City of Vancouver – The Langara Voice https://www.langaravoice.ca News, entertainment and sports from Langara College journalism students Thu, 05 Mar 2020 21:59:03 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.8.1 https://www.langaravoice.ca/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/LOGO-100x100.png City of Vancouver – The Langara Voice https://www.langaravoice.ca 32 32 Vancouver kombucha not symbiotic with new tax https://www.langaravoice.ca/kombucha_tax/ Thu, 05 Mar 2020 00:41:49 +0000 https://www.langaravoice.ca/?p=45744 Sales tax issues fermenting ahead of July 1, 2020 decision on sweetened carbonated beverages]]>

By Rui Yang Xu

Dan Larsen believes in the health benefits of kombucha but worries that new government categorization of the beverage is going to affect customers.

The government will implement a seven per cent sales tax July 1 on sweetened carbonated beverages. The goal is to encourage consumers to consider healthier alternatives, however it remains unclear whether beverages with purported health benefits like kombucha will fall under the new rule.

“It’s an insult to the industry,” said Larsen, owner of Vancouver-based Culture Craft Kombucha. “Our efforts are being negated by the government and aren’t being recognized.”

Larsen said kombucha is a tea beverage fermented with a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast, also known as a SCOBY or mother.

Photo by: Rui Yang Xu.

Another Vancouver-based brewer, Kristin Zerbin, who owns Hoochy ’Booch Kombucha, said anywhere from a quarter to half a cup of sugar is used in the fermentation process. The end result is that the sugar effectively becomes healthy amino acids, trace vitamins and minerals.

There are also other health benefits to the drink, Zerbin said.

“Kombucha adds beneficial bacteria and enzymes to your overall intestinal flora.”

While there are many purported health benefits to kombucha, Tanya Choy, a registered dietitian at UBC, said there is no scientific evidence supporting these claims.

“All the studies that are relating to kombucha and improved health has been conducted in vitro [test-tube experiments] and it’s also on [non-human] animals.”

VANCOUVER, BC: MARCH 2 2020 — While already pricy, kombucha will become more expensive due to a seven per cent sales tax set to come into effect on July 1, 2020. Photo by: Rui Yang Xu.

Choy also said while most of the sugar that is used in the fermentation process becomes something else, some kombucha brewers still sweeten their drinks to counteract the acidity of the beverage.

“Some flavors contain enough sugar to make up for half a can of pop per cup,” Choy said.

If the seven per cent tax is applied to sales of kombucha, Larsen believes consumers will be the most upset.

“As a producer, I’m still going to get orders, people are still going to sell kombucha. This is something people value as part of their diet now.”

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South Vancouver residents seeking safer crosswalk https://www.langaravoice.ca/south-vancouver-residents-seeking-safer-crosswalk/ Thu, 27 Feb 2020 21:07:15 +0000 https://www.langaravoice.ca/?p=45542 By Danauca Dory Residents living around Cambie Street and 39th Avenue say their complaints about a dangerous intersection have not been properly addressed by the city. Barry Jung, a resident in the area, said there have been several accidents around the intersection in recent years, including one involving a man in a wheelchair.  “Since we’ve […]]]>

By Danauca Dory

Residents living around Cambie Street and 39th Avenue say their complaints about a dangerous intersection have not been properly addressed by the city.

Barry Jung, a resident in the area, said there have been several accidents around the intersection in recent years, including one involving a man in a wheelchair. 

“Since we’ve been here, we’ve seen car accidents after car accidents,” said Jung, who has lived in the area since 2002.

Multiple collisions

Jung said he has been voicing his concerns to the City of Vancouver about the intersection with no satisfying response. In January, Jung said he wrote a letter to the city detailing the residents’ worries, along with evidence of crashes on the intersection. 

He suggested a pedestrian traffic light be implemented at the intersection.

Jung said after he wrote the letter, a city representative came to look at the area — but no changes were made. 

According to a crash map provided by ICBC, there were 74 collisions along the intersection from 2014 to 2018. It was ranked 439 out of 5621 intersections in the Lower Mainland for highest crash rates. 

