Meet Edmonton’s $50M lottery winners

Written by admin on 21/07/2019 Categories: 广州桑拿论坛

WATCH ABOVE: What would you do if you won the lottery? One couple in Alberta took a long time to think about that, keeping the $50-million win a secret for seven months. Mike Drolet reports.

EDMONTON – The owners of the $50 million Lotto MAX ticket from Dec. 20, 2013 knew they won two days after the draw, but decided to keep it a secret.

Andrea and Bill Groner were presented with their $50 million cheque on Tuesday, more than seven months after buying the lucky ticket.

The Groners purchased the ticket from the Shefield Express store inside Londonderry Mall.

Once she heard the winning numbers called, Andrea checked the ticket at a self serve scanner at the mall on Dec. 22.

“When I checked the ticket, the first thing I should have had was my glasses on,” she joked. “I didn’t have those with me. I had to get the retail clerk there to tell me what it said on the self scanner. She was more excited than I was at the time. I was in disbelief.”

Then, she waited until she got home to tell her husband the news in person.

Andrea and Bill Groner, Edmonton’s $50 Million LOTTO MAX winners

Supplied, Western Canada Lottery Corporation

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    “We had to maintain a normal lifestyle until we could get all our ducks in a row that we had to take care of in our own lives,” said Andrea.

    While they held off on claiming the winning ticket for months, they told some close family and friends.

    “The people that we wanted to know already know.”

    A spokesperson for the Western Canada Lottery Corp. said in June that it’s possible that winners know, but choose to delay collecting on the ticket for some reason. However, the length of time the ticket remained unclaimed was unusual.

    “This is the longest that a $50 million jackpot has gone unclaimed,” said Andrea Marantz.

    READ MORE: Wanted: unknowing Edmonton multi-millionaire 

    The Groners say they plan to support friends and family as well as donate to charity.

    The couple has been married 25 years, but never went on a honeymoon. They plan to spend some of the money on a honeymoon now.

    Andrea, who is 47, will be retiring in December from her job with an electrical supply company.

    Bill, 54, just retired from his job as a heavy equipment operator.

    “The strong, silent type,” he said with a smile.

    “We’ve got our whole lives to think what we’re going to do with the win,” Andrea added. “It’s not anything we’re going to rush into. I think we did go out for dinner that night, didn’t we?”

    This is the largest win from a ticket sold in Edmonton. It is the second largest win in Alberta.

    Top lottery wins in Edmonton

    Supplied, Western Canada Lottery Corporation

    The Groners say they regularly bought lottery tickets, and have continued to play since the big win.

    During the seven months in which the ticket was unclaimed, the couple would watch news stories asking where the winner was and would say, “we’re right here.”

    Follow @Emily_Mertz

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Home invasion, chases keep Prince Albert police busy

Written by admin on  Categories: 广州桑拿论坛

PRINCE ALBERT, Sask. – It’s been a busy 24 hours for Prince Albert, Sask. police officers as they dealt with a home invasion, two stolen vehicle chases and a break and enter.

The home invasion happened around 7:30 p.m. Monday at a home in the 200-block of 9th Street East.

Officers were told that a man and two women had forced their way into the unlocked home and started assaulting people before fleeing on foot.

None of the victims required medical attention.

Police were able to track down the suspects a short distance away.

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Gerald Aaron Bear, 27, is charged with break and enter, assault and breach of an undertaking.

Shakira Lucky Ratt, 20, is charged with break and enter, assault and assault with a weapon while Sharlise Justice Sutherland-Kayseas,19, is charged with break and enter and assault.

All three appeared in Prince Albert provincial court Tuesday morning.

The first chase took place just before 1 a.m. Tuesday when police spotted a vehicle at 6th Avenue and 15th Street East that had been reported stolen a short time earlier.

The vehicle went north to River Street and then took off at a high rate of speed east on River before turning south on Central Avenue.

