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1 dead, 3 injured after fire destroys Edmonton group home





One person is dead and three others in hospital after an an early-morning fire at a group home for people with disabilities in west Edmonton on Monday.

Around 11:30 a.m. Monday, Edmonton police confirmed the death of one of the fire victims.

Earlier, an Alberta Health Services spokesperson had said four patients taken to hospital had included a man in his 40s in critical, life-threatening condition, a man of an unknown age in critical, life-threatening condition, a man in his 30s in serious condition and a woman in her 30s in serious condition.

Neighbours said the home, at 166th Street and 90th Avenue in the West Meadowlark neighbourhood, housed three people with mental and physical disabilities.

Staff would rotate through the home, said neighbour Ben Zubieto, who lives directly across the street.

Zubieto said he was still awake early Monday when he heard a woman scream outside.

Another neighbour, Zally Ocier, shot video showing the house engulfed in flames as a fire truck arrives on scene.

Warning: This video may be disturbing to some viewers.

One person is dead and three others are in hospital after an early-morning fire at a group home. 0:22

“I saw this lady standing by the sidewalk and she was screaming for help. And the next thing I saw was the fire,” Zubieto said.

Zubieto saw flames coming out of the upstairs window of the split-level house. He called 911 and spoke to the woman who had screamed for help. She worked in the home.

“She was in shock and she was shaking, and she was worried about her clients being inside, the three of them,” he said. “There’s nothing we could do because the flames were coming out of the windows.

“I just hope they’re OK.”

One person is dead and three others injured after a house fire early Monday in west Edmonton. (Nathan Gross/CBC)

Fire crews were called around 1:45 a.m. and arrived on scene in six minutes, said Edmonton Fire Rescue Services spokesperson Suzzette Melado.

“When firefighters got to the address they were able to rescue three people who were inside the home. One was in critical condition,” Mellado said. “They were all transported to hospital by EMS.”

A fourth person was assessed on scene and also taken to hospital.

Fire crews had the fire under control by 3:30 a.m. 

A total of five Edmonton firefighter units and 21 firefighters responded to the blaze. 

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of the victim, especially given this time of the year,” said fire Chief Ken Block.

By late Monday morning, the house appeared severely damaged and investigators remained at the scene.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation. 


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City committee votes to name Sandy Hill Park after Inuit artist Annie Pootoogook





OTTAWA — Ottawa city councillors have voted to rename a Sandy Hill park after celebrated Inuk artist Annie Pootoogook.

The community and protective services committee approved a recommendation to rename the park at 240 Somerset Street East the “Annie Pootoogook Park.”

Pootoogook was an award-winning artist who lived in Ottawa. She died in 2016 at the age of 47 when she fell into the Rideau River. Ottawa police investigated her death, but it was ruled non-suspicious.

Stephanie Plante submitted an application to the city to commemorate Pootoogook by renaming the park after her.

Plante says she met with Veldon Coburn, the adoptive father of Pootoogook’s eight-year-old daughter, and reached out to Pootoogook’s brother in Nunavut to discuss the idea.

“Women matter, the arts matter, and most importantly Inuit people matter,” Plante told the committee.

“As of today, it’s quite possible an entirely new generation will write Annie Pootoogook Park on birthday party invitations, t-ball sign ups, dog park meet ups, soccer registration forms, summer camp locations.”

Alexandra Badzak, director of the Ottawa Art Gallery, told the community and protective services committee the arts community supports honouring Pootoogook.

“Those of us in the arts in Ottawa, across Canada and internationally know of the importance of Annie Pootoogook’s work,” said Badzak. “Who’s pen and pencil crayon drawings drew upon the legacy of her famous artistic family.”

The head of the National Gallery of Canada said Pootoogook’s artistic legacy is remembered across Canada.

“There’s absolutely no question that Annie Pootoogook is deserving of having Sandy Hill Park named in her honour,” Sasha Suda told the committee Thursday morning.

“She was an unbelievably bright light. Despite the briefness of her career, she leaves an incredibly strong legacy through her art work and in the ways that she changed the art world.”

Coun. Mathieu Fleury told the committee plans are in the works to set up an exhibit space in the Sandy Hill Community Centre to highlight Pootoogook’s work. The city is also working to set up programming for Inuit and artists in the park.

Council will vote on the proposal next week.

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City aces legal dispute over Kanata golf club





An Ontario court judge has upheld a 40-year-old agreement that says the Kanata Lakes Golf and Country Club must remain open space and not be redeveloped into a housing community.

The decision is a big win for the city, Kanata North Coun. Jenna Sudds and her constituents, who have spent two years trying to prevent property owner ClubLink from turning the course into a 1,500-home development with its partners Minto Communities and Richcraft Homes.

Sudds, who said she burst into tears over Friday’s decision, called it “terrific news” for the community. As many as 500 homes back onto the course and more than 1,000 households use the grounds for recreation, she said.

“The green space, the golf course itself, which really is right in the middle of our community here, is used by the community quite frequently,” said Sudds, who recently moved the neighbourhood. “I see people out all hours of the day throughout the winter. It’s amazing to see all the tracks snowshoeing and skiing and dog-walking.”

40-year-old agreement ‘valid’

ClubLink, which bought the 50-year-old course in 1997, announced in December 2018 that it planned to redevelop part of the property.

Local residents, along with the newly elected councillor and the city’s own legal department, argued that the development shouldn’t go ahead due to a 1981 legal agreement between then City of Kanata and the developer. That agreement called for 40 per cent of the area in Kanata Lakes to be open space in perpetuity.

“The 1981 Agreement continues to be a valid and binding contract,” Ontario Superior Court Justice Marc Labrosse wrote in his 44-page decision.

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Ottawa residents remain pro-Trump Avenue





It appears Donald Trump still has a home in Canada’s capital, even if he has departed Washington, D.C.

Earlier this year, residents on Trump Avenue, in Ottawa’s Central Park neighbourhood, put the possibility of changing the name of their street to a vote following the former president’s tumultuous time in office.

The neighbourhood has several streets named after icons of New York City and Trump was a famous real estate mogul before he was elected.

In order to change the name of a street, the city requires 50 per cent plus one of all households on that street to be in favour.

There are 62 houses on Trump Avenue, meaning at least 32 households would have had to vote to change the name.

The city councillor for the area, Riley Brockington, said Wednesday that 42 households voted and the neighbourhood was divided, 21 to 21. 

Without the required margin to enact the change, Brockington says the matter will not proceed any further. 

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