Archive for January 2019

A smelly subject came up at the City of Edmonton Utility Committee hearing Friday as councillors and city administrators discussed how to address the thousands of complaints of foul odours emanating from Edmonton’s drainage system.

Over the last eight years, the 311 city services hotline has fielded more than 7,000 such complaints.

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READ MORE: ‘It is horrendous’: West Edmonton residents concerned about sewer odour

The committee resolved to have a strategy to deal with the sewer issue by the end of the year.

According to Coun. Michael Walters, his constituents living near 34 Avenue and 106 Street have been particularly vocal about the matter.

“The experience that I’ve heard from people is that they won’t go in their backyards at certain times when this happens,” he said. “It’s that strong. So I’ve stood there on that corner and it’s awful.”

The city says while the stench is more pronounced, the smell coming from the drainage system is actually quite widespread throughout the sewer system, which spans about 5,500 kilometres.

READ MORE: ‘People would vomit’: Edmonton residents bring sour gas concerns to City Hall

Edmonton’s director of city planning explained what causes the smell.

“Because of… the solids in the sewer system settle out, it does create an environment for where the bacteria can start to grow and create the gases we find that are foul,” Todd Wyman said. “So cleaning that out, gets rid of that food source and moves it along so that odour generation does not exist.”

It’s believed the large trunk sewer lines, deep below the ground, are what’s at the root of the bad smell. Because of their depth, they are difficult to clean and the city’s drainage department is now tasked with figuring out how to do that.

READ MORE: New sewer system problems for west Edmontonians beset with sewer issues for years

According to the city, on average, the sewer infrastructure is inspected every 10 years or so.

-With files from Shallima Maharaj and 630 CHED’s Scott Johnston.

Renovations. For most homeowners the word conjures up pictures of granite kitchen countertops, spa-style shower systems —; and having to camp out at the in-laws’ while the work is done.

But there are plenty of fixes that can make a big difference to your property value without taking a big chunk out of your savings and your quality of life.

Here are the five low-cost renovations with the highest return on investment, according to real estate professionals consulted by Global News:

Landscaping: Cost $500 – $2,000. Return: $5,000-$15,000. Return on investment: 650-900%

With homes, as with people, it’s hard to shake that first impression. Your front yard is your home’s first introduction to potential buyers and it can colour the rest of the experience.

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“Nicely-landscaped gardens convey a message that the owners care well for the house,” said Toronto-based real estate agent Marisha Robinsky. “Many homeowners don’t realize how big a difference it makes in how the house quality is perceived.”

The key is to avoid going overboard. Landscaping costs can easily stretch into five-digit figures depending on design, the choice of plants and paving stones, and the size of the property.

While it’s definitely worth it to repair the cracks and pull the weeds growing in your interlocking brick walkway, installing a brand new path could easily break your budget without adding significant value.

WATCH: Quick home renovations before the holidays that won’t break the bank

Painting wood paneling. Cost: $500. Return: $5,000-$15,000. ROI: 900-2,900%

Many people know that a fresh coat of paint can give a home an essential face lift. That effect, though, is even more dramatic in those old Canadian homes that feature dark wooden paneling.

Cover wainscoting and crown moulding in white and watch the magic happen. Dark, outdated-looking rooms suddenly appear bigger, brighter and breezier.

“For most buyers, wood paneling signals that a renovation is needed, but many of these same buyers rarely notice when wood paneling has been painted,” John Pasalis of Toronto real estate brokerage Realosophy told Global News.

You can even do the painting yourself, just make sure to pick a product meant for wood.

READ MORE: Edmonton app matches home improvement projects with contractors

Painting kitchen cabinets. Cost $500. Return: $5,000-$10,000. ROI: 900-1,900%

Is your kitchen stuck in the 1970s, with their brown cabinets and avocado-green appliances? One effective, low-cost touchup is to paint over the cabinets in lighter, more modern shades, said Pasalis.

Also, be sure to replace those squeaky hinges with some new hardware.

“It converts an old kitchen from being something most buyers feel they need to renovate asap, to a kitchen they can live with for the short term,” said Pasalis.

WATCH: HGTV’s Bryan Baeumler: How to prioritize your home renovation

Updating bathroom fixtures. Cost: $500-$750. Return: $5,000. ROI: 570-900%

This is the low-cost take on the bathroom makeover: take out those old brass faucets and replace them with the shiny, stainless steel variety.

You can also brighten up the bathroom with upgraded lighting and a light paint job.

Finally, you’ll be surprised what a difference new knobs can make. Splurge on some designer handles to turn a cabinet from “old” to “antique” or to add some flair to your Ikea furniture.

WATCH: Selecting the right paint colour: what works best for your home

Exterior painting. Cost: $750. Return: $5,000-$10,000. ROI: 570-1,200%

This is absolutely necessary if there are cracks or paint chips flaking off, said Pasalis.

But even if your exterior walls are in fine shape, you might want to consider a trendier colour combination. Charcoal grey with black trims and a bright-coloured door, for example, seems to be the palette of choice in Eastern Toronto right now, said Pasalis.

Have a walk around your neighbourhood and see if you can discern any recurring colour patterns among newly renovated homes, especially those that were revamped by experienced contractors. If you do, take note and replicate.

Here’s an infographic summarizing these tips on home renovation:

WARNING: This story contains disturbing content.

