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Around Red Deer May 2nd…..

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10:35 am – The Odd / Even watering system is in effect for the Town of Innisfail. Details Here.

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10:30 am – Street sweeping is underway in Sylvan Lake again today! Read More.

10:25 am – Three days of Free large item pick-ups begin in Sylvan Lake today! Read More.

10:15 am – The Abbey Centre in Blackfalds will close for a few days starting on Wednesday. Read More.

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10:02 am – Blackfalds firefighters will will two teams competing in the Firefighter Stairclimb Challenge on May 7th. It’s being hosted by the Calgary Firefighters Benevolent Society (CFBS). Read More.

9:46 am – Westerner Park and the Red Deer Rebels have partnered to launch a new ticketing system! Read More.

9:01 am – A new garbage collection system will begin in Red Deer early next year. See what this means to you!

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8:53 am – Red Deer City Council has set our Property Tax Rate for 2017. Read More.

8:43 am – Residential street sweeping starts in Red Deer today. Find out where.

8:35 am – Red Deer RCMP are warning local businesses about “Quick Change” scammers that are making their way through town. Surveillance photos of the suspects are available. Can you identify them?

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8:20 am – École Secondaire Notre Dame High School in Red Deer will host some Rugby action today. Starting at 5 pm , the Girls Rugby team will play against Hunting Hills High School, while the Boys Rugby team will travel to Rocky Mountain House to play against West Central High School at 6 pm.

8:16 am – City Badminton Finals are getting underway in Red Deer this week. The Grade 9 Badminton team from St. Francis of Assisi Middle School will compete in the City Finals starting with a round robin competition at Hunting Hills High School on Tuesday, May 2 at 2:00 p.m. and continuing with finals at Lindsay Thurber Comprehensive High School at 4:00 p.m. Grade 6 Girls Singles and Doubles will play at St. Francis of Assisi Middle School beginning at 4:00 p.m. on May 2. The Boys Singles, Doubles and Mixed Doubles will play at the school on May 3 beginning at 4:00 p.m.

8:05 am – May is Bike Safety Month, so Better Biking Red Deer is kicking-off it’s bike safety awareness campaign at Annie L. Gaetz Elementary School this morning. They will be reading the bike proclamation, doing bike checks for students and hosting a hot dog lunch for the students.

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Business

Canada’s top five federal contaminated sites to cost taxpayers billions to clean up

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By Emily Blake in Yellowknife

With a cost estimate of $4.38 billion, remediation of the Giant Mine, one of the most contaminated sites in Canada, is also expected to be the most expensive federal environmental cleanup in the country’s history.

The figure, recently approved by the Treasury Board of Canada, spans costs from 2005 until 2038, when active remediation at the former Yellowknife gold mine is anticipated to end. That includes $710 million the federal government said has already been spent, but does not include costs for long-term care and maintenance.

“It doesn’t bother me so much that it’s going to cost $4 billion to clean up Giant Mine. What really bothers me is that the taxpayer is covering that cost,” said David Livingstone, chair of the Giant Mine Oversight Board.

It indicates the federal government failed to ensure private developers provided financial security to remediate sites. He said while that has improved over time, there will likely be more issues in the future.

“We as a society need to get a better handle on what it costs us to support mining industry and oil and gas industry,” he said. “If the numbers suggest that it’s going to cost more to clean up a site than that site generated in revenue to the Crown, we’ve got a problem.”

There are more than 20,000 locations listed in the federal contaminated sites inventory, from dumps and abandoned mines to military operations on federal land.

Environment and Climate Change Canada says that after Giant Mine, the four most expensive cleanups are the Faro Mine in Yukon, the Port Hope Area Initiative in Ontario, Esquimalt Harbour in British Columbia and Yukon’s United Keno Hill Mine.

More than $2 billion has been spent on the five sites so far, and it’s anticipated they will cost taxpayers billions more in the coming years. Their final price tags are not yet known.

The most recent numbers from the Treasury Board of Canada indicate more than $707 million has been spent on remediation, care and maintenance at Faro Mine, a former open pit lead-zinc mine. Its remediation project is expected to take 15 years to complete and is currently estimated to cost $1 billion, plus $166 million for the first 10 years of long-term operation and maintenance.

Parsons Inc. was awarded a $108-million contract in February for construction, care and maintenance at Faro Mine until March 2026, with the option to extend the contract for the duration of active remediation. The company said the contract could ultimately span 20 years and exceed $2 billion.

In 2012, Ottawa committed $1.28 billion in funding over 10 years for the cleanup of historical low-level radioactive waste in the municipalities of Port Hope and Port Grandby, Ont. To date more than $722 million has been spent on assessment and remediation.

