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A major fire in one of the buildings of the Campus Court Plaza destroyed several businesses last month, causing nearly $2 million in damage.
The plaza, located just east of UW, contained such businesses as the Tabu Nightclub, Mel's Diner, and Sugar Mountain, businesses that were frequented by many students and employed around 100 people. The call came in on April 22nd at 5:30am, but by that point there was nothing that could have been done to save it. The other building, which contains , among other things, Pizza Nova and K-Zone, were not affected.
Jerry Smith, the owner of Mel's, says it will take between 8 and 12 months to get his restaurant back up and running. This is largely because the original building design does not meet updated building codes, and so additional time will be required before shovels can hit the ground. He is hoping, though, to set up a franchise, though plans have not been finalized.
The fire reportedly started in the DJ booth in Tabu, and spread quickly once it got into the common roof. A firewall installed at Ceasar Martini's was successful in preventing the fire from destroying that business, but it remains closed due to smoke and water damage. Fire officials also said that a sprinkler system, which was legally not required in that style of building, would have been able to quickly contain the fire.
The cause of the fire has not been released.
Amit Chakma, the former VP Academic and Provost, earned just under $1 million last year, according to the Ontario government's annual $100k+ earner's list. This is more than double what he earned in the position in 2008.
Chamka, who left the position last year to become president at UWO in London, reportedly received over $500,000 from UW last year as he was leaving his job. The extra cash is reportedly a payout for untaken administrative and sabbatical leave.
Nobody from either UW or UWO were willing to discuss the matter with CTV.
The Region of Waterloo approved $2.4 million to be spent on a stop announcement system, similar to that used on the iXpress. This comes after the Ontario Human Rights Commission told transit companies that they are required to announce bus stops when they reach them.
The system will use GPS technology to detect its location and make an announcement just before arriving at a stop. It will also will provide information to GRT about schedule reliability and ridership information.
GRT was originally planning something like this, using the iXpress as a pilot, but the OHRC has since told transit companies to provide announcements for users with audible and visual impairments.
Some would consider the alternative of having drivers manually announce stops along the route to be much cheaper. GRT tried that many years ago, but the program was abandoned after employees complained of strain to their voices and so-called "cognitive overload".
The system is expected to be in place on all tri-city buses by the fall.
with files from CTV News, CP24 and Imprint