first and second doses of COVID-19 vaccines to four months so all adults could get their initial shot by the end of July. Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says evidence from the province and around the world shows protection of at least 90 per cent from the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines. The province launched the second phase of its immunization campaign Monday and health authorities will begin contacting residents and staff of independent living centres, those living in seniors' supportive housing as well as homecare support clients and staff. Seniors aged 90 and up can call to make their appointment starting next Monday, followed a week later by those aged 85 and over, and a week after that by those 80 and up. Henry also says first responders and essential workers may be eligible to get vaccinated starting in April as the province also decides on a strategy for the newly authorized AstraZeneca vaccine. --- Nunavut The territory says it expects enough vaccines for 75 per cent of its population over the age of 18. After a COVID-19 vaccine is administered, patients will be tracked to ensure they are properly notified to receive their second dose. Nunavut's priority populations are being vaccinated first. They include residents of shelters, people ages 60 years and up, staff and inmates and correctional facilities, first responders and front-line health-care staff. --- Northwest Territories The Northwest Territories its priority groups — such as people over 60, front-line health workers and those living in remote communities — are being vaccinated The territory says it expects to vaccine the rest of its adult population starting this month. --- Yukon Yukon says it will receive enough vaccine to immunize 75 per cent of its adult population by the end of March. Priority for vaccinations has been given to residents and staff in long-term care homes, group homes and shelters, as well as health-care workers and personal support workers. People over the age of 80 who are not living in long-term care, and those living in rural and remote communities, including Indigenous Peoples, are also on the priority list for shots. --- This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 2, 2021. The Canadian Press
A look at what’s happening in European soccer on Tuesday: ENGLAND Manchester City looks to make it 21 straight wins in all competitions by beating Wolverhampton to move 15 points clear in the Premier League. Wolves has caused City issues recently, beating Pep Guardiola's side home and away last season, but does not have star striker Raul Jimenez this time round as he recovers from a fractured skull. “The history against them shows us how tough it is and we know it perfectly," Guardiola said. “We know exactly the type of game we have to play — to be so intense but, at the same time, calm." City is in the middle of a hectic period featuring games every three or four days so will rotate again, with Raheem Sterling, Joao Cancelo and Bernardo Silva among those likely to be recalled. Manchester United is City's nearest challenger, 12 points back, and plays Crystal Palace on Wednesday. GERMANY Borussia Mönchengladbach has lost all three games since the club announced that coach Marco Rose will be joining Borussia Dortmund next season. The teams meet in the German Cup quarterfinals on Tuesday, when Rose will hope to end the negative spiral against his future employers. Gladbach’s troubles started before Rose’s departure was made known. It hasn’t won its last five Bundesliga games. While Gladbach has been on a slump, Dortmund’s fortunes are looking up after three wins in a row including a 4-0 rout of Schalke in the derby and a 3-2 win at Sevilla in the Champions League. Coach Edin Terzic seems to be enjoying his role now the pressure has been taken off with Rose’s arrival at the end of the season. Both teams know the German Cup is a realistic chance of a trophy with reigning champion Bayern Munich already knocked out of the competition. ITALY Injury-hit Juventus needs a win against lowly Spezia to boost its faltering title defence. The nine-time defending champion drew at Hellas Verona 1-1 last weekend to leave it 10 points behind Serie A leader Inter Milan, albeit having played a match less. Juventus will still be without Leonardo Bonucci, Giorgio Chiellini, Juan Cuadrado, Arthur and Paulo Dybala, who are all injured. Forward Álvaro Morata could recover enough for a place on the bench. Also, Lazio could move level with fourth-place Atalanta if it wins at home to relegation-threatened Torino. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports The Associated Press
As B.C. cities start to take a closer look at the energy consumption and carbon footprint of their buildings, the heated swimming pool is attracting some unusual attention. Building Benchmark BC, a pilot project that pulls energy and emissions data on the buildings sector from a dozen cities across the province, found that heated pools had the highest energy use intensity in its category. Indoor swimming pools and convention centres are two types of buildings that have large, cavernous spaces to heat or cool, so they would be expected to have a high energy use intensity, a measure of energy consumption per square metre of floor space. But in B.C., there is a key difference between these two energy guzzlers, according to the annual report released Feb. 24. “Convention centres can be — and often are — heated with electricity, which in British Columbia is 94-plus per cent non-emitting. Meanwhile, pools are heated with natural gas, a leading source of climate pollution,” the report said. “While both use a lot of energy, only one also produces a lot of carbon.” Donovan Woollard, managing director of the OPEN Green Building Society, the host of the project, said it was not a large enough dataset to start drawing any conclusions about policy. Woollard is hoping to more than double the program for its second year. But already, he said, there were some clear trends emerging. Buildings represent 13 per cent of Canada’s emissions by economic sector, and natural gas is a fossil fuel that emits heat-trapping carbon pollution into the atmosphere when burned. In a carbon-constrained world, electric heat pumps may start to play a bigger role in space heating in buildings. Heat pumps are like two-way air conditioners: electrified devices that can be used to both heat and cool a room. Energy experts like Adam Rysanek, assistant professor of environmental systems and director of the Energy, Technology, and Architecture Lab at the University of British Columbia, say technology has improved in the last decade that has made electric heat pumps much more commercially