For sale: 5 acres of land and over 340 vintage cars

A real estate listing in Tappen, B.C., for a five-acre property near Shuswap Lake comes with an unusual feature —  it includes more than 340 vintage cars. 

“If you can sell a condo in Vancouver for a couple million bucks, you can come up here and get five acres and a lifetime worth of work if you really enjoy working on cars,” said seller Michael Hall.

The five-acre listing comes complete with a renovated home, property zoned for auto salvage, a 900-square-foot restoration shop, a 1,200-square-foot steel building and hundreds of vintage cars ready to be restored.

“Since we advertised the property a few days ago, I’ve had more than 15 inquiries a day,” said Hudson Purba, Hall’s real estate agent.

Hall and Purba both stressed that the property as a whole is for sale, and inquiries about individual vehicles will not be taken.

In his 11 years as a real estate agent, Purba has never had a listing quite like this.

Overhead shot car acreage

Real estate agent Hudson Purba says he’s never had a listing quite like this. (Century 21)

Collecting for 40 years

Hall, a rock scaler and business-owner, started collecting vintage cars 40 years ago.

He was living in Kamloops when his collection grew to a point where he says the city “bugged him” so he and his wife moved to a farm where he could keep his collection.

He bought an auto-wrecker from a friend and continued to add to his collection.

“I’ve added another 150 or 200 [cars] in the last three of four years and it just sort of exploded exponentially from there so to speak.”

Take a look at what the property looks like:

More than 340 cars and 5-acre property for sale in Tappen0:30

Some of the cars he’s been especially proud of over the years include a 1968 Chevelle SS 396 four-speed (which he won’t be selling), a 1941 three window Dodge business coupe and even a DeLorean.

Hall has been working to build a list of what vehicles are part of the listing, but his phone has been ringing off the hook since the listing went up and he hasn’t had time.

‘It’s going to leave a pretty big void in my life’

Hall says his wife isn’t as crazy for cars as he is.

“We have an arrangement. She lives on the 26-acre farm and I live with the 300-400 cars,” he said. “She finally said, ‘enough.'”

Michael Hall

“Some days I wake up screaming going ‘what have I done’ and the next day I go out and buy three cars. I have a problem,” say car collector Michael Hall. (Tara Copeland/CBC)

Hall is reluctant to make the sale, but he sees the value in listing the property and all the cars.

“It’s not like I can just walk away from $1.5 million worth of cars and property,” he said.

“I never really thought about it, but if they’re all gone it’s going to leave a pretty big void in my life,” he said.

“It’s kinda like getting kicked square in the you-know-whats,” he added.  

Hall says his car-buying habits are somewhat of an addiction, but he is willing sacrifice his “insane hobby” to make money for him and his family.

“Some days I wake up screaming going ‘what have I done’ and the next day I go out and buy three cars. I have a problem.”

Blue car acreage

Owner Michael Hall admits he has an “insane hobby.” (Tara Copeland/CBC)

With files from Tara Copeland

‘I almost died and now I’m trying to get better’: Mark McMorris on snowboard crash

Star Canadian snowboarder Mark McMorris says he “almost died” when he crashed going off a jump in the B.C. backcountry last weekend.

The Olympic bronze medallist tweeted Friday for the first time since the accident.

He called the past week the hardest of his life.

“Sorry for the silence,” he added. “I almost died and now I’m trying to get better.”

He ended the tweet by saying “stories are coming.”

A bronze medallist in slopestyle at the 2014 Olympics, McMorris suffered breaks to his jaw and left arm, a ruptured spleen, a stable pelvic fracture, rib fractures and a collapsed left lung.

The 23-year-old from Regina had to be airlifted off the mountain and underwent two separate surgeries over the weekend to control bleeding and repair his jaw and arm.

Earlier this week, his older brother Craig, who was with him on the backcountry excursion and called for help with his satellite phone, described the crash as a “freak accident.”

“It was pretty small,” Craig said of the jump. “It was infinitely below our skill level … but Mark flew a little too far left and ended up in some trees, which is super unfortunate.”

Fans of backcountry skiing and snowboarding seek out fresh fallen snow on unmarked and ungroomed slopes in remote areas that usually aren’t maintained or patrolled by the personnel seen at traditional resorts.

“Mark was conscious, talking to us, explaining what was the most painful,” said Craig, also an accomplished professional snowboarder. “You’re making sure he can breathe and he’s communicating with us and is still awake.

