New project brings 'desperately needed' indoor farming to Calgary Tower

WATCH (June 26): Dan Houston with Agriplay Ventures joins Global News Morning to discuss how it’s transforming unused commercial real estate in Calgary into more than 150 different crops.

Big changes are on the way at one of Calgary’s best-known landmarks, which means Calgary Tower will soon have a garden in a surprising spot.

The project involves putting in an indoor system for growing produce in vacant commercial space at the bottom of the tower.

For the man in charge of the project, Dan Houston of Agriplay Ventures, it brings back memories of childhood visits to the top of the tower.

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“It was special, because we’d go up to see the city,” Houston said.

Agriplay will be installing vertical growing towers in the Calgary Tower space.

“We’re going to be having strawberries, watermelons, cucumbers,” Houston said.

It will be an expansion of what Agriplay already has on the go at its existing indoor farming facility in northeast Calgary

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The benefits of growing a garden during the COVID-19 crisis

“The system automatically produces the nutrient system and flows into each of the towers,” Houston said.

Agriplay’s existing operation grows produce like parsley, peppers and cherry tomatoes.

“You can grow, in one-tenth the space, three to five times the amount of greenhouse vegetables, using 98 per cent less water,” Houston said. “It’s environmentally friendly. It’s desperately needed.”

Agriplay is planning to grow fruits and vegetables at the Calgary Tower by Sept. 1.

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The company is hoping to take its system elsewhere in Calgary to help revitalize the city’s downtown.

“We walk into a building that can’t find a tenant and we turn that building into an output of fresh produce,” Houston said.

Agriplay is aiming to have fruit and veggies grown at the Calgary Tower in local supermarkets by early 2023.

The project will bring fresh ideas to a spot Houston enjoyed so much as a child.

“So it’s kind of come full circle,” Houston said. “I mean, what better way to show Calgary diversifying and changing… than to covert the icon that is the Calgary Tower and bring it back to life?”

 

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Police arrest man immediately after downtown Toronto stabbing

Police are investigating after a man was stabbed in downtown Toronto Tuesday evening.

In a tweet, Toronto police said they received reports a man had been stabbed in the Yonge and Dundas Street area around 7:23 p.m.

Police said that although both the victim and suspect fled the area, they found a man with multiple stab wounds, and a suspect.

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Police make arrest after Toronto stabbing injures man

Toronto paramedics told Global News they were assessing the patient at the scene.

Police confirmed one person was taken into custody immediately after the incident.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Rourke, Henry and Jefferson named CFL's top performers in Week 3

B.C. Lions quarterback Nathan Rourke has been named the CFL‘s top performer of the week for the second time this season.

BC Lions' Nathan Rourke throws a pass against the Toronto Argonauts' during second half of CFL football action in Vancouver, B.C., Saturday, June 25, 2022.

BC Lions' Nathan Rourke throws a pass against the Toronto Argonauts' during second half of CFL football action in Vancouver, B.C., Saturday, June 25, 2022.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Rich Lam

The Victoria-born pivot headlined the league’s top performers for Week 3 after throwing for 436 yards — a CFL single-game record for passing yards by a Canadian quarterback — and four touchdowns in the Lions’ 44-3 thrashing of visiting Toronto on Saturday.

READ MORE: Rourke among CFL players to keep eye on during 2022 regular season

Rourke was also the top performer in Week 1 after throwing three touchdowns and rushing for two more in a 59-15 rout of Edmonton. The Lions had a bye in Week 2.

Rourke has passed for 748 yards and completed 87.8 per cent of his passes with seven touchdowns to no interceptions so far this season.

Edmonton Elks defensive back Jalen Collins, right, looks on as Calgary Stampeders receiver Malik Henry makes a catch during second half CFL football action in Calgary, Saturday, June 25, 2022.

Edmonton Elks defensive back Jalen Collins, right, looks on as Calgary Stampeders receiver Malik Henry makes a catch during second half CFL football action in Calgary, Saturday, June 25, 2022.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

Calgary receiver Malik Henry and Winnipeg defensive lineman Willie Jefferson were also honoured by the CFL on Tuesday.

