Kingston mayor turns to city’s brightest young minds as part of innovation challenge – Kingston


Kingston’s mayor turned to some of the city’s brightest minds on Friday to come up with innovative ideas for improving the city.

Teams of post-secondary students pitched their concepts, addressing topics that ranged from long-term care to reducing carbon emissions.

The Mayor’s Innovation Challenge is a partnership between the city and its three major post-secondary institutions: Queen’s University, St. Lawrence College and the Royal Military College.

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The competition calls on students to come up with innovative proposals that address identified challenges facing the City of Kingston.

“This is really a picture of how we harness the incredible talents we have in our post-secondary institutions and how we can tap into that in our community,” said Mayor Bryan Paterson.

‘This was not small’: Queen’s University professor pinpoints frost quake

Teams of three students were asked to focus on four challenges during the one-day event. Nine teams made presentations on topics such as how to leverage emerging technologies to create a smart city, engaging residents who deal with social isolation and loneliness in long-term care, revitalizing public spaces and reducing carbon emissions.

One group of Queen’s University students — Zoe Mitz, Jesse Mastrangelo and Andrew Farley — pitched and hope to develop an app specifically targeted at seniors dealing with social isolation.

“They can learn about each other, see names and faces and relate them to each other and plan activities, make new friends and connections and actually get out of their rooms and be social,” explained Mitz.

If the group were to win, these young entrepreneurs would engage the help of seniors to make the app user-friendly for its target audience.

“The reason tech, for a long time, hasn’t been the most usable for seniors is the fact that things are not made for them,” said Mastrangelo.

“The fact that we are going to start from scratch, from the ground up and bring seniors onto our team and build it with them, that’s the big differentiating factor for us.”

St. Lawrence College opens new Student Life and Innovation Centre

Two teams will be chosen as winners of the Mayor’s Innovation Challenge. Winners of the competition will receive a paid four-month internship as well as a grant of seed capital for their ideas.

“Ultimately, how do we retain talent? We talk a lot about how do we find jobs and opportunities for young people here so this is exactly the forum where we could be creating new businesses and new startups and new ideas we can run with as a city,” said Paterson.

Based on the ideas presented, the mayor says it won’t be easy to select the winners.

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


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Trudeau tells London, Ont. mayor General Dynamic file is top priority


The Prime Minister is reassuring Ed Holder, London’s mayor and leader of the city building light armoured vehicles, that resolving financial troubles with Saudi Arabia and preserving local jobs at General Dynamics Land Systems (GDLS) is a top priority. 

Justin Trudeau invited Holder to a private meeting Monday in Ottawa, alongside London-area Liberal MPs Kate Young and Peter Fragiskatos. 

In a written statement, Holder said the focus of the meeting was on the $15-billion arms deal between Canada and Saudi Arabia, a contract filled by the London-based defense contractor GDLS. 

« The Prime Minister confirmed that a clear priority of his government was to preserve the 3,000 to 4,000 London-area jobs, » Holder’s statement read. 

The contract to provide Saudi Arabia with armoured vehicles, equipment, and training over 14 years is controversial with political opponents citing the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi and the Kingdom’s involvement in the war in Yemen.

Late last year, it was revealed that GDLS was owed $1.8-billion in overdue payments from Saudi Arabia, impacting the local company’s ability to pay dozens of suppliers.   

There has been talk of scrapping the deal. In an interview in Dec. 2018, the Prime Minister said for the first time that he was looking for a way out of the deal.

Holder experienced with Kingdom 

Ambassador of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Naif Al Sudairy meets with Canada-Saudi Business Council chairman Ed Holder. (Canada-Saudi Business Council)

Holder reiterated in his statement that late payments and concerns around human rights continue to be issue. 

« The federal government is working with Saudi Arabia to resolve two issues: significantly delayed payments by the Saudi government, which are causing General Dynamics payment difficulties with its suppliers, and human rights concerns, » read the statement.  

Holder has experience dealing with the Kingdom, having travelled there as the first chairperson of the Canada-Saudi Business Council. He was also a Conservative MP in Stephen Harper’s government when the contract was signed in 2014.

Holder was in Ottawa Monday attending a meeting of Canada’s Big City Mayors. 


