A group of three snowmobilers were forced to spend the night in the backcountry near Golden Saturday night after their sleds became stuck.
Golden RCMP received a report from an avalanche beacon at Silent Pass, north of Duncan Lake, near Parson BC.
“Golden RCMP were able to determine that three avid snowmobilers with experience in back country sledding, and overnight winter camping, were associated to the beacon,” says Cst. Spencer Lainchbury.
Golden and District Search and Rescue were notified and attempted to locate the men via helicopter, but were turned back by bad weather. They returned Sunday morning and found the three men, who explained they had activated their emergency beacon once their sleds had become stuck, and then set up an overnight camp.
One of the men, from Airdrie, AB, was transported to Golden via helicopter to be treated for non life-threatening injuries related to smoke inhalation. The other two men, one from Calgary, AB, and the other from Kelowna, BC, were transported back to their vehicle by Search and Rescue.
Update -- 8:44 p.m.
Highway 1 has been reopened.
Highway 1 is closed in both directions near Golden because of a high avalanche hazard.
DriveBC is reporting that avalanche control is complete, but natural avalanche activity continues.
The affected area stretches along highway 1 from Golden to 18 kilometres east of the town.
An assessment is currently in progress. There will be another update at 9 p.m.
On a Tuesday morning last November, British Columbia Premier Christy Clark and Alberta Premier Alison Redford emerged from a meeting to announce a framework for energy projects straddling their provinces, patching up what had become a very public dispute over the fate of pipelines to the West Coast.
It was a significant announcement about an issue that had consumed BC politics — the sort of development that might involve, perhaps, writing something down.
But a freedom-of-information request asking for documents prepared for Clark before or after, such as briefing notes to prepare the premier or meeting minutes to record what had been said, turned up nothing.
"Although a thorough search was conducted, no records were located in response to your request," said a letter from the centralized government department that handles BC's freedom-of-information requests.
Such letters are common in BC.
An analysis by The Canadian Press of thousands of freedom-of-information requests indicates 20 per cent of all requests for non-personal information end with no records located.
Those figures represent an improvement from a year ago, when the province's privacy watchdog said an increase in such responses was a symptom of a government that wasn't writing things down. The non-responsive rate had reached 25 per cent overall and 45 per cent in the premier's office.
But the proportion of requests that result in no records is still higher than it was just a few years earlier, and observers say it appears a key tool to hold the government accountable still isn't working as it should.
"The decisions of government, they affect people's lives and they also affect very large amounts of public money," said Vincent Gogolek of the BC Freedom of Information and Privacy Association, a group that advocates for open government.
"That's how we keep people accountable. They get to make a decision and we get to look at it and say, 'How did they come to that decision?'"
Gogolek said the apparent decrease in non-responsive requests is encouraging but it's too early to say whether it represents real change or a temporary blip.
The Canadian Press examined a database that includes every request made to government ministries completed between April 2010 and Dec. 31 of last year. Requests for personal information were removed and the remaining requests were divided up by fiscal year, which means the 2013-2014 figures include the first three fiscal quarters.
The proportion of requests for which no records are found was 20 per cent for the current fiscal year, as of Dec. 31. In 2012-2013, it was 26 per cent; in 2011-2012, it was 25 per cent.
In the premier's office, the figure for the current fiscal year is 27 per cent. In 2012-2013, it was 42 per cent, and a year earlier, 45 per cent.
Unionized truckers have rejected a tentative agreement with Port Metro Vancouver.
A spokesman for Unifor, which represents about 400 truckers, says its members could be headed to the picket lines as early as Monday.
The drivers had threatened earlier this week to go on strike and cripple operations at four container facilities around Metro Vancouver.
Talks with a mediator led to a tentative agreement, but members turned it down in a vote today.
The union says the sticking points are better pay, standardized rates to prevent drivers from undercutting one another and long delays at Port Metro Vancouver.
The United Truckers Association, which represents about 1,000 non-unionized truckers serving Port Metro Vancouver, went on strike last month for similar reasons.