READ MORE: Winnipeg outclasses Hamilton, Tiger-Cats fall to 0-3

Henry caught six passes for 173 yards — both career highs — and had a touchdown in the Stampeders‘ 30-23 win over the rival Edmonton Elks on Saturday.

READ MORE: Elks still winless after 30-23 loss to Stampeders

Winnipeg Blue Bombers' Willie Jefferson (5) runs in his interception for the touchdown against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats during the second half of CFL action in Winnipeg, Friday, June 24, 2022.

Winnipeg Blue Bombers' Willie Jefferson (5) runs in his interception for the touchdown against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats during the second half of CFL action in Winnipeg, Friday, June 24, 2022.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods

Jefferson returned an interception 30 yards for a touchdown and had three tackles and a sack as the Blue Bombers downed Hamilton 26-12 on Friday.

© 2022 The Canadian Press

Skyrocketing house prices force Okanagan family to leave B.C. for Alberta

Laura Wilson has enjoyed living in the Okanagan for the past four years.

“We love it here,” she told Global News. “Especially the weather and the ability to just get out and just walk to a hiking trail or the parks or the lake.”

But Wilson said her family, including her husband and two children, are being forced to move out of the province.

“It’s sad, actually, that people have to uproot their children and their whole lives and leave a community,” she said.

Read more:

Canada needs ‘all hands on deck’ to fill housing supply gap: CMHC

Wilson said the skyrocketing cost of housing is what’s behind the difficult decision to leave the Southern Interior.

“We’re giving it up for financial stability,” she said. “We were given notice that our landlord would like their house back.

“And so, after searching and searching for something affordable that our family could live in comfortably, we realized that that wasn’t going to happen.”

The family is moving to Edmonton, where they’ve purchased a townhouse at a fraction of what it would cost in the Central Okanagan.

“We paid $172,000 which is cheap,” Wilson said. “In the Okanagan, you can’t even buy a one-bedroom condo in Kelowna for that price.”

A senior economist with the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, Alex Hemingway, said this family’s story is not unique.

“Everyone has seen around us housing prices skyrocket and that comes with consequences,” he said.

Those consequences aren’t only for people relocating for financial reasons, but also for the communities they leave behind.

“It means that our communities are becoming more exclusionary based on income and wealth, and that’s not the way to organize the city,” Hemingway said.

“We’re being deprived of the talents of those people in our cities. And, of course, they’re being deprived of the opportunity to choose to where to live.”

According to the Association of Interior Realtors,  the benchmark price for a single-family home in Kelowna is around $1.13 million.

The median price for a two-bedroom rental is $2,300 a month, according to a Canadian Rent Report by Zumper, a housing rental company.

“Kelowna and the Okanagan have been one of the places over the past couple of years where prices have gotten out of control,” Hemingway said.

Read more:

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Hemingway added that a housing supply shortage is to blame as is a lack of government investment in affordable housing.

“We have not had enough direct public investment in dedicated affordable housing for many, many years, ” Hemingway said. “We have actually seen that investment increase over the past few years, but we’re dealing with a backlog of need and underinvestment that goes back decades.”

He said solutions must include a massive expansion of investment in dedicated, affordable housing, but also some leniency on the part of municipal governments.

“In most of our cities, apartments are not allowed to be built on most of the residential land, even though that’s the most affordable type of housing that exists today,” he said.

“That drives up the price of the land on which you can build housing, those very scarce parcels where you’re allowed to build apartments. The price of that is driven up by in part by exclusionary zoning, so that’s something very important that needs to be dealt with at the municipal level.”

While Wilson said she’ll miss the Okanagan and everything it has to offer, she’s looking forward to more disposable income every month.

“Oh, a lot more,” she said. “I think at the end of my budget, it looks like we’ll have about a $700 surplus.”

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

'That day I really wanted EMS': Parents of 3-year-old taken to hospital in fire truck speak out

It was a terrifying night for a Toronto couple visiting friends at their northwest Calgary home. Rishi Agarwal and Daniel Langdon were with their daughter Tara Agarwal when she started to convulse around midnight on Sunday. They called 911 and firefighters were first to arrive on scene.

“She had been seizing quite a few minutes before they arrived,” Langdon said.

