Calgary Latest News

Lethbridge Hurricanes player in coma following bonfire accident, two more in stable condition

Calgary Herald - 1 hour 28 min ago

The Lethbridge Hurricanes say one player is in critical condition following an incident involving a campfire on Friday evening.

Ryan Vandervlis, 20, has been placed in a medically-induced coma and is in critical condition, according to an update from the team shortly after 11:30 a.m. on Monday.

His teammate Jordy Bellerive, 19, and Hurricanes alumnus Matt Alfaro, 21, were also injured in the incident. They are both now in stable condition.

All three are being treated for their injuries at a hospital in Calgary.

The team said the campfire took place at the family home of former Hurricanes captain Tyler Wong on Friday evening, about 10 kilometres east of Cochrane. Nine of Wong’s friends had been at the home and planned to stay the night and go golfing and camping on Saturday.

Previous reports that the incident happened at a bachelor party were inaccurate, according to the Hurricanes.

Cochrane RCMP said in a news release on Sunday that first responders were dispatched to the Bearspaw area of Rockyview County on Friday night for a structure fire.

“It was determined that a substance was placed into a fire pit that caused an explosion,” RCMP said.

In a statement, the Wong family said the accident happened as the campfire was started.

“Mr. and Mrs. Wong were present and acted quickly to transport those injured to a Calgary hospital,” the family stated. “We are earnestly praying for three of Tyler’s closest friends – Ryan, Jordy and Matt – along with their families, for comfort and healing during this time of hurt.”

Vandervlis suffered severe burns to his body, his family said in a statement. He is receiving medical care in an intensive-care unit.

“We are grateful and overwhelmed by the amount of love and support we have received and pray that Ryan will make a full recovery,” they stated.

The Vandervlis family added that alcohol was not a factor in the incident.

Vandervlis, who is from Red Deer, has played for the Hurricanes for the past four seasons.

Bellerive, who led the team in points last season, has played for Lethbridge for the past three years. The North Vancouver native was signed to an entry-level contract by the Pittsburgh Penguins in September 2017.

The Penguins said in a statement that Bellerive was in good spirits and expected to make a full recovery.

The Penguins have been in direct contact with prospect forward Jordy Bellerive since he was injured in an incident last night. Assistant GM Bill Guerin has spoken with Bellerive, who is in good spirits and expected to make a full recovery. Details: https://t.co/WFnUfQRxVF pic.twitter.com/JF0T47e4Md

— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) June 17, 2018

Alfaro suited up for the Hurricanes during the 2016-17 season, his final year in the WHL. The Calgary native joined the University of Calgary men’s hockey team this past season.

WHL commissioner Ron Robison said the league has been in contact with the Hurricanes and would continue supporting the families affected.

“The entire WHL family is deeply concerned for the well-being of the three players involved in the accident that occurred on Friday evening,” Robison said in a statement.

shudes@postmedia.com
Twitter.com/SammyHudes

Categories: Calgary Latest News

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Calgary Community Kijiji - 1 hour 33 min ago
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Calgary Community Kijiji - 1 hour 42 min ago
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Bowness Christmas Craft Fair

Calgary Community Kijiji - 1 hour 47 min ago
Beat the holiday rush and come out to this fun family-friendly event to discover some great finds. Support 50+ local artists and crafters while also getting an early start to your Christmas shopping! ...
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White: HOAs, RAs and CAs — what's the difference to your community?

Calgary Herald - 1 hour 59 min ago

Are you confused by what the difference is between a Home Owners’ Association, Residents’ Association or a Community Association? You aren’t alone.

In Calgary, we use the term HOA (Home Owners’ Association) and RA (Residents’ Association) almost interchangeably as both maintain green spaces and amenities established by a developer, have a volunteer board of directors and operate under the registered bylaws of a non-profit organization.

Often in Calgary we identify HOA for non-profits that mange the beautification of pathways and entrances in communities, while RAs manage a community “building” or “feature” amenity (for example, a lake or water park).

The board of each HOA/RA sets the fees annually. The fees can range from as little as $50 to about $880 (lake community) per year. These fees are mandatory, so 100 per cent of the homeowners have to participate, or legal action is taken against non-compliant homeowners. Homeowners who fail to pay their HOA/RAs fees can be sued. Some also charge credit card rate interest fees (18 per cent or more) putting a homeowner experiencing hard times in a very difficult position.

Interestingly, there is no master list of how many RAs or HOAs there are in Calgary. Nobody seems to know what the first one even was, but the best guess is Lake Bonavista in 1967.

Community associations (CAs) differ from HOA/RAs in that they have no mandatory fees or membership. They may or may not operate a building, but they do manage various year-round community activities and programs. They, too, have a volunteer board of directors and most of their activities are managed by volunteers. There are more than 200 community associations in Calgary, with the Federation of Calgary Communities (FCC) providing support.

I checked with Leslie Evans, executive director of the FCC, to get more insights on how HOAs, RAs and CAs work — or don’t work — in Calgary.

Q: Does an HOA create a two-tiered community system in Calgary?

