Waterloo Region hydro companies announce plan to merge – Kitchener | Globalnews.ca

1Oct

Waterloo Region hydro companies announce plan to merge – Kitchener | Globalnews.ca

by BBG Hub

The corporations behind Waterloo Region-based utilities Kitchener-Wilmot Hydro and Waterloo North Hydro announced plans on Friday to merge.

In a news release, the two companies said plans to combine operations come after thorough discussions and in-depth analysis.

Read more:
COVID-19 pandemic zaps electricity usage in Ontario as people stay home

“By combining with Kitchener-Wilmot Hydro, our board believes this is a good deal for Waterloo North Hydro customers and our shareholders in Waterloo, Woolwich, and Wellesley,” said David Petras, chair of Waterloo North Hydro Holding Corp.

“Ontario’s electricity sector is changing quickly and this proposed merger is a local solution that will help our communities adapt to these changes and thrive in the years ahead.”

The merge still needs approval from the five municipal councils which are affected: the cities of Waterloo and Kitchener, and the townships of Woolwich, Wellesley and Wilmot. It would then need to be approved by the Ontario Energy Board.

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Combining the two utilities would create the seventh-largest utility in Ontario by the number of customers.

“Customers will benefit from having a larger, local and publicly owned utility that can maintain the highest quality of service for customers while having the capacity to modernize and adapt to significant changes in Ontario’s electricity sector,” the companies stated in the news release.

“The combined utility will have more resources to invest in new technologies that benefit customers, such as managing smart home and energy data, automated restoration of power outages, microgrids and local renewable generation.”

The companies also said the merger will help distribution rates remain “competitive and stable” for customers. They claim that distribution rates for all customers are projected to increase at less than the rate of inflation over the 10 years following the merger.

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Municipalities are also expected to receive an increase in incremental dividends and interest on their investment over the 10-year period following the merger.

Each municipality would also receive proportional ownership in the new company and representations on a new board of directors.

Layoffs are not expected either because of the merger.

“There are vacancies that have not been filled and some pending retirements. The head office will be the current Kitchener-Wilmot Hydro office in the city of Kitchener, with a second work location at the current Waterloo North Hydro office, at which activities will include leading innovation and new technology development,” the companies said.

The proposed merger will be presented to all five municipal councils for approval next week.

That will be followed by engagement with the community and employees, including public information sessions. A new website has also been launched.


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Coronavirus: Ontario hydro rate cap ending


Coronavirus: Ontario hydro rate cap ending – Jan 25, 2021

The five municipalities are then expected to make a decision on the merger in December.

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If approved by all municipal councils, the merger applications will then be submitted to the Ontario Energy Board for regulatory approval, which is expected in the third quarter of 2022.

The new company would begin operations soon after.

Read more:
Guelph Hydro and Alectra Utilities officially merge

“From a financial standpoint, this merger is a win for customers and municipal shareholders as the combined utility will keep rates competitive while reducing costs through operational efficiencies,” said Jim Phillips, chair of Kitchener Power Corp.

“And when it comes to employees, this local merger will keep jobs here in our community.”




© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.




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15Jul

Home sales in Canada fell for the 3rd straight month in June – National | Globalnews.ca

by BBG Hub

The Canadian Real Estate Association says home sales last month fell on a month-over-month basis for the third straight month as the market continued to slow after hitting an all-time record in March.

The association says home sales were down 8.4 per cent month-over-month in June, as sales cooled in 80 per cent of all local markets.

However, compared with a year ago, sales in June rose 13.6 per cent to set a new record for the month.


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What a developer’s plan to buy $1B in homes could mean for Canada’s housing market


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CREA chair Cliff Stevenson says while there is still a lot of activity in many markets across Canada, things have noticeably calmed down in the last few months.

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The number of newly listed homes edged up 0.7 per cent in June compared with May.

CREA says the actual national average price of a home sold in June was a little over $679,000, up 25.9 per cent compared with a year ago.




