Monday, May 6



Sunday April 14

Victoria police searching for suspect after string of robberies

BC overdose prevention sites should be template for others: report

Huge turnout for first-ever Sarah Beckett Memorial Run

One in custody, another flown to hospital after incident at church in Salmon Arm

B.C. in no big rush to conclude Columbia River Treaty

Woman testifies about life in B.C. polygamist community

Terror report could trigger seismic shift in Sikh political leanings

Metro Vancouver drivers see another painful record as gas prices

Squamish Nation expects debate over plans for 3,000 housing units 

 Krause: Rachel Notley, the Rockefellers and Alberta's oil

Langara arson suspect remains in jail after bail denied

Test taker pleads guilty in U.S. college admissions bribery scam

Alleged gang associate released on bail

Affordable-housing tenants outraged after months without elevator

PM Justin Trudeau walks in Vancouver Vaisakhi parade after reference

Cranbrook citizens show team spirit by replacing missing hockey funds

Human remains identified in Clayoquot cabin fire

B.C. grants funding to Victoria Sexual Assault Centre

Police forensic unit called to find stolen West Shore dog

B.C. cracking down on unlicensed pot shops

Highway 19 near Port McNeill open after downed lines cleared

Mazda recalls more than 200K cars due to failing wipers

Victoria police searching for suspect after robberies

VicPD look to identify suspect in string of robberies

Nanaimo man arrested in Parksville after windows broken

Unforseen factors delay McKenzie interchange

Missing 38-year-old man found by Campbell River RCMP

Victoria police searching for suspect after string of robberies

Huge turnout for first-ever Sarah Beckett Memorial Run

Victoria sexual assault centre gets grant to cover operating costs


Saturday, April 6 headlines

New projects will use B.C. mass timber construction
0406 - The expansion of the Royal B.C. Museum in Victoria and the replacement of St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver will showcase the province’s leading role in mass timber construction, Premier John Horgan says.

Gabriola school gets $105,000 for playground
Gabriola Elementary School’s playground will become easier to access for all users following a pledge of $105,000 from the B.C. government. Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools is one of 34 school districts receiving money from the government’s playground equipment program, and according to a press release, the playground equipment is expected to be ready for this fall.

Vancouver Island's last adoption clinic to close
The Island’s only adoption clinic, Choices Adoption and Pregnancy Counselling Agency, closes its doors on May 31 after 30 years of placing 1,000 children with families across the province.

More money for damaged forest enhancement
$3.4 million in Forest Enhancement Society of B.C. funding was announced by the Minister of Forests this week. The grants will support eight projects aimed at improving low-value forests or damaged forests in 100 Mile House, Burns Lake, Terrace and Haida Gwaii, said FESBC executive director Steve Kozuki.

One year later: Memorial service for those killed in Humboldt crash
HUMBOLDT, Sask.— A memorial service being held today to mark one
year since the Humboldt Broncos tragedy will include a moment of silence at 4:50 p.m

As threat of wildfire grows, BC lets logging debris litter landscape for years
After managing the fight against last summer’s massive Shovel Lake fire, a member of the B.C. Wildfire Service had a major complaint about what... More

 Magnitude-2.9 earthquake strikes near Victoria Friday night
If you felt rumbling near Victoria Friday night, it may have been a small magnitude-2.9 earthquake that hit near the San Juan Islands. Seismologists f... More 

Okanagan news service website sells for $22 million

Kelowna responds to downtown crime recommendations

Canada’s window to defend the Arctic is closing, MP warns

New medication card to reduce accidental drug poisoning

Truck driver arrested after fleeing with officer standing on steps of rig

 Officials search for source of salmonella in 6 provinces including B.C.

 Police investigate late night shooting at Langford duplex

 Campbell River man comes face-to-face with two cougars

 Necropsy shows dead grey whale in  was emaciated 

 Local Island opposition could resurface if whale hunt resumes

 Emergency crews respond to head-on crash on Millstream Road

 West Shore RCMP release sketch of attempted robery suspect

 Wind warning issued for most of Vancouver Island

RCMP bust reported drug lab on Vancouver Island

0404 - The British Columbia government has put a target on neighbourhood properties linked to guns, gangs and drugs activities, the public safety minister said Thursday.