A brief chase then ensued and the vehicle proceeded to 5th Avenue where the driver left the vehicle and left it to roll into a line of parked cars, damaging two.

The canine unit was called in but was unable to locate the suspect.

Then just after 4:30 a.m., officers spotted a dark-coloured vehicle travelling in the 1200-block of 14th Street West with no lights.

An attempt was made to stop the vehicle but the driver evaded police. The vehicle was then located minutes later in the 800-block of 15th Street West.

Officers tried to stop the vehicle but the driver refused and a chase ensued. The driver eventually lost control and hit a street sign on Marquis Drive.

The driver fled on foot while two passengers were taken into custody.

The canine unit was called in and the area was contained by police which resulted in the capture of the 20-year-old driver.

He has been charged with theft of a motor vehicle, dangerous operation of a motor vehicle, evading police, impaired operation of a motor vehicle, exceeding .08, obstruction of a peace officer and two counts of breach of probation.

One passenger, a 19-year-old man, has been charged with possession of stolen property obtained by crime and two counts of breach of probation while the second passenger, a 17-year-old female, is charged with possession of stolen property.

Also on Monday, a man entered an unlocked home in the 300-block of 13th Street East and stole a purse.

The thief was spotted by a neighbour who alerted police.

A search of the area by a canine unit failed to turn up the suspect but the purse and contents were recovered.

Police are looking for an Aboriginal male, 14 to 15 years old with collar length hair. He was wearing a faded green hoodie and faded blue jeans.

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Airlines suspend more Tel Aviv flights, Air Canada cancels flight

Written by admin on  Categories: 广州桑拿论坛

WATCH: Delta Airlines CEO Richard Anderson says the airline will only lift ban once they have concrete information from US government that it’s safe to fly into Israel.

A number of international airlines continue to cancel flights to Tel Aviv because of ongoing safety concerns amid the fighting between Israel and Hamas.

Canadian flights

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    Air Canada’s evening flight from Toronto to Tel Aviv was cancelled Wednesday afternoon, a day after it cancelled it’s Tuesday flight to Israel’s Ben Gurion International Airport.

    Wednesday’s Flight AC84 as well as Thursday’s return flight AC85 were both cancelled.

    “We will continue to evaluate the situation going forward, and provide updates as needed,” read a statement from a company spokesperson.

    Customers with flights booked to Tel Aviv up until July 31 are able to change their flight free of charge.

    U.S. flights

    The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)  extended its ban on U.S. airlines’ flights to and from Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion airport for up-to-an-additional 24 hours, which would be 12:15 p.m. ET Thursday. The ban was first issued Tuesday at 12:15 p.m. ET and was in response to a rocket strike that landed near the airport on Tuesday morning.

    American Airlines–which runs US Airways–said Wednesday’s flights and Flight 797, Tel Aviv (TLV) to Philadelphia (PHL), on July 24 had also been cancelled.

    “If the FAA approves, we plan to resume service on July 24 with PHL to TLV, and operate TLV to PHL on July 25. We remain in contact with the FAA and continue to monitor the situation,” said spokesperson Michelle Mohr in an email to Global News.

    European flights

    Germany’s Lufthansa and Air Berlin extended their cancellations through Thursday and Air France said it was suspending its flights “until further notice.”

    Following the FAA ban, the European Aviation Safety Agency late Tuesday said it “strongly recommends” that airlines refrain from operating flights to and from Tel Aviv. It said it would “monitor the situation and advise on any update as the situation develops.”

    Lufthansa said its decision applies also to its subsidiaries Germanwings, Austrian Airlines, Swiss and Brussels Airlines. In all, 20 flights from Frankfurt, Berlin, Munich, Zurich, Vienna and Brussels were cancelled for Thursday.

    The airline initially had suspended flights for 36 hours through the end of Wednesday. Those cancellations were extended because “at the current time there is no sufficiently reliable new information that would justify a resumption of air operations,” Lufthansa said.

