Richmond farmers campaign against further house-size restrictions

A group of Richmond farmers has launched a campaign to dissuade government from further reducing the maximum allowable size of houses on agricultural land in the city.

The Richmond Farmland Owners Association, which includes 50 member families with more than 2,500 acres of farmland, is concerned that after the city updated policy on house sizes last spring, “special interest groups” are now pressuring the city to make them even smaller, spokesman Gunraj Gill said.

Last May, the City of Richmond made bylaw amendments reducing the allowable maximum sizes of houses on farmland to 5,382 sq. ft. on lots up to 0.5 acres and 10,763 sq. ft. on larger properties, after dozens of houses 15,000 sq. ft. and larger had been constructed.

Gill, a consultant working with the farmers, said that in the six months following this “made in Richmond solution,” the city received only 11 building permits for residential construction on farmland, down from 45 in the three months before the amendments. Before the changes, the average size for house construction was 12,000 sq. ft.; afterward, the average building permit application dropped to 8,192 sq. ft.

“What the farming community wants is: Let these homes be built, let people see the difference and then if we need to revisit this debate, then we most certainly can,” he said. “They feel that they worked extensively and they came up with an evidence-based decision, which was to reduce the sizes.”

In a news release, the owners association dismissed claims that larger homes are degrading farmland, and said many farms are owned and operated by an extended family living under one roof because bylaws prevent them from building several dwellings on any one farm.

Gill said much of the opposition to the larger houses comes from a group called <a target="_blank" href="http://www.richmondfarmwatch.com/" target="_blank" …read more

Source:: Vancouver Sun

Three arrested after fleeing police

Three people were arrested in Abbotsford early Saturday morning after a police chase that involved using the RCMP-operated regional police helicopter.

Abbotsford Police received a call about a stolen vehicle entering Abbotsford at about 12:30 a.m., said Abbotsford Police Sgt. Judy Bird.

A spike belt used near Fraser Highway and Mt. Lehman Road failed to the stop the car, which continued driving east.

“We were getting updates from the helicopter about the car’s location,” said Bird.

Police used another spike belt near Whatcom and Vye Roads. Three people — two men and a woman — ran from the car and were arrested a short time later. Police are recommending charges of possession of stolen property and evading police.

“We’re really thankful no one was hurt in this situation,” said Bird.

…read more

Source:: Vancouver Sun

Government responds to sasquatch lawsuit

The B.C. government has responded to a lawsuit filed by a sasquatch tracker who claims the province has “breached its stewardship responsibility” by failing to recognize and protect the legendary creature.

In a lawsuit filed in B.C. Supreme Court in October, Todd Standing accused the provincial government of damaging his livelihood and credibility by “non-recognition of sasquatch.” He asked the court to require a government biologist to accompany him into “known sasquatch habitat” for three months to prove his claims.

The government’s response, filed Jan. 25 at the New Westminster registry, denies Standing’s version of the alleged facts and “denies that the plaintiff suffered or continues to suffer any loss, damage or expense as alleged in the notice of civil claim.”

On Friday, a Ministry of Forests spokesman said the response filed with the court “clearly articulates the ministry’s position.”

Reached on his cellphone, Standing said he’s in the process of lining up witnesses and scientists, including a professor at Idaho State University, to provide evidence, including footprint and genetic analysis of materials found in the B.C. wilderness. A judge will assess the case and determine if it can proceed to trial.

“I can’t imagine a judge saying it’s frivolous,” he said. “Imagine multiple professors and scientists talking definitively about what they know. The truth is going to come out.”

In January, Standing helped a fellow Bigfoot believer file a similar lawsuit in a California court. A preliminary hearing has been set for March 19.

Standing, who once took Les Stroud, TV’s Survivorman, into the backcountry to search for sasquatch, studied wildlife in university. He said he set out to prove that sasquatch couldn’t exist because there was no space in the ecosystem for them, but soon became convinced of the opposite.

But the sasquatch tracker has also attracted his fair share …read more

Source:: Vancouver Sun

REAL SCOOP: IHIT on the scene of Coquitlam murder

Homicide investigators are on the scene of another murder – this time in Coquitlam.

Coquitlam RCMP received several calls of shots fired in the area of Sylvan Place and Riverview Crescent about 10 p.m. Friday. A vehicle was seen speeding away.

“When officers arrived, they found a man with gunshot wounds inside a vehicle. The male victim was transported to hospital but succumbed to his injuries,” Cpl. Frank Jang, of the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team, said in a news release Saturyda.

He said shortly after the shooting, police learned of a burning dark-colored sedan a short distance away in the area of Mariner Way and Dartmoor Drive.

One person is dead after a shooting in Coquitlam Friday night. Fire crews also responded to a car on fire. The vehicle is believed to be linked to the incident. (Photo: Shane MacKichan)

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One person is dead after a shooting in Coquitlam Friday night. Fire crews also responded to a car on fire. The vehicle is believed to be linked to the incident. (Photo: Shane MacKichan)

“It is still early in the investigation but this appears to be a targeted incident,” Jang said. “We need those who have information about this incident to please come forward.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact IHIT at 1-877-551- 4448 or ihitinfo@rcmp-grc.gc.ca.

The murder came a day after Surrey realtor Kam Rai was shot to death in Vancouver’s Kerrisdale neighbourhood.

Rai has a number of friends on his Facebook page that are linked to both the Red …read more

Source:: Vancouver Sun