Inconvenience Store in Central Frederick to be torn down soon


The building some affectionately — and some less not so affectionately — refer to as the “inconvenience store” in Central Frederick is slated to be torn down by the city of Kitchener.

The city plans this even thought it does not actually own the building.

READ MORE: Kitchener council approves 2019 budget, property taxes hiked 2.25 per cent

The property at the corner of Samuel and Brubacher streets, which features both a home and a commercial building, has been in existence at least 100 years but has spent the past 20 years or so of its existence boarded up.

The absentee owners have paid all of the property taxes on the building but have not paid the upkeep on it, which is why the city stepped in.

“Residents over the years have always wanted to see vacant buildings repaired, demolished, action taken,” said Jennifer Hassum, a spokesperson for the city of Kitchener.

She explained that new regulations were introduced in 2016 which required owners of vacant buildings to maintain a certain level of maintenance.

The two buildings are in the process of being torn down.

Kevin Nielsen / Global News

Having decided the vacant building did not meet those maintenance standards, the city brought someone in to fix the exterior of the “Inconvenience Store,” as well as a house on the property.

“As a result of that process, the city was advised to obtain an engineer’s report, as there were concerns the building may not be structurally sound,” Hassum said.

READ MORE: Key themes for Kitchener’s new strategic plan considered

The city received the report in December and it concluded that the buildings were not structurally sound, and recommended it be torn down.

Staff for the city are currently putting the finishing touches on a tender contract which will be listed in February and the process will continue from there.

The absentee owners will be given a bill for the demolition and will also have to make a decision on what happens to the “Inconvenience Store.”

A beautification project by neighbours saw the windows covered with paintings.

Kevin Nielsen / Global News

Global News reached out to the owners of the property for comment but has not received a response.

Over the past couple of years, the store has been beautified by neighbours who tried to paint a pretty face on the building.

“A few of the windows on the second floor started breaking from underneath the plywood that was flaking and coming apart so there was glass falling down onto the grass below the building,” said neighbour Laura Peart-McBride.

READ MORE: Kitchener, Waterloo councils approve legal cannabis stores

So she helped organize a contest in which residents of the Central Frederick community could build on their neighbourhood’s artsy reputation and cover the windows with artwork.

“When people see it, they feel so much animosity towards it,” Peart-Mcbride explained. “So I thought, what if use the skills that we have, and that is a lot of people who are very talented with a paintbrush.”

“The hopes was that would beautify a negative space.”

She was also hoping the increased awareness of the old building might draw interest from someone who would rehabilitate it.

She says the project was successful in drawing interest but the current owners were not interested in selling the building.

A beautification project by neighbours saw the windows covered with paintings.

Kevin Nielsen / Global News

“We’ve had several developers interested. Most have been sent away,” neighbour John Cunningham said.

While Peart-McBride hoped it would be renovated, she understands that perhaps it is now too late to restore it and believes it has become a safety concern.

“A lot of the houses around it have babies and if something were to happen, and that house were to go up in flames, that’s worst case scenario,” she said.

Cunningham has been living in Central Frederick for 40 years and was around when the building was a thriving Newfoundland store where goods were brought in for people from Newfoundland and Labrador.

While he understands it is not the prettiest building, he believes it should survive.

“It’s quite classic in its own right,” he said. “It was what old neighbourhoods represented. You didn’t go two miles to get your bread and milk. You walked down the street.”

There are plenty of others in the area who will be happy to see the building leave, though it is unclear exactly when they will get their wish.

And once it is gone, the city says it will be up to the owners to decide what will happen with the empty lot.

“Just tearing it down and building a four-plex is not in the flavor of our neighbourhood,” Cunningham said.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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Central Okanagan celebration encourages turning off screens, turning on fun – Okanagan


From bouncy castles to face painting, arts, crafts and games, it was all about unplugging from those time-consuming electronics and plugging into fun at the Parkinson Recreation Centre in Kelowna.

The event, held Sunday, was the kickoff party for Unplug and Play Week, an annual event sponsored by Interior Savings.

“Unplug and Play is a week of bringing families out to participate in the community, connecting together and turning off their screens to have fun,” said Amanda Turner, early years community developer for Central Okanagan Early Years Partnership.

“When families are turning towards their screens, they’re really turning away from each other,” Turner said. “So making sure that you have face to face time together, with neighbours, in the community, is really important for children to be physical, to be creative, to learn about their world and develop.”

This party is the kick-off event to a week of activities across the valley, including everything from unicorn parties to spaghetti dinners.

