Salmon Arm  

Judge dismisses collection company's application for default on 45% loan

Judge blasts debt collector

A judge slammed a debt collection company and dismissed its application for a default order on a payday loan that charged almost 45% interest.

In a B.C. provincial court decision issued Jan. 18 in Salmon Arm, Judge Jeremy Guild blasted EOS Canada, which had attempted to collect on the $10,700 loan issued in September 2018.

Easyfinancial Services loaned Lee Young and Tammy Law, $10,701.45 at an interest rate of 44.96%.

No payments were made on the loan after July 1, 2019, however it wasn't until Nov. 22 that efS considered that the two had defaulted.

It assigned the debt collection to EOS, which has since changed its name to Transworld Systems Canada Inc.

EOS waited until Oct. 7, 2021, to file a notice of claim, including interest up to that date. No reply to the claim was filed, and on Sept. 21, 2022, EOS filed an application for a default hearing.

Guild dismissed EOS' claim, blasting the length of time it took to pursue the money, allowing interest to accrue at the sky-high rate.

"There were significant delays by EOS in pursuing the debt and the claim. There were a number of significant periods where nothing was done to pursue collection. For example, upon registered mail addressed to Lee Young being returned to EOS marked “Refused”, a process server was not engaged until about four months later. An EOS representative was apparently able to fairly quickly locate a Facebook account for Lee Young that became the means of alternate service," the judge wrote.

"When it became clear it was difficult to find Lee Young, no request for substitutional service was made for several more months. I am not criticizing EOS' business practices. They are free to take as much time as they wish and conduct their business as they see fit. The issue is that EOS claimed interest was payable ... during all those unexplained delays at the rate of $9.36 per day."

Guild continued: "Given the purpose of the Small Claims Act is to have speedy, just and inexpensive resolutions to claims, it seems inconsistent to permit such interest to be payable where little was done, to the detriment of the debtor."

The judge found no proof EOS was even licensed to operate in B.C.

"EOS has failed to show that. Its claim could be dismissed on that basis alone, but there are further problems," wrote Guild.

Those included no proof of assignment of the debt to EOS, no evidence the demand letters were ever sent or received, and that the notice was only made out to Young and not Law.

The loan was to be divided between a joint account and home and auto benefit plan, however only Law apparently signed and was aware of $3,043.96 going to a prepaid credit card solely in her name.

The loan was to be repaid by preauthorized payment from the joint account.


BCGEU reaches tentative deal at Salmon Arm's Lakeside Manor following mediation

Tentative deal at Lakeside

A tentative contract agreement has been reached with seniors home workers at Lakeside Manor in Salmon Arm.

The BC General Employees' Union says it has reached a tentative agreement following mediation with Vantage Living Inc., owner of the independent living facility.

The union and Vantage met with a mediator on Wednesday.

Until a membership vote on the tentative agreement is held, the union's job action will stand down.

"From the 84 per cent strike vote last October, to serving 72-hour strike notice earlier this month, members at Lakeside Manor have shown solidarity and the kind of fight it takes to get a fair deal," said BCGEU president Stephanie Smith.

"That solidarity enabled the bargaining committee to secure a deal that will improve conditions for everyone that lives and works in this facility."

The union represents 30 workers at Lakeside Manor, who work as laundry attendants, room attendants, line cooks, chefs, dishwashers, servers and activities and events specialists.

Parent raises concern over homeless shelter in same building as Salmon Arm daycare

Location 'absolutely insane'

A Salmon Arm father says he was shocked to learn a homeless shelter would be opening up in the same building as his three-year-old son's daycare.

Seamus Mulcahy says the placement of the shelter beside the daycare and Storefront School for high-risk youth in the Downtown Activity Centre is "absolutely insane."

The temporary shelter opened just last week, and Mulcahy is concerned for the safety of the youngest children and the potential influence on students of the Storefront School, who may already be at risk of street life.

Mulcahy has written to Premier David Eby, the ministers of child care, children and family development, education, housing, mental health and addictions, MLA Greg Kyllo, MP Mel Arnold and Salmon Arm's mayor and council with his concerns.

"While I fully understand this is a complex issue and I support the need for housing of our homeless population in our community, I do not support putting a homeless shelter in the same building as a school for troubled teenagers, a preschool as well as a daycare," Mulcahy says in the letter.

"It is incomprehensible that a decision has been made to put a homeless shelter in the same building as a school for vulnerable adolescents ... who have been unsuccessful in a traditional school setting. In addition, a daycare and preschool that has our most precious and most vulnerable children."

He says he's never had an issue with the school and that placing the storefront teens "in the mix with people who are currently using drugs" puts them in danger.

While the shelter's hours will be 8 p.m. to 6 a.m., Mulcahy says clients will likely "be hanging around all day."