Vancouver police are investigating the city’s first pedestrian fatality of 2014 after a woman was hit by a semi-truck Saturday morning.
Police say around 8 a.m. the woman was crossing West Hastings Street in the crosswalk when the truck turned left off of Richards Street and struck her.
"It was pedestrians in the area that alerted the driver to the fact that the pedestrian had been hit," Sgt. Randy Fincham of Vancouver Police Department said.
"It's quite possible that the driver did not see the pedestrian at the time of the collision or immediately following the collision."
The intersection has been closed while the Vancouver Police Collision Unit investigates.
The police are waiitng to contact the woman's family before releasing her name.
Fincham said numerous witnesses are being interviewed but it is too early to determine the reason why the collision occured.
Vancouver Island RCMP are recommending charges of attempted murder after a man was attacked in his Qualicum Beach residence.
Officers say a 44-year-old man who was known to the victim is in custody and expected to make his first court appearance on Monday.
Police say officers and paramedics responded to emergency calls and found a 66-year-old man suffering from serious injuries Friday afternoon.
Officers say Port Alberni RCMP found the suspect's unoccupied vehicle later that day and used dogs to track him down.
No other details have been released.
The Fraser Health Authority is warning residents in six communities of a measles outbreak in low-immunized areas.
Residents in Abbotsford, Mission, Chilliwack, Agassiz, Harrison Hot Springs and Hope are encouraged to contact their doctor if they suspect they have been exposed to the virus or have developed symptoms.
The organization says two cases have been confirmed in a Chilliwack school and dozens of suspected cases are being investigated.
The Public Health Agency of Canada is contacting the affected families directly to offer treatment.
Fraser Health is advising those who have been exposed to the virus to refrain from travel until they have been cleared by the federal agency.
The best protection against measles is two doses of the vaccine, which is free to all those born in or after 1957.
Homeless people living in Abbotsford, B.C., are taking the city to court, alleging bylaws and tactics used to harass them breach their charter rights.
DJ Larkin of the Pivot Legal Society says the lawsuit has been filed in B.C. Supreme Court in New Westminster on behalf of a group known as the BC/Yukon Association of Drug War Survivors.
She says the action is a response to the city's efforts to obtain a court order that would make it illegal to erect a tent in any park in the city.
The society says in a news release that homeless people have suffered for years, have had their tents and structures destroyed, chicken manure spread where they have lived and been pushed from relatively safe places to more "dangerous conditions."
None of the allegations have been proven in court, and a spokeswoman for the city was unable to comment because she says the city had not yet seen the lawsuit.
Pivot says the Drug War Survivors will be back in court at the beginning of April to set a trial date and will be asking for the case to be heard in this summer.
Now that contract negotiations with British Columbia teachers have reached the next phase with an 89 per strike mandate, the education minister says he's looking forward to seeing contract demands from the union.
Peter Fassbender said Friday government negotiators have been essentially negotiating with themselves because their offer is the only one on the table.
The minister said he wants talks to reach the stage where each side has the others' proposals.
"Until we get an offer and their full proposal from the BCTF, it's very difficult to move anywhere — until you know where the other goal post is," he said. "It's kind of like looking down a football field without knowing where the goal post is at the other end."
But B.C. Teachers' Federation president Jim Iker said the union tabled its demands almost a year ago, asking for wage increases that include cost-of-living adjustments and salary catch-ups to other provinces. The contract demands also call for smaller class sizes and more specialist teachers.
"What we're looking at in salary is a cost-of-living adjustment so we can keep up with the cost of inflation, and we want to have an important discussion with the employer in terms of comparability to our colleagues across Canada," he said. "Our wages have fallen way behind compared to teachers in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, Ontario and New Brunswick. That's the important discussion for us."
Statistics Canada reports in 2010 that the minimum annual starting wage for a B.C. teacher was $41,963, while in Alberta, the same wage was $53,838 and the starting wage in Ontario was $42,030.
Iker said union negotiators continued bargaining Friday and are prepared to be at talks scheduled for next week.
