24-storey tower coming to Commercial and Broadway

It has taken years, and a wholesale re-do from the city, but the Official Community Plan for East Vancouver’s Grandview Woodlands neighbourhood is now ready for public input.

The plan is ambitious, creating more than 7,000 new housing units over 30 years.

The biggest changes came in terms of the height of some proposed buildings.

There will still be high rises built, but fewer and only in certain areas. The area around the Commercial Drive SkyTrain station will see a 24-storey tower and another that stretches to 12 storeys.

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According to assistant director of planning Kent Munro, the city was keen to protect the vibe of the neighbourhood.

“It was important to protect rental stock and affordability,” he said. “This plan protects that.”

Even though the plan was designed after considerable public input in the form of a citizen’s assembly, selling it to the community at large over the next month could prove to be a challenge.

Grandview Woodland Advisory Council director Dorothy Barkley believes what the city has come back with is reasonable, but it won’t allay everyone’s concerns.

“There are a group of residents along Broadway near Commercial Drive that are going to have issues with this,” she said.

The plan covers a much wider area than just Commercial Drive. Grandview Woodlands stretches from Clark Drive to Nanaimo Street and from 12th Avenue to Burrard Inlet. While the residential towers will take much of the criticism, the majority of the planning calls for low- to mid-rise buildings scaled for walkable neighbourhoods.

Community meetings are scheduled starting Wednesday and city council is expected to vote on the issue in late July.

Dad accused in bat attack of 18-year-old Jessie Simpson makes court appearance

KAMLOOPS, B.C. – A man accused of leaving an 18-year-old high school student clinging to life in hospital after a beating with a baseball bat said little during a court appearance in Kamloops, B.C.

Kristopher Teichrieb, 39, is charged with attempted murder in the assault of Jessie Simpson, who is in “grave condition,” his aunt said.

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Teichrieb was arrested a short time after an attack on June 19 and has remained in custody.

He appeared by video Monday in provincial court wearing a red jail-issue sweatshirt and had a wooden cross hanging from his neck.

Outside court, a half dozen supporters of the Simpson family rallied with signs and chanted “No bail” and “Justice for Jessie” as drivers honked their horns.

In court, defence lawyer Jeremy Jensen hinted that Teichrieb’s charge could be upgraded to murder if Simpson’s condition changes. He asked that a potential bail hearing be delayed.

Teichrieb’s only words in court were “Thank you” when a justice of the peace told him he would have another court appearance next week.

Teichrieb was arrested just after 5 a.m. on Father’s Day after police were called to a reported altercation on a street near his home.

Simpson’s friends and family have said in social media posts that he was in Kamloops for a grad party and was trying to find a pal’s house when an altercation took place.

They have also said he was beaten with a baseball bat after Teichrieb confronted him. Police initially said Teichrieb had confronted someone in his driveway.

At a candlelight vigil on Sunday, Simpson’s aunt Marie Lewis of Dawson Creek said he remains in a coma on life support.

“He is not in good condition,” she said. “Nothing has changed. We can only keep hoping and praying.”

Teichrieb has three children and is the owner of at least two construction firms. He is due back in court on July 4. (Kamloops This Week)

Regina city councillor not running in fall election

Regina Ward 3 councillor Shawn Fraser won’t be seeking the public’s votes in the upcoming election.

Fraser said the decision not to run in the upcoming election wasn’t taken lightly. He made the choice after a lengthy discussion with his family and friends.

“Ultimately it’s a job where you get to help people.”

The one-term councillor and his wife recently had a baby girl last month. He said he wants to focus more on his growing family and his full-time job at the YMCA.

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“I think whenever, wherever you get to work with people and help people, there’s no better job than that,” Fraser said.

Fraser also said he’s not endorsing any candidates for Ward 3, which encompasses the Cathedral neighbourhood, anytime soon, but will keep his eyes open.

“I’m under no illusion that I’m the only person that could do a good job of representing Ward 3,” Fraser said.

“Ward 3 will be well represented, just by someone else.”

READ MORE: City Council pushes back discussion on Regina being a ‘living wage employer’

He said he’ll be asking candidates what their stance is on some of the issues he’s raised during council, like discussions around a city living wage or the motion of the Blue Dot movement.

The motion included a non-binding commitment to include environmental concerns in decisions and a a commitment to call on the provincial and federal governments to include an amendment to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms outlining the right to a healthy environment.

READ MORE: Regina city council supports idea behind Blue Dot Movement, but has some concerns

Fraser said there’s still issues in Regina that need to be worked on, but things have improved.

“My focus when I ran for this job was to talk about housing here in the city. We haven’t solved all the problems but the situation around rental housing has gotten a lot better,” he said.