    Air Berlin said it is working in close contact with authorities and is continuing to evaluate the situation regularly to determine whether further cancellations were necessary.

    Among other European airlines, KLM, Alitalia and Scandinavian Airlines also cancelled flights Tuesday and Wednesday, but did not immediately announce their plans for Thursday flights.

    British flights

    British Airways, however, said Wednesday it has not cancelled any of its Tel Aviv flights and had no immediate plans to do so. The airline would not answer questions about how it had made its decision to keep flying while others were cancelling, citing security reasons.

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Calgary power outage enters day 4

Written by admin on 25/08/2019 Categories: 广州桑拿论坛

CALGARY – Thousands of people remain without power as a major electrical outage continues in the city’s downtown core.

Power was lost on Saturday evening after an underground fire sparked in the area of 8th Street and 5th Avenue S.W., severely damaging electrical systems.

According to the City of Calgary, the outage has impacted about 1,900 metered customers in 112 residential and commercial buildings.

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    Officials were able to coordinate a total of 300 rooms for displaced residents on Tuesday night, and didn’t need to open a temporary shelter at the Big 4 Building, which was on standby.

    The Information Centre at Mewata Armoury  (801 – 11 Street SW) will be open from 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. on Wednesday.

    Where is power out?

    There are currently power outages between 5th Street S.W. and 11th Street S.W. —; and 4th Avenue S.W. and 7th Avenue S.W.

    When will power be restored?

    Enmax is working to repair the equipment and determine what caused the fire, but anticipate power should be entirely restored to the affected area by noon on Thursday, October 16th.

    For more information on the progress that has been made, you can visit the Enmax blog.

    Is Calgary Transit affected?

    Calgary Transit says for the most part things are operating as usual. However, some bus routes will be detoured until further notice.

    CLICK HERE for more information from Calgary Transit.

    WATCH: Emergency Operations Centre update from Wednesday, October 15th. Originally broadcast at 4:00 PM MT.

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UPDATE: Eviction deadline looming for Oppenheimer Park tent city residents

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WATCH: Just hours before tonight’s court-ordered deadline for campers to leave Oppenheimer Park —; a body was discovered in one of the tents. Randene Neill has the latest.

VANCOUVER – A person has been found dead in a tent in Oppenheimer Park on the day the campers were ordered to be evicted, but police say the death does not appear to be suspicious.

The victim has been identified as a 69-year-old man, but he has not been positively identified.

His body was found inside a tent around 11 a.m. this morning.

Cst. Brian Montague of the Vancouver Police says it appears the person may have been deceased for a couple days.

There are no visible signs of violence or trauma, and there is no apparent or obvious cause of death.

The VPD has turned the investigation over to the BC Coroners Service.

Vancouver mayor Gregor Robertson issued a statement on the death, saying the tragedy demonstrates why tent camps are not safe.

Tonight marks the deadline for campers at Vancouver’s Oppenheimer Park to dismantle their homeless camp.

All tents, structures and shelters must be removed from the area by 10 p.m. Wednesday.

The city was granted an injunction last week and the campers were given a week’s notice to find new places to live.

Robertson says over a hundred people from the tent camp have already been moved to shelters and housing units ahead of the eviction deadline.

He says city staff will be on site tonight to inform tent city residents of the options available to them.

READ MORE: A look at life at Vancouver’s Oppenheimer Park

A person has been found dead in a tent in Oppenheimer Park.

Clayton Little / Global News

Vancouver Police say arrests will only be made as a last resort and officers will be wearing special video cameras on their vests during the eviction process. The department says the new equipment is meant to help gather evidence during interactions with the public, while also allowing increased transparency.

“We are asking people to obey the court order but if they interfere with city staff or assault city staff or those intentionally violating the order may be arrested and charged with criminal contempt,” Vancouver Police Chief Jim Chu said in a press conference Wednesday morning.

