B.C. wants federal clamp on weight and diabetes drug Ozempic being exported to U.S.

Amid surging demand from Americans, B.C. is taking steps to protect the province's supply of the diabetes drug ‘Ozempic'. Global BC Medical Contributor Dr. Birinder Narang discusses that, plus he shares the results of a new study that looks at whether it's unhealthy to lose weight and then gain some of it back again.

British Columbia wants a federal government clampdown on prescription rules after thousands of doses of the hyped weight loss drug Ozempic went to Americans, doled out by a single practitioner in Nova Scotia.

Health Minister Adrian Dix said Tuesday that he’s asking provincial and federal regulators to look into two Metro Vancouver pharmacies and the Nova Scotia practitioner responsible for thousands of Ozempic prescriptions issued to Americans in the first two months of 2023.

Though the injectable drug is prescribed mainly to treat diabetes, Dix said Ozempic’s weight loss side-effects have been hyped up by advertising and celebrity-driven social media chatter.

“The drug’s popularity on social media, and the, I think, almost unprecedented campaign of advertising for the drug, is driving a surge in demand and is resulting in shortages of Ozempic, not yet in British Columbia, but in other jurisdictions, including the United States,” Dix said.

He said the province is taking action to ensure patients in B.C. continue to have access to the drug and avoid potential shortages.

In the first two months of 2023, Dix said upwards of 15 per cent of Ozempic prescriptions in B.C. were being filled for American patients who receive the medication by mail.

Dix said the situation involving Ozempic is “unacceptable,” and noted that less than half a per cent of other drugs in B.C. are prescribed to non-residents.

“We would never have sufficient supply of Ozempic in British Columbia to satisfy the needs of the American market,” he said. “We have to protect patients here.”

Nova Scotia’s Department of Health and Wellness said in a statement that it is aware of the situation and has reached out to the province’s College of Physicians and Surgeons about “what is taking place.”

“We advise any Nova Scotians with concerns about a physician’s prescribing behaviour to contact the college,” the department’s statement said.

Dix said it doesn’t make sense to allow B.C.’s supply to be drained and exported, driven by increased demand from Americans who have long turned to Canada as a source of cheaper prescription drugs.

The drug’s public profile is exceptionally high, and Dix said drug shortages of any type are concerning.

“It’s Ozempic today, it might be another drug tomorrow, but I don’t think this is a short-term thing,” he said. “It’s a significant drug and it’s part of our PharmaCare system.”

Bernie Garrett, a professor in the school of nursing at the University of British Columbia, said off-label marketing of pharmaceuticals has been problematic for years.

He said Ozempic is effective to treat Type 2 diabetes as designed, but it’s also effective for weight loss, albeit with significant risks attached, including thyroid cancer as a possible side-effect.

Policing misinformation about pharmaceutical drugs on the internet is difficult, Garrett said, because it’s “outside of our regulatory control.”

“TikTok videos can be made anywhere,” he said.

Garrett said Ozempic may indeed be effective for weight loss, but it’s not approved or safe for that use regardless of how “fashionable” it’s become due to its celebrity-endorsed social media hype.

“The reason they put these restrictions on the use of these drugs is because they have significant reservations about using them outside of the scope where they’ve tested them,” Garrett said. “People who are doing this are really just being guinea pigs.”

Dix said the province is working with the drug’s supplier to ensure there’s enough Ozempic for diabetes patients in B.C.

He said he wants a federal government review under the Food and Drugs Act “to address the concerning number of Ozempic prescriptions emanating from practitioners in one province.”

Ozempic is a high-value and high-demand medication, Dix said, but the large number of prescriptions being shipped to Americans doesn’t necessarily mean any rules were broken by the pharmacist or issuing medical professional.

“But I think a reasonable person would say this is not what should happen, that drugs be imported into Canada and then diverted to the United States,” Dix said.

He said he’s asking the College of Pharmacists of British Columbia to ensure pharmacies are following drug dispensing rules because of the “unusually high” number of prescriptions being filled for non-Canadian residents.

Provincial and federal regulators need to work together to protect the supply of in-demand medications and avoid “mass exportation” of a drug needed by Canadian patients, Dix said.

“It’s a national problem. It’s a problem across the 10 provinces. This is a drug that’s in demand. There’s significant off-label use that we all know about related to weight loss,” he said. “We need to take some action.”