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Pet pot-bellied pig only slightly scorched after Wetaskiwin mayor saves his bacon


When Angela Pauls screamed for someone to rescue « her baby » from her burning home in December, firefighters had no idea she was referring to a pet pot-bellied pig.

« They asked if there was anyone still inside. I presume they were asking about people but I was like, ‘Oh, my baby is in there,’ so the firefighter went to the back and helped pull him out. »

The saviour of the swine, named Mr. Pua, was none other than Tyler Gandam, Wetaskiwin’s mayor who also volunteers as a firefighter.

Turns out, it was a tricky procedure to save the bacon of the stubborn, arthritic, 75-pound-porker.

Angela Pauls and her beloved house pig, Mr. Pua. (Angela Pauls/Facebook)

« You try to pick up any pig, the first thing they do is scream and then squirm. Everything is thrashing about and freaking out so you risk dropping them and breaking their legs, » Pauls said from her new home in Pigeon Lake.  

It was about 7 a.m. on Dec. 19, 2018, when Paul, who lived on an acreage in the Millet area, was startled awake by the sound of her neighbour screaming outside.

Her mobile home was on fire, the front porch of the rental was engulfed in flames.

Dressed only in pajamas, Pauls and her husband managed to get their cats, dogs and another pet pig — this one named Matilda — out of the house safely.

But Mr. Pua, their older and much larger house pig, was trapped inside a back bedroom where he sleeps during the cold winter months.

Because of a miscommunication, Paul said, more than an hour passed before firefighters arrived. Panic had begun to set in.

Mr. Pua was a cherished pet. They had nursed him back to health as a piglet and his company — along with a brood of recently acquired farm animals including goats and miniature horses — had helped the couple deal with their new status as empty-nesters.

Pauls’ husband tried again to go back inside their burning home to save Mr. Pua, but it was too dangerous.

« When the fire came in off the deck, it came through our living room, through our kitchen, up into the roof over to our bedrooms, » Pauls said.

« The deck doors were completely on fire … You couldn’t see in front of you. »

Mr Pua has always liked to lounge inside during the winter months. The cold is hard on his arthritic bones. (Angela Pauls/Facebook)

Gandam said it was a strange night on the job.He’d saved cats from trees, a duck out of a sewer, but never a pig.

Gandam had followed one of the other firefighters inside the trailer but couldn’t see him anywhere. Then he heard a loud crash in the back hallway.

Gandam found his fellow first responder in the washroom, wrestling with a pig.

After a moment of disbelief, Gandam got to work saving Mr. Pua.

I wasn’t sure if Mr. Pua was a biter or not.– Tyler Gandam

« Between the two of us, we got it moving in the right direction outside the bathroom and then I used a big water bottle from a water cooler to corral it out of the trailer, » Gandam recalled. « It was pretty reluctant to go so. 

« A person, you can pull out and not have to worry about them biting you. I wasn’t sure if Mr. Pua was a biter or not. » 

Eventually, Gandam found Pauls outside and let her know Mr. Pua was safe. Gandam said her reaction reminded him of why he loves the job. 

« The tears started and she was so thankful, » he said. « I don’t know how heroic I would call it but I was just glad we were able to reunite Mr. Pua and Angela.

« I was still trying to wrap my head around the fact that we had saved a pig from a structure fire. »

The ordeal left Mr. Pua a little singed.

After the fire, Mr. Pua spent a few weeks recuperating in the « cat room » of a luxury pet resort. (Awesome Pawsome/Facebook)

« Of course, the roof is caving in, there is fire and flames and water and chemical going everywhere. He got two burns on his back, his ears and his feet. » 

Hamming it up

After a short stint at the veterinarian, Mr. Pua was offered free accommodations at Awesome Pawsome, a Spruce Grove pet hotel where he quickly became cause célèbre.

« They offered him free room and board while he was healing, so we could find a new home, » Pauls said.

« [They] put him up in the cat room. He had his own private bathroom, his own private sleeping quarters and he apparently became quite the sensation on their Facebook. »

Since then, Mr. Pua has moved into his new pen inside the heated garage of his new family home.

His current status, according to Pauls?

« Oh, he’s lounging. »


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Former mayor Hazel McCallion, 97, to become special adviser to Ford government


Ontario Premier Doug Ford has appointed Hazel McCallion, the 97-year-old former mayor of Mississauga, Ont., as a special adviser.