The 20-bed facility is operated by the Canadian Mental Health Association.

Salmon Arm executive director Dawn Dunlop says she "understands the concerns" and that the shelter is a "short-term solution."

"We had meetings over months to try and find a location," says Dunlop. "We explored every opportunity. It was either move forward on this site, or we don't have a shelter."

Mulcahy acknowledges safety measures have been put in place, but says no measures "can ensure the elimination of unacceptable risk to our children."

He says while there has been "uproar" in other communities about shelters nears schools, "someone thinks putting a shelter in the same building as a daycare and a school is reasonable?"

He's concerned about the safety of female staff at the daycare as well as that of the children.

Castanet has reached out to Discovery Kids Daycare for comment.

Meanwhile, there is a shortage of daycare spaces in the community, says Mulcahy.

"I feel sorry for the daycare. They are stuck between a rock and a hard place," he says.

"Will it be a case that children will be injured or worse before people come to their senses that this is a ludicrous solution?"

The shelter space has been leased until April 30. Meanwhile, BC Housing will continue searching for a permanent shelter location.

"We understand that safety is important, and it is our highest priority," said Dunlop.


DriveBC says Highway 1 near Tappen reopened after Tuesday evening crash

Highway 1 reopened

UPDATE: 10:00 p.m.

DriveBC says Highway 1 near Tappen has been reopened after a crash earlier Tuesday evening closed the highway in both directions.

ORIGINAL: 7:22 p.m.

The Trans-Canada Highway near Tappen is closed in both directions after a vehicle incident on Tuesday evening.

According to DriveBC, the crash happened on Highway 1 between Greer Road and Broderick Creek Frontage Road, about eight kilometres west of Tappen.

This story will be updated if more information becomes available.

69-year-old woman falls through the ice at Swansea Point

40 minutes in frozen lake

After falling through the ice near Swansea point on Mara Lake Monday night, a 69-year-old woman was able to call 911 while clinging to the ice.

“The woman was pretty lucky that she had her phone with her and was able to call 911,” says Sgt. Murray McNeil of the Sicamous RCMP.

With only her head out of the water, the woman was able to describe her surroundings and police were able to use her cell phone GPS to locate her.

The first officer to arrive on scene “tried to shimmy to her on his belly,” but ended up falling through the ice as well. "The water was probably over six feet, it was over everyone's head."

Help from both Sicamous and Swansea Fire Departments was on its way as the officer and woman were now both immersed in the icy water.

The second officer on scene also fell through the ice explains McNeil.

McNeil estimates the woman spent 40 minutes in the water and the first officer spent about 15 while the second officer, less than five minutes. Firefighters used ropes and ladders from shore and technicians with the Ice Rescue team were able to perform the rescue while being in dry suits.

The woman was transported to Vernon Jubilee Hospital and has since been released. McNeil says she reached out this Tuesday morning to thank everyone involved and knows the outcome could have been much different without the help of everyone involved.

At the height of the rescue, about 12 members of the two fire departments and RCMP were involved as well as two ambulance crews.

McNeil adds the Firefighters involved were up to the task as they had recently completed Water and Ice training.

Co-workers try to offset family's costs as child undergoes chemo

Rare cancer diagnosis

Salmon Arm liquor store sees 'overwhelming support' after roadwork blues

Staying open after all

After announcing it would close due to being cut off by a major Salmon Arm road project, the Downtown Liquor Store says it has received an outpouring of support and will stay open.

The store expressed "a heartfelt thank you to our valued customers for their overwhelming support during our recent Going Under Sale. Due to our community's exceptional turnout and loyalty, we have decided to remain open for business."

The store has faced ongoing challenges due to the ongoing Ross Street underpass construction project.

"Despite our landlord's efforts, the city would not reopen Lakeshore Drive to two-way traffic, and we have been unable to regain the use of our parking lot for customers. This sustained loss in traffic has caused significant damage to downtown businesses, including ours," store management said in an email.

The owners say they have been in regular contact with city council since the project started 14 months ago.

Told the city would work with businesses to minimize impacts, the liquor store's Tim Frazer says there has been "no real action behind those words."

"This is a $20-plus-million project, yet somehow there are no resources to help the businesses most affected by it."

But, despite that, Frazer says staff were "amazed at the level of support" from the community.

"It is clear that the people of Salmon Arm want to see traffic flow freely through downtown, and they want to see small businesses supported by the city. No one seems to understand why the road is still limited to one-way traffic when it could easily be open for business."

The underpass will provide a safer crossing of the CP rail line to connect downtown Salmon Arm to Shuswap Lake.