© 2023 The Canadian Press

Panthers down Leafs in OT after Maurice’s tirade

TORONTO – Paul Maurice would have screamed louder — and dropped more expletives — if he could find the words.

Simmering behind the bench as his Florida Panthers sleepwalked through the start of Wednesday’s second period, the team’s head coach went nuclear during a break in action.

A beet-red Maurice didn’t hold back as he unloaded on his players for their effort in a game they simply had to win.

That tirade eventually produced the desired result.

Brandon Montour scored at 1:41 of overtime and backup goaltender Alex Lyon made 38 saves as the Panthers picked up a 3-2 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs that energized their flickering playoff hopes.

“It was not calculated. I was just honest,” Maurice said of his stinging mid-period indictment. “I was where I was at. If I could have yelled louder, if I had a (expletive) way to be more profane than I was, I would have. I’m not gifted enough. That was all I had. I was honest. That’s how I felt.”

“It was more of a cleanse for the coach,” he added. “It was cathartic.”

Sam Reinhart scored late in regulation to force OT and Anton Lundell had the other goal for Florida (37-31-7), which now sits a point back of the final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference.

“It’s a tough, tough league,” said Montour, who added an assist that gave him the franchise record for points by a defenceman in a season with 63.

“We have all the belief in the world.”

Auston Matthews and Zach Aston-Reese replied for Toronto (44-20-10). Ilya Samsonov stopped 26 shots.

“Played a good game,” Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe said. “Didn’t score enough to win and then made some mistakes at the end.

“Cost us the extra point.”

Montour beat Samsonov off a 2-on-1 with Aleksander Barkov in the 3-on-3 extra period after William Nylander lost the puck in the offensive zone.

Lyon also robbed Matthews earlier in OT to keep his team in the fight.

“Gave us every chance,” Barkov said of Lyon. “He’s the type of guy who brings the joy into the locker room.”

The Panthers entered on the heels of getting outscored 21-10 over four straight regulation losses — an ugly stretch following a 6-0-1 run that moved them above the playoff cutline.

“We all know what the standings look like … what do we got to lose?” Lyon said. “Why play scared? Why play nervous?

“This is what you play the game for — this time of the year.”

The Leafs, who clinched a seventh consecutive post-season berth Monday when Florida lost 5-2 in Ottawa and are all but assured of playing Tampa Bay in the opening round of the playoffs, hit the ice at Scotiabank Arena for the first time since March 17.

Matthews buried his 37th at 6:40 of the third period off a pass from Mitch Marner to snap a 1-1 tie.

The desperate Panthers got a man advantage with 2:20 left in regulation and pulled Lyon for an extra attacker before Reinhart tied it with 59 seconds remaining on a deflection for his 28th.

Lyon and Montour then stole the show in OT.

“I don’t get too worked up anymore,” said the 30-year-old Lyon, who got the start ahead of the under-the-weather Sergei Bobrovsky on the front end of a back-to-back. “Not to sound like I’ve been through it all, but just spent a lot of time in the (minors) and played a lot of games.

“You just try to find ways to block out the other things … all that matters is stopping the puck.”

Florida led 1-0 just one minute into Wednesday’s first when Lundell score his 10th.

Toronto tied it three minutes into the second when Aston-Reese, who would later miss on a penalty shot, tipped his eighth past Lyon.

Calle Jarnkrok appeared to give the Leafs their first lead moments later on a 2-on-1, but the play was correctly challenged for offside.

That stoppage in play as the linesmen examined replays provided Maurice the opportunity to go ballistic on his players.

“You don’t want to know,” Barkov said when asked about his coach’s message. “Definitely got us going.”

The veteran bench boss said his roster deserved the credit.

“That can be a players’ win,” Maurice said. “The coach had lost orbit about halfway through the second.

“The players, that’s theirs. They get to keep it.”


Maurice was asked before the game about the Hart Trophy race for NHL MVP — one Edmonton captain Connor McDavid and his 143 points have all but locked up.

“Poor Leon can’t get his name in the paper,” Maurice said of McDavid’s Oilers teammate Leon Draisaitl, who sits second in league scoring with 116 points.


Leafs defenceman Luke Schenn and his family recently moved into a house following last month’s trade with Vancouver.

There’s a familiar face close by.

