Monthly Archives: April 2019

Nenshi ‘needs answers’ after Southwest Transitway cost estimate jumps $25M

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi and two city councillors say they “need answers” after an updated report from the city suggested between a $17 to $25 million increase in the estimated cost for the Southwest Transitway project.

A 2010 functional study for the project originally pegged the cost at $40 million; Friday’s report estimated it would be between $57 to $65.6 million.

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    Councillor Brian Pincott responds to southwest transitway ‘bullying’

    “Although this cost escalation can be accommodated in the overall council-approved budget for the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) program, we need answers to fully understand how such a significant change could occur,” a joint statement from Nenshi, Ward 11 councillor Brian Pincott, and Ward 13 councillor Diane Colley-Urquhart said.

    The statement called for a detailed explanation for the increase in cost and “a detailed understanding of the phasing and timing for this project.” They also want an update on city meetings with ATCO and the “interaction of this project with commercial and residential applications that are coming forward within the 14 Street S.W. and 90 Avenue S.W. corridors.”

    The Southwest Transitway project has been a controversial topic in the city. Nenshi decided to cancel all open houses in February due to what he described as a death threat against a city worker and bullying of various staff members. Calgary police subsequently investigated and determined no cause for charges.

    READ MORE: Nenshi cancels Southwest Transitway open houses amid alleged death threat, bullying

    The transitway project on 14 Street S.W. had already been approved and funded; construction could start this year. The meetings were meant to fine tune its design.

    Nenshi and the councillors suggested the difference in cost estimates signals a larger potential problem with the city’s capital budgeting process and committed to working with administration to make sure questions are answered at an April 20 Transit and Transportation Committee meeting.

    “We need to clearly define, now more than ever, how to better align council’s approval process so that approvals occur with greater understanding and greater cost certainty,” the statement reads.

    READ MORE: Concerned Calgarians rally against bus rapid transit project

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Tales from a B.C. Ale Trail

Talk about a fun assignment.

Head to the beautiful Sunshine Coast and check out some breweries.

I have been watching, with interest, the massive growth in B.C.’s craft brewing industry.

A decade ago, if you asked for a Sleeman’s at a bar, someone might brand you a “Connoisseur.”

Now, there are more than 100 breweries all over the province and many more on the way.

First stop: Powell River.

The community was born a mill town and the paper mill is still kicking out steam on the waterfront.

But just up the hill is a man is working under his own steam – his dream, creating a tasty beer business you would not expect in a “Blue Town,” one where Labatt Blue and Lucky Logger were top sellers.

Cedric Dauchot came from Belgium where he worked in a huge brewery – Stella Artois.

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Cedric Dauchot, brewing engineer at Townsite Brewing.

He traveled Canada, married a Saskatchewan woman and ended up starting a Townsite Brewing.

Surprisingly, he says his Belgian style beers were not a tough sell.  “People seemed interested in trying it and the beer was good and they realized you could make good local beers.”

Dauchot ages some beer for up to three years in barrels, “They don’t do that at big breweries because that is not where the money is.”

Townsite Brewing has built a local following, but knows there is huge tourism potential tapping into the massive number of people who love craft beer.

That is the idea of “The Ale Trail.”

Townsite’s sales manager Michelle Zutz says “People who don’t realize that beer tourism is a thing are grossly misjudging our culture.”

She says it is a great opportunity for people to see amazing scenery on the West Coast and taste amazing beer.

Day two, we head south to Gibsons.

Persephone Brewing is on a farm where it is growing its own hops.

Hops help give the beer a distinctive taste head brewer Anders McKinnon is looking for.

He started off as a home brewer and he is seeing tourists checking out the scenery and the beer.

“Certainly Persephone, Townsite and all the the island breweries have distinctive styles.”

Persephone is expanding and bringing in a canning line so visitors can grab a six-pack.

On the way home, we stopped at Bridge Brewing in North Vancouver to meet the executive director of the B.C. Brewers Guild.

Ken Beattie says the number of craft breweries is exploding. “In the time we have talked there might be another one open. It is over 110 and another 28 planned this year.”

That means more “Ale Trails” in seven regions around B.C., with a rollout in October.

Beattie says, with a report finding 4,000 people directly employed by the industry and more breweries on the way, there is no sign of the craft beer bubble bursting.

Maybe there is still room for a small basement brewer like me!

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Raptors’ DeMarre Carroll declares himself healthy for playoffs

TORONTO – On the eve of his first post-season appearance with the Toronto Raptors, oft-injured DeMarre Carroll declared himself healthy and ready to the battle the Indiana Pacers. At the very least.

“I’m good. Great. If you see me in a fight with a bear, you’d better help that bear,” Carroll said, prompting loud laughter from reporters Friday.

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Carroll was intended to be the Raptors’ most significant off-season signing last summer, acquired for his defensive intensity and outside shooting. But he struggled with injuries from the outset, and finally underwent knee surgery that sidelined him for a 42-game stretch. He returned on restricted minutes in the last couple of weeks of the regular season.

READ MORE: 5 things you need to know about the Toronto Raptors playoff chances

“I’m just happy to be here,” Carroll said. “I love playoffs, it’s a great experience and I’m just happy to be back on the court, get out there and really try to get past this first round.”

Carroll was a key piece of the Atlanta Hawks’ team that made the Eastern Conference finals last season.

He’s expected to play a key role in this opening round series against the Indiana Pacers, particularly in defending multi-time all-star Paul George.