“If you’re super scared or panicked then you’re wasting time. You just go into full adrenaline, full: ‘We’ve got to get out of here as soon as possible.’ And we did.”

Hoping to be recovered for Pyeongchang

Craig said the helicopter arrived in under two hours. Mark was initially taken to Whistler before being flown to Vancouver.

He said his brother is still hopeful he’ll be recovered in time to compete at the 2018 Olympics. Despite the injuries, Canada Snowboard announced this week he has been provisionally nominated to the team for the Pyeongchang Games.

If he’s able to compete, Mark McMorris is considered a strong medal contender heading into 2018, especially with the big air event now included alongside slopestyle.

McMorris won three X Games medals this season along with two World Cup Crystal Globes, one for big air and another as the overall champion.

His stellar campaign came on the heels of another serious injury suffered in February 2016 when he caught an edge on a landing at an event in Los Angeles.

McMorris — who has 14 combined X Games medals in his career, including five in big air — fractured his right femur and had a metal rod surgically implanted in his thigh.

Passengers on WestJet, Emirates flights may have been exposed to measles

A measles exposure warning has been issued for people who flew on a number of WestJet flights and Emirates Airlines between March 19 and March 24.

The Toronto Health Department issued the warning on Thursday, saying it was investigating three confirmed cases of the measles in the city.

The affected WestJet flights originated in Abbotsford, B.C., Calgary, Ottawa, Toronto, Montreal and Turks and Caicos Islands.

Anyone on these flights who develops a fever or cold-like symptoms should contact a doctor.

The news release said members of the public may have been exposed on three WestJet flights on March 22, including flight WS450 from Abbotsford to Calgary, which  departed at 5.49 a.m. PT, flight WS610, which left Calgary for Ottawa at 10.15 a.m. MT and flight WS369, which left Ottawa for Toronto at 4.40 p.m. ET.

WestJet and Emirates affected

The other flights where exposure to the illness may have occurred include:

— March 23. WestJet flight WS590, which departed Toronto at 4:27 p.m. and arrived in Montreal at 5:41 p.m ET. 

— March 24. WestJet flight WS581, which departed Montreal at 7:55 a.m. ET and arrived in Toronto at 9:13 a.m. ET.

— March 24. WestJet flight WS2668, which departed Toronto at 10:16 a.m. ET and arrived in Turks and Caicos Islands at 1:56 p.m.

— March 24. WestJet flight WS2669, which departed Turks and Caicos Islands at 2:59 p.m. and arrived in Toronto at 7:15 p.m. ET.

In addition, the Toronto Health Department listed two overseas Emirates Airlines flights where people may have been exposed to the illness in March.

They included: Emirates Airlines flight EK517, which departed Delhi, India March 19 at 4:12 p.m. and arrived in Dubai, United Arab Emirates at 6:13 p.m., and Emirates Airlines flight EK241, which departed Dubai, United Arab Emirates on March 20 at 9:55 a.m. and arrived in Toronto at 4:04 p.m. ET.

Health officials say measles is a highly contagious disease that spreads easily to those who are vulnerable and not immune.

Anyone on these flights who has not had two doses of a measles vaccine or who has not had measles in the past could be at risk of infection, the news release said.

Police chief’s comments on Nadine Machiskinic’s death adds to family’s frustration

Regina’s police chief admits there were mistakes in the investigation into the death of a 29-year-old mother who fell down a hotel laundry chute.

But Evan Bray says the investigation wasn’t influenced by who Nadine Machiskinic was.

“The Regina Police Service will not ever conduct an investigation based on interpretation of a person’s lifestyle, race, gender — bias like that won’t find itself into an investigation.”

An inquest into Machiskinic’s January 2015 death concluded Thursday. The jury found the manner of Machiskinic’s death is “undetermined,” contrary to the finding of the chief coroner, who had ruled it an accident.

‘Sometimes investigations give way to more questions.’ – Regina police Chief Evan Bray

The inquest highlighted a number of delays and errors in the police investigation into Machiskinic’s death. It took 60 hours before police were notified of her death, and by the time officers arrived, the area where Machiskinic had been found had been cleaned by hotel staff.

Regina Police Chief Evan Bray

Regina police Chief Evan Bray admits there were mistakes made in the investigation into Nadine Machiskinic’s death. (CBC)

There was a communication error between officers, leaving samples meant for testing in storage for months.