Mike Farnworth introduced legislation that empowers people to report alleged illegal activities in their neighbourhoods and gives authorities more clout to shut down those sites.


New law gives people power over drug-and-crime houses

Mike Farnworth

The British Columbia government has put a target on neighbourhood properties linked to guns, gangs and drugs activities, the public safety minister said Thursday. Mike Farnworth introduced legislation that empowers people to report alleged illegal activities in their neighbourhoods and gives authorities more clout to shut down those sites.

Kootenay family finds small bomb on their property
A Kootenay family got a scare on Tuesday when they were doing some spring cleaning on their newly purchased property — and found a small bomb. RCMP were called to the property between Nelson and Castlegar on Tuesday afternoon when the woman called in to say they had found the ordinance.

Parksville plans for annual Canada goose harvest
Parksville city staff are seeking council approval for a goose management program with immediate egg addling. The strategy is to humanely reduce non-migratory resident Canada goose populations in the city to a level that prevents conflict between geese and human activities and reduces the ecological damage to local estuaries.

Gas prices hit $1.57 a litre on Vancouver Island
Gas prices in Greater Victoria have spiked and analysts predict they’ll be going up again. Prices were as high as 157.9 cents a litre at some stations on Wednesday. The sudden increase is still mainly attributed to two of B.C.’s major suppliers in Puget Sound undergoing maintenance and not producing as much fuel

Hydrogen trains plan from Surrey to Chilliwack picks up speed
Former B.C. premier Bill Vander Zalm and a former Langley Township mayor are backing a push for an “emissions-free hydrogen powered passenger train” connecting Surrey to Chilliwack along the existing interurban line. Proposed by the South Fraser Community Rail group is a 99-kilometre, 90-minute route with 12 stops. The group says the reactivated rail service would serve about 1.2 million residents.

Annual eagle release goes April 6 at North Island Wildlife Recovery Centre

50/50 win turns into nightmare for View Royal mayor

As gas prices rise, electric vehicle sales on Vancouver Island soar

RCMP looking for missing 48-year-old woman from Courtenay

VicPD searching for missing 18-year-old teen

One million people to arrive in Victoria for cruise season


Women now allowed to bare arms in Legislature building

0401 - The Speaker of B.C.’s legislature says a preliminary review of the building’s dress code now permits women to wear sleeveless dresses and sleeveless shirts.

Darryl Plecas says a full dress code review is underway, but until the report is complete business attire for women includes sleeveless dresses, shirts and blouses.

Plecas ordered the review last week after some female journalists and a staff member with the NDP wore short-sleeved attire in defiance of the dress code after legislature staff told some women to cover up their arms.


The hijacking of our education system gathers speed

It’s likely you or someone you know have children who were swept up in the recent “student strike 4 climate” that was staged in B.C. communities and around the world, at least in places where citizens are still free to take to the streets.

Leaving aside for a moment what they mean by “climate action,” what lesson is conveyed by these demonstrations? That’s obvious. The way to get what you want is to refuse to carry out your responsibilities and yell at elected leaders to do what you want them to do. Debate is not allowed. This won’t be a new experience for parents who depend on B.C. public schools.


Indian School victims in line for $10,000 settlement

Aboriginal people who attended Indian Day Schools may be in line for a financial settlement.

Everyone who attended an Indian Day School that was “established, funded, controlled and managed by the Government of Canada and suffered harm as a consequence of their Indian Day School attendance” are included under the agreement. They could each get $10,000 if they pass the criteria.

The federal government said last week that, in “continuing the work of righting past wrongs, especially those involving Indigenous children,” there’s hope at the end of the tunnel for the many survivors of these schools, after years of trying to find a solution.

A statement from the ministry stated the agreement “includes $10,000 in individual compensation for thousands of Indigenous people who suffered harm while attending federally operated Indian Day Schools. Those who experienced physical and sexual abuse are eligible for additional compensation, with amounts ranging from $50,000 to $200,000 based on the severity of the abuses suffered.

CBC photo

Scientists make surprising discoveries
about salmon on Gulf of Alaska expedition

0319 - An international team of scientists have completed a five-week expedition to the Gulf of Alaska to study the lives of salmon.

The multi-nation expedition was organized by Dick Beamish of Nanaimo. Researchers collected thousands of samples and pioneered a new DNA testing method to learn more about salmon survival in the North Pacific in the first comprehensive study in the region in decades.

