Pinehurst No. 2 will be the true star of this week’s U.S. Open – National

To many, Pinehurst No. 2 is the masterwork of Scottish architect Donald Ross. Public golfers pay up to US$410 to be beaten up by the course, and to try, often without much success, to putt on its famed domed greens.

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But in reality, the course—which hosts this week’s U.S. Open and is regarded as “the St. Andrews of American golf”—is a supreme test of all facets of the game, which is why it is perennially ranked among the best golf courses in the world. And for this U.S. Open it has been tweaked by architect Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw to create a more natural look, with wayward tee shots rolling into sandy expanses.

Already great, somehow Pinehurst No. 2 managed to get better and will appear quite different from 2005 when New Zealander Michael Campbell held off Tiger Woods to win the tournament.

Neither Campbell, who had personal issues and withdrew from the tournament, nor Woods, who is injured, will be in the field this week, but that means Pinehurst No. 2’s star turn is that much more important. The course will play an important role not only in the men’s event, but also in the Women’s U.S. Open, which for the first time will be played on the same course next week.

Graham DeLaet is the only Canadian in the field.

“It is a true test of all the parts of your game, more than any other course I’ve played,” DeLaet said. “Everything is a little scary once you get out on that golf course.”

For DeLaet, the course might play into his strength, which is finding greens, though the putting surfaces are notoriously difficult. What’s the winning score on such a beast of a course? DeLaet didn’t even want to hazard a guess, but admitted even par would be solid.

“If I see even par I’d be really happen and might even be drinking beer out of the U.S. Open cup,” he suggested.

Canadian golf architect Ian Andrew, a member of the American Society of Golf Architects, argues that Pinehurst No. 2 is the standard against which all golf courses are designed.

“It is almost the perfect example of what a golf course should be,” said Andrew. “It is difficult for the good player to score well there, but if the lesser player is not as aggressive, they can post a good number. The more aggressive you get, the nastier the punishment for failure becomes. It is a flawless course.”

Even before it gained international attention for hosting the 1999 U.S. Open, Pinehurst was recognized most for its difficult greens, which some characterize as unfair.

Unlike the majority of putting surfaces you’ll find on courses, which offer rolls within a subtly undulating surface, Pinehurst’s greens appear like inverted bowls, rounded at the top with edges that slide away. However, the greens at Pinehurst, which have come to be representative of Ross’ style, actually have little to do with the architect.

It was famed golf designer Pete Dye who first pointed out Pinehurst No. 2’s greens had evolved since Ross created the course in 1935 as a resort destination. Dye, who first played the course nearly 50 years ago, said the greens were far less severe than they are currently.

Dye’s notion was supported by a Golf Digest story by architecture editor Ron Whitten that suggested the greens had been altered several times over the past few decades, most recently by Rees Jones in preparation for the 1999 U.S. Open. Coore and Crenshaw didn’t tweak the greens, instead creating naturalized areas using native grasses.

Whitten argues that the greens built up over time due to maintenance procedures, but rather than having curved sides, as they do today, the fall-off areas were once more severe. A previous owner of the course, for reasons no one is certain of, used a bulldozer to smooth the edges and make the fall-off areas more curved.

“Those crowned greens are not really what [Ross] did anywhere else,” Dye said in the introduction to Brad Klein’s book Discovering Donald Ross. “This is because they’ve been top-dressed so much that they now look like perched-up angel cakes . . . So they are quite different from what Ross planned.”

The diabolical nature of the greens was highlighted in 1999 when the best golfers in the world last tested Pinehurst No. 2 under U.S. Open conditions. Most notably the troubled John Daly struggled mightily with the testy surfaces, and on the eighth hole in his final round, Daly lost it, taking a total of 11 strokes. Daly’s most notable meltdown on the hole occurred when he swiped at a ball that was rolling back off the putting area, incurring a two-stroke penalty.

Daly complained loudly after his round, saying the United States Golf Association, which sets up the course for the tournament, had gone too far.

“I think the USGA likes to embarrass people who play in this tournament,” he said.

Many have difficulty seeing the course as great. Rather, they view it as relatively straight-forward tee-to-green, with unfair putting surfaces.

Despite its detractors, Pinehurst’s greens were central to the drama of the 1999 U.S. Open, won by Payne Stewart. Stewart holed a remarkable, snaking 20-foot putt on the final hole to make par and win the championship, narrowly avoiding a Monday playoff with Phil Mickelson.