Two men seen on surveillance footage at the front desk of the hotel the morning of Machiskinic’s death have not been spoken to or found. It took police an entire year to start looking for the pair.

Bray said despite the errors and challenges in the case, he and his officers believe that their investigation would have still reached the same conclusion — that no one else was involved in Machiskinic’s death.

“Sometimes investigations give way to more questions,” Bray said.

The police chief said it’s important to him that people feel they can trust the police service and its investigations. He said he is confident in his officers and their ability to investigate files.

‘I just don’t know what to make of it’

Machiskinic’s aunt watched a video of what the police chief had to say, telling CBC News she wished Bray had met with the family before speaking to the media.

“I just don’t know what to make of it,” said Delores Stevenson

Delores Stevenson

Nadine Machiskinic’s aunt, Delores Stevenson, told CBC News that she wished Regina Police Chief Evan Bray had met with the family before speaking to the media. (CBC)

Stevenson said Bray’s comments added to her frustration with the police service. Specifically, Stevenson took issue with Bray defending the investigation’s ruling of Machiskinic’s death as “accidental.”

“From someone who says that they don’t have intimate details about the investigation, I don’t think that’s a fair judgement to make,” she said, referring to comments Bray made.

Stevenson said she felt this is the latest example of miscommunication in her niece’s case.

Speaking to reporters following the inquest, Stevenson said she hoped the case will be reopened.

Bray said Machiskinic’s case is still open to new evidence. The next step, he said, will be to reach out to the woman’s family to speak to them about their concerns in the case. 

Regina police chief stands by investigation into Nadine Machiskinic’s death

Regina’s police chief admits there were mistakes in the investigation into the death of a 29-year-old mother who fell down a hotel laundry chute.

But Evan Bray says the investigation wasn’t influenced by who Nadine Machiskinic was.

“The Regina Police Service will not ever conduct an investigation based on interpretation of a person’s lifestyle, race, gender — bias like that won’t find itself into an investigation.”

An inquest into Machiskinic’s January 2015 death concluded Thursday. The jury found the manner of the Machiskinic’s death is “undetermined,” contrary to the finding of the chief coroner, who had ruled it an accident.

‘Sometimes investigations give way to more questions.’ – Regina police Chief Evan Bray

The inquest highlighted a number of delays and errors in the police investigation into Machiskinic’s death. It took 60 hours before police were notified of her death, and by the time officers arrived, the area where Machiskinic had been found had been cleaned by hotel staff.

Regina Police Chief Evan Bray

Regina police Chief Evan Bray admits there were mistakes made in the investigation into Nadine Machiskinic’s death. (CBC)

There was a communication error between officers, leaving samples meant for testing in storage for months.

Two men seen on surveillance footage at the front desk of the hotel the morning of Machiskinic’s death have not been spoken to or found. It took police an entire year to start looking for the pair.

Bray said despite the errors and challenges in the case, he and his officers believe that their investigation would have still reached the same conclusion — that no one else was involved in Machiskinic’s death.

“Sometimes investigations give way to more questions,” Bray said.

The police chief said it’s important to him that people feel they can trust the police service and its investigations. He said he is confident in his officers and their ability to investigate files.

Speaking to reporters following the inquest, Machiskinic’s aunt, Delores Stevenson, said she hopes the case will be reopened.

Bray said Machiskinic’s case is still open to new evidence. The next step, he said, would be to reach out to the woman’s family to speak to them about their concerns in the case. 

Alberta’s public and Catholic school boards should merge, argues former education minister

A former Alberta education minister says the time has come to unite the separate and public school boards across Alberta.

Dave King, who oversaw the province’s education system as a PC from 1979-1986, has launched a website to get the conversation moving. 

“It’s a conversation that has ebbed and flowed over the years in Alberta, but clearly in there have been a number political and other issues in the last couple of years that make it appropriate to have the conversation,” he said. 

King, speaking to the Calgary Eyeopener, says he believes education should be in a system “that is a model of a civil democratic society, rather than a faith community.”

He says recent debates regarding gay-straight alliances and new guidelines around transgender rights in schools have exposed fault lines among Alberta’s various boards. The debate around providing an HPV vaccine to students several years ago also split the public and Catholic boards in Calgary.

Potentially millions in savings

At this point, King’s not proposing any concrete solutions, saying he just wants to start the conversation about changing a system established 250 years ago after the British and the French clashed on the Plains of Abraham. 