The scientists were all smiles as they spoke of their findings and praised the success of the international collaboration at an event at the Burrard Dry Dock Pier.

"The ability of a team of researchers to work together effectively, that already is a tremendous success," said Dick Beamish, the expedition's organizer. "We have now set a precedent for being able to do this in the future."

The 21 scientists from five salmon-producing countries in the Pacific Rim — Canada, South Korea, Japan, Russia and the U.S. — travelled around 8,000 kilometres and surveyed 60 different locations while aboard the Russian research vessel Professor Kaganovsky.


New surveillance plane to monitor Vancouver Island fisheries

 Ottawa, B.C. announce 5-year salmon restoration fund to rebuild wild stocks




Tom Fletcher
Black Press

NDP’s manufactured farmland
crisis dies on the vine

0317 - B.C. Agriculture Minister Lana Popham has launched the second phase of her remake of an NDP icon, the Agricultural Land Commission.

In a determined push to plow under changes made since the Dave Barrett government hastily imposed the Agricultural Land Reserve in the early 1970s, Popham has introduced a new batch of legislative amendments. It’s an effort to stop what she claims is pressure from speculators, buying farmland and trying to get it sprung from the ALR so they can grow houses on it.

When Popham proudly unveiled the amendments a couple of weeks ago, there was an awkward moment. The bill includes a new definition of “person,” changing it to a provincial or local government or their agencies. People, specifically farmers, will not be persons once the NDP-Green coalition pushes this nanny-state vision through.

Port Alice losing its last bank

Just days after the Neucel Specialty Cellulose pulp mill told its remaining 12 workers they were going home without pay, Scotiabank — the only bank in the small north Island community of Port Alice — gave notice it is pulling out.

In an email on March 15, Krista Stewart, manager of Canadian Banking Communications for Scotiabank, stated the company made the “difficult decision” to close the Port Alice branch, effective as of Oct. 24.

“We recognize our customers’ needs are changing with more people choosing online and digital channels,” the email stated, adding the decision came after a review of their branch network that includes a full area market analysis.

Illegal crab fishing nets 10-year fishing ban

0318 - A Cape Mudge resident who poached dungeness crabs in Vancouver Harbour under the cover of darkness in February, 2018 is banned from fishing commercially for 10 years and had the boat he was using – which didn’t belong to him – and all the crabbing gear in it forfeited to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.

Arthur Michael Nelson pleaded guilty to fishing for shellfish in a closed time, fishing without a licence and obstructing a fishery officer and was sentenced in Campbell River Provincial Court Thursday.


Parksville seniors getting stronger with age

0317- - When you’re in your 70s or 80s, should you be lifting heavy weights?
Most would assume that it’s not safe and it’s risky. But not for Brenda and Ed Fergusson, who are 75 and 84 years old, respectively.
The Parksville couple love weighlifting. They defy the myth that they’re too old for this type of sport. And at their age, they have no plans of lightening their load just yet.

Supreme Court upholds Campbell River’s rights to set water rates

0317 - B.C. Supreme Court  has dismissed a case against the City of Campbell River and the Strathcona Regional District over water rate hikes.
Last summer, resident Robert Benoit launched a legal petition against the two local governments, suggesting the city, as the SRD’s bulk water supplier for his area, overstepped its power by charging excessive amounts, beyond the cost to supply water, in recent years.

Connect with your next employer at North Island College’s Career Fair

North Island College's Career Fair returns March 21, giving job seekers an opportunity to connect with over 35 employers from across the region.

B.C. Court of Appeal to hear province’s
oil-transport reference case Monday

0317 - British Columbia’s Court of Appeal will consider a key question regarding provincial powers in the political battle over the future of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project during a five-day hearing that starts Monday.

The B.C. government’s reference case asks the court if the province has jurisdiction to regulate the transport of oil through its territory and restrict bitumen shipments from Alberta.

Specifically, it asks if proposed amendments to British Columbia’s Environmental Management Act are valid and if they give the province the authority to control the shipment of heavy oils based on the impact spills could have on the environment, human health or communities.

Extra weeks of parental leave
now available across Canada

0317 - Five to eight weeks of additional parental leave officially became reality for famillies across the country Sunday.

Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, Jean-Yves Duclos, made the announcement Friday during a news conference in Burlington, Ont.