viable. “I would not be surprised if we see in the next 20 years the kind of transition away from natural gas in the building heating market that is already underway in parts of the U.S. and even also here in parts of Canada,” said Rysanek. “I don't think it's impossible that we'll see a major phase out of natural gas use in the buildings sector within a generation.” The natural gas delivery industry says its environmental performance should not be counted out just yet. Aysha Raad, communications director for the Canadian Gas Association, said the industry is continually improving on that front, and has welcomed the introduction of renewable natural gas, which is produced from organic waste from places like landfills or farms instead of obtained through drilling. Renewable natural gas, and natural gas blended with hydrogen, are key components of FortisBC’s objective of cutting its customers greenhouse gas emissions 30 per cent by 2030, for example. Other utilities across the country are introducing renewable natural gas into their networks or launching hydrogen-blending pilot projects to cut down on their carbon. The industry also champions its “reliability,” noting gas supply was available 99.99 per cent of the time in 2019. Utilities continue to add between 70,000 and 100,000 new customer locations per year, said Raad. “If one were to try and move gas customers to a different energy system, the costs — and the logistical challenge — would be staggering,” Raad argued. Rysanek said the current state of heat pump technology means that, in B.C., after accounting for the price of electricity and energy efficiency, operating costs are now on par with natural gas. For building maintenance officials, heat pumps also offer a single piece of equipment to maintain instead of a configuration that uses both a furnace and an air conditioner. “Until recently, heat pump technology was not sufficiently developed or ready for the coldest weather we get in Canadian cities,” Rysanek said. “This has now changed. Today, you can buy cold weather heat pumps for all sizes of buildings, but 10 years ago it was a different story.” Rysanek is leading a building retrofits project that is part of UBC research in collaboration with the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions, looking at how cities and urban planners can cut emissions to meet climate targets. In a simulation involving Victoria’s Hillside Quadra neighbourhood, published in October, the researchers found that switching away from natural gas for heating and cooling to electricity would reduce emissions by roughly 80 per cent across three different scenarios. Carl Meyer / Local Journalism Initiative / Canada’s National Observer Carl Meyer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, National Observer
Here’s a collection curated by The Associated Press’ entertainment journalists of what’s arriving on TV, streaming services and music platforms this week. MOVIES — Eddie Murphy and Arsenio Hall are back in Queens as Prince Akeem and Semmi in “Coming 2 America,” the sequel to the 1988 film, which is now coming straight to your living room Friday on Amazon Prime Video. Set to becoming the King of Zamunda, Murphy’s character returns to the U.S. to find a son he’s never met. Directed by Craig Brewer (“Hustle & Flow”) and co-written by Kenya Barris (“black-ish”), “Coming 2 America” adds a host of new talent, including Jermaine Fowler as said son, Leslie Jones as the mother, Tracy Morgan and “If Beale Street Could Talk’s” KiKi Layne. James Earl Jones, Shari Headley and John Amos also reprise their roles from the original. Unsurprisingly, the film was originally going to be a big theatrical release. — A more family friendly streaming option this week is the Walt Disney Co.’s computer animated “Raya and the Last Dragon,” featuring the voices of “Star Wars’” Kelly Marie Tran as Raya and Awkwafina as a dragon. The fantasy adventure finds a lone warrior, Raya, on a mission to track down a dragon (yes, it’s the last one) who has the powers to stop an evil invader and save humanity. Co-written by “Crazy Rich Asians” screenwriter Adele Lim and directed by Don Hall (“Big Hero 6”) and Carlos Lopez Estrada (“Blindspotting"), “Raya” also features the voices of Gemma Chan, Daniel Dae Kim, Sandra Oh and Benedict Wong. The film will be available on Disney+ Friday with “Premier Access,” meaning it’ll cost $29.99 to rent. It’ll also be in theatres. — AP Film Writer Lindsey Bahr MUSIC — Def Jam is releasing not one but two soundtracks to accompany the new film “Coming 2 America.” On Friday, the same day the film is out, Def Jam will drop “Coming 2 America Original Motion Picture Soundtrack” – which features the new track “I’m a King” by Bobby Sessions and Megan Thee Stallion and other songs – as well as “Rhythms of Zamunda,” an album inspired by Western, Eastern and South African soundscapes. The latter album includes songs by African artists including Nasty C, Tiwa Savage, Tekno, DJ Arafat and more. — Colombian singer Camilo won his first Latin Grammy in November for the global hit “Tutu” and he’s competing for his first Grammy at the March 14 show with his debut album, “Por Primera Vez.” Just before that, the rising star will release his sophomore album, “Mis Manos,” on Friday. The new record features the hit “Vida De Rico,” which peaked at No. 1 on Billboard’s Latin airplay chart, as well as the hits “Ropa Cara” and “Bebé.” — Judith Hill – a former backup vocalist for Michael Jackson who was one of the stars of the Oscar-winning documentary “20 Feet from Stardom” – will release a new album Friday. The big-voiced Grammy-winning singer self-produced “Baby, I’m Hollywood!” – which is a mix of soul music, piano ballads and funk sounds. Hill last released an album in 2018 and her 2015 debut, “Back In Time,” was co-produced by Prince. — AP Music Editor Mesfin Fekadu TELEVISION — ABC News’ “Soul of a Nation” promises to put “Black life in America front and centre.” The news magazine will explore themes including spirituality, activism in sports and, in the first installment airing 10 p.m. EST Tuesday, the demands for change that followed George Floyd’s death while in police custody. Sterling K. Brown of “This Is Us” will host the debut episode, with Sunny Hostin of “The View” moderating weekly discussions. A musical or spoken word performance will end each of the six announced episodes, with John Legend up first with a performance of “Never Break.” — “Stephen Colbert Presents Tooning Out the News” kicks off Thursday with a half-hour special on day one of the Paramount+ streaming service, the newly rebranded and expanded CBS All Access. Colbert is among the executive producers of the series, in which animated characters including anchor James Smartwood riff on the news and interview real-life guests. In a statement, Colbert promised that the show’s second season will feature “tasteful nudity, unapologetic slander and flat out lying,” as well as more incisive questions. — Here’s a real blast from the past: “It’s What’s Happening Baby,” a star-laden concert that aired in 1965, is coming to public TV stations starting Saturday (check local listings). Hosted by famed disc jockey Murray the K, the performers included Ray Charles, The Righteous Brothers, The Supremes, Marvin Gaye, The Miracles, Herman’s Hermits, The Temptations and Patti LaBelle & The Bluebelles. Newly restored from original video and audio master tapes and presented by producer TJ Lubinsky, the special includes recent interviews with Dionne Warwick, Little Anthony and others who took part. — AP Television Writer Lynn Elber ___ Catch up on AP’s entertainment coverage here: https://apnews.com/apf-entertainment. The Associated Press
