2 Surrey fires in 12 hours lead to arson charges 

A man has been arrested and charged in connection to two fires in Surrey.

A man has been charged in connection with two fires in Surrey.

On May 28 just before midnight, Surrey firefighters and Mounties responded to a fire at a building on 117 Street. The building has two businesses on the lower level and residential units above.

Both the top and lower levels of the building suffered “significant fire and water damage,” police said.

Less than 12 hours later, firefighters and police a man was reported to be setting bushes on fire near 104 Ave. and 122 Street.

Surrey RCMP officers found a man who was hiding in the area and arrested him.

On June 1, Paul Robinson, 52, was charged with arson and arson to inhabited property.

He has been remanded into custody until his next court appearance on June 13, 2023.

“Thankfully no one was injured as a result of these fires,” said Sgt. Tammy Lobb.

“With the dry conditions leading into summer and ongoing wildfires around the province, Surrey RCMP is asking the public to report any suspicious activity related to fires.”

© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Service Credit Union ATM stolen using backhoe: Rimbey RCMP

An ATM from Service Credit Union was stolen early Monday using a backhoe taken from a nearby construction site RCMP say.

A backhoe stolen from a nearby construction site was used to take an ATM from the Rimbey Service Credit Union, on Monday, police say.

A backhoe stolen from a nearby construction site was used to take an ATM from the Rimbey Service Credit Union, on Monday, police say.

Facebook/Lightcatch Alberta/Tom TJ

At around 3 a.m. on Monday, Rimbey RCMP were informed of a break-in at the Service Credit Union.

RCMP are still investigating but say it looks as if the suspect or suspects stole a backhoe from a nearby construction site and used it to remove an ATM from the credit union.

A photo of the damage that followed a person using a stolen backhoe from a nearby construction site to steal an ATM from the Rimbey Service Credit Union, Monday June 5, 2023.

A photo showing the damage at Rimbey Service Credit Union. An ATM was stolen from the credit union on Monday morning using a backhoe.

Facebook/Lightcatch Alberta/Tom TJ

© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Jackson Creek fuel spill cleanup surpasses $1.8M for City of Peterborough

Taxpayers in Peterborough, Ont., are on the hook for more than $1.8 million as part of ongoing remediation and cleanup efforts of multiple fuel spills into Jackson Creek since last August, according to a city staff report.

The report going to city council on Monday outlines the costs involved since an initial oil sheen was discovered on Aug. 22, 2022, at the south end of Jackson Creek in the area of Townsend and Aylmer streets.

The initial incident prompted the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks to investigate the leak which continued to worsen with “some organic debris discharging” from the Jackson Creek outlet structure, the report notes.

The ministry stressed the need for immediate action to remediate the discharge and to investigate potential sources.

The city staff reports an environmental consultant was hired to coordinate emergency remediation and help determine potential sources of the sheen. Work included the use of ground penetrating radar, the removal of “previously unidentified and potential sources” of contamination, and the installation of a permeable reactive barrier.

Throughout the fall to spring of 2023, the area of containment measures was consistently monitored and included periodic removal of products, the report notes.

However, in mid-March, the report cites heavy rains resulted in an oily sheen getting beyond the containment measures that were in place. The incident required additional cleanup activities including the installation of a temporary underflow dam in the Townsend Street storm culvert.

“Considering the time-sensitive nature, uncertainty of environmental remediation, and authority of regulatory agencies, continued support from environmental contractors will be needed to maintain containment measures, perform impartial monitoring and reporting as well as provide emergency response and clean up services if necessary,” states the report issued by Jasbir Raina as commissioner of infrastructure and planning services. As of Tuesday, he is the city’s new chief administrative officer.

Provincial officials have said the sheen was “possibly” caused by a historic underground release of diesel fuel from the city’s transit yard on nearby Townsend Street.

The city notes there is known historical contamination in the area including its own property.

