WATCH: Vernon city council has sent plans for a major redevelopment of the former Kin Race Track site back to the drawing board. The city wants to enhance the recreation facilities at the site, but council wasn't happy with the preliminary concept designs for the project.
Vernon, B.C., city council has sent plans for a major redevelopment of the former Kin Race Track site back to the drawing board.
The city wants to enhance the recreation facilities at the site of the former horse track, but council largely wasn’t happy with the preliminary concept designs for the project.
During a lengthy discussion at the city council meeting on Monday, council asked for a redesign and gave directions that would see the land developed as more of an athletics park rather than a general use park space.
Council also rejected what had been a key part of the initial preliminary designs they were reviewing: space for an estimated 330 units of affordable or attainable housing.
Some councillors argued, while they support more housing in general, the Kin Race Track site is not the right space for a housing development.
“It is going to take away valuable land space for the future growth of our sports community,” said councillor Kari Gares.
Other council members supported keeping affordable housing in the plans.
“Affordable and attainable housing is the most significant need facing our community for the last five, six years and it will be going long into the future so to say no would be devastating,” said councillor Kelly Fehr.
Council members who support affordable housing on the site argued the Kin Race Track site is an appropriate location for housing because it is close to shopping and employment hubs.
Supporters also felt having residents living next to the park would prevent some of the safety issues that have developed in other Vernon parks.
Councillors who spoke against affordable housing on the site argued the city could find other spaces for housing projects, but there are few, if any, other locations that could accommodate large recreation facilities.
Those opposed also argued the site was too close to the edge of town and therefore didn’t make sense for densification.
In a split decision, council ultimately voted to exclude affordable housing from the redesigned plan for the Kin Race Track site.
While housing is out, council did vote to include in future plans for the site a skate park, a dog park, a trail, and space for a third ice sheet, connected to the existing Kal Tire Place arena.
The redesign of the site is also expected to include space for the proposed Active Living Centre swimming pool complex.
A referendum on the Active Living Centre is expected to happen in the fall.
WATCH: World Health Organization approves antibody treatment for certain COVID-19 patients
The U.S. health regulator revised on Monday the emergency use authorizations for COVID-19 antibody treatments from Regeneron and Eli Lilly to limit their use, as the drugs are unlikely to work against the Omicron coronavirus variant.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said the treatments are currently not cleared for use in any U.S. states or territories, but may be authorized in certain regions if they work against potential new variants.
The agency highlighted other therapies that are expected to be effective against Omicron, including a rival antibody drug from GlaxoSmithKline and Vir Biotechnology as well as recently authorized antiviral pills from Pfizer and Merck & Co.
Last month, the U.S. government had paused the distribution of Regeneron and Lilly’s treatments and said the halt would continue until new data emerges on their efficacy against Omicron.
The highly contagious new variant was estimated to account for more than 99% of cases in the United States, as of Jan. 15.
GSK and Vir Biotech are boosting production of their drug, sotrovimab, to help meet soaring demand in the United States. The FDA has also expanded its approval for the use of Gilead Sciences’ antiviral COVID-19 drug remdesivir to treat non-hospitalized patients aged 12 years and above.
The Washington Post earlier in the day reported that the FDA was expected to revise authorizations for Regeneron and Lilly’s treatments. Regeneron said it is working with the FDA to bring additional monoclonal antibody treatments to patients.
“Pending regulatory discussions, new therapeutic candidates could enter the clinic in coming months,” the company said in a statement.
Lilly had no immediate comment but pointed to its statement from December saying its antibody candidate, bebtelovimab, maintains neutralization activity against all known variants of concern, including Omicron.
(Reporting by Amruta Khandekar and Ann Maria Shibu; Editing by Devika Syamnath and Sherry Jacob-Phillips)
Kaleden residents have been calling on the province to improve traffic safety along Highway 97 for years, and now there is good news.
After engaging a project team to review options, the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MoIT) has approved a protected turning lane at the Highway 97 and Highway 3A intersection near Kaleden, B.C.
“I am thrilled. The ministry of transportation has stepped up. They have heard and they have seen the concerns of the residents. It is good to see progress,” said Kaleden Area Director Subrina Monteith.
Following November’s atmospheric river event and related highway closures, the intesection saw a significant increase in traffic.
Highway 97 has also been the scene of many accidents and near-misses over the years, prompting residents to start a petition asking for immediate change in the area.