The Rideau Waterway Land Trust (RWLT) has launched a fundraising campaign to purchase a large property on Opinicon Lake near Chaffey’s Lock. The 30-hectare (74-acre) piece of land in the heart of the Rideau Canal, Ontario’s only World Heritage Site, is also within the Frontenac Arch UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve. The location provides critical habitat for many species-at-risk, the RWLT said in a release on Monday, Mar. 1, 2021. The Frontenac Arch also provides a “land bridge” that connects the boreal forest of the Canadian Shield to the forests of the Adirondack and Appalachian Mountains. The organization says this link helps to maintain genetic diversity in plant and animal life as our climate continues to undergo change. According to the release, the land abuts provincially significant wetlands, is near the Queen’s University Biological Station (QUBS), and has been used for scientific research and education. The current owners now wish to sell the land and its acquisition is an ideal project to help the Trust celebrate its 25th year of successful operation. Since it’s incorporation in 1996, the RWLT has been able to preserve 20 significant properties through ownership and conservation easement while expanding its area of interest to include all the communities within the Rideau Corridor from Kingston to Ottawa. If RWLT is successful in this fundraising campaign, they say the property will be added to the Land Trust’s collection. A map of the properties protected by the RWLT can been seen here, and includes the popular Rock Dunder hiking trail near Morton, Ontario. The property up for purchase was once owned by Don and Mary Warren. Don was one of the founders of the Rideau Waterway Land Trust, an educator and activist who led the community’s resistance to the plan to electrify the Rideau Canal’s locks in the 1960s, according to the release. The organization says Mary was an enthusiastic supporter and was instrumental in convincing Don to purchase this property in 1965. The opportunity to establish the Warren Nature Reserve is a fitting tribute to their foresight, RWLT said in the release. RWLT is seeking to raise $120,000 towards the $435,000 project cost by April 2021; all donations will be used to leverage matching government funding. The RWLT expects the government funding to cover 40 per cent of the land acquisition cost, providing they are able to raise the other 60 per cent. RWLT has a very short timeframe to raise these funds, and say any and all donations from local communities would be greatly appreciated. Anyone interested can learn more about this project at www.rwlt.org/warren. Donations can be made at www.rwlt.org/donate, noting “Warren Property” in the donation comments. All donations will receive a charitable receipt. Jessica Foley, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, kingstonist.com
Residents of a backpackers’ hostel now being used as housing for low-income people hope they’ll be able to stay permanently, but the future of 1025 Granville St., along with 20 other Metro Vancouver hotels recently leased by the province, is up in the air. “I have friends, good friends here, who lived on the streets for years,” said Chris, a resident who became homeless last February when he lost his job. “You know what I see here? I see them smile every day.” The building is a standard single-room occupancy hotel, an older style of hotel that features small rooms and shared bathrooms, and often houses very low-income people. Between 2002 and 2020, the Granville hostel was operated as a low-cost tourist accommodation by Hostelling International Canada. But with tourism falling during the COVID-19 pandemic, it became one of 21 Metro Vancouver hotels leased by the province to provide shelter or to use as COVID-19 isolation space. Some residents came from a tent city that had been located at Oppenheimer Park in the Downtown Eastside for two years, while others had been living rough in other parts of Vancouver or staying in shelters. With the hotels in place, the province and City of Vancouver removed the Oppenheimer Park encampment in May 2020. The province also bought the 110-room Howard Johnson Hotel at 1176 Granville St. for $55 million, just a block away from the Granville hostel, and awarded an operating contract to Atira Women’s Resource Society. Community Builders operates the former hostel at 1025 Granville St. Initially, public reception to the new housing on Granville Street was rough, with neighbours complaining about discarded needles and an increase in street disorder. But the current operator of the hostel says leasing 1025 Granville St. to formerly homeless Vancouverites has worked out well, with residents now thriving in a well-maintained building that has fostered community. “The Granville hostel has been a really remarkable success story,” said Julie Roberts, the executive director of Community Builders. “Some people that have been long-term residents of the park hadn’t been housed for a number of years or longer. We just found that people have really settled in, and a really strong community has formed.” Martin, who had been homeless for three years before ending up in the hospital with pneumonia, went first to a shelter and then to the hostel last June. “It’s fantastic here,” Martin said. “It’s safe and it’s clean, they feed us if we’re hungry. They really take good care of us. I hope I’m staying here for life!” Along with building staff, Martin, Chris and other residents often do volunteer work to keep the sidewalk clean and have made an effort to build relationships with nearby business owners. Roberts also sits on a community dialogue committee that includes other housing operators, businesses