Former Toronto blue-liner Thomas Kaberle, who played three seasons alongside Schenn during his first stint with the Leafs, and his family are neighbours.

“It’s pretty cool,” Schenn said. “Great mentor for me …a true pro.”


Panthers: Visit Montreal on Thursday and Columbus on Saturday.

Leafs: Visit Ottawa on Saturday before hosting Detroit on Sunday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 29, 2023.


Follow @JClipperton_CP on Twitter.

© 2023 The Canadian Press

λugʷaləs becomes first baby in B.C. to have his Indigenous name on birth certificate

After a 13-month-long battle, λugʷaləs K'ala'ask Shaw finally has a birth certificate to call his own, becoming the first B.C. child to have his Indigenous name on his registration. Catherine Urquhart reports.

λugʷaləs K’ala’ask Shaw finally has a birth certificate to call his own.

The 14-month-old is the first child in British Columbia to have his Indigenous name on his registration.

“It’s a win for us,” said the boy’s mother, Crystal Smith, in an interview.

Getting to this point has taken most of Shaw’s short life. The family sued B.C.’s Vital Statistics Agency after it refused to register their infant’s name three times due to its Kwak’wala lettering.

“It’s definitely something to be celebrated, but it’s also not finished,” Smith said.

Smith’s lawyer informed her the province was implementing an interim policy, allowing λugʷaləs’ name to appear on his birth certificate. But Smith says the agency informed the lawyer it would need more time to make the change applicable to all people.

λugʷaləs Shaw is the first child to have his Indigenous name on his B.C. birth certificate

λugʷaləs Shaw is the first child to have his Indigenous name on his B.C. birth certificate

Crystal Smith

B.C.’s Ministry of Health, which oversees the Vital Statistics Agency, told Global News it would need more time to respond to questions about the apparent change in policy.

λugʷaləs K’ala’ask Shaw was born on Jan. 12 to a Ts’msyen and Haisla mother and a Liǧʷiłdax̌ʷ father from the Wei Wai Kum First Nation.

“λugʷaləs means the place where people are blessed,” said Smith, referring to a mountain in Loughborough Inlet in unceded Wei Wai Kum territory.

“It’s important for us to name him after a place name so that he can be always connected to where he’s from.”

“It’s like a 10-minute walk to the beach and you can see all these places and different points and bays and mountains that these names come from,” said the boy’s father, Raymond Shaw, from the family home in Campbell River.

“So it’s important.”

Smith and Shaw have been forced to pay out of pocket for λugʷaləs’ medical expenses because he does not have a B.C. services card under his name, their lawsuit alleged, asking for compensation for those costs.

The B.C. government released an action plan for implementing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People (UNDRIP), which Canada ratified in June 2021. One of the steps in that plan is to adopt an “inclusive digital font” that allows Indigenous languages to be included in official records.

“This is not a moment for the government to give themselves a pat on the back,” Smith said.

“This is not the time for them to say we’ve taken a step in the right direction. Because we haven’t and we’re not.”

Smith wants to ensure the change applies to other Indigenous mothers to name their children in their language and for adults to reclaim their Indigenous names.

“Until that moment, we’ve just turned. The government has just turned the right direction.”

Smith plans to apply for a passport for λugʷaləs, which she expects to have denied. If that happens, it may mean another court fight is likely in the family’s future.

Even though she now has a birth certificate for λugʷaləs, Smith feels she’s owed an apology by the B.C. government.

“I guess actions are probably more important than words,” she said.

“But it would be nice for the province to apologize and say ‘sorry it’s taken this long’.”

– with files from Elizabeth McSheffrey

© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Vancouver move to limit grants to 'respectful' groups could chill speech: critics

Some Vancouver city councillors are warning non-profits: don't bite the hand that feeds you. At a meeting this week, councillors in the governing ABC Party said groups applying for grants need to be "respectful" in their language. But as Kristen Robinson reports, others say non-profits don't need to be non-partisan.

Vancouver’s new city council is facing questions about whether its approach to community grants could chill free speech among the city’s non-profits.

In reviewing grant proposals Tuesday, council unanimously passed an amendment by ABC Coun. Peter Meiszner asking city staff to report back with options to require all grant recipients “to communicate to, about, and with city officials in a respectful manner,” reflecting the city’s respectful workplace policy.