“I said to myself, ‘You’ve always wanted a putt to win the U.S. Open,’” Stewart noted following his victory. “I can’t describe the feeling in my body when I looked up and the ball was going in the hole. It was unbelievable.”

Expect more unbelievable moments this year, as the best in golf challenge what many think is one of the best and most difficult golf courses created.

2 Quebec jail breaks have 1 thing in common

MASCOUCHE, Que. — The prison breaks in both St-Jerome last year and in Quebec City over the weekend have one thing in common.

The type of helicopter used in both events appears to be the same: a Robinson R-44.

It’s one of the more popular choppers in the world and it’s find them at many airports in the Montreal area.

The type of helicopter used in both Quebec jailbreaks appears to be the same: a Robinson R-44.

Martin Hazel/Global News

The type of helicopter used in both Quebec jailbreaks appears to be the same: a Robinson R-44.

Martin Hazel/Global News

The type of helicopter used in both Quebec jailbreaks appears to be the same: a Robinson R-44.

Martin Hazel/Global News

The type of helicopter used in both Quebec jailbreaks appears to be the same: a Robinson R-44.

Domenic Fazioli/Global News

Story continues below



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  • Massive manhunt for three inmates who escaped Quebec prison

Tour companies have a preference for them, as they’re only 40 feet long, and pilots say that they can take off and land with ease.

Experienced helicopter pilot and instructor Stephane Grenier told Global News that they’re practical for getting in and out of “tight spots.”

“Fifty feet by 50 feet, we can land on that,” Grenier said Monday.

“If it’s not surrounded by tall trees we can land and we can take off from there.”

This is probably one of the reasons why the helicopters have been used in the daring jail breaks.

READ MORE: Massive manhunt for three inmates who escaped Quebec prison

Another reason is that they can hold quite a bit of fuel.

“The fuel tank of the chopper is 150 litres,” said Yves LeRoux of Mascouche-based Passeport Helicopters.

“It can fly for three hours with a full tank of gas.”

LeRoux said that he guesses the escaped prisoners may be hiding out in remote part of Quebec or in another province altogether.

“The chopper’s maximum speed is about 200 kilometres an hour,” LeRoux noted.

“After three hours, you’ve flown 600 kilometres straight line.”

Cybercrime costs global economy $445 billion a year: report – National

TORONTO – Cybercrime is a profitable industry.

According to a new report from the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), cybercrime costs the global economy almost US$445 billion per year, putting it in the ranks of drug trafficking in terms of economic harm.

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The report, sponsored by software security firm McAfee, found that four of the largest economies in the world were the most affected by cybercrime.

Cybercrime is estimated to cost the U.S., Germany, China and Japan about US$200 billion per year combined.

READ MORE: Ethical hackers say government regulations put information at risk

The report breaks harm from cyber attacks into three categories – the largest being intellectual property theft, the second largest being financial crime and the last being theft of confidential business information.

Losses connected to personal information, such as credit cards, were among the largest categories, according to CSIS.

“Putting a number on the cost of cybercrime and cyberespionage is the headline, but the dollar figure begs important questions about the damage to the victims from the cumulative effect of losses in cyberspace,” read the report released Monday.

“The cost of cybercrime includes the effect of hundreds of millions of people having their personal information stolen.”

According to the report, by some estimates more than 800 million individual records were stolen in 2013, which would result in US$160 billion in losses on its own.

And 2014 has already been an eventful year for cybercrime and hacking scandals.

In April a flaw found in OpenSSL encryption technology dubbed the Heartbleed bug left millions of users worldwide open to hackers. Over 900 social insurance numbers were stolen from the Canada Revenue Agency as a result of the security bug.

In May, popular e-commerce site eBay was hacked, allowing attackers to compromise a database containing encrypted passwords and personal information for 145 million users.

The report calls on governments to start collecting and publishing data on cybercrime in order to help other countries and companies make better choices about risk and policy.

“Cybercrime costs are big, and they’re growing,” said Stewart A. Baker, a former Department of Homeland Security policy official and a co-author of the report.

“The more that governments understand what those costs are, the more likely they are to bring their laws and policies into line with preventing those sorts of losses.”

READ MORE: Law enforcement faces ‘enormous challenge’ in preventing cyber crime, says FBI director

CSIS came up with a range of estimates for the report – from US$375 billion to US$575 billion in total losses – by comparing published data on cybercrime from governments around the world and through interviews with officials in 17 countries.

The report also factors in the cost of recovery from cyber attacks.

