Archives for March2019

10 stunning then-and-now photos of Calgary’s changing skyline

While the lagging economy has recently slowed Calgary construction, the city’s skyline has been transformed by construction booms of the past.

“I would expect that as our economy goes, so does the construction of both residential and commercial projects. Having said that, we’ve got a number of residential projects that – despite the economy – are still going ahead given that build costs are so low right now,” Calgary Real Estate Board president Cliff Stevenson said.

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  • Calgary real estate prices not as precarious as Vancouver, Toronto: market analysts

  • 20% of Calgary downtown office space vacant, highest level in over 30 years

    Real estate search portal Point2 Homes has released a list of 10 downtown real estate developments started and completed in the last few years, including comparison photos using Google Street View.

    The sliding images show dramatic changes to Calgary’s skyline, something Stevenson suggests changing attitudes about living and working in Calgary.

    “There’s been a shift over the last probably 10 to 15 years in Calgary…not only the revitalization of the East Village, but also the densification with condo development in general and I think that aligns well with the shift in consumer demand – wanting to live a little closer to where they work,” Stevenson said. “With the number of commercial buildings being built in Calgary obviously there’s more office space, there’s more business downtown in the core area and I think the idea for a lot of people of spending 30 to 40 minutes each way in their cars for a commute is waning.”

    Here’s a look at how Calgary has transformed in recent years:

      Centre 10

    This Beltline property was built on the site of the former Gaslight Square retail strip. Two attempts had been made by others to build condo towers there, but eventually Centron Group of Companies bought the abandoned site, changing the concept. The 10-storey building now hosts a mix of office and retail space.


    Above: Slide to see comparison between 2007 and 2015 images from Google Street View

      Nuera & Alura

    Also in the Beltine, Nuera and Alura are twin condo towers spanning several blocks in the city’s historic warehouse district of Victoria Park.  One tower arches 34 storeys skyward, while the other sits at 24. They were completed in 2010 and 2015 respectively by Cove Properties. Perhaps another sign of the times, Alura, the latter tower in the development, sold 148 of  277 units in its first day of sales.


    Above: Slide to see comparison between 2007 and 2015 images from Google Street View

      Palliser South, 1010 Centre & The Bow

    The northeast edge of the Beltine has been a hot spot for development in recent years. Palliser South, standing in the centre, has 19 storeys of office space, a fitness club and a conference centre as part of its design, completed in 2010. The Mustard Seed’s 1010 Centre, meanwhile, is an apartment building providing low-income housing. It opened last year. Another iconic building on the Calgary skyline – The Bow – now stands at 58 storeys. It was completed in 2012.


    Above: Slide to see comparison between 2007 and 2015 images from Google Street View

      Keynote One

    In Victoria Park,  Keynote in Calgary is a trio of towers. Two of them contain condos, one with 26 storeys and the other with 29. The third lower tower houses retail and class-A office space.


    Above: Slide to see comparison between 2007 and 2015 images from Google Street View

      Eighth Avenue Place

    In the downtown commercial core, Eighth Avenue is a set of towers with both office and retail space. The East Tower has 49 floors while the West Tower has 40.


    Above: Slide to see comparison between 2007 and 2015 images from Google Street View

      Jamieson Place

    This downtown 38-floor skyscraper is connected to adjacent buildings by the +15 Skywalk and surrounded by three parks and District Griffin sur Peel, a 312-condo tower.


    Above: Slide to see comparison between 2007 and 2015 images from Google Street View

      Centennial Place & Devon Tower

    In Eau Claire district, Centennial Place is a complex of two skyscrapers and the 45-storey Devon Tower (formerly known as Canterra Tower).


    Above: Slide to see comparison between 2007 and 2015 images from Google Street View

      Waterfront Parkside

    Nestled along the Bow River near Chinatown, Waterfront Parkside is a condo development that was completed in 2015.


    Above: Slide to see comparison between 2007 and 2015 images from Google Street View


    Calgary’s Manchester Industrial neighbourhood hosts the Lumino affordable housing project. The subsidized apartment complex of three towers was completed in 2011.


    Above: Slide to see comparison between 2009 and 2015 images from Google Street View

      University City

    The bright colours and modern design of the new University City condo/townhouse project is a radical change in Calgary’s Brentwood neighbourhood. Perched not far from the University of Calgary, the development consists of five separate buildings.


    Above: Slide to see comparison between 2007 and 2015 images from Google Street View

Carbon for sale as SaskPower’s deal with Cenovus changes

The Boundary Dam Three Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) facility near Estevan, Sask., is once again drawing criticism from the Opposition NDP. This time over potential off-takers of the captured CO2 with Cenovus being contracted to take 50-99 per cent of it.

“SaskPower rejected the terms that CNRL put on the table to begin with, so who knows if they’re going to be able to find a deal,” Finance critic Cathy Sproule said.

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READ MORE: Slow SaskPower carbon capture performance costing millions

Cenovus is obligated to give SaskPower at least a week’s notice of how much carbon they plan on taking and the associated length of time.