A: It depends! Sometimes the developer creates an HOA for a specific piece of land, while others might create an HOA/RA for an entire community they are building, whose boundaries might or might not align with the City’s community association boundary. This causes confusion and can result in frustrations between HOA/RA and CAs.

When the relationship between the HOA/RA and CA is good, you have the best of both worlds. The HOA/RA’s amenities combined with the CA’s ability to provide social, recreational and educational activities creates a vibrant community.

However, the relationship is sometimes strained, or can vary year to year with changing board volunteers on both sides. It is most often strained because the HOA/RA is a “have organization” with funds and an amenity, while the CA is often perceived as a “have not organization” with only a volunteer membership. So, yes sometimes HOAs/RAs can create a two-tiered community.

For example, in Tuscany, the developer for Tuscarora (a small sub-section of Tuscany) did not wish to contribute to the Tuscany HOA/RA so the homeowners of Tuscarora were not allowed access to the Tuscany community building or waterpark. However, new home buyers didn’t realize this and it became a huge source of controversy. So, Tuscany’s HOA/RA board decided if Tuscarora residents wanted to belong they could, however, they would have to pay a premium fee and have (at their expense) a caveat added to their land title forever committing that home to be a member of the Tuscany HOA/RA. This definitely creates a “have” and “have not” situation.

Q: How are renters affected by HOA/RAs?

A: When renters rent in HOA/RA communities, they may or may not have access to the HOA amenities.  Some have policies that restrict use to the “homeowner.” Some “homeowners” don’t provide their key to the renter so they have no access to community amenities that their neighbours have. HOAs, in many ways, are private homeowner clubs.

Q: What are the good things about an HOA/RA?

A: HOA/RA amenities are in place when residents “buy” so the water park, lake or hall can be enjoyed as soon as they move in. HOAs are financially sustainable assuming the board manages it well, as have a steady source of revenue to carry out the mandate.

On the other hand, community association buildings often take decades to build because residents have to fundraise for the building, negotiate land from the City and struggle to operate the building with no mandatory fees.

HOA/RAs are usually heavily supported by the developer until build out, allowing time for volunteer boards to learn what their role is. In addition, the funds usually cover a paid staff person or two which really adds continuity to the organization.

As well, HOA/RA’s amenities are built on private land; this means there is still another 10 per cent of the development allocated to parks, schools and a CA site within the community.

HOA amenities are not “gifts” from the developer. Rather, they are mortgaged amenities to the HOA homeowners, i.e. homeowners pay for the entire development, maintenance and life cycle of these amenities through the annual fee system.

Q: What are the not-so-good things about HOA/RAs?

A: They are confusing. Multiple HOA/RAs within the same CA causes mass confusion. Developers don’t always work together especially when multiple landowners develop the land side by side.

For example, in West Springs/Cougar Ridge, there is one CA with more than 25 HOAs. There are 25 boards all trying to enhance the entranceways and green spaces, which is an incredible waste of volunteer time that takes away from other possible community building activities.

The volunteers are also potentially paying more for maintenance contracts because they are contracting small jobs without collaborating together. What is worse is the CA has no idea how to contact them to try to collaborate on community-building activities. That’s because there is no HOA/RA registry. Lawyers doing individual homeowner title transfers do not know who to call. They often call the Federation of Calgary Communities because they think we can help, but we can’t. Some lawyers and real estate agents don’t even know the difference between a CA and HOA/RA.

Q: Do all new communities have HOA fees?

A: This is definitely the trend, but not all new communities have HOA fees. It is the developer’s decision. The City likes HOAs because it doesn’t have to maintain the green spaces and entranceways.

Last Word

Jason Palacsko, vice-president of Calgary Communities for Brookfield Residential, one of North America’s largest home builders, agrees with Evans that while HOA/RA can be confusing, they are important in fostering a sense of community and thus why all of Brookfield’s new communities in Calgary have a HOA/RA. He strongly feels “HOA/RAs create places where people play, connect and experience belonging which is important in a world where people are feeling increasingly isolated.”

So, there you have it. I hope this clears up the confusion.

Categories: Calgary Latest News

Late spring means more orphaned and injured animals for Wildlife Conservation

Calgary Herald - 2 hours 3 min ago

More baby animals means more baby animals in need of care, which is why the Alberta Institute for Wildlife Conservation admitted 105 new patients in the last week.

The institute, which is located northwest of Calgary, rehabilitates injured and orphaned wildlife in Calgary and southern Alberta. Holly Duvall, the executive director at the institute, said typically the peak season for animal care is May until August but this year the late spring delayed the usually consistent increase as temperatures rise.

“It’s definitely a big boom for us. Normally we see a bit more of a steady peak and approach to our busy season but this was a lot in one week, especially when we’ve been quieter than normal,” said Duvall.

Calgary and the surrounding area is located on a migration route which brings adult animals to the area in the spring and summer as they return for the warm months.

In April, the institute sees an increase in adult animals in need of attention as they get into trouble on their migration journey. The following months are busy because of an influx of baby animals, increasing the demand for care and treatment.