“Our heart dropped a little when we were told there was no EMS available.

“Her oxygen was low so it was critical she got to hospital as soon as possible.”

Read more:

Alberta government creates more EMS positions, but union says it’s not enough

But Agarwal said, instead of going to Alberta Children’s Hospital in an ambulance, they spent excruciating minutes waiting for one to arrive.

“The same eyes she uses to say, ‘I love you papa,’ those eyes are rolled back in her head and you freak out as a parent,” Agarwal said. “To see it happen for so long, thank god the fire department got there and got her to hospital but it had been minutes and minutes.”

“That day I really wanted EMS and I wish we could have had EMS,” Langdon added.

However, Agarwal noted the care offered by those on scene was “seamless.”

“The care with Alberta Children’s and the fire crew was amazing,” Agarwal said. “This almost seemed like normal procedure because it was so seamless.”

Captain Vern McNeice was at fire station 6. He said he made the call after waiting almost 20 minutes for the paramedics.

Inside fire engine where Tara rode to hospital.

Inside fire engine where Tara rode to hospital.

Jill Croteau/Global News

McNeice said he consulted with a doctor and together they made the choice to have her sit in the arms of a firefighter in the fire truck en route to hospital.

“Never have I been to call where we had to do that, it was unchartered territory.”

Captain McNeice with responding fire crew.

Captain McNeice with responding fire crew.

Jill Croteau/Global News

“It wasn’t perfect but you’ve got to deal with what you got, and we did,” McNeice added. “We were all thinking about it on our days off and it weighs on you and you hope everything is good. It’s a rich experience to see her now.

“That’s the option we had and I took it I would do it again, but I hope we don’t have to.”

Tara is expected to make a full recovery and the family is set to be on their way back home to Toronto later this week.

Family with fire crew.

Family with fire crew.

Jill Croteau/Global News

There is an EMS station on the same road, seconds away from the home where the incident happened.

Alberta Health Services said response times continue to be impacted by “extremely high volumes” and is reviewing the call.

In a statement from AHS, officials said “EMS arrived exactly one minute after CFD made the decision to transport the patient.”

“We know that waiting for an ambulance is difficult and stressful, and that this is exacerbated when a response time is longer than it should be,” the statement read.

Read more:

‘We’re on our knees’: Alberta EMS union says system on the verge of collapse

Ministry of Health spokesperson Steve Buick said AHS is adding staff as fast as they can.

“They’ve increased their paramedic staffing by more than 200 in the past two years, but they’re still short because their staff are tired and not as available as they were a year ago or two years ago. Very understandably,” Buick said.

“The bottom line is, response times are too long and we’ll work at it until we get them back within AHS’s targets.

“We expect the pressure on the system to ease as the current wave of COVID recedes, but we’re in an unprecedented health crisis that’s lasted more than two years, and it continues to impact the system here and in every other province.”

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

John Horgan is leaving. Who might be the next premier of British Columbia?

B.C. Premier John Horgan ends speculation about his political future and announces his intention to step down before the next provincial election, set for 2024. He says he plans to remain politically active but has asked the NDP executive to start the process of a leadership race for the fall.

The BC NDP has been John Horgan’s party since 2014.

It’s not just because he’s been leader since then, but because he has left his mark on everything the party has done to get and maintain power.

Now that the 62-year-old has announced his intentions to step down, the province’s New Democratic Party will hold what’s expected to be a hotly contested leadership battle this fall.

Here is a list of people who have already started to organize a potential leadership bid, as well as other perceived frontrunners.

David Eby

Attorney General David Eby has been a political heavyweight for over a decade, first as the face for the BC Civil Liberties Association, then as an opposition MLA, and now as the province’s top lawyer since 2017.

The 44-year-old Vancouver-Point Grey MLA has been leading B.C.’s effort to curb widespread and systemic money laundering in casinos, overhaul ICBC, and address the ongoing housing crisis.

He has strong connections to political organizers in Vancouver, and is growing a support base beyond that.

His young family was the reason he turned down leadership opportunities in the past, and it may be the only thing that keeps him from chasing the top job this time.