Local schools cause for concern

The area is home to École Secondaire Jules-Verne and École Rose-Des-Vents elementary school, causing concern for the community as the intersection is frequented by students.

Joseph Tan, who lives in front of the intersection, said he has witnessed many accidents. 

“I always hear a lot of screeching and honking.”

Tan and Jung believe one of the issues with the intersection is that the BC Liquor store is right across from the intersection. 

In the letter to the city, Jung suggested that motorists are incorrectly entering the boulevard cradle, using the oncoming left lane to make left turns onto Cambie to access the liquor store parking.

Jung said he currently knows of no plan for any lights being added to the intersection.

No city representatives were available for comment before publication.

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Langara zoning plan in motion https://www.langaravoice.ca/langara-zoning-plan-in-motion/ Thu, 14 Nov 2019 15:00:16 +0000 https://www.langaravoice.ca/?p=44202 By Ray Chopping A rezoning application to increase Langara’s density is expected to be complete by Spring 2020, according to a senior facilities consultant at the college. The application is to allow increased density, setting the groundwork for the future development of buildings. The rezoning application was filed to the city in the spring of […]]]>

By Ray Chopping

A rezoning application to increase Langara’s density is expected to be complete by Spring 2020, according to a senior facilities consultant at the college.

The application is to allow increased density, setting the groundwork for the future development of buildings. The rezoning application was filed to the city in the spring of 2019 and a public open house was held in July. Any building permits for new buildings would come later; the rezoning application will have no direct impact on current students.

Five-year plan underway

“Rezoning is a complex process,” said Wendy Lannard, senior facilities advisor for Langara.

The college’s five-year capital plan has identified the need for a 350,000 sq. ft. building (roughly 32,500 sq. m) at Ontario Street and 49th Avenue, but the project has yet to secure funding.

Neal Wells, communications manager for civic engagement at the City of Vancouver, said that the proposal is currently being reviewed by staff from multiple departments of the city.

“The staff will raise various questions with the application team that will need to be addressed before the application can move forward,” Wells said. These include ensuring it meets local area or community plans, design guidelines, existing zoning and is mindful of the surrounding neighbourhood context and development objectives on the site.

“Typically, by the time a proposal like this large campus master plan gets to a public hearing, an outright rejection from council is unlikely,” he said.

Different needs still a concern

Though no new buildings will be built in the immediate future, some Langara faculty members say they have pressing needs. Program coordinator of computer technology, Raymond Chow, would like to see more computer labs.

“Students use our labs for homework which makes running classes in them difficult at times.”

Lannard said the college is seeking funding from the provincial government. Once funding were approved, the following step would include hiring an architect to design it and then file a development application with the city.

 

Below are some of the proposed changes included in the Master Plan.

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No room in the rental market for minimum wage workers https://www.langaravoice.ca/41987-2/ Wed, 03 Apr 2019 03:45:34 +0000 https://www.langaravoice.ca/?p=41987 Vancouverites could see rental-only zones recommended later this year to the City of Vancouver in efforts to provide minimum wage-earning citizens with a chance to enter the rental market, according to the Vancouver mayor. ]]>

Reported by Austin Everett

Vancouverites could see rental-only zones recommended later this year to the City of Vancouver in efforts to provide minimum wage-earning citizens with a chance to enter the rental market, according to the Vancouver mayor. 

Mayor Kennedy Stewart said during a city council meeting that minimum wage workers have no chance of entering the rental market, adding that implementing rental-only zones starting with the land around the Broadway plan could help that situation.

Uneven distribution

The City of Vancouver reported an update on the past two years of their affordable housing strategy at Tuesday’s meeting. The housing plan unveiled statistics showing large gaps in supply for citizens who earn $15,000 to $30,000 annually, while those earning 80 thousand or more have enough supply. Last year no housing was created to bridge that gap.

“I am sobered by the whole report,” Stewart said, referring to the lack of housing built for those making under 30 thousand dollars annually. 

A deeper impact

The gap in affordable housing effects more than individuals, it affects the economy on a larger scale, said Stewart. He said that finding staff for restaurants and cafes in parts of the city is a challenge. 

“We need diversity in our economy to make this work,” said Stewart. He said that him and city hall have much work to do. 