“Kids should be educated in systems that are inclusive, not exclusive,” he said. 

In addition to civic concerns, King also says a merger could result in cost savings. 

“Numbers from Alberta Education indicate that last year the separate school boards in Alberta spent just over $60 million on central office administration,” he said. “Let’s put some or most of that money into the classroom.”

King said in areas where there are two schools operated by two boards that are underutilized, one of those buildings could be converted to other public uses. 

Quebec and Newfoundland

Eliminating separate boards like Calgary’s Catholic system isn’t a new idea. Quebec and Newfoundland eliminated their separate boards starting in the late ’90s.

“Clearly when you unify systems, in the moment of doing it, there are going to operational issues, but in Newfoundland and Quebec the evidence is that it’s been a successful move, a very successful move,” he said. 

King said the issue of choice is largely irrelevant, with numerous alternate programs, including Jewish and Christian schools, operating under the public system. There’s also the option of creating private schools. 

More faith in schools

So why didn’t King make the change when he was in charge of the province’s education system? In short, he said, things have changed. 

“I think first of all because I didn’t appreciate all of what was happening at that time. Secondly, at that time, separate schools were less close to the church than they are now and there was a general agreement that they were simply providing what I would call this civil democratic education, it was less oriented towards faith formation,” said King. 

“Thirdly, 40 years ago there wasn’t much separate school education in sparsely settled areas of rural Alberta.” 

That last part is important, he argues, because the costs involved in overlapping educational offerings in rural Alberta are significant. 

Public should lead the politicians

King isn’t convinced current education minister David Eggen will have an appetite for merging school boards, but that’s not who he’s trying to influence at this point with his website and campaign.

“There are some questions where I believe the public should lead the politicians,” said King.

“What I’m interested in at this point is to encourage the conversation among Albertans and I believe when the conversation has reached its fullness, the politicians will follow the lead of the electorate.” 

Eggen, in a written statement, said he supports the separate system. 

“We support Catholic education and we know that our students receive a quality education in Catholic schools,” he wrote. “We know that Albertans support choice in education and so does our government.”


With files from the Calgary Eyeopener

Former firefighter charged in Mayerthorpe trestle bridge fire pleads guilty to arson

The firefighter accused of torching the CN trestle bridge outside of Mayerthorpe pleaded guilty Friday to four counts of arson.

Lawson Schalm’s guilty pleas include 18 fires set in and around the town over a 12-day period in April 2016, including one that destroyed the historic bridge.

Defence lawyer Ed O’Neill entered the guilty pleas while Schalm, now 20, stood quietly beside him in Mayerthorpe provincial court.

Several family members including Schalm’s father, Albert Schalm, were in the small courthouse to hear the proceedings.

Schalm joined the Mayerthorpe fire department when he was 15 years old.

At the time, he stood four feet 11 inches tall and weighed 91 pounds, fire chief Randy Schroeder wrote in a community impact statement read in court by Crown prosecutor Dallas Sopko.

“I’ll never forget the smile on his face,” Schroeder wrote in the letter.

Chief devastated

When they realized Schalm was behind the string of arsons, Schroeder said he was devastated.

His was one of two community impact statements read in court Friday. 

The other was from Karen St. Martin, Mayerthorpe’s chief administrative officer.

She said the fires caused immense stress, fatigue and turmoil among volunteer firefighters, who later underwent counselling. They felt betrayed, she wrote in her statement.

Schroeder said firefighters were “running on vapours” responding to call after call, “wondering when the next call would come and where.”

Many fires were at night and volunteer members had a tough time maintaining their day jobs, he said.

The cost of responding to the fires and psychological services for members amounted to $8,653.52.

Schalm

Lawson Schalm is pictured in an image from a Facebook page listed under his name. (Supplied/Facebook)

Fires sparked by cigarette lighter

Schalm lit grassy areas on fire with his cigarette lighter, and while most were put out before they spread, the CN trestle went up in flames and was destroyed.

“The accused did not intend to light the trestle itself on fire,” the agreed statement of facts said.

However Schalm’s experience as a firefighter, meant “he was reckless as to whether the grass fire would extend to the trestle.”

The trestle fire involved nearly 40 firefighters, water bombers and CN crews. One firefighter was taken to hospital for smoke inhalation.

Rebuilding the bridge cost CN $7,561,593.