Ravi Kahlon

A rising star in Horgan’s cabinet, Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon’s name recognition has grown throughout the pandemic.

The 43-year-old has led the province’s economic recovery from COVID-19 since being appointed to cabinet in 2020.

The former Olympic field hockey player and political staffer has deep roots within the NDP that go far beyond his Delta North riding.

Like Eby, Kahlon has a child in school. His family may also be the one factor that could keep him out of the race.

 

Adrian Dix

Could Health Minister Adrian Dix be “100-per-cent all in” once again?

The former party leader has written another political act for himself, helping to guide the province through the pandemic alongside provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry.

Dix, 58, famously lost the election to BC Liberal Christy Clark in 2013 after many public opinion polls put him far ahead during the campaign.

His resurgence in popularity would be unparalleled in a party leadership race, with a name known far outside his riding of Vancouver-Kingsway.

However, he may be limited by his track record and the larger health-care crisis, including a family doctor shortage.

Josie Osborne

A favourite of many in Horgan’s inner circle, Josie Osborne continues to build a provincial profile as the newly minted minister of land, water and resource stewardship.

The former mayor of Tofino was originally tapped to head up the municipal affairs portfolio, and then moved her current role that includes the responsibility of working with First Nations and other communities on environmental development.

The 51-year-old is well liked by many municipal leaders across B.C. and would be able to use her connections to reach out to NDP members all over the province.

However, Osborne’s lack of provincial experience may impact her decision to run for leader.

Jennifer Whiteside

An experienced labour leader, Jennifer Whiteside has been a prominent member of Horgan’s cabinet since winning her New Westminster seat in 2020.

The newcomer to electoral politics was thrust into the spotlight as education minister during the pandemic on how to safely get kids back to the classroom following months of remote learning.

She could rely on her connections in the labour movement in a leadership bid, such as from her time with the Hospital Employees’ Union from 2015 to 2020.

Whiteside’s lack of political experience, however, may deter her from joining the race.

Nathan Cullen

Former MP Nathan Cullen has long been rumoured to have leadership ambitions, having finished third in the 2012 federal NDP contest that was ultimately won by Thomas Mulcair.

His transition was rough when he made the jump to provincial politics.

The party announced he’d won the nomination by acclaim to run in the northern riding of Stikine in the 2020 B.C. election, a week after Annita McPhee, a three-term president of the Tahltan Central Government, was told she couldn’t run.

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But since then, Cullen has emerged as a key member of Horgan’s cabinet, serving as minister of municipal affairs.

Representing the rural riding of Stikine would be both a plus and minus were he to run for party leader.

He’d be able to tap into a more remote area of the province that the NDP currently struggles to communicate with, but he’d also need to convince urban voters he understands their issues.

Bowinn Ma

Another young rising star in the NDP cabinet, Bowinn Ma has been building a fan base among New Democrats since her election in 2017.

The minister of state for infrastructure initially turned down an invitation to Horgan’s cabinet in 2019, before joining in 2020.

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The UBC-trained engineer has been heavily focused on Metro Vancouver’s transit network and the climate crisis.

Ma, 36, won the swing riding of North Vancouver-Lonsdale in 2017 in what was a considered a hallmark victory for the party on the North Shore.

Her independent spirit may be what keeps her from running.

Selina Robinson

As B.C.’s finance minister, Selina Robinson has the name recognition and experience to immediate become a frontrunner for the leadership, but she’s been telling people she’s not interested.

The 58-year-old has been one of the architects of B.C.’s plan to address housing affordability and has had to manage the province’s books during the economic impact of the pandemic.

The Coquitlam-Maillardville MLA is also currently in the challenging position of leading the political end of negotiations with B.C.’s public-sector unions.

Katrina Chen

A relative newcomer to provincial politics, Katrina Chen has quickly built a strong reputation among NDP members.

Still largely unknown to the general public, Chen has been managing the province’s child-care portfolio since 2017.

Getting to $10-per-day child care and regulating the sector have been huge priorities for Horgan’s government, and Chen has largely managed the issues well.

The 38-year-old served as a Burnaby school trustee and constituency assistant before winning the riding of Burnaby-Lougheed.