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Lethbridge woman sentenced to 10 years in jail for manslaughter

A Lethbridge woman was sentenced to 10 years behind bars for the death of 43-year-old Katheline Buck of Coaldale.

Originally the Crown had charged the 22-year-old with second-degree murder, but instead accepted a guilty plea to manslaughter.

READ MORE: Lethbridge woman charged with second-degree murder 

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    In the agreed statement of facts submitted by defence council and the Crown prosecutor, it was stated that in the early morning hours of Feb. 23 2015, Julie-Ann Nicky Agerskov and a man arrived at friend’s home along 19 Street North.

    Court heard they were doing drugs and called a dealer for more.

    Katheline Buck showed up at the home. Agerskov thought the woman had stolen from her a few weeks earlier.

    When Buck went to leave the house, Agerskov tried to rob her and steal crack cocaine she believed Buck was hiding in her clothes.

    Buck swung a chair at Agerskov and Agerskov pulled out a knife.

    The man with Agerskov tried to intervene and was unintentionally stabbed.

    Buck was stabbed 13 times.

    READ MORE: Lethbridge police investigating suspicious death 

    The agreed statement of facts detailed that Agerskov and the man left the home, while Buck was left in a pool of blood screaming for help.

    The person who lived at the house woke up and called 911, but it was too late.

    Agerskov was arrested a short time later and made a full confession to police.

    During sentencing, her lawyer said she takes responsibility for her actions and has deep remorse and regret, adding that while in prison, she wrote an apology letter to Buck’s family.

    “I’m truly sorry about what I’ve done and I hope to be better in the future,” Agerskov told the judge.

    The 22-year-old was sentenced to 10 years in jail, with credit given for time served. She will have eight years left to serve for the manslaughter charge.

    She also pleaded guilty to one count of aggravated assault for stabbing a man during the same incident, and received one more additional year in jail.

Ikea to recall millions of ‘Malm’ dressers after 6 children killed in U.S.

Ikea has announced it has stopped selling the Malm dresser, one of its most-popular, and is recalling millions the items in North America after the deaths of six children in the United States.

“IKEA Canada takes its role as a responsible retailer very seriously and we want to raise the awareness of the hazard of furniture tip-over in Canadians’ homes,” IKEA Canada President  Stefan Sjöstrand said in a statement Tuesday.

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Ikea warned customers in a July 2015 statement that the dressers could tip-over and advised consumers not to use the dressers unless they were secured to the wall with anchors provided in the packaging.

READ MORE: IKEA issues warning after 2 boys killed by falling dressers in US

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) six children in the U.S. have died since 1989, and more than 40 injuries have been reported.

The CPSC said in a statement the most recent death occurred in Minnesota after a boy died in February 2016, after a Malm dresser tipped onto him.

The furniture retailer said there had been no tip-over incidents or injuries in Canada.

WATCH: IKEA customer says he was misled by Swedish furniture maker

In total, eight million Malm-style chest of drawers and 21 million additional children’s and adult chests and dressers are being recalled the U.S. Approximately six million Malm units were sold in Canada.

Chests and dressers manufactured between January 2002 and June 2016 are qualified for a full refund. Furniture made before 2002 may be eligible for a partial store credit. The company says that all chests and dressers should be attached to a wall to prevent them from toppling over.

“Ikea US and Ikea Canada will launch a local recall of chests of drawers in North America only,” the company said in a statement.

“Ikea chests of drawers are safe when anchored to the wall per the assembly instruction, using the tip over restraint provided with the product.”

IKEA Canada said the recall affects chests of drawers that are above 60cm for children’s chests of drawers and above 75cm for adult chests of drawers.

The 29 million units of recalled chests and dressers include: MALM 3-drawer, 4-drawer, 5-drawer and three 6-drawer models and other children’s and adult chests and dressers.

Here’s the full list of the 19 different chests of drawers being recalled in Canada.

Red Crow College describes rebuilding as ‘a new start’

Nearly a year after it was destroyed in a fire, officials at Red Crow Community College announced they will be rebuilding the institution. When flames tore through the former residential school in August, it was met with mixed emotions.

“For a lot of our parents and grandparents, they suffered a lot of traumas in there,” Red Crow Community College Board Chair Lionel Weasel Head said.

But now, the college is starting over. Crews will be rebuilding across the highway from the old site.

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“I really think this will be a new start for the college and for the community,” Weasel Head said.

All that’s left of where the college burnt down is an empty field. The school could rebuild in exactly the same spot, but is choosing not to because of its cultural beliefs.