Advocates say party leaders are ignoring health, education issues – Toronto

TORONTO – With the Ontario election campaign dominated by the Liberal government’s scandals and the Tories’ pledge to cut 100,000 public sector jobs, some worry that health and education, two areas of top concern to voters, have received little attention.

Funding for these sectors eats up nearly two thirds of all government program spending – $82.7 billion this year – and advocates for patients and parents say voters should know the main parties’ platforms before they cast their ballots on Thursday.

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“I think it is important for everybody to remember that there is a ton of politics in education, and when governments change – or the same government gets a new mandate – it often means many changes in education,” said Annie Kidder of People for Education.

“Eventually policy and politics has an impact on schools and kids.”

The Liberal campaign platform, based largely on the May 1 budget – which failed to get the support of the opposition, triggering the election – calls education “the most important investment government can make,” and promises to continue the 30-per-cent tuition rebate program for low- and middle-income students in post-secondary schools.

The Liberals would also allocate $11 billion over 10 years for new schools and repairs to existing schools, plus $500 million for maintenance at colleges and universities and funding to create spaces for 15,000 more undergraduate students.

In Depth: Ontario Election 2014

They would also provide $150 million to school boards to cover the costs of professional development for teachers, and purchase tablets, software, cameras and other learning resources.

Readers have to go halfway through the New Democrat’s platform before they find any mention of education, which includes promises to freeze college and university tuitions and make student loans interest free.

The NDP would hire 1,000 new health and physical education teachers over four years, plus 1,000 new educational assistants, and provide increased funding for school nutrition programs.

In contrast, the Conservatives would cut 9,700 “non-teaching” positions, including educational assistants, school psychologists and social workers, and increase class sizes and change full-day kindergarten so only a teacher or early childhood educator is in the class.

Read More: 90-minute leaders’ debate. No health care. What gives?

The Tories also promise to focus on basic math skills with more specialized math teachers and a return to teaching multiplication tables, and would offer financial incentives to get more people with math and science backgrounds into teaching.

The non-partisan Ontario Health Coalition is concerned that health-care issues have been virtually ignored during the campaign, and did not feature prominently in the platforms of the major parties.

“To be honest, these are the most shallow health-care platforms in the election that I’ve ever seen, and I’ve been doing this for 14 years,” said executive director Natalie Mehra.

“There’s not a lot of substance in them.”

The Liberals offer a “guarantee” that every Ontarian will have access to a primary care provider within four years, and say they will spend $750 million on home and community care over three years and increase pay for personal support workers.

They also promise to lower wait times for referrals to specialists, expand the scope of practice for nurses, pharmacists and other health professionals and increase funding for mental health and addictions. The Liberals also promise $11.4 billion over 10 years for hospital expansion and redevelopment projects.

The NDP’s health platform includes promises to create 50 new family health clinics, use more nurse practitioners in emergency rooms to reduce wait times, create 1,400 new long-term care beds and forgive medical school student debt for doctors who work in under serviced areas.

They party also offers a five-day “guarantee” for home care after a patient in discharged from hospital, and promises a caregiver tax credit of $1,275 a year to people who have to care for a family member.

The Conservatives promise to create chronic care centres of excellence and will increase home-based care for patients and expand home care and long-term care availability. They would also update the scope of practice for pharmacists, nurse practitioners and other professionals.

The Tories also promise more choice within OHIP funding so patients getting home care services like housekeeping and personal support could choose whether to have the government purchase home care for them, which is the case under the Liberals, or rather use the same money to hire the home care of their choice.

But the health coalition is concerned that the Tories would create so-called “hubs” – that she believes mean “mega-mergers” in Ontario’s hospital sector – an idea introduced by Hudak in his so-called white papers, released over the past year.

“Nowhere is their plan actually laid out, and on the (PC) website all those white papers have been taken down, so it’s almost a secret plan to really engage in the most massive restructuring Ontario has every seen,” said Mehra.

©2014The Canadian Press

Instant replay’s debut at World Cup marks end to goal controversies – National

WATCH: Arguments over controversial goals at the World Cup will be a thing of the past beginning this week when goal-line technology is used for the first time.

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil – Was it a goal, or wasn’t it?

The question shouldn’t need to be debated in the next five weeks in Brazil, where goal-line technology will be used for the first time in a World Cup.

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Fourteen cameras — seven trained on each goalmouth — have been hung up in all 12 World Cup stadiums. The cameras will record 500 images per second, and a computer will digest the frames.

Within a second of a ball crossing the line, the referee’s special watch will vibrate and flash “GOAL.”

End of the debate? It should be. The designer of the system says 2,400 tests have been run in Brazil, without a mistake.