and neighbouring residents. “We’ve been an operator of shelters and non-profit housing on Granville Street for the last 15 years, so we know that homelessness has been a long-standing issue,” Roberts said. “And I think that sites like the Granville hostel and some of the shelters we operate actually make the businesses safer because people are inside and not outside, and they have a safe place to be. That’s our perspective, though I do know that there are some concerns that remain.” When it comes to how long the residents will be able to stay at 1025 Granville St., BC Housing says the length of the leases for the hotels vary, “and we typically have the option to extend by mutual agreement for as long as necessary.” Laura Matthews, a communications staffer with BC Housing, told The Tyee in an email that the agency usually has the option to extend the lease if the building owner agrees. But Matthews said BC Housing cannot release lease terms for any of the hotels and will not reveal the locations of the hotels. “Generally, as we get closer to a lease expiring, we either work to help people stay where they are by extending the lease or through other means, or we support them to transition to alternate accommodation,” Matthews wrote. “We understand the concerns people may have and we will communicate as much as possible with people as plans are finalized for individual locations. We do not want to see anyone forced back into homelessness.” A spokesperson for the owner of the hostel, Hostelling International, said the association cannot comment on the terms of the lease. Hostelling International operates 50 hostels across Canada. “Out of an abundance of caution, we made the very difficult decision to temporarily close our hostels in light of public health advice at the time,” Shelby Sy wrote to The Tyee in an email. “With our properties closed, HI Canada was pleased to give back to the city by leasing HI Vancouver Central as a housing solution to the most vulnerable in our city.” Jen St. Denis, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Tyee
(David Bajer/CBC - image credit) Another year of business tax relief is on the way in Calgary after city council unanimously supported a plan to spend $43 million to cap increases and support those impacted by the pandemic. The plan would spend $13 million to keep non-residential property taxes to a limit of 10 per cent higher than last year in order to help soften the ongoing issue of businesses outside the core picking up the financial slack for Calgary's hollowed out downtown. The remaining $30 million would be used for a yet-to-be-defined relief program for local businesses. The details of that targeted support are expected to be unveiled at council on March 22. Debate in council focused on the need to ensure small businesses that are directly impacted by the pandemic receive the funds they need and money does not flow to larger corporations with a more robust balance sheet. Band-Aids and focused relief Coun. Jeff Davison, who brought the motion to council, said using the phased tax program, which offsets spiking tax rates, benefits too many businesses that have profited. "One of the things we need to do is figure out a better way that we can support local," he said. Coun. Druh Farrell, who recently announced she would not seek re-election, said she was supporting the plan but stressed it was yet another Band-Aid solution to a persistent civic issue. "We need to focus on the problem, not the symptom of the problem, which is the tax shift," she said. "We need to focus on downtown recovery. So again, I urge all members of council to get involved in the downtown strategy. It's all-encompassing, and it will require at least a decade, perhaps more, of concerted effort by by the City of Calgary." The city has long relied on a downtown stuffed with head offices and the resulting staff to help cover a big portion of the money flowing into city accounts, a model that collapsed alongside the price of oil. Property taxes function in such a way that tax money that has disappeared from the downtown towers must be covered by businesses outside the core, leading to the potential for massive increases. The vacancy rate downtown is hovering around 30 per cent and values have plummeted. The province responds Council over the past few years has alleviated that pressure by consistently approving one-time allocations of reserve money in order to limit increases despite concerns it is simply pushing the issue down the road. Since 2017, the city has spent over $200 million on tax relief for businesses. Last fall, city council opted to give non-residential properties a small tax cut overall. However, some business properties where land values went up will still face double-digit tax hikes in 2021. On Monday, the minister of jobs, economy and innovation, Doug Schweitzer, penned an op-ed in the Calgary Herald saying the province will form a working group to look at helping Calgary's downtown. He promised town halls on the issue through the coming months. That was met with skepticism from Calgary's mayor later in the day. "Well, minister, with all due respect, welcome to the party. We're happy to have you and we need your help. We don't need town halls for the next four to five months, we've been working on this for years," Naheed Nenshi said. "Business owners have spoken — business owners who are here, business owners who want to be here. We will be presenting a downtown strategy to council in the next few weeks based on all of that input, and we're really happy to have the province on board, but don't reinvent the wheel." Meanwhile, Calgary Chamber of Commerce CEO Murray Sigler said in an emailed statement that the organization welcomes the relief for businesses but hopes to see other changes made to alleviate property tax increases for businesses in the coming years. "The city's current financial position demands thoughtful and creative solutions to reduce costs and generate revenue without placing the tax burden on businesses and the citizens they employ and serve. Today's measures point us in the right direction. But many businesses in Calgary will still see property tax increases next year due to structural problems within the tax system, and the shift of the tax burden from the highrises in our downtown to businesses outside of the core," read Sigler's statement in part. "We must ensure fairness and sustainability in our property tax system. We urge city council to shift the non-residential to residential tax ratio, reduce the cost and increase the effectiveness of local government, make better use of non-revenue generating city-owned land, and contribute to reimagining the municipal-provincial relationship."