“One possibility is that the oil sheen is residual or remaining from the contamination last summer and fall that was caught upstream over the winter,” the city stated in March.

To date, the Jackson Creek emergency remediation efforts have cost the city $1,8883,339.04 which has included:

  • Spill response – funds paid to contractors since original contamination in August 2022: $1,376,765.57
  • Provisional work – known and forecasted costs for continued monitoring, remediation, clean up, and reporting: $474,000
  • HST Payable by the city: $32,573.47

The staff report says funding for the emergency remediation response has been accommodated within the city’s 2022 capital budget emergency environmental remediation (EER) ($305,500) and capital levy reserve ($891,018.50). Anticipated additional funds can be accommodated within the 2023 capital budget EER ($200,000) and capital levy reserve ($486,820.54).

© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Calgary’s mayor highlights transit safety investments on CTrain ride-along

WATCH: Calgary’s mayor, along with police, peace officers and transit officials, showcased several investments in safety and security during a ride-along. As Adam MacVicar reports, safety officials say the efforts are paying off.

City officials are highlighting the early result of several investments to improve safety on Calgary Transit, as the service continues to grapple with the perception it is unsafe.

Mayor Jyoti Gondek was joined by representatives from the Calgary Police Service, transit peace officers, and Calgary Transit for a ride-along Thursday.

The ride-along began at the City Hall CTrain station, where officials boarded a westbound train to 4th Street Station, the site of some public safety incidents since the pandemic.

“I don’t think anyone here is saying this is the average ride. We’ve got a lot of people with cameras and a lot of microphones, so it’s certainly not a typical ride,” Gondek said. “I do think it’s important to highlight for Calgarians that we have made significant investments.”

Gondek said a $33-million investment last year has been followed up with a $32-million injection this year for transit safety and security initiatives, and hinted more funding could be on the way.

Those investments and strategic changes have resulted in the permanent hiring of 36 transit peace officers, and the deployment of corporate security guards and transit ambassadors on the CTrain line.

Upgrades to lighting, security cameras, and infrastructure at several train stations were also included in the recent security funding.

“There’s a lot of strategies around clearing up some of the excess furniture to help keep those visible lines, so that our teams back in the command centre have a clear view of what’s happening and can send help when required,” Calgary Transit director Sharon Fleming said.

Both Calgary Police and transit officials said the initiatives are starting to pay off, noting a spike in officer-generated calls on transit since January.

According to new numbers from the Calgary Police Service, transit-related calls increased 51 per cent between January and May compared to the same time frame last year, with 5,767 calls for service.

However, 70 per cent of the calls for service this year are “proactively officer generated,” a 22-per cent increase over the same time period last year.

Calgary Police deputy chief Chad Tawfik said the increase in calls doesn’t necessarily mean an increase in incidents.

“With that comes an increase in other numbers that might initially be concerning… But that’s really because of focused attention,” he said. “That to me is us tackling the issues that we’re seeing.”

Tawfik said police have dealt with 1,700 individuals on transit over the last few months, with around 100 or more involved in “harm offences.”

“Officers are going to engage with compassion where it’s appropriate, and enforcement where appropriate,” he said.

Aaron Coon, who is overseeing the transit peace officers, said transit officers have moved away from enforcing fare evasion to a call response model.

Speaking to reporters on the platform at 4th Street Station, Coon said calls for service have increased significantly during the pandemic, with the highest number of calls for welfare checks, and helping people navigate the transit system.

The city’s funding also allows integrated patrols between transit peace officers and police to continue seven nights per week. Previously, those patrols were limited to only four nights per week.

Coon said the integrated model between police, transit officers, corporate security and local outreach teams is working, while there is ongoing analysis internally to make the partnerships more efficient and effective.

“We’re excited about the work that we’re doing right now with our partner agencies,” Coon said. “We are confident and comfortable that it is safer than it was six months ago.”

The next step in the work around transit safety is the development of a “multi-disciplinary transit safety strategy,” which is expected to be presented at city hall in September.