Along with the premier, McCallion will advise the province’s minister of municipal affairs and housing, netting up to $150,000 per year.

McCallion served three decades as mayor, during which she was affectionately dubbed « Hurricane Hazel » by supporters and some much more « uncomplimentary » things as well, in her words, including « The Queen of Sprawl. »

During her term, Mississauga grew to become the sixth largest muncipality in the country, says the announcement. 

« This advice, combined with the input we’re receiving through the government’s housing supply consultation, will help ensure that the people of Ontario have access to the right kind of housing in the right place, » said the director of communications for Minister Steve Clark.


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More than oilsands: Mayor has eye on new brand for Fort McMurray


The mayor of Canada’s oilsands capital says one of his priorities for 2019 is changing the way Canadians look at Fort McMurray.

In the new year, Wood Buffalo Mayor Don Scott has set his sights on a charm offensive with Canadians.

When people talk about Fort McMurray, Scott wants people to think beyond oilsands mines and camps, and instead imagine family-friendly communities with world-class recreational facilities surrounded by more protected forests and parks than most communities in Canada.

« They know that we are the economic engine of Canada. They’ve heard of us. Some have positive views. Some don’t, » Scott said in a year-end interview with CBC. « If people saw the reality of how great this region is, I think they would have a much easier time believing that this is a place to live and invest. »

By getting out a better brand for Fort McMurray, Scott hopes to attract more investment and convince more people to move to the community rather than flying in and out for work.

Other oil patch boosters have taken more confrontational approaches — especially when it comes to getting a pipeline built that could take Fort McMurray’s bitumen to new foreign markets.

Political figures such as former Fort McMurray MLA and opposition leader Brian Jean recently called for a boycott of Quebec-made products after Premier François Legault said there was « no social acceptability » in his province for a « dirty energy » pipeline from Alberta.

WATCH former Fort McMurray MLA and opposition leader Brian Jean call for a boycott of Quebec products.

Earlier in 2018, Alberta Premier Rachel Notley issued an outright ban on British Columbia wine and passed the so-called « turn off the taps » legislation that would allow the province to cut off energy shipments to B.C.

Notley’s actions were sparked after B.C.’s made further attempts to block the Trans Mountain pipeline, arguing it posed environmental risks for the province.

Scott did not mention the tactics of others, but said he will be using a softer public approach in the hopes of changing hearts and minds

Meanwhile, he says he’s still working all political back channels, including meetings in 2018 with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Notley.

« I think the advocacy by Albertans has really worked. When I travel and I talk to other Canadians they are much more familiar with the challenge right now, » Scott said. « And they are much more supportive of pipelines. I feel like we are heading in the right direction. »

Promoting the Fort McMurray brand will happen, in part, through the newly created Wood Buffalo Economic Development Corporation, which recently appointed Kevin Weidlich as the new CEO.

More goals for Mayor Don Scott in 2019

Connect with David Thurton, CBC’s Fort McMurray correspondent, on FacebookTwitterLinkedIn or email him at 


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Mayor John Tory wants to keep a lid on Toronto police salary hikes, he tells the Star in a year-end interview


Mayor John Tory wants to keep a lid on Toronto police salary hikes but says officers don’t compare themselves to other city employees who got below-inflation raises.

Tory made the comment in a year-end interview with the Star Thursday, as he reflected on four years in office and the fresh four-year mandate that lies ahead, thanks to his commanding autumn re-election win.

Tory said he and fellow members of the police services board will soon give negotiators guidelines for talks with the Toronto Police Association, which represents more than 8,000 officers and civilian employees.

In 2015, under Tory, police won pay hikes of 8.64 per cent over four years.

Tory’s administration bargained hard in 2016 with city inside and outside workers represented by CUPE locals, winning below-inflation hikes of about 5 per cent over four-year contracts.

The mayor said he is inclined to see a “relevant comparison” between contracts, but said they aren’t “apples to apples.” Police union officials “negotiate more within the context of what other police officers in the province are making,” rather than other workers paid by the city, he said.

