3:06 pm – Officials with Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools are celebrating the honour bestowed upon Allan Mahoney, a teacher at École Secondaire Notre Dame High School who received the Mayor’s Recognition Award on Thursday night for Distinguished Voluntary Service! Mahoney began his volleyball coaching career in 2011. He has coached the Notre Dame Senior Boys Varsity Volleyball Team for the past six years and has dedicated more than 15 hours per week working with students during the volleyball season. He coordinates and runs week-long volleyball camps during the summer for students in Grades 6-12. For the past seven years, Mahoney has coached the Central Alberta Kings Volleyball Club U18 team.
2:36 pm – A big Thank You going out to the Moovers and Groovers adult walking club in Innisfail. Find out why.
2:31 pm – The Town of Innisfail would like to thank everyone who gave their time at the 2017 Mayor and Seniors Garden Party for their contributions in making the event a great success. Read More.
2:20 pm – The Town of Sylvan Lake is set to party with 1913 Days starting today! Details Here.
1:52 pm – Check out the progress being made on the Laura Avenue extension project underway in Gasoline Alley.
1:25 pm – It’s Child Safety Week and Alberta Health Services (AHS) is reminding all Albertans to make all-terrain vehicle (ATV) safety a priority this week and every week. Read More.
1:17 pm – The Ross Street Patio Party, Kick it to the Curb and JDRF Telus Walk to Cure Diabetes are all happening in Red Deer this weekend. Find out what else is going on throughout the City.
1:08 pm – The Reining Alberta Spring Classic is underway at Red Deer’s Westerner Park until Sunday (June 11). Read More.
12:15 pm – A Boil Water Advisory has been issued for parts of Red Deer’s Bower neighbourhood. Read More.
12:08 pm – Residential building picked up in Red Deer last month, as residential permits were valued at $5.8 million in May, surpassing permit values of $3 million in May 2016. Read More.
11:59 am – A Red Deer Mother and Daughter are celebrating a Set For Life Lottery Win! Read More.
11:49 am – Penhold Fire Crews were called to power lines down on Lucina St. and Emma St. in Pnehold early Friday morning (June 9). There is no estimate of when the roads will re-open or when power will be restored. Fortis AB is on scene and working hard to restore service. As of 8:20 am, all Penhold units have been cleared of both scenes by Fortis who have set up road closures in the same locations and are hard at work trying to restore power in all areas of Penhold that are still without power. There are also lines down in the back alley of Fleming Ave. between Emma St. and Lucina St. Residents have been warned not to go into their back yards or the alley until Fortis can make the situation safe. One resident has also suffered from medical distress due to the power outage affecting their medication equipment.
11:35 am – The City of Red Deer has provided an update on the 67th Street Roundabout construction project. Read More.
11:28 am – Fire crews were called to a small kitchen fire on Hayter Street in Penhold Thursday June 8th. Officials say the source was determined to be a hard plastic container left on the stove top. The cause was the occupant placed the container on the stove inadvertently turning a burner on. There were no injuries and crews cleared from the scene within 40 minutes. Penhold Fire Chief Jim Pendergast would like to remind everyone not to leave combustible materials on a stove or other potentially hot surface. Damage is estimated at less than $1000.00. 1 unit and 5 firefighters responded.
11:18 am – Innisfail RCMP were on patrol on highway 2 on June 7th and observed a vehicle failing to maintain the centre lane. A traffic stop was initiated with the vehicle, upon approach to the passenger’s side of the vehicle Police observed a zip-lock bag of marihuana in a bag on the passenger seat. Read More.
11:11 am – Motorists can expect delays as construction on 32 Street starts on Monday, June 12. Details Here.
11:04 am – Red Deer RCMP arrested a number of people this week who were found to be breaching various court-imposed conditions or who had failed to appear in court on earlier charges. Read More.
10:52 am – Red Deer RCMP are looking for public assistance to identify the man who robbed a north end gas station at knifepoint at approximately 12:30 am on June 8. Read More.
10:43 am – Rainfall Warnings have been issued for the Rocky Mountain House – Caroline and Nordegg Regions today. Details Here.
10:35 am – Good news to pass along regarding a missing Red Deer woman. Mounties say 26 year old Christina Linthorne has been located and RCMP thank the public for their assistance.