© 2021 The Canadian Press





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9Jul

Stay-at-home mom begins career again by transforming garage into private clinic – Edmonton | Globalnews.ca

by BBG Hub

This stay-at-home mom of eight years decided she was ready to head back into the workforce three months before the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

Jessica Ollie is a registered massage therapist, exercise and shockwave therapist. Starting back at a clinic pre-COVID, she still wasn’t feeling satisfied.

Jessica’s dream, ever since she can remember, had been to open her own business. And once COVID hit, that’s exactly what she did, deciding to turn half of her garage into a private practice.

“I had hired some people to help me do the space, then — with of course the pandemic and not being able to work — we were in lockdown. I had to build it myself,” Ollie said.

With a small space to work with and building an extra wall from her home to garage, she finished just in time to reopen in March.

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“At times I didn’t think I was going to be able to. I had my doubts and it was really hard emotionally, financially, but I have this fire inside of me and I was like, ‘This is happening.’”

Read more:
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Starting with massage therapy, Ollie wanted to continue; helping people is a true passion of hers, especially when is comes to children.

“I’m very passionate about working on kids,” she said. “Because I do believe that if we can nip this in the bud at the beginning, at the age of 12, and we work on the posture early on in life, then we can prevent a lot of these issues that arise when we are in our 50s and 60s.”

Treating all types of pain from car accidents to realignments, she truly does it all.

“Carpal tunnel, plantar fasciitis, sciatica pain, low-back pain, I do therapy on people who have had surgeries, shoulder tears, anything.”

Very few RMTs are able to perform shockwave therapy, but in this case, booking in with her, you can get it all. Buying a shockwave machine allows Ollie to really work deep into the tissue and help with long-term healing.

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Read more:
Ontario massage therapists, naturopaths among COVID-19 vaccine recipients as some over 80 still wait

“It’s radial pressure waves that go into the skin and into the muscles and into the tissue and the pressure goes in and it kind of gets stuck, where it can’t get through, so the waves of the radio pressure should be able to just fly through the tissue,” Ollie said. “But if it can’t, then it kind of works on breaking the tissue up, so it works really, really well on scar tissue post-surgery.”

Since opening four months ago, the support from family and friends and former clients has just been incredible for this RMT. She is finally doing what she loves, and that’s helping others.

“The passion and the drive and the fire was just burning inside of me, but I don’t want anybody to live in pain.”




© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.




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8Jul

Hurdles to pulling seniors out of long-term care during pandemic | Watch News Videos Online

by BBG Hub



Many Canadians have pulled their loved ones out of long-term care homes due to the pandemic’s devastating impact on those facilities. But what if those seniors need to return to nursing homes? As Mike Drolet explains, there can be complications.


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7Jul

Choosing care at home instead of a care home: B.C. senior opts to move in with family | Watch News Videos Online

by BBG Hub


The pandemic has made many Canadians rethink how they care for seniors. Some people, like Audrey Danard, have decided to move back in with family, rather than live in a long-term care facility. Mike Drolet has Danard’s story, and what this trend says about the LTC system.


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7Jul

Goodfood reports record third quarter revenue amid growing grocery selection

by BBG Hub

Goodfood Market Corp. reported a net loss of $2 million despite revenue rising to a record $107.8 million in its third quarter, a 24 per cent increase compared with a year ago at the start of the pandemic.

Goodfood CEO Jonathan Ferrari said the results were strong given the same quarter in 2020 had been positively impacted by pandemic demand.

“Our impressive third quarter results reflected the benefits of our leading and differentiated ready-to-cook offering, growing grocery selection and same-day fulfilment capabilities in key markets,” he said in a statement Wednesday.


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The sometimes-hidden costs of grocery shopping online


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Those improvements drove larger basket sizes and higher order frequency from increasingly loyal customers, Ferrari said.

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But the online grocery company’s positive growth continued to be impacted by investments in people, processes and technology, he said.

The Montreal-based online grocery and meal kit company said its loss amounted to three cents per diluted share for the quarter ended May 31.

The result compared with a profit of nearly $2.8 million or five cents per diluted share on $86.6 million in revenue in its third quarter last year.

