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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    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.

Regina Urban Treaty Days a reminder of Treaty history

Hundreds of indigenous people flocked to The Gathering Place for the opening day of Regina’s Urban Treaty Days.

From a powwow demonstration to a pipe ceremony, the event was a chance to reflect and recognize Treaty rights signed back in 1874.

“It’s an annual event that celebrates the role of treaty that celebrates the portability of treaty rights and responsibilities for all citizens in and around Regina,” Urban Services manager Erica Beaudin explained.

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The day also included Treaty Annuity payments, distributed by Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada.

“It’s really a symbol.”

Vernon Bellegarde, who sits on the board of Regina Treaty Status Indian Services, explained that the small amount of five dollars serves as a symbol of payment.

READ MORE:Regina police and File Hills Qu’Appelle Tribal Council sign safety protocol

“When they signed treaty, we got something in return, and today that continues. The treaty rights are really what our people want to maintain,” Bellegarde said.

“There are certain treaty rights that come along with this, and that includes our treaty right to hunt, fish, and trap.”

For indigenous families, the five dollar bill is a physical token of their treaty history and represents more than its face value.

“I think it just means that you’re honouring the treaties that were signed,” Chanai Anaquod explained.

“[My children] were surprised that amount was so low, but I explained to them,” Night Keetness said.

“It’s five dollars a year, then I explained to them it’s been five dollars since the treaties were signed over a hundred years ago,” she said.

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Family of slain hostage Robert Hall backs Canada’s policy not to pay ransom

OTTAWA – Relatives of a Canadian man slain by militants in the Philippines say they agree with Canada’s policy of not paying ransom for hostages.

Robert Hall had been held hostage by Abu Sayyaf since September 2015 and was killed earlier this week after a deadline for a ransom payment passed.

In a statement distributed by the press gallery in Ottawa, Hall’s family says every option to free him was considered and efforts to that end were “vast and exhaustive.”

WATCH: Prime Minister Trudeau confirms Canadian Robert Hall has been executed

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In the end, the family says it agrees with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s directive that money not be paid to hostage takers who seek to undermine fundamental Canadian values.

“Our family, even in our darkest hour, agrees wholeheartedly with Canada’s policy of not paying ransom to those who would seek to undermine the fundamental values with which my father lived his life,” the statement reads.

“We stand with the ideals that built this country: strength of character; resilience of spirit; and refusal to succumb to the demands of the wretched, in order to satisfy the bloodlust of the weak.”

READ MORE: Canada mourns slain hostage Robert Hall, Trudeau says

The family says it will remember Hall as a self-made man who worked his entire life to raise his family above the hardships of his own youth.

Hall was born in Calgary, but lived various places in Western Canada.

READ MORE: ‘Very good’ chance G7 countries will agree to Trudeau’s ransom policy: Canadian rep

His family says he owned and operated many small businesses in his life, from a small engine repair shop to a pizza stand. He spent 25 years building his custom welding business, which specialized in everything from custom truck decks to aircraft repair.

“A romantic to the very core, Robert believed in controlling his own destiny, and that hard work and a desire to succeed were the two main ingredients to any successful endeavor,” the statement reads. “He has been described as a dreamer, which he certainly was, but more than that he was an achiever.”

Outside of business he had a passion for flying, sailing and sports.

READ MORE: Justin Trudeau, Barack Obama exchange condolences over Orlando shooting, Robert Hall killing

The family says he discovered the Philippines on one of his many trips abroad and called it his paradise on Earth.

“He loved everything about the Philippines. The people, he said, are warm and gracious. He took an active interest in his community and his neighbors, and coached a local soccer team.”

Officials in the Philippines have confirmed that Hall was beheaded.

A militant video obtained by Philippine police officials showed Hall in an orange shirt and kneeling in front of a black Islamic State-style flag before he was killed in a jungle area.

His death came after the killing in April of fellow Canadian John Ridsdel, who was snatched from a marina by Abu Sayyaf along with Norwegian Kjartan Sekkingstad and a Philippines national last September.

READ MORE: Who was Robert Hall? 2nd Canadian executed by Abu Sayyaf in the Philippines

Trudeau has steadfastly refused to entertain the thought of paying ransom to hostage takers. In the wake of Ridsdel’s execution, he said Canada would never pay a ransom for the hostages in the Philippines, and last month persuaded leaders of the other G7 countries to reiterate their opposition to paying ransoms.

On Monday, he repeated that paying ransoms would put more Canadians in danger.

Abu Sayyaf operates mainly in the south of the Philippines, in the western Mindano and the Sulu Archipelago, but staged a major attack in 2004 that killed more than 100 people when militants bombed a ferry in Manila Bay.

In recent years, Philippines security forces have attacked Abu Sayyaf, killing senior leaders and arresting others, but they’ve been unable to end the group’s kidnapping, extortion and terrorist activities.

