Archive for May 2019

Debate over the future of the Springbank Dam returns to city hall Monday.

Members of the strategic priorities and policy committee will be given a report and presentation from a species at risk biologist, who feels keeping the dam inoperable is better for the health of the Thames River.

Coun. Stephen Turner is looking forward to hearing from biologist Scott Gillingwater.

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“The Upper Thames [River Conservation Authority] representative will walk us through the effects of barriers along the river and watershed on some of the sensitive species and the species at risk in our area,” he said. “When we do build things, it does have an impact on our environment and we have to be really cautious about how we proceed to make sure that our city works in harmony with our natural environment.”

According to Gillingwater’s presentation, the body of water is currently home to 90 species of fish, 30 species of freshwater mussels and 30 species of reptiles and amphibians, along with countless birds, mammals and invertebrates which all depend on the health of the river. Many of the species that live along the Thames watershed are rare, and only occur in a few isolated areas in the province.

The Springbank Dam has been inoperable since 2006 when it was left open for repairs after a flood in 2000, but complications led to a lengthy court battle. The dispute was resolved in late 2015 when the city was awarded $3.77 million.

Before council decides what to do with the dam, it voted last year in favour of having a combined environmental assessment done at a cost of $900,000.

The EA, called the “One River Master Plan,” will cover both the dam and the “Back to the River” project, which is a proposed overhaul of the forks of the Thames. The project is an initiative spearheaded by London Community Foundation in partnership with the city and Upper Thames River Conservation Authority.

City officials launched an international design contest in 2015 asking firms to redesign a five-kilometre stretch of the river from the forks. The winner, Civitas & Stantec, says their design intends to integrate and balance many forces and factors into a cohesive, connected and accessible river.

The project can go forward with or without the repair of the Springbank Dam, but some have argued it won’t look as good without fixing the dam.

Chippewas of the Thames, Oneida Nation of the Thames, and Munsee Delaware First Nation communities have called on London to decommission the dam.

The reasons for fixing the dam hinge mostly on improving the recreational uses of the Thames River, such as canoeing, and improving the look of the area.

Since the legal battle was resolved, the World Wildlife Fund and the Thames River Anglers Association have called on the city not to fix the dam. The dam isn’t needed for flood control purposes.

Gillingwater argues artificially raised water caused by dams can change the thermal properties of the water, can limit flushing of toxins and changes or destroys the aquatic and terrestrial habitats necessary for the survival of many species. Research has shown that in cases where dams have been taken out of service, at-risk wildlife populations have increased in number due to more natural flows, decreased water depths, increased habitat availability and a system that is more consistent with the natural adaptations and requirements of species found in a given region.

Repairing the dam was a campaign promise of Mayor Matt Brown, but the issue has divided council.

The EA is expected to be finished in May 2018, which is just a few months before the next municipal election.

Monday’s meeting of the strategic priorities and policy committee starts at 4 p.m.

The drug-trafficking trial for a Nova Scotia doctor accused of prescribing 50,000 pills to a hospital patient stalled Monday as the defence made a bid to exclude statements she made to medical regulators in the early days of the case.

READ MORE: NS doctor charged with drug trafficking to stand trial in April: defence lawyer

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Dr. Sarah Dawn Jones sat quietly in the gallery of Bridgewater provincial court as defence lawyer Stan MacDonald argued her constitutional rights would be violated if information she gave the Nova Scotia College of Physicians and Surgeons is allowed into her trial.

Jones has pleaded not guilty to charges including possession of narcotics for the purpose of trafficking, drawing a document without authority and fraud.

“She has the right to be free from the Crown using self incriminating evidence against her,” MacDonald said outside court during a break on the first day of the case.

WATCH: Drug charges against N.S. doctor has non-profit raising big questions

When charges were laid over a year ago, Bridgewater police and the federal Crown alleged that Jones wrote the prescription for oxycodone and oxyneo pills over a one-year period to a hospital patient but the drugs were diverted into the community.

However, the case’s origins run back to August 2015, after a pharmacist reported unusual activity by Jones to the college’s investigative branch and she was swiftly suspended by the medical investigators.

MacDonald said the college immediately contacted the doctor to request she respond to allegations she was diverting the powerful painkillers.

Court heard on Monday that she wrote a lengthy letter to the college on Sept. 4, and four days later gave testimony defending her actions. The college still went on to report the matter to police.

READ MORE: Nova Scotia to review prescription drug monitoring program in wake of charges against doctor

“We say both of these bodies of evidence were provided under compulsion, and are incriminating in nature,” MacDonald argued.