10:28 am – The Recreation Centre in Red Deer will close to the public this weekend, as the Catalina Swim Club hosts their annual “Freeze or Fry” swim meet. Read More.
10:22 am – The City of Red Deer held it’s annual Mayor’s Recognition Awards at the Sheraton Hotel Thursday night. The award recipients joined the ranks of the nearly one thousand outstanding citizens who have crossed the stage between 1990 and today. Read More.
10:16 am – Your chance to part with your no longer needed but still useful items happens this weekend. Kick it to the Curb in Red Deer runs Saturday, June 10th and Sunday, June 11th. Read More.
10:10 am – Ross Street Patio Parties are back today and Red Deerians are invited to celebrate at the official kick-off event at 5 p.m. Friday, June 9, featuring St. James Gate. Read More.
10:05 am – Some road closures from Red Deer motorists to make note of over the next few days. Find out where.
9:54 am – The Town of Sylvan Lake has partnered with the Sylvan Lake Chamber of Commerce, and Days Inn – Sylvan Lake to host approximately 25 travel agents from Alberta, for a weekend of enjoying all that Sylvan Lake has to offer. The Familiarization Tour runs Saturday, June 10th and Sunday, June 11th.
9:47 am – It’s Aboriginal Day at Ecole Mother Teresa School in Sylvan Lake. The event will kick-off with an Aboriginal dance performance by a family from the school, and will honour First Nations, Inuit, and Métis cultures by participating in Aboriginal games, learning about Aboriginal art, making bannock and participating in a variety of hands-on activities related to our Aboriginal peoples.
9:41 am – They’re striking up the band at St. Elizabeth Seton School in Red Deer today. The Grade 5 students will present what they’ve learned in band class in a performance to the school community today (June 9).
9:35 am – It’s track and Fun Day at St. Teresa of Avila School in Red Deer today (June 9). Students and staff will gather as a community and take part in this fun-filled day. It includes outdoor activities and a hot dog BBQ provided by the parent council. In case of inclement weather, Tuesday, June 13 will be the alternate day.
9:10 am – Ecole Secondaire Lindsay Thurber Comprehensive High School in Red Deer is hosting a Spring Handball Tournament tomorrow on Saturday, June 10th. The event runs from 9:00 am – 6:30 pm.
Hot rental market makes search ‘stressful’ for many — and it won’t get better soon
Marissa Giesinger is pictured in Calgary, Thursday, Sept. 21, 2023. On the hunt for a rental home in Calgary over the last six weeks, Giesinger and her boyfriend trawled through listings morning, noon and night, only to find most come along with dozens of applications and a steep price tag. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
By Tara Deschamps in Toronto
On the hunt for a rental home in Calgary over the last six weeks, Marissa Giesinger and her boyfriend trawled through listings morning, noon and night, only to find most come along with dozens of applications and a steep price tag. As an added difficulty, many landlords are unwelcoming to the couple’s brood — dogs Kado and Rosco and a cat named Jester.
“We made the tough decision recently to house our dogs with someone else until we can find a place that’s affordable and we can take both of them,” said Giesinger, a 23-year-old Mount Royal University student.
“It’s definitely been stressful.”
The competitive rental market Giesinger has encountered in Calgary is being seen across the country as multiple factors combine: high interest rates deter buyers and add to rental demand, still-high inflation is squeezing renter budgets, there’s an undersupply of purpose-built rental units and population growth is fuelling demand.
These conditions have left prospective renters feeling even more frustrated than usual by sky-high rents, the frenzy of interest that surrounds any affordable listing and the litany of demands landlords can make when so many people are interested in their home.
Giacomo Ladas, communications director for Rentals.ca, calls it “almost a perfect storm” — and it isn’t likely to ease up any time soon.
“What this does is create such a burden on this rental housing market that even though we’re out of the (busy) summer rental season, there’s so much demand that (these conditions are) going to continue like this until the fall and into the winter,” he said.
Data crunched by his organization and research firm Urbanation.ca shows average asking rents for newly-listed units in Canada increased 1.8 per cent between July and August and 9.6 per cent from a year earlier to reach a record high of $2,117 last month.