Toronto police first-class constables this year earned a $98,450 base salary, but those receiving maximum “retention pay”, a bonus that survived the last negotiation, earned $107,312. The total police budget will cost taxpayers just over $1 billion this year, most of it in salaries.

“Being a police officer is the most complex policing job that probably exists in the province and they do a very good job at it …,” Tory said. “Ideally, you would have something that is consistent with the overall desire I have as the leader of the council, which is to run a government that can expand services and manage affairs responsibly, but within the context of a low (property) tax increase.”

Another big challenge for Tory in 2019 will be dealing with Premier Doug Ford, the former councillor who settled into office by slashing the size of council in mid-election over the objections of Tory and his council colleagues.

The mayor said the two have since had productive meetings, but acknowledged the busy agenda of Ford’s Progressive Conservative government has not included passage of regulations allowing for the use of traffic wardens, rather than paid-duty police officers at busy intersections, or for the city to issue traffic tickets using photo radar in school zones.

Tory said much of the city’s wait on those safety initatives happened under the previous Liberal government but he remains frustrated. “To me, it underlines that, on these matters, we shouldn’t have to go and ask. We should have the latitude to … make the decision ourselves.”

Nor has the Ford government committed to honoring his predecessor’s pledge to reduce GO train fares within Toronto to $3 to integrate with TTC prices.

“All (the province) has said to me so far is they’re looking at reducing those fares to reduce the gap between the two (fares), but I have no commitment that they are going to do what had previously been agreed upon” and was to have taken effect Jan. 1, Tory said.

Fare integration could help relieve acute congestion on Toronto’s subway lines because riders, especially those in Scarborough, have told him they’d switch to GO for daily commutes if the prices were the same, the mayor added.

It is unclear what say Toronto will have over SmartTrack stations it has agreed to fund in conjunction with provincial Metrolinx’s regional electric rail expansion; the province wants to develop new GO stations in partnership with private developers in exchange for “air rights” to build above the stations.

“I’m not afraid of any of this,” said Tory, who added that the city should examine provincial requests-for-proposals on station development, but, if it doesn’t like the proposals, should be allowed to stick with paying for a station, itself, and deciding on the design.

“I’m quite willing to take a look at the results of such a process, but (am) always quite mindful of the need to have proper planning, and the need for us to have development which is compatible with what is going on in the rest of the city,” Tory said.

Any provincial attempt to using ministerial zoning orders to overrule city zoning guidelines for SmartTrack station construction would be “a serious issue between the City of Toronto and the province of Ontario”, Tory said. “I just don’t anticipate that is what their plans are.”

In his 2017 year-end interview with the Star, Tory said if he won a second mandate he would work more closely with progressive downtown councillors.

His recent choices for committee chairs leaned heavily on past suburban allies, with only, Ana Bailão, from the Toronto-East York community council, a downtown representative. The mayor says now that he honoured his pledge because he tapped Joe Cressy and Paula Fletcher for key posts at city agencies.

“I looked (the pledge) as being a greater inclusion of downtown councillors in the decision-making process of the government … consistent with my own obligation to move the mandate forward that I’ve been given by the people,” to expand transit, increase affordable housing and keep taxes low.

Since re-election Tory has opened the door to the possibility of seeking a third term, something he previously said he would not do. He now says that door remains open, but, as he starts his second term, he is not giving it any thought.

“It’s nothing to do with legacy; it’s everything to do with trying to address transit and housing and build a great city,” the mayor said. “If I saw a threat to that, that might cause me to make a decision that would be more likely to try to continue as mayor.”

David Rider is the Star’s City Hall bureau chief and a reporter covering Toronto politics. Follow him on Twitter: @dmrider


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Tay Township deputy mayor Jim Crawford has died – Barrie


The deputy mayor of Tay Township, Jim Crawford, has died, township officials say.

In a press release issued by the township Friday morning, Mayor Ted Walker announced Crawford’s passing.

“We are deeply saddened by the terrible news,” Walker said in the release. “On behalf of Council, staff, and Tay residents, I extend our condolences, thoughts and prayers to Jim’s family and the love of his life Lillian.”

Former Barrie mayor Ross Archer has died

Crawford was first elected as a member of council representing Ward 1 during the 2014 municipal election.

He was re-elected in October as deputy mayor and was sworn in on Dec. 6.