Dan Garrison, the senior planner at the City of Vancouver said that the lengthy housing approval process is partially to blame for the gap in supply. 

“The length of time it takes to make a decision to when you’re actually receiving revenue of the project is far too long.”

The city will look into expediting the permit process for builders. Garrison said that more people would likely invest in projects, which means more buildings resulting in more housing. 

Councillor Melissa De Genova said that increasing density is imperative, and having young people in Vancouver is crucial to economic diversity. 

“We should look at creative and unique partnerships to provide that affordable housing,” De Genova said.

There are 630 social housing units are currently under construction in 2019, with more government funding coming in the future, according to Garrison.

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Documentary about Musqueam Nation hits local theatre https://www.langaravoice.ca/documentary-about-musqueam-nation-hits-local-theatre/ Thu, 23 Nov 2017 14:00:58 +0000 https://www.langaravoice.ca/?p=30826 Vancouver's Musqueam Nation nearly having one of their important ancestral sites turned into condos is being showcased in a documentary from Dec. 1-3.]]>

Reported by Trevor Nault

Vancouver’s Musqueam Nation nearly having one of their important ancestral sites turned into condos is being showcased in a documentary from Dec. 1-3.

c̓əsnaʔəm, the city before the city commemorates five years since the Musqueam Nation successfully halted construction of a 108-unit condo project on the site on an ancestral village in their traditional territory. The film is a partnership between the Musqueam Indian Band, the Museum of Anthropology, and the Museum of Vancouver. The site is known to the Musqueam Nation as c̓əsnaʔəm, but is more commonly known as Marpole Midden, and is located at the corner of Cartier Street and West 73rd Avenue.

A need for accurately told stories

Viviane Gosselin, director of collections and exhibitions at the Museum of Vancouver, said the popularity of the exhibition and the film speaks to a growing demand for authentic Indigenous narratives.

“I think people have this real thirst and appetite to learn from…the Musqueam people,” Gosselin said. “Having indigenous people driving the interpretive process for the exhibition is key.”

Rose Stiffarm, a cinematographer and friend of the film director, suspects the culture of reconciliation could have something to do with the film’s popularity.

“There’s certainly a craving to know more about First Nations history, because it wasn’t taught in school,” Stiffarm said. “I think there’s a lot of people who are thinking about reconciliation, and perhaps for them coming out to support Indigenous stories at the cinema is an act of reconciliation for some people.”

Angel Ine, who is Māori, said her interest in the film was sparked by a visit to the Museum of Vancouver’s exhibition last year. Visiting from Aotearoa, New Zealand, she said it was the kind of history she was seeking to learn about as a newcomer to this part of the world.

“I try to just keep actively trying to learn what I can about the worldview, narratives and language of traditional guardians of the land I live on,” Ine said.

c̓əsnaʔəm, the city before the city will be showing at Vancity Theatre.

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New River District development creating traffic congestion https://www.langaravoice.ca/new-river-district-development-creating-traffic-congestion/ Fri, 10 Nov 2017 14:00:29 +0000 https://www.langaravoice.ca/?p=30457 Reported by Roberto Teixeira Fraserview residents are worried the development of the massive River District waterfront community in southeast Vancouver will bring even more heavy traffic to their neighbourhood. Barbara Borchardt, a Fraserview resident, said the 130-acre development is already creating traffic problems, with Southeast Marine Drive “becoming a parking lot during many days.” Fraserview […]]]>

Reported by Roberto Teixeira

Fraserview residents are worried the development of the massive River District waterfront community in southeast Vancouver will bring even more heavy traffic to their neighbourhood.

Barbara Borchardt, a Fraserview resident, said the 130-acre development is already creating traffic problems, with Southeast Marine Drive “becoming a parking lot during many days.”

Fraserview is adjacent to the River District, which is located on the lands between Kerr Street and Boundary Road, south of Marine Way. When completed, the new community could have a population bigger than 10,000 and employ thousands of people, according to the developer, Wesgroup Properties.

Such an increase in population is what worries Borchardt, who was invited to meet with Wesgroup to raise concerns about transportation and other issues with the project.