“The idea around Unplug and Play Week is really to highlight all the things that are always going on in our communities like skating at Stuart Park, doing activities at the library, going down and checking out the museum,” Turner said. “So take this week to look into what is always happening in our community.”

Turner added that studies indicate too much screen time can make it harder for kids to get quality sleep and pay attention. It can also increase risk of weight gain, anxiety and even depression.

At the kick-off party there were some conflicting opinions about what activities were the most fun.

Many kids mentioned the bouncy castles, the beanbag toss and dancing as fun activities.

But there was nothing more popular than the appearance of the Fat Cat, who hugged and high-fived children of all ages all morning and afternoon.

Kelowna youth making a difference with help of neighbourhood-enhancement grant

One thing was clear — no one seemed to miss their iPads or televisions or phones.

If you’re wondering what’s too much screen time, the Canadian Pediatric Society has some recommendations.

“[For] children under the age of two [it’s] really no screen time at all, because there’s so much brain development happening,” Turner said. “Children between the ages of two and five limit to an hour a day. Anything over the age of five should be limited to less than two hours per day.”

This coming week will be filled with over 80 events, from Lake Country all the way to Peachland, so you may just need to sneak a bit of screen time to check the Unplug and Play Week website for a schedule of events.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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Central Alberta saxophone player marks decades of entertaining crowds


When Alec Salmon first performed on drums eight decades ago at his one-room schoolhouse near Bashaw in Central Alberta, it didn’t go well.

“When we got going, the crowd went out the door,” Salmon, 88, told Global News on Saturday, ahead of a performance in his former school. “We made such a heck of a bad noise.”

Since then, he has had a lot more practice, playing instruments that include the drums, accordion and banjo.

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Salmon’s main instrument is the saxophone, but he said he doesn’t play for his own satisfaction.

“I don’t really [enjoy playing], but it seems that the people do. They keep wanting me to come back,” he said to laughter from the crowd.

Salmon estimates he has performed with 14 different bands over the years. For the past decade, he has led the group Alec and the Buffalo Lake Band.

“He’s just a lot of fun. He’s a joker,” said Judy Dinsmore, who plays spoons in the band. “He’s fun to be around.”

“We never ever had an alarm clock in our house,” said his son, Grant. “We got woken up at 5:00 by a saxophone or an accordion, or piano, or something like that.”

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Music never paid the bills for Salmon, who worked as a farmer and auctioneer.

“We played a lot of wedding dances and a lot of anniversaries, funerals and stuff like that — but I tell you, I never made enough money on it to get a haircut,” he said.


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Kettle campaign kicks off in the Central Okanagan – Okanagan


The Salvation Army kicked off its Kettle Campaign on Thursday morning with music, hot chocolate, and Santa Claus.

The kick-off was held at the Salvation Army Community Life Centre in Kelowna.

It offers a supportive food bank, grief counselling, meal programs and other supports for people in need.

The Sharing Christmas campaign is back in the Central Okanagan

Money raised during the Kettle Campaign supports Christmas hamper programs as well as programs all year round.

This year, the fundraising goal is $800 thousand dollars.

“By the end of the Christmas season of 2017 we had exceeded that goal, so we’re confident this year we will meet that target,” Darryl Burry, Executive Director of Central Okanagan Ministries said.

The demand for Salvation Army services is growing locally.  Last Christmas there was a 13 per cent increase in people needing hampers over the year before.

“So we’re in the midst now of our registration for our Christmas program and are seeing those numbers continue to climb, so unfortunately we are anticipating that we will have a very busy season,” Burry said.

The agency is asking for volunteers to help man the more than 20 kettles in the area.

Global Okanagan reporters sing for Salvation Army Kettle Campaign

1500 volunteers are needed to ring bells for over 5000 hours over the next six weeks.

If you can help by volunteering as little as two hours of time, visit, email, or call 250-860-2329 ext. 324.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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‘Unprecedented low water levels’ in northern, central B.C. raise fears for future of wildlife


October’s long dry spell in the northwest of British Columbia may be coming to an end with rain in the forecast, but the prolonged drought — which reached a level 4 warning in some areas — is already having adverse effects on wildlife in the region.

At the beginning of the week, Prince Rupert had seen only a couple of days of rain in October — which is highly unusual for the typically soggy city.

« I’ve never seen that before, » said Valerie Cameron, water stewardship manager with the Ministry of Forest, Lands and Natural Resource Operations.

Experts and residents say they’ve never seen the rivers this low. (Darrell Elvis Hill)

The dry conditions are particularly affecting salmon in the Upper Skeena region, according to Mark Cleveland, head biologist for Gitanyow Fisheries.    

