12:29 pm – Red Deer RCMP are investigating what’s considered to be the non-suspicious death of a man near Kin Kanyon. Read More.
12:06 pm – Lacombe City Council has approved amendments to the Southeast Area Structure Plan in order to facilitate redevelopment in the industrial area of the plan and ensure alignment with the City’s 2015 Municipal Development Plan (MDP). Chief Administrative Officer Dion Pollard says in a release that “They do not change the overall intent or proposed land uses of the area; rather they ensure that future developments within the area align with the City’s current development standards.”
12:02 pm – The Town of Innisfail is excited to announce the opening of new RV dump station on Friday, May 19! Read More.
12:01 pm – Innisfail’s annual fire hydrant maintenance and flushing program is now underway. Read More.
11:57 am – The Town of Sylvan Lake handed out it’s Leaders of Tomorrow Excellence Awards on Monday! Find out who was recognized!
11:54 am – Sylvan Lake Town Council has amended it’s bylaw that regulates the hours in which licensed establishments may serve alcohol, and provide outdoor entertainment. Check this week’s Town Council Highlights!
11:51 am – Street sweeping continues in Sylvan Lake today as well. Read More.
11:50 am – Crews with the Town of Sylvan Lake have figured out what’s up with that water leak at the intersection of 50th Street and 47th Avenue. Read More.
11:37 am – Street sweeping continues in Lacombe today: on Onyx Ave, Opal Cl, Fieldstone Blvd, Hearthstone Dr, Knightsbridge Rd, Telford Cr and Pickwick Lane. Don’t forget to move your vehicles!
11:32 am – The Blackfalds Fire Department is hosting an Open House and BBQ tonight to mark National Emergency Preparedness Week. Read More.
11:26 am – May 7-13 is National Emergency Preparedness Week. Please join the Penhold Fire Department on Wednesday May 10 at 6:30 pm for an open house and BBQ. There will be some excellent information on hand for everyone.
11:17 am – Street sweeping continues in Red Deer’s Sunnybrook South and Bower neighbourhoods today. Read More.
10:04 am – There’s a long list of FCSS events going on in Red Deer County over the coming weeks. Check them out here!
9:59 am – Find out more about Red Deer County’s Rural Property Crime Prevention efforts with the RCMP. Details and Video Here.
9:49 am – There’s a Town Hall Meeting with Red Deer County Division 6 Councillor Christine Moore tonight. The focus will be a Crime Prevention Strategy. It’s 7:00 pm at the Poplar Ridge Hall.
9:06 am – Red Deer RCMP are looking for the owner of a tandem bike that police recovered this week in some brush in the area of Taylor Drive and 22 Street. If your tandem bike was stolen recently, please contact Red Deer RCMP Exhibits staff at 403-406-2574 from Monday to Thursday between 8 am and 6 pm and Friday between 8 am and 3:30 pm. You will be asked to provide a description of the bike to prove ownership.
9:02 am – Red Deer County Council approved 2nd and 3rd reading of the municipal tax rate bylaw for 2017 at it’s Regular Meeting on Tuesday, May 9th. In recognition of the continued economic challenges, Council has approved a zero percent increase in tax rates. Major projects for the year include Gasoline Alley road construction, bridge repairs and contributions to the Delburne Agriplex.
8:58 am – Street sweeping continues in Penhold today:
· Windsor Avenue (from Emma Street to Grey Street)
· Newton Drive (from Hayter Street to Robinson Avenue)
· Logan Avenue
· Hampton Close
· Hutton Place
8:51 am – Heads up Red Deer motorists! City crews have a number of projects they’re working on, so you can expect to see some road closures throughout the City over the next little while. Read More.
8:43 am – Maskwacis RCMP are pleased to advise that Azhlyn Buffalo that was previously reported as missing, has now been safely located. Mounties Thank the public and media for their help in finding her.
8:39 am – The Town of Penhold has provided an update on it’s Capital Projects currently underway.
- The Oxford Reservoir Water Main Feeder – Construction on this project is progressing. Minor traffic delays may be expected on Oxford Blvd.
- Drainage Project in Lane Way behind Morton Close – The start of this project has been postponed. Expected start date is now Monday May 15, 2017.
- Robinson Avenue Storm Line Project – Construction has been delayed. Work is expected to begin on Tuesday May 23, 2017.
8:32 am – June is Block Party month in Lacombe, so the City is excited to announce that for 2017 they will be giving away $100 gift cards to Lacombe CO-OP to help purchase party supplies. Register your June Block Party during the month of May to be entered for a chance to win. Draws will be made on June 1. Click here to download your registration package.
8:22 am – The G.H. Dawe Community Centre in Red Deer is closed from 8:30 am – 4:00 pm today due to a private function. Details Here.
8:17 am – The Netflix series, 13 Reasons Why, debuted on March 31, 2017, and is trending nationally as well as in the Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools community. Officials say this 13-hour series depicts strong and graphic themes of suicide, bullying, sexual assault, drug use, and other social issues. While District officials are unaware of any specific incidents related to the series, they want to provide parents with an opportunity to discuss the series with mental health professionals. That chance is tonight from 7:00 – 9:00 pm at St. Thomas Aquinas Middle School (3821 39 St, Red Deer, AB T4N 0Y6). All parents in the community are invited to attend.
8:11 am – Students from Ecole Secondaire Notre Dame High School in Red Deer will showcase their talents at the annual Spring Evening of the Arts tonight. This event will take place in the school’s Gathering Area.
8:07 am – The City of Red Deer has chosen St. Patrick’s Community School to plant a tree on the West side of the school today. The school has invited the Mayor’s office, as well as City Councillors to attend and celebrate Arbour Day with the school’s Grade one and two students at 10:30 am!
8:01 am – Grade 7 Badminton players from St. Francis of Assisi Middle School in Red Deer will be competing at the CWAJHAA’s today!
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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