Crown prosecutor Dallas Sopko asked for a five-year prison sentence, arguing that breach of trust is the most aggravating factor. O’Neill asked for 18 months and three years probation.

Judge Charles Gardner deferred sentencing, saying he disagrees with both the Crown and defence submissions and needs time to consider the statement of facts.

Gardner plans to deliver his sentence July 6.

Mayerthorpe, with a population 1,300, is 120 kilometres northwest of Edmonton.

Man charged in Mayerthorpe trestle fire pleads guilty to four counts of arson

The man accused of lighting the CN trestle bridge just outside of Mayerthorpe on fire in April 2016 has pleaded guilty to four counts of arson.

Lawson Schalm was charged with 18 counts of arson after 21 suspicious fires in the town, including one that destroyed the historic CN wooden trestle bridge.

He was called to help put out the fire on the trestle, which in total needed four dozen firefighters to put out. 

The guilty pleas were entered by Schalm’s lawyer Ed O’Neill with Schalm, now 20, standing quietly beside him.

 

Several family members including Schalm’s father, Albert Schalm, are in the small courthouse to hear the proceedings.

Mayerthorpe, population 1,300, is 120 kilometres northwest of Edmonton.

RCMP officer charged with assault after investigation into child abuse

A Manitoba RCMP officer has been charged with assault after an investigation into child abuse.

The force’s major crimes unit investigated the officer, who has seven years of service, after receiving a complaint he was abusing his children, RMCP say.

The Independent Investigation Unit of Manitoba, which investigates all serious incidents involving police officers in the province, reviewed and monitored the investigation.

On Wednesday, the officer was charged with assault and assault with a weapon in relation to abuse that happened from 2010 to 2016, RCMP said.

“We hold our officers accountable for their actions,” Chief Supt. Mark Fisher said in a news release.

The officer has been suspended with pay and a code of conduct internal investigation has also been initiated.

The name and detachment of the officer and the number of children involved are not being released to protect the identity of the victims, RCMP said. 

Cause of Point Pelee fire changed to ‘undetermined’ in light of new evidence

The cause of a massive fire at Point Pelee National Park has been listed as “undetermined” after new information was provided to Parks Canada, according to fire officials.

Leamington Fire Services initially said the fire was stared by “natural causes,” but on Friday deputy chief Mike Bradt said new evidence caused the classification to change.

“It was previously stated, at the time, that it could have been a natural cause, but with the information that has come forward we’ve decided to list the cause as ‘undetermined’ until investigation continues,” he explained.

Meg Roberts reports from the Point Pelee fire0:30

Fires can be caused naturally, unintentionally or accidentally or intentionally, according to Bradt, who added the OPP was on the scene the night of the fire and may be assisting with the investigation.

“All areas are being investigated at this time,” he said.

Point Pelee Fire

A fire slowly burns through the marshland at Point Pelee National Park near Leamington, Ont. on March 29. (Derek Spalding/CBC)

No word on root cause of fire

Parks Canada refused to discuss the reasons behind the classification change. Louis Lavoie, field unit superintendent for southwestern Ontario, said the government organization doesn’t want to provide any information that could lead to speculation.

“At this time, we just don’t know for sure what is the root cause,” said Lavoie, adding the investigation could take anywhere from days to months to complete.

Lavoie was at Point Pelee Thursday as the fire was dying down and said the scorched section stretching more than 125 hectares was “impressive.”

Point Pelee National Park

Burned-out marshland at Point Pelee National Park should bounce back better than ever with the possibility for new vegetation to be introduced, say experts. (Stacey Janzer/CBC)

“There’s an area that’s black where the fire took place,” he said. “You can see it from the observation deck at the boardwalk.”

Lavoie praised the efforts of the fire department and police for saving the “famous marsh boardwalk.”

Marsh will be better than ever after blaze

Marshland damaged in the blaze should bounce back and actually be better off, according to Essex Region Conservation Authority biologist Dan Lebedyk, who described fire as part of an ecosystem’s natural cycle.

“Every few decades you’ll get a wildfire running through,” he said. “We do see — very quickly — a regeneration of the marsh. In many cases, we see many more different plant species than we had originally.”

1988 marsh fire at Point Pelee Nation Park0:57

The last time flames consumed part of the park was back in 1988 when lightning sparked a giant inferno. 

The park was closed Thursday, but was open from 7 a.m. to sunset on Friday.