In proposing the motion, Meiszner read a quote from a Canadian Press interview with the director of a Vancouver non-profit criticizing newly-elected Mayor Ken Sim, calling the critique language that would not be allowed at council and a “huge red flag.”

The amendment was first reported by Postmedia.

Meiszner further asked staff whether the city’s communications department would be able to monitor public communications by grant recipients and flag “hostile comments” that would be “contrary to a respectful workplace policy.”

Meiszner did not name the organization he quoted in council chambers, but Rachel Lau, programs manager with Yarrow Society — an organization that serves low-income seniors in Chinatown and the Downtown Eastside — confirmed the quote was theirs.

Lau said council ultimately approved a pair of grants totaling $70,000 to Yarrow Society, but that council’s tone set off a red flag of a different kind.

“I was disappointed but not surprised, because I think there is a sort of signaling to grant recipients from the city that they need to be respectful when speaking about city officials moving forward or their funding is at risk — that wasn’t said explicitly, but it was heavily implied,” they said.

“I think the scope for what is respectful or what could be interpreted as respectful is quite broad …  In this case, it’s heavily implied that publicly criticizing city officials and the policies they support or aim to approve or move for the city is disrespectful.”

Meiszner’s original amendment also called for a ban on grants to partisan organizations, however the language was removed on an amendment from Green Coun. Pete Fry.

Fry told Global News the proposal crossed a line by infringing on Vancouverites’ Charter-protected right to free expression.

“I think in retrospect the folks at ABC that brought this forward realized this was very heavy-handed,” he said.

“It would effectively stifle any political opposition or even difference of opinion. As politicians we are fair game for legitimate criticism, and I think that should be enshrined and shouldn’t be a condition of getting grants.”

Vancouver-based political scientist Stewart Prest told Global News the apparent spirit behind the motion raised questions about how Vancouver’s new city council plans to work with the non-profit community.

He added that in a democracy, people should not be afraid to criticize their sitting government.

“It can place a chill on free expression among those who are among the most active in the city’s politics, who are really trying to do work in the community,” he said.

“That they should have to park their political views at the door in order to do that work is problematic.”

At other points in the meeting, councillors hinted that the way the city approaches its granting process overall may be up for review.

The City of Vancouver approved 836 arts, culture and community services grants to about 500 organizations in 2022, worth a total of $34.6 million.

“Is it too broad? Are we trying to do too much?” asked ABC Coun. Sarah Kirby-Yung.

“I felt that the granting process was severely flawed and needs an overhaul,” added ABC Coun. Brian Montague.

While councillors unanimously supported the “respectful workplace” language motion, OneCity Coun. Christine Boyle later posted to Twitter that she wished she hadn’t.

“This was a very concerning discussion,” she wrote.

“ABC’s perception that no one should be allowed to criticize them is a alarming precedent for gov’t.”

Lau, meantime, said the nature of the work their group does is inherently political and that to be effective as a non-profit, it can’t be afraid to speak out against “systems of oppression,” including government policy.

“So in that way, I think we will continue to have an informed and critical stance that allows us to work in a way that aligns with our principles and our values,” they said.

“But at the same time, I think for other groups that may receive funding from the city, they may start to think and strategize about how they want to be critical of the city, or whether they want to be critical of the city at all based on the security of the funding they need for the organization.””

Editor’s note: A previous version of this story said the requirement to adhere to respectful speech was approved in council. In fact, council voted to direct staff to report back on how to implement the measure.

© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

B.C. RCMP shoot man after he crashes into vehicles with skid-steer loader

The pursuit of a man driving a loader ended when police opened fire and shot him. The Independent Investigation Office has now taken over the case. Kylie Stanton has the details, and hears from the man's fiancée.

British Columbia’s civilian police watchdog has been deployed after RCMP on Vancouver Island shot a man who allegedly crashed into police vehicles with a piece of industrial equipment.

Robert Martin, who lives near Evans Park in Duncan, B.C., said he was in his back yard Tuesday evening when he heard loud noises and police sirens.

He then saw someone driving a skid-steer, a tracked piece of equipment with a loading bucket on the front, down the alley.

“He actually went over one of the cop cars, crushed the car,” before driving out to the main road, Martin said.