The online petition has gathered more than 4,000 signatures as of Monday evening.
“The conversations were in place before the petition and before the floods, but both of those things helped make it very evident what the challenges were,” said MLA for Boundary-Similkameen Roly Russell.
“It certainly didn’t hurt and probably moved this along a lot faster.”
If all the pieces fall into place, construction could go ahead as early as this summer.
“The project team is moving ahead on detailed design for this improvement, during which consultation with key stakeholders will take place, including local emergency services and first responders. The ministry has begun consultation with Penticton Indian Band,” said the MoIT statement.
The MoIT added that the turning lane is still subject to final funding approval as well.
Environmental groups are growing impatient months after 109 shipping containers fells into the ocean off Vancouver Island. Kylie Stanton reports.
It’s been nearly three months since 109 shipping containers went overboard in B.C. waters, and to date, 105 of them are still missing.
Four of the MV Zim Kingston’s containers washed up along the north coast of Vancouver Island last November, but Canadian Coast Guard says the rest are unaccounted for.
“Despite efforts to model the potential trajectory of these containers, the exact location of approximately 105 of these containers is currently unknown,” it wrote in an emailed statement to Global News.
“The Canadian Coast Guard continues to work with the vessel owner to develop a plan to conduct a sonar scan of the area where the containers went overboard and an assessment of risk that the overboard containers could pose to the environment.”
While that work is underway, environmental groups say the products carried by those containers — including unicorn floaties, urinal mats, baby oil, cologne and coolers — are washing up on local shorelines.
“The funny thing is, you can find the pink unicorn at Rath Cove and Palmerston, but you’re finding the little pumps down at Grant Bay that go with them,” said Ashley Tapp, co-founder of the beach cleanup group Epic Exeo, in an interview.
According to Alys Hoyland, youth lead at Surfrider Pacific Rim, the province’s well-established network of beach cleaners has detected debris associated with the containers from as far north as Haida Gwaii to as far south as Victoria.
“Our two primary concerns really are around accountability and forward planning for how we prevent this kind of thing from happening again,” she told Global News.
“Specifically with marine debris, it’s incredibly difficult run with the kind of response that is the norm right now, which is once the beach is clean, the company has done it’s job because it’s just not true.”
The 109 shipping contains fell from the MV Zim Kingston in stormy waters last October, roughly 41 nautical miles west of the entrance to the Strait of Juan de Fuca, according to the Canadian Coast Guard.
In its statement, the coast guard said the vessel’s owner has hired a contractor to scan for the missing containers, but the contractor needs to wait for an appropriate weather window to complete the work.
“The ship owner will continue to check the known accumulation sites for debris every few months and remove debris likely to be from the Zim Kingston,” it wrote.
“The Canadian Coast Guard will also monitor for debris when conducting overflights in the West Coast Vancouver Island area and any reported debris believed to be from the Zim Kingston will be followed up on.”
The accident has strained the resources of Epic Exeo, which relies on fundraisers to pay for the supplies and helicopters that cart out the debris it collects from beaches. The amount of packaging that has washed up is “insane,” said Tapp, who lamented that much of it — unable to be recycled — will end up in landfills.
“We’re already such a small organization and we’re already working very hard to come up with funds to go clean up this regular marine debris and now we’ve added to it,” she explained.
“We’ve now added to the locations we have to get to, we’ve added the weight that we have to lift out of there. Our helicopter fees are our largest fees and they go by weight.”
Epic Exeo has offered to assist the Canadian Coast Guard with any cleanups and cleanup planning associated with the MV Zim Kingston, but Tapp said she’s not aware of any long-term plans for shoreline cleanup, as opposed to removal of debris from the ocean.
“Absolutely I want those cans out of the ocean, I don’t want them to open up, I don’t want more to come … but it’s clear to me that more product is washing up on shore, so they also need to put a plan in place for how we’re going to clean our coastline,” she said.
The MV Zim Kingston’s manifest is not publicly available, however, which makes it difficult for environmental groups to prove the origins of debris washing ashore, and the extent of the spread.
Hoyland said she’d like to push the federal government to hold large companies accountable for their accidents and all cleanup costs associated with it. It’s often communities who end up paying the price for their debris, which pollutes the areas they use to harvest food and earn a living, she added.
“What does true accountability look like for these companies that are making such huge profit at such huge environmental consequence?” she asked.
