INSIDE > FOUR PAGES OF FRINGE REVIEWS AUG. 30 - SEPT. 5, 2012
“I wish I co could ould st still ill see the worldd the way I did d whe when en I was ﬁve.” — Mark Ashﬁeld
Batman, Superman, Catwoman, Spider-Man, Wolverine and more swoop into town to help sick children
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NEWS & VIEWS > THE WEEK
Second thoughts on HST
Safety behind the wheel fatal collision between a tour bus and pedestrian in downtown Victoria earlier this month prompted calls to Monday from several readers questioning the distractions bus drivers face in having to be a tour guide and DANIELLE bus operator in one. POPE ICBC announced Tuesday, news@ Aug. 28, that distracted drivmondaymag.com ing is now the third leading cause of car crash fatalities in B.C. Despite the new cell laws for motorists, however, Stephanie Melvin, deputy superintendent of the Ministry of Justice, says there are some handheld electronics that have complete exemptions under the distracted driving regulations: these include mobile data terminals and two-way radios licensed through Industry Canada that can used specifically by bus and taxi drivers. “We are monitoring the effectiveness of our legislation and we will look at making changes if needed, as new technologies are introduced,” says Melvin. “People need to think twice about any behaviour they engage in that takes their eyes off the road when they are driving.” According to Melvin, a bus driver may also use a hand-held microphone if the device is within easy reach of the driver’s seat, is not actually held in the hand and is securely fixed to the motor vehicle or worn securely on the driver’s body in a manner that does not obstruct the view — but the device must remain hands-free. Melvin did not comment on the distractions operating this type of electronics could cause, but did say the same safety applies to everyone. “The priority for every motorist, while driving, is to keep their eyes on the road and their hands on the wheel. Cell phones and other electronic devices are only part of the greater problem of distracted driving in general,” says Melvin. Glen Christie, Victoria division manager of Horizon Coach Lines, told Monday that although Horizon’s drivers do perform the commentary of the tour at the same time as driving the bus, the driver at the time of the deadly collision on Aug. 13 was not. Christie said he would not comment at this time on whether or not he believes giving commentary distracts the drivers. Horizon is just one of many bus companies that have been forced to amalgamate drivers’ duties with that of a tour guide due to a strained economy and industry cutbacks. Yet, despite the change in laws, bus drivers are caught in a grey area between distraction and necessity. Big Bus Victoria Sightseeing Tour company uses another approach. While drivers do have audio devices that allow them to offer limited commentary, 99 per cent of the company’s tours are played through pre-recorded tapes. This move, which was instated six years ago when the company began, allows for maximum safe-
s we arrive at the one-year anniversary of the B.C. HST referendum, it’s interesting to hear that small business owners who voted in favour of a return to the PST/GST system are beginning to have second thoughts. Admittedly, most businessesmen and women voted to keep the HST (especially when it was going to be lowered to 10 per cent from its current 12), but according to a recent survey by Sage North America nearly GRANT 20 per cent of respondents who voted to extinguish MCKENZIE the combined tax said that, if the referendum was to take place today, they would change their vote. editor@ Their main concerns are: increased paperwork mondaymag.com thanks to the reversal of policy (75 per cent), expected negative impact on the economy (62.5 per cent) and the amount of personal time needed to make the switch (58.9 per cent). The survey also asked what kind of impact they think their company will experience due to the switch (expected by March 2013), and nearly 58 per cent of respondents believe they will experience a negative impact, while 17 per cent believe there will be a positive impact. Overall, 45 per cent of respondents believe they will be a “loser” after the switch in 2013, compared to the 15 per cent who believe they will be a “winner.” In short, change is a pain in the ass. And when you make a change, adjust to a change, and then revert back to a previous state, it sucks even more. But there is still one very positive outcome to this whole debacle: accountants and bookkeepers will become so busy that they’ll be able to keep our economy afloat by being the only ones able to afford new cars, homes, gold pocket protectors and diamond-encrusted calculators. Pity that I’m a word geek rather than a math whiz. M
While police wait on charges for the driver of the Horizon tour bus that killed a woman on Aug. 13, Monday looks at the distractions bus drivers face.