She was just 34 years old when she was sworn into cabinet, making her one of B.C.’s youngest ministers ever.

Chen is significantly admired by her colleagues for handling a challenging portfolio and raising her elementary school-aged son as single mom.

Rob Fleming

It is not the first time Rob Fleming’s name as been bandied about as a leadership candidate.

Like Robinson, he has been indicating to people around him that the time may not be right.

But the 50-year-old transportation minister would also be a frontrunner if he decided to test his degree of party support.

Fleming has represented the riding of Victoria-Swan Lake since 2009.

He was one of the most prominent critics when the party was in opposition, and jumped in as education minister when the party formed government in 2017.

Fleming was part of the lead government response team following the catastrophic floods and mudslides last November.

Brad West

The outspoken mayor of Port Coquitlam, Brad West would bring an outsider’s prospective to the leadership contest.

Seen as a  potential successor to Mike Farnworth, the former Port Coquitlam MLA who is now a cabinet minister, West’s experience in city hall would be an advantage.

Highly critical of the federal government’s relationship with China, West was one of the leading advocates to investigate the roots of money laundering in B.C.

The 37-year-old father of two could struggle in deciding to enter provincial politics while having such a young family.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

University of Regina introduces 'The Really Big Deal' for students living on campus

As the school year comes to a close for many students across the country, the University of Regina is looking towards next year.

The U of R will be offering students what they call ‘The Really Big Deal’.

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The deal is meant for students who will be living on campus.

“Living on campus fosters a sense of security, community, and belonging for student,” the U of R said in a press release.

“It allows for close proximity to classes and access to on-campus supports like the Student Wellness Centre and Recreation Services. It is also a great way for student to transition from living with their families to feeling comfortable living on their own.”

Students can expect housing and tuition savings when they bundle together U of R housing, meal plans and campus store purchases.

The saving bundles include locked-in tuition and fees, locked-in and discounted housing rates, as well as a variety of other financial benefits as long as they live in U of R housing.

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University of Regina President and Vice-Chancellor Dr. Jeff Keshen hopes this deal encourages both people in Saskatchewan and from around the world to live on campus.

“One thing about being a commuter campus is people will often come and then head back home,” he said. “A lot of people who are coming from out of town, we would like them to live on campus, so we are offering this package program.

“They are investing in the university, and we are investing in them and I believe by having more people staying our dormitories will create a vibrant campus.”

The hope is with more people on campus, services and events will increase and continue later into the evening. And while Keshen doesn’t expect the deal to be fully used this fall as many students have already sorted out living arrangements, into the future it can be something to build upon.

Depending on which U of R housing option is chosen, international students could save up to $21,000 over a four-year period based on the higher tuition rates they pay. Domestic students could save over $18,000 over a four-year period.

The deadline to opt in for Fall 2022 is Sept. 14, 2022 and the deadline to opt in for Winter 2023 is Jan. 17, 2023.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Tuesday vigil set to honour missing teen found dead in Vancouver apartment

A vigil is being planned for Tuesday evening to remember a Port Coquitlam teen who was found dead in a Downtown Eastside apartment under mysterious circumstances on May 1 - after being missing for almost one year. Kamil Karamali reports.

Family, friends and supporters of a B.C. teen found dead in a Vancouver apartment building have scheduled a vigil in her honour Tuesday evening.

Noelle ‘Ellie’ O’Soup and another deceased person were found in the apartment at East Hastings Street and Heatley Avenue on May 1.

Read more:

Search for missing 14-year-old from Port Coquitlam comes to a tragic end

The 14-year-old, who was originally from the Key First Nation in Saskatchewan, had been missing for more than a year after leaving her Port Coquitlam home without permission on May 12, 2021.

Vancouver police say they are investigating all avenues in her death.

Some Indigenous leaders, though, have called out what they believe was a lack of urgency in police efforts to find her while she was still missing.

“In general the RCMP — I am very disappointed and disgusted with them and their lack of action, their lack of interest and you know just in general not caring,” Chief Clinton Key with the Key First Nation told Global News in a previous interview.

Read more:

14-year-old Port Coquitlam teen has now been missing more than a year

The criticism comes in the wake of pressure on Vancouver police for their efforts to locate Chelsea Poorman, a 24-year-old Indigenous woman whose remains were found at a vacant home a year and a half after she was reported missing.