READ MORE: Explore Brazil’s new stadiums via Google’s Street View

“This is the future,” said Dirk Broichhausen, who heads the German company GoalControl, whose system will be used at the tournament and was demonstrated Monday at Rio’s Maracana stadium.

It’s also a type of technology that FIFA repeatedly balked at in the past. But the 2010 World Cup changed that when a shot by England’s Frank Lampard in the second round against Germany was clearly over the line, but disallowed. That goal would have tied it 2-2. Instead Germany won 4-1. And that helped end the indecision.

“Most of the time the referee doesn’t have the best vantage point for his decision – goal or no goal,” said Johannes Holzmuller, who heads a FIFA program that helped implement the technology. “The same applies for normal TV cameras.”

He said the human eye could record only 16 “frames” per second, no match for a high-speed camera.

Different types of goal-line technology have already been used in club football, including the Hawk-Eye system in the Premier League this past season.

Holzmuller said the GoalControl system had proved reliable, even if several of its seven cameras were blocked by players. Broichhausen suggested the system could not be hacked, and FIFA has repeatedly said it’s just another aid to help the referee.

“This system is not able to be manipulated because the system is off-line,”Broichhausen said. “Off-line means no internet connection. There is no possibility to manipulate or disturb anything.”

GALLERY: Is Brazil ready to host the World Cup?

This aerial view shot through an airplane window shows the Maracana stadium behind the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Tuesday, May 13, 2014. As opening day for the World Cup approaches, people continue to stage protests, some about the billions of dollars spent on the World Cup at a time of social hardship, but soccer is still a unifying force. The international soccer tournament will be the first in the South American nation since 1950.

AP Photo/Felipe Dana

The view from inside the Maracana stadium during a press tour this week. The stadium will host the World Cup Final on July 13.

AP Photo/Silvia Izquierdo

Work continues at the Arena da Baixada in the southern city of Curitiba. The host country had seven years to get ready for the World Cup, but it enters the final month of preparations with a lot yet to be done. The unfinished stadium was nearly excluded from the tournament by FIFA earlier this year.

AP Photo/Denis Ferreira Netto

An aerial view of the Arena Pantanal in Cuiaba, Brazil from January. A worker at the World Cup stadium died on May 8 in an electrical accident.

AP Photo/Portal da Copa, Jose Medeiros

Members of the Homeless Workers Movement protest against the money spent on the World Cup near Itaquerao stadium which will host the international soccer tournament's first match in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Thursday, May 15, 2014.

AP Photo/Andre Penne

Labourers work on constructing Terminals 3 and 4 at the Sao Paulo/Guarulhos Governor Andre Franco Montoro International Airport in October.

Getty Images

This Sept. 11, 2013 file photo released by Portal da Copa 2014 shows an aerial view of the Galeao international airport in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

(AP Photo/Portal da Copa 2014, Daniel Basil, File)

A collapsed metal structure sits on the ground at the Arena Corinthians, known locally as the Itaquerao, in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Thursday, Nov. 28, 2013. (AP Photo/Andre Penner)

AP Photo/Andre Penner

This March 2014 file photo released by Portal da Copa, shows an aerial view of the Itaquerao stadium in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

(AP Photo/Portal da Copa, Mauricio Simonetti, File)

Britain’s Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne visits the Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro in early April.

AP Photo/Silvia Izquierdo

Brazil’s previous World Cup champions, from left, Zagallo, Marcos, Rivellino, Amarildo who holds the World Cup, and Bebeto pose for a photo below the Christ the Redeemer statue at the launch of the FIFA World Cup Trophy Tour in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

AP Photo/Silvia Izquierdo, File

The World Cup trophy sits on display during the FIFA World Cup Trophy Tour at Maracana stadium.

AP Photo/Felipe Dana

Popular demand: Star Brazilian footballer Ronaldinho is putting his Rio de Janeiro mansion on the rental market during the World Cup. The five-bedroom house is available for the first 15 days of July for $15,500/day.

AP Photo/Bruno Magalhaes, File

The system has tested perfectly so far. That does not mean it is perfectly accurate.

Like most engineering projects, this one has a margin of error. It officially measures correctly within a plus-minus margin of 1.5 centimetres ( 1/2 inch), but Broichnausen suggested the the real margin could be about 0.5 centimetres (less than 1/4 inch).

“All of these 2,400 goal incident were correctly recognized by the system,” Holzmuller said. “So yes, we can trust the system. We are sure it works 100 per cent.”