According to the township, the flags at the municipal office have been lowered to half-mast in tribute to Crawford’s service to the community.

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


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Mayor Tory’s office directed provincial transit agency on SmartTrack messaging


Mayor John Tory’s office directed what is meant to be an arm’s-length provincial transit agency about its messaging surrounding the mayor’s signature “SmartTrack” plan, emails obtained by the Star show.

As that plan was being significantly revised — reduced to just six new stations along existing GO train lines — the changes requested by Tory’s staff appeared aimed at putting what remained of the promised improvements in a better light.

The SmartTrack plan includes the controversial Lawrence East station, which the province’s auditor general found last week was inappropriately approved by the provincial transit agency, Metrolinx, under pressure from the city. The decision to approve the station came in spite of analysis recommending the station not be built. The auditor general, Bonnie Lysyk, has now recommended an independent review of the selection of that station.

That follows earlier reporting by the Star that showed city staff boosted the case for Lawrence East, which the mayor has said is a key part of expanding the transit network in Scarborough.

A separate set of emails recently obtained by the Star from the TTC also show ongoing discord about transit planning and concerns from a senior official that the city’s planning process on SmartTrack was “insanity.”

The correspondence involving the mayor’s office began in February 2018, when then CEO of Metrolinx Bruce McCuaig wrote to then city manager Peter Wallace and the mayor’s then chief of staff Chris Eby to provide them a copy of a presentation to be given at an upcoming board meeting. The emails were obtained by the Star through a freedom of information request.

Within hours, Eby replied with concerns.

“Why not take the opportunity to reset the communications on this a bit?” he said, noting there seemed to be “consensus between our teams about how this is going to unfold.”

He suggested the mayor come to make the presentation with Metrolinx officials as a “collaborative effort.”

“Would send a strong signal that we’re all on the same page when it comes to the options and moving towards the same goals,” he wrote.

He went on to raise issues with slides in the presentation.

That included a concern that Metrolinx was not showcasing SmartTrack in conjunction with existing GO stations and a light rail extension in the western part of the city.

“The options should include existing, LRT and SmartTrack stations so it doesn’t miscommunicate the impact these lines would have. Wouldn’t want journalists to see low number of stations and misunderstand the slide,” Eby wrote to McCuaig.

Though Tory promised a 22-stop “London-style surface rail subway” during his 2014 mayoral campaign, the resulting plan when these emails were sent was six new stations within Toronto, added to existing GO lines that were already slated for increased, electrified service. A heavy rail spur Tory had promised to Mississauga became a western extension of the Eglinton Crosstown light rail line — meaning anyone travelling by GO train would need to transfer to that line and potentially pay an extra fare to take it. Several of the new station stops promised by Tory were eliminated as was the concept there would be any kind of separate service from GO.

Still Tory’s office was trying to make SmartTrack appear more than it was.

One of the slides was eventually changed at Eby’s request to say: “All options include an LRT on the Eglinton West corridor, with the number of stations to be determined” and also, “All options include the 11 existing stations in the City of Toronto and Markham on the Kitchener and Stouffville corridors.” Eby’s request that the second point say “as part of the SmartTrack/RER service concept” was not included.

When contacted by the Star, Tory’s spokesperson Don Peat did not specifically address the email exchange involving Eby.

“We are getting on with building transit — that’s what Mayor Tory was elected and re-elected to do by Toronto voters,” Peat wrote in a statement. “City council has voted to move ahead with SmartTrack and the province has endorsed this plan.”

McCuaig, who is no longer CEO of Metrolinx, declined to comment, referring questions to Metrolinx. A spokesperson for Metrolinx also declined to comment.

There have been ongoing concerns with at least one of the stations approved by council and the province, Lawrence East.

After the Star revealed secret analysis concluding the stop was not good value for money and should not proceed as part of the approved plan, city staff, at the direction of then deputy city manager John Livey, set about to provide a different, more favourable analysis of the potential station to convince Metrolinx to approve it.

In her annual report, the auditor general said “repeatedly adding further ‘strategic considerations’ to the decision-making process makes it possible to justify any decision.”

She described a June 2016 email to the chair of the Metrolinx board from McCuaig where he says the Lawrence East site still performed “relatively poorly” even after receiving a technical evaluation from the city.