DJ Larkin with the Pivot Legal Society supports the use of cameras, but not solely for the purpose of evicting campers from Oppenheimer Park.

“We support the use of body cameras because it does allow interactions to be filmed, but the fact this is being done as a trial run, really risks re-casting this as a policing issue and not a housing issue,” she says.

Larkin says it’s difficult to see how campers will be able to leave the park by tonight’s deadline.

“There are so many belongings here and so many people here, I can’t see how this would be cleared out by 10 p.m.,” she says. “I haven’t spoken to anyone who intends to resist, but I have spoken to a lot of people who don’t know where they are going to go.”

Larkin says that the emergency shelter spaces being offered by the city to campers are not suitable for everyone.

“I know outreach workers are in the park today, and say they will find a mat on a shelter floor for anyone who wants one, but there are many people here for whom a shelter mat is not acceptable.”

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Alicia Keys rallies for kidnapped Nigerian schoolgirls

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NEW YORK —; Alicia Keys held a protest in New York City on Tuesday to raise awareness about the 200-plus Nigerian schoolgirls who were kidnapped by Boko Haram militants in April.

Tuesday marked six months since the girls were abducted. Keys kicked off a protest with 30 others at the consulate general of Nigeria, holding signs that read “We Are Here” and “Safe Schools Now!”

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They chanted “Bring back our girls” and “When do we want them? Now! Now! Alive!” as New Yorkers walked up the street during lunch hour, while others stopped to capture photos and video.

Keys, who is pregnant, said in an interview that she felt touched to take action because she is a mother. Her son, Egypt, turned 4 on Tuesday.

“Today is my son’s birthday and it is also making me stand in solidarity with all the mothers of the Chibok girls who have been abducted for six months and are still missing. And it is just outrageous that that’s going on,” the 33-year-old said as others chanted behind her.

Keys recently launched the movement “We Are Here,” which fights for social justice. She also recorded and released a song with the same name.

She was joined by her husband, producer-rapper Swizz Beatz. She said people need a reminder that the schoolgirls are still missing.

“Some people have even told me they’ve heard things about `there’s been progress,’ but there hasn’t been progress because the girls aren’t back,” Keys said. “So I think that we get mixed information. We don’t know, so we just have to keep being made aware of what’s happening.”

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5 teens charged over ice bucket challenge prank on boy with autism

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TORONTO – Five Cleveland teens accused of dumping a bucket full of feces, urine, tobacco spit and water on a fellow classmate were charged Tuesday.

The victim was a 15-year-old boy with autism who thought he was participating in an ice bucket challenge for charity.

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    “This is a horrific act of degradation and violence,” said an online petition set up last month that demanded the students responsible be prosecuted. “It is so harmful and hurtful to that young man and his family and also to the people who know about this. Not only did this group of people damage such a wonderful fundraiser, but they exploited it and this young man past the point of redemption.”

    “This was so premeditated, that it is sickening.”

    READ MORE: U.S. fire captain dies after being injured in ice bucket challenge

    The Cuyahoga County prosecutor’s office filed the charges in juvenile court against the teens, who are between the ages of 14 and 16.

    Three of the teens face juvenile charges of delinquency, assault and disorderly conduct while the other two teens were charged with disorderly conduct and will be sent summons to appear in court.

    A police report was filed in early September by the victim’s mother after she reportedly found a video of the incident on her son’s cellphone.

    READ MORE:  Friend of Ice Bucket Challenge creator dies celebrating ALS fundraising

    In an effort to track down the perpetrators, the boy’s mother shared the video with media and on social media channels including 广州桑拿论坛 and YouTube.

    “He wants to be a normal kid,” said Dean Valore, the victim’s family lawyer. “He wants to fit in and he wants to have friends.”