"We look forward to having that (wage) discussion and tabling proposals back and forth at the bargaining table," he said. "We also look forward to reaching a fair deal for teachers which includes better supports for our students. We want to see smaller class sizes for our students come September and more specialist teachers in the system."
"I'm hoping that's the back and forth we can have with the government," said Iker.
In January, the B.C. Supreme Court ruled the government's move to strip class size and composition from the collective agreement was unconstitutional.
However, the government went back to court last month and received a temporary stay of the ruling.
Following the release of the strike vote late Thursday, Iker said no immediate job action was planned. He said earlier this week that part of the union's negotiating strategy involves rotating strikes to provoke a settlement.
The initial government wage offer added up to 6.5 per cent over six years, followed by indexed increases.
Fassbender said the government remains committed to reaching a lengthy settlement with the teachers.
Premier Christy Clark has said she considers a 10-year contract a long-term deal, but the union immediately shot down that possibility.
The province's 41,000 teachers have been without a contract since June 2013, and outstanding issues include wages, class sizes and class composition.
12:26 p.m. update: The highway is now open.
9:30 a.m. update Mar. 7: Highway 1 is still closed from Golden to Revelstoke (147.8 km) due to a high avalanche hazard.
Traffic storage is becoming a problem in Revelstoke as trucks and travellers wait for the highway to reopen. DriveBC says the city cannot handle anymore vehicles.
4 p.m. Mar. 6, update: Hwy. 1 is closed from Craigellachie to Revelstoke due to high avalanche hazard. Rapidly warming temperatures and heavy rain are causing additional avalanche activity. No local detour available. Estimated time of opening has not been determined and is weather dependent.
Update -- 1:15 p.m.
Highway 1 has been reopened to traffic.
The Trans-Canada Highway is closed in both directions between Craigellachie and Revelstoke due to high possibility of an avalanche.
There is no detour available and the estimated time of reopening is 11 a.m.
This is the third day in a row that a portion of the highway in this area has been closed or has threatened to close due to avalanche hazard.
Further east the highway is also closed in Glacier National Park for avalanche control. That portion of the road is also expected to reopen at noon, Mar. 6.
The president of British Columbia's teachers' union says his bargaining team will return to the table today and for talks next week despite receiving an overwhelming mandate to take job action.
Jim Iker of the BC Teachers' Federation made the comments late last night, after announcing the results of a vote that saw 26,051 members vote for job action, giving the union an 89 per cent strike mandate.
But Iker says no immediate action is planned, teachers want to settle the issues at the bargaining table, and if any job action happens it will be administrative first.
The provincial government says Education Minister Peter Fassbender will address the strike vote later this morning.
But in a media release last night he said both sides have tools available to increase pressure during bargaining, and he respects the process.
The province's 41,000 teachers have been without a contract since June 2013, and outstanding issues include wages, class sizes and class composition.
A six-year-old boy pulled from the swollen waters of a North Vancouver creek has died.
Mounties received a call Thursday afternoon about the lost boy and police and neighbours immediately began searching a wooded area around Taylor Creek.
The boy was found minutes later and pulled from the creek but was unresponsive.
He was airlifted to BC Children's Hospital in Vancouver, but efforts to revive him were unsuccessful.
Police say the creek was very swollen and running fast from recent heavy rainfall.
North Vancouver police say they'll continue looking into the death, and the BC Coroners' Service is expected to take over the investigation.
British Columbians will be able to buy booze in grocery stores next winter.
Attorney General Suzanne Anton says the change will ensure convenience and choice for consumers while promoting BC products.
But she says liquor won't be available in every grocery store because only a limited number of licences will be permitted.
Convenience stores will not be allowed to sell alcohol.
Changes to happy hours mean drinks can be sold at lower prices at certain hours, and Anton says she is open to make that amendment this summer.
The sale of beer, wine and spirits at farmers' markets will also be allowed this year.
The long-standing animosities between British Columbia's unionized teachers and the Liberal government surfaced again Wednesday with the release of a document outlining strike plans, amidst a union strike vote and the resumption of contract talks.