Rickford speaks at First Nations’ tanker meet

VANCOUVER – With the clock ticking down for his government’s decision on Northern Gateway, Natural Resources Minister Greg Rickford said Monday there have been significant strides forward on pipeline and marine traffic safety in talks between Ottawa and First Nations.

For at least the fourth time in as many weeks, Rickford was in British Columbia. This time, he was speaking at an aboriginal summit on pipeline and marine tanker safety.

Story continues below



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“Obviously, there are varied reactions. We’ve all, I think to a certain extent, agreed that there are issues around a specific project or a specific aspect of energy infrastructure, energy transportation, but we’re plenty capable to have those conversations,” Rickford told reporters following his speech.

“I’m confident that we’ve laid the foundation for an effective dialogue moving forward.”

But leaders of the three most powerful aboriginal organizations in B.C. said the answer remains “no” to Northern Gateway.

“In the event that the Harper government attempt to ram this through… it will serve to poison the well with respect to the LNG efforts to develop First Nations’ support for that set of proposals,” warned Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs.

“It’s going to completely undermine and damage what’s left of the relationship between First Nations and both provincial and federal governments.”

Grand Chief Ed John, head of the First Nations Summit, said while LNG falls under provincial jurisdiction, there are concerns about the cumulative effects of many different projects. Those include fracking, oil pipelines, the B.C. government’s Site C hydroelectric dam and mining.

Chief Jody Wilson-Raybould, regional leader of the Assembly of First Nations, urged about 150 people attending the conference organized by the Musqueam nation to take a measured approach to the divisive issue.

But she also scolded the federal government for its use of omnibus budget legislation to make changes to environmental laws and governance.

“Our relationship with the federal government remains challenged, to say the least,” Wilson Raybould said after her speech.

Phillip was more blunt.

“It’s very difficult to sit there and listen to Minister Rickford talk about building partnerships and collaboration when everything they’ve done has been done unilaterally, without any discussion,” he said.

“And he stands up there and he maintains there’s this strong engagement, this robust engagement with First Nations and that’s just absolutely not true.”

With a June 17 deadline for a final decision on the $6.8-billion Northern Gateway pipeline, Rickford gave no hint of when or what that decision will be.

He did, however, reiterate the need for a pipeline leading somewhere for land-locked Alberta oil. Rickford’s predecessor Joe Oliver, now the federal finance minister, echoed those comments on the other side of the country.

“Canadians need to understand the consequences of not moving our resources to tidewater,” Oliver said at an international economic conference in Montreal.

A diversified market for Canadian oil is worth $30 billion a year, he said.

Canada has 168 billion barrels of proven oil reserves, possibly 300 billion with advances in technology, Oliver said. The country also has 37 trillion cubic metres of natural gas.

“So the choice is stark: head down the path of economic decline, higher unemployment, limited funds for social programs like health care, continuing deficits and growing debt or achieve prosperity and security now and for future generations through the responsible development of our resources.”

Rickford told industry and aboriginal leaders in Vancouver that global demand for energy is expected to increase by one third by 2035.

In B.C., investment in natural gas is expected to bring $180 billion in economic benefits over the next 25 years, he said. Across Canada, hundreds of resource projects worth $650 billion are planned or underway.

“However, none of that can come to fruition unless we have a strong and confident relationship, in particular between First Nations communities and the provincial government and federal government,” Rickford told reporters.

Texas can continue to keep execution drug supplier secret – National

HOUSTON – The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday refused an appeal from a Texas death row inmate whose attorneys had demanded that state officials disclose the source of drugs intended to execute him.

Story continues below



  • Execution of convicted murderer in Texas halted

  • Lawsuit: Botched Oklahoma execution should delay Texas case

Robert James Campbell, 41, had avoided execution May 13 when the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals stopped his punishment less than three hours before he could have been put to death. That court agreed to give Campbell’s lawyers time to pursue claims that he’s mentally impaired and ineligible for the death penalty. That issue is still pending.

At the time of the reprieve, Campbell’s appeal seeking identity of the supplier of the pentobarbital used by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice for executions was before the Supreme Court.

Campbell was sentenced to death for the 1991 abduction, rape and slaying of a 20-year-old Houston bank teller, Alexandra Rendon.

The ruling, one of three Monday involving condemned Texas prisoners, was in line with similar rulings from the high court, which so far has not halted an execution based on a state’s refusal to reveal its lethal injection drug supplier.

Death penalty states have been scrambling to find drugs after several manufacturers refused to sell their products for use in lethal injections.