    – With files from The Associated Press

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Bodies of 4 Canadians killed in Nepal avalanche, blizzard recovered

Written by admin on  Categories: 广州桑拿论坛

WATCH ABOVE: More than 20 trekkers, including four Canadians, have died and dozens of others are missing after a powerful storm pushed into Nepal, causing an avalanche and blizzard conditions. Eric Sorenson has the details.

KATHMANDU, Nepal – Officials say an avalanche and a blizzard in Nepal’s mountainous north have killed at least 12 people, including four Canadians.

Global News learned Virginia Schwartz and Jane Van Criekingen were among the missing Canadian women, but according to Schwartz’s brother, Mark, they have since been found safe.

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    The co-founder of Montreal-based travel agency Terra Ultima said Wednesday three Quebecers are among those missing and feared dead.

    Julien Passerini said there were six Quebecers in the area, including a guide. The six left Canada on Oct. 3 for three weeks.

    The three people he described as missing were two women in their 50s and one in her 30s. One of the three is the guide.

    READ MORE: Dozens of Sherpas leave Everest following deadly avalanche

    A statement from the Trekking Agencies’ Association of Nepal said the bodies of five people – four Canadians and one Indian trekker – were recovered from Phu area in Manang district.

    A company called Panorama Himalaya confirmed the death of three Canadian clients in an avalanche while a company called Nepal Hidden Treks confirmed the death of a Canadian woman.

    Panorama Himalaya also said it had rescued three other Canadian trekkers, according to the Trekking Agencies’ Association of Nepal.

    Though avalanches and blizzards are typically expected at the same time, avalanche engineering expert Dr. Dave McClung said what’s unusual is that this avalanche could have affected a trekking party.

    “Normally, in the high mountains they only affect mountaineering parties since trekking routes are too low in altitude to be affected,” he wrote in an email to Global News.

    McClung said he has compiled a database of avalanche fatalities in the high mountains of Asia since about 1895, and this is the first he’s heard of a trekking party being affected—though he cautions that information is still sketchy at this early stage.

    “One possibility is that the cyclone brought large amounts of  snow to elevations where it would not normally occur. Another factor: mountain climbers usually have expertise/training in predicting avalanches whereas that would not normally be the case for people trekking,” he said.

    Based on his past experience both climbing and trekking in Asia’s high mountains, McClung suggested trekkers normally have “very little knowledge of avalanches.”

    “For climbers, avalanches are the second leading cause of death in the high mountains of Asia following falls.”

    The death toll was likely to rise as rescuers struggled through snow and rough terrain to help dozens who remained stranded, the officials said.

    Prime Minister Stephen Harper took to 广州蒲友 to voice his sympathy.

    “Laureen and I express our condolences to the families and friends of the four Canadians who lost their lives in an avalanche in Nepal,” he wrote.

    Three villagers were killed Monday in the same district, about 160 kilometres northwest of the capital, Kathmandu, and their bodies were recovered on Wednesday.

    In the neighbouring Mustang district, four trekkers caught in a blizzard died Tuesday.

    Rescuers recovered the bodies of the two Poles, one Israeli and one Nepali trekker from the Thorong La pass area.

    It was initially thought that group had been caught in an avalanche, but government official Yam Bahadur Chokyal said the four trekkers instead had been caught in the blizzard and died.

    READ MORE: Avalanche sweeps Mount Everest; 12 dead, 4 missing

    He said another 14 foreign trekkers have been rescued so far, and two army helicopters were picking up injured trekkers and flying them to Jomsom town.

    Chokyal said it was not possible to say how many trekkers were still on the route stranded by the deep snow but several of them have reached safe ground on Wednesday because of improved weather.

    Five other climbers – two from Slovakia and three Nepalese guides – were hit by a separate avalanche on Mount Dhaulagiri and remained missing.

    The rain and snow in Nepal were caused by a cyclone that hit neighbouring India several days ago.

    October is the most popular trekking season in Nepal, with thousands of foreigners hiking around Nepal’s Himalayan mountains.

