Friday, July 19, 2013 - North Shore News - A3
Unionized workers to lose jobs
From page 1
president of combined units at the Canadian Ofﬁce and Professional Employees Union local 378, the union representing the hospital staff, said the information. “We’ve only known about it for a couple of months,” said Lee. “There is no reason in terms of proﬁtability or efﬁciency of the operation that would suggest that the business should close.” Workers at the pet hospital unionized in September 2012 and signed a collective agreement in May, before the closure was announced. Pet owners were also surprised by the news the clinic will be closing. West Vancouver resident Peggy Rowlett learned of the closure from an advertisement by the union in the Sunday edition of the North Shore News. “I was stunned, absolutely stunned,” said Rowlett, who has been bringing her cat Charlie to Capilano Pet Hospital for more than ﬁve years. “This is the second time that we have been blindsided by this company.” Rowlett said her cat was a patient at the Cat Hospital in West Vancouver until Associate Veterinary Clinics shut it down in 2008. “I’m furious,” she said. “This is an American company. They just shut down places that they feel aren’t proﬁtable and that’s unfair.” Andrew Irving, a North Vancouver resident, has been boarding his cat at the hospital twice a year for the past ﬁve years and was also shocked by the news. “I ﬁnd that kind of corporate mentality beyond reproach,” said Irving. “It’s a good hospital, it serves a lot of people. It makes absolutely no sense to remove a valuable resource.” Associate Veterinary Clinics bought Capilano Pet Hospital in 2007, after merging the Cottage Cat Clinic on lower Lonsdale and the Cat Hospital on Marine Drive in West Vancouver, both owned by the same company. Neumann said his company has bought and then shut down almost 50 clinics across Canada, but defended those actions. “We’re not in the business of buying clinics and closing them,” he said. “We’re in the business of providing excellent care for pets and we want to have the highest standard of care in the industry and we want to run facilities where we can do that.” According to Lee, prices at Capilano increased after the new owners took over. Lee said that prior to the new ownership, staff “were able to use their judgment and their discretion” and would adjust prices for clients who had recurring visits, but have not been able to since then. The College of Veterinarians of British Columbia, an organization that regulates the veterinary profession in the province, does provide a “fee guide” to its members but the fees are not mandatory. When asked if fees at Capilano had increased with his company’s ownership, Neumann said, “I’ll give you a provisional no.” “There may have been some increases to the fee guide but we certainly weren’t over and above any of our local competition.” Lee said the 39 staff at the clinic are still upset about the news and are unsure about what will happen next. “The staff is actually quite devastated by this,” she said. For now, Lee is hoping to gain community support through a petition the union has created. “We do hope they reconsider the closure,” Lee said. “It’s almost a landmark in the community it’s been in business so long.” Neumann said the company’s decision is ﬁnal.
IDYLLIC beach and garden party weather means forests are at a greater risk of wildﬁre, local ﬁre chiefs are warning.
NEWS photo Paul McGrath
PEGGY Rowlett with her cat “Charlie,” 12-year-old short haired tabby who is a long term client of Capilano Pet Hospital.
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The 31-year-old B.C. actor was found dead by hotel staff in Vancouver on Saturday. Though she is not granting interviews, Elena Kirschner’s RED Management offered the following statement Monday: “We are so saddened to conﬁrm that the reports on the death of Cory Monteith are accurate. We are in shock and mourning this tragic loss.” The BC Coroners Service conﬁrmed Tuesday that
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The warm, dry conditions havepushedMetroVancouver’s ﬁre hazard risk to “high” from Seymour to Burns Bog. “We’ve got ‘high’ at all stations right now. It shows how quickly we can dry out. We get a few good days of weather and here we are,” said Martin Ernst, West Vancouver Fire and Rescue chief. Residents can help reduce risk by making sure their yards, roofs and gutters are free of debris and branches that can be turned to kindling with a single spark. Ernst has a warning for smokers whose habit might be putting more than their own lungs at risk. “I have regularly been ticketing people for throwing cigarette butts out of the windows of their cars because those can end up in bark mulch on the side of the highway and can start grass and brush ﬁres,” Ernst said. There’s also a role for everyone to play in making sure small ﬁres don’t become forest ﬁres or home-destroying blazes. “Ultimately, it’s vigilance. It’s all about eyes out there. If you notice smoke that doesn’t seem like it’s coming from a barbecue or you’re questioning its source, you phone 9-1-1 right away and you get ﬁre services rolling on it,” Ernst said.
Seymour to end public golﬁng
NV agent mourns Monteith STAFF at the North Vancouver talent agency that represented Cory Monteith at the time he won his breakthrough role on Glee are grieving the actor’s sudden death.
Wildﬁre hazard high
CORY Monteith Monteith died because of a fatal combination of alcohol and heroin. The actor had a history of struggles with addiction. Kirschner advised Monteith as he prepared to audition for the show that became a huge hit and a beacon for underdogs, misﬁts and people who just love song and dance. Kirschner suggested he showcase his musicality by drumming on Tupperware and other items in her Mosquito Creek talent agency’s kitchen. “If it weren’t for her, I wouldn’t have got the new show,” Monteith told the North Shore News in 2009.
AFTER maintaining the same schedule for 60 years, Seymour Golf and Country Club is phasing out public play in a bid to swing its way out of the economic rough.
Members of the public have been teeing off at the District of North Vancouver-owned course on Mondays and Fridays since the 1950s, but stagnant membership and the competition posed by Northlands Golf Course necessitated a change, said members of council Monday night. The move has been criticized for excluding the public from a course on public land. But maintaining Northlands and Seymour as competitors is not wise, according to Mayor Richard Walton and other councillors. “One of the things we always have to be aware of is that Northlands and Seymour are two very different golf experiences,” said Coun. Alan Nixon. Young golfers are more suited to the tougher terrain of Northlands, Walton
added. “It is impossible for a lot of people to walk Northlands right now. It’s much easier to walk Seymour,” he said. The club will remove public play by 2016, easing the transition by introducing the Seymour PlayCard, which will be limited to district residents and provide the only avenue for nonmembers to book a tee time at Seymour. Golfers without a PlayCard can still enjoy a long walk broken up by bad arithmetic as a guest of a cardholder on Sundays, Mondays, and Tuesdays. With health and mobility problems taking putters out of the hands of many club members, Seymour has taken the unsustainable approach of boosting monthly dues, according to Seymour club president Greg Hope. On average, the club loses about 50 members each year. In 2012, the club recruited 53 new members and lost 56. “Sixty years ago this lease arrangement made sense. Today, with Northlands offering . . . a public golf alternative just blocks away, it’s time for a change,” Hope said. Under the new arrangement, Seymour will be able to attract more members, allowing the club to be economically
sustainable and continue paying taxes to the district, according to Hope. While council’s vote was unanimous, the main note of caution was sounded by Coun. Mike Little. The new arrangement raises Seymour’s annual rent from $250,000 to $375,000. “If your organization doesn’t really grow, this is a bad deal for the District of North Vancouver,” Little said. While frequency of play may ratchet up during slow periods, the lift to Northlands could be negligible, warned Little. “I don’t know that we’re going to see the bump in Northlands that’s been projected because their Fridays are generally booked up as it is.” Little ultimately cast his vote in the hopes of Seymour landing a bigger crop of members playing a greater number of rounds. “I don’t see any other way that we’re going to get the capital improvements that need to take place on the site,” he said. The new arrangement also gives the district an additional 1.2 acres of park space.
North Shore News July 19 2013