PHOTO CONTEST - FINAL WEEK - 20+ PRIZES ty and keeps the drivers’ eyes on the road, according to company director of marketing Colleen Irwin. “It’s far safer for our drivers when they can just concentrate on driving and don’t have to be looking around for bikes and pedestrians, at the same time as memorizing what line to say here and what site to prompt certain facts there,” says Irwin, adding that Big Bus is the only tour bus company in Victoria that uses a recording for tours. “You have to pay such close attention during tourist season, and safety is a main priority for us.” Cruise Victoria Services (CVS) manager Gary Gale says that his bus company has never seen an issue of distraction caused by commentary. However, he states that all drivers are given headsets and mandatory annual training. “Most of our drivers commentate and drive at the same time, but there are an awful lot of things a driver has to be aware of out there, especially in this city where we have so many pedestrians,” says Gale. “Being a bus driver with 56-some-odd passengers is a lot of responsibility … If anyone is not attentive, everyone is put at risk.” Gale says the August accident has already affected the tour bus industry in Victoria and “has set everyone back.” Both Horizon and BC Transit, for example, are no longer allowing buses to make turns at the busy Humboldt-Douglas intersection where 27-year-old Yuka Imaizumi was killed. “Our hearts go out to everyone involved there, including the driver,” says Gale. “It takes a lot for a driver to get behind the wheel again after something like that.” M
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It’s the final week to enter our 12th Annual Photo Contest for the chance to win over 20 prizes. 1st Prize in each of the six categories is a $175 gift card from Prism Imaging; 2nd Prize in each of the six categories is a $100 gift card from Prism Imaging; 3rd Prize in each of the six categories is a $50 gift card from Art World — plus there are additional Prism prizes of $100 gift cards as selected by Prism Imaging. A $100 cash prize will also be randomly chosen from all entries and handed out to the winner at the exhibit opening being held on Tues., Sept. 25 at the Arts Centre in the Cedar Hill Recreation Centre. You can find all the details online at MondayMag.com/contests. Deadline is Friday, Aug. 31. Entry fee is $10 per photo. Good luck.
WEEKLY REPORT CARD SUBJECT
NOTE TO SELF: TAKE SMOKE BREAK AFTER We have to laugh at the thief who was discovered when a resident came home to find the man smoking on his front porch and saw the door was damaged. Police caught the guy, and linked him to 13 smarter offences.
IT’S ALWAYS THE GOOD ONES THAT GO We confess we are devastated to see Victoria's first female NDP MP Denise Savoie stepping down after her six-year reign over the city, and all the more to hear it’s due to a “health warning.”
YOU NEED MORE THAN HOPE TO FLOAT It’s disappointing the province has to remind us to show “greater caution” around bodies of water, as the water-related death toll increased by 50 per cent from last year to 34 B.C. deaths. Please take a trip to Floaties-R-Us.
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CONTENTS VOL. 38, NO. 35 Aug. 30 - Sept. 5, 2012
NEWS & VIEWS
FOOD & DRINK - PAM GRANT
GEORGIA NICOLS HOROSCOPE
CITY SOMETHING The Hives lay down the law
MUSIC Time to get Eurosmashed!
MUSIC Island all-star rocks Blues Bash
BOOKS Angel With A Bullet, Part 3 of 4
FILM & LIBATION Chase scenes play well, and Premium Rush lays on a doozy
CALENDAR OF EVENTS
FULL LISTINGS @ MONDAYMAG.COM
ON THE COVER 11-14
Batman (Serge Yager) peers over downtown Victoria in his quest to help the Superheroes of Victoria bring smiles to children's faces — and to see if he needs to kick some criminal butt, too.
Our team of reviewers, armed only with a Fringe Super Pass, fought its way through the excited crowds to watch the best and worst of 2012’s crop of weird and wonderful new shows. The results begin on Page 11.
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NEWS & VIEWS > OPINION
MAIL Points of clarity Re: City Watchdog,
Donâ€™t just sit there and fume, write to us. Snail: 818 Broughton, V8W-1E4 E-mail: email@example.com Not every letter makes it to print, but we do read everything we receive.
Aug. 23-29 I would like to clarify a few points. First, I acted independently
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