In an October 2017 letter, the city forwarded further “strategic considerations” to Metrolinx, emphasizing the station’s importance in an “optimized” Scarborough transit network, as the provincial agency weighed whether to approve the station.

“Putting so much priority on these vague strategic considerations — and less weight on net economic costs — makes the decision-making process seem arbitrary,” the auditor general wrote.

In the same period, TTC officials were discussing concerns about the planning for SmartTrack.

In a January 2016 email to colleagues, Mitch Stambler, then head of strategy and planning for the TTC, noted he had come from a meeting with city staff, including then deputy city manager Livey.

“Just came from a Livey SmartTrack meeting, and it’s the closest thing to insanity that I’ve ever seen,” wrote Stambler, who has since retired. “Truly turns my stomach.”

He went on to say that city staff at that meeting were explaining “where they think we should build this line and that line and those stations, etc.”

He concluded: “Just like on the old game show ‘Family Feud,’ everyone in the room would cheer them on and shout, ‘good answer’. It’s a different and very sad world.”

TTC spokesperson Brad Ross told the Star they do not share Stambler’s characterization of the transit planning process.

“Of course, robust discussions can and do occur on a range of issues in any organization. The TTC’s expectation of its staff is that those discussions, and subsequent correspondence, remain cordial and professional at all times,” he wrote.

In a statement, city spokesperson Tammy Robinson said staff are following council direction to negotiate with Metrolinx to implement SmartTrack project objectives.

“The city is committed to working with our partners at the TTC and Metrolinx to provide improved transit access to Toronto residents through transit expansion.”

Councillor Josh Matlow, who has challenged the mayor’s Scarborough transit plan, arguing an LRT network would serve more people for less money, said he would welcome the review of Lawrence East recommended by the auditor general and a value-for-money analysis of all transit projects.

“I think it’s disgraceful that so much time and money has been wasted rather than achieving fact-based transit plans to really help people,” he said. “Numbers have been torqued, facts have been embellished and far too many people in the political world have put their own interests before those of the people.”

Jennifer Pagliaro is a Toronto-based reporter covering city politics. Follow her on Twitter: @jpags


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Plan to move aircraft testing centre from Cold Lake to Ottawa ‘sad’: mayor – Edmonton


Cold Lake’s mayor described a decision to move the Aerospace Engineering Test Establishment (AETE) to the international airport in Ottawa “strange” and “sad.”

The Department of National Defence announced this week it plans to relocate the testing site currently based at CFB Cold Lake to Ottawa, saving about $14 million each year in operating costs.

“The community is a bit shocked,” said Cold Lake mayor Craig Copeland.

“It was in the works for a few years now,” Copeland said. “The rumor was that AETE was going to move some personnel from Cold Lake.

“The issue really is that it kind of caught everybody off guard that it was announced in the House of Commons in Ottawa, rather than have a bureaucrat come to our community and explain what was going on with AETE.

“We have a great relationship with the wing commander and colonel at AETE, but… a lot of the decisions come from Ottawa. And Ottawa doesn’t necessarily come to your community and spend a lot of time engaging with the mayor and council on their plans for the fighter base here in Cold Lake and for AETE,” Copeland added.

READ MORE: Protesters rally in downtown Edmonton over plan to move federal office out of Vegreville

The unit has been operating out of Cold Lake since 1971.

The mayor said about 2,200 people work at the Cold Lake 4 Wing. Nearly 200 people work at the testing unit and about 50 engineer-type positions will be relocated to Ottawa.

“Right now, with the the economy the way it is,” Copeland said, “for a small community like ourselves, it’s a big number.”

He said the soft housing market in Cold Lake is going to create challenges for anyone who has to relocate.

READ MORE: RCAF members at Cold Lake work second jobs to make ends meet: Ombudsman

“The way the oil patch is right now up in northeastern Alberta, then you add this on there, it’s just the uncertainty,” Copeland said. “There seems to be so much of the federal government and the provincial government really influencing the day-to-day activities here in Cold Lake and it’s out of our control.

“It’s going to be a sad day to see that unit leave a fighter base to go to a big civilian airport. It’s kind of a strange decision.”

The Department of National Defence said the final details are still being worked on, but said the move to Ottawa would not take place until 2021.