    The Thorong La pass is also on the route that circles Mount Annapurna, the world’s 10th highest peak.

    An avalanche in April just above the base camp on Mount Everest killed 16 Nepalese guides, the deadliest single disaster on the mountain.

    Climate experts say rising global temperatures have contributed to avalanches on the Himalayan mountains.

    With files from Global News

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Authorities investigating mysterious flag swap atop Brooklyn Bridge

Written by admin on 21/07/2019 Categories: 广州桑拿论坛

WATCH: The mysterious appearance of two large white flags flying over the Brooklyn Bridge in New York City Tuesday morning has the city scrambling to find out how it happened

NEW YORK – Two large American flags atop the Brooklyn Bridge — one of New York City’s most heavily secured landmarks — were replaced sometime during the night with white banners that were spotted Tuesday morning fluttering in the wind.

Police crime scene and intelligence detectives were investigating how the flags were switched out on the famed span that connects Brooklyn and Manhattan, and there were no reports of suspicious activity, police said. Officers in patrol cars are stationed at both ends of the bridge, which is constantly monitored by surveillance cameras.

New York City Police officers stand at the base of a white flag flying atop the west tower of New York\’s Brooklyn Bridge, Tuesday, July 22, 2014.

Richard Drew/AP Photo

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Investigators are reviewing security footage for clues, police said. The police commissioner was scheduled to brief reporters on the investigation later Tuesday.

More than 120,000 vehicles, 4,000 pedestrians and 3,100 bicyclists cross the Brooklyn Bridge every day, according to the city’s Department of Transportation, which maintains the bridge.

Police removed the white flags just before noon from poles on the stone supports that hold cables above the bridge. One of the flags, viewed via video, appeared to have faint traces of stars and stripes on it.

The flags fly from above the pillars year-round and are replaced by Department of Transportation workers when they become frayed, police said. They are lit from the bottom by a lamp at the base of each tower at night.

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Patient safety concerns raised after nursing staff reduction at SJ hospital

Written by admin on  Categories: 广州桑拿论坛

SAINT JOHN – Patients with bleeding disorders such as hemophilia say reductions to nursing staff at the Saint John Regional Hospital are putting their health at risk.

The only full-time nurse treating and educating patients at the bleeding clinic was cut back to a part-time position in May. The New Brunswick Hemophilia Society says there are not enough resources to treat the roughly 250 patients needing care.

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The society’s acting president, Bucky Buchanan, injured his elbow a few months ago and was in and out of the hospital for five days due to complications.

He says spontaneous joint bleeds are common in patients with a bleeding disorder.

“For me I have a mild case, so it doesn’t happen that often but for any of the hemophiliacs that are severe it happens a lot. So, preventative medicine is key.”

He says one part time nurse at the bleeding clinic is not enough to offer patients quality care.

“I think it is going to be a disaster myself. Who is going to look after those 250 people on a full-time basis?”

Buchanan adds that patients need help managing costly medications to avoid lengthy hospital stays like he’s had to endure.

“If you can eliminate 90 per cent of those, you are saving taxpayers’ dollars. but more importantly in my mind. you are helping these people lead a better life.”

Buchanan calls it investing in preventative medicine.

But Executive Director of the Saint John Regional Hospital, Brenda Kinney, says the bleeding clinic nurse moved to a part-time position two months ago because while there are about 250 patients on file at the bleeding clinic, the clinic only sees about 100 patients per year.

“We don’t anticipate any impact to patient care. The way this clinic is set up – it is a support system for patients and we have many processes and protocol in place if there are any emergencies with these patients where the emergency room staff and other clinic staff are able to manage those needs.”

But Buchanan isn’t buying it. He recently sent a formal letter to the province’s Health Minister, Ted Flemming, expressing his concerns over the cuts and is waiting for a reply.

