Wednesday , May 12 2021

Whale likely hit by ship – BC News

Mayor Doug McCallum in Surrey is accused of bending the truth with a news release issued earlier this week decrying the city's debt load.

Shortly after midnight Tuesday, McCallum issued a press release saying he was "deeply dismayed and shaken to the core" about $ 514M in debt on the city's books.

"The fact that the debt burden is at $ 514 million is simply untenable and frankly, irresponsible," he said.

But according to the municipalities of the 2017 budget, Surrey's debt is actually $ 267M, reports CTV News.

In response to questions, the mayor's office clarified things Wednesday.

"The $ 514 million figure is the projected debt that the City would incur under the current 2018-2022 Five Year Financial Plan, approved in Dec. 2017, if it was allowed to proceed to completion," the statement said.

McCallum declined to comment on the matter.

-With files from CTV Vancouver


Nov 28, 2018 / 5:20 pm | Story:

A supervisor of a RCMP officer who took his own life in 2013 broke down Wednesday as he read the last few emails exchanged between the two men to a coroner's inquest.

RCMP Supt. Denis Boucher, who was Pierre Lemaitre's supervisor when he was moved to the traffic division, tells him they could meet up for coffee and chat in one of the emails.

"Hope you're making progress in your recovery," Boucher said, reading from one of his exchanges with Lemaitre. "I just wanted to let you know that I'll always help you if I can."

A few people in the courtroom also wiped away the tears as they listened to the interaction between them.

Lemaitre was a sergeant and a media spokesman for the RCMP when he released inaccurate information, which the inquest had heard was not allowed to correct, about a man who died after a confrontation with police at Vancouver International Airport in 2007.

Lemaitre's former family doctor and psychologist have told the inquiry that he had a post-traumatic stress disorder from dealing with victims of crime, but the incident involving Robert Dziekanski increased his depression and anxiety.

A former media strategist for the Mounties has accused the department of betraying Lemaitre, testifying that he was "hung out to dry" by his superiors who would not allow him to set the record straight. Atoya Montague told the inquest that Lemaitre used to tell false story about the death of Dziekanski, a Polish man who could not speak English and became agitated after wandering around the airport arrivals area for 10 hours.

After the incident, Lemaitre told reporters that officers approached a combative man and jolted him twice with a Taser. But two days later he watched a video from a witness that showed Dziekanski was relatively calm when the Mounties arrived and that they used the pistol gun five times.

Sheila Lemaitre said her husband was transferred off the case after two days and eventually moved to the traffic division, which he compared to "being put out with the trash." He felt belittled and disrespected by his colleagues, with one calling him "redundant," she testified earlier this week.

Boucher said Lemaitre was not a redundant but an "integral part of the team."

The emails showed the two men had a close relationship.

"It's been a bit of a struggle with this depression," Lemaitre wrote in a reply to his supervisor, adding that his doctors had changed some medication because there seemed to be no progress.

Boucher said he was aware that Lemaitre was suffering from PTSD and depression. He also described him as someone who had a strong work ethic.

Meanwhile, Lemaitre's supervisor in the media division said Lemaitre did not seem overly stressed about the misinformation he gave the media after Dziekanski's death.

John Ward, a retired staff sergeant, said part of the job of a communications officer is to trust that information going to the media is largely correct.

He was asked by a juror whether the RCMP was generally aware when it gave out incorrect information.

"I can not remember where we gave out the wrong information," he replied. "We were careful about the information we gave out."

Ward said he would speak to Lemaitre after the Dziekan incident but there were no discussions about correcting the information because once it was out in the media, there was not much that could be done about it.

Coroner's inquests are held to hear evidence of recommendations that could be made to prevent similar deaths in the future and do not make the findings of the blame.

A humpback whale that drove up dead in Tsawwassen earlier this month was probably hit by a ship, and a necropsy found.

The whale was found Nov. 16 near the BC Ferries terminal.

Necropsy results released Wednesday state its death is "consistent with catastrophic ship strike with propeller injuries," CTV News reports.

Meanwhile, tests on a dead orca calf found dead near Nootka Island two days before show it was born alive and likely died a few days later.

DNA revealed it was a transient whale, and not part of the endangered southern resident orca population.

– with files from CTV Vancouver


A Surrey man who attacked an autistic man at a Toronto-bus bus terminal was sentenced to serve time.