The strategy is expected to find better ways to integrate police, peace officers, security and outreach teams on the transit network based on the early efforts already underway.

The higher number of calls is seen as a good sign for Calgary’s mayor, pointing to the new Transit Watch text line (74100) to anonymously report ongoing incidents on transit whether they’re criminal or simply a welfare check.

Gondek said signs advertising the text line are posted on platforms and in CTrain cars stemming from an idea from a member of her staff, who struggled to find the number during an incident.

“Ultimately, the goal is for anyone at anytime to feel that they can have reliable, dependable and safe transit service,” Gondek said.

© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

New Guelph library gets spotlight in an upcoming groundbreaking ceremony

The Guelph Public Library will be breaking ground later in June.

In a news release, the city of Guelph said a groundbreaking ceremony will be held at the Baker Redevelopment Project construction site on June 20.

The city said the ceremony is recognizing the on-site work that’s been done to date.

The new 88,000-square-foot library will be a part of the project that is expected to be completed in 2026.

The city said it will be a zero-carbon building and it’ll be aligned with its goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 63 per cent by 2030 and net zero carbon by 2050.

The project will also feature an underground parking garage and public squares. The underground parking garage will have more than 150 public parking spots.

The city said the concept for the library was initially approved in 2020 and comes with a price tag of $62 million.

© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Accused killer of Vernon, B.C. man could get trial pass due to cognitive damage

WATCH: An Okanagan woman hopes an upcoming hearing will finally lead to a trial for the man accused of murdering her brother. Nearly three years ago Richard Fairgrieve was deemed unfit to stand trial on a charge of second degree murder.

A Vernon, B.C., man who is charged with second-degree murder will find out later this month if a BC Supreme Court Justice will pave the way for him to stand trial, despite significant brain damage.

Richard Fairgrieve is charged with the killing of Willy Bartz in June 2017. Since that time he’s suffered multiple strokes that have impaired his speech and general cognition.

In 2020, after the strokes, he was found unfit to stand trial but last November that decision was reversed in a BC Review Board hearing, at which he expressed a desire to go to trial.

This week, another hearing with evidence on Fairgrieve’s competency was held and BC Supreme Court Justice Alison Beames is scheduled to offer her decision on the matter June 20, nearly six years after the killing occurred.

One of the issues she will be considering is the definition of “meaningful participation” and whether Fairgrieve would have the ability to communicate with counsel, should there be a trial, or understand the evidence given.

Crown counsel Alison Buchanan said Fairgrieve has suffered a number of traumatic brain injuries, as well as strokes that have impacted his cognitive abilities.

“He suffers from receptive and expressive aphasia, which means that he has delays and we saw clearly saw he had delays both in processing information  … and in communicating his information, and that’s the expressive part of the aphasia,” she said.

“Any communication with Mr. Fairgrieve is low, it’s laboured and it’s difficult. However, the test for fitness is a low threshold, here’s a limited cognitive capacity.”

Buchanen argued the Crown’s job is to establish that he meets the minimum threshold to stand trial, not necessarily process evidence presented over the course of the legal process or even recall actual events relating to the crime in question.

“I’m gonna submit that that’s not required as part of a rudimentary ability to communicate with counsel,” she said.

“He is able to communicate at the moment, he’s able to process and understand, he’s able to communicate his needs and his wants.”

This, she said, is something Fairgrieve demonstrated in his review board hearing. Also, she argued that a defence lawyer can make accommodations for his cognitive issues by speaking slowly, breaking issues down into smaller words, but a rudimentary understanding of the process would be aided by those changes.

“(Those) could bring them to the threshold of rudimentary participation and a rudimentary understanding,” she said.

Verdurmen, Fairgreave’s lawyer,  said Crown counsel did not meet the bar needed to order a trial, which would mean the 2020 decision by a supreme court judge would stand and Fairgreave would be considered unfit for trial.