Mass vaccinations will be the key to controlling a potential third wave in Chatham-Kent, says the region’s top doctor. Chatham-Kent Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Colby said the highly transmissible variants are keeping public health officials on their toes. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and other health officials have warned a third wave could be the worst yet, but Dr. David Colby remains optimistic. “I really think that widespread vaccination will have a significant impact to blunt the effect of the third wave,” said Colby. “The worrying factor are these variants, and that’s really what is fueling the speculation about a third wave.” Colby said there are three variants of concern. “The common variant, the B.1.1.7 variant, remains susceptible to the immune response triggered by the vaccines that we have,” said Colby. “We need to push ahead with our vaccination program and get as many people vaccinated as we possibly can.” The interval between the first and second doses is 21 days for the Pfizer vaccine and 28 days for the Moderna vaccine. However, Colby said it could be up to 45 days as there isn’t an exact answer for how long a person can go between receiving the first and second dose. “There isn’t an exact answer, we have an agreed-upon regimen for these COVID vaccines, which is up to 45 days, but the Ontario government does not want to go out that far with the elderly population,” said Colby. He added that most of the protection happens with the first dose, while the second dose is to consolidate protection and ensure that it lasts for a longer time. “All I can say is that there’s a great deal of protection that’s afforded for quite a while with even one dose of any of the vaccines,” said Colby. On Feb. 23, the John D. Bradley Convention Centre opened its vaccination clinic. There were 700 appointments for health-care workers and essential caregivers on the first two days. Colby said the clinic is running smoothly. “It’s such an important step for Chatham-Kent,” said Colby. “The Bradley Centre clinic is really doing very, very well, and they hit the ground running.” While he could not go into detail regarding more vaccine shipments, Colby said we’re heading in the right direction. “All indicators that we have right now point to the fact that vaccine supplies will be stable or increasing over the next while,” said Colby. Meanwhile, Chatham-Kent Health Alliance CEO Lori Marshall is warning the public about recent robocalls claiming to be for booking vaccinations. These calls can be dangerous as they are really aimed at collecting people’s personal information. She said these calls are not official and should be ignored. Marshall said a live person will make all vaccination booking calls. “People will be contacted by a live person, and no one should be giving out their personal information like social insurance numbers and those kinds of things on the phone,” said Marshall. CK Public Health said Chatham-Kent Police are aware of the issue, and there is no need to report these calls to them at this time. Colby said people who can’t travel to Chatham would have an opportunity to get vaccinated at pop-up clinics across the municipality when they are set up. Paramedics will be vaccinating individuals who are housebound when they’re identified through their doctors. The homeless population falls under Phase 2. Additionally, Colby said there are mechanisms in place to get to those who are missed. Bird Bouchard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Ridgetown Independent News
Police in Toronto say they have laid criminal charges against the parents of a baby boy who died last May after ingesting illegal drugs. Investigators say the 14-month-old lived in a Toronto-area apartment with his parents and another couple at the time of the incident. They say the child consumed drugs that were in the home for personal use. Police say the boy died from toxic levels of fentanyl, heroin and cocaine. Authorities say his parents were charged last month with criminal negligence causing death and failing to provide the necessaries of life. Police are urging anyone who needs help in dealing with opioid use to seek support. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 1, 2021. The Canadian Press
OTTAWA — COVID-19 has all but stalled a promised shift in how Canadians appeal rulings on their requests for federal income supports. The department overseeing the work, Employment and Social Development Canada, says the change won't happen as originally scheduled next month because of pandemic-related risks. In 2019, the Liberals promised to partially restore the system that existed before the previous Conservative government created the Social Security Tribunal in 2013. The Liberals planned to bring back board hearings for the first layer of appeals inside the Social Security Tribunal, and retain a single arbitrator for the second, final, layer. Three sources with knowledge of the government's plans tell The Canadian Press the required legislative changes were to be in last year's budget, which was shelved due to the pandemic. The legislative change are expected to be in this year's budget bill, say the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity to detail private conservations, or because they were not authorized to speak publicly about matters not yet public. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 1, 2021. The Canadian Press
FREDERICTON — New Brunswick is reporting one new case of COVID-19 today. Health officials say the new case involves a person in their 30s in the Miramichi region, about 175 kilometres northeast of Fredericton. There are 36 active reported cases in the province and two people are hospitalized with the disease, both in intensive care. New Brunswick has reported a total of 1,431 COVID-19 infections and 27 deaths linked to the virus. Vaccination clinics for more than 2,400 residents of 121 licensed long-term care facilities are scheduled to take place this week. Residents of licensed long-term care facilities are expected to have received a first dose of vaccine by the week of March 14. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 1, 2021. The Canadian Press
