$100K of heli parts stolen

Police in northern Vancouver Island are asking for the public's assistance following a theft of helicopter parts, estimated to be worth $100,000.

The parts were stolen from a parked vehicle in Port Hardy between 9 p.m. on Nov. 9 and 8 a.m. on Nov 10, according to RCMP.

Officials said the stolen pieces are specific to a particular chopper and are easy to identify.

Those with information can contact Port Hardy RCMP or CrimeStoppers.

- with files from CTV Vancouver Island 


Cougar in Port Coquitlam

A cougar has been spotted in Port Coquitlam.

The big cat was seen in a residential area earlier this week.

In a post on Facebook, city staff warned the cat was spotted near Blue Heron Crescent. There are several homes in the area and an elementary school located a few blocks away.

There are walking trails near the neighbourhood which wild animals could use as a corridor.

The city is warning residents to stay alert, keep children close and pets on leash.

Anyone who sees a cougar, bear or other wildlife is asked to report the sighting to the BC Conservation Officer Service at 1-877-952-7277.

Guard stabbed in Walmart

A security guard was stabbed in a Lower Mainland Walmart while trying to stop a shoplifter.

The guard attempted to confront the person in the Delta Walmart before he was assaulted at around 12:25 p.m. Saturday.

The guard was taken to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

The suspect fled the scene, but Delta police apprehended the person with the help of a canine unit.


Early season for ski hills

An early visit from Old Man Winter is allowing B.C. ski hills to open early this year.

Kelowna's Big White has seen a lot of snow and is targeting Nov. 23 for an opening date.

Nordic, snowshoe and fat bike trails are open at Silver Star Mountain Resort near Vernon, with Alpine expected to open Nov. 23 as well. As of Saturday, the Star a base of 146 cm.

Apex Mountain Resort in the South Okanagan has a base of 46 cm.

Whistler opened Nov. 17.

Staff at the mountain also said they'd had a "streak of prime snow making conditions" to add to the blanket of natural powder.

Cypress and Grouse mountains opened Friday, Nov. 10 thanks to a few days of cooler-than-usual temperatures. Both hills said this year's season opening was one of the earliest on record.

Sun Peaks near Kamloops has also opened for the season.

Sudden death probed

Police are investigating a sudden death in Campbell River.

Neighbours fear a possible homicide after a body was discovered at the Scenic View Manor apartments Thursday night.

"I opened my door ,and the hallway was filled with police, emergency people, and there seemed to be something happening a couple of doors down from me," Michelle Trudeau told CTV.

Resident Donna Jackson said she heard a loud bang Wednesday night.

"My neighbours who live next door had said that it sounded like an explosion going off," she said.

RCMP are reviewing security footage from the building.

– with files from CTV Vancouver Island

Fallen hero to be honoured

Police from across B.C. will honour a fallen officer in Abbotsford on Sunday.

B.C. Premier John Horgan, Lieut.-Gov. Judith Guichon and Attorney General David Eby will attend the funeral for Const. John Davidson, who was gunned down Nov. 6 in a confrontation over a stolen car.

Officers from across Canada, the U.S. and the Northumbria Police in England, where Davidson started his career, will take part in the funeral procession.

The march will travel from McCallum Road to the Abbotsford Centre arena, where the funeral will be held. Members of the public are expected to line the procession route following an outpouring of memorials and tributes to the well-liked officer.

The procession will begin at 11:30 a.m., with the service at 1 p.m. 

There will be overflow seating for the public and a video link at the University of the Fraser Valley Envision Athletic Centre, Central Heights Church and Abbotsford Canadian Reformed Church.

– with files from CTV Vancouver

New help for mental health

The grounds of a hospital that once housed thousands of mentally ill patients in Coquitlam will be the site of a new facility for people suffering from mental health and addiction, though the city's mayor says he hoped for more treatment beds during B.C.'s opioid epidemic.

Premier John Horgan said in a release Friday that the 105-bed centre on the lands of the former Riverview psychiatric hospital is a step toward improving treatment for those with both mental health and substance use disorders.

The residential care facility is slated to open in 2019 and replaces the Burnaby Centre for Mental Health and Addiction.

Mental Health and Addictions Minister Judy Darcy said the facility will be central to the creation of a community of care and give families the services and support they desperately need.

"I have talked to families from all around the province and heard countless heart-breaking stories about the struggle finding adequate care for a loved one coping with mental illness and addiction," she said in a statement.

Patients with the most severe and complex issues from throughout B.C. will be treated at the centre where telehealth technology will be used to support team-based approaches to care and improve communication between health-care providers wherever they are in the province.

Construction is already underway at the nearly 100-hectare site on two projects — the Maples Adolescent Treatment Centre for youth and Community Living British Columbia's Provincial Assessment Centre.

Mayor Richard Stewart said the city granted a permit for the mental health and addictions centre in the spring after it was announced by the former Liberal government two years ago.