Raptors coach Dwane Casey said Carroll’s body will determine how many minutes he’ll play. As for how exactly he’ll be utilized, Casey remained mum.

“We know exactly how we are going to use him, but we will keep that in house,” the coach said.

READ MORE: Toronto Raptors playoff preview: Story line, key matchups and schedule

Carroll was asked if he knew what to expect from the noisy Air Canada Centre fans – touted as the loudest in the league – plus the thousands more who will watch Saturday’s game on the giant screen in “Jurassic Park” outside the ACC.

“I’ve seen the footage,” Carroll said. “Last year while we were getting ready to play our game, for some reason Toronto was always playing early, we were watching you all’s game, and we seen it, and it was a great scene just to have the fans come there and support you like that, give you extra and make you want to play hard.

“Toronto has some of the greatest fans in the world.”

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Curtain to soon rise on new Varscona Theatre in Edmonton

EDMONTON – It’s been a dream more than 10 years in the making, and soon the new Varscona Theatre will opens its doors.

“Well, we’re pretty exhausted actually,” explained John Hudson, the executive director of Varscona Theatre.

Hudson and other staff were on hand Friday as keys were handed over for the new space.

“It’s been a very intense year,” says John Hudson.

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    There’s still work to do; the theatre seats still have to go in, for example. But the $7.5 million rebuild is on track. It started as an idea to simply expand the lobby.

    “But then as we began to investigate the building more, the building we were in was really at the end of its life cycle,” says Hudson after Global News was given a tour of the facility.

    “It needed to go.”

    READ MORE: Edmonton-born actor Nathan Fillion raising funds for Varscona Theatre overhaul

    The Varscona Theatre moved into the old building in 1996. It was converted from an old fire hall into a theatre space in the early 80s.

    The old building was torn down last June, and amazingly, less than one year later the new building will be ready.

    “They said it couldn’t be done,” says Davina Stewart with the Varscona Theatre. “But some said it could be and I’m pleased that it could be.”

    Not everything was torn down. Three brick walls stood standing, incorporating the old with the new.

    “The roof used to leak. So, we’d have water coming in,” says Stewart.

    There’s a new, expanded lobby and backstage spaces have been upgraded to include washroom and shower amenities.

    “Warm dressing rooms that have heat and there’s light,” says Stewart.

    The old Varscona saw about 300 performances a year, bringing 30,000 people through the doors. The new space is expected to be even busier.

    “We really felt our old building was a detriment to attracting new people because it was not very nice,” says Hudson.

    The first show is on June 2.

    A look at the construction on Edmonton’s Varscona Theatre Friday, April 15, 2016.

    Vinesh Pratap, Global News

    A look at the construction on Edmonton’s Varscona Theatre Friday, April 15, 2016.

    Vinesh Pratap, Global News

    A look at the construction on Edmonton’s Varscona Theatre Friday, April 15, 2016.

    Vinesh Pratap, Global News

    A look at the construction on Edmonton’s Varscona Theatre Friday, April 15, 2016.

    Vinesh Pratap, Global News

    A look at the construction on Edmonton’s Varscona Theatre Friday, April 15, 2016.

    Vinesh Pratap, Global News

    A look at the construction on Edmonton’s Varscona Theatre Friday, April 15, 2016.

    Vinesh Pratap, Global News

    A look at the construction on Edmonton’s Varscona Theatre Friday, April 15, 2016.

    Vinesh Pratap, Global News

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Calgary toddler saves 4 lives through organ donation

CALGARY – It’s been nearly four years since Jennifer Woolfsmith suffered an unimaginable loss.

“On the first evening that we were in the hospital with Mackenzy, the doctors really let us know there was no good outcome.”

Twenty-two-month-old Mackenzy had suffered a devastating injury and was declared brain dead. Learning their daughter would never come home was a moment of heartbreaking grief for her parents, but Woolfsmith said there was also clarity. She and her husband knew exactly what their daughter would want to do.

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  • Organ and tissue donations dip in Alberta

    “One of the first questions my husband asked was, ‘can we donate her organs?’

    Being an organ donor is more difficult than many people realize, because the circumstances around a patient’s death have to be very specific. As a result, less than one per cent of those who register as donors will ever have the opportunity to make that life-saving gift.

    “You do have to die in a unique way, in an intensive care unit,” said Ryan Baht, the southern Alberta organ donor coordinator for Alberta Health Services. “So a lot of people do wish to become organ donors, but only a very few people meet the criteria.”

    Woolfsmith said Mackenzy was almost disqualified as a donor. In order to keep her organs viable for transplant, her little heart had to keep beating.

    “Mackenzy wasn’t passive in the process. She had to fight for three days in the hospital and she was touch-and-go for quite a few times over those three days.”

    In the end, Mackenzy’s heart never stopped beating and today it–along with her liver and kidneys–are giving others life. Woolfsmith only knows her daughter’s liver went to help another very sick little girl, but she’s not yet met any of the other families Mackenzy was able to help. She said she doesn’t need to.

    “I have this picture of these families and it’s a happy picture to me. These kids are doing amazing things that Mackenzy might not be able to do, but they’re doing them.”

    “It gives you the ability to live through some of the grief.”

    There are about 4,500 Canadians waiting for an organ transplant at any given time across the country. A single donor can save up to eight lives.

    This year, Global News is aiming to start 48,000 conversations about organ and tissue donation within a 48-hour timeframe starting on April 18. We’re partnering with provincial transplant organizations and liveon长沙夜网 in hopes of getting more Canadians to sign up as organ donors.

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