“The fact that [Wesgroup] have been making themselves accessible to residents is a positive sign,” she said. “My take is that this issue of transportation and transit squarely lands on the shoulders of the city and TransLink.”

A need for conversation

Andrew Dennis, who lives in the Kent Avenue neighbourhood, said there appears to be a lack of communication between the city, TransLink and residents.

“I understand there have been discussions between the developers, the city and TransLink on the issue of transit in the area, including discussions about the use of the rail line as a possible hub,” Dennis said. “There is very limited information on this and what’s personally interesting is there has been no input sought to date by the city or TransLink from existing residents who live directly on this rail line.”

Wesgroup’s original development plan of 2006, which was approved by Vancouver city council, identified three new bus stops inside the community. The plan also called for a water taxi on the river. A passenger train on the existing Canadian Pacific rail line was to connect the Marine Drive Canada Line station with the SkyTrain station in New Westminster.

Tentative plans

“There have been lots of thinking done over the years on opportunities to provide transit to the neighbourhood, so we have made allowances for that to happen and continue to work with the city and TransLink to initially make sure that the busses are coming through the neighbourhood,” said Brad Jones, Wesgroup’s director of development.

Jones pointed out that TransLink is responsible for all the transit in the Lower Mainland and the decision of new transit routes is ultimately theirs.

“We don’t have a firm time place from them, the planning has been in place for a number of years, but we don’t have a hard date when they plan on switching,” Jones said. “We are looking to work with TransLink and the city to have that transit come into the community as is indicated in the plan.”

Borchardt, meanwhile, continues to work to decrease traffic flowing through her community.

“Locally we’ve got our speed humps in one section which deals with speed for part of our roadway, but it does not deal with the volume,” she said. “We as a community are now tossing ideas around about gathering as a group with signs for all those cutting through [the neighbourhood] reminding them of speed limits, stop signs.

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Future of Vancouver’s Punjabi Market still a concern for the community https://www.langaravoice.ca/business-owners-want-more-walk-the-walk-than-talk-the-talk/ Thu, 09 Nov 2017 14:00:05 +0000 https://www.langaravoice.ca/?p=30335 Reported by Myra Dionne Business owners want less conversation about future changes to the Punjabi Market and more action. The City of Vancouver, in partnership with LOCO BC, invited community members to meet and discuss the state of the historic market last week. One meeting took place Wednesday at Sunset Community Centre and another Thursday […]]]>

Reported by Myra Dionne

Business owners want less conversation about future changes to the Punjabi Market and more action.

Punjabi Market Fold Fabrics is one of the few shops left in the historic area of Vancouver, B.C. Photo by Myra Dionne

The City of Vancouver, in partnership with LOCO BC, invited community members to meet and discuss the state of the historic market last week. One meeting took place Wednesday at Sunset Community Centre and another Thursday at Langara College.

Satwant K. Bunwait, owner of Amrit Fashions, remembers when the market was vibrant and busy. Since 2010, her business has drastically declined, making her work a second job.

“Almost seven years this market is struggling. Rather than doing something here, they come and give a lecture or whatever, but what are they really doing for the small businesses?” said Bunwait, who attended the meeting facilitated by the city about developing a vision for the future of the Punjabi Market.

Conversations still needed
According to Jessie Singer, a planner for the city, the meetings came in response to comments made in 2015 about zoning development on the corner of 49th Avenue and Main Street.

“People wanted to say great, change is happening to the area…but we also have some other concerns about the general state of the Punjabi Market as a kind of cultural and community hub,” Singer said.

For several business owners, the old Punjabi Market died a long time ago. They said necessary changes are taking too long and they hoped the meetings would bring about immediate results.

All talk
Punjab food centre is owned by Harinder S. Toor who has been working in the historic community since 1982. Photo by Myra Dionne

Harinder S. Toor, owner of Punjab Food Center, said concerns about Langara students parking in front of his shop, beautification of the Punjabi Market, funding for Punjabi festivals and housing are among the problems community members have complained about for years.

“We were told this meeting is a three-hour meeting. We came here to spend our time and make sure we get something out of it,” Toor said. “The meeting was done and no results came up.”

