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City takes first step first step in procurement process for potential construction of the new community centre – BayToday.ca

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The City has issued a Request for Pre-qualification (RFPQ) to prequalify general contractors for the construction of the controversial new community and recreation centre at Steve Omischl Sports Complex on Lakeshore Drive.

The request will shortlist general contractors with qualifications and experience to manage and oversee the construction of the facility.

The arena will feature dual-pad ice surfaces, a walking track, change rooms and a community hall.

“The pre-qualification process is the first step in the procurement process for the potential construction of the new community centre,” says a news release.

“Based on the evaluation of responses, qualified respondents will be eligible to participate in an invitational second-stage competitive process for the potential construction of the new community centre.  A pre-qualification stage of a procurement process is commonly used for construction projects of this scale.”

The tendering will start when Council gives the final ok.

The submission deadline is March 15.

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At home for a year, office workers complain of aches, pains and Zoom fatigue – CBC.ca

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As a physiotherapist, Matthew Laing is seeing first-hand the consequences for many people who have been working from home for nearly a full year because of the pandemic.

He says he frequently hears the same complaints from clients: neck, back and shoulder pain that bothers them throughout the day because they’re stuck and not moving.

“I’ve got clients who just don’t move for eight hours a day,” said Laing, who is based in Toronto. “We’re human beings, we’re not meant to be in a sedentary position, not moving at all.”

Back in March 2020, when many companies directed most of their staff to leave the office and telecommute in an effort to slow the spread of a scary new coronavirus, the experience of working from home felt novel, perhaps even exciting for some workers.

At the very least, it was considered a blessing to have the option, particularly as workers in other sectors, such as health-care workers and grocery store staff, didn’t have the same choice, and many other workers were laid off because of the pandemic’s economic toll.

But working from makeshift setups with non-ergonomic chairs and unorthodox workspaces has caused its share of physical strain. And collaborating with colleagues remotely for so long has only worsened a COVID 19-era ailment of another kind: Zoom fatigue.

WATCH | Zoom fatigue is taking its toll:

Zoom fatigue has become a pandemic side effect for people working from home. It has led to neck, back and shoulder pain, and made workers overly aware of their facial expressions because of constant videoconferencing. 2:01

“The novelty has worn off,” said Peter Flaschner, a director of the marketing firm Klick Health, who started working from his Toronto living room and kitchen a year ago.

He’s since turned a room upstairs into a temporary office. “We’ve become quite adept at this,” he said, referring to collaborating with colleagues remotely.

A year ago, few would have foreseen how widespread videoconferencing would become. Trials are held online, world leaders attend international summits virtually, and even Queen Elizabeth makes appearances via a webcam at Windsor Castle.

Queen Elizabeth has been holding virtual meetings while staying at Windsor Castle during the pandemic. (Twitter/Royal Family)

Downloads of the pandemic’s hottest video chat software, Zoom, exploded. The company said last spring 300 million daily participants were meeting on the platform. This past week, it reported total revenue of $882.5 million US, up a whopping 369 per cent year-over-year for the quarter ending Jan. 31.

But with that added usage came increased complaints of Zoom fatigue, the term given to the unique brand of mental exhaustion caused by hours of videoconferencing on any app, including Microsoft’s Skype and Teams, Cisco Webex and Google Meet.

“I’ve never put my finger on why being on Zoom all day is so mentally and physically exhausting,” Giancarlo Fiorella, a Toronto-based investigator for the website Bellingcat, tweeted

“There’s a reason why TED talks are 18 minutes,” said Anthony Bonato, a Ryerson University mathematics professor, referring to the popular series of online lectures. “Zoom fatigue is real.”

Researchers at Stanford University recently considered what makes videoconferencing so tiring. They pointed to four factors:

  • The unnaturally prolonged simulation of close-up eye contact. 
  • The mental strain of watching other attendees for visual cues. 
  • A reduction in mobility from staying in the same spot. 
  • Constantly seeing yourself in real time. 