« We’ve been seeing unprecedented low water levels, » said Cleveland, who hasn’t seen anything like it in his 25 years on the job.  

« Frankly, it’s very concerning. »

The Nechako River in Prince George is showing the effects of the drought. (Andrew Kurjata/CBC)

Salmon struggling

The Nass River main stem has seen water levels 50 per cent below normal for the past month, he said, and that means salmon are struggling to travel down the water streams for a number of reasons.

« Beavers block the entire river in four different locations, salmon are basically stuck behind these beaver dams, » he said.

Rocks poke through the surface of the Skeena River. (Darrell Elvis Hill)

« We’re also seeing very high predation rates on these salmon from grizzly bears … [The salmon] are sitting ducks, they have to travel tens of kilometres with their backs out of the water. »

Cleveland said he’s worried about how prolonged low water levels will impact the salmons’ future.

« The long-term impacts are likely going to be very high years down the road, » he said.

Smaller creeks have almost completely dried up in some areas. (Andrew Kurjata/CBC)

‘Mud puddles’

Dean Campbell lives in New Remo, a community just west of Terrace, and compared this month’s conditions at his favourite slough to previous years.

« The same family of ducks has been coming back, they’re back this year but usually they have water to float in, » Campbell said.

« Right now, they’re just kind of sitting in a mud puddle. »

The Skeena River between Gitwangak and Terrace, pictured in October. (Darrell Elvis Hill)

One water expert warns that drought conditions like this will become the norm and the province needs to prepare.

« I don’t think either the politicians nor the media have really focused on what we should be doing about adapting to these new conditions because they are going to come more frequently, » said Hans Schreier, a UBC professor emeritus of land and water systems.

Schreier​ said more needs to be done at a governmental level to better manage water resources.

« If we don’t act, I think we are going to have all kinds of problems in terms of dealing with these extreme events, » he said.

With files from Daybreak North. 

Read more from CBC British Columbia


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Volunteers clean-up junk from alleys in Regina’s North Central – Regina


As part of an annual clean-up, trucks hauled loads of oversized junk collected from the alleys of Regina’s North Central neighbourhood, for the eighth year in a row.

“It helps restore some pride to the community,” Executive director of the North Central Community Association Murray Giesbrecht said. “We have many people that live in the community that might not have the means to be able to dispose of a lot of this type of stuff, so having Bennett here to help do that is just incredible.”

Bennett-Dunlop Ford is the driving force behind the initiative, providing bins and trucks to haul the garbage, as well as volunteers to collect it.

“We recognize a lot of people around might not have the means with vehicles and what better way for a dealership to get involved,” General manager of Bennett-Dunlop Ford David Kohonick said. “We have lots of vehicles and lots of different trailers to help out and it’s all about giving back and it’s easy for us to get the manpower and the vehicle power.”

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Around 100 volunteers spent the morning collecting everything from shopping carts and mattresses to old televisions, tires and even yard waste.

“We’re making the community cleaner, safer, everyone seems to be enjoying themselves while doing it and it’s great seeing everyone come together for a good cause,” Volunteer Breanna Bellegarde said.

For the first time, the City of Regina also donated a wood chipper to help with yard waste. It’s a massive effort for those involved, but at the end of the day, their work goes a long way.

North Central Family Centre celebrates community with 5 km walk and run

“It’s heartwarming. This is what community is about and it just makes you feel good to be part of Regina,” Bellegarde said.

Between 2013 and 2017, more than 135 tonnes of garbage and 13 tonnes of recyclable metals were collected. Last year’s clean up alone exceeded 23 tonnes of garbage, 1.5 tonnes of recyclable metal and 193 tires.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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After years of delays, Vancouver Central Library is set to open its rooftop garden – BC


A planned rooftop garden atop Vancouver Central Library is finally set to open to the public after years of delay.

A greenspace has been in place since the construction of the library back in 1995, but has never opened to the public.

WATCH: What happened to the Vancouver library rooftop park

The garden will open its doors on Saturday as part of an approximately $16-million project that will see the building’s top two floors renovated.

The greenspace is part of a series of library upgrades, including community gathering spaces, meeting rooms for rent, a reading room, exhibition spaces and an 80-seat theatre.

The Vancouver Public Library has worked to open a rooftop garden for 23 years. Where is it?

Vancouver Public Library chief librarian Christina de Castell said they want the space to bring people together, highlighting a 2017 study from the Vancouver Foundation that “talked about people in Vancouver looking for more places to connect with each other.”

“That’s really what we’re addressing here.”

— With files from Ted Chernecki and Jesse Ferreras

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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