EDMONTON — The Edmonton Oilers have claimed goaltender Alex Stalock off waivers from the Minnesota Wild.The 33-year-old Stalock did not appear in a game for Minnesota this season.The native of St. Paul, Minn., has a record of 61-48-18 with nine shutouts, a 2.61 goals-against average and a .909 save percentage over 152 games with San Jose and Minnesota.Stalock will add depth to an Oilers goaltending group that includes Mike Smith and Mikko Koskinen.Smith has been fantastic since returning to action after missing the first month of the 2020-21 season with an undisclosed injury, posting a 6-1-0 record with a 2.04 GAA and .934 save percentage.Koskinen has struggled with a 7-8-0 record, 3.26 GAA and .901 save percentage.The Oilers were scheduled to play their second of three games against the visiting Toronto Maple Leafs on Monday. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 1, 2021. The Canadian Press
Two Yukon First Nations are renewing calls for a regional land use plan to be completed before any new development on their traditional territories is considered, including a mineral exploration project right next door to Tombstone Territorial Park. Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in First Nation and the First Nation of Na-Cho Nyäk Dun recently sent letters to the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Board stating that approving the quartz exploration project, called Antimony Creek, without a land use plan for the Dawson region would violate their rights. The board is in the midst of evaluating whether Ryanwood Exploration Inc., the Dawson City-based company behind the project, has provided enough information to develop the project without adversely affecting the environment. The assessment board is responsible for issuing recommendations to the Yukon and federal governments, which ultimately decide whether to greenlight a project. Regional land use plans determine what can and cannot occur in a particular region, essentially balancing conservation values, First Nations’ rights and industrial pursuits. These plans are created by independent commissions and signed off on by the Yukon government and affected First Nations. Creating them is a requirement under the Umbrella Final Agreement, which was signed by 11 First Nations in 1990 and paved the way for their self-governance. However, most First Nations have been waiting decades for these plans. Resource development in the absence of an approved land use plan “will negatively affect Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in rights under the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in final agreement,” Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in’s Jan. 14 letter states. “This is unacceptable.” Antimony Creek is on Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in and Na-Cho Nyäk Dun territory and about 2.5 kilometres away from Tombstone, the territory’s flagship park that boasts towering, jagged peaks and abundant wildlife. The project is in an area of great importance to Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in, whose citizens frequently harvest plants and wildlife for cultural and subsistence purposes. Traditional gravesites and heritage travelling routes are a short distance away from the project area. According to the company’s April 2020 permit application, up to 300 holes will be drilled per year, with some burrowing 10,000 metres into the earth, to find what appears to be gold and silver deposits. The 10-year project involves the construction of an access road, a network of trails and a drill pad. The company is proposing up to 883 round-trip helicopter flights on an annual basis to transport workers and supplies. According to GeoYukon, a Yukon government mapping tool, the project area covers roughly 86 square kilometres. Ryanwood Exploration Inc. didn’t return a request for comment. In its permit application, the company said First Nations haven’t been engaged, “but discussions will be conducted.” According to a 2020 assessment board report, the company intends to regularly host discussions with affected First Nations “to ensure that this project does not adversely affect surrounding local and First Nations lands, culture and people.” The Dawson Regional Planning Commission is in the process of developing a land use plan that will manage and monitor lands, waters and industry within the region — a roughly 40,000 square-kilometre area representing about 10 per cent of the territory’s land mass. According to a Jan. 26 letter the commission sent to the assessment board, permitting development before the completion of a land use plan “may impact the commission’s ability to develop recommendations for the appropriate use of land, water and other renewable and non-renewable resources within the planning region.” Sue Thomas, a spokesperson for Yukon’s Department of Energy, Mines and Resources, told The Narwhal in an email land use planning doesn’t negate tenure holders’ ability to develop their mineral claims. “Development and/or exploration projects, like any other industrial and non-industrial uses, are allowed to continue while the planning process is underway,” she said. Allowing industry to explore in a region where land use planning is underway could rule out protecting areas with high conservation values, Sebastian Jones, wildlife and habitat analyst at the Yukon Conservation Society, told The Narwhal. “It’s no secret that if projects like this can get permitted before the land use plan is in place, it will [predetermine] land use planning,” he said, adding that projects like Antimony Creek are designed to eventually result in a large mine. Jones said miners likely recognize their days are numbered to develop claims in sensitive areas, which explains why they appear to be racing to get permits before land use plans are completed. “It’s very likely that developing a mine will not be one of the approved activities in the project area,” he said. If mineral deposits are located, several mines could crop up, leading to cumulative impacts on an otherwise undisturbed area, Jones said. In a Jan. 8 letter to the