Surveillance video from a deadly stabbing attack at a warehouse in Edmonton three years ago was played in a courtroom at Jayme Pasieka’s double-murder trial on Friday.

Pasieka is charged with two counts of first-degree murder and three counts of attempted murder in connection with the Feb. 28, 2014 incident at the Loblaw warehouse.

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The court was filled with Loblaw employees on Friday, hoping to get a better idea of how exactly the deadly day unfolded.

READ MORE: Jayme Pasieka faces two more charges in connection with Loblaw stabbings; autopsies completed

The first nine clips of the video showed a person dressed in black arriving to work as usual. A witness employed at the warehouse at the time identified him as Pasieka.

Later, the video shows a man falling in an aisle and reveals what happened in the immediate aftermath of the first stabbing.

People are seen running to try and help the victim. At one point, the attacker is seen walking through the frame, sending other workers scrambling to get out of the way as the person approached them.

Fitzroy Harris, 50, and Thierno Bah, 41, were the two men killed in the attack.

The final portion of the video shows people trying to get out of the way again when the attacker is seen leaving and threatening the workers. The man identified as the attacker then gets in a vehicle and leaves.

Pasieka’s trial began on Tuesday with the Crown prosecutor telling the jury this was not a “whodunnit” case. She said there was compelling evidence Pasieka was behind the attack and that the real question was if the killings were planned.

READ MORE: Crown tells jury Jayme Pasieka trial not a question of who did it but intent

In 2014, police said the suspect fled the scene and a massive manhunt ensued. Pasieka, who was 29 years old at the time, was arrested in his vehicle and taken into custody.

-with files from Fletcher Kent and Slav Kornik

The Whitemud flooded twice last summer, leaving motorists stranded. This summer, a pilot project gets underway to keep them above water.

Torrential rainfall quickly built up on the arterial road, transforming it into a murky waterway. On July 27, 2016 Global News captured footage of a manhole spewing water.

That same day, the City of Edmonton tweeted that nearly a dozen drainage crews had been dispatched to replace manholes and clear flooded areas.

Those who wound up trapped in their cars had to be rescued by Edmonton firefighters using lifeboats.

“What we see is people have routinely been getting stuck there when we have these flash floods,” said Coun. Michael Walters.

“If all it takes is a warning system that doesn’t have a ton of expense and keeps people out of those situations, I think that’s the best way forward.”

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  • Repeated Whitemud flooding prompts calls for better notification

    READ MORE: Edmonton streets flooded as city battered by rain during thunderstorm

    Whitemud Drive at 111 Street and 106 Street will be part of the pilot project.

    “We’ll be taking a look at painting lines on the various bridge piers to try and give an indication of what kind of level the flood would be at,” said Chris Ward, manager of drainage services with the City of Edmonton.

    “And we’ll be looking at trying to use existing sensors in the sewer system to try and give warning if we get an indication it is flooding or about to flood.”

    Currently there are five underpasses in the city with water level sensors in the sewer system. However, they are unable to judge how much water is accumulating on the road surface.

    Two of the sensors are located at spots that will be part of the pilot.

    “Between the time that we’re aware that the sewer systems are filling underneath Whitemud at 111 Street and it actually starts to flood the surface, we have about a 15-minute response window,” Ward said.

    Another component of the advance notice system will be portable road signs strategically placed before each underpass.

    “Depending on the success of the pilots, we will then start to take a look at other locations around the city. Should we? Could we? What can we do?”

    WATCH: City crews still cleaning up at night after Edmonton slammed by storm

    On July 27, 2016, parts of the city saw 67 millimetres of rainfall in just four hours. That is considered a once in 200-year storm.

Conservative leadership candidate Kevin O’Leary says he doesn’t recall whether he asked for permission before touching a model’s buttocks during the taping of a Dragon’s Den episode that aired in October 2013.

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During the episode, O’Leary and fellow “dragon” Bruce Croxon are seen touching the rear end of a model who was promoting women’s denim clothing line Monjeloco Jeans.

Quizzed about the incident Friday by a Huffington Post Canada reporter, O’Leary said he didn’t remember the incident.

READ MORE: New federal Conservative party leader will need to choose unity over populism: Manning

In fact, the Alberta-based entrepreneur behind Monjeloco Jeans, Nora Furber, told the St. Albert Gazette a few days after the show aired that the judges had indeed sought permission beforehand.

“On TV it looks as though the models are taken by surprise, but Furber said the judges had asked if it was OK,” the community newspaper reported.

One of the judges present at that Dragon’s Den taping, Arlene Dickinson, recently slammed O’Leary for making “misogynistic” comments about her. This came after O’Leary labelled Dickinson “emotional” in response to an article she wrote criticizing his candidacy for the Conservative Party leadership.

WATCH: ‘I was deeply hurt by that’: Kevin O’Leary responds to Arlene Dickinson’s comments calling him misogynistic

While he didn’t recall the Dragon’s Den incident, O’Leary said Friday that it’s common for television programs to be edited to show “all kinds of incontextual moments.”

“In the end of the day that is television, it’s not policy. This is a different world we’re in here,” the businessman-turned-politician said.

“We’re talking about an economy that’s collapsing, no jobs for millennials, and you want to talk about reality TV?”

O’Leary has long said he’s aware people are scouring thousands of hours of footage from his time on reality television looking for clips that could be used against him.

—; With a file from the Canadian Press