Tuesday’s vigil is scheduled for 6 p.m. at 405 Heatley Ave., outside the building where she was found.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

More Winnipeggers choosing to bike amid high gas prices, cycling advocate says

As the price of gas continues to soar, more Winnipeggers are ditching their cars and hopping on a bike, according to a cycling advocate who has been using pedal power to get around for years.

Mark Cohoe, the executive director of Bike Winnipeg says he’s been seeing more and more bikes on the roads and trails this summer.

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“This year, what we’re seeing, you know, if I bike down Assiniboine and I get to the Osborne set of lights, it’s regular now that I see people waiting. So I see a stack of people waiting to get across there. And that’s something I hadn’t really seen before,” Cohoe said Tuesday.

“I think a lot of people are at least making more trips on the bike — they’re at least taking away a portion of … their vehicle trips.”

Nearly seven out of 10 Canadian drivers say they’re worried they won’t be able to afford the cost of gas this summer, according to the results of a recent Ipsos poll conducted exclusively for Global News.

Of those surveyed, 75 per cent said they’re driving less in order to save on costs at the pump.

Read more:

Sky-high fuel prices encouraging more Manitobans to commute by bike

Global News caught up with Chris Victor as she was cycling home to St. Boniface after spending a morning at the Pan-Am Pool Tuesday.

Victor said she’s an avid cyclist, and while she has two vehicles at home, she still chooses to use her bike more.

“It definitely makes a difference on what I’m spending on gas,” she said, adding that while she’s cycling in the summer she fills up her tank maybe once a month.

“It’s still a sticker shock at the gas pump, but yeah, if I can cycle, I will cycle wherever I possibly can.”

Cohoe says as well as saving money at the pumps, many of the new cyclists might also be turning to two wheels as a way of combatting climate change.

Read more:

As gas prices soar across Canada, experts say more increases expected in coming weeks

And there’s also the health benefits.

“Everything is sort of converging,” he said.

Cohoe says with more cyclists on the road, it’s important that the City of Winnipeg maintains roads and sidewalks and expands bike infrastructure, like adding more protected lanes.

“The city has a plan that they want to get more people biking, but they need to make sure they’re spending on that,  that they’re investing in improving cycling facilities” he said.

“Because right now there’s huge demand to get biking. But unless people feel safe, unless they have a direct, connected route to get them from the point they’re starting out to where they’re going, they’re not compelled to make that switch.”

Read more:

Rising gas prices drive Canadians to bike-buying and public transit

The city tells Global News it has counters out on the streets right now, monitoring how many cyclists have been out and about during the month of June.

Those numbers are expected to be released in the coming weeks.

— with files from Marek Tkach 

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

1 killed in fiery crash between pickup, semi north of Edmonton on Highway 28

A man was killed after his pickup truck collided with a semi north of Edmonton in Thorhild County on Tuesday afternoon.

The crash between the truck and a tractor trailer hauling an empty Super B tank happened around 12:30 p.m. on Highway 28, north of Redwater, at Township Road 582.

The man driving the pickup, who RCMP said was alone in his vehicle, died.

Read more:

Teenage girl critically injured in head-on crash on Highway 28 north of Gibbons

The tractor trailer was engulfed in flames due to the impact of the collision, but RCMP said thankfully the man driving the semi only received minor injuries. He was alone inside the rig.

While the crash is still under investigation, police believe the southbound pickup crossed the centre line and collided with the northbound semi.

“The RCMP send our condolences to all involved in this tragedy,” said Alberta RCMP Const. Lauren Mowbray.

Read more:

Fort McMurray man killed in 2-vehicle crash near Redwater

Highway 28 was closed between Redwater and the Highway 827 turnoff to Egremont. RCMP expected it would remain that way into the evening, as emergency and clean up crews were still on scene.

Drivers were asked to avoid the area. Police said an update would be provided once the highway becomes passable.

RCMP from Redwater, Fort Saskatchewan, traffic services and the eastern Alberta district crime reduction unit all responded to the scene, along with local emergency crews.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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