assessment board, the Yukon Conservation Society recommended the project not proceed, saying access roads and the eventual building and operation of mines would cause cumulative impacts on the region. The Antimony Creek project area is in a region that’s of very high cultural value to Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in citizens, according to the First Nation’s letter. The region, known as the “cultural integrity area,” which contains roughly 88 per cent of the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in’s settlement land, provides critical habitat for caribou, moose, sheep and salmon. It is also home to mineral licks, rare plants and old-growth forests, all of which help sustain wildlife and, in turn, Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in harvesters. “The whole ecosystem contributes to our lifestyle and our culture,” Chief Roberta Joseph told The Narwhal. “It’s not only about food value — it’s about ensuring our connection and our spirituality with the land, it’s about bonding and passing on traditional teachings through stories and teaching about harvesting.” There are also significant heritage sites in the area. The project is located about 300 metres away from a settlement land parcel that was originally selected to protect traditional gravesites, according to the letter. The letter suggests there are likely even more burial sites, as not all heritage areas have been mapped by the First Nation. “It is concerning that there could be potential impacts on our ancestors who may have been buried in the area near the proposed application,” Joseph said. “There needs to be regard and consideration on the burials of our ancestors, wherever they’re buried throughout our traditional territory.” “It’s just a matter of ensuring that our heritage as First Nations people of this land, since millennia, is being respected in accordance to our final agreements and the spirit and intent of our final agreements.” The area is considered so important to Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in citizens because it has yet to be disturbed by industry, the letter states. “Until a land use plan is in place that takes into account Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in rights under the final agreement, the cultural integrity area must remain intact in order for land and wildlife to thrive and for traditional pursuits to continue,” the letter states. Staking should be off-limits in the Dawson region until a land use plan is in place, according to a Jan. 20 letter Na-Cho Nyäk Dun sent to the assessment board. The letter said completion of the plan is “an essential prerequisite of any further permitting in this area.” Chief Simon Mervyn didn’t reply to a return for comment. According to the letter, land use planning helps facilitate development because it provides certainty “for all.” “It will allow for Na-Cho Nyäk Dun, other Indigenous nations, public government and industry to make decisions together respecting priorities, values and criteria for development and minimize future land use conflicts by making clear where development can and cannot be pursued,” the letter states. “Most importantly, it will ensure that development respects and supports, rather than undermines, the Treaty Rights of Na-Cho Nyäk Dun.” Former vice-chair of the Dawson land use planning commission Art Webster also recently called for a halt on staking in the Dawson area. “By allowing the staking of mineral claims, it basically sends out a message saying, ‘This is the highest value of this land, the extraction of minerals’ … at the expense of considering any other values for that land,” Art Webster told The Narwhal in an interview. According to Na-Cho Nyäk Dun’s letter, the First Nation has been waiting for a completed land use plan in its traditional territory since it signed its final agreement 25 years ago. This would be separate from the Dawson land use plan. While Na-Cho Nyäk Dun is not an official party to the land use planning process in the Dawson region, it has observer status, as its territory overlaps with that of the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in. The nations have an agreement in place to settle possible disputes linked to overlapping traditional territories. “In the view of Na-Cho Nyäk Dun, public government’s failure to initiate a land use planning process for the Na-Cho Nyäk Dun traditional territory is a fundamental breach of a key commitment enshrined in our treaty, and is flatly inconsistent with the honour of the Crown,” the letter states. The Antimony Creek project is only one mining application on Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in’s traditional territory, Joseph said. “There are many of them every year,” she said. A similar quartz exploration project, called Coal Creek (Monster) located roughly 85 kilometres north of Dawson City is making its way through the environmental assessment process. The Vancouver-based proponent, Go Metals, is searching for battery metals such as copper, gold and silver, according to the project proposal. According to a letter Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in sent to the assessment board, the First Nation continues “to strongly oppose” any development in the northern reaches of its traditional territory, which is relatively intact and undisturbed wilderness. Go Metals spokesperson, Scott Sheldon, told The Narwhal in an email, “We’re committed to continuing our conversations with local First Nations and we look forward to progress being made by the Dawson Regional Planning Commission to help us create better exploration plans for our battery metals project.” The Coffee Gold project, a proposed hard rock mine in a remote corner of Yukon, is also on the traditional territories of Na-Cho Nyäk Dun and Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in. Yukoners can submit feedback on that project until March 26. If this proposal is approved, the mine would be the largest in Yukon’s history. Julien Gignac, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Narwhal
Rose shows off her incredible acrobatic skills while keeping a balloon in the air for over a minute!