“They tried to PIT maneuver him with four or five cop cars and he kept taking the bucket of the skid steer and pushing them out of the way. We kept hearing screeches from the tires and he just kept going,” he added.

“The cops tried to do everything to stop the guy, and in the end we heard five gunshots.”

In a media release, the RCMP said officers from the North Cowichan/Duncan detachment were called around 9:15 p.m. Tuesday about an impaired man driving a track loader skid-steer down a residential street.

Mounties said they tried to get the the driver to stop, but that the loader collided with police vehicles.

“During the interaction that followed, one officer discharged their weapon striking the driver,” RCMP said in the release.

“Emergency Health Services were called and the man was transported to hospital with serious injuries.”

Sarah Brown told Global News she got the call about what happened to her fiancé Davin Cochrane around midnight Tuesday.

She’s been at his bedside at Victoria General Hospital since then, and said he was shot twice in the head and has undergone brain surgery.

“It’s not good,” she said.

“They could’ve tried something else, maybe tear gas.  They could’ve tried something else.”

Brown said Cochrane has had dealings with police in the past, but has been clean and sober for three years.

She told Global News he was in a car crash earlier on Tuesday that landed him in hospital in Duncan, but somehow was allowed to leave while not in a sound state of mind.

“He had left the hospital, he was acting erratic,” she said.

“Now my daughter may not have her dad, I don’t get my partner and my best friend – and that’s not OK.”

The Independent Investigations Office confirmed it was reviewing the case, including reports “that there was contact between the loader and police vehicles.”

The ultimate number of shots fired, and how Cochrane acquired the skid-steer remain unclear.
“All of those things will go into our determination about whether or not the police action was justified in this matter,” IIO Chief Civilian Director Ron MacDonald told Global News.

Anyone who witnessed the incident or has relevant information or video is asked to contact the IIO witness line at 1-855-446-8477 or via the contact form on the iiobc.ca website.

© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Recent Toronto transit violence prompts renewed calls for better cell service

WATCH: Safety has been top of mind for commuters who rely on the TTC. Recent violent incidents have triggered renewed calls for better cell service for subway riders who may need to call 911. Shallima Maharaj reports.

A spate of random attacks on Toronto’s public transit system has triggered renewed calls for better cell service for subway riders.

While the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) is equipped with the necessary infrastructure to allow cellular connectivity, Canada’s major carriers have yet to get on board.

A transit spokesperson told Global News via email that all cell users, regardless of carrier, have access to 911 service in the downtown area on Line 1, as well as between Sheppard West and Vaughan Metropolitan Centre subway stations, and in open cut areas.

Currently, Freedom Mobile is the only wireless carrier that has signed on to provide service on the system.

The big three telecom companies — Rogers, Telus and Bell — have yet to do so.

“If my phone is from Bell or Rogers or Telus and I get to the subway, I should be able to use it,” said Toronto Centre councillor Chris Moise, who is also a member of the TTC’s board.

“We, as a city, need to push them and perhaps even embarrass them to actually do the right thing.”

Widely-accessible mobile networks are nothing new in other cities.

In Montreal, a mobile network is up and running, allowing commuters connectivity while travelling through tunnels, stations and in métro cars.

That achievement was made possible by a joint investment between Bell, Rogers, Telus and Vidéotron.

BAI Communications was awarded a 20-year contract for the rights to build and operate cellular infrastructure in the TTC’s subway system.

“In Montreal, part of the reason why it works differently is because back in 2013, Rogers, Bell, Telus, and Vidéotron all agreed to pay into building infrastructure,” said Rosa Addario, communications manager for OpenMedia.

“Because in Toronto the infrastructure is owned by an external company that they don’t have previous agreements with, they’re not willing to pay the money to that external company to just access the network.”

Global News reached out to the three companies for response.

Bell and Telus did not reply. However, Rogers issued a response late Wednesday afternoon.

“Rider safety is a key concern for Torontonians. We recognize that connectivity plays an important role in public safety,” the statement started out. “We are committed to being part of the solution.”

In the meantime, a TTC spokesperson says they working to encourage carriers to sign on.

© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Pawlowski out as Independence Party leader in Alberta

The Independence Party of Alberta (IPA) is without a leader again.

Tuesday evening, IPA president Dan Duggan released a letter saying the party decided to part ways with Artur Pawlowski six months after he won the party’s leadership race.

