'This is historic': New Petitcodiac River bridge opens

WATCH: A main crossing from Moncton to Riverview has reopened after more than six months of shutdown. The $61-million bright across the Petitcodiac River has replaced the shuttered causeway. As Callum Smith reports, the completion of the project marks a significant milestone.

A ribbon-cutting marked the opening of a long-awaited crossing for people looking to go between Moncton and Riverview.

Moncton Mayor Dawn Arnold says having the 240-metre bridge open after the former causeway was closed for more than five months — forcing commuters to use the Gunningsville Bridge — is a “historic” moment.

The river channel is about 175 metres wide, restoring the previously cut off tidal flow.

It’s been a decades-long fight for some environmentalists.

“It’s certainly a really meaningful day, but especially for the environmental advocates who have championed the project to restore the Petitcodiac River tidal bore to what it was when the causeway was first created more than 50 years ago,” says Riverview Mayor Andrew LeBlanc.

LeBlanc says the construction has impacted local commute times and businesses.

Read more:
‘Inconvenient for a while’: Petitcodiac River causeway closed for 6 months

The whole project has a price tag of $121 million, with nearly $62 million for the bridge itself.

The route closed April 5 and was expected to last six months.

The structure is the second-last piece of the project, according to Transportation Minister Jill Green.

More work will happen near the traffic circle — connecting the bridge to Wheeler Boulevard, Salisbury Road, and Main Street — on the Moncton side.

“It’s going to be slope work, working where the old landfill used to be, still working on some of the dikes and the aboiteaux related to the construction project,” Green tells Global News.

Some people are just pleased the bulk of the construction work is complete.

“It’s going to be nice not to have the loud noise when I try to sleep in the daytime,” says Amanda Campbell, who lives near the bridge. “I work night shift.”

Read more:
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Riverview Tire Services owner Fen Mabey has had a countdown sign for motorists along Coverdale Road.

“We started at 179 days,” he says.

People have continued to ask him, “how many days are left?”

“ like to come over and visit their parents and stuff and they’re used to coming across the causeway, and it adds about 20 minutes to their run so even the people in Moncton are very excited about it being open,” he says.

The project didn’t cause nearly the disruption he expected, Mabey says.

Some are pleased congestion will decrease, even those like business owner Wayne Springer, who says he kept his same client base from Moncton, despite the inconveniences.

“What does,” he says, “ separates the traffic coming in here so it smooths things out, separates them a little bit better and they don’t all impact at once.”

A number of anti-vaccine passport and anti-Trudeau protesters appeared at the event, despite the fact that the Liberal Party leader wasn't even in attendance

A number of anti-vaccine passport and anti-Trudeau protesters appeared at the event, despite the fact that the Liberal Party leader wasn't even in attendance

Callum Smith / Global News

In the background, a crowd of angry anti-vaccine passport protesters appeared, with some shouting “Trudeau must go” at an event without the federal Liberal Party leader.

Others could be heard repeatedly shouting “freedom” and “no vax pass.”

 

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Increased demand for COVID-19 vaccinations, testing as N.B. ponders new restrictions

As COVID-19 numbers continue to climb across the province, more New Brunswickers are looking to get vaccinated. But as Tim Roszell tells us, the push may not be enough to prevent new pandemic restrictions.

New Brunswick health officials are reporting a jump in bookings of COVID-19 vaccination appointments in the days following the government’s unveiling of a proof of vaccination policy.

“Yesterday we scheduled 1,929 vaccination appointments at regional health authority clinics, in addition to 1,700 bookings the day before,” New Brunswick chief medical officer of health Dr. Jennifer Russell said in a Friday news release. “Prior to Wednesday’s announcement, the recent average was 600 bookings per day.”

Russell also said walk-in clinic and pharmacy numbers are also up.

“On Thursday, 600 additional vaccines had to be delivered to a clinic in the Moncton area,” she said.

Read more:
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Public Health, Horizon Health Network and Vitalité Health Network also report an increase in demand for COVID-19 tests.

Horizon issued a news release touting the “immediate need” for additional staffing to assist in its testing facilities and vaccination clinics.

In a statement to Global News, Horizon’s vice-president of community Jean Daigle said the network needs up to 65 clinicians and administrative support workers as they look to ramp up services.

“This external call was further necessitated by the limited options available to redeploy existing staff from within Horizon to our clinic/assessment centre operations,” Daigle said. “These are paid positions and any new hires will go through a rapid onboarding process so they can join our team as quickly as possible.”