The secrecy argument also was used by lawyers ahead of a bungled execution in April in Oklahoma, though that inmate’s collapsed veins, not the drug, have been cited as the likely culprit.

READ MORE: Should we worry about ‘botched’ executions?

Last month, the Texas Attorney General’s office, ruling in an open records case from attorneys for a death row inmate, said Texas can keep its execution drug supplier secret. The ruling cited arguments from law enforcement that suppliers face serious danger if they are identified.

Texas law enforcement officials have refused to say what threats they have found, calling any details about them “law enforcement sensitive information” and refusing to say if any pharmacies were in danger or what the agency was doing to investigate.

Lawyers for death row inmates insist they need the information to verify the drugs’ potency and protect inmates from unconstitutionally cruel and unusual punishment.

In another case Monday, the Supreme Court refused to consider an appeal from a man sent to Texas death row for strangling and trying to rape a woman jogging near her Houston home nearly 17 years ago.

Arthur Lee Burton, 44, had appealed a lower court’s rejection of his arguments that his admission to a prison sociologist that he killed Nancy Adleman, a 48-year-old mother of three, was improperly obtained. Burton’s original sentence was thrown out by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. He received another death sentence at a new punishment trial in 2002. Burton also had argued his legal help at his trial and in earlier appeals was deficient.

In the third case, the high court upheld the murder conviction and death sentence given to Kwame Rockwell of Fort Worth for a 2010 convenience store holdup that left two men dead. Rockwell, now 38, was convicted in 2012 of the fatal shooting of Daniel Rojas, 22, a store clerk. Evidence showed a 70-year-old deliveryman, Jerry Burnett, also was fatally shot.

None of the three – Campbell, Burton or Rockwell – has an execution date.

©2014The Associated Press

How should Edmonton grow? City seeks input on infill housing plan – Edmonton

EDMONTON – One week after releasing its infill plan proposal, the City of  Edmonton is asking residents to provide their feedback.

Edmontonians are invited to review the Infill Action Plan online or at two public events:

–          On Wednesday, June 11 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. in City Hall’s City Room;

–          On Saturday, June 21 from 9 a.m. to noon at the Central Lions Recreation Centre

Story continues below



  • City releases infill plan proposal, asks public for feedback

  • Edmonton moves forward on controversial mature neighbourhoods bylaw

“People are resistant to change,” said Leith Deacon, an assistant professor in the University of Alberta’s planning program.

“It would be strange if people rolled over and just took something without giving feedback.

“I think it’s good that Edmontonians and other citizens from other communities are involved in this discussion. It shouldn’t be something that’s implemented across the board without adequate back-and-forth.”

Deacon said the city’s draft infill plan is a good first step.

The document contains 24 proposals, many of them entailing specific actions to be taken by city administration.

“The vast majority are dealing with ideas surrounding access and transparency and ensuring that citizens feel that they have adequate opportunity to participate in this discussion.”

READ MORE: City releases infill plan proposal, asks public for feedback 

There are proposed changes to both the single family (RF1) and small-scale infill (RF3) zones. (Read the full action plan below).

The new RF1 zone would allow for easier subdivision of lots into two, encouraging the creation of newer, smaller residences. The easing of restrictions on the RF3 zone is meant to support the construction of more row housing. In addition, new garage and garden suites are identified as a top priority, and the city plans to again relax regulations to encourage construction of these housing types.

City of Edmonton seeks input on infill housing plan, June 9, 2014

Vinesh Pratap,Global News

City of Edmonton seeks input on infill housing plan, June 9, 2014

Vinesh Pratap,Global News

City of Edmonton seeks input on infill housing plan, June 9, 2014

Vinesh Pratap,Global News

City of Edmonton seeks input on infill housing plan, June 9, 2014

Vinesh Pratap,Global News

City of Edmonton seeks input on infill housing plan, June 9, 2014

Vinesh Pratap,Global News

City of Edmonton seeks input on infill housing plan, June 9, 2014

City of Edmonton seeks input on infill housing plan, June 9, 2014

Vinesh Pratap,Global News

City of Edmonton seeks input on infill housing plan, June 9, 2014

Vinesh Pratap,Global News

The plan outlines a series of proposals to encourage infill development over the next two years. In 2013, only 14 per cent of all new residences went up in established neighbourhoods.

During the three-week public review process – which runs until June 23 – Edmontonians are invited to comment on the Action Plan.

“Stagnant is not the answer to the vitality of a community or a city,” said Deacon.

“Especially a city like Edmonton that is growing and that does have a lot of space in a lot of neighbourhoods for infill.”

