Waste permit revoked

British Columbia's environment minister has cancelled a waste discharge permit for the company operating a controversial dumping site for contaminated soil on Vancouver Island.

Mary Polak says in a statement that effective immediately the permit for Cobble Hill Holdings has been cancelled because the company has failed to meet disclosure requirements on outstanding non-compliance issues.

Last month, the Environment Ministry suspended the permit for the company's operations in an old quarry near Shawnigan Lake, about 25 kilometres north of Victoria.

Polak's statement says the company was given 15 business days to provide three documents, including an irrevocable letter of credit, but only two of the documents were provided.

Numerous protests by a residents group against the facility have been underway since 2013 when the ministry approved the permit for dumping annually up to 100,000 tonnes of contaminated soil within the Shawnigan Lake watershed.

Polak's statement says her ministry is ensuring material on the property is managed in a way that does not present a risk to human health or the environment.


Missing kid found in buff

RCMP are thanking a Canada Post employee for helping solve a case involving a nude toddler who went missing in Prince George.

The three-year-old boy was wearing nothing but rubber boots when he was found.

Temperatures in Prince George were barely nudging zero, when RCMP Cpl. Craig Douglass says the child was spotted in the Spruceland neighbourhood.

Douglass says the matter was turned over to child welfare authorities, and officers concluded no crime had occurred.

Douglass says an RCMP tracking dog was brought in to trace the youngster's steps, but the animal had lost the trail until the postal worker noticed some snowy footsteps overlooked by others.

"We were able to track them back. I'm sure, eventually, we probably would have got there, but the employee certainly sped things up, which was nice," says Douglass.

"I know how kids move, and sometimes they just slip by," he says.

Raising relics from deep

Explosives that have been sitting on the bottom of the ocean off Vancouver Island ever since 1930 are about to be removed.

The shells are on the wreck of the HMCS Theipval, a First World War battle-class trawler.

It ran aground and sank 87 years ago while patrolling islands near Ucluelet.

Since then, the Theipval has become a popular diving attraction and a protected national site inside the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. 

Navy divers are slated to remove the ammo in June, but will first survey the wreck site in March

HMCS Theipval was built in 1917 and patrolled for submarines until her sinking. 

– with files from CTV Vancouver Island

Pride parade compromise

The Vancouver Pride Society has responded to demands that police be banned from marching in the city's annual Pride Parade with the suggestion that officers show up in fewer numbers and leave their uniforms at home.

The society, which organizes the annual event, says its proposal was inspired by an open letter from a Vancouver chapter of Black Lives Matter, followed by six months of community consultations.

The anti-racism activist group asked the Vancouver Police Department last summer to voluntarily withdraw from the march as "a show of solidarity and understanding" because the presence of uniformed officers makes some minority groups feel unsafe.

The request came shortly after Black Lives Matter in Toronto blocked that city's parade until organizers agreed to demands that included barring police floats from future events.

Last week in Vancouver, a group of transgender activists presented the Pride society with a petition urging it to allow police to participate in uniform, arguing that banning officers could undermine the positive relationship between the LGBTQ community and law enforcement.

Police have marched in Vancouver's Pride Parade since 2002.

Border guards seize guns

The Canada Border Services Agency says a pair of firearms seizures from two brothers entering Canada at Aldergrove has resulted in guilty pleas.

On May 31, 2016, Jason Beverett was caught bringing an undeclared .40 calibre handgun and two loaded magazines across the line in his luggage.

In a separate incident on the same day, moments after his brother was referred for an examination, Arthur Beverett was referred for a secondary examination. A search found a 9mm handgun and loaded magazine inside the toolboxes in his trailer.

Both were immediately arrested and charged.

Both men entered guilty pleas for making false statements and possession of a prohibited firearm late last year and were sentenced to just under $4,000 in fines and 10-year firearms bans.

“The joint efforts by our border services officers and criminal investigators demonstrate their collaboration and commitment to ensure the safety of Canada and its residents," said Daniela Evans with the CBSA.

"We remind all travellers to declare their firearms or rather, leave their handguns at home. If ever in doubt, our officers are here to answer all your questions.”

Motorcyclist killed in crash

Vancouver has recorded its first fatal traffic accident of 2017.

A 39-year-old Vancouver man has died following a collision Wednesday morning between a motorcycle and a car.

Just after 7 a.m., the southbound motorcycle collided with a blue Audi making a left turn at MacDonald Street and West Broadway.

The motorcycle rider was rushed to hospital, where he died from his injuries. The two occupants of the Audi were not injured.

Police are investigating the crash, and witnesses are asked to call the VPD at 604-717-3012.

Fire guts apartments

Fire ripped through an apartment building in North Vancouver on Wednesday, causing some people to jump out of windows to get to safety.