Singer said the meetings were meant to engage conversation and not results. She said there is no clear date for resolving concerns but is anticipating consultation reports.

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Councillor questions need for ‘locals-first’ pre-sales policy https://www.langaravoice.ca/councillor-questions-need-for-locals-first-pre-sales-policy/ Thu, 09 Nov 2017 03:20:41 +0000 https://www.langaravoice.ca/?p=30488 By Jason Gilder A proposed ‘locals-first’ pre-sales policy for condos and townhouses has one District of North Vancouver councillor questioning whether it offends ‘core Canadian values’ in a municipality with a high immigrant population. Coun. Mathew Bond, one of three councillors to vote against Coun. Lisa Muri’s Oct. 30 motion to develop a policy, said […]]]>

By Jason Gilder

A proposed ‘locals-first’ pre-sales policy for condos and townhouses has one District of North Vancouver councillor questioning whether it offends ‘core Canadian values’ in a municipality with a high immigrant population.

Coun. Mathew Bond, one of three councillors to vote against Coun. Lisa Muri’s Oct. 30 motion to develop a policy, said the idea goes against one of the country’s core values, which is inclusion.

“For someone new to this country to come here and then not be able to buy a place because of this policy, I just don’t think that’s right,” Bond told The Voice.

Coun. Roger Bassam and Coun. Robin Hicks also voted against Muri’s motion, which passed 4-3. Hicks said such a policy doesn’t address issues with housing prices and availability. Mayor Richard Walton, Coun. Doug MacKay-Dunn and Coun. Jim Hanson voted in favour of Muri’s motion.

Tailoring to local residents

If the new policy gets approved, developers of new condos and apartments would make the housing exclusively accessible to North Shore residents for the first 60 days before allowing sales to others. According to the 2016 census, immigrants make up one-third of the population in North Vancouver.

A ‘locals first’ policy has been tested in West Vancouver. It was introduced two years ago and, according to Muri, the policy had a positive impact on the local housing market.

“I think it did produce opportunities for those that live in the area, or live on the North Shore, to buy into a property,” Muri told The Voice

Concerns for affordability

The Urban Development Institute has been a critic of such policy and the organization’s concern was highlighted in an Oct. 17 letter to Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson.

Anne McMullion, the institute’s president and CEO, wrote the letter to Robertson after the mayor recently proposed a locals-first policy for Vancouver.

“We have been working constructively with the city on a number of policies to address the housing affordability crisis and we don’t believe this motion advances those affordability objectives,” said McMullin in the letter that was sent to The Voice.

McMullin added that the members of institute already sell 90 per cent of their pre-sale units to local buyers. Robertson has said stories he’s heard from prospective homebuyers say otherwise.

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Temporary modular housing proposed for South Vancouver’s homeless https://www.langaravoice.ca/temporary-modular-housing-proposed-for-south-vancouvers-homeless/ Wed, 08 Nov 2017 22:23:07 +0000 https://www.langaravoice.ca/?p=30346 Reported by Becca Clarkson With temporary housing for Vancouver’s growing homeless population planned on a South Vancouver site that will be redeveloped in the next five to 10 years, those depending on that shelter will find themselves displaced once again. Ethel Whitty, director of homeless services for the City of Vancouver, hopes more social housing […]]]>

Reported by Becca Clarkson

With temporary housing for Vancouver’s growing homeless population planned on a South Vancouver site that will be redeveloped in the next five to 10 years, those depending on that shelter will find themselves displaced once again.

Ethel Whitty, director of homeless services for the City of Vancouver, hopes more social housing will be built so that people can move into more permanent digs.

The Onni Group of Companies is allowing the City of Vancouver, B.C.’s government and the Vancouver Housing Agency to build the two temporary modular housing structures in question at 650 West 57th Ave. this January.

Impermanent promises

Charles Maddison, an architect with Boni Maddison Architects, said using the space for temporary housing is easier to justify when it’s not going to be there forever.

“The city is trying to find sites where they will be used for the temporary housing for a certain number of years,” Maddison said. “And then the buildings will be disassembled and moved to new sites when those sites are redeveloped.”

According to Breanne Whyte, community liaison for temporary modular housing, the short-term aim is to get people off the street by winter.

