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Monthly Archives: January 2019

How a B.C. man’s typo while booking campsite online nearly cost him $1,100

Written on January 24, 2019 at 20:57, by

A B.C. man is warning campers to be extra careful when making online reservations.

Last month, Michael Dixon tried booking a spot on the BC Parks website for next year. While making the reservation, he accidentally typed in August 2016 instead of August 2017.

“Oh my goodness, what did I just do?”  Dixon said.

Within minutes of making the mistake, he contacted BC Parks and tried explaining what had just happened. He was told by an agent nothing could be done.

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“He said his hands were tied and there was nothing he could do about issuing the refund,” Dixon said.

Dixon was on the hook for $1,103.90. The BC Parks cancellation policy states all fees are forfeited for cancellations made less than 28 days from the date of the reservation. Because of Dixon’s accidental typo, the computer had read he was only giving two days notice.  The policy also states refunds will not be granted for errors making a reservation.

“I just felt like the BC government stole eleven-hundred dollars from me for an error,” Dixon said.

Dixon said he was stonewalled and contacted Global BC’s Consumer Matters. Global BC contacted the provincial Ministry of Environment and received the following statement:

BC Parks has looked into this specific situation. The customer made an honest error in their booking.

The customer has been notified and the situation has been resolved and a refund has been issued.

We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused and appreciate the customers patience.

Dixon says he’s now looking at other options. He’s considering other campgrounds without strict cancellation policies.

“I can’t see them having made the refund unless I took further steps to contact [Global News] for help,” says Dixon.

Dog overcoming disease goes on ‘barket’ list adventure

Written on January 24, 2019 at 20:57, by

Gremlin is a valley bulldog from Alberta that’s become a beacon of hope for pets with trouble eating. Since being skin and bones nearly four years ago, he now looks like a new dog.

At one year old, Gremlin was diagnosed with a condition called megaesophagus.

“It’s like his esophagus is paralyzed and the muscles that are supposed to propel his food down into his stomach don’t work properly,” his owner, Chrissy Wilson, explained.

Because food couldn’t be digested properly, it would come back up. Gremlin would regurgitate regularly – more than 20 times a day.

“It was a little sad, because we thought he wouldn’t make it,” said Chrissy’s youngest son, Rayden.

At his sickest, he weighed just 19 pounds.

WATCH: Gremlin has been able to overcome his condition that limited his food intake thanks to a special chair. Now, he’s on an adventure.

“He was getting really, really skinny and we couldn’t put any weight on. Then he started getting colds. He got pneumonia once,” Chrissy said.

At one point, he could hardly walk – his muscles were so weak.

“It was really really difficult to see someone literally wasting away and to do everything in your power to make it so he could eat, but he just kept regurgitating and regurgitating.”

When the Wilson’s took their dog out – strangers cast judgement.

“Most people were pretty cruel. They didn’t understand and there was a lot of ‘why don’t you just put your dog down?’ or ‘just let him go, you’re hurting him by keeping him alive.’

“But they didn’t get to see that he had so much spirit in him. So much to give and so much to live for.”

Even veterinarians told the family their beloved pet wouldn’t survive.

Refusing to give up on Gremlin, the Wilson’s found a mega-esophagus support group on Facebook and other owners suggested they make a doggie high chair that would force Gremlin to eat vertically. That way, gravity could help push the food down his throat, into his stomach.

It worked. Nearly four years later, Gremlin weighs 47 pounds and is loving life – playing fetch, chasing other dogs and cuddling with the Wilson kids.

You would never know he was sick – unless you watched him eat in his special chair.

“We just want to tell everybody that there is hope out there for people that do have dogs diagnosed with this condition,” said Chrissy. “It’s not a death sentence.”

Now, in hopes of raising awareness about mega-esophagus and sharing how their dog is overcoming the disease, the Wilson’s are spoiling Gremlin by taking him on a “barket list” adventure – the canine version of a bucket-list.

On Monday, he ate like royalty at Mr. Mike’s Steakhouse in Camrose – drawing lots of attention from other diners.

“With the permission of Alberta Health Services they granted us the OK to do this on our patio,” explained owner Colleen Konowalyk.

Konowalyk has a pair of labrador retrievers and said she could relate – and wanted to help. “I can’t imagine if someone, a veterinarian especially, said your only hope is to put your dog down.”

The meal at Mr. Mike’s crossed off two items on Gremlin’s list – eating a steak dinner and dining in a restaurant with his family. He’s also been jet-skiing.