Kevin Wilson, a Halifax-based epidemiologist and vaccine data analyst, said testing is key to stopping the current spike in COVID-19 cases given the absence of restrictions like mask mandates.

“From a virus perspective, that means there’s nothing to really stop the spread of the virus except for things like testing a contact tracing,” Wilson said. “And so it becomes much more important to lean on those assets as much as possible.”

Wilson noted this is the first time New Brunswick has seen large active case numbers in multiple health zones, as previous outbreaks were centralized in a specific area. He believes the province needs to adjust its testing procedures as demand is likely to go up in every region.

The New Brunswick government is examining additional health measures.

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Public Health met Friday with Premier Blaine Higgs and provincial opposition leaders.

Green Party Leader David Coon confirmed new measures were discussed but said it will be the government that announces them, perhaps as soon as Sept. 20.

“Public Health clearly said that vaccinations are not sufficient to get us through this fall and winter by themselves,” Coon said. “There needs to be additional public health measures.”

Interim New Brunswick Liberal Leader Roger Melanson said “we’ve got to take this new Delta variant very seriously.”

“And there’s going to be some measures taken that need to be taken.”

 

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Tk’emlúps First Nation to mark truth and reconciliation day

Phyllis Jack Webstad, a residential school survivor and creator of Orange Shirt Day, shares her story and how the B.C. Lions have helped raise awareness for National Truth and Reconciliation Day.

A First Nation that announced more than 200 unmarked graves had been found at the site of a former residential school in Kamloops, B.C., is inviting people to mark Canada’s first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.

The Tk’emlúps te Secwepemc Nation has shared a video to help people learn the Secwepemc Honour Song to drum and sing at 2:15 p.m. Pacific time on Sept. 30.

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Chief Rosanne Casimir says news of the unmarked graves sparked a global outpouring of support and the invitation offers a way for people to connect.

The nation is encouraging participants to teach the honour song in schools, workplaces and at home.

Read more:
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Since May, several other First Nations have reported finding unmarked graves or suspected remains located around former residential institutions in their territories.

Casimir says the nation has been working to decide what happens next at the Kamloops site and it is set to share updates at an event scheduled to take place next month.

 

© 2021 The Canadian Press

Kingston, Ont. book club creates community for those with sight loss

WATCH: CNIB Ontario East is providing accessible reading materials for book-loving Kingstonians who are experiencing sight loss.

For avid book lovers like Anne Jewell, finding accessible reading materials is a necessity.

That necessity is being made easier through her membership with the Canadian National Institute for the Blind’s (CNIB) book club — something unique to Kingston.

“It’s an opportunity to connect with people who have the same obstacles, and also to connect with people who have such varied and interesting views on the books being read,” says Anne Jewell.

“I learn something every month.”

Read more:
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As the CNIB Book Club celebrates its 10-year anniversary, Jewell marks eight years of reading with the group.

“Regardless of people’s vision loss, whether they’re blind, partially sighted or deaf-blind, we welcome everybody into that community,” says Caitlin Bruce of the CNIB.

“It’s just to connect with others who share that love of reading and really enjoy that and want to connect with others on a monthly basis.”

Book club members are hooked up with CELA, The Centre for Equitable Library Access, which offers people with print disabilities a wide range of books in different formats, from braille and large-print materials to audio books.

“It certainly is different. And I still miss holding that book and turning the page,” says Jewell. “I think I will always miss that. But I’m, you know, now used to listening to books.”

According to CELA, it is estimated that only five to seven per cent of published works are available in accessible formats for people with print disabilities.

“If you haven’t been experienced that, you’re not sure where to go, what resources there are,” says Bruce. “So we can absolutely point people in the right direction on how to get started.”

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Jewell says the group has helped her navigate her journey with sight loss, and encourages others to follow suit.

“It will help you to struggle through the initial throws of losing your vision,” she says. “And you will get lots of really good ideas from people and you’ll meet very interesting people.”

The small, close-knit group meets the third Wednesday of every month, from September to June, sharing a love of reading, learning and a determination to overcome obstacles.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Break-in at Bradford, Ont. home prompts investigation: South Simcoe police

South Simcoe police are investigating following a break-in that took place at a Bradford, Ont., home on Thursday afternoon.

At about 12:50 p.m., officers were called to a home in the area of Sideroad 5 and 11th Line.

