23. 02. 2019
As downtown booms, will Edmonton have too much office space? – Edmonton

As downtown booms, will Edmonton have too much office space? – Edmonton

Watch above: With three major office towers under development for downtown Edmonton, are there concerns about oversaturating the market? Vinesh Pratap gets the answer.

EDMONTON – The 62-storey Stantec tower is the latest in a number of major commercial developments in downtown Edmonton. So, with the construction boom, is there any concern of too much supply and not enough demand?

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“Thinking about the market today and worrying about trying to keep it exactly the same is not a great city-building strategy,” said Mayor Don Iveson on Tuesday.

“You have to make some bold plays. This is one.”

The Stantec tower will boast 26 office floors as well as 320 residential suites.

“I don’t think it’s going to be a ton of extra space,” Iveson said.

“There is some vacancy downtown, but I think that’s going to keep the price competitive and I think that is our opportunity to attract business from the suburbs so we have more jobs downtown, and it’s also our opportunity to start to – potentially, competitively – make a good proposition to companies in other jurisdictions who want to take advantage of Alberta’s low taxes and the business friendly environment and the great quality of life.”

READ MORE: Development around the arena district gets going 

Cory Wosnack, principal with Avison Young, doesn’t believe the new Stantec tower will lead to much vacancy.

“The space that Stantec is vacating is in a part of the downtown area that appeals to a slightly different marketplace than what the new tower will be sourcing for new tenants,” he explained.

There are three new office towers planned for the downtown core. The Kelly Ramsey Building – that will add nearly 600,000 square feet of office space when it’s completed in 2016 – and the 27-storey City of Edmonton building are currently under construction. The new Stantec tower is scheduled to be finished in 2018.

The EPCOR tower, which opened several years ago, was the first new office tower downtown in some time. It currently has a vacancy rate of about 25 per cent.

Qualico’s Ken Cantor – whose company is behind the EPCOR building – is not worried about a glut of office space.

“I’m not. I’m excited about all three of them. All three of them are quality projects with quality tenants.

“But there’s not an awful lot of space that’s going to be delivered to the market in the near future.”

“I don’t have great qualms about it,” echoed Iveson. “There are different views in the market. Some people think we’re going to be way over supplied. Those are people who have space they need to lease and they’re nervous and I get that, but they need to make some reinvestments and they need to compete for that space.

“There are those who are complaining about it and those who are adapting to the market.”

Cantor believes employee retention will play a big role in tenants looking at the new commercial space.

“It’s going to become a more and more competitive environment and one of the ways to compete with that is A) to be downtown and B) to be occupying the kind of space that has the amenities and features that are important to the workforce.”

READ MORE: Arena district sparking historic development in Edmonton core 

Wosnack says the next few years will be exciting times, especially for tenants, who he says are the ones driving the market.

“It’s the users of the marketplace that are demanding for new inventory, better office space, and tenants now have a choice,” he said.

“The changes that are happening, led by EAD, is a significant indicator that Edmonton is growing up,” said Wosnack.

“Edmonton is now a progressive city that has a fresh, new appeal to a younger generation of workers.”

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23. 02. 2019
Instagram service restored after two hour outage – National

Instagram service restored after two hour outage – National

UPDATE: Instagram service was restored to users after a two hour outage. The company did not specify what caused the widespread outage.

TORONTO – Photo sharing app Instagram is down, much to the disappointment of users trying to share their #TBT (throw back Thursday) photos.

Users’ feeds are not refreshing and some are reporting a “503 Service Unavailable” error message on the mobile app.

“Instagram is experiencing some technical issues. We’re aware and working on a fix,” read a tweet from the company at 4 p.m. Thursday.


The outage appears to be affecting both iOS and Android users.

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23. 02. 2019
Quiet Outremont pool becomes site of swimsuit fight between mother and lifeguard – Montreal

Quiet Outremont pool becomes site of swimsuit fight between mother and lifeguard – Montreal

OUTREMONT – A bizarre altercation at a quiet neighbourhood pool involving two lifeguards and the mother of a toddler has triggered a police investigation.

As a result a three-year-old girl ended up with abrasions on her forehead.

Wednesday afternoon, a lifeguard at the children’s pool at the Piscine John F. Kennedy told Vero Shapiro that her daughter needed to wear a bikini top at the pool but she refused.

“And from there, there was an escalation of violence,” said Marie Cinq-Mars, the borough mayor.

The altercation turned physical enough that the two lifeguards involved called the police, who arrived and took statements, and ended up with Shapiro’s daughter somehow suffering from abrasions to her forehead.

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Montreal police characterized the two lifeguards as “victims” and the mother as a “suspect.” No charges have been laid.

Shapiro was so angered by the incident that she wrote on her Facebook page in French that,

“I naively believed that lifeguards were there to save lives, not to send kids to the hospital.”

She did not respond to comment requests left by Global News.

Cinq-Mars said it was the first time in her seven-year tenure as borough mayor that an incident like this has happened, and it is made even stranger by the fact that there isn’t a rule on the books prohibiting juveniles from going topless.