“The Independence Party has a party platform and policies that reflect the hope of Albertans as an independent nation,” the statement reads.

“Art Pawlowski has not reflected this vision in a way that properly aligns with what the party and our platform need to convey and communicate to Albertans.”

Two hours later, Pawlowski said he “could not submit to the demands” of party leadership “who turned this party into the very thing that we are fighting against,” hinting at a dictatorial leadership group.

“I truly believe that this party has been infiltrated for a simple reason: we grew too big, too fast and we had become a real tangible threat to the corrupted establishment.”

He also claimed a “transgender secretary (was) spearheading this attack.”

The news came on his 50th birthday.

On Wednesday, the party issued a clarification, thanking Pawlowski for his service.

The party also said it had concerns its messaging was “being drowned out by more narrow concerns of a minority of Albertans.”

The party said it embraces all Albertans regardless of race, gender identity, religion or culture and rejects discrimination of any type.

“Mr. Pawlowski was given the opportunity to return to the message of Alberta independence on many occasions and refused to do so,” IPA said Wednesday, adding his words were putting the party “at risk.”

The party said it tried to “move on with mutual dignity and respect” but when it was refused, the board removed him under the party’s bylaws.

Recent polling from multiple pollsters show IPA’s support provincewide in the low single digits. The provincial election is expected to be called for May 29.

© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Humboldt plans to honour fifth anniversary of Broncos collision April 6

April 6 will be the fifth anniversary of the bus collision of the Humboldt Broncos hockey team that resulted in the death of 16 young hockey players and injured 13.

A bus carrying the team was struck by a semi-truck that went through a stop sign at the intersection of Highway 35 and 335 in April of 2018.

April 6 has been declared as ‘Humboldt Broncos Day’ in the city by Mayor Michael Behiel, as a way to mark the day. The following day, April 7, has been declared Green Shirt Day in Humboldt by Behiel.

The day commemorates the contributions Logan Boulet and his family have made around recognizing and fundraising for organ and tissue donation.

To honour the day of the collision, commemorative videos will be played at the Elgar Petersen Arena and online content will be posted for those around the province for others affected by the tragedy.

Families of the 2017-18 Humboldt Broncos team are working to prepare the arena event alongside the city. Events will be similar to the year before, recognizing that last year, family consultations had proved a low-key approach to the day would be appreciated.

“The Elgar Petersen Arena will be open to the public to come and go as they wish to pay their respects and reflect from 4:45 p.m. to 5:30 pm. During this time, a compilation of videos will be played on the Jumbotron for those who choose to attend,” said a news release from the city.

Videos from a playlist will be found on the Humboldt Broncos Tribute Page and the city Facebook page.

Around 4:50 p.m., the bells at St. Augustine Church will toll 29 times, marking the time that the tragedy occurred and the individuals on the bus.

A moment of silence will be held to remember those who didn’t walk away.

— with files from the Canadian Press

© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Popular Penticton, B.C. market concerned new bike route will impact business

A popular market in Penticton, B.C., is concerned about the impact the Lake-to-Lake bike route will have on its business. Our Taya Fast spoke with the owners who say they could lose almost 70-percent of their parking to the project.

As Penticton, B.C.’s Lake-to-Lake bike route nears completion, the owners of a business located along the final phase are concerned with the impact that the project will have on their shop.

For the last 27 years, Dan and Tracy Fehr have welcomed hundreds of customers into their store, the South Main Market, each day.

“We get quite a few customers, and our usual customer count is about 400 to 500 a day. The city did put up a camera to do a count of the traffic flow , this was in October, and they came up with a traffic flow of 388,” said Dan.

“I think they would have to be very creative for us to be able to keep our business viable. And have the customers be able to come and go and the delivery drivers come and go as we have been.”

South Main Market currently has eight parking spaces and flat curbs in front of the store so that drivers have room to back in or out.

There is also room for large trucks, including semi-trucks, to make deliveries to the store or park across the street.

“ does not seem like it’ll be very useful for the delivery drivers for sure and with the customers, I believe that if there isn’t a spot open then they will just keep on driving to the next available store,” said Dan.

Although the designs are not finalized, the Fehrs say the city has proposed a one-way parking lot with fewer than the current eight parking spaces in front of the store.

The street parking across the road would also be removed to accommodate the new bike lane.