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A homeowner had returned to his home and found a vehicle parked in his driveway, as well as three men who had just broken into the residence.

According to police, one the suspects said they were there to do some work.

The suspects left the scene in a grey, older model sedan and were last seen driving south on Sideroad 5.

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Officers said several items were stolen from the home.

Police are looking for witnesses, dash cam and security camera video.

Anyone who saw anything suspicious is asked to contact police at 907-775-3311 or Crime Stoppers anonymously.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

UBC study a 'call to action' to save coral reefs

A new study out of the University of British Columbia is a “call to action” to save the world’s critical coral reefs.

The study, conducted by UBC’s Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries, says the capacity for coral reefs to provide people with food, jobs, and climate protection has declined by half since the 1950s.

Researchers say living corals around the world have declined by about 50 per cent and the diversity of coral reef species has fallen by more than 60 per cent.

Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries director William Cheung said the study collected data from around the world and analyzed historical trends related to coral reefs and their impact on biodiversity.

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One metric is catch-per-unit effort, which is meant to measure how difficult it is for fishers to get fish from coral reefs. They found the catch per unit effort, which is often used as an indication of changes in biomass, is now 60 per cent lower than it was in 1950.

“In the 1950s, if a fisherman used one hook and spent one hour in the coral reefs, they can catch 10 fish,” he said.

“Now, with a decline of more than 50 per cent of the catch per unit effort, they can catch five or fewer fish with one hook.

“So that means that everything being equal, we see a large decrease in abundance of available fish from coral reefs.”

Cheung notes the decline of coral reefs is disproportionately impacting Indigenous and coastal communities in the tropics, affecting their food supply, culture, and history.

“It’s a call to action — we’ve been hearing this time and time again from fisheries and biodiversity research,” Tyler Eddy, the study’s lead author, added.

“We know coral reefs are biodiversity hotspots. And preserving biodiversity not only protects nature but supports the humans that use these species for cultural, subsistence and livelihood means.”

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

MLHU declares COVID-19 outbreak at École élémentaire La Pommeraie after 4th case confirmed

A COVID-19 outbreak has been declared at a French-language elementary school in the city after a fourth positive case was confirmed there, the Middlesex-London Health Unit said Friday.

Health officials said the outbreak at École élémentaire La Pommeraie on Settlement Trail is the first school-associated outbreak in the region so far this school year. Transmission of COVID-19 occurred among close contacts while they were at school, they said.

“The latest individual to test positive for COVID-19 is currently in isolation at their home after they were found to be a close contact of a previous case; they did not attend the school during their period of communicability,” the health unit said in a statement.

980 CFPL has reached out to the school board, Conseil scolaire Viamonde (CS Viamonde), for comment.

According to the health unit, only staff and students in classrooms identified as having had close contact with those positive for COVID-19 will be excluded from attending school.

In a statement, Dr. Chris Mackie, the medical officer of health for London and Middlesex, said because close contacts of the confirmed cases were in self-isolation, “there is no need for further action by staff or students, other than to monitor themselves for the development of symptoms.”

“Because most children who attend elementary schools are too young to be vaccinated themselves, the best thing we can do to protect them is to make sure the people they spend time with have already been vaccinated,” he said.

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Only those 12 and older are currently eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. According to CS Viamonde’s website, École élémentaire La Pommeraie teaches kindergarten through Grade 6. The health unit did not say whether those impacted were students or staff.

At least 14 COVID-19 cases were active involving local elementary and secondary schools as of Friday.

Of those, three cases were active at École secondaire catholique Monseigneur-Bruyère, a French-language Catholic school. Two each were also active at CS Viamonde’s École secondaire Gabriel-Dumont, and at the Thames Valley District School Board’s Kensal Park Public School.

According to health unit data, 197 COVID-19 cases were considered active in the region as of Friday. Of those, 29 involved people under the age of 12, while 16 involved people aged 12 and 17.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

St. Lawrence College changes Indigenous centre's name

St. Lawrence College has nearly 500 Indigenous students registered at all three of its campuses, and it is continuing its reconciliation efforts by implementing relatable programming.

Not only has the college renamed and rebranded its Indigenous centres across its campuses, but it is also ensuring that Indigenous ways and knowledge are embedded in its culture and services.

Helena Neveu has been on St. Lawrence College’s Indigenous and Student Affairs Team working with the school and Indigenous students since 2014. Earlier this month, she became the college’s knowledge keeper, and by following her guidance, the campuses in Cornwall, Brockville and Kingston have renamed their Eagle’s Nest Indigenous Centre the Waasaabiidaasamose Indigenous Centre.