Ronjot Dhami was one of the three B.C. men captured on video in a vicious attack on March 13. He pleaded guilty Wednesday to aggravated assault, CTV News reports.

Dhami was given a 12-month sentence, but was released from custody with a credit for the time served. He will also be on trial for two years.

"I'm sorry for what I've done," Dhami told the court.

Parmvir Singh Chahil and Jaspaul Uppal were also charged in the attack.

– with files from CTV Vancouver

The B.C. government has put out a call for expressions of interest to provide a replacement bus service to fill the gaps still left by Greyhound's departure at the end of October.

The Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure said in a release that 83 percent of old routes have been covered, thanks to fast-tracking applications from companies like Ebus, looking to step in. However, eight routes are still left with nothing.

Now, their call for expressions of interest aims to feel what the private sector operators, non-profit societies, community agencies, local governments, indigenous communities or other interested parties may be out there that could complete coverage. The parties will still need to apply to the Passenger Transportation Board for an intercity bus license.

The eight routes in question are:

  • Cache Creek to Kamloops on Highway 1
  • Kamloops to Valemount on Highway 5
  • Valemount to B.C.-Alberta border on highways 5 and 16
  • Dawson Creek to B.C.-Alberta border on Highway 2
  • Salmo to Creston on highways 3 and 6
  • Cranbrook to the B.C.-Alberta border on Highway 3
  • Fort Nelson to the B.C.-Yukon border on Highway 7
  • Hope to Princeton on Highway 3

The deadline for interested respondents to submit is Jan. 15 2019, and the bid posting can be found here. The ministry remains in discussions with the federal government and other provinces and territories, working to find a long-term viable solution to ensure safe and reliable ground transport for B.C. citizens.

Alanna Kelly

High-tech cameras and B.C.'s wildly captured rare moments of animals that you would never get the chance to see.

In celebration of WildSafeBC's 100th edition of their highly popular Wild Wednesday video series, the best and most spectacular videos have been compiled together. The full video has already been viewed over 1,100 times in five hours.

Senior provincial WildSafeBC Coordinator Frank Ritcey says his favorite clip from the six-minute video is a wolf pack and their puppies.

"The footage we got of the wolf pack and their puppies, how often do you get a chance to see something like that?" he said. "Not very often."

Cameras placed across B.C. captured a wolf and a bear interacting, eagles and ravens, bobcats, cougars and even a monarch butterfly emerging.

"Some of the stuff we really enjoy seeing are animals doing things you normally do not get chance to see," said Ritcey.

The idea behind Wild Wednesday was to introduce people to wildlife as it lives in the wild.

"Our idea is it's better to see wildlife out in nature than in our back alley eating garbage," said Ritcey.

WildSafeBC's motto is to "keep wildlife wild and communities safe" and they hope to teach communities how to reduce the number of wildlife conflicts.

A full version of the video can be found on the WildSafe BC Facebook page.

Members of a high school volleyball team involved in a crash Tuesday have all been released from the hospital and are on their way home to Prince George.

BC Air Ambulance and paramedics rushed to Highway 97 near Cache Creek after the school van went off the road just after noon.

A team of 10 players and two staff from College Heights Secondary School were in the van. One person needed to be airlifted from the scene.

A team member is thanking all those who sent the best wishes.

"We're all going to be OK," said one of the Cougars. "Thank you all for all the prayers and love."

One player was in a critical condition, but was released from hospital Tuesday night.

School District 57 Supt. Marilyn Marquis-Forster told Castanet that five of the students were treated at the Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops before their release at 8:30 pm.

"Our whole group with girls and adults were together in a hotel in Kamloops last night, and planning their way home," said Marquis-Forster. "Our understanding is that they are currently on the way, on the way home."

"We are absolutely relieved," she said. "We had a scare … but today we are happy and relieved that they come home."

The cause of the collision is under investigation.

Alanna Kelly

Nov 28, 2018 / 11:01 am | Story:

Anxious staff at a unique garden in downtown Vancouver hope the three remaining ornamental koi will soon be safe from a river otter that took up residence in the park and eaten 10 of the valuable fish.

Crews are working to lower the level of the twisting pond in the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden, and spokeswoman Debbie Cheung says it's hoped that the water level will be low enough to net and remove the fish by Wednesday.

One of the specially bred koi was taken to the Vancouver Aquarium for safe keeping after netted over the weekend, and Cheung says two others were spotted while the search continues for the third.