“Right now when we do beach cleans, it’s not unusual to find items related to container spills that happened in the 90s, so it’s not an issue that’s going away.”
Calgarians now have more places to charge their electric vehicles (EVs), following investments in EV charging infrastructure from the federal government, the City of Calgary and the city-owned utility provider Enmax Power.
On Monday, the city announced 20 Level 2 chargers will be available for public use at recreation centres and Calgary Transit park and ride lots.
Level 2 or fast chargers allow for charging at rates four to 12 times a Level 1 or slow charger that plugs into a home outlet.
Calgary Skyview MP George Chahal said he was excited to see federal government supporting municipal goals of climate resilience.
“Increasing EV affordability is a shared goal, and this is an important milestone in sustainable local infrastructure,” Chahal said in a statement.
The design, installation, electrical upgrades, and operation and maintenance for a five-year timespan came to a $264,000 total cost, with Natural Resources Canada putting up $100,000, Enmax footing $120,000, and the city contributing $44,000.
Enmax president Jana Mosley said funding the charging stations continues its support of the city’s work to build out EV infrastructure.
“ENMAX Power is preparing for steady growth in electric vehicle adoption and ensuring Calgarians have access to chargers throughout the City is an important part of meeting customer demand in the years ahead,” Mosley said in a statement.
WATCH: The former Princess Street bar dates back to the 1850s.
The future of one of the oldest pubs in the province remains a mystery as does the property’s purchaser.
The Royal Tavern, which dates back to before confederation, sold for $1.7M.
From the exterior, at least, the property has looked run-down for years, but in its heyday in the mid to late 1800s it was a heavily-frequented watering hole.
“I understand it was (a) popular stop for farmers as they were leaving the market on their way to the rural area — this was along their direct route,” said Ryan Leary, a senior planner in the municipality of Kingston’s heritage services.
The tavern also has heritage designation, which means any proposals for the site will need approval from both city council and the Heritage Kingston Committee.
“Heritage conservation is just a piece of the larger puzzle that council has to consider when it’s looking at a development application,” said Leary.
“How do we allow additional residential units downtown? How do we support and encourage new commercial units downtown while keeping the historic characteristics and historic sense downtown that has made it so vibrant and so successful for so many years?”
To date, a development plan hasn’t been submitted to the city but municipal staff did say if rezoning is required it could take several years to get final approvals.
WATCH: A Calgary woman who is out $2,500 following a cryptocurrency investment is now warning others to be careful who they give their money to. As Tomasia DaSilva reports, consumer advocacy groups say crypto fraud is “exploding”.
An Alberta woman has another warning about so called “digital gold” and the rush to cash in on cryptocurrency.
A Calgary investor — new to cryptocurrency and crypto assets — told Global News she is out roughly $2,500 due to what she believes is fraudulent activity.
“I was being very adventurous and very unprepared for what I was investing in,” Isabelle Lévesque said.
“I trusted them. I can’t believe I got caught.”
Lévesque said she found company TrueNorthBit, a cryptocurrency exchange platform, while looking online a few months ago. She reached out and the company was quick to respond. She said she continued to get calls from the company regularly over the next few weeks.
“They kept insisting on talking to me on the phone,” she said. “They wanted to get to know me better.”
Lévesque said company representatives gained her trust, so she trusted them with her money. Especially, she added, when she started seeing returns.
“The profits just kept growing every day. At one point, just within two weeks, I had made $200 in profit.”
But then Lévesque said she was pressured to invest more — thousands more. She said she was told if she didn’t put in about $10,000 total, she would be transferred to a more junior advisor and would not see the returns she had been seeing.
Lévesque sent email after email to the company, which Global News has obtained.
In one them she asks: “What did you do to my account? You didn’t call me back as scheduled on Dec. 24 and my account with TrueNorthBit shows $0. I didn’t receive my money.”
An email response from the support department at TrueNorthBit reads: “As we can see, you have lost the amount due to trading activities, please check your closed positions for further information.”
Lévesque is adamant she did not trade anything and added she just did what the representative told her to do.
Global News tried to contact TrueNorthBit for a response to her claims. We sent numerous emails directly to the representatives that were in charge of handling Lévesque’s accounts. We also called both the Canadian and UK phone numbers listed on the emails, but we did not get any response.
“It’s kind of the wild west in the crypto asset market right now,” the BBB’s Wes Lafortune said. “It’s a big problem. It’s exploding.”