REGINA — Saskatchewan's finance minister says it's going to be tough to eliminate the province's deficit by 2024 and the government is likely to pick a new goal. Donna Harpauer says the province's economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic is going slower than hoped. During last fall's provincial election, Premier Scott Moe campaigned on a promise to eliminate Saskatchewan's $2-billion deficit by 2024. He also promised it wouldn't happen through increasing taxes or slashing services. Harpauer says the Saskatchewan Party government believes in having a plan for eliminating the deficit, but it won't make irresponsible cuts to meet its goal. She says with a slower economic recovery, it's going to be "very, very difficult" to get back to balance by 2024. Harpauer says more will be said about the deficit when the 2021-22 budget is presented April 6. "We still haven't taken in our final projections, so I guess there's a faint hope," she told The Canadian Press on Monday. "The way the projections are coming in, in all good likelihood, we'll have to change that goalpost." This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 1, 2021 The Canadian Press
Your voice matters. Despite being more than a year away, the Municipality of Chatham-Kent is looking to get input from residents regarding voting in the next municipal election. The municipality has launched an 11 question online survey, which will focus on what voting methods residents would prefer to see in the fall of 2022. Options include: - Paper ballots at a polling station. - Internet voting. - Mail-in ballots or voting by phone. Residents are asked general information about age, the ward in which they live and whether they usually vote. Opinions are sought on the respondents’ concerns about the security of various voting methods and whether they feel they will be adequately informed about voting requirements and procedures. “We’re always looking at ways to make it easier for people to participate in municipal elections,” said Judy Smith, Director of Municipal Governance for Chatham-Kent. “We want to present options and see if the public is interested and comfortable with doing things differently or if they’re happy with the current methods.” Those taking the survey do not have to register to do so, and no personal identifying information needs to be provided. Comments will be accepted until March 23. Results of the survey will be presented to council for consideration. A total of 34,722 residents (45 percent of those eligible) voted in the 2018 election. According to Mayor Darrin Canniff, he is hoping to create a simple voting process. “We’re asking for the phone voting and various things like that to give easy access for people,” said Canniff. “We would love to see more people voting. It is one of our democratic rights that a lot of places in the world don’t have. It’s very important we get people voting because it has a lot of influence over a four-year period for someone’s life.” A link to the survey can be found at https://www.letstalkchatham-kent.ca/election-2022?tool=survey_tool#tool_tab. The 2022 election will be held Monday, October 24 of that year. Bird Bouchard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Ridgetown Independent News
Regina– Usually one can bank on spring breakup being announced around March 15, give or take, but with warm weather in the forecast for southern Saskatchewan, the Ministry of Highways announced on March 1 that winter weights were coming off for highways in southern Saskatchewan. Effective March 1, 2021 at 12:01 a.m., winter weight designations for some highways in southern Saskatchewan were removed. Allowable weights will return to normal regulation weights on these 52 specific roads in 101 rural municipalities, the ministry said in a release. Winter weights typically run from about November to March. Once the road bed freezes it can withstand heavier truck loads without being damaged. This allows shippers to carry more weight during the winter months. Ministry of Highways staff carefully monitor conditions to ensure this return to regulation weight happens at the appropriate time and highways are protected from potential damage. As an example of the warm weather expected, Estevan’s forecast highs according to Environment Canada for the week are 5 C on Monday, March 1, 5 C again on Tuesday, 7 C on Wednesday, 10 C on Thursday, 11 C on Friday and 15 C on Saturday. Regina’s forecast is similar to Estevan’s, and Swift Current’s goes even higher, with a forecast high of 19 on Saturday, March 6. The early onset of spring breakup will have a significant impact on Saskatchewan’s winter oil drilling season, which usually starts to shut down the second week of March. As it stands now, drilling activity for this winter is already down substantially, according to Rig Locator. On March 1 there were 24 active drilling rigs in Saskatchewan, compared to 63 on the same day in 2020 and 49 in 2019. To check which highways are impacted by weight restrictions, visit www.saskatchewan.ca/truckingweights. Information about winter weight orders is updated twice weekly, with new information published on Tuesday and Fridays. To view the interactive map showing winter weight restrictions and spring road bans, visit www.saskatchewan.ca/highwayhotline and scroll down to restrictions. Brian Zinchuk, Local Journalism Initiative reporter, Estevan Mercury
MILAN — AC Milan forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic is out again with injury and could miss his side’s Europa League match against Manchester United. Ibrahimovic had to come off on Sunday in the second half of a 2-1 win at Roma after injuring a muscle in his left thigh. The Swedish forward will be re-evaluated in 10 days. That is the date of the trip to Old Trafford for the first leg of the Europa League round of 16 against his former club. The 39-year-old Ibrahimovic will definitely be out for the Serie A matches against Udinese and Hellas Verona. The Associated Press
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. — The Biden administration is pulling back an environmental review that cleared the way for a parcel of federal land that Apaches consider sacred to be turned over for a massive copper mining operation in eastern Arizona. The U.S. Department of Agriculture said Monday that it likely will take several months to further consult with Native American tribes and others about their concerns over Oak Flat and determine whether the environmental review fully complies with the law. The agency cited President Joe Biden's recent memo on strengthening relationships with tribal nations, and regularly consulting with them in a meaningful way. The USDA and the U.S. Forest Service acknowledged they can only do so much. Congress mandated that the land be transferred to Resolution Copper no later than 60 days after the final environmental review was published. The document was released in the last days of Donald Trump's administration. Michael Nixon, an attorney for the Apache Stronghold group that filed the first of the lawsuits, said the USDA's decision is welcome but doesn't have much impact. “Oak Flat is still on death row,” he said. “Essentially, they're just changing the execution date.” Dan Blondeau, a spokesman for Resolution Copper, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The parcel of land in the Tonto National Forest east of Phoenix was set to be transferred to Resolution Copper by mid-March. At least three pending lawsuits have raised concerns over religious freedom rights, land ownership and violations of federal law. The land transfer was included as a last-minute provision in a must-pass defence bill in 2014 after it failed for years as stand-alone legislation. Resolution Copper would get 3.75 square miles (9.71 square kilometres) of national forest land in exchange for eight parcels it owns elsewhere in Arizona. Apaches call Oak Flat “Chi’chil Bildagoteel.” The land near Superior has ancient oak groves, traditional plants and living beings that tribal members say are essential to their religion and culture. Those things exist elsewhere, but Apache Stronghold said they have unique power within Oak Flat. San Carlos Apache Chairman Terry Rambler said Monday that the tribe will continue working to permanently protect Oak Flat. Resolution Copper, a joint venture of global mining companies Rio Tinto and BHP, has spent millions of dollars prepping the area to mine copper, but actual mining isn't expected to start for at least 10 years. Felicia Fonseca, The Associated Press