The Port Grandby Project was completed earlier this year and has moved into long-term monitoring for hundreds of years. The Port Hope cleanup, which started in 2018, will continue into 2030.

The cleanup in the Esquimalt Harbour seabed in Victoria currently has a budget of $162.5 million. Roughly $214 million has already been spent on remediation and assessment. The Department of National Defence said that may include costs before 2015, when the remediation project began.

Cleanup of United Keno Hill Mine, a historical silver, lead and zinc mining property near Yukon’s Keno City, is estimated to cost $125 million, including $79 million during its active reclamation phase. That is expected to begin in 2023 and take five years, followed by a two-year transition phase then long-term monitoring and maintenance.  More than $67 million has been spent on remediation, care and maintenance at the site so far.

Other costly federal sites that have been cleaned up include the Cape Dyer Dew-Line, 21 former radar stations across the Arctic, for $575 million, the Sydney tar ponds and coke ovens on Cape Breton Island, N.S., for nearly $398 million, and the 5 Wing Goose Bay air force base in Labrador, for $142.9 million.

The 2022 public accounts state the gross liability for the 2,524 federal contaminated sites where action is required is nearly $10 billion based on site assessments. Of the 3,079 unassessed sites, 1,330 are projected to proceed to remediation with an estimated liability of $256 million.

The federal contaminated sites action plan was established in 2005 with $4.54 billion in funding over 15 years. That was renewed for an additional 15 years, from 2020 to 2034, with a commitment of $1.16 billion for the first five years.

Jamie Kneen with MiningWatch Canada said the contamination from Giant Mine highlights the importance of the planning and assessment process for development projects.

“If you don’t actually do any planning around something, you can end up with a pretty horrible mess,” he said. “In this case, it killed people before they started even capturing the arsenic. We don’t want that to happen anymore.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 27, 2022.

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This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Meta and Canadian Press News Fellowship.

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Crime

Manitoba RCMP say woman and child safe after alleged “random kidnapping”

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Winnipeg –  A Manitoba woman and her two-year-old daughter are safe after stopping to help a man who was allegedly pretending to need help on the side of a road but who then jumped into their vehicle and demanded to be driven to Winnipeg, RCMP said Saturday.

Cpl. Julie Courchaine told a news conference that police were first called to a hotel parking lot in Portage la Prairie, west of Winnipeg, on Friday afternoon for a report of a man in a van who was acting erratically and possibly taking drugs.

Courchaine said police spoke with the man briefly before he put the van in gear, rammed a police vehicle, drove towards officers, and then rammed the police vehicle again before taking off.

A chase had to be abandoned when the van, which was allegedly stolen from Winnipeg, drove into oncoming traffic on Highway 1, Courchaine said.

Not long after, a 911 call came in from a person living just east of Portage la Prairie. The call got disconnected.

“But a male and a female voice could be heard before the phone went silent,” Courchaine said.

Courchaine said the woman also managed to call her husband. He, too, called 911. Investigators spoke with him and also found the van abandoned, and they put the separate pieces together.

“She was driving in the area, saw this male in distress on the side of the road, pulled over to assist him, at which point he jumps in. She was able to make a call to her husband as well as that 911 call to us,” Courchaine explained.

Investigators believed they were travelling to Winnipeg and Courchaine said police were in the process of issuing an Amber Alert when the woman called to say the man had fled the vehicle and she and her daughter were safe in Winnipeg’s Polo Park neighbourhood.

Courchaine said the woman did not know the suspect. Neither the woman nor the child were physically hurt, she said, and no weapons were used.

The suspect was known to RCMP, she said.

“This was an extremely difficult situation and we would like to acknowledge the victim, who did everything she could to keep herself and her child safe,” Courchaine said.

Police are now looking for Michael Stephen Klimchuk, 62, from Winnipeg,  who is wanted on two charges of kidnapping, two charges of forcible confinement, abduction of a person under 14, three charges of assault with a weapon on a police officer, dangerous operation of a motor vehicle and possession of stolen property over $5,000.

Klimchuk is five-foot-eight-inches tall, weighs approximately 220 pounds, has blue eyes, long brown hair, and was last seen wearing a camo jacket and light-coloured pants.

Courchaine said he’s not believed to pose an imminent threat, but anyone who sees him or knows where he is should contact police immediately.

RCMP in Manitoba had tweeted a surveillance camera image of the suspect Friday night who they said they were trying to identify in connection with “a serious incident near Portage la Prairie,” but there was no mention of the alleged kidnapping.

When asked about the delay in releasing the information, Courchaine told the news conference it took time for police to connect the various elements.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 26, 2022.

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