Firefighters arrived on scene at Lonsdale Avenue to find huge plumes of smoke billowing out of the windows.

The fire, which started about 4 p.m., was isolated to one building.

There is no word on injuries at this time.

– with files from CTV Vancouver

Pedestrian killed on street

An elderly woman has died after she was struck while crossing a street in Abbotsford.

The 79 year old was hit by a van on Marshall Road about 7:30 p.m., Wednesday.

Paramedics treated the woman at the scene, but she died in hospital several hours later.

The driver, a 52-year-old woman, stayed at the scene and is co-operating with police.

– with files from CTV Vancouver

Hwy 12 partially reopened

Highway crews are making progress in clearing a rockslide which has closed Highway 12 between Lytton and Lillooet since Saturday.

The slide came down 14 km north of Lytton after warm temperatures and rain caused stability problems for slopes in the area.

The stretch of road is now open to single lane alternating traffic, with closures at top of the hour for clean up. DriveBC reports the road will be open for 5-10 minutes to allow traffic through, between 7am-5pm.

Food bank donations resold

It appears desperate people have taken to reselling food bank donations on the streets in Vancouver.

A CTV Vancouver hidden camera investigation shot a man in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside trying to sell a bag full of food for cash.

"It's fresh," the seller said of the groceries, which included bananas, oranges, milk and rice. Asked where it all came from, the man replied, "It's from my food bank, man."

It’s not clear which food bank the groceries came from, but CEO of the Greater Vancouver Food Bank Aart Schuurman Hess was not quick to judge.

"When I hear that, I find it very, very unfortunate," Hess said, "We do know that families and individuals are sometimes scrambling for dollars just to pay their rents, so they're selling food just to sustain themselves."

Hess said 26,500 people use their food bank services each week and resellers represent just a  drop in the bucket.

"Most people that access the Greater Vancouver Food Bank, they really need that food," he told CTV Vancouver.

Jeremy Hunka of the Union Gospel Mission, which also operates a food bank, was also sympathetic.

"People tend to things they would never otherwise consider if they feel they don't have another option,” Hunka said.

The Greater Vancouver Food Bank said they are not really concerned about preventing similar behaviour, noting it could make users feel scrutinized.

"We've made the barrier as low as possible," Hess said. "We provide dignity and respect to our members."

with files from CTV Vancouver 

Sex attack at SFU

Police are investigating a sexual assault at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby.

A woman was attacked Tuesday evening as she walked from her class to a parking lot, RCMP say. 

The victim heard a noise behind her and was grabbed by a man who sexually assaulted her before running off when voices were heard nearby.

The assault happened about 7:30 p.m. 

The suspect is described as tall, with a medium to heavy build and a deep voice. He was wearing a grey, long-sleeved shirt. 

Campus security are offering to escort women to their cars.

Anyone with information is asked to call police at 604-294-7922 or CrimeStoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS).

– with files from CTV Vancouver

Squeeze on NDP promises

The BC Liberal government's new budget tries to put the squeeze on British Columbia's Opposition New Democrats, just weeks before the start of a spring election campaign, say political experts.

The campaign-style budget delivers several blows to the NDP by erasing much of the available surplus, cutting medical service premiums in half and increasing spending on health, education and children's issues, said Hamish Telford, a political science professor at the University of the Fraser Valley.

The budget presented on Tuesday also leaves little room for the New Democrats to fund their big-ticket promises of $10-a-day childcare and $15-per-hour minimum wage without considering raising taxes or running deficits, he said.

"In the first instance it really tries to kneecap the NDP in terms of major policy planks the NDP might want to pursue," Telford said.

The focus on boosting spending for education, health and child-welfare initiatives leaves the New Democrats on the outside on issues consistently on their agenda.

"The finance minister has been saying nine other provincial finance ministers would love to give this budget, and my initial thought was the NDP would love to give this budget," Telford said.

Finance Minister Mike de Jong said the 2017-2018 budget — the fifth consecutive balanced budget — is the envy of most provinces who are struggling with deficits and can only dream about spending surplus cash.

The $50.2-billion budget is forecast to have a surplus of $295 million.

The MSP generates about $2.5 billion in annual revenues for the government. The cut, effective Jan. 1, 2018, reduces that amount by about $1 billion.

The New Democrats have long called for the elimination or revamping of the MSP, and increased social spending is one of their core values.

But Carole James, the NDP's finance critic, said she rejects suggestions the Liberals have tried to outflank the Opposition with the budget.

"We'll take a look at the numbers," she said. "We'll take a look at what options there are and we'll make choices. We'll make different choices than this government has done. What the public is looking for is a government that is in their corner."

Premier Christy Clark said the New Democrat's plan for Quebec-style $10-a-day daycare would mean tax increases because $10 does not cover the cost of a provincially-run system.

"The less government takes from you, the more affordable your life will be," she said.

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