This name is close to home for Neveu because it is a part of her spirit name in the Ojibwe language.

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“For 25 years I’ve had that name, Waasaabiidaasamose, and I really like it. Gathering and walking far. Giving it back to the school is a real honour,” says Neveu.

She says the meaning “translates to ‘walks for a woman,’ which also translates to ‘going far in a blizzard.'”

The centre has Indigenous student advisors who help Indigenous students navigate their studies and experience at St. Lawrence, foster greater appreciation of Indigenous culture, and offer students of all backgrounds a place to socialize.

Through Neveu, Indigenous students can find methods to achieve wellness, with mental, physical and spiritual support. And that’s what the name Waasaabiidaasamose promotes.

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“I am a Anishinaabe woman and we work through the medicine wheel. So I’m all about wellness,” says Neveu.

St. Lawrence College says it is committed to taking reconciliation seriously with this name change. President Glenn Vollebregt said it is important that Canada is held accountable for its treatment of Indigenous Peoples.

“Our commitment to truth and reconciliation and advancing Indigenous ways of knowing at being at St. Lawerence, at our Kingston, Cornwall, Brockville campus, is one of our priorities,” says Vollebregt.

While students can refer to the centre by its new name starting now, he says an official reopening event is in the works for when COVID-19 restrictions ease.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

B.C. will aid Alberta 'where we can and when we can,' but not offering ICU beds: Horgan

WATCH: B.C. Premier John Horgan was asked by a reporter at a press briefing on Friday about the challenging COVID-19 situation Alberta hospitals are facing and if the province will provide support. Horgan said he has spoken to Alberta Premier Jason Kenny and, "We stand by ready to assist, where we can when we can, but we also have to maintain our ICU capacity at a level that will allow us to continue to have surgeries."

British Columbia’s premier says the province will do what it can to help Alberta stave off the collapse of its health-care system, but stopped short of offering hospital beds or staff.

“We stand ready to assist where we can and when we can but we have to also maintain our ICU capacity at a level that will allow us to continue to have surgeries,” John Horgan said Friday.

Read more:
No room in B.C. hospitals for Alberta COVID-19 patients, says province

“We’ve had to suspend some surgeries as a result of COVID cases in our ICUs.”

On Thursday, B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix said B.C. would take Alberta patients in the future “if we can.”

Horgan said he had spoken to Alberta Premier Jason Kenney on Friday and that the provinces were in regular communication about how to coordinate healthcare.

He said both provinces remained focused on vaccination as the key to protecting residents.

 

Alberta declared a state of public health emergency on Wednesday, as Premier Jason Kenney warned intensive care units could be overwhelmed within about a week, due to a surge of unvaccinated patients.

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Alberta has been forced to cancel hundreds of surgeries, and is racing to convert as many beds as possible to support intensive care, including operating rooms.

Alberta Health Services head Dr. Verna Yiu said this week the province’s ICUs were operating at 155 per cent over capacity, and that the province has reached out to other jurisdictions for help.

Ontario and Newfoundland and Labrador have offered aid, but British Columbia and Quebec have both said they do not have the capacity to assist.

As of Thursday, B.C. had 134 COVID-19 patients in hospital, 117 of them unvaccinated.

British Columbia’s healthcare system has a total of 510 ICU beds and 218 surge beds, 444 of which were occupied as of Thursday.

Horgan said B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry would provide an update on hospital capacity next week.

“COVID-19 is creating difficulties in our acute care facilities because unvaccinated British Columbians are contracting COVID-19 that’s leading to increased hospitalizations, increasing strain and stress on front line workers that are working double shifts, sometimes triple shifts for months and months and months,” he said.

Read more:
Alberta seeing 18-20 COVID-19 ICU admissions a day: AHS

In the past two weeks, fully vaccinated people, who represent seven in 10 British Columbians, have accounted for just 13.6 per cent of COVID-19 cases in B.C. hospitals.

But the province continues to grapple with pockets of lower vaccination rates in some areas, particularly in its northern and eastern regions.

In the northeastern Peace River region, for example, only half of eligible people are fully vaccinated according to data from the B.C. Centre for Disease Control.

And in the southeastern local health areas of Enderby and Creston fully vaccinated individuals make up just 59 and 60 per cent, respectively, of the eligible population.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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