Fairgrieve told the BC Review Board he wants to go to court for the trial looking into Bartz’s killing. He has denied he hurt someone and told his treating psychiatrist he plans to plead not guilty.

© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

ANALYSIS: Jets should move Pierre-Luc Dubois sooner rather than later

Jets Report with John Shannon

The news this week that Pierre-Luc Dubois has requested a trade wasn’t really news, at least not to the people inside the Winnipeg Jets’ front office.

But did he really request a trade, or have his agent Pat Brisson utter those few simple words? I doubt it. But it really is semantics. The fact is, he doesn’t want to be a member of this hockey team after June 30, 2024.

Pierre-Luc Dubois, who is under contract control of the Jets for one more season, is not willing to sign a long-term deal with this team. And he is willing to sign a long-term deal, just not with the Jets.

So, at the present moment, Dubois is an asset for this team. Not a player, just an asset.

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The problem is, as time goes on, he becomes a diminishing asset — just like Johnny Gaudreau became a diminishing asset in Calgary. As well as Gaudreau played, the Flames lost control of the process after the season ended. That’s why Matthew Tkachuk was moved when he was: the Flames needed to protect the asset.

But that is the reality. Under the NHL/NHLPA collective bargaining agreement, Dubois has earned the right to decide where he can play, and he has told the powers that be that once he becomes an unrestricted free agent, he will be playing elsewhere.

And just as Dubois is protecting his own interests, the Jets have the right to protect their interests. So for the rest of 2023 and half of 2024, Dubois can be a Winnipeg Jet and help the team get back to the Stanley Cup playoffs. Or the team has the right to move him now, or at the draft, or before camp, or at the deadline.

But quite frankly, the sooner the better.

The question now is what kind of asset is PLD? This is now the second team in his young career (he’s only 24) that he has wanted to move on from. That’s not something that will endear him to some clubs. We have all seen his potential, but we’ve also his inconsistency.

At six feet four inches and almost 220 pounds, some teams are salivating at his potential.

In the end — and it was decided by Dubois that there would be an end — the Jets need to manage the asset, and quickly. After all, it’s important to have players who want to be in Winnipeg playing for Winnipeg.


© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Suspect in custody after stabbing at Transcona Olive Garden, Winnipeg cops say

A suspect is in custody after a stabbing at a Transcona-area restaurant Thursday night, Winnipeg police say.

Officers were called to the Olive Garden on Reenders Drive just after 8 p.m.

As of Friday morning, police didn’t have an update on the victim’s condition.

More details to come.

© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

London-St. Thomas sits at record low unemployment rate for 2nd straight month

The London-St. Thomas jobless rate held steady at its record low level of 4.4 per cent for the second month in a row.

According to Statistics Canada, London added 1,900 jobs in May while also seeing a similar increase in the labour force by 1,900 people. There were no changes to the number of people who claimed unemployment.

In April, the unemployment rate fell to 4.4 per cent, the lowest level ever recorded in available data from Statistics Canada dating back to 1994.

The participation rate — an estimate of an economy’s active workforce — also rose to 64.6 per cent in May, up from 64.3 per cent in April.

Nationally, the jobless rate rose slightly to 5.2 per cent, the first increase since last August. Canada’s employment fell among youth aged 15-24 and rose among those aged 25-54.

© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

2-year-old girl died after search and rescue from the Bow River: Canmore RCMP

A two-year-old girl died Thursday after search and rescue crews pulled her from the Bow River and rushed her to a hospital in Canmore, Alta.

The toddler was reported missing from a Bow River campsite at 4:55 p.m. Thursday. Search and rescue boats searched the river from the water and a helicopter scanned the scene from the air.

The rescue teams found the toddler in the river by 5:30 p.m., but she was in serious condition. Crews started CPR, then took her to a hospital.

RCMP are investigating but told Global News that while tragic, they do not believe the case is suspicious.

The office of the chief medical examiner will determine a cause of death but no autopsy date has been set.

© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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