CEREAL, Alta. — A Saskatchewan man says a well-timed pit stop may have helped him avoid getting caught in a fiery 10-vehicle crash in southeastern Alberta that killed three people.
Dore Germo and his wife left Kelowna, B.C., on Monday after a holiday visiting friends. After a night in Calgary, they were on their way home Tuesday to Warman, Sask.
They stopped for gas and a break in Hanna, Alta., about 80 kilometres from where seven passenger vehicles and three semi trucks collided on Highway 9.
“We were quite grateful that we had stopped,” Germo said in an interview Wednesday.
“It just makes you think, ‘Could that have been us further up the road?’ We just don’t know.”
The couple spotted smoke as they continued east but thought it was a grass fire.
Then they saw flashing lights and heard sirens. A police officer was running down the middle of the road waving his arms at stopped vehicles.
“I rolled down my window and he was just yelling, ‘Get out! Get out!'”
Germo said they were directed to a gravel road to get around the crash, and from there they could make out a tanker truck and burned vehicles amid the smoke.
“It kind of looked like a bomb had gone off because there were these burnt-out vehicles and it was very eerie,” he said.
“It was quite a sickening kind of empty feeling once you realized that — yes — those are people just going about their day and travelling somewhere.”
He said he’s praying for those involved.
“The first thing you think of is those poor families.”
RCMP confirmed Wednesday that three people were found dead at the crash scene between the small communities of Chinook and Cereal, about 300 kilometres east of Calgary. Ten people were injured, two critically.
One of the trucks that was carrying fuel ignited, causing several vehicles to catch fire, and another truck was carrying butane.
A stretch of Highway 9 was still closed on Wednesday afternoon, while crews cleared the area and recovered dangerous goods in one of the trucks.
RCMP Cpl. Laurel Scott said the crash happened in a construction zone.
“Any time that traffic is moving through or travelling near a construction zone, there’s always a concern just generally about travelling safely.”
She said a collision analyst was at the site for several hours taking measurements, noting marks on the road and recording where debris had landed.
The investigation could take several weeks, she said, and will also take into account mechanical exams and witness statements. It’s too early to say whether any charges are possible, she added.
“We need the public to understand this does take some time.”
The RCMP’s victim services unit was providing support to people involved in the crash. The unit set up at the legion in nearby Oyen on Tuesday night.
“They’re there to offer whatever help they can, even if it’s just to listen to somebody and give them a blanket,” Scott said.
— By Lauren Krugel in Calgary
The Canadian Press
Homes by 3Leafs showcases the first single family, shipping container home built in Calgary.
Homes by 3Leafs showcases the first single family, shipping container home built in Calgary. The Alberta based company is changing how homes are constructed by transforming recycled steel containers into high performance, energy efficient homes with net zero capabilities.
September 19, 2019, Calgary, AB Homes by 3Leafs gave media an exclusive inside look into the sleek, elegant modern two-storey home made from four recycled shipping containers. The home is nestled in the eco-friendly community, Echohaven, in northwest Calgary.
Som Sourachit, C.E.O. of Homes by 3Leafs describes this moment as pivotal. “Our high performance, energy efficient houses reduce waste in landfills by repurposing steel shipping containers into dream homes. The houses have net zero capabilities and are the new blueprint for how we should build while protecting our environment. “
It’s estimated there are millions of shipping containers piling up in landfills worldwide. The repurposed containers make the perfect envelope for a home, and reduce the heavy reliance on trees used for construction. The steel means shipping container homes are sturdier and will last for generations with fewer repairs than traditional stick builds over time.
The homeowner, Jaime Turner, added “This is a teaching moment for my young daughter. We wanted to build a legacy for her. This is our forever home and we know because it’s made of steel it will last for generations, and an added bonus is, we are being good to our environment!”
Homes by 3Leafs is proud to be leading the way in new home construction. Currently, 6 building projects are underway.
About Homes by 3Leafs
Homes by 3Leafs is a global company based in Edmonton and is comprised of a team of architects, construction experts, designers, and engineers with years of experience developing stunning homes. By using shipping containers to build, Homes by 3Leafs is committed to saving the environment. Thousands of containers pile up in landfills unused while forests can’t be cut down fast enough to support the robust construction industry. The company leads the way with cutting edge technology and new innovations to help the world build beautiful sustainable homes to last hundreds of years.
