Monthly Archives: October 2018

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Fort McMurray has lift-off; new international terminal opens – Edmonton

EDMONTON – After nearly three years of construction, the new $258-million Fort McMurray International Airport terminal opened for passengers Monday morning.

Government and airport officials say the new facility is vital for the municipality of Wood Buffalo, which has experienced a 75 per cent increase in air passenger traffic since 2010. The average annual increase at North American airports is three percent.

“We are one of the fastest growing municipalities in all of North America and we need to make sure that our infrastructure is keeping pace with our growth, so that’s exactly why,” explains Fort McMurray MLA Don Scott. “Our old airport was not able to keep up with the capacity.”

First flight arrives at Fort McMurray’s new international terminal, Monday, June 9, 2014.

Fletcher Kent, Global News

The old terminal could handle 250,000 passengers per year. The new terminal is expected to have 1.3-million passengers go through it during its first year.

“The first impression in coming into Fort McMurray if you’re flying is obviously the terminal and it wasn’t a very good first impression, that changes dramatically overnight, literally,” says Scott Clement, Fort McMurray Airport Authority.

The new $258-million Fort McMurray international terminal opens, Monday, June 9, 2014.

Fletcher Kent, Global News

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  • Astronaut Chris Hadfield among those celebrating Fort McMurray’s new airport terminal

Travelers have similar sentiments.

“It makes it easier that’s for sure, and coming here and not being cramped in a small airport, it actually makes a big difference,” says Latif Uyaln.

Construction was a long and challenging process but a necessary one, according to Clement.

“This one is kind of a particularly unique on a number of fronts. It’s a greenfield terminal. We had to go across the field because the current terminal could not be expanded. There are not many greenfield terminals built in North America.”

The old terminal will still be used for workforce transportation. It’s expected to transport about 275,000 people every year.

There could be more expansion in the near future. With the capacity for the new terminal being 1.5-million annual passengers, airport officials believe more development could be necessary within the next five years.

With files from Fletcher Kent

Competition urges youth to redesign Toronto’s public spaces – Toronto

TORONTO – If you’re ever walked down a dull city street or through an underused parkette and thought, “this could be so much better,” the city of Toronto wants your help.

City officials and urban strategy studio Distl have launched a competition calling on young people to share their vision for improving Toronto’s public spaces.

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The NXT City Prize challenges participants to re-imagine Toronto’s city-owned public spaces, including streets, sidewalks, parks, transit corridors, waterfront areas and parking lots.

The competition is open to all Ontarians under the age of 30, regardless of their education, disciplines or experience.

“The goal of this competition is to encourage young people to think critically about how we’re using public spaces and move away from conventional thinking about those spaces,” said Distl co-founder, Mackenzie Keast.

“It’s their future and their opportunity to shape the city in which they live.”

Competition organizers said they are looking for a variety of people. “The NXT City Prize recognizes that the ethos of young people means they are experimental, adventurous and connected to the spirit of change,” reads the competition website.

Participants are asked to identify an area or issue where improving that public space will benefit the needs of future generations.

“It may be a structure, a new function, programmed activities or something completely unexpected.”

Submissions will be accepted until July 31. The winner, announced on Aug. 14, will be selected by a panel of judges including Toronto’s Chief Planner Jennifer Keesmaat and Rahul Bhardwaj, president and CEO of the Toronto Community Foundation.

Criteria for the winning submission include how innovative and forward-thinking the vision is, how it benefits the public and surrounding neighbourhood, and its lasting impact on Toronto’s public realm. The winning entry will receive $10,000 in funding to help the vision become a reality.

The Toronto competition follows similar events in cities around the world.

In April, the city of Vancouver’s public space program VIVA Vancouver announced the winner of its 2014 design competition.

The city invited emerging and professional designers to submit their ideas for transforming the 800 block of Robson Street info a pedestrian plaza.

The winning design, Urban Reef, was selected from nearly 80 submissions from around the world.

The design features areas where people can sit and watch street performers, lounge in the sun, enjoy street food and interact with those around them.

Urban Reef will transform Vancouver’s Robson Square for two months this summer.

Last week, officials in Boston announced the winners of its inaugural Public Space Invitational, which asked designers, engineers and artists to re-imagine Boston’s public space, including streets, plazas, sidewalks and public buildings to better serve the public.

The nine winners, selected from 72 entries, included a book-lending kiosk, a mural that will transform the ceiling at city hall and street furniture that will double as a playground.

Ohio mom claims daughter stabbed her in Slender Man-inspired attack – National

TORONTO – An Ohio woman has come forward claiming her 13-year-old daughter stabbed her during a Slender Man-inspired attack.

The teen’s mother, who asked not to be identified, told Cincinnati news outlet WLWT News 5 that her daughter attacked her with a knife while wearing a mask.

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“I came home one night from work and she was in the kitchen waiting for me. She was wearing a white mask, she had her hood up and her hands covered with her sleeves,” the woman told WLWT News 5.

The teen had become obsessed with the Slender Man – she had even created a world for the fictional Internet character in the game ‘Minecraft’.