Still, Deacon believes the city has to apply some zoning regulations to ensure infill development matches the older neighbourhoods in some way, shape or feel.

The president of the Infill Development in Edmonton Association (IDEA) says that is all part of good design.

“You do need to design infill well and you do need to take into context the neighbourhood and the street face,” Tegan Martin-Drysdale explained. “To do anything else is just not good design.”

She adds that city restrictions need to be balanced to allow for innovation, creativity, and affordability – by allowing for secondary suites or multi-family housing, for instance.

Martin-Drysdale would also like to see the city approve infill housing in more Edmonton communities.

“What we’ve got is a scarcity in supply, which drives prices up.”

READ MORE: Edmonton moves forward on controversial mature neighbourhoods bylaw 

Developer Doug Kelly agrees.

“In my opinion, council has to rezone or approve the subdivision of 50-foot lots in more neighbourhoods to increase the supply to keep the prices relatively stable.”

He’s confident there’s a big market in Edmonton for new homes in older neighbourhoods.

“Most definitely,” stressed Kelly. “They’re willing to pay more for the mature trees, the established schools, the established shopping, so it’s very popular.”

And, to the critics?

“This comes with being a  big city and an urban environment.”


Follow @Emily_Mertz

Residential infill: new housing in established neighbourhoods, including new secondary suites, garage suites, duplexes, semi-detached and detatched houses, row houses, apartments, and other residential and mixed-use buildings.

Established neighbourhoods: neighbourhoods that are mostly residential, were planned and developed before 1995, and are located within the Anthony Henday.

View this document on Scribd

Elite athletes to paddle board from Vancouver to Victoria for men’s health – BC

Eleven elite athletes plan to traverse the waters between Vancouver and Victoria on paddle boards this week to draw attention to men’s health.

The Stand Up Paddle for Men’s Health kicks off Thursday morning at 5 a.m. from First Beach, arriving in Victoria on Saturday night.

Leading the group of paddle boarders will be four-time Canadian Olympian Simon Whitfield.

He hopes the trip across the Georgia Strait will make men think about the small changes they can make to live healthier.

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“I’ve definitely seen it in my life, when my Dad addressed his health, the happiness followed,” says Whitfield.

The paddle is being organized by the Canadian Men’s Health Foundation, a national non-profit organization founded by Dr. Larry Goldenberg, targeting men between 30 and 50.

Whitfield says he was surprised to learn there wasn’t already a foundation focusing on the health of Canadian men.

“When you look into the issues, the campaign is very effective.”

The paddle between the Mainland and Vancouver Island is 140 kilometres and will take three days. It takes approximately 600 paddles to travel one kilometre, but Whitfield says it’s not a race.

“We will be going about 8-10 km/h, which is much faster than a traditional paddle board,” says Whitfield.

“It’s not about being the fastest or the first, but it’s about the fraternity of doing things together, and the idea that men’s health is an issue the community should take on together,” says Whitfield.

He says the group is in good company, with Lina Augaitis, a world champion stand-up paddle boarder, along for the trip.

Some of Augaitis’ paddle boarding achievements include paddle boarding around the Hawaiian Islands, and from Whitehorse to Dawson on the Yukon River, a distance of 750 km.

She is one of two women on the trip, something Whitfield says is important.

“Women play an important role in men’s health issues, in terms of support and counsel,” he says.

Whitfield says he’s the least experienced paddle boarder of the group, having only picked up the sport last September. But he says he’s prepared.

“I’ll have my coffee grinder and bodum on the support boat, and lots of sea-salted popcorn to snack on,” says Whitfield.

The group plans to be on the water 12 hours the first day, and eight hours each day on the second and third days, contingent on good weather. They will be camping along the way on the Gulf Islands.

According to the Canadian Men’s Health Foundation men are 79 per cent more likely to die from heart disease, and 57 per cent more likely to die from diabetes than women. In addition, men are 24 per cent less likely than women to have visited a doctor in the past year.

You can follow the paddle at 苏州纹眉DontChangeMuch苏州纹眉 or on twitter via the hashtag #SUP4MH.

Canadian Men’s Health week runs from June 9 – June 15 (Father’s Day).

Map of the paddle board route.

WATCH: Keeping men healthy, part one – Elaine Yong reports:

Northern Gateway: Why environmentalists believe it’s not worth the risk

TORONTO – With the proposed Northern Gateway Project one step closer to becoming a reality, some may be left wondering about the potential environmental impact.