B.C. Teachers' Federation President Jim Iker denied the document was written by the union, but Education Minister Peter Fassbender said the paper was leaked to the government by a union member.
Fassbender said he's concerned the document lays out a three-phase job-action plan that includes rotating strikes followed by a provincewide strike.
Iker, who confirmed that a positive strike vote could eventually lead to rotating strikes, said he finds the timing of the document release perplexing as it comes when contract talks are set to resume and teachers are in the middle of a strike vote.
Iker suggested that the government wrote the document, because it distributed the paper.
"It's not a BCTF document," he said. "I'm thinking perhaps it's a government document because they seem to be handing it out. We think it appears to be some sort of political tactic."
Fassbender said the document was provided to the government by a reliable source, whom he would not name.
"My staff would never do that," said Fassbender in connection to Iker's suggestions the document was a government-created document. "I have the utmost confidence in our negotiators and staff. No one would fabricate a document. It was a document we received from a reliable source who was at a meeting in the school district."
He said he's concerned the document includes the BCTF's three-phase strike strategy while the two sides are attempting to negotiate a contract.
"Let's bargain," Fassbender said. "Let's find a negotiated settlement, that's all I'm asking for."
Iker said the union is also seeking a negotiated settlement, but job action may be necessary.
"Our goal is to get a deal at the table," he said. "It's not to go out on strike. One of the stages that we may consider involves that (rotating strike) type of action. Whenever a union takes a strike vote it empowers them to take job action."
Iker said if negotiations reach a point where the union considers a full-scale shutdown of the school system, the BCTF will seek approval from teachers with a second vote.
Results of the three-day teacher strike vote are scheduled to be released Thursday night. Approval to strike would give the BCTF 90 days to initiate some kind of job action.
Wages, class sizes and class composition are major issues to be negotiated in this contract.
While the two sides have had 40 bargaining sessions, Iker said talks have stalled over the past year.
A recent B.C. Supreme Court ruling in favour of the teachers is hanging over the talks. The government has launched an appeal of the decision that struck down legislation removing class size and composition provisions from the teachers' contract.
The government successfully applied to have last month's court ruling put on hold until that appeal is heard. The court concluded the government tried to provoke a strike and awarded the teachers' union $2 million in damages.
The case dates back to 2002, when Liberals used legislation to remove various contract clauses related to size and composition of classrooms.
In 2011, the B.C. Supreme Court struck down the legislation as unconstitutional. A year later, the government passed a similar law, which retroactively removed classroom conditions from the contract but allowed the issues to be discussed in future negotiations.
Accused pimp Reza Moazami pressured a Maple Ridge teenager to recruit prostitutes for him, the BC Supreme Court heard Wednesday.
The unnamed young woman, who allegedly worked for Moazami when she was 15, testified that he offered emotional support when she needed it but also pushed her to find other girls.
During a Facebook conversation, Moazami allegedly told her “any girl you start up, you get $250 a week.”
“That’s $1000 a month. $12,000 a year for one girl,” another message read.
“I’m not gonna go on a hunt, but if I come across someone who needs money, I’ll toss them your way,” she replied.
“I’m not talking about hunting, just keep your eyes open – in a mall, if someone’s window shopping, you ask ‘How would you like to make more than you ever did?’’ Moazami allegedly wrote.
Another message recommended finding girls at the Maple Ridge bus loop or McDonald’s.
None of the allegations against Moazami have been proven in court.
Moazami is accused of running an underage prostitution ring with girls as young as 14 years old, moving the teens around different high-end Vancouver condo apartments he rented.
The court heard Wednesday that the demand for girls spiked after Canucks games.
Moazami has been charged with 36 counts including sexual exploitation and sexual interference. He’s also the first person to be charged with trafficking underage girls in BC.
He is expected to take the stand next week.
Four teenagers have been arrested in connection with an armed robbery at a Surrey pharmacy Tuesday night, just one week after officials voiced concern over a number of drugstore thefts in the city.
Vancouver police officers arrested the young men, all between 15 and 17 years old, in Burnaby after the robbery, which took place in the 12800-block of 96 Avenue at around 8 p.m.