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


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‘The people have spoken’: Calgary mayor confirms 2026 Olympic dream is dead after vote


Calgarians have voted against a bid to host the 2026 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The No side won with 56.4 per cent of the vote, according to unofficial result of the non-binding plebiscite.

A total of 304,774 people cast ballots across the city, with 171,750 voting against a bid and 132,832 in favour of the Games. According to the city, 46,620 people voted in the advance polls and 8,001 mail-in ballots were received. 

By comparison, 387,582 people had voted at the end of last fall’s election. That was equal to a 58 per cent voter turnout, according to Elections Calgary. 

The official result will be made available at 3 p.m. Friday, with results by riding posted Thursday at noon.

The result means a loss of $700 million in funding from Alberta for the Games — as the money was contingent on the outcome of the plebiscite — but the bid still faces an official vote by city council before the bid corporation is officially dissolved.

« The people have spoken, the people have spoken in big numbers, and the people have spoken clearly. And this is very clear direction for where we go from here, » said Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi, who added he was personally disappointed in the result.

Nenshi said council will vote Monday, likely in favour of suspending the bid.

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi confirmed he will not be supporting the Olympic bid going forward, given the results of Tuesday night’s plebiscite. (CBC)

The plebiscite result came after weeks of acrimonious debate that played out both in the council chambers and across the city.

On Oct. 30, a funding proposal finally arrived, months later than expected. The following day, council voted to halt the process, but fell just short of the super-majority requirement, allowing it to limp forward for two weeks until to the plebiscite.

But, Nenshi said he disagrees that Olympic talks were divisive.

« A lot of folks have said this has been a divisive conversation for Calgary and I gotta tell you, I reject that thinking. Because what we had is passionate people talking about the future of the community, » he said.

Alberta Culture and Tourism Minister Ricardo Miranda said in an emailed statement the province would respect Calgarians’ decision.

« Today was a success because Calgarians were given the opportunity to have their say on whether to proceed with an Olympic bid. This decision was never an easy one, » he wrote.

Calgary 2026 CEO Mary Moran, centre, and Yes Calgary 2026 organizer Jason Ribeiro embrace following the Olympic bid plebiscite result announcement Tuesday evening. (Bryan Labby/CBC)

The bid corporation said in the statement it would begin to wrap up operations and prepare final accounting reports to its three government funding partners, as well as compile material that could be used in a possible future bid for a major sporting event.

« The Olympic motto states that ‘the most important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win, but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle,' » said Mary Moran, CEO of the Calgary 2026 Bid Corporation, in an emailed statement.

Moran said it had been a challenge trying to get the three levels of government aligned on funding expectations.

« I wish we did it sooner but we did the best we could with what we were dealt, » she told media following the result announcement.

A Calgarian arrives to vote in a plebiscite on whether the city should proceed with a bid for the 2026 Winter Olympics, in on Nov. 13. (Jeff McIntosh/Canadian Press)

Coun. Jeff Davison, one of the bid’s supporters, wrote on Facebook given the plebiscite result, he would not be supporting the bid going forward.

« I think people have had enough of this establishment telling us what to do, and what to think, » added Coun. Sean Chu, a prominent opponent of the bid.

The province spent $2 million hosting the plebiscite, and $10 million was spent on the bid out of a $30 million pool from the municipal, provincial and federal governments.

Members of the Yes campaign react to the results of a plebiscite on whether Calgary should proceed with a bid for the 2026 Winter Olympics on Tuesday evening. (Jeff McIntosh/Canadian Press)

Bid corporation board chair Scott Hutcheson thanked volunteers and athletes that championed the bid, as well as the three level of governments for funding that got the bid this far.

« If we didn’t try to do this, shame on us. We did our best, » said Hutcheson.

« I think what we need to do today is reflect on what went right, what went wrong, go back to the drawing board. »

With Calgary likely out of the running, that leaves just Stockholm and a joint Italian bid from Milan and Cortina d’Ampezzo in the running for the 2026 Winter Games.

Bids will be submitted to the International Olympic Committee in January, with a host city being chosen in Lausanne, Switzerland, in June.

The plebiscite was the first time in a Calgary election that electronic vote tabulating machines were used, instead of hand-counting ballots. 


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