He said the college’s powers under the Medical Act are “draconian,” and it’s difficult to resist a request to provide information when you risk losing your livelihood.

In addition, MacDonald said that evidence about a medical drop box at Jones’ Crossroads clinic in Tantallon, N.S. – which she had told the college committee was supposed to contain some of the prescribed narcotics – should be dropped from the trial.

He told the judge that police wouldn’t have investigated the drop box and an inventory of its contents if Jones hadn’t brought it up with the regulator’s investigation committee.

WATCH: Advocates work to raise awareness about prescription drug abuse

He said if the drop box evidence is admitted, the Crown can erode Jones’ credibility in the trial.

“The Crown is alleging … that Jones prescribed pills for (the patient) which she then diverted for her own use or for sale,” said MacDonald.

“The Crown is trying to say that though she said in her statement to the college that these pills were returned to the box, there’s no evidence of those pills being in the box, so therefore she must be guilty.”

Federal Crown prosecutor Jill Hartlen argued that Jones had provided the letter and testimony voluntarily to the college.

READ MORE: Nova Scotia doctor charged with trafficking oxycodone pleads not guilty

The prosecutor also said that Jones’ statements were aimed at showing she’d done nothing wrong.

Hartlen told Judge Timothy Landry that police would have eventually investigated the drop box at the clinic as one of the possible explanations of what had happened with the narcotics, regardless of any leads they gained from the college.

“She didn’t provide evidence under oath … or under subpoena,” said Hartlen, arguing that Jones wasn’t compelled to speak to the college.

Judge Landry asked a series of questions of the federal Crown lawyer, including whether he might accept some aspects of the letter to the college, while excluding others.

He said he expects to have a decision on the admissibility of the evidence by Friday afternoon.

The trial had originally been scheduled to begin on Monday and run 10 days.

READ MORE: Advocates work to raise awareness about prescription drug abuse

Hartlen said outside court that if the conversations between Jones and the college and the evidence regarding the drop box are excluded, the Crown will likely continue its case.

“I’m confident we will continue to prosecute, although it depends on how far reaching the judge’s decision is,” she said.

CARMAN, Man. —; As the overland flooding begins to recede in Carman, the town’s mayor says a second surge could be on the way.

Rising water forced the community in southwestern Manitoba to declare a state of emergency Sunday. The overflowing Boyne River damaged up to 40 homes in the town. Several schools are also closed Tuesday.

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Related

  • Partial dike built in St. Adolphe for first time since 2013 to protect community from flooding

  • Flood waters force 84 people from homes on Peguis First Nation

  • 60,000 sandbags available for flooding, if required: City

  • Swan River declares state of emergency due to large ice jam

    On Monday afternoon, the town’s mayor, Bob Mitchell said, although the water is going down, there may be another surge of overland flooding from the Boyne River on the way.

    RELATED: 60,000 sandbags available for flooding, if required: City

    “Our biggest concern is going to be four, five days down the road when we get the next surge of water coming from the west when the ice dams break there,” Mitchell said.

    “We know there is another surge coming.”

    Mitchell said this is the worst flooding he’s since since the 1970s.

    “We’ve never seen this before,” he said. “We have a diversion system that controls the amount of water that comes into town, and it’s sized perfectly. But it doesn’t anticipate this kind of blockage.”

    Two homes adjacent to the river had water fill basement crawl spaces that were several feet deep. One resident lost a furnace that was inside his crawl space.

    RELATED: Fire officials work around the clock sandbagging near Clandeboye, Manitoba

    Town residents are being asked to conserve water because officials had to shut down the community’s treatment plant.

    Residents also built makeshift dykes and sandbagged properties to protect against the rising Boyne River.

    “Our hope is the water drops enough in town now… so when the next surge come we will have enough capacity to take up without a significant problem,” Micthell said.

    Other communities at risk

    Multiple other Manitoba communities have declared states of emergency including the R.M. of Dufferin, the R.M. of La Broquerie, the R.M. of Grey, the R.M. of Two Borders, and the Town of Swan River.

    Overland flooding forced the Town of Carman, Man. to declare a state of emergency.

    Josh Arason/Global News

    The roads around Carman are completely washed out.

    Global News

    There are close to 300 properties at risk of being flooding in the area.

    The town’s mayor said this is the worst flooding he’s since in decades.

BALTIMORE – Mark Trumbo homered with two outs in the 11th inning, and the Baltimore Orioles beat the Toronto Blue Jays 3-2 Monday for their seventh straight opening-day victory.

