Mon­treal en­lists pub­lic in il­le­gal apart­ment fight

City claims key boxes are be­ing put on pub­lic prop­erty as a way to fool in­spec­tors

StarMetro Halifax - - CANADA & WORLD - Ryan Mckenna

Mon­treal is en­list­ing cit­i­zens, mu­nic­i­pal work­ers and the pro­vin­cial Rev­enue Depart­ment in its fight against il­le­gal apart­ment rentals that use on­line plat­forms such as Airbnb.

The city re­cently di­rected its em­ploy­ees to seek out and re­move from pub­lic prop­erty small lock boxes that con­tain keys al­low­ing short-term renters to en­ter apart­ments on their own.

Mayor Va­lerie Plante has asked res­i­dents to re­port any lock boxes they see at­tached to pub­lic prop­erty, such as park­ing me­ters and MELFORT, SASK.—SCOTT Thomas was sit­ting nearby in the court­room Tuesday when a truck driver pleaded guilty to ev­ery charge against him in a high­way crash that killed 16 peo­ple on a ju­nior hockey bus and left 13 play­ers for­ever scarred by the dis­as­ter.

Thomas lost his 18-year old son, Evan, in the Hum­boldt Bron­cos col­li­sion and al­ways wanted the trucker to take re­spon­si­bil­ity.

Stand­ing in the bit­ter cold out­side the pro­vin­cial court­house in Melfort, Sask., the Saska­toon father said he’s re­lieved the case is mov­ing on to sen­tenc­ing.

He isn’t wor­ried about whether Jaski­rat Singh Sidhu will go to prison for a long time.

“If he spends a day, if he spends 10 years, time is ir­rel­e­vant,” Thomas said, fight­ing through his emo­tions. “He was guilty. He ac­knowl­edged that. That’s all I needed to hear.”

Sidhu was driv­ing a trans­port truck loaded with peat moss last April when the rig and the Bron­cos team bus col­lided at a ru­ral in­ter­sec­tion. The team had been on its way to a Saskatchewan Ju­nior bi­cy­cle racks.

The city con­tends peo­ple who are il­le­gally rent­ing apart­ments are putting key boxes on pub­lic prop­erty as a way to fool in­spec­tors and dis­tance them­selves from their ac­tiv­ity. Un­der pro­vin­cial rules, a li­cense is re­quired for short-term rentals of a sec­ondary prop­erty.

Coun­cil­lor Richard Ryan says pop­u­lar neigh­bour­hoods such as the Plateaumont-royal and down­town have strictly lim­ited short­term rentals since the sum­mer in an ef­fort to in­crease the avail­abil­ity of hous­ing for cit­i­zens.

Ryan says the city is also call­ing on the Rev­enue Depart­ment to in­ves­ti­gate res­i­dents sus­pected of il­le­gal rentals. Lock boxes for keys to Airbnb units are seen at­tached to a park­ing me­tre post in Mon­treal. Jaski­rat Singh Sidhu, the driver of a truck in­volved in the crash with the Hum­boldt Bron­cos, said he didn’t want to make things worse by go­ing to trial.

Hockey League play­off game.

“I plead guilty, your hon­our,” Sidhu said as he stood be­fore the judge.

Guilty to 16 counts of dan­ger­ous driv­ing caus­ing death. Guilty to 13 counts of dan­ger­ous driv­ing caus­ing bod­ily harm.

He made no other com­ment as he left the court­house and put his head down as he stood next to his lawyer.

Mark Bray­ford, who re­cently took on the case, said more ev­i­dence still needs to be handed over to the de­fence, but Sidhu wanted to avoid fur­ther de­lays and plead guilty.

“Mr. Sidhu ad­vised me: ‘I don’t want to make things any worse. I can’t make things any bet­ter, but I cer­tainly

don’t want to make them worse by hav­ing a trial,’ ” Bray­ford said.

“He wanted the fam­i­lies to know that he’s dev­as­tated by the grief that he’s caused them. And he’s over­whelmed by the ex­pres­sions of sym­pa­thy and kind­ness that some of the fam­i­lies and play­ers have ex­pressed to him in spite of the fact their grief is en­tirely his fault.”

Crown lawyer Thomas Healey said he might need up to five days for a sen­tenc­ing hear­ing, which is to be­gin Jan. 28. He would not com­ment fur­ther.

The max­i­mum penalty for dan­ger­ous driv­ing caus­ing death is 14 years. DEER LAKE, N.l.—three aban­doned kit­tens are re­cov­er­ing af­ter be­ing res­cued from a snow­bank in west­ern New­found­land.

Shiver, Stormy and Flurry were found Sun­day by an an­i­mal-lov­ing truck driver, hud­dled to­gether for warmth at the side of a road near the farm­ing com­mu­nity of Cor­mack, N.L.

The driver spot­ted the mov­ing pile of black fur and re­trieved the kit­tens, warm­ing them with coats while he reached out to a lo­cal an­i­mal res­cue or­ga­ni­za­tion.

Tanya Wight of Deer Lake Kitty Res­cue said the 12-weekold kit­tens were lethar­gic and scared when she brought them home.

“They would just kind of lie there, I think, to­tally trau­ma­tized — their bod­ies in shock from the ex­pe­ri­ence,” Wight said.

By Mon­day morn­ing, how­ever, the trio were show­ing signs of im­proved health, de­spite some res­pi­ra­tory prob­lems for the small­est, weigh­ing only two pounds. Wight said she’s re­ceived a stream of adop­tion in­quiries since the cats’ story gained pub­lic at­ten­tion, but it will be at least a week be­fore the cats are

healthy enough for a new home.

She said the three were found in the snow with­out any tracks nearby, lead­ing Wight to be­lieve they were thrown from a ve­hi­cle on the quiet road, where res­i­dences are widely spread out. Wight said a po­lice re­port has been filed into the case of what she calls a “bla­tant act of an­i­mal cru­elty and aban­don­ment.”

Based on their friendly be­hav­iour, she be­lieves the ani- WWW.THES­TAR.COM

Truck driver in Hum­boldt Bron­cos crash pleads guilty to all charges

Frozen kit­tens on mend af­ter trucker in New­found­land saw them in snow

mals were house cats. Since found­ing the Deer Lake Kitty Res­cue in 2015, Wight said she and her small group of vol­un­teers have res­cued more than 250 an­i­mals.

The three cats will even­tu­ally be adopted through the NL West SPCA in Cor­ner Brook.

Wight said if the truck driver hadn’t spot­ted them, the cats could have been cov­ered in snow by a pass­ing snow plow. Kit­tens are re­cov­er­ing af­ter be­ing res­cued from the snow be­side a west­ern New­found­land high­way on Sun­day.

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