The changes increase standard parental benefits from 61 weeks to as long as 69 weeks for parents of newborns or newly adopted children who decide to both take leave from work to handle child care duties.

The increase allows for each parent to be eligible for up to 40 weeks, compared to 35 weeks, depending on how the time is split up.

World’s largest gnome might
have new home in Langford

0316 - Howard, the world’s tallest gnome, may make his way to Langford. Galaxy Motors, currently in Colwood, is relocating to a new nine-acre plot on Sooke Road near the Peninsula Co-Op Gas Station in Langford.

Phil Dagger, Galaxy Motors owner, hopes the new location will become Howard’s home.

“I saw all the news articles and the T.V. coverage and I thought hey it could work for us,” Dagger said. “He’s garnered a lot of attention in the last week or so as well, so it would make sense that he’d be an instantly recognizable figure if we ended up with him.”

Howard is an eight-metre tall gnome that currently resides on the Island Highway near Nanoose Bay on the property of a Chevron gas station.

Proposals welcomed for new
$143M salmon enhancement fund

0316 - The federal and provincial governments announced Friday that a nearly $143-million fund to help rebuild and protect B.C.'s chinook salmon stocks is open for business.

Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard Jonathan Wilkinson was at Victoria’s Fisherman Wharf alongside B.C. Premier John Horgan for the announcement.

The five-year fund will be rolled out over time as projects come to the table that fit the criteria.

LNG Canada could be expanded before
natural gas export facility is complete

0316 - One of the most expensive energy projects in Canada could soon get larger.

Construction ramped up this month on LNG Canada's massive natural gas export facility in northern B.C., but the consortium is now talking about possible expansion.

The potential price tag of the entire project has been estimated to be upwards of $40 billion.

Chief executive Andy Calitz spoke confidently of how it's likely just a matter of time before the ownership group commits to an expansion of the Kitimat site. A decision on making the investment could happen before the initial five-year construction project is finished.

Farmed Atlantic salmon in B.C. not
affected by virus, researchers find

0316 - Newly-published research shows piscine orthoreovirus (PRV) doesn’t cause severe heart inflammations in farmed Atlantic salmon in B.C., and their respiratory fitness is unaffected by the virus.

The two DFO-funded studies published online by peer-reviewed journals on Wednesday represent the latest developments in the controversy surrounding PRV.

The research suggests that PRV is less of a threat for Atlantic salmon in B.C. than in Norway, where it causes a deadly condition known as heart and skeletal muscle inflammation (HSMI).

Courier company testing
driverless cars in Vancouver

190315 - A B.C. courier company has been secretly testing driverless cars on the roads of Metro Vancouver.

Richmond-based Novex Delivery Solutions announced Wednesday that it have been experimenting with a Tesla Model 3, purchased last year by the company with an eye toward deploying the autonomous vehicle for its same-day deliveries in the future, as well as continuing to reduce its environmental impact.

“Autonomous cars are the future, and we want to make sure when they’re here, we are at the forefront of this technology,” said Novex president John Coupar.

Private medical clinics get reprieve from government

190315 - Private diagnostic and surgical clinics have won another reprieve, this time from their nemesis — the provincial government, which would prefer to see them shut down.

It means that doctors providing care to patients seeking expedited treatment at private clinics across B.C. can continue doing so for at least for another year, as long as they don’t double bill both the government and patients.

Police release new photos of missing Langford man

Joshua Bennett

190315 - West Shore RCMP have released new images in the disappearance of 31-year-old Joshua Bennett of Langford.

Bennett was last seen March 9 with friends at Langford Lanes at 1097 Langford Pkwy. He left on foot and was seen on surveillance camera footage walking in the industrial area near Langford Lanes shortly after 9:30 p.m.

Bennett is six feet, 160 pounds with black hair and brown eyes. He was wearing blue Levis jeans, olive green Volcom jacket and black shoes.

Police are concerned for Bennett’s health and well-being and friends and family report that it is out of character for him to be out of contact for this long.

Anyone with information is asked to contact their local police, or Crimestoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS).

West Shore RCMP make weapons seizure

190315 - West Shore RCMP’s crime-reduction unit seized three firearms and hundreds of rounds of ammunition on March 2. The crime reduction unit – whose mandate is to target drug dealers and prolific offenders on the West Shore – identified a man believed to be attempting to trade a firearm or firearms for street drugs.