Still on the list? Playing in a pool full of squeaky toys, having a play-date with all 10 of the other dogs in his litter and going on an ATV ride.

“He’s one of our kids. He’s part of the family. There’s no other way to put it.”

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Struggling Calgary cafe desperate in downturn gets no love from city inspectors

Written on January 24, 2019 at 20:57, by

A Calgary cafe in the heart of Kensington is facing the threat of closure. The Red Bush Coffee Company is a candy and coffee shop that’s struggling to survive.

Owner and operator Heather Ferguson has done whatever it takes to keep the doors open in spite of what she’s up against.

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  • Labour Day sees calls for more action from province over economic downturn

  • ‘It’s been awesome’: Alberta man laid off amid economic downturn

    “We’ve had so many road shutdowns and with the economy I’m just working hard to think outside the box,” Ferguson choked back tears. “Honestly it’s gotten very hard —; and I love my store and I really want to keep the doors open, [but] this is the last straw.”

    Upstairs from the store is a wide open space she uses for free events. She hosts neighborhood movie nights and brings in aspiring artists and musicians. But the city’s business license inspectors say she doesn’t have the appropriate entertainment license to include those activities and is forcing them to stop.

    “They’ve been brutal and very heavy handed.”

    Ferguson says it’s too expensive and too timely to get the new addition to the existing license. She insists the city shouldn’t be so stringent on entrepreneurs who are working through the rough times.

    “It’s just become laughable and I’m pulling my hair out,” Ferguson added.

    The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) supports small businesses and says red tape is the number one gripe.

    “When small businesses have to deal with silly regulations and the city enforces stringently in a ‘down economy’ it makes customers and in turn employees suffer,” Amber Ruddy with CFIB said.

    Regular customers – who adore the place – said they’re frustrated a honest business is being treated like this.

    Zelda Brennan goes to the Red Bush almost every day.

    “We should all be supporting local business make it simple for them. It’s ridiculous really to put someone like that through the hoops.”

    Ferguson said she’d be happy just to be breaking even and wonders if she can beat City Hall.

    “I’m a lover not a fighter and I think this is going to one of those ‘for lease’ buildings. I think the outcome is not good.”

Labour Day sees calls for more action from province over economic downturn

Written on January 24, 2019 at 20:57, by

Robert Parker has been out of work for more than a year. It’s tough enough on the Edmonton man, but even harder because he has nine children and thereby, nine mouths to feed.

“Stressful. [I] got lots of resumes out but haven’t [had] any calls,” he said.

Parker was a welder in the oilfields when he was laid off. He said he has sent out more than 100 resumes across Canada but hasn’t had any luck.

“We need work. I don’t want to be another statistic.”

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Parker was just one of hundreds who lined up at the 27th annual Edmonton and District Labour Council Barbecue on Labour Day.

President Bruce Fafard said organizers started the event early this year because of the lineup. He said increased attendance at the barbecue may be the result of the downturn in the province’s economy.

READ MORE: 91% spike in Alberta EI claims since 2015; economist warns of defaults

According to Statistics Canada, unemployment numbers are at their highest in Alberta since September 1994 – 8.6 per cent in July, a 0.7 percentage point increase from June.

From July 2015 to July 2016, the province lost 103,000 full-time jobs and while EI claims are down from previous months, the number of beneficiaries is essentially unchanged at 77,000 in June. Year over year, the total number of beneficiaries in the province is up 48 per cent.

READ MORE: Fort McMurray wildfire presents silver lining for Alberta contractors

One man named Carl, who did not want his last name used, said he has been looking for work for more than a year.

Carl was laid off from his construction job and he adds he believes it was because of the drop in the price of oil.

“It’s been tough. It’s been very tough,” he said.

“Instead of [the province saying] ‘We have a plan to do it, we have a plan to help’…those plans take a long time. We want something immediate.”

However, Fafard said the provincial government is on the right track when it comes to the economy.

“The provincial government has been doing a good job of moving forward, like with the budget and investing in Alberta and into communities, infrastructure projects and not by cutting services,” he said.

Premier Rachel Notley said she understands people are hurting and the province is doing what it can to help them.

However, she touts how the province is maintaining civil service jobs and investing in a capital program to create 10,000 jobs a year.

“When you make capital available for diversification and for business to develop additional jobs – that takes a while. On the other side of it, we’re also dealing with job losses at the same time we’re injecting jobs into the economy,” she said.