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Municipalities across Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley are opening shelter spaces for those in need as temperatures plummet across the region. Snow, sub-zero temperatures and strong winds are in the forecast for much of south coastal British Columbia today as arctic air pushes down from the Interior. Environment Canada says residents in all areas of southwestern BC, except north Vancouver Island, should expect about 15 centimetres of snow. Depending on the location, that snow could transition to rain, although Environment Canada says there’s a slight risk of freezing rain for parts of the Fraser Valley.

Abbotsford police and a police watchdog have launched reviews of an arrest on Saturday in which an officer was filmed punching a man in the face. The incident happened as people were leaving a performance by The Offspring at the Abbotsford Centre and police say they were dealing with a member of the public when an unrelated person approached.  They allege the man started to interfere, refused officers’ orders to disengage and was non-compliant when they tried to arrest him for obstruction. Abbotsford police said its Professional Standards Section is reviewing the incident, and the Office of the Police Complaints Commissioner also says it’s investigating.

A landlord has lost an attempt to evict a renter from a home in Richmond over thousands of dollars in unpaid utilities. The Residential Tenancy Branch says in an arbitration decision posted online that the case was rejected due to vague wording in the tenancy agreement. BC’s Residential Tenancy Act allows landlords to treat unpaid utilities as unpaid rent, which can be grounds for an eviction in some circumstances but the arbitrator found the conditions weren’t quite met in this case. The decision says the tenancy agreement between the landlord and renter “states the utilities are the tenant’s responsibility, but does not indicate whether the tenant is to put the utilities in their own name or pay the utilities to the landlord.”

Vancouver police say they believe speed and alcohol were factors in a crash that seriously injured three people on the Downtown Eastside. Police say the driver lost control of a 2002 Buick Century Friday night, leaving the road and hitting a pole (on East Cordova Street). They say everyone in the vehicle — who were all in their 30s — suffered injuries including broken teeth and bones but are expected to to survive. Police say they arrested the 35-year-old male driver at the scene.

The Esquimalt Fire Department is offering safety tips after responding to several reports of people falling from ladders while hanging Christmas lights. Captain Chris Buie says holiday celebrants should first check the weather and avoid wet conditions, and second, have a helper steady the ladder. Third, he says it’s important to set up the ladder on solid ground, at a good angle, so it’s not too steep for climbing and with at least two rungs above the point of contact. Buie says falls from ladders while hanging Christmas lights are typical at this time of year and hopes these tips will help keep people safe.

New child-care benefits for BC parents come into effect Thursday. The BC government says parents will save as much as 550 dollars per month for each child they have in participating licensed child-care facilities. It says families don’t need to apply as the fee reductions will be applied directly to child-care providers. An online tool has been launched to help families determine their savings.