Their work was published in the journal Technology, Mind and Behavior. Stanford communication professor Jeremy Bailenson points out in the article, “The arguments are based on academic theory and research, but also have yet to be directly tested in the context of Zoom, and require future experimentation to confirm.”

Still, “this is a huge transformation to the way we normally talk,” fellow Stanford communication professor Jeff Hancock told CBC News over Zoom from his home in Palo Alto, Calif. “It’s like walking around with a mirror hanging around in front of us.”

He said Zoom fatigue is bound to affect people of different genders and races to varying degrees, particularly when it comes to the way individuals pay attention to — and perceive — their own image, what’s known as self-focused attention.

“There’s a lot of work in psychology that shows people that have higher levels of self-focused attention are more likely to feel anxious or even more likely to get depressed,” said Hancock, a B.C. native. “And we find the same kind of thing here [with Zoom fatigue].”

What to do about it

Bailenson recommends turning off “self-view” mode as much as possible, as well reducing the size of the videoconference window so it doesn’t take up the entire screen. He hopes platforms such as Zoom will change default settings so the user isn’t automatically faced with their own image any time they enter a video meeting, unless that’s what they choose.

As for the aches and pains, Laing, the physiotherapist, recommends doing small exercises between meetings to break up the time spent in front of the computer screen.

“It’s not about changing what they’re doing during those meetings … instead, it’s actually to get them to maximize the time between meetings,” he said.

Matthew Laing, a registered physiotherapist and the owner of Foundation Physiotherapy in Toronto, says it’s important to move around between online meetings. (Taylor Simmons/CBC)

Laing recommends at-home workers get up — even for 30 seconds at a time — to do a few squats or stretches. Even going up and down stairs can help break the monotony and physical inertia.

“Just pacing around between meetings … can go a long way,” he said.

Others have a longer-term solution. While vaccines start to help fight the spread of COVID-19, the eventual return of face-to-face meetings may prove to be the only cure for Zoom fatigue.

“If we could do hybrid [meetings], that would be just great, if it means more people are able to participate,” said Dipika Damerla, a municipal councillor in Mississauga, Ont. A hybrid meeting would have a mix of virtual and in-person attendance, once public measures allow for it. 

The city, like many others, has been holding public meetings via videoconference.

And it hasn’t always gone according to plan.

A presenter at a recent council meeting asked for her presentation to be delayed.

“What issues are you having?” staff asked.

“My Powerpoint presentation isn’t opening,” the presenter replied, reflecting a recurring pandemic-era scenario.

Damerla herself shared a habit to which many videoconference participants can relate, even a year into the pandemic.

“I still start to speak with the mute button on.”

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BC First Nation 'outraged' after Green MLA reveals COVID-19 outbreak – Parksville Qualicum Beach News – Parksville Qualicum Beach News

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The Tsartlip First Nation expressed outrage this week after Green MLA Adam Olsen revealed that the community had been experiencing a COVID-19 outbreak – a fact that the First Nation chose not to make public after witnessing the racism faced by the Cowichan Tribes after an outbreak there.

On March 2, Olsen, the representative for Saanich North and the Islands, shared on social media that the Tsartlip had been under shelter-in-place orders for several weeks and that all adults would be receiving a vaccine dose shortly. He added that as a member and resident of the nation, he too would be vaccinated on March 3.

READ ALSO: ‘Vile; filled with racism’: Officials condemn reaction to Cowichan First Nations COVID outbreak

In a public statement on Thursday, Chief Don Tom called Olsen’s announcement “highly offensive” and said the MLA had overstepped his role. He said the Tsartlip First Nation experienced an outbreak at the end of January and members were ordered to shelter-in-place starting Feb. 8. He said the last positive test was on Feb. 6 and that the nation currently has no active cases of COVID-19.

“Tsartlip has a right to self-determination, we cannot have an MLA misrepresenting our First Nation, and taking liberties to make public statements without consulting Tsartlip,” Tom said, adding that Olsen owed the community a public apology.