“We’ve been here for thousands of years and we have our own cultural ways and norms,” Blood Tribe Councillor Billy Wadsworth. “Part of those ways is the teaching that we don’t ever build on sites where there’s fires.”

College officials peg the financial loss of the fire at over $10 million. A lot of the re-building cost will be covered through insurance, but not all losses can be regained.

“One of the hardest things is some of those priceless items,” Weasel Head said. “Those elders’ interviews, even artefacts, those kind of things are going to be hard to get back.”

Last September, fire officials determined arson was the cause, but Blood Tribe officials have yet to see a report and no charges have been laid.

As for the re-building process, that can’t begin until the insurance money comes in.

“Frustration for me personally speaking is the insurance process being so slow,” Wadsworth said. “Being in leadership we have to answer to our community. There’s been a lot of public inquiry and students (asking about the rebuilding) and it’s been difficult to accept the fact that insurance processes are so long.”

There’s no firm timeline on when construction will start, but officials hope it will be within the year.

Inattentive truck driver may be responsible for crash that killed 4 in Toronto: OPP

Ontario Provincial Police say an inattentive truck driver may be responsible for a fiery multi-vehicle collision on Highway 400 that killed a five-year-old girl and three others in Toronto Friday night.

OPP Sgt. Kerry Schmidt said the child was one of three occupants traveling inside a vehicle involved in the crash that occurred around 9:45 p.m. on the southbound lanes of Highway 400 just south of Finch Avenue.

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“I don’t think that I’ve been to a collision scene that was this devastating —; the vehicles were crumpled up, were smashed beyond recognition, the fire consumed them as well,” Schmidt said.

“Four people lost their lives. I’ve been to many collisions involving fatalities, involving transport trucks and multiple vehicles, but this collision was particularly hard to deal with.”

Police said the two other occupants of the vehicle in which the child died were all female family members.

A fourth person in a separate vehicle also died in the crash. Their gender and identity have not been released.

Schmidt said police have spoken to family members of the deceased and autopsies are being conducted Monday by the Chief Coroner for Ontario.

Police said they are concentrating their investigation on a transport truck that may have caused the collision involving a total of 11 vehicles.

Schmidt said that while traffic was slowing down in one of the lanes, the truck did not adjust its speed and set off the chain of events that led to the “horrible tragedy.”

WATCH: 4 dead in Highway 400 crash

“Completely preventable as far as I’m concerned and really we just want to get that message out to truck drivers and all drivers that you have to focus on the road, you’ve got to look what’s coming up down the road,” he said.

“The lanes on the left and right, they may be moving at full speed, but if there’s one lane that’s slowing down and that’s the one you’re in —; you have to address your driving and we’re really just calling on truck drivers as well, if you’re involved in a collision like this it’s something that you’re going to be held accountable for.”

“It only takes a moment for something to happen and some of the attention to be diverted away from their task of looking forward and seeing how traffic is changing and that’s when things like this happen.”

The crash stopped traffic for several hours in both directions Friday evening and investigators were on scene for 14 hours. Many of the vehicles had to be turned around and rerouted in the area.

“The importance of paying attention to what we’re doing at all times is unbelievable. We’re pulling 80,000 pounds down the road —; the minute we take our eyes off the road, we’re off what we’re doing or for whatever reason we fall asleep while we’re behind the wheel —; disastrous things happen,” said Rob Jackson, a senior driver trainer at Humber College.

“The truck driver has a responsibility to drive the truck at the proper following distance knowing he takes a lot longer to stop than any other vehicle on our roads.”

With files from Mark Carcasole

LBPSB votes to keep Lakeside Academy open

MONTREAL – The Lester B. Pearson School Board (LBPSB) voted unanimously to keep Lakeside Academy open indefinitely.

The board considered closing the school last December because of low enrollment, but said it would make a final decision at a later date.

The previous decision to keep the school in limbo was criticized by parents who advocated for the school to be saved as detrimental to student success.

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    A group of parents led by Jennifer Park have worked to improve student enrollment.

    “It’s a big relief, honestly, you have no idea how many people came together to work to get this done,” said Park.

    “A lot of times, people feel that you can’t stand up and you can’t say what you really want and it amazed me that so many people came together and believed that we could do it.”

    The movement began when Park, alongside city councillor Maja Vodanovic, collected 11,582 signatures over 10 days for a petition to save Lakeside Academy.

    READ MORE: After school-saving vote at LBPSB, the hard work begins for parents

    “If Lachine loses an English high school and loses the English population, we won’t be as lucky to know two languages anymore,” Vodanovic said.

    “It’s a loss, it’s a cultural loss.”