Police executed a search warrant at a residence in Langford where three firearms and hundreds of rounds of ammunition,were seized. All firearms and ammunition where stored in an unsafe manner contrary to the Criminal Code of Canada.


Angela Rehorn

Pacific Rim Park mourns death
of staff member in plane crash

190315 - Pacific Rim National Park is mourning the loss of one of its brightest stars, Angela Rehorn who was killed in the Ethiopian Airlines flight ET 302 crash on March 10.

“Angela contributed to our efforts to better understand and protect rare sand dune habitat and associated species at risk,” the statement reads. “Angela also contributed to our partnership with the Hakai Institute aimed at monitoring sensitive near-shore marine habitats.


Legal aid lawyers plan service withdrawals

190314 - British Columbia’s legal-aid lawyers have voted overwhelmingly to start withdrawing their services next month over lack of funding.

The Association of Legal Aid Lawyers says 97 per cent of 590 members voted for job action to limit or suspend legal aid starting April 1.

A news release from the association says the only pay increase legal-aid lawyers have received in 28 years was in 2006 when their hourly rate was boosted by 10 per cent.


CRD wants to part of laternatve Malahat route

190314 - The Capital Regional District (CRD) board is not backing an alternative Malahat route through CRD lands for public use.

The board endorsed two resolutions Wednesday that oppose any new public highway infrastructure through CRD lands.

Instead, the board considered writing to the province about implementing measures that “address congestion, safety and emergency closures” without establishing an emergency route through the Greater Victoria Water Supply Area or through Sooke Hills Regional Park.


Winter drought raises concern about water supply

190313 – BC Hydro is warning of a drought on Vancouver Island, caused by nearly two months of unusually dry and cold weather.

A spokesman with the Crown utility says the winter started wet and mild but frigid conditions at the end of January “locked up” available moisture in snow and ice.

Stephen Watson says that has created drought-like conditions in watersheds serving the Sooke, Port Alberni, Comox Valley and Campbell River regions. MORE

Island Health taking over home support
services on southern Vancouver Island

190313 - Island Health will take over publicly-funded funded home support services on southern Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands starting this fall.

Home support services are  provided by Beacon Community Services, a private non-profit community organization. Island Health said the change will ensure a consistent approach to implement the government’s team-based primary and community care model across the health authority.

“We have an immediate need to revitalize community health services across our entire health authority to improve access and service quality, and to meet government’s objectives of team-based primary and community care,” said Kathy MacNeil, Island Health President and CEO. MORE

Government approves code changes
to allow taller wood buildings

British Columbia is increasing height limits for the construction of wood buildings.

Premier John Horgan says the B.C. building code will be changed to allow wood construction buildings to reach 12 storeys, up from six storeys.

Horgan made the building code announcement at a timber production company in Okanagan Falls near Penticton that has been a North American leader in wood products used in buildings. MORE

He says the building code changes come one year ahead of expected changes in the national building code, which are also expected to increase height limits for wood buildings to 12 storeys.

Vancouver business man implicated
in U.S. college admission fraud case

190313 – Vancouver businessman and former CFL player David Sidoo has been charged with conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud in connection with a far-reaching FBI investigation into a criminal conspiracy that sought to help privileged kids with middling grades gain admission to elite U.S. universities.

Sidoo is accused of making two separate US$100,000 payments to have others take college entrance exams in place of his two sons.

Sidoo is also accused of providing documents for the purpose of creating falsified identification cards for the people taking the tests.

In what is being called the biggest college-admissions scam ever prosecuted by the U.S. Justice Department, Sidoo has been charged with nearly 50 other people. Nine athletic coaches and 33 parents including Hollywood actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin. are among those charged in the investigation, dubbed Operation Varsity Blues.


Canada grounds Boeing 373 Max 8 aircraft

190313 –Transport Minister Marc Garneau has grounded the Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft over safety concerns arising from the crash of an Ethiopian Airlines flight that killed everyone on board, including 18 Canadians.

The decision to ground the plane is a precautionary move that was made after a review of all the available evidence, Garneau told a news conference Wednesday in Ottawa that was twice delayed by what he called new incoming information.