Between May and August, asking rents in Canada increased by 5.1 per cent or an average of $103 per month.
When Giesinger rented a two-bedroom basement unit with a roommate a few years ago, the duo paid $1,000 per month, but now she routinely spots “super tiny,” one-bedroom places for $1,350 a month.
“If you want a basement suite or an apartment, you’re looking at minimum $1,200 and that doesn’t include any utilities or anything like that unless it’s a super rare listing,” Giesinger said.
Rentals.ca data show newly listed one-bedroom properties in Calgary priced at an average $1,728 per month in August, up 21.6 per cent from a year earlier. Two-bedroom homes have climbed 17.4 per cent to $2,150 over the same period.
The picture in Vancouver and Toronto is far bleaker. Rentals.ca found the cities had the highest rents in the country.
Newly-listed one-bedroom properties in Vancouver averaged $2,988 in August, up 13.1 per cent from a year earlier, while two-bedroom units hit $3,879, an almost 10 per cent increase year-over-year.
Newly-listed Toronto one-bedroom homes averaged $2,620 in August, up almost 11 per cent from the year before, while two-bedroom properties had a 7.1 per cent rise over the same time frame to $3,413.
It’s numbers like these that have convinced Kanishka Punjabi to abandon her hopes of moving in the near term.
“Two days ago, I gave up on my search because the rental market is that bad,” she said.
The public relations worker has been living in Mississauga, Ont., but felt it was time to find a home in downtown or midtown Toronto, closer to where she works.
However, few of the two-bedroom homes she spotted in her two-month search were within her $2,800 budget.
For example, one apartment she liked at the intersection of Yonge and Eglinton streets had 25 offers in just over a week.
“Some people actually just sent in their offer without looking at the apartment too because there are so many people who are in desperate need of rental units,” said Punjabi. “There’s just not enough.”
The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. has projected that the country needs to build 3.5 million additional homes beyond what’s planned before the market reaches some semblance of affordability.
It also calculated that the annual pace of housing starts — when construction begins on a home — edged down one per cent in August to 252,787 units compared with 255,232 in July.
Despite the nudge down, Rishi Sondhi, an economist with TD Bank Group, said it has been a strong year for starts because the industry is responding to elevated prices by building at a robust pace.
But between population growth and rising interest rates, he said, “supply is struggling to keep up with demand” and that’s bound to weigh on renters for quite some time.
“In the short term, it would be unrealistic to expect too much of a reprieve simply because population growth is likely to remain strong through the duration of this year — and that’s really one of the big fundamental drivers,” he said.
“In addition, it’s unlikely to expect affordability in the ownership market to improve too much either because we think the Bank of Canada (key rate) is going to be on hold for the remainder of the year, but there is some risk that they take rates even higher, especially if inflation doesn’t co-operate.”
For renters like Giesinger that message puts even more pressure on her to settle on a place soon.
“Now I’m scrambling to find the money for a deposit and we’re still never really sure like what kind of place we’re going to get,” she said.
“And when you’re battling dozens of other people for a rental it can be super stressful.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 24, 2023.
Migrants hoping to reach US continue north through Mexico by train amid historic migration levels
Migrants stand alongside a rail track as a northbound freight train pulls into Irapuato, Mexico, Saturday, Sept. 23, 2023. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)
By Megan Janetsky in Irapuato
IRAPUATO, Mexico (AP) — As a train roared in the distance, some 5,000 mostly Venezuelan migrants hoping to make it to the U.S. snapped into action.
Families with young children sleeping on top of cardboard boxes and young men and women tucked away in tents under a nearby bridge scrambled to pack their things. After the train arrived on the outskirts of the central Mexican city of Irapuato, some swung their bodies over its metal trailers with ease, while others tossed up bags and handed up their small children swaddled in winter coats.
“Come up, come up,” migrants atop the train urged those below. Others yelled, “God bless Mexico!”
After three days of waiting for the train that many in the group worried would never come, this was their ticket north to Mexico’s border with the United States.
Thousands of other migrants were stranded in other parts of the country last week after Mexico’s biggest railroad said it halted 60 freight trains. The company, Ferromex, said so many migrants were hitching rides on the trains that it became unsafe to move the trains. The company said it had seen a “half dozen regrettable cases of injuries or deaths” in a span of just days.