Lafortune said the median loss is $600 but he added there has actually been millions of dollars of losses due to cryptocurrency schemes and fraud in Canada.
Lafortune added the regulations around crypto investing are starting to “catch up” but he said real change is still a long way’s off. He suggested investors do their research, get investment advice from someone they trust, and don’t be in a hurry or feel pressured to invest.
“It’s a bit of the gold rush mentality,” he pointed out. “People want to make a quick buck and there’s promises of huge profit, huge gains and those usually don’t materialize.”
“Bottom line is don’t invest in a crypto asset unless you can afford to lose the money.”
Alberta Securities Commission alert
The Alberta Securities Commission (ASC) told Global News it is also aware of parties engaging in fraudulent investment schemes, including some in relation to crypto assets/cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin.
The ASC said it is focused on educating Albertans about investing, including investing in crypto assets, adding they are very high risk and not suitable for all investors. It has also added a number of resources on its site to help investors check which sites are registered.
It also strongly encouraged Albertans to ignore unsolicited crypto asset investment offers received online or through social media.
After leading the CFL in passing once again last season, Michael Reilly is hanging up his pads.
The B.C. Lions quarterback announced his retirement Monday after 11 seasons in the league.
“When you draw up quarterbacks, Michael Reilly is the kind of quarterback you want. He can do everything for you,” said Neil McEvoy, B.C.’s co-general manager and director of football operations.
The 36-year-old from Kennewick, Wash., first joined the Lions in 2010 and played backup for three seasons, including 2011 when B.C. won the Grey Cup on home turf in Vancouver.
Just as his contract was about to expire in 2013, the Lions dealt Reilly to Edmonton, where he became a dominant starter and played six seasons. He won a second championship title in 2015 and was named Grey Cup MVP.
Rick Campbell remembers the game well. At the time, he was coach of the Ottawa Redblacks, who Edmonton beat 26-20. Reilly finished 21-of-35 passing for 269 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions.
Now Campbell is head coach and co-GM of the Lions, and had an opportunity to work with Reilly during the 2021 season.
“I had a lot of respect for him, seeing him from the other sideline,” Campbell said.
“He does all the things you hope a football player does. He’s good on the field but also just super competitive, loves the game, he’s a great teammate, a great leader, all those things.”
Reilly impressed once again in 2017, earning the CFL’s most outstanding player award with career-highs in passing yards (5,830) and touchdowns (30).
In 2019 Reilly returned to B.C., saying he wanted to bring the Grey Cup back to Vancouver.
His second stint with the Lions was difficult, however. A broken wrist ended his 2019 campaign and the COVID-19 pandemic scrubbed the CFL’s 2020 season.
During the break in play, the star quarterback went through a contract grievance with his team before settling and renegotiating his deal to stay on through 2022.
An elbow injury to his throwing arm kept Reilly out of the first game of 2021 and nagged throughout the season.
The Lions finished the year out of the playoffs with a 5-9 record but Reilly still managed a league-high 3,283 passing yards with 14 touchdowns and six interceptions.
It was the fourth time he’d led the league in passing, following three straight seasons (2016-2018) in Edmonton.
“Whenever we had the football, we always had a chance to win because Mike was able to put you in a position to win,” McEvoy said.
“Not all quarterbacks have that allure. He was just one of the guys that have that.”
You will never find a more dedicated athlete, a better prepared individual, a tougher competitor, and undisputed leader than Michael Reilly. One of the best QB's in EE history. One of the best people I've had the chance to work with and get to know. #ThankYouReilly #13 #Elks#CFLhttps://t.co/lwWbN1bgA5
Reilly’s retirement didn’t entirely catch the Lions by surprise, McEvoy said.
“He’s an 11-year professional athlete and when you start to get into the double digits, you start to think about your future and Michael is no different,” he said.
Campbell already knows who’ll replace Reilly as the Lions’ starter this season.
“Our plan is that Nathan Rourke will be the starter,” he said. “And we’d like to add a veteran CFL quarterback to the mix.
“I would look at it as a No. 1 and No. 1a situation.”
Rourke, a 23-year-old from Victoria, B.C., started the Lions’ final game of 2021, passing for 359 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions in a 43-10 win over Edmonton. He also added three rushing TDs.
“I just don’t see (Rourke) changing much,” Campbell said. “He’s going to continue to work hard and do this thing.”