Trumbo connected off Jason Grilli (0-1) on a 1-2 slider. When he reached the plate, the reigning major league home run king was drenched in water by teammates and cheered heartily by those remaining from a sellout crowd of 45,667.

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The game was rematch of last year’s AL wild card playoff, won by Toronto 5-2 on an 11th-inning home run by Edwin Encarnacion. Though Encarnacion is now with Cleveland, the Blue Jays and Orioles haven’t changed much tying for second in the AL East at 89-73.

READ MORE:
Blue Jays hope to galvanize fans once again with #LetsRise

The 25th opening day at Camden Yards produced a dramatic contest that began in the late afternoon and ended at dusk.

Tyler Wilson (1-0), the fourth Baltimore reliever, pitched one shutout inning.

Booed from introductions to his final at-bat, Toronto’s Jose Bautista went 0 for 5 with a walk. He grounded into an inning-ending double play in the ninth with the score tied and runners on first and second.

Starting on opening day for the first time, Baltimore’s Kevin Gausman gave up two runs and five hits in 5 1/3 innings.

Toronto right-hander Marco Estrada also received his first opening day start. The 10-year veteran allowed two runs over six innings and retired his last 10 batters.

READ MORE:
Blue Jays end pre-season with 6-4 win against Pirates in Montreal

Baltimore went 0 for 5 with runners in scoring position over the first two innings, wasting doubles by Adam Jones and Welington Castillo.

That trend ended in the third. Newcomer Seth Smith doubled and Jones walked, Chris Davis delivered an RBI single and Trumbo followed with a run-scoring double.

Toronto got a run back in the fifth when Gausman issued three walks, the last to Kendrys Morales with the bases loaded.

The Blue Jays pulled even in the sixth. After Gausman gave up a one-out single to Steve Pearce, Ezequiel Carrera hit an RBI double off Mychal Givens.

READ MORE:
Blue Jays sign manager John Gibbons to contract extension through 2019

WHAT A PLAY

Orioles third baseman Manny Machado thrilled the crowd with in the 11th inning, diving near the bag to snare a grounder before throwing a side-armed toss on one knee to retire Devon Travis by a step at first base. He received a standing ovation.

FLYING BATS

Toronto centre fielder Kevin Pillar lost the grip on his bat on successive swings in the eighth inning, launching it into the stands on the third-base side on both occasions. A fan made a nice catch on the first one, and the second dropped from without evidently hurting anyone.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Blue Jays: Toronto hoped to avoid placing RHP Roberto Osuna (cervical spasm) on the 10-day DL, but relented Sunday. “We expected and he expected for it to improve with him continuing to pitch,” GM Ross Atkins said. “It didn’t, so we thought it was in his best interest and ours to see if we could get it completely out of there.”

Orioles: LHP Wade Miley (respiratory infection) will pitch a simulated game Tuesday. He hopes to come off the DL to start Sunday against the Yankees.

UP NEXT

Blue Jays: J.A. Happ (20-4 in 2016) starts Wednesday night in the finale of the two-game series. He’s 4-3 against Baltimore.

Orioles: Dylan Bundy (10-6) makes his 15th career start Wednesday, the first against Toronto.

Voters in the riding of Saint-Laurent head to the polls on Monday to decide who will replace former MP Stéphane Dion, who resigned his seat in January to accept a position as Canada’s ambassador to the European Union.

The riding is considered a longtime Liberal stronghold — the party has held it for decades.

However, the Liberal nomination process was filled with controversy after the party rejected the candidacy of Alan DeSousa.

READ MORE: Federal Liberals say ‘no’ to would-be candidate in Montreal byelection

The longtime mayor of the Saint-Laurent borough was hoping to make the jump to federal politics.

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READ MORE: Alan DeSousa loses appeal to run for Liberals in Saint-Laurent byelection

Instead, 26-year-old Emmanuella Lambropoulos, a teacher and resident of Saint-Laurent, was chosen to represent the Liberal Party.

READ MORE: Emmanuella Lambropoulos wins nomination for Liberals in Saint-Laurent byelection

Lambropoulos’ win was an upset to star candidate and former MNA and Quebec cabinet minister, Yolande James.

READ MORE: Yolande James seeks Liberal nomination in Saint-Laurent: ‘diversity matters’

Mathieu Auclair, a student in international relations, was picked by the NDP to run.

There’s also Jimmy Yu, from the Conservative Party, Bloc Québécois’ William Fayad and Daniel Green from the Green Party.

Polls will be open Monday from 9:30 a.m. and will close at 9:30 p.m.