    “We never thought ill of the Lester B. Pearson because, in Quebec, we’re having a problem with our English school boards and our enrollment in dwindling.”

    Lakeside Academy has capacity for over 1,000 students, but currently enrolls an estimated 400 students with 85 new secondary students.

    READ MORE: Race is on to save Lakeside Academy

    Plans have also been put forward to open up the school to a community learning centre, as well as other organizations like the Boys and Girls Club to help fill the empty space.

    “The whole issue of closure brought to light some amazing programs that happen at Lakeside, and only at Lakeside,” Lester B. Pearson Chair Suanne Stein Day said.

    “Now, they’re looking at a science concentration, a basketball concentration. Their looking at these possibilities, they’re getting the word out and people are responding positively.”

City council agrees to reconsider CalgaryNEXT proposal

The Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corporation (CSEC) met with Council Monday to respond to the request to consider an alternate site for the proposed megasports complex.

In a 12-3 vote, council agreed to have the CSEC, Calgary Municipal Land Corporation and other stakeholders meet over the next few months in order to consider all options.

The CSEC has asked to build a facility in the West Village that could house all of Calgary’s professional sports teams owned by the Calgary Sports and Entertainment group.

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In April, council suggested that the group behind the project was underestimating the cost of building the complex at the west end of downtown, and suggested the group look at building on the Stampede Grounds instead.

READ MORE: Flames ownership examining ‘Plan B’ for CalgaryNEXT 

 The CSEC West Village location sits on contaminated land.

A wood treatment facility owned by Canada Creosote Company used to be on the proposed site and was in operation from 1924 to 1963. The chemicals that were used in that treatment process over the 39 years leaked into the ground and contaminated the land. An extensive remuneration of the area will need to be completed before any development can occur. One of the challenges is that Canada Creosote Co. no longer exists, so it cannot help with the clean-up costs.

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One of the points of contention is who should pay to remediate the land. The CSEC said in a report Monday that clean-up costs do not typically fall on the shoulders of new developers, and it also disputes the cost of remuneration.

In a document released Monday, CSEC disputed the price tag council has offered for the site cleanup.

The city has suggested it will cost between $85 and $140 million to rehabilitate the area. The CSEC believes the cost will be closer to $50 million.

WATCH: Gord Gillies takes a bigger picture look at the CalgaryNEXT project.

Other areas of dispute included transportation and space, with the city suggesting there would not be enough public access and that the land could not possibly house a facility large enough for the complex.

A report on the CalgaryNEXT complex, as well as the alternate Plan B, must be completed by October.

Monkey business: Alberta researchers explore ‘phenomenon’ of tourists being ripped off by monkeys

In some parts of the world, it’s a more common crime than you may think: monkeys stealing things from tourists and then using the items to barter for food.

It’s a racket that has caught the attention of University of Lethbridge researcher Dr. Jean-Baptiste Leca.

Leca and his team conducted a study examining habits of the Balinese long-tailed macaque monkeys, and the results show their sneaky thievery is more than just a coincidence, it’s a phenomenon.

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    “It takes boldness during the robbing part, because it requires physical contact with a human and not all monkeys are willing to do that,” Leca said.

    “Then it takes patience and self-control during the bartering part. With a very skilled monkey, it works.”

    The team travelled to Uluwatu Temple in Bali to conduct its research along with Dr. I Nengah Wandia of Udayana University.

    Leca, an assistant professor in the university’s department of psychology, explains how tourists have been at the mercy of the macaque monkeys for over two decades, proving the behaviour is trans-generational and likely cultural.

    “We’re not exactly sure how the behaviour originated,” Leca said. “It could have been some human influence but the way it has spread is most likely cultural.

    “Some monkeys seem to go with quantity, only dropped the object for several food items, while others go for quality and physically rejected – with an arm movement – a series of food items before they get the one they are interested in acquiring.”

    The monkey thievery can often be quite bold. The macaques will take a set of sunglasses off the face of a tourist and then wait for the negotiation to begin.

    Leca explains that the most skilled monkeys will get what they want, drop their stolen token and be on their way. Both the object and the human victim are left unharmed.

    “In this population, the monkeys are not violent or aggressive towards humans,” Leca said. “They interact physically, but you’d be surprised how skilled they are at snatching things like eyeglasses with not even a scratch.”

    Leca and his University of Lethbridge research team, intend to use their findings to learn about the difference in personality traits between individual macaques, how the system is passed on culturally, and ultimately, whether the pattern could reveal information about behavioural economics.

    “It’s only the beginning of this work so we want to be very cautious,” Leca said. “But ultimately we’d like our research to have implications for behavioural economics.”