Archive for December, 2018

Huntsville to become securityville as G8 Summit approaches

Sunday, December 23rd, 2018

HUNTSVILLE, Ont. – In less than a month, the picturesque town of Huntsville, most known for its towering pine trees and idyllic lakes, will be transformed into a high-security zone protected by an unwelcoming metal fence and guarded by soldiers and Mounties.

For the 19,000 year-round residents, the preparations for next month’s G8 Summit have been two years in the making, but the impact it will have on their lives has only begun.

Valerie Alles lives on the hill directly above the posh century-old Deerhurst Resort where the G8 meetings will be held June 25-26.

As one of the hundreds of residents living near the summit zone, Alles and her husband will be forced to wear ID passes at all times and go through security checkpoints when they leave or enter their home that week.

"The summit is only two days so it doesn’t really justify all this security stuff," said Alles, enjoying a day at one of the beaches on Peninsula Lake, where Deerhurst is situated. "The soldiers are already camping out in town and security has stopped me a few times on my way home. My friends have seen the military apparently practicing drills on their property. In the end, I hope Huntsville gets some exposure from all of this."

The couple has been told they can’t have any visitors during the summit. Alles’ husband, a logger who carries fuel and chainsaws for his job, has also been warned he will be bodychecked each time he passes through one of the many barricades set up along a stretch of Highway 60 leading to the couple’s home. He’s still deciding whether he can afford to take the week off to avoid the inconvenience altogether.

An estimated 10,000 security personnel, including members from the Canadian Forces, RCMP, Ontario Provincial Police, and private security guards, were expected to be in Huntsville, located approximately 250 kilometres north of Toronto.

Leaders from France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States will join Prime Minister Stephen Harper for the two days of meetings aimed at tackling foreign policies on a number of topics including: labour and trade, poverty, health and the environment.

The security detail for some of the dignitaries are anticipated to be up to 50 vehicles in length.

Earlier this week, the federal government announced a $930-million price tag for security at the back-to-back summits: the G8 Summit and immediately following, the G20 Summit in downtown Toronto.

Ottawa initially estimated security costs at $179 million.

Although no specifics were released about where the money will go, the majority, $450 million, has been pegged for the RCMP. The summits will be the largest security event ever in Canada, even surpassing what was required for the recent 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games.

Most of the security and police officers will be staying at White’s Pit, a 24-hectare quarry that has been filled with rows and rows of portable trailers. Cement trucks and crews can be seen working away in the fenced-off area.

Undoubtedly, one of the major security features at the summit will be a $3.9-million fence that is being built around 324-hectares at the Deerhurst Resort. The three-metre high fence, about eight-kilometres long, will cut through the resort’s manicured golf course and into the surrounding Muskoka bush.

It’s yet to be completed but can be seen as far away as nearby Highway 60.

Last weekend, the official G8 Centre, the location where the meetings will take place, was opened at the luxury resort.

For the past few months, there has been a steady stream of construction trucks around Deerhurst as workers ready for the summit. Roads are being repaved, even the rocks along the side of the highway are being hosed down to a pristine condition.

Huntsville resident Ron Schut thinks all the preparation is much hoopla about nothing.

"We’re spending a lot of money for this," he said, walking to his pickup truck. "In the end, the taxpayers are going to have to pay for it. That’s politics."

Schut, who lives about 15 minutes from the town centre, said he and his wife will look after their grandchildren during the summit. School bus service in the area has been cancelled and teachers have told parents not to drive in their kids.

The family plans on stocking up on groceries and staying indoors, waiting for the crowds to leave town.

On Main Street in downtown Huntsville, Helen Luvison said her husband Lou said naysayers have been few and far between. The majority of the townsfolk want to showcase the reasons behind the Muskoka region’s motto: "Once Discovered, Never Forgotten."

"We’re all really proud of Huntsville and what we have to offer," she said. "We all know something like this will never happen again."

One of the ways the couple is readying for the summit is by nailing plywood to the windows of their IDA drugstore to prepare for the protesters expected to come into town.

"We bought it (the wood) because we know no one is going to come fix our windows at 3 a.m.," said Luvison, who has owned the store for 23 years. "We don’t anticipate any trouble. It’s just a precaution."

She said she’s going to have to bring all the flower boxes that dot the front of her store inside, and plans on extending working hours past 6 p.m.