Victoria police recover $35,000 from
international online scam operation

190313 – The Victoria Police Department has recovered more than $35,000 from an online scam that was first reported last year. It’s fraud prevention month and police recovered more than $35,000.

In the spring of 2018, a local resident reported she was a victim of an online scam that was thought to be cleaning her computer of viruses. Initially, the scammer made off with $1,400.

Investigators say other victims of the scam have been identified in Ontario, New York, Wisconsin and New Jersey. With the assistance of banks, more than $35,000 was recovered from an account in India. VicPD were able to return $23,000 to a victim in Ontario and $12,000 to a victim in Wisconsin.


Photo from Port Alberni Fire Department

Crash victim helps to save
other driver in Hwy 4 crash

190312 - The driver of a vehicle involved in a two-vehicle crash helped to rescue the driver of the other vehicle. Two people were taken to hospital after the fiery crash on Highway 4 near Port Alberni on Tuesday morning.

An SUV and a pickup truck collided head on shortly after 7 a.m. west of the Loon Lake turnoff at the top of the Hump. 

Port Alberni Fire Chief Mike Owens said the pickup truck caught fire after the crash. The driver of the SUV, which was heavily damaged, got out and climbed into the pickup truck (along with) two bystanders to pull the guy out of the truck. They saved the guy’s life.

“They’re definitely the heroes today,” said Owens.



Fire halts work at Port Alberni paper mill

190311 – Fire crews from Catalyst Paper and the Port Alberni Fire Department spent Monday morning (March 11) extinguishing a fire that started in the dryer at No. 4 paper machine. Crews were called to the mill after 8 a.m. and left the scene at approximately 12:30 p.m.

No one was injured, and a cause for the fire has not been released.

Paper Excellence Canada Holdings Corporation will take over ownership of Catalyst Paper sometime later this month. In February the Canadian Competition Bureau cleared the British Columbia-based company to complete its purchase, which involves the purchase of all of the shares of Catalyst.

Whooping cough confirmed in Duncan

190311 - An adult case of whooping cough has been confirmed in Duncan.

Island Health spokeswoman Cheryl Bloxham said letters were sent on March 8 to potential exposure sites in the area, including St. John Ambulance’s Youth Program, the Chalkboard Theatre group and the Regent Online Christian Academy, which meets in person at Oasis Church twice a week.


U.S. regulators clear path for
genetically-modified salmon

190311 - U.S. regulators have given the green light to salmon genetically modified to grow about twice as fast as normal, but the company behind it may face legal challenges before the fish can be sold domestically.

The Food and Drug Administration said it lifted an alert that had prevented AquaBounty from importing its salmon eggs to its Indiana facility, where they would be grown before being sold as food. The agency noted the salmon has already undergone safety reviews, and that it lifted its alert because the fish would be subject to a new regulation that will require companies to disclose when a food is bioengineered.


Nothing will stop LNG from getting
built, despite legal moves, says CEO

190311 - The head of LNG Canada said he does “not see a single scenario” that would stop the nation’s largest infrastructure project from getting built, dispelling concerns that the US$30-billion gas export facility is at risk of mounting opposition from pipeline foes.

The liquefied natural gas project in northern British Columbia was approved by Royal Dutch Shell Plc and four Asian partners in October after obtaining the support of the province and 20 First Nation groups. But it continues to face a legal challenge disputing the constitutionality of the project’s approval, as well as protests by a group of indigenous holdouts.

“I do not see a single scenario that would cause the construction of this pipeline to be stopped,” Andy Calitz, LNG Canada’s chief executive officer, said in an interview in Vancouver.


Vancouver manions rented for
next to nothing to avoid tax

190311- Hey, have we got a bargain for you – rent an $8-million mansion in West Vancovuer for only $4,000 a month. Wherever there are rules people  get around them, as witness what's happening in Vancouver regarding the speculation and vacancy tax.

Multi-million-dollar mansions are being offered for rent really cheaply because it's cheaper for the owner than paying the tax. The city's empty homes tax is one per cent of the home’s assessed value, while the provincial tax is two per cent of assessed value.

If you own an $8-million home that sits empty for most of the year you will have to cough up $240,000 a year extra in taxes. The easy way around that is to rent out the property, keeping it occupied for most of the year, even at $4,000 a month. Get $48,000 in rent as opposed to paying $240,000 in taxes.