Efforts to humanely trap and relocate the slippery otter have been unsuccessful and Cheung says there has been no sign of the animal for at least three days.

She says they will continue to lower the water level in the pond to remove the fish because there is no way to tell if the vidter is still nearby after it crossed several busy streets to reach the garden more than 10 days ago.

"We're scratching our heads," Cheung says. "The otter has not eaten anything, any of our koi, since Sunday,"

The drama has captured imaginations, spawning several social media hashtags and even the formation of hypothetical teams rooting for the success of either the otter or the koi.

If the otter returns and is caught, there are plans to relocate it to the Fraser Valley.

Cutting your own Christmas tree is a time honored tradition, and while residents are allowed to head to the woods with a saw, they must first get a permit.

A permit can be obtained online, or by contacting their local natural resource district office or FrontCounter BC office.

Local natural resource district offices can provide details about specific cutting requirements and approved harvest areas.

Free-use permits are provided for personal use only. It is illegal to sell a tree cut under a Christmas tree permit or to cut a tree in an unauthorized area.

When cutting a Christmas tree, keep the following tips in mind:

  • Leave home ready. Bring ropes, gloves, tools, tire chains, a first aid kit, a mobile phone and warm clothing.
  • Drive carefully. Be prepared for logging trucks.
  • Make sure to find the right tree before cutting. Some permits specify only one tree can be cut.
  • Do not leave a pointed stump as this can cause injury to livestock, wildlife, pets or humans.
  • Choose a tree that can be cut near the base and is easy to transport. Wasted tree remains in the forest can form a summer fire hazard.
  • Clean up and remove all debris associated with the activity.

Members of the public are reminded to check online maps provided by districts to ensure they cut in a designated area. No permits are available in the Chilliwack district due to population density and tree demand.

A B.C. Mom who was in limbo for months in Ghana trying to bring home her adopted son has returned to Canada without the boy.

Kim Moran was waiting for her son's immigration papers to be processed, but was forced to come home to Abbotsford when her MS flashed up, putting her in hospital.

She arrived at Vancouver International Airport on Tuesday without her two-year-old son, Ayo, CTV News reports.

"Probably the hardest part was they dropped me off at the airport and knowing … I was saying goodbye and coming home by myself," Kim told CTV.

Moran had been in Ghana since the summer after she and her husband, Clark, flew to Nigeria to finalize the adoption. Expecting it would take only a few weeks, Clark returned to Canada, leaving Kim and Ayo in Ghana.

The paperwork is still not complete after more than three months.

"All we're trying to do is give a little boy who did not have family, who does not have a home, a life and a home here in Canada and it just feels like we had roadblock after roadblock, "Kim said.

Clark is now in Ghana with Ayo so Kim can get the medical attention she needs.

Canadian immigration officials say the process can take up to two years, depending on the child's country of origin. The Morans' paperwork was received in February 2017.

"The Mission in Accra is currently working to process this application expeditiously," the office of Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen said in a statement Tuesday.

– with files from CTV Vancouver

Classes are set to resume today at Victoria's Camosun College after a series of weekend arson fires.

The college advises three buildings will reopen at its Interurban campus after a man allegedly broke in and set the fires.

The Center of Business and Access, the Pacific Institute for Sport Excellence and the Center for Trades Education and Innovation were closed Monday and Tuesday, CTV News reports.

The man was still on campus when he was arrested, police say.

Aaron Raschke, 30, has been charged with break and enter, arson, mischief and theft.

No one was injured in the fires, but the closures affected about 2,000 students.

– with files from CTV Vancouver Island

A Vancouver-based company is hoping to make it a 'green' Christmas.

For the second year in a row, CannaCalendar is offering a gift for those who prefer the pot to sugar plums.

For $ 139 – or $ 99 during the week of Cyber ​​Monday – those not sure what to get the weed lover in their life can bring them 25 days of different strains.

CannaCalendar's Bobbi Hopeful told CTV News that the compartments are filled with different strains than previous versions.

"They sold out like crazy last year and our elves are working hard to stuff each calendar with 25 half-gram samples," Hopeful told CTV News Vancouver.

"With all the write-ups about what to expect in the way of the high or the medicinal value of each strain, the fact is that the effects depend on the user as much as the strain. So trying as many strains as you can afford is smart way to learn which ones work best for you. "

– with files from CTV Vancouver

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