“Every summer we see over 1,000 wildlife babies admitted to our hospital and they range from a huge variety of different species. Last year we saw over 130 different species admitted to our hospital, ranging from songbirds like robins, to crows, to ravens, to beaver, to fox, to deer fawns,” said Duvall.

On Monday, they had 122 animals in their care, but that number fluctuates daily. While the institute has brought in fewer animals so far this spring than last, Duvall said this is because of the winter that never seemed to end.

“We’re seeing different species of babies a lot later than we normally would,” said Duvall.

“But it’s starting to ramp up now and we will very easily catch up to our previous year’s numbers.”

According to Duvall, 95 per cent of the animals brought to the institute in the course of a year are the result of human conflict. Direct human conflict includes wildlife being hit by a car, hitting a window, barbed wire or power lines. In the summer there is also an increase in kidnapped baby animals because of well-intentioned humans who interfere when they believe an animal has been abandoned even though the parent has only left for a few hours.

Since the increase in animals in their care leads to higher operational costs, the institute is hosting a garage sale and bottle drive on Saturday to raise money. The sale begins at 10 a.m. and runs until 3 p.m. at the Alberta Institute for Wildlife Conservation.

Last year the garage sale brought in a little over $3,000 which helped cover costs.

For more information visit their website aiwa.ca.

sbabych@postmedia.com

On Twitter: @BabychStephanie

Categories: Calgary Latest News

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New Look of Wedding Photography - Wedding photographers Calgary

Calgary Reddit - 2 hours 33 min ago

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Calgary MLA Brian Malkinson moved up as Notley shuffles cabinet

Calgary Herald - 2 hours 40 min ago

Premier Rachel Notley has named Calgary-Currie MLA Brian Malkinson to the provincial cabinet as two other Calgary MLAs leave the NDP government’s front bench.

Malkinson was sworn in as Minister of Service Alberta, replacing Stephanie McLean, on Monday morning at Government House in Edmonton.

McLean recently announced she would not run again in her Calgary-Varsity seat in the 2019 provincial election.

Calgary-Acadia MLA Brandy Payne is also bowing out of the next election. She was also shuffled out of cabinet, with her post of associate minister of health not being filled.

Notley told reporters that Malkinson, a former diesel technician and salesman, will continue the government’s efforts to enhance consumer protections in areas such as ticket sales and condo regulations.

“He’s a very, very hard-working guy who’s not afraid to get his hands dirty,” she said.

“I want his main focus to be protecting the pocketbooks of Albertans from scams and bad deals.”

Children’s Services Minister Danielle Larivee takes on McLean’s former responsibilities as Minister of Status of Women.

The shuffle reduced the size of Notley’s cabinet to 20, including the premier. There are nine ministers from Edmonton while Calgary has been reduced to six cabinet members.

But Notley said she thinks Malkinson will “channel the voice of regular folks in Calgary.”

Malkinson meanwhile said he simply wants to build on the work of McLean in the Service Alberta portfolio.

He said his riding, which ranges from the edge of downtown into suburbia, is a good representation of Calgary as a whole.

“Those consumer protections are things that people talk to me about when I’m out on the door,” said Malkinson, who twice ran unsuccessfully for the NDP before being elected in the 2015 orange wave.

The shuffle also means that for the first time the number of male ministers in the NDP cabinet outnumbers the number of women, 11 to nine.

Notley, who has drawn kudos for the gender balance of her government and cabinet, downplayed the significance of the change.

“Our record as it stands in cabinet make-up, as well as our record standing up for women … is unmatched frankly by any other government in Canada,” she said.

Notley has made only minor changes to her cabinet in the government’s three years in office, with her original finance, education, health, energy, environment, justice and agriculture ministers remaining in their posts.

The premier said she had no interest in shuffling her cabinet “for entertainment’s sake.”

“There’s an old saying, ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,'” she said.

jwood@postmedia.com

Categories: Calgary Latest News

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Visiting Inglewood Bird Sanctuary

Calgary Reddit - 2 hours 48 min ago

My boyfriend and I are planning a visit to the Inglewood Bird Sanctuary. He loves birds and enjoys taking photos. When is the best time of day to visit? And best weather conditions? (in terms of spotting the most wildlife). We were hoping to go Saturday but it looks like it may rain. Also are there any nice cafes/lunch spots nearby? (we're both tourists in Calgary so if you have any other suggestions for similar places to check out that would be great too - we already did the zoo this weekend :) )

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Categories: Calgary Latest News

Is there a Mazkeret Batya street?

Calgary Reddit - 2 hours 49 min ago

I was in Calgary a few years back (love the city btw) and part of the reason for going there was that Calgary is a twin town to my hometown in Israel, Mazkeret Batya (very nice place btw). I remember me and my family going to see the Mazkeret Batya street sign but I can't find the street in google maps, is the street still there? Btw here in Mazkeret Batya, we have a Calgary street as well, if you'll ask for it I'll send a photo...

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Categories: Calgary Latest News