Goodfood announced last month the lease of its first tech-enabled fulfilment centre in Ottawa with automation capable of delivering 4,000 products on a same-day basis.

Read more:
Grocery work shifting amid increasing automation and online sales, Ontario report finds

“I am pleased with the progress we continue to make as evidenced by the expansion to 970 grocery products, the launch of the new Goodfood mobile application, and the recent announcement of our first local fulfilment centre in Ottawa, which will allow us to offer same-day delivery in a third major Canadian market,” Ferrari said.

Meanwhile, the company said a decrease in incentives and credits used to encourage consumers to try Goodfood’s meal kits contributed to higher revenue.

Goodfood also said its automated fulfilment centres and improvements to its “last-mile delivery capabilities” helped lower shipping and other production costs.

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Study shows independent grocers seeing growth during COVID-19 pandemic


Study shows independent grocers seeing growth during COVID-19 pandemic – Jun 28, 2021




© 2021 The Canadian Press




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3Jul

Renovating your home this summer? Designers share tips and inexpensive hacks

by BBG Hub

For a lot of people, there has been a deep desire for improvement — personal, physical and mental — during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many Canadians have been looking inward and practicing self-care, searching for a more relaxed mental state, while others have made a routine of 15-minute workout videos streamed on YouTube for the physical benefits.

But after a year-and-a-half of looking at the same blank walls, sitting at the uneven kitchen table-turned-workspace and standing dejectedly in a shower that turns cold after five minutes, people are looking for a different kind of improvement: home renovations.

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According to a survey by TD Bank, more than one-third of Canadians are planning big home renovations or repairs to accommodate their new lifestyles.

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Considering the “new normal” includes many people continuing to work from home, experts have shared some tips and hacks for people looking to renovate their spaces.

Keren Milman, the owner and project manager of Milman Design Build in Toronto, recommends turning your garage into a usable space (for more than just a parked car).

Some of her clients have turned their garage into a home gym, set up a small yoga studio, or are using it as their workstations.

“If you have kids at home, it can be used for a quiet space,” she says.


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Spring bathroom renovation tips


Spring bathroom renovation tips – Apr 18, 2021

This multi-purpose-room concept can expand into your basement or attic, which can be for more than just storage, she adds.

“People are looking to add more living space in their home,” says Milman. She adds that you can also achieve this by closing part of your backyard to create a sunroom.

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One of the biggest priorities Milman has noticed is renovations for the kitchen.

“People are cooking and eating a lot more in their homes,” she says.

Read more:
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Ty Pennington, a designer, carpenter and star of HGTV Canada’s Ty Breaker, recently told The Morning Show we can say goodbye to the all-white kitchen, which can be hard to clean and can look a bit “sterile.”

Painting your cabinets or island and adding colour to your bar stools and light fixtures can help liven up the space, he says.

“It’s refreshing to finally start seeing some colour come back in,” he adds.

Similarly, Milman recommends adding more green, two-tones and floral wallpaper (as an accent wall), to embrace a more natural setting.

Cottagecore is another trend that has emerged, which consists of a romanticized, rural or agricultural aesthetic.

Pennington says you can achieve this vibe by adding dry flowers, incorporating monochromatic colours and creating texture through worn furniture.


Click to play video: 'Home improvement dos and don’ts for your next renovation'







Home improvement dos and don’ts for your next renovation


Home improvement dos and don’ts for your next renovation – Apr 27, 2021

“Cottagecore nostalgia is that need for comfort,” he says, adding that it’s a nod to simpler times.

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Another way to add texture to your home is by expressing it through your walls, says Pennington. Specifically, adding a Venetian plaster wall, weeded walls, wicker, or using a reeding and fluting finish will add dimension.

He adds that the price of wall finishes can vary, but some renovations can even be done yourself, he adds. “(But) practice before you make it permanent.”

Milman says that since many people have had a lot of time on their hands, finding ideas on Pinterest and watching them come to life can benefit your home space and can become a new hobby.

Read more:
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For some backyard hacks, DIY expert Jennifer Tryon recommends reupholstering your patio furniture with a darker fabric so that dirt and grime don’t show.