READ MORE: Who is ‘Slender Man’ and why are people obsessed with him?

Slender Man is depicted as an unnaturally tall man with long, stretched-out limbs. He has no facial features and is often depicted as having an all-white face.

The character was created in 2009 as part of a photo-editing contest and quickly became a viral Internet sensation. Slender Man is now a popular character on “Creepypasta” forums – where users submit short horror stories.

One of two photographs originally created to show Slender Man.

Victor Surge/Eric Knudsen

The mother said she came forward with her story after hearing about the two 12-year-old Wisconsin girls who nearly stabbed their friend to death in order to “please” Slender Man.

The 13-year-old had previously been diagnosed with mental health issues, but had never shown signs of violence. According to her mother, both her artwork and writing was very dark and often referenced demons and insanity.

The teen is now in Hamilton County juvenile detention facing charges.

Her mother suffered cuts to her neck and face and a puncture wound on her back in the attack.

According to the WLWT News 5 report, sources say the girl has no recollection of the incident.

‘Creepypasta’ community defends fan fiction

In the wake of the Slender Man stabbing, some have called for popular creepypasta websites to be shut down to prevent teens from reading about characters like Slender Man.

But site moderators have released statements defending the community, clarifying that the works presented on their sites are purely fictional.

“Only a small minority of people (mostly newcomers) on the wiki (and the Internet) truly believe what they read here. And for most people, they will not attempt to replicate atrocities presented in some of the literature on the wiki. Something like this was bound to happen, considering the size of the Creepypasta community,” read a statement posted on the creepypasta wiki.

“All it takes is one person to do something insane and radical in the name of someone or something.”

Creepypasta杭州夜网, a site for user-created short horror stories, has created a campaign geared towards raising funds for the Wisconsin stabbing victim’s family and for families recovering from violent crimes.

The campaign called “Narrartors u-NIGHTed” will host a 24-hour YouTube stream on June 13 that will showcase narrators, authors and artists. All ad revenue generated by the live stream will be donated to the charity. Users can also donate online.

“This was a terrible tragedy and should not have happened. And while there are a myriad of factors beyond the urban legend of Slenderman that are attributed to this terrible incident, it is a duty to be vigilant and provide a respite for the victim and to assuage concerns about the concept of literary horror and urban myths on the Internet,” read a blog post on the website.

Opinion mixed over privatization of liquor stores: poll

SASKATOON – A new poll released Monday has done little to settle the debate over the privatization of liquor stores in Saskatchewan.

The poll by Insightrix Research found opinion is split in the province over the divisive issue.

When asked whether all liquor stores should be privatized, 23 per cent said yes, while 34 per cent said the current approach of new stores being privatized with existing stores remaining publicly owned is the way to go.

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  • Weighing the pros and cons of private liquor stores

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  • Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall musing about privatizing liquor stores

Those opposed to any privatization stood at 26 per cent, with 11 per cent having no opinion and six per cent unsure.

The poll also found 47 per cent said privatizing liquor stores would mean less money for health, education and highway spending while 52 per cent said private stores would offer better selection and 51 per cent said there would be better pricing.

Insightrix Research conducted the poll of 800 randomly selected SaskWatch panel members between June 3-6, with quotas set for age, gender and region.

The poll comes after Premier Brad Wall attended the grand opening of a private liquor store in Saskatoon on June 2.

Wall took the NDP to task for a resolution passed at its convention against privatizing liquor stores, saying there has been private liquor retailing in the province for years.

He also said he asked his MLAs to talk to people over the summer to get feedback on the issue of privatization which could provide a potential plank in the next provincial election.

Wall also stated that regardless of the results, the government will continue to be the sole wholesaler of liquor in the province.

With files from the Canadian Press

Bridge projects get funding from feds, province

SASKATOON – The city of bridges will soon have another span after the federal and provincial governments announced millions in funding for the North Commuter Parkway Bridge project.

Premier Brad Wall announced on Monday the province will invest $50 million to the north commuter bridge as part of a tripartite deal with the City of Saskatoon and the federal government.

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“Saskatoon is one of the fastest growing cities in Canada and the North Commuter Parkway Bridge will help sustain that growth by connecting residential neighbourhoods to the expanding industrial area in the city’s north end,” said Wall in a release announcing the funding.

The provincial government promised in the 2014-15 budget it would support the north bridge project only if the federal government pitched in with money.

The feds announced a contribution of up to $66 million through the P3 Canada Fund for the project for both bridge projects.

Saskatoon city council approved using a public-private partnership (P3) after a report from KPMG said using that approach could save the city just over $26 million over 30 years.

When complete, the bridge that would link the Marquis Downs industrial area with University Heights is expected to ease congestion on the Circle Drive North Bridge, where an estimated 80,000 vehicles travel over it each day.

The money from the federal government will also go towards replacing the 107-year-old Traffic Bridge in downtown Saskatoon which has been closed to traffic since August 2010 after inspectors found it at risk of collapsing under its own weight.

Construction of the new north bridge and associated road work should take about two years to complete.