Saskatoon mayor’s ‘lifestyle choices’ statement disappoints LGBTQ community

Saskatoon Pride Festival co-chair Danny Papadatos said it felt like pride officials had wasted their breath in conversations with Mayor Don Atchison after he read a statement released Monday.

“Any conversations that we’ve worked towards with trying to build a relationship with Mayor Don Atchison have really gone to waste,” Papadatos said.

An initial statement, released from the Saskatoon mayor’s office in the wake of the fatal shooting at a gay bar in Orlando, quoted Atchison as saying “everyone should be safe in our communities regardless of their lifestyle choices, religion or ethnicity.”

READ MORE: ‘Lifestyle choices’ removed from Saskatoon mayor’s statement on Orlando shooting

Just over four hours later, the sentence was amended to read: “members of the LGBTQ2 community, those with different religious beliefs, or ethnicity should be safe in our communities.”

People took to social media to criticize the wording, including city Coun. Darren Hill.

Richard Brown, chief communications officer for the mayor’s office, said the initial news release had a quote he wrote, which was never approved by the mayor.

Brown said his word choice was poor, he takes responsibility and apologizes.

In an interview Tuesday, Atchison also apologized.

“We’ve already said that we’re terribly sorry for what transpired. It was a mistake and that it was rectified immediately,” Atchison said.

“Heavens, I’m sure you’ve made a mistake once in your life and if you haven’t, good for you.”


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  • ‘Highly offensive:’ Republicans distance selves from Donald Trump on Orlando shooting

  • ‘Disgust, shock and fear’ felt in Saskatoon after Orlando nightclub shooting

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‘A bit of a kick in a gut’: Alberta’s oldest vet clinic on facing a 98% tax hike

Many small businesses in Calgary are facing big increases to their property tax bills, but one veterinary clinic says the tax hike it’s facing could send them to the doghouse.

Last January, downtown’s Animal Clinic on 9 Avenue S.W., filed an appeal after their property assessment went up about $1.75 million.

While it has to wait to have that appeal heard next week, Alberta’s oldest vet clinic is now facing a tax hike that it says could cripple the business.

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    “The number is more abstract when you’re assuming what it’s going to be but when you get the actual number, it’s a bit of a kick in the gut,” co-owner and veterinarian Dr. Joe Waldman said.

    The city’s assessment for 2015 came in at about $2.28 million. This year, it was over $4 million.

    But the property tax bill, arriving last week, was the real bone of contention – a 98 per cent increase.

    “I think it’s just unfortunate that there’s sort of a callousness that goes into property assessment that doesn’t take into account things like the benefit that a business can have to a community and the history that business has with the community as well,” Waldman said.

    The city was unable to comment on the matter Tuesday, but Monday, Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi suggested that the city should reconsider its model for taxing small business.

    Since it opened in 1941, the surroundings of the Animal Clinic’s now rare one-storey building have undergone a dramatic change.

    “Certainly some developers are looking at opportunities to look at putting up what would appear to mostly be condo towers,” Waldman said.

    The clients have also changed.

    “Now we see dogs and cats only but it used to be a mixed practice and so horses and cows and everything would come down here,” the veterinarian said.“The original veterinarian, Dr. Anderson, used to service most of southern Alberta.”

    Now the clinic services mostly downtown residents – a valuable service for neighbourhoods like Mount Royal, the Beltline, Sunnyside and Kensington.

    While the owners wait for the outcome of the property assessment appeal, they say they’re now facing uncertainty about managing costs and location along with the possibility of losing their loyal downtown clients.

    Editor’s note: This story originally reported the veterinary clinic’s property tax assessment increased by 89 per cent from 2015 to 2016. It has since been corrected to 98 per cent.

Vote on Sicamous school amalgamation delayed

Students and parents in the Sicamous area will have to wait a few more months to find out the fate of two local schools.

The North Okanagan – Shuswap School Board had planned to vote Tuesday night on whether or not to amalgamate Parkview Elementary School and Eagle River Secondary School. The proposal officials are considering would see the elementary school building closed and students of all ages using the secondary school building starting in the fall of 2017.

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School officials had planned to make the decision early so that if the amalgamation went ahead, they would have two summers to update the secondary school and get it ready for younger students.

Read More: Deadline for special report reviewing SD 83’s practices pushed back

However, that vote has now been postponed till after the school district receives a copy of a special advisor’s report on the board’s management.

The provincial Ministry of Education confirmed on June 3 the special advisor had turned in her report to the ministry, but the school district says they have yet to receive a copy.

Read More: Government hires special advisor to review SD 83 board after three trustees resign

A school district spokesperson says a vote on amalgamating Sicamous schools will now likely be held in the fall.

In February, a task force assigned to look at the idea of amalgamating the two schools found it would be an “educationally sound” option.

“The reality is the current school configuration in School District 83 is not sustainable without a significant impact on the education of our students. Under-utilized facilities are costly, and result in cuts to programs that are vital to the academic and social success of our students,” wrote the task force in its report.