He said the new facility will have just 11 more beds than the one it's replacing in Burnaby, but he'd hoped to hear many more mentally ill people suffering from addiction would be getting treatment there, especially during the current opioid crisis.

"There are a lot of people pressing for the urgent opening of significant capacity for addictions treatment. We as a city called for that back in 2015," Stewart said.

"Now fentanyl has made it even more urgent that we get something like that in place as quickly as possible."

Nanaimo hospital lockdown

A possible security threat locked down the majority of Nanaimo Regional General Hospital Friday evening. 

The nature of the security situation was unclear.

RCMP said the hospital was not under lockdown, but a picture submitted to CTV News shows a sign in front of an NRGH entrance advising of "restricted access and lockdown."

A person claiming to be an employee of the hospital and who wished to remain anonymous said staff were advised over the PA system that most of the building's exit doors had been locked.

The employee said after about three hours, an announcement went out saying that the  restricted access had been lifted. 

-With files from CTV Vancouver Island 

Canucks fan hit with puck

An elderly Vancouver Canucks fan was sent to the hospital Thursday night after being hit in the head by a flying puck at Rogers Arena.

Las Vegas Golden Knights winger James Neal sent the puck ricocheting off the glass and into the crowd at the end of the second period. 

Canucks management said she was taken to hospital for further evaluation, but has since been released.

"We continue to be in communication with her and her family who have indicated she is home and resting comfortably," Jeff Stipec of Canucks Sports and Entertainment said in an email.

As a precaution, a video plays before each Canucks game and at the start of each period warning people to keep their eyes on the game and watch for projectiles.

"Pucks can leave the ice at up to 100 MPH," it reads.

-With files from CTV Vancouver 

Similar sex assaults

Vancouver Police are warning the public after a young woman was sexually assaulted Wednesday night in East Vancouver. Minutes after getting off the SkyTrain at the Nanaimo station, she was grabbed from behind and groped before the masked suspect ran off.

The suspect is described as an Asian man, 20 to 30 years-old, 5’8”, with a slim build and short dark hair. He wore a dark-coloured ball cap, dark-rimmed plastic framed glasses, a dark jacket with a light-coloured liner, dark pants, running shoes, and a white medical mask covering the lower half of his face.

The VPD Sex Crimes Unit believe this attack may be related to a similar incident from Oct. 29. where a woman was assaulted after exiting a transit bus near Victoria Drive and East 64th Avenue. The suspect in that incident was described as an Asian man, 5’9″, 160 lbs., with short black hair, wearing a dark-coloured jacket, shorts, and a medical mask covering his face.

“Although we have not confirmed the link between the two incidents, we want the public to be aware that similarities exist and one man could be responsible for both attacks,” said VPD Constable Jason Doucette.

 “Out of an abundance of caution, we are sharing this information, and asking people to remain vigilant, particularly after leaving transit in East Vancouver. All suspicious behaviour should be reported to 9-1-1 immediately," he added. 

Sex Crime Investigators would like to speak with anyone who has information about either of these assaults. Please call 604-717-0604 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

Schoenborn stays in custody

A panel has decided against changing custodial conditions for a B.C. man who killed his three children during a psychotic break.

The B.C. Review Board released its decision on Friday, following an annual review of Allan Schoenborn's case.

It says the 49-year-old must stay at the Forensic Psychiatric Hospital in Coquitlam, but could be allowed escorted visits into the community.

Schoenborn was found guilty of stabbing his daughter and smothering his sons in their home in Merritt in April 2008, but a judge later ruled he was not criminally responsible for the deaths because he was experiencing psychosis at the time.

Crown counsel Wendy Dawson argued last week that the board should withdraw the discretionary power it gave the Forensic Psychiatric Hospital in Coquitlam two years ago to allow Schoenborn accompanied access into the community.

But defence lawyer Dante Abbey told the board the possibility of escorted outings is an important tool to motivate Schoenborn in his recovery and withdrawing it would do further harm.

$327M to fight gangs

The federal government will allocate up to $327.6 million over five years and $100 million a year after that to fight gun and gang violence, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said Friday.

The money will finance a variety of programs to cut gun crime and criminal gang activities and stem the flow of illegal firearms into communities.

In March, the federal government also plans to host a summit on criminal guns and gangs, Goodale said, bringing together experts, front-line police, provincial, territorial and municipal government officials and community and Indigenous leaders to discuss the issue.

"Guns and gangs are not someone else's problem, they are everyone's problem and we need to work together to develop more effective intervention and enforcement approaches for reducing gun and gang violence across Canada," Goodale said at an event in Surrey.

"Lives, senselessly lost, are a clear indication of the urgency of fighting this scourge."

The government says there were 2,465 criminal firearms violations in 2016, an increase of 30 per cent since 2013. It also says 76 per cent of gang-related homicides involve firearms, compared with 20 per cent of non-gang killings.

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