“If you think of it in dollars and cents, a couple of emergency room visits is going to pay for her wage. It just boggles my mind. All the pluses and I don’t see a negative to keeping her.”

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Striking a deal with CP over Arbutus Corridor could mean financial windfall for the city

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The city of Vancouver is looking to get its hands on a very pricey piece of real estate.

In a letter to residents living along the Arbutus Railway corridor, mayor Gregor Robertson announced the city’s intention to buy the land along the corridor for “fair market value” after an independent appraisal.

This comes after CP rail said it’s looking at once again running trains along that line after a 14-year hiatus.

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CP has already notified more than 15,000 residents to remove community gardens and any other property that runs along the tracks by the end of this month, so they can re-start cargo train service. 

Robertson says CP has not been receptive to the city’s offers.

As Mayor, I strongly believe that the Arbutus Corridor should remain as it is today  – an enjoyable route for people to walk, run and bike along, as well as a home to the many community gardens that contribute to our neighbourhoods. We do not believe there is any business case for CPR to reactivate trains along the Corridor, says Robertson.

Real estate experts say striking the right deal could mean a financial windfall for the city.

Realtor Lorne Goldman says the value the city is looking at depends on how it plans to use the land.

“If the city is saying it is for transportation only, it has a very small value. But if it has use for townhouses or apartments, it has a much higher value,” says Goldman.

He says under the current zoning, the land could be worth around $24 million.

But it could be worth ten times as much if the city decides to use it for residential or commercial purposes down the road.

CP told Global News they responded to the mayor last week in writing, noting that they are prepared to enter into meaningful conversations with the city.

If the city of Vancouver wishes to make an offer at fair value, CP would be pleased to receive it. CP has had a number of independent appraisals over the years done on the corridor and we are prepared to discuss. In the meantime, unless there is an offer for real constructive conversations, we will continue to move forward with our plan to use our corridor.

WATCH: Arbutus corridor rebirth?

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If crime is down, why are jails crammed with legally innocent people?

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Crime is down  – violent crime, especially. But provincial jails are overflowing with a growing number of people who are legally innocent and awaiting trial, a Canadian Civil Liberties Association report finds.

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The report, by Abby Deshman and Nicole Myers, was published Wednesday and indicts a bail system it says is “setting people up to fail” without actually making the public safer.

READ MORE: Death behind bars: Canada’s sickest inmates are in its deadliest prisons
 
Canada’s provincial jails are notoriously overcrowded: While double-bunking has been decried at the federal level, “triple-bunking” has become the norm in many provincial jails.

“Accused who are innocent are pressured into pleading guilty just to escape the overcrowded ‘dead time’ of provincial jails,” the paper reads.

About 54 per cent of those in provincial jails across the country are legally innocent. But the situation’s worst in the territories and Manitoba, where two-thirds of people incarcerated in provincial jails haven’t been convicted of anything.

In Ontario, the report says, 60 per cent of provincial inmates are on remand.

Rate of provincial residents in remand has doubled since 1999, from 20 per 100,000 to 40. During that same time period, the rate of people sentenced declined – as did the crime rate.

“It’s not what most Canadians think jails are for. It’s not what jails should be for,” Deshman said in an interview.

And it’s expensive to keep these people behind bars: Canada’s provinces and territories spend a total of $1.9 billion a year on adult corrections, according to the paper.

Ontario knows this.

“The need to improve bail processes has already been identified as a priority for all justice participants, and has been an area of focus for the Ministry’s Justice on Target strategy,” said Emilie Smith, spokesperson for Ontario’s Ministry of the Attorney-General.

Its “Bail Experts Table” has released a report calling for committees to identify local issues causing bail court delays; improving communication between various players, including courts and detention centres; finding interpreters faster; and possibly making Legal Aid available within institutions.

“Senior leaders across the criminal justice sector have endorsed these recommendations, which are being implemented using a collaborative, phased approach,” Smith said.