When the train arrived Saturday, “Ferromex” was painted on many of the gondolas. Local police were stationed around the improvised camp where the migrants had been waiting, but when the train stopped for about 30 minutes there was no attempt to stop migrants from climbing aboard.
Despite violence from drug cartels and the dangers that come with riding atop the train cars, such freight trains — known collectively as “The Beast” — have long been used by migrants to travel north.
The closures temporarily cut off one of the most transited migratory routes in the country at a time of surging migration, and left families like Mayela Villegas’ in limbo.
Villegas, her partner and their six children had spent three days sleeping on the concrete ground surrounded by masses of other migrants. Before boarding the train, the Venezuelan family said they had packed food for only a few days of train rides and struggled to feed their kids.
”The more days we are here, the less food we have. Thankfully people here have helped us, have given us bread,” Villegas said. “We’re sleeping here because we don’t have anything to pay for a room or hotel. We don’t have the funds.”
The halting of the train routes also underscores the historic numbers of people heading north in search of a new life in the United States, and the dilemma it poses for countries across the Americas as they struggle to cope with the sheer quantities of migrants traversing their territories.
When several thousand migrants crossed into Eagle Pass, Texas, over a few days the border town declared an emergency.
In August, the U.S. Border Patrol made 181,509 arrests at the Mexican border, up 37% from July but little changed from August 2022 and well below the high of more than 220,000 in December, according to figures released Friday.
It reversed a plunge in the numbers after new asylum restrictions were introduced in May. That comes after years of steadily rising migration levels produced by economic crisis and political and social turmoil in many of the countries people are fleeing.
Once, just dozens of migrants from Central American countries would pass through Irapuato by train each day, said Marta Ponce, a 73-year-old from who has spent more than a decade providing aid to those who travel the tracks running through her town.
Now, that number often reaches the thousands.
“We once thought that 50 or 60 people was massive, now it’s normal,” Ponce said. “It has grown a lot, a lot, a lot.”
And migrants come from all over. Ponce noted that Venezuelan migrants fleeing economic crisis in their country are in the overwhelming majority, but she’s seen people from around the world, including African nations, Russia and Ukraine.
Most travel through the Darien Gap, a dayslong trek across the rugged Colombia-Panama border. The crossing was once so dangerous that few dared to attempt it, but now so many migrants flood through its dense jungles that it’s rapidly become a migratory highway similar to the trains winding through Mexico.
Crossings of the Darien Gap have shot up so much they could approach 500,000 people this year alone.
Villegas, whose family spent three days in Irapuato waiting for the train, was among many who saw the Darien Gap as an opportunity. The family was among 7.7 million people to leave Venezuela in recent years, and spent three years in neighboring Colombia.
The family was able to set up a small barbershop business on the fringes of the Colombia’s capital, but rising xenophobia and low pay left the family of eight struggling to scrape by.
This summer, when a gang threatened them for not paying extortion money, Villegas and her partner, 32-year-old Yorver Liendo, decided it was time to go to the U.S. For them, the dangers are worth it if it means a change for their children, who ate yogurt out of plastic bottles and snuggled together on the ground.
“It’s the country of a thousand opportunities, and at least my kids are still small. They can keep studying, and have a better quality of life,” Liendo said.
But it’s not just Ferromex that has been overwhelmed by the crush of people. Regional governments have also struggled with what to do.
Colombia, which has taken on the brunt of the exodus from Venezuela, has long called on the international community for aid. Panama and Costa Rica, meanwhile, have tightened migratory restrictions and demanded that something be done about hundreds of thousands of people passing through the Darien Gap.
Panama even launched a campaign dubbed “Darien is a jungle, not a highway.”
Meanwhile, the Biden administration has pushed Mexico and Central American nations to control migratory flows and now requires asylum seekers to register through an app known as CBP One.
On Thursday, the Biden administration announced it would grant temporary protected status to nearly a half million more Venezuelans already in the country.
Meanwhile, activists like Ponce say they expect migration along the train line to grow.
As bleary-eyed migrants climbed onto the train early Saturday morning, they cheered as the train picked up speed and continued them on their winding route north.
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