The VPD isn’t providing many details, including what was stolen from the drugstore.
Const. Brian Montague said the four teens ditched the car they used to get away from the pharmacy and tried to escape on foot in Burnaby.
Officers arrested three of the suspects quickly, and the fourth was found and arrested about an hour later. Montague said charges are expected but have not been laid yet.
Burnaby resident Shawn Tilton said he witnessed the dramatic chase firsthand.
“I initially saw cops running through my yard, and then they ran off into the ravine there,” he said. “Then the guy lost his shoe and what I did was grabbed the shoe, then ran out and gave it to the cops so the dogs could pick up the scent.”
Montague said he couldn’t clarify why Vancouver officers were involved in the case because of the nature of the investigation.
Officials aren’t saying whether the incident is connected to other recent pharmacy robberies in Surrey.
On Thursday, RCMP publicly appealed for help in identifying suspects involved in a number of armed thefts.
An investigation into the most recent robbery is ongoing.
Canada's first court to link repeat offenders to social programs such health and housing has met its goal of cutting crime, says an evaluation into the pilot project in Vancouver.
The document released by the Justice Ministry on Wednesday says the Downtown Community Court, which was established in 2008, has led to a greater drop in recidivism compared to a traditional court that does not connect offenders to services in the community.
The study compared 250 people sentenced in community court to 250 others sentenced in the neighbouring provincial court between April 2008 and March 2011.
It analyzed the number of offences committed by the two groups before the four-year period to the number committed afterwards.
The community court in the city's impoverished Downtown Eastside saw an average drop of 2.3 offences per person, compared to 1.35 offences per person in the provincial court, the report said.
The main idea behind establishing the community court in Vancouver was to help offenders break from the cycle of crime, homelessness, and mental health and addictions issues prevalent in the Downtown Eastside.
Former B.C. Attorney General Wally Oppal, who was in office when the community court opened, said he was encouraged to see its progress.
"When you look at chronic offenders, 50 per cent at least are suffering from some kind of mental illness," he said Wednesday.
"Others are either homeless or addicted to drugs and alcohol, so the idea was to try and rehabilitate people so they don't become chronic offenders or repeat offenders."
The court was also created to help the justice system run more efficiently by taking on cases that normally would be handled by the nearby provincial court.
The evaluation report said that court seemed to be more efficient after the community court was established. But it noted that the increased efficiency could be part of a long-term trend rather than the community court's help with the case load.
The community court is handling a heavier case load than was originally expected, so changes may be needed to ensure cases are being processed in a timely fashion, the report said.
Case management teams assigned to offenders in community court help them access rehabilitation services or treatment programs and reduce the risk of re-offending.
The court also holds events such as public forums, open houses and barbecues to engage with the community it serves.
The report said a survey of community members show some believe offenders are benefiting from the initiative, while others think access to services such as drug treatment and permanent housing need to be improved.
The B.C. government said in a release that it expects to use the evaluation of the Downtown Community Court to help develop a broader strategy for specialized courts in the province.
The long-standing animosities between British Columbia's unionized teachers and the Liberal government have surfaced again with the release of a document that outlines the union's strike plans.
B.C. Teachers' Federation President Jim Iker denies the document was written by the union, but Education Minister Peter Fassbender says the paper was leaked to the government by a union member.
Fassbender says he's concerned the document lays out a three-phase plan that includes rotating strikes followed by a provincewide strike.
Iker says he finds the timing of the document release perplexing as it comes when contract talks are set to resume and teachers are in the middle of a strike vote.
Iker suggests that the government wrote the document, because it is distributing the paper, but he confirms that a positive strike vote would give the BCTF support to launch job action.
Fassbender says he strongly denies the government had a hand in producing the document.
Read more BC News
- Highway 1 reopened near GoldenBC
- Koe dominates Brier finalKamloops
- Two Okanagan arenas go for $100kCentral Okanagan
- New command for Kelowna DragoonsKelowna
Government of BC
Provincial Emergency Program
BC Health Guide