“The city has given us one drawing and so far it looks like it is going to be an entrance and five parking stalls and an exit so that the people will not be able to back in and turn,” said Tracy.

“We are very busy, we need our parking lot, our parking lot is often eight spots full plus road parking is also used. We are obviously extremely concerned about the effect this will have on our business.”

Currently, the completed sections of the bike lane include barriers and lots of signage which Tracy Fehr says would further impact their business.

“Those physical barriers — we have a … semi-truck that comes right in through, into our parking lot and he will not have the turning radius. We’ve talked to him before, and he will not have the turning radius to get in,” Fehr said.

“Also, a lot of our delivery trucks or larger ones they park across the street and there will not be any across-the-street parking. So, we’re not sure where our delivery trucks will be able to park there.”

According to Penticton’s general manager of Infrastructure, Kristen Dixon, the city has not committed to the current designs, and discussions with the market are ongoing.

“We totally understand. It is a very successful, very fantastic business and it’s an amenity to the community in the area. We are working very closely with them,” said Dixon.

“Everything is still just in the design process. So, we’re continuing to meet with them, we’re continuing to explore options. We know the loading and unloading is an issue, and we know the access to the parking areas is an issue.

“We’re trying to look at the entire area and find solutions that are going to work for everyone.”

Just over half of the Lake-to-Lake bike route has been completed. Work on the next phase, which will bring the route to Skaha Lake, is expected to begin later this year.

“It’s been completed now all the way from Okanagan Lake to the intersection of Atkinson Street with Kinney Avenue, so that’s an exciting milestone for the project,” said Dixon.

“With the proposed financial plan that will be coming forward to council soon for approval. That does include funding for it through 2023 and 2024 to finish that last section. We’ve also applied for a federal grant for that section.”

The city is hoping to have the bike route fully completed by 2024.

© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Doctor denied position at Merritt, B.C. emergency room

The ongoing closures of the emergency room in Merritt have local residents calling for help. Many believe it's just a matter of time before someone dies due to an ER closure. Now one solution has presented itself, but as Jasmine King reports, Interior Health says it's not up to their standards.

The ongoing closures of the emergency room at the Nicole Valley Hospital in Merritt, B.C., have local residents calling for help.

Many believe it’s just a matter of time before someone dies due to an ER closure.

Now, one solution has presented itself, but Interior Health (IH) says it’s not up to their standards.

“We have these three mountain pass highways, the Coquihalla highway all emerging into our town and I mean if that ER is closed, someone’s going to die. Someone will die here,” said community advocate Georgia Clement.

The closures are in part being attributed to staff shortages, however, one doctor who works in a hospital in New Westminster offered his services to the Merritt hospital and IH.

“We have a very well-qualified surgeon in our midst who is willing and able to help out his town that he lives in and IHA is denying him,” said Clement.

Dr. Robert Granger lives in Merritt and currently works as a surgeon for Fraser Health. He told Global News due to his position he can’t speak on camera, but confirmed he did offer to work a few days at the local emergency department so it wouldn’t have to close.

However, his credentials aren’t being rubber-stamped.

“IHA determined that he needed to have more qualifications as a general practitioner in order to do ER shifts in Merritt,” Clement said.

IH says it can’t comment on individual cases, but in a statement said provincial requirements need to be met before doctors can be approved to practice.

“In order to provide medical services in an IH acute care facility, physicians must meet the credentialing, training and currency requirements for the specialty area in which they want to work,” said executive medical director of clinical operations for IH North, Dr. Douglas Smith.

“Where physicians may not meet the full requirements, Interior Health is committed to ongoing conversations to determine where they are able to meet requirements to provide care in our facilities. Interior Health is committed to ensuring Merritt residents have access to quality medical care as we work through the current challenges with physician recruitment.”

Merritt residents say this has become an uphill battle and if a solution is presented, they would at least like it considered.

“We want them to make a decision now. We want it based on the fact that Dr. Robert Granger is here now and if it’s not him, it needs to be somebody else but we need the emergency room to stay open 24/7. No more closures. None.”

Granger told Global News he had a phone meeting scheduled with IH Thursday but was told late Wednesday afternoon that it was cancelled.

Merritt’s mayor, Michael Goetz also told Global News he will be meeting with Interior Health in the coming days to see if a remedy can be found.

© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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