READ ALSO: BCAFN condems racism against Cowichan Tribes after COVID-19 outbreak

The same day, Olsen called Tom to offer his “unreserved apology” and shared an open letter on social media acknowledging it is not his role as an MLA to speak on behalf of the nation.

“I know these past weeks have been an incredibly difficult time for our community and I’m devastated that my actions have increased anxiety,” he wrote. “You have my commitment that this situation will not be repeated, and I fully accept your frustration and anger with my actions.”

READ ALSO: Adam Olsen declared winner in Saanich North and the Islands

Tom emphasized that the Tsartlip First Nation had specifically chosen to keep the outbreak private after witnessing the “cruel racism” members of the Cowichan Tribes experienced after an outbreak was declared in January. The Cowichan Tribes issued a stay-at-home order until Jan. 22 after more than 70 COVID-19 cases were reported.

According to Derek Thompson, Cowichan Tribes general manager, racism towards members of the First Nation increased immediately after the outbreak was disclosed.

“We chose to not subject Tsartlip members to this and kept our outbreak status private,” Tom said, noting that after Olsen revealed the situation, the First Nation was forced to address the outbreak publicly and clarify the situation. “Our membership now feel angst and worry for their social well-being.”

-With files from the Canadian Press


@devonscarlett
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devon.bidal@saanichnews.com

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BC First Nation 'outraged' after Green MLA reveals COVID-19 outbreak – Surrey Now-Leader – Surrey Now-Leader

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The Tsartlip First Nation expressed outrage this week after Green MLA Adam Olsen revealed that the community had been experiencing a COVID-19 outbreak – a fact that the First Nation chose not to make public after witnessing the racism faced by the Cowichan Tribes after an outbreak there.

On March 2, Olsen, the representative for Saanich North and the Islands, shared on social media that the Tsartlip had been under shelter-in-place orders for several weeks and that all adults would be receiving a vaccine dose shortly. He added that as a member and resident of the nation, he too would be vaccinated on March 3.

READ ALSO: ‘Vile; filled with racism’: Officials condemn reaction to Cowichan First Nations COVID outbreak

In a public statement on Thursday, Chief Don Tom called Olsen’s announcement “highly offensive” and said the MLA had overstepped his role. He said the Tsartlip First Nation experienced an outbreak at the end of January and members were ordered to shelter-in-place starting Feb. 8. He said the last positive test was on Feb. 6 and that the nation currently has no active cases of COVID-19.

“Tsartlip has a right to self-determination, we cannot have an MLA misrepresenting our First Nation, and taking liberties to make public statements without consulting Tsartlip,” Tom said, adding that Olsen owed the community a public apology.

READ ALSO: BCAFN condems racism against Cowichan Tribes after COVID-19 outbreak

The same day, Olsen called Tom to offer his “unreserved apology” and shared an open letter on social media acknowledging it is not his role as an MLA to speak on behalf of the nation.

“I know these past weeks have been an incredibly difficult time for our community and I’m devastated that my actions have increased anxiety,” he wrote. “You have my commitment that this situation will not be repeated, and I fully accept your frustration and anger with my actions.”

READ ALSO: Adam Olsen declared winner in Saanich North and the Islands

Tom emphasized that the Tsartlip First Nation had specifically chosen to keep the outbreak private after witnessing the “cruel racism” members of the Cowichan Tribes experienced after an outbreak was declared in January. The Cowichan Tribes issued a stay-at-home order until Jan. 22 after more than 70 COVID-19 cases were reported.

According to Derek Thompson, Cowichan Tribes general manager, racism towards members of the First Nation increased immediately after the outbreak was disclosed.

“We chose to not subject Tsartlip members to this and kept our outbreak status private,” Tom said, noting that after Olsen revealed the situation, the First Nation was forced to address the outbreak publicly and clarify the situation. “Our membership now feel angst and worry for their social well-being.”

-With files from the Canadian Press


@devonscarlett
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

devon.bidal@saanichnews.com

CoronavirusFirst NationsSaanich Peninsula

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