The BC NDP government has ended its spring legislative session after passing 25 pieces of legislation, including laws that allow police to seize proceeds of crime. But the sitting also ends in turmoil after an Ernst and Young audit found mismanagement at Crown corporation BC Housing. Opposition BC United Leader Kevin Falcon says the report uncovers a scandal that points toward Premier David Eby, while Eby says the review will ultimately strengthen the province’s response to the housing crisis. The BC Greens say it focused its efforts during the 11-week session on forward-looking actions, such as tabling amendments on pay equity and proposing a four-day work week pilot program.
The BC Health Ministry says the province has reduced its surgery wait-list this fiscal year by almost five per cent from 2019-2020 levels. A new report from the province says BC delivered more than 350-thousand surgeries between April 2022 and March 2023, breaking the record set during the previous year. Health Minister Adrian Dix says the data shows BC is delivering on its commitment to complete surgeries that were postponed in the last few years due to the pandemic, labour shortages and extreme weather. The ministry says almost all of the patients who had their surgeries postponed by the pandemic have now completed their procedures if they still wanted them.
An Environment Canada meteorologist says BC’s upcoming temperature spike shares some of the same characteristics as a so-called heat dome. But Armel Castellan says the heat spike forecasted for later this week does not have the potential of pushing temperatures in BC’s Interior into the 40s – like the heat dome did in June 2021. Castellan says the longer and cooler nights in mid-May help to prevent the temperature from meeting 2021 levels. Alberta and BC, however, are still facing forecasts of daytime high temperatures soaring 15 degrees above normal starting today.
Burnaby RCMP say they have uncovered a possible large-scale fraud operation, recovering more than 300-thousand-dollars of stolen or fraudulently obtained items. Police say officers executed a search on a Pitt Meadows property on April 26th, finding two excavators and two industrial printers capable of printing driver’s licences, bank drafts and credit cards. Police believe these items were purchased through fraud in March, either by using forged bank drafts or other means. The search also turned up hard drives, laser engravers and a vehicle ID number stamping machine, and four men were arrested but later released.
Victoria Police have recovered contraband cigarettes worth 450-thousand dollars after a months-long investigation into illegal cigarette sales. Police say they began investigating in February cases of contraband cigarettes being sold in Greater Victoria at a fraction of their retail price. Investigators eventually traced the cigarettes to two locations: a storage locker in the nearby town of View Royal and a residence on Chambers Street in Victoria. In addition to finding more than two-thousand cartons of contraband cigarettes combined at the two locations, officers also recovered 65-thousand-dollars in cash.
BC Ferries says it is adding extra sailings in anticipation of the May long weekend travel rush later this month. The ferry operator says it will add 95 extra sailings between May 18th and 23rd to accommodate the extra traffic, projected to be more than 430-thousand passengers and 170-thousand vehicles over the six-day period. The majority of the added sailings will happen between Vancouver-Tsawwassen and Victoria-Swartz Bay, with the Horseshoe Bay-Nanaimo and Horseshoe Bay-Sunshine Coast routes also getting more sailings. BC Ferries is urging travellers to book in advance whenever possible, arrive early to their terminals and expect waits – especially during peak times.