The Luvisons are also stocking up their drug inventory, joking sunscreen and bug spray will likely be the big sellers.

Jeremy McClung, a pastor at the Muskoka Community Church, said the anticipation has definitely been building.

Soldiers can be seen walking around town in their fatigues and the other day, McClung said, he and his son saw two black military helicopters fly overhead in a practice formation.

"To me, this is going to be the most exciting thing to ever happen to Huntsville," he said, enjoying some famous Muskoka ice cream.

Mayor Claude Doughty said there have been few complaints about the anticipated crowds. Huntsville usually sees about an additional 100,000 people pass through town during the peak cottage season of July and August.

"The people who are apprehensive probably plan to holiday somewhere else, the people who aren’t, are here and looking forward to the event," he said. "Huntsville is made up of a lot of people who have a lot of self reliance. They’re not intimidated by crowds."

Doughty said the good news for the leaders is that black fly season should be over by the time they arrive.

"There are very few black flies. I have yet to see my first this year," he said. "The black flies are vastly overrated and they aren’t going to be a problem at all on those manicured grounds around Deerhurst. But the leaders should definitely bring sunscreen. The sun always shines in Huntsville."

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World Bank cancels Haiti’s debt

Sunday, December 23rd, 2018

WASHINGTON – The World Bank said Friday it had cancelled Haiti’s remaining debt to help the impoverished country recover from a devastating earthquake four months ago.

Haiti, the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, will not have to repay 36 million dollars owed to the International Development Association (IDA), the bank’s fund for the poorest countries, the Washington-based institution said in a statement.

"Haiti now has no further amounts payable to the World Bank," it said.

The IDA debt cancellation was made possible by contributions from 13 member nations: Belgium, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, The Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.

Shortly after the massive earthquake in January flattened the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince, the 186-nation World Bank announced it had suspended repayment of the IDA debt and would seek to cancel it.

"Relieving Haiti’s remaining debt is part of our effort to pursue every avenue to help Haiti’s reconstruction efforts," Robert Zoellick, president of the World Bank, said in the statement.

"We will continue to work in close co-operation with the Haitian government and our international partners to support the country’s recovery and longer-term development."

The World Bank noted it has made available 479 million dollars in grants to support Haiti’s post-quake recovery and development through June 2011 and is also the trustee of the multi-donor Haiti Reconstruction Fund.

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Police warn public of convicted sex offender

Sunday, December 23rd, 2018

Winnipeg police and the RCMP are issuing a warning to the public regarding a convicted sex offender, who is considered a moderate to high risk of becoming involved in further sexual offences.

27 year old Graeme Kyle Brown will be released from Stony Mountain Institution on May 28, 2010. He is expected to take up residence in Winnipeg.

Brown has previous convictions for Sexual Interference and Making and Possessing Child Pornography. Although he participated in some sex offender treatment programs while in prison, he is still considered a moderate to high risk to re-offend. Police are warning that male children in particular are at risk.

This information is provided to enable members of the public to take suitable measures to protect themselves. Police would like to remind the public that any form of vigilante activity or other unreasonable conduct directed at Brown will not be tolerated.

Details:

Name: Graeme Kyle BROWNDOB: 1982-11-16Height: 170 cm (5’ 7″)Weight: 60 kg (152 lbs)Hair: Brown Eyes: GreenRace: CaucasianDistinguishing marks: None

IF YOU HAVE INFORMATION ABOUT BROWN AND WISH TO SPEAK DIRECTLY TO A POLICE OFFICER, PLEASE CALL MIHRSOU AT (204) 984-1888.

Background information:

Graeme Kyle Brown is a 27 year-old male with a criminal record for sexual offences involving children.

Between 2003 and 2005, he was involved in acts of Sexual Interference against two boys aged 8 and 10 as well as a charge of Making Child Pornography (the acts of Sexual Interference were videotaped). On June 1, 2007, he was sentenced to 3 years with respect to these charges, all sentences to run concurrently.

On May 28, 2010, he will be released from prison and is expected to take up residence in Winnipeg. Upon release, Brown will be subject to the conditions of recognizance made under the Criminal Code.

Brown has participated in some sex offender treatment programs while in custody. However, he is still considered a moderate to high risk to re-offend. Male children are at risk of sexual violence.