Using a sewing machine or velcro, pin the fabric with the cushion inside so you can achieve a snug fit and from there, use a sewing machine or velcro, she says.

If sewing isn’t your strong suit, you can also use an outdoor fabric spray paint which can be a simple and effective revamp.


Click to play video: 'Backyard Makeover: Tips for getting your garden and patio ready for the season'







Backyard Makeover: Tips for getting your garden and patio ready for the season


Backyard Makeover: Tips for getting your garden and patio ready for the season – Apr 29, 2021

“It’s a cute way to just give new life (to your furniture) if you don’t sew,” she says. “And honestly, the difference between the before and after is pretty great when you’re just looking to quickly and easily spruce something up without throwing it out.”

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For renovations outside of your DIY capabilities, landscaping your house with more plants can be an inexpensive addition.

For more tips and trends for home renovations, watch the full video above.




© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.




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28Jun

Deadly Canadian Forces helicopter crash linked with software glitch: report

by BBG Hub

A military investigation has found that a software glitch played a major role in the deadly crash of a Cyclone helicopter off the coast of Greece last year.

The military’s flight safety directorate says manual inputs to the flight controls overrode the aircraft’s automation system, causing the naval helicopter to plummet into the Ionian Sea, killing all six personnel on board.

READ MORE: Canadian Forces pilots not warned about autopilot before deadly Cyclone crash in 2020

The report lists several recommendations, including the need to modify flight control software and establish a working group to review operational requirements around complex turning manoeuvres for the new CH-148 Cyclone.

The Cyclones are typically deployed on board Canadian frigates and used for search and rescue, surveillance and anti-submarine warfare.

READ MORE: CAF Cyclone helicopter crashed ‘at low altitude, was unrecoverable,’ report finds

The crash of the Stalker 22 on April 29, 2020, marked the third incident involving a Cyclone, with defective software blamed for one of the helicopters’ suddenly dropping several hundred feet during a test flight in 2017. Another had a “hard landing” on a ship in February 2019.

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Several restrictions were placed on the helicopters after the 2017 incident forbidding crews from performing certain manoeuvres.


Click to play video: 'Recovery mission for Cyclone helicopter crash officially over'







Recovery mission for Cyclone helicopter crash officially over


Recovery mission for Cyclone helicopter crash officially over – Jun 3, 2020




© 2021 The Canadian Press





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25Jun

Canadian Forces pilots not warned about autopilot before deadly Cyclone crash in 2020

by BBG Hub

As a pilot guided one of Canada’s navy helicopters up into a tight turn, neither his training nor cockpit indicators warned of how a built-in autopilot would take control and plunge the Cyclone into the Ionian Sea, a military report has concluded.

All six Canadian Forces members on board died in the crash on April 29, 2020.

According to a board of inquiry report obtained by The Canadian Press, when the pilot was flying the turn, commonly called a “return to target,” he had pointed the nose up and used his feet to turn the helicopter’s tail, overriding the autopilot to complete the manoeuvre of less than 20 seconds.

The report, however, said testing wasn’t done during the aircraft’s certification to identify what would happen if a pilot overrode the autopilot more than “momentarily” and in certain complex situations.

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“The automation principles and philosophy that governed the Cyclone’s design never intended for the (autopilot) to be overridden for extended periods of time, and therefore this was never tested,” it said.

This was the case even though — as the report stated — pilots are known on occasion to override the autopilot system without manually pressing a button on their control stick, called the cyclic.


Canadian Armed Forces members (clockwise from top left) Sub-Lt. Abbigail Cowbrough, Capt. Brenden MacDonald, Capt. Kevin Hagen, Capt. Maxime Miron-Morin, Master Cpl. Matthew Cousins and Sub-Lt. Matthew Pyke are shown in a Department of National Defence handout photos. All were aboard a Cyclone helicopter which crashed into the Ionian Sea off the coast of Greece on April 29. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Department of National Defence MANDATORY CREDIT.


THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Department of National Defence

The report said that at the time of the crash, the autopilot – referred to as the flight director – was set to an air speed of about 260 kilometres per hour before one of the pilots pitched the aircraft’s nose upward for the turn.