The twin pipeline, travelling 1,177 km across Alberta and British Columbia, will transport bitumen, a thick form of oil that needs to be diluted with light petroleum oil. It comes from Alberta’s oil sands. When it is diluted, it is called dilbit.

This dilbit will end up in a terminal in Kitimat, B.C., and will then be loaded onto tankers that will travel the Douglas Channel, eventually heading out to the Pacific Ocean, and, its advocates say, open up the Canadian market.

READ MORE: Enbridge’s Northern Gateway – Things are about to get interesting

WATCH: Is the Northern Gateway pipeline good for Canada?

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But many scientists and environmentalists are afraid of what an oil spill could mean to the environment.

On May 26, 250 Canadian scientists – as well as some from around the world including the United States, Switzerland, and Australia – signed a letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper urging him to reject the Joint Review Panel’s assessment of the Northern Gateway Project. The 12-page letter cited a concern over the perceived “flawed analysis of the risks and benefits to British Columbia’s environment and society.”

One of their concerns was the failure by the panel to conduct external reviews.

It’s this lack of external review that has led the group called Concerned Professional Engineers, located in British Columbia, to publish a white paper in March detailing its concerns over the risk of  an oil spill.

Both groups seriously question whether or not the economic benefits are worth the risk to the environment should something go wrong.

Dinara Willington, vice president of research at the Canadian Energy Research Institute, has studied the economic benefits of the Northern Gateway Project. Her study examined at length the economic benefits.

READ MORE: Northern Gateway – 3 charts show how important oil is to economy

“More than half of GDP impact will occur in British Columbia –$4.7 billion,” Dinara told Global News.

But for many people in that province, that isn’t worth the risk. There has been some debate as to whether or not dilbit will sink or float if it spills. If it floats, it’s easier to clean.

READ MORE: Northern Gateway pipeline project – Where is support strongest?

“Once oil spills, it’s other damages that can occur other than it sinking,” Merv Fingas, an independent environmental consultant told Global News.

James Moore on Northern Gateway pipeline


James Moore on Northern Gateway pipeline


Northern Gateway pipeline: Cariboo-Prince George MP Dirk Harris


Selling Northern Gateway pipeline to a skeptical province

“It might sink in fresh water, but not typically in salt water,” Fingas said. “However, if it interacts with particles and other heavier materials it could sink in salt water,” Fingas said. The particles could include clay or other minerals.

Andrew Weaver, the Green Party MLA for Oak Bay-Gordon Head, B.C., said that if dilbit were to spill in salt water that had suspended particles, it would be of great concern to the environment.

“What happens there is it either sinks or creates tar balls,” he told Global News. “What we know is that in many of these coastal waters, particularly where we are in Fraser River…there is no shortage of suspended sediments in the actual water column.”

Weaver pointed to an Enbridge pipeline that ruptured in Kalamazoo, Michigan in 2010, spilling 3.3 million litres of oil into the Kalamazoo River. The bitumen sank and efforts to clean it have lasted more than three years.

Fingas said that the effects of an oil spill would be just as devastating as other oil spills. “I think the unknown characteristics of this have led a lot of people to be sort of confused about what might happen. It seems as though this is extraordinary, but it’s just the same.”

WATCH: Northern Gateway decision: Can public opinion be turned around?

Depending on nature

Weaver believes that British Columbians, known for their eco-tourism, have spoken loudly about their concerns. It’s not just the wildlife, but the coastal waters – where people live, where people depend on nature – that concerns him most.

“We have a company that’s decided that it wants to ship diluted bitumen, despite the fact that virtually every First Nation in the area, the people of Kitimat, who are at the terminus of this, and something of the order of 80 per cent of British Columbians, including the present government, including the official opposition, and the B.C. Green Party, all of us have said no,” Weaver said.

“What about no, do you not get?”

Northern Gateway has been challenged by First Nations groups and Kitimat residents. Some of the concerns include impacts the pipeline would have on wildlife across both Alberta and B.C.

The proposed tanker route leaving from Kitimat, B.C. is shown on a map Thursday, Sept, 19, 2013.


And if there were to be an oil spill, there is the concern about how one would clean up it up.

In an emailed response from Environment Canada, spokesperson Mark Johnson said, should an oil spill occur, “All available countermeasures to respond…will be evaluated with the objective of achieving the best possible benefit for the environment.

“Only dispersants that provide a net environmental benefit would be approved.”

But the argument from environmentalists is that the risk of an oil spill just isn’t worth it.

“Nobody wants oil tankers in our coastal waters,” Weaver said.

“It’s a disaster waiting to happen.”