“Some initiatives, such as the creation of local bail committees, are being implemented now.”

A page highlighting the province’s “Justice On Target” achievements notes it now takes an average of 8.5 court appearances and 192 days to bring a charge to completion, down from 9.2 appearances and 205 days in 2007 (but still more than double what it was 20 years ago).

Of course, those figures grow significantly if you don’t plead guilty.

But a persistent problem, advocates argue, is that releasing people on bail without conditions has become the exception, rather than the rule – even though Canadian law dictates that should be the default.

“It’s shocking that it’s not the default, because that is the law and the law is clear,” Deshman said. “There’s clear presumptions of unconditional release. … Unfortunately, the practices in our bail courts just aren’t matching.

Smith said the province is “carefully reviewing the results of the report that was released today.  We have no further comment at this time.”

The Civil Liberties paper contends, the bail system and stringent conditions it imposes “disproportionately penalizes – and frequently criminalizes – poverty, addiction and mental illness.”

It imposes abstinence conditions on addicts, requires fixed addresses from homeless people, curfews that interfere with jobs and sureties from people impoverished or without family members who can afford to even reach the courthouse from often remote communities.

“Even individuals with significant family support and a steady income find it extremely difficult to live under severely restrictive bail conditions for the months – or years – that it usually takes to resolve criminal charges,” the report reads.

“Even when the original substantive charge is withdrawn or dismissed, the Crown will still frequently pursue a conviction for the failure to comply.”

The rate of people charged with failing to comply with a bail order quintupled nationally between 1999 and 2012.

Many of these bail restrictions, the paper charges, are unconstitutional and violate the accused’s Charter rights.

“The release conditions being imposed are too numerous and restrictive, frequently unnecessary and, at times, directed towards behaviour modification and punishment.”

In Ontario, crammed remand centres are swamping the system to the point of total dysfunction, the paper finds: Over the course of three weeks, 20 people were sent back to jail without having their bail hearings simply because there was no time.

“The continued systemic violation of constitutional rights in Ontario bail courts is unacceptable.”

Accused from remote communities face even greater obstacles: They’re often flown to detention centres hundreds of kilometres away, can wait a week or more for their first bail hearing and must rely on family members’ ability to pay for transport in order to have a surety appear in person.

“Counsel in northern Manitoba report that Aboriginal clients regularly spend more time in pre-trial detention than they would if they were just sentenced for the crime, and will frequently plead guilty just to be released from custody and return home.”

Catherine Latimer, head of the inmate advocacy John Howard Society, argues the growing number of people in remand is also symptomatic of an overloaded system.

“There are some really serious infrastructure problems – the capacity of the provinces to deal in a timely way with charges,” she said. “It’s slow to get things heard and there are just far too many people behind bars.

“The crime rate’s going down: You would expect to see fewer people being brought into the system.”

Latimer admits that some people feel uncomfortable at the idea of catching alleged criminals, then letting them go to await trial. But that’s their constitutional right – the alternative is simply to incarcerate everyone, just in case.

“You’re presumed innocent until you’re convicted. ”

Among the paper’s recommendations:

Avoid restrictive or onerous bail conditions unless you absolutely need them – for case-specific reasons of public safety, for example;Don’t impose abstention conditions for addicts; (the paper also argues that including treatment or medical care as a condition is unconstitutional, and suggests making that treatment available but not mandatory)Don’t make fixed addresses a bail condition for homeless people;Consider decriminalizing failure to comply with bail conditions;Take systemic discrimination against aboriginal people into account when considering bail and bail conditions;Police should release people more often pending first court appearance, and improve conditions in holding cells, where accused may spend several days while awaiting trial;Get people bail hearings sooner – at least by limiting adjournments, and keeping a courtroom open until people awaiting a bail hearing that day get one;Rely less on sureties, especially in more remote communities;Give Justices of the Peace special training for dealing with bail hearings.Follow @amp6

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