It was supposed to fly back over HMCS Fredericton and practise hoisting people onto the deck. Instead, the frigate’s CH-148 Cyclone helicopter crashed off the coast of Greece while returning from a NATO training mission. That crash caused the worst single-day loss of life for the Canadian Armed Forces since six soldiers were killed in a roadside bombing in Afghanistan on July 4, 2007.

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Read more:
CAF Cyclone helicopter crashed ‘at low altitude, was unrecoverable,’ report finds

The report indicated the crash might have been averted if the pilot had manually chosen to turn off the autopilot during the turn. But it also stated that it wasn’t unusual for pilots to override the autopilot and there were no explicit instructions in the manuals on the necessity to manually turn off the flight director.

In addition, the report said the pilot appeared unaware the computer would attempt to regain control near the end of the turn.


Click to play video: 'Chopper crash in Greece was unavoidable, says federal government'







Chopper crash in Greece was unavoidable, says federal government


Chopper crash in Greece was unavoidable, says federal government – Jun 16, 2020

When the helicopter flipped around, the report said, the pilot pulled back as far as he could on the cyclic, attempting to right the aircraft that the computer was flying into the sea. Within seconds, the helicopter hit the ocean at massive force.

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The board of inquiry said it found no evidence the flying pilot recognized he had lost control of the aircraft until it was too late.

Critical to the crash, the report said, was the aircraft’s software, which was certified by the military. If the autopilot is overridden, the computer accumulates digital commands, referred to as “command bias accumulation.” The more commands a pilot sends manually to the computer while the aircraft is coupled with the autopilot, the more this bias accumulation occurs, the report said.

After a pilot overrides the air speed set by the autopilot, a “feed forward look” occurs, the report said, adding that in some situations, “the pilot’s ability to control the aircraft will be reduced or lost.”

More training needed: report

The board of inquiry said the pilots’ training didn’t cover “with sufficient detail” certain risks of flying the aircraft, leaving the flyers unaware the autopilot would seek to keep control of the helicopter.

The return-to-target manoeuvre, which led to the crash, was being flown by others in the maritime helicopter community, the report said. That manoeuvre has been disallowed since the crash.

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The report makes six recommendations, five of which involve better training for pilots to make them aware of the potential problems that could occur if they override the autopilot. It recommended creating special cockpit signals pilots could use to warn each other about overriding flight directors for extended periods of time.

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The report also recommended the military consider an engineering change “to automatically disengage the flight director under certain conditions, such as when the flight director is overridden in multiple axes, or for an extended period of time.”

According to a senior military source, that recommendation is not shared in a second, independent report by the military’s Directorate of Flight Safety, expected to be released next week.


A memorial pays respect to the victims of a military helicopter crash, at 12 Wing Shearwater in Dartmouth, N.S., home of 423 Maritime Helicopter Squadron, on Friday, May 1, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan.


THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan

The second report said pilots must be well trained to almost instantly press a single button on their control stick to disengage the autopilot if they’re not getting the response they want out of their controls. It said, however, that automatically disengaging the autopilot might pose its own risks in some situations, especially when a pilot believes the autopilot will keep functioning.

The second report instead argued that the software – and its “bias accumulation” – needs to be addressed by American aviation company Sikorsky Aircraft, the manufacturer of the Cyclone.

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“We need to look at that software … and see if we can eliminate this from the software altogether, being careful to understand when you make any changes like that you may introduce a butterfly effect and cause problems elsewhere,” the source said.

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The board of inquiry report, signed by three members of the panel on Nov. 20, 2020, concluded the pilots were not distracted and the crew “flew well together.” It added that the aircraft captain had a strong command of the helicopter and the co-pilot showed “good situational awareness” throughout the mission.

The second report is expected to provide further analysis on the factors behind the crash.

The military source said the recommendations of the two reports must be meshed into a single set of findings for consideration by senior Royal Canadian Air Force officers.

A spokeswoman for Sikorsky referred all questions on the report to the Canadian Forces.




© 2021 The Canadian Press




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