Court allows six Trans Mountain appeals focusing on Indigenous consultation
VANCOUVER — The Federal Court of Appeal says it will hear six challenges of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion focusing on Indigenous consultation, while dismissing several claims centred on environmental concerns.
The decision calls for narrowly focused, expedited court proceedings that will only examine the calibre of the federal government’s consultation with Indigenous communities between August 2018 and June 2019.
“Many of the Indigenous and First Nation applicants now allege that the poor quality and hurried nature of this further consultation rendered it inadequate,” says Justice David Stratas in the decision released Wednesday.
The government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has twice approved a plan to triple the capacity of an existing pipeline from Alberta’s oilpatch to a terminal in Burnaby, B.C.
The Federal Court of Appeal tore up the original approval last year, citing both an insufficient environmental review and inadequate Indigenous consultations. The Liberals said they fixed both problems and approved the expansion a second time in June.
Three environmental groups, eight First Nations and the City of Vancouver sought leave to appeal. Conservation groups argued there were inadequate protections for endangered species affected by increased tanker traffic, while several First Nations said the government came into the most recent discussions having predetermined the outcome.
The court has allowed requests to appeal by the Coldwater Indian Band, Squamish Nation, Tsleil-Waututh Nation, Upper Nicola Band, the Stk’emlupsemc Te Secwepemc and a coalition of First Nations in B.C.’s Fraser Valley.
Stratas explains in his ruling that decisions to grant leave to appeal are based on whether arguments are “fairly arguable,” meaning any claims with fatal legal errors must be dismissed.
Two sets of arguments advanced by First Nations didn’t meet that standard, including any assertions of a right to veto as well as issues already decided by the court’s first ruling last August, Stratas says.
However, the federal government engaged in additional consultations after the ruling and the court should decide whether those talks were adequate, he says.
At the same time, Stratas says applicants’ arguments on environmental issues aren’t fairly arguable. Many were already dealt with or could have been raised during the court’s first hearing on the project, he says.
In its first ruling, the court called for a new National Energy Board review focusing on marine impacts and the review was completed in February. The board submitted a “comprehensive, detail-laden, 678-page report” to the government, Stratas notes.
Though many applicants say the new report is deeply flawed, this argument “cannot possibly succeed” based on the degree of examination and study of marine shipping and related environmental issues in the document, he says.
The federal government bought the existing pipeline and the unfinished expansion work for $4.5 billion last year, promising to get it past the political opposition that had scared off Kinder Morgan Canada from proceeding.
Stratas rejected arguments that alleged the government made a biased decision to approve the project because it is the owner.
He says the governor-in-council, which represents the Crown and acts on the advice of cabinet, is actually the decision-maker, not the federal government. Furthermore, he says the governor-in-council is required to make decisions regardless of who owns a project.
Stratas says short and strict deadlines for litigation will be set. He directed the parties to file their notices of application for judicial review within seven days.
The Tsleil-Waututh Nation said in a statement that it felt confident the government’s approval will once again be quashed.
“Canada continued to do the legal minimum (in consultations) and in our view, fell well below the mark again,” said Chief Leah George-Wilson. “They approached it with a closed mind, and were in a conflict of interest.”
Ecojustice, which had brought a case on behalf of Raincoast Conservation Foundation and Living Oceans Society, said it will not rule out taking its fight to the Supreme Court of Canada.
“Going to the country’s highest court may seem like a drastic measure, but — in the midst of a climate emergency and biodiversity crisis — these are drastic times,” it said.
The City of Vancouver also said it’s considering its next steps.
Alexandre Deslongchamps, a spokesman for Natural Resources Minister Amarjeet Sohi, said the federal government is confident it took the necessary steps to get the approval right and is prepared to defend its decision in court.
“We fulfilled our duty to consult with Indigenous communities by engaging in meaningful, two-way dialogue, which allowed us to co-develop eight new accommodation measures that are responsive to the concerns raised,” he said.
Conservative MP Michelle Rempel criticized the government for not submitting a defence against 11 of the 12 motions seeking leave to appeal. The court decision says the government did so because it considered the threshold for leave to be quite low.
“Today we found out Justin Trudeau rolled over and refused to stand up for the Trans Mountain pipeline in court,” Rempel said.
— Follow @ellekane on Twitter.
Laura Kane, The Canadian Press
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