Shuswap MLA blasts NDP community benefits agreements as discriminatory

Kyllo blast NDP's CBAs

Shuswap MLA Greg Kyllo is blasting the governing NDP's community benefits agreements as discriminatory and favouring the party's union friends.

Kyllo, the BC Liberals' shadow minister for labour, called out what he termed "false promises" after First Nations companies were barred from working on the Cowichan District Hospital replacement.

Jon Coleman, a Cowichan Tribes member and contractor says the CBAs prevent local Indigenous people from working on their own territory. Originally contracted to work on the hospital, Coleman has been forced to lay off staff and return leased equipment because of the exclusion.

"Originally estimated to cost $600 million, the project's costs have ballooned to more than $1.4 billion due to Premier David Eby's discriminatory policy that gives special treatment to NDP-supportive unions over local First Nations employees," Kyllo says in a press release.

"The BC NDP’s preferential treatment of their union donors is harming local community employment, grossly inflating costs and adding more layers of red tape and bureaucracy to our health-care system, which is already in crisis."

Coleman said that despite bringing attention to the issue more than a month ago, the premier's office failed to respond.

By excluding them from the project unless they're unionized, the CBA is effectively forcing workers to accept pay rates inferior to what Coleman's company pays them, Kyllo added.

"It's outrageous that community members of the Cowichan Tribes are being withheld from work on their own lands," said Kyllo. "With 85 per cent of B.C.'s construction workers excluded from working on public infrastructure projects under the CBA program, it's no surprise to see the NDP is prioritizing union kickbacks over support for local communities and First Nations."

Despite being told the premier would look into the matter, Coleman says work is being granted to businesses outside Cowichan territory.

"In fact, there is a real possibility that the general contractor will be bringing in temporary foreign workers, because they cannot find local labour," he said.

"The provincial government has effectively revoked our inherent right to work within our traditional territory."

Mosquito control returns to Scotch Creek after one-year hiatus

Mosquito control returns

Mosquito control will return to the Scotch Creek area of the Shuswap this year.

The Columbia Shuswap Regional District, BC Parks and Little Shuswap Lake Band plan to restart the program in spring and summer.

The band had expressed concern about potential environmental impacts from the mosquito larvicide treatments.

The program was then suspended in 2022 as it "would not be effective without including the areas of significant mosquito breeding habitat on the Skw'lax te Secwepemcúl?ecw lands and Shuswap Lake Provincial Park," the CSRD says.

The mosquito program uses a product called Aquabac (BTI), which is a soil-borne bacterial product that specifically targets mosquitoes in their larval growth stage before they hatch. Its use is regulated by the federal government.

An independent study by Simon Fraser University concluded there are no adverse impacts on fish or habitat.

Based on the conclusions, the band is pleased Aquabac treatments "are not harming fish, or their habitat, and we are now willing to move forward with the nuisance mosquito program on a one-year basis," said Kukpi7 (Chief) James Tomma.

The purpose of the one-year basis is to allow for testing on amphibians during the 2023 season. Based on test results, the program will be re-evaluated and long-term agreements may be negotiated.

BC Parks has issued a letter of authorization for the treatment of habitat in Shuswap Lake Provincial Park between April and August 2023.

CSRD Area F director Jay Simpson says the return of mosquito control will greatly reduce their nuisance to residents and visitors.

"The mosquito issue can make it almost unbearable to enjoy this beautiful area of the Shuswap," says Simpson. "By working together with the Skw'lax te Secwepemcúl?ecw, we will have a program for the coming year that is safe, effective and we hope to be sustainable into the future."

New winter shelter opening in downtown Salmon Arm

Emergency shelter opens

A new emergency winter shelter is opening in Salmon Arm.

“We recognize the urgent need to offer safe, indoor housing to those currently sheltering outside in Salmon Arm,” Minister of Housing Ravi Kahlon said in a press release.

“While we have invested in more than 5,200 shelter spaces across B.C. this winter season, we recognize shelters are not a long-term solution to homelessness, and through BC Housing we continue to look for opportunities for more supportive housing in the region.”

The shelter is located at the Downtown Activity Centre at 451 Shuswap St.

It will be open from 8 p.m. until 6 a.m. daily and will provide space for 20 people.

The shelter is a partnership between the province, Canadian Mental Health Association Shuswap-Revelstoke, and the City of Salmon Arm.

Guests will have access to warm meals, hygiene facilities, off-site warming centres during the day, and referrals to health services.

CMHA will operate the site in addition to supportive housing and housing for families and seniors that it already runs in Salmon Arm.

“This has been the result of many partners working together. We are excited to open the space and look forward to welcoming and supporting people in our community,” said executive director Dawn Dunlop.

The space has been leased by BC Housing until April 30. Meanwhile, BC Housing will continue searching for a permanent shelter location.

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