“It should be the parent’s choice, whether the parent was to have his kid with a top or without a top,” she said.

Residents are split on the issue.

One mother, Pascale Navert, described it as “deplorable” but added that it was likely a he-said-she-said situation.

Another passerby who talked to Global News said the fact that the lifeguard stepped in at all “is so ridiculous I can’t even believe I’m speaking about it.”

An internal investigation at the borough level is also underway, Cinq-Mars said.

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23. 02. 2019
Ashley Madison sues South Korea over allegations of illegal activity

Ashley Madison sues South Korea over allegations of illegal activity

TORONTO – A dating website for married people seeking affairs is suing the government of South Korea after being blocked in that country over what it says are false allegations of illegal activity.

Ashley Madison’s Korean site was shut down this spring shortly after its launch, with authorities there alleging it incited immorality, according to media reports at the time. Adultery is illegal in South Korea.

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In a statement of claim filed in federal court Wednesday, Ashley Madison denies the accusations, describing itself as “a social networking website facilitating communication between like-minded adults.”

READ MORE: Ashley Madison sues employee claiming she wrote fake sexy profiles

The company accuses the South Korean government of engaging in “uncompetitive acts” by unfairly banning the website while allowing local businesses to operate similar ones.

It alleges the effects of that decision trickle down to Canada, limiting Ashley Madison’s success among Korean-Canadians and other Asian-Canadians and reducing overall competition in the social media market.

“There’s no adultery that happens on Ashley Madison, it’s just a publication,” the company’s CEO and founder, Noel Biderman, told The Canadian Press.

“We write very little, our users write everything. So therefore Facebook would have to be shut down, any place where somebody wrote about, or any phone call anybody made – holding all those devices, all those platforms responsible, that’s where you have to start that conversation.

“You can’t selectively pick us to try to make an example out of us,” he said.

READ MORE: Singapore blocks adultery website Ashley Madison amid public outcry

The Toronto-based company is seeking an unspecified amount for loss of revenue and lost profits, as well as general damages for uncompetitive conduct.

It also wants the court to order South Korea to stop blocking the website.

None of the claims have been proven in court and Korean authorities have yet to file a statement of defence.

Ashley Madison has also been banned in Singapore, but Biderman said the situation in South Korea is different because the site had already been operating for weeks when it was shut down.

The site, which uses the slogan “Life is short. Have an affair,” launched there on April 1, the claim says. It has already expanded to more than 30 countries, it says.

In just over two weeks, the new site drew nearly 50,500 members, the document says.

Soon after, Korea Communications Standards Commission – a government agency also targeted by the suit – blocked the site, alleging that it “contained illegal information,” it reads.

The company says it was never told what the commission’s concerns were, and that its appeal of the decision was dismissed within days “without further explanation.”

READ MORE: The business of cheating has never been better

Ashley Madison says the website “neither contains illegal information, nor does it aid or abet any illegal activity.”

The suit alleges South Korea is trying to give its own companies a leg up when it comes to breaking into the Canadian market.

“The defendants’ anti-competitive practices in South Korea have a direct impact in Canada on communications and social networking businesses and websites competing for the Korean-Canadian and Asian-Canadian market for such websites,” it claims.

“Given the global reach of the Internet, a social networking service that meets with success among any particular group of people in one country has or will have a significant competitive advantage among people of that same group or related groups in other countries.”

Ashley Madison – which filed the suit through its parent company, Avid Life Media – says it will lay out its financial losses during trial, which it suggests be held in Vancouver.

©2014The Canadian Press

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23. 02. 2019
Vernon School District pushes for end to teachers strike – Okanagan

Vernon School District pushes for end to teachers strike – Okanagan

VERNON — In a strongly worded letter to Education Minister Peter Fassbender, the Vernon School District’s (SD 22) Board of Education made its stance on the teachers strike clear.

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“We strongly urge the parties to enter mediation without any preconditions and conclude a settlement this weekend,” writes Board of Education chair, Bill Turanski. “We are very concerned that a continuing strike will serious effect our students learning, particularly our secondary school students on quartered and semestered timetables. Every week of a strike reduces the quartered students learning time by 10 per cent.”

The board is also questioning the $40 per day pay out to parents from the province.

“We recognize that there are families that require support,” continues Turanski, “we feel, however, that these funds should not come from funding allocated to education.”

In the meantime, the Vernon school district is ready should the strike be resolved in time for the beginning of school next week.

In a letter sent out to parents, Superintendent Joe Rogers says “if a settlement is reached this weekend, the expectation is that all public schools in the Vernon School District will open Wednesday, September 3.”

Rogers says the schools will require one day to complete all the preparations for the first day of classes, but “schools will be open for students the second day following whenever an agreement is reached.”

The superintendent echoes the education board’s sentiments, hoping schools will re-open for the first week of classes.

“It is my hope that our labour impasse is resolved quickly,” says Rogers, “so that our school district can soon return to normal operations and begin the school year on a positive note.”

Both sides are set to meet with mediator Vince Ready again Thursday afternoon.

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