Economy Minister Bill Boyd said he is confident that the Crown and province will find more carbon customers.

“I think that the oil companies look at this as an opportunity,” he said.

“They see CO2 as a very, very good use of it for enhanced oil recovery. So there is very, very active consideration by a number of companies.”

Boyd said they’re currently in negotiations with interested parties and a partner could be revealed soon.

SaskPower debt ceiling

The NDP also questioned government rationale for increasing SaskPower’s debt ceiling by $2 billion; going from $8 billion to $10 billion.

Boyd said they’re going to need to make a substantial infrastructure investment to meet SaskPower’s projection of 82,000 more customers in the next few years.

“There needs to be about a billion dollars of infrastructure spending going forward, year over year, for the next long period of time,” he explained.

However, the NDP believe the CCS facility is a big factor in this debt ceiling increase.

“I think what we’ll have to do is look at the annual report for SaskPower when it comes out,” Sproule said.

“Obviously they’re lumping all their infrastructure projects together, but $1.5 billion for carbon capture, we know that’s the cost of that project. That is part of the debt of this Crown corporation.”

That’s not the case, Boyd said.

“Boundary Dam has already been completed, so that wouldn’t have any impact on this whatsoever,” said Boyd.

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Orlando shooting: FBI looking at whether Omar Mateen led secret life as a gay man

ORLANDO, Fla. — The murky picture of Orlando gunman Omar Mateen grew more complex Tuesday with word that the FBI is investigating whether he had been a regular at the gay dance club he attacked and had been leading a secret life as a gay man.

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As victims described the bloody horror of the massacre during a riveting hospital news conference, investigators continued to gather information on the 29-year-old American-born Muslim — and took a close look at his wife, too — for clues to the attack that left 49 victims dead.

An official who was briefed on the progress of the case but insisted on anonymity to discuss a continuing investigation said authorities believe Mateen’s wife knew about the plot ahead of time, but they are reluctant to charge her on that basis alone.

READ MORE: Some on terrorist watch list can legally purchase guns in United States

A number of possible explanations and motives for the bloodbath have emerged, with Mateen professing allegiance to the Islamic State group in a 911 call during the attack, his ex-wife saying he was mentally ill, and his father suggesting he was driven by hatred of gays.

WATCH: Counsellors who assist LGBTQ community not surprised by Orlando attacker visiting gay clubs

On Tuesday, a U.S. official said the FBI is looking into a flurry of news reports quoting patrons of the Pulse as saying that Mateen frequented the nightspot and reached out to men on gay dating apps. The official was not authorized to discuss the investigation and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Some psychologists raised the possibility that Mateen was sexually conflicted and that those feelings might have contributed to his lashing out against gays.

Jim Van Horn, 71, told The Associated Press that he saw Mateen repeatedly at the bar and talked to him once.

“He was a homosexual and he was trying to pick up men,” Van Horn said. “He would walk up to them and then he would maybe put his arm around ’em or something and maybe try to get them to dance a little bit or something.”

The attack early Sunday ended with Mateen being shot to death by a SWAT team. Of the 53 people wounded, six were listed in critical condition Tuesday and five others were in guarded condition.

At a news conference at Orlando Regional Medical Center, shooting survivor Patience Carter described praying to die as she lay on a nightclub bathroom floor covered in water and blood. She said Mateen talked about wanting the U.S. to “stop bombing my country,” a possible reference to his father’s native Afghanistan.

Orlando shooting gunman said to be regular of nightclub he targeted


Orlando shooting gunman said to be regular of nightclub he targeted


Orlando shooting survivors recount horrific night of massacre


Victims of Orlando shooting share stories, speak out against violence

“I really don’t think I’m going to get out of there,” Carter, 20, recalled. “I made peace with God. ‘Just please take me. I don’t want any more.’ I was just begging God to take the soul out my body.”

In Washington, President Barack Obama said investigators had no information to suggest a foreign terrorist group directed the attack. He said it was increasingly clear the killer “took in extremist information and propaganda over the internet. He appears to have been an angry, disturbed, unstable young man who became radicalized.”

The president also blasted Donald Trump’s anti-Muslim rhetoric as dangerous and contrary to American values, challenged Congress to reinstate the assault weapons ban, and lashed out at his Republican foes who have criticized him for not using the term “radical Islam.”

READ MORE: ‘Blood was everywhere’: Orlando shooting survivors recall scenes of terror

“If someone seriously thinks we don’t know who we’re fighting, if there’s anyone out there who thinks we’re confused about who our enemies are,” Obama said, “that would come as a surprise to the thousands of terrorists we’ve taken off the battlefield.”

Gay dating app Jack’d said it has been unable to confirm so far that Mateen had a profile on the service. Grindr officials said they “will continue to cooperate with the authorities and do not comment on ongoing investigations.” And Adam4Adam said the company is looking at conversations and profiles in the Orlando area for any activity by Mateen but hasn’t found anything yet.

