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Watch for flood-damaged vehicles

MOTOR vehicles damaged by flooding in Hurricane Sandy on the American eastern seaboard could wind up for resale in Manitoba, warns Manitoba Public Insurance.

About 700,000 vehicles were damaged by flooding in Hurricane Sandy. These vehicles can be dangerous.

"Water can enter electronic components of vehicles, causing corrosion and malfunctioning of important safety features such as airbags. There may also be health concerns because of mould and other toxins," Ward Keith, MPI registrar of motor vehicles, said in a press release.

Flood-damaged vehicles entering Canada are supposed to be branded "irreparable" and cannot be registered for road use. However, vehicles could slip across the border unbranded if the owner doesn't open an insurance claim.

Consumers can check the history of a vehicle from the U.S. by going to this free service: www.carproof.com/ free-flood-damage-check.aspx .

Teachers' group to get disciplinary power

THE Manitoba government has introduced legislation it says will improve the process by which the Manitoba Teachers' Society (MTS) investigates complaints, conducts internal disciplinary procedures and recoups costs in cases of proven unprofessional conduct by a teacher.

The society requested an increase in the range of penalties for members found to have engaged in unprofessional conduct or conduct unbecoming a teacher.

Following an MTS internal disciplinary review panel hearing, the society would be able to suspend or terminate a teacher's membership in the society or impose a fine to help offset the costs of hearings related to investigations.

Call a consultant about cellphones: Toews

A consultant's report may help bring upgrades to cellphone service in southeastern Manitoba, said senior Manitoba federal cabinet minister Vic Toews.

Toews was responding to pleas for better cellphone coverage at the Association of Manitoba Municipalities' annual meeting in Winnipeg Monday.

Steinbach Mayor Chris Goertzen told the minister of public safety the poor cellphone service in the area in a recent wildfire "put first responders in peril."

The wildfire raged through the community of Vita on Oct. 2, followed by a snowstorm two days later. Substandard communications hampered life-saving efforts of emergency personnel, Goertzen said.

Toews responded that a report by MTS says it would cost $21 million to put complete cellphone service into the area. That's a big price for a lightly populated area, he said.

He said Ottawa could cover a third of the cost, but a private investor is needed. Toews recommended the southeastern municipalities fund a consultant's report to see if there are ways to bring costs down.

Law allows affordable housing demands

MUNICIPALITIES could demand new residential developments include housing designed for folks with low or moderate incomes under a bill introduced by the Selinger government on Monday.

The proposed legislation amends the Planning Act and the City of Winnipeg Charter. It includes:

-- specific zoning bylaw provisions that would allow municipalities to either take a mandatory or incentive-based approach to requiring affordable housing;

-- a requirement that the municipality define affordable housing in the bylaw, based on local context and needs; and

-- provisions on development agreements between the municipality and the developer designed to protect the ongoing affordability of the housing units.

Current Manitoba planning legislation does not contain specific authority allowing municipalities to require developers to include affordable housing in new developments, said Local Government Minister Ron Lemieux.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 27, 2012 A8

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