Local news roundup: Week of March 16

BCIT News – Emad Agahi
BCIT News – Emad Agahi

Fire destroys home, pubs introduce shuttle service

By Angela Espinoza, News Editor


Around 4 a.m. on March 18, a Coquitlam house on Dawes Hill Road burned down.

Although no major injuries were reported, at least two people were taken to hospital for smoke inhalation; seven people were in the house at the time.

Homeowner Shawn MacWilliams told CBC, “By the time I grabbed my clothes and got out the curtains in the bedroom were on fire.” CBC reported MacWilliams had to crawl out of the house to escape the fire.

Police have confirmed the cause of the fire to be a displaced cigarette.


A Coquitlam-based teenager has pled guilty of “swatting” in the state of Florida last year.

The then 17-year-old reported false alarms that resulted in emergency responders being deployed. Incidents included the teen falsely threatening to “blow everyone up” at Fort Meade High School, which resulted in police dispatch, and another false report that he had murdered his own parents and would shoot police, according to the Tri-Cities Now.

The teenager also reportedly has a history of criminal harassment towards women he’s met online, with one case occurring in North Vancouver and another in Waterloo, Ontario.

The teen was arrested by RCMP on December 5 and will face sentencing on May 15.


New Westminster

The New West-based pub Frankie G’s has invested roughly $30,000 towards a patron shuttle service.

The service was launched in an attempt to prevent drinking and driving incidents from occurring. The shuttle seats eight people, which pub owner Calvin Basran told the New West Record could benefit patrons who are required to travel further out in order to visit the pub.

“We’re a hidden gem in New West,” Basran told the Record. “We have a lot to offer, but nobody wants to cross the bridge and drink and drive.”

Shuttle services run every Thursday to Saturday from 5 p.m. to closing, and drive out to various locations throughout New West, excluding the Sapperton area.


On March 21, residents of New Westminster protested the demolition of part of the Front Street parkade at the Fraser River waterfront.

Protestors suggested that instead the rooftop parkade should be converted into an elevated public park.

“It’s the kind of view that you need to buy a water-front condo to get,” elaborated Roland Guasparini, of the Save the Parkade Committee, in an interview with CBC.

However, the proposed park would be close to the already established Westminster Pier Park, and demolition of the parkade has been confirmed to begin this summer.