Mateen’s father, Seddique Mateen, denied his son was gay and said that if he had been in the nightclub before, he may have been “scouting the place.” The elder Mateen, who lives Port St. Lucie, Florida, said that apart from the time his son got angry a few months ago over seeing two men kissing, he never saw any anti-gay behavior from him.

WATCH: Orlando shooter’s father talks son’s attack on Pulse nightclub

Father of the alleged Orlando shooter comments on son visiting Pulse nightclub and using LGBTQ apps


Father of the alleged Orlando shooter comments on son visiting Pulse nightclub and using LGBTQ apps


‘I don’t forgive him’: Orlando shooter’s father talks son’s attack on Pulse nightclub

Psychological studies have shown that some men with repressed same-sex desires may express anti-gay views, especially if they grew up in families that opposed homosexuality.

“People who are struggling to come to terms with their sexual identity do at times react to that by doing the exact opposite, which could be to become more masculine or more vocal about their ideals of a traditional family,” said Michael Newcomb, a Northwestern University psychologist.

Mateen’s ex-wife, Sitora Yusufiy, said earlier in the week that he was mentally ill, controlling and abusive. Amid the latest reports about his clubgoing, she told CNN: “Well, when we had gotten married, he confessed to me about his past that was recent at that time and that he very much enjoyed going to clubs and the nightlife and there was a lot of pictures of him.”

READ MORE: Orlando shooter’s father says nightclub should have ‘had good security,’ police response was ‘late’

“I feel like it’s a side of him or a part of him that he lived but probably didn’t want everybody to know about,” she said.

The FBI has recovered Mateen’s phone and will use location data to verify whether he previously visited the club, said a third official, who was not authorized to discuss the case and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Investigators working to determine whether anyone had advance knowledge of the attack have spoken extensively with Mateen’s wife, Noor Salman, and are working to establish whether she and Mateen were recently at or inside the club, the official said. The official said investigators have not ruled out charging others, including the wife.

Regina hookah lounge adopts new ID scanner to help bolster security

In an effort to reduce unwanted incidents at the Selam Ethiopian Restaurant and Hookah Lounge, ownership has installed a new ID scanning system that records patrons’ information.

READ MORE: Man assaulted with weapon in downtown Regina

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The PatronScan device, located just inside the front door, scans drivers licenses to determine authenticity, the patron’s first and last names and the patron’s age.

A camera mounted on the scanner then takes a picture of the patron. All that information is kept within the PatronScan database for 90 days before being deleted.

The database includes information from hundreds of other bars that use the scanner in western Canada and the United States.

The database also keeps track of patrons who had been banned from other establishments. PatronScan’s director of sales & marketing, Graham Lancaster, said that spotting patrons who have caused trouble at other venues can eliminate problems before they begin.

“Over 95% of all incidents in bars and nightclubs are caused by less than 1% of patrons,” Lancaster said.

“Our belief is if you can identify that same 1%, wherever they are, you can reduce your incidents by 95% by keeping them out of the clubs.”

Selam Ethiopian Restaurant and Hookah Lounge is the first in the city to adopt the PatronScan system. Owner Alem Tegegne wants other Regina bars to install the scanner as well.

“I encourage everyone to have it,” Tegegne said. “If someone is not good for this establishment, they’re not going to be good for another one.”

Two assaults have taken place at the hookah lounge in the past two months. On May 30, a 23-year-old man was sent to hospital with serious injuries after being stabbed.

READ MORE: Owner of Pump RoadHouse says Regina club will be enhancing security

Heavy rain prompts high stream flow advisories for parts of northwest Alberta

Heavy rain in northwest Alberta prompted the province to issue high stream flow advisories in some areas Tuesday.

According to provincial forecasters, rain near the Smoky River basin near Watino (northeast of Grande Prairie) “has the potential to increase water levels… by up to 2 meters.”

The advisory also said that while the Athabasca River near Swan Hills will not likely flood, smaller waterways nearby – including the Swan, Driftpile, West Prairie and East Prairie Rivers – could rise by two to three metres.

“No flooding along the larger rivers is expected, flooding in low-lying areas is possible,” the advisory said.

On Tuesday afternoon, rainfall warnings were issued for areas near Grande Prairie, Beaverlodge, Valleyview, Peace River, Fairview, High Prairie and Manning.

“A low pressure system in central Alberta will strengthen and move towards the Peace country this evening bringing rain with a risk of thunderstorms to the Grande Prairie and Peace River regions,” Environment Canada said in the warning.

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The weather system is expected to “stall” or stay in place over the Peace region Tuesday night and into Wednesday. The potential for thunderstorms also means that heavier pockets of rain are likely to be embedded within the system.

“Total [rainfall] amounts of 50 to 70 mm [are] likely by Wednesday night. Depending on how fast the low moves off, another 20 mm is possible Thursday,” the rainfall warning said.

According to the province, high streamflow advisories are issued when “stream levels are rising or expected to rise rapidly and no major flooding is expected.”

Anyone situated close to the affected streams is advised to be cautious of rising water levels in the coming days.

Tuesday evening, no emergency alerts had been issued.