“It was an exceptionally cold winter last year…and the long-term goal will be transitioning people to more temporary homes once they’ve kind of gotten the support they need,” Whyte said.

Momentary affordability

But Whitty, who was unsure they would be able to extend the modular housing on 57th Avenue beyond five years, said “the hope and plan” is to have over 5,000 units of this kind of affordability — even though it means some people will be displaced again when Onni builds its two residential care facilities.

“Whenever a building is shut down, it will have to be that people are being placed elsewhere,” she said. “There’s a lot of social housing coming on in the next five to 10 years in the city. As new social housing gets built, people can move into more permanent social housing.”

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Potholes plague city after harsh winter https://www.langaravoice.ca/potholes-plague-city-after-harsh-winter/ Fri, 17 Mar 2017 00:00:25 +0000 https://www.langaravoice.ca/?p=27481 Vancouver’s long winter appears to be over but the snow and ice has left the city’s roads filled with an unprecedented number of potholes and cracks that will require significant repairs. ]]>

Reported by Chelsea Powrie

Vancouver’s long winter appears to be over but the snow and ice has left the city’s roads filled with an unprecedented number of potholes and cracks that will require significant repairs.

Jag Sandhu, a City of Vancouver spokesperson, said the city received 212 reports of potholes in December and more than 250 in January. Sandhu said that was an increase over last year, with 220 potholes reported in January 2016.

“We prioritize deeper potholes, and any potholes likely to cause damage or injury,” said Sandhu in an email to The Voice. “We also consider things like areas with high traffic volume, and close proximity to establishments like hospitals and schools.”

Sandhu said the city does not have a projected final cost for road repairs at this time, nor does it have data available on the total number of potholes that will need to be filled. The city estimates a pothole costs an average of $13 each to fill.

The cost of Metro Vancouver pothole repairs increasing

In 2015, the city repaired 33,432 potholes — a slightly higher number than in 2014 — and spent about $450,000 on the fixes. That tab is expected to be much higher this winter season.

Vancouver got hit with several snowfalls this year and temperatures dropped low enough for ice to form on roads and sidewalks. In hilly areas, buses got stuck, causing transit systems to grind to a halt. Many motorists couldn’t get their cars out of their neighbourhoods. The slick conditions required heavy salt and sanding runs by the city, which contributed to the damaged roads.

Sam Tremblay of Tremblay Motors said potholes can knock a vehicle’s wheel alignment out of balance and cause tire and rim damage, especially on newer cars with aluminum wheels. Tremblay said his shop has seen roughly a 25 per cent increase, compared to previous years, in customers’ vehicles damaged from potholes.

“It’s obviously because we’ve had a tougher winter this year,” said Tremblay of the increase in repairs.

City of Vancouver’s report on pothole repair in 2016

Residents express frustration with potholes 

Some Vancouver residents have taken to Twitter to vent their frustration with the ongoing pothole problem. Twitter user @Rehgan_T tweeted: “If a cop were to follow me around Vancouver for a day they would [probably] think I’m drunk but really I’m just swerving to miss all the potholes.” Another user, @ejandaj2014, posted that it was “potholes galore” in the city.

The most recent snow response update to city council on Feb. 8 revealed the city used more than 12 times the average amount of salt for a normal Vancouver winter. The city had spent half of the estimated $10.6 million budgeted for snow response in 2017.

City needs people to call 3-1-1 to report a pothole

The City of Vancouver relies on its citizens to report potholes, inviting them to call 3-1-.1, the city’s help number, or download the city’s VanConnect app. The city website advertises an average 48-hour turnaround period between receiving a public pothole complaint and having it fixed. The app shows some repair requests from up to three weeks ago are still listed as “in progress.”

Jen Roote, an authorized ICBC insurance advisor with Westland Insurance, said pothole damage falls under collision coverage, which is purchased on top of general coverage, and ICBC puts the blame on the driver.

“Unfortunately, even though it’s not necessarily your fault, it does affect your insurance rates, because it’s considered an at-fault claim,” said Roote, noting a driver’s record and number of years with a licence will affect insurance premiums. “It’s like you crashing into something else.”

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