This information will be displayed on the Manitoba Justice Sex Offender Website: 杭州夜生活gov.mb.ca/justice/notification.

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Bike-lane work downtown could snarl traffic

Sunday, December 23rd, 2018

VANCOUVER – Cyclists will soon have an easier commute through downtown, but as construction on a Dunsmuir Street bike lane continues, traffic delays could cause headaches for drivers.

Dunsmuir traffic will be reduced to two lanes from Hornby to Beatty streets during the morning and evening rush hour and down to one lane during non-peak times of day, as city crews construct medians and traffic signal poles for a new two-way bike lane. Weekend traffic between 7 a.m. and 3 p.m. will be reduced to one lane.

City staff are encouraging motorists to take alternative routes such as the Cambie Street Bridge to avoid traffic congestion.

"We’re messaging to motorists that there’s lots of capacity on the Cambie Bridge and encouraging people to look at alternatives," said Jerry Dobrovolny, assistant city engineer of transportation.

While many cyclists are looking forward to using the enclosed bike lane, some drivers making their way through downtown Thursday afternoon were complaining of delays on Dunsmuir. David Calmeyer said despite the traffic, he hasn’t seen anyone using the new cycling route on the Dunsmuir Viaduct.

"I can see it from my window and I look out and I see traffic like crazy and no one riding in the bike lane," he said.

According to Dobrovolny, a trial of the separated bike lane on the Dunsmuir Viaduct has shown an increase from less than 100 cyclists a day to nearly 1,000 daily. He anticipates that once the new downtown cycling route is completed by June 15, it will encourage more people to take their bikes to work instead of their cars.

Arno Schortinghuis, president of the Vancouver Area Cycling Coalition, said the completion of the enclosed bike lane will make a big difference for cyclists downtown.

"It’s going to be extremely important," he said. "This is exactly the type of facility that will get way more people riding bikes. The more people that ride bikes, the safer it is for all cyclists."

Next week’s Bike to Work Week also aims to get more cyclists on the road. Leading up to bike week, ICBC is encouraging cyclists to take safety precautions to avoid collisions, such as wearing a helmet and reflective clothing.

Drivers are encouraged to keep an eye out for cyclists, keep at least a three-second following distance and stay out of bike lanes.

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Riversdale shifting gears

Sunday, December 23rd, 2018

A local developer says Riversdale is ready for the next stage in its development.

To that end, Curtis Olson of Shift Development Inc. has purchased the former headquarters of the Saskatchewan Native Theatre Company at 220 20th St. West.

He plans to turn it into his company’s head office and the location of several like-minded small businesses involved in everything from graphic and website design to furniture design to engineering.

"I’m going to be kind of bringing together a lot of these forward-thinking businesses, people who are concerned about how our city is growing and developing in the coming years, into one facility,” said Olson.

"The building and Riversdale are going to be a home for my business for the next 20 years."

The main floor will have a cafe. Olson couldn’t announce the owner yet, but it’s an established local operator. Office and shared space, such as meeting and board rooms, will be upstairs.

Olson bought the building based on location and quality. Listed at $645,000, it was also a good price, though he wouldn’t say how much he paid for it. The rennovations should cost about $250,000 and be ready by fall. At one point, the building was home to Joe’s Cycle.

"That building is smack dab in the best part of 20th Street, and it’s a big building and it’s got great bones. And it’s going to be a really easy renovation project," Olson said.

"It’s one block away from the farmer’s market. I can walk there in five minutes from my house in Caswell Hill. I figure I’ve got it licked to live without a car now."

The concept of hubs for creative business — laptop-based, world-focused — is growing in the United States but still fairly rare in Canada, said Olson.

"I know a lot of people who’ve moved back to Saskatoon that still do business all over North America. They’re a little shop — but they have unbelievable talent.

"It’s going to be very exciting."

The theatre company, meanwhile, has said it plans to move next door to its original building at 228 20th St. after renovating it. The theatre was forced to restructure and put one of its two buildings up for sale due to its debt load.

While some ponder the future of Riversdale, Olson says he can already see it.

"I have spent a lot of time in Riversdale. I’ve kept a very close eye on that neighborhood and Caswell Hill. In my mind, the future of those two neighborhoods has already been determined because I know the demographic of people buying houses and moving into these areas and it is a very progressive, very urban-focused demographic of people moving in.

"The future is written for Riversdale."

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