Communities still without bus service
after Greyhound shut down routes

190311 - Private operators have taken over some of the bus routes abandoned by Greyhound, but eight remain unfilled.

Rider Express Transportation is an inter-city bus service from Saskatchewan that has been running a Vancouver-to-Calgary route along the Trans-Canada Highway. That company has applied to the Passenger Transportation Board to reduce its service east of Kamloops from one daily trip to one weekly trip, eliminating several stops. The company also applied to add routes around Kelowna.

Rider Express said “not all intercity bus routes are as profitable as others. Some even hurt the bottom line. Our ridership on the Calgary-Vancouver route itself has not reached the levels that can justify the service.”


The debate over daylight saving,
Americans control our time too

190310 - So how was “spring forward” for you this year? The annual ritual of giving back the hour you borrowed from the green gods of time last fall isn’t popular, especially with parents.

Just as U.S.-backed environmentalists decide our aquaculture and oil and gas policies for us, and their lumber barons keep our forest industry on a short leash, American governments control our time too.

B.C. could do it tomorrow on its own, but U.S. states are subject to federal law. The three western states have legislation in process to adopt Pacific Daylight Time permanently.

Premier John Horgan says we will likely have to go with the flow and do as they do. “We have too many economic ties, too many social and cultural ties to have one or two jurisdictions out of sync with the others,” Premier John Horgan.


Salmon habitat in Trans Mountain
to be normal in two years

190310 - Work on a Trans Mountain pipeline crossing altered habitat for young salmon, but the creek is expected to return to normal in one to two years, says Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

Two biologists with the department visited Stewart Creek in Chilliwack on Jan. 30 after receiving a complaint from Mike Pearson, a biologist with 30 years of experience who raised concerns about the work done by Trans Mountain Corp.

Pearson said in January that the placement of 17 metres of articulated concrete mats at the bottom of the stream had reduced hiding places for coho and chum salmon.

The Fisheries Department said the natural accumulation of sediment is expected to restore the salmon habitat.

Seniors hammered by
speculation tax want relief

190310 - Seniors who own rustic cabins in a remote area near Vancouver say they face thousands of dollars in speculation taxes even though their properties are not suitable rental homes.

Charline Robson says she lives in a basement suite in Burnaby but now faces a $6,000 speculation tax bill this year because the cabin she inherited in the village of Belcarra is empty much of the year and not for rent.

Robson, who says she already pays annual property taxes for the cabin of about $12,000.
She calls the tax ridiculous because her cabin is not insulated and does not have water, sewer or street service.


Report urges immediate action
on salmon habitat restoration

190310 - British Columbia must take immediate action to increase wild salmon populations, recommends the Wild Salmon Advisory Council. A report says the provincial government must focus on tangible, achievable, near-term actions that address the immediate needs of wild salmon and their habitat.

The council's 30-page report says despite billions of dollars in public and private investments over the past 30 years to protect, restore, enhance and manage B.C.'s wild salmon and steelhead populations, the stocks continue to weaken, with some at alarming rates.

The government says it is reviewing the council's report as part of its plan to restore wild salmon stocks in B.C.


Public Safety Minister
Mike Farnworth

B.C. to toughen rules
on civil forfeitures

190310 - The B.C. government intends to dramatically expand civil forfeiture. Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth announced three proposed changes, aimed at organized crime and fentanyl trafficking.

Under the changes, the onus would be on a defendant to prove that an asset is not an instrument or proceed of unlawful activity, in cases where the Civil Forfeiture Office provides the court with “sufficient evidence” clearly linking the asset to crime.

The office would also be able to ask a judge to order an accused’s assets held before it formally sues them. It would be able to compel banks to hand over information before customers transfer assets.

Shifting the burden of proof to a defendant is obviously terrible, said Micheal Vonn of the B.C. Civil Liberties Association.

Family members of the victims react at Addis Ababa international airport Sunday. (AP Photo/Mulugeta Ayene)

18 Canadians among dead
in Ethiopia plane crash

190310 - Eighteen Canadians are among the victims of an Ethiopian Airlines plane crash that killed all 157 people thought to be on board Sunday, the airline’s CEO and Kenya’s transport minister said.

The victims also include 32 Kenyans, nine Ethiopians, eight people each from China, the United States and Italy, seven each from France and Britain, six from Egypt, five from the Netherlands and four each from India and Slovakia.