Kelowna  

The 2022 Move to Cure ALS returns to Kelowna

Walk for ALS returns

YouTube ALS Society of BC

The Move to Cure ALS is coming back to Kelowna this June.

The annual signature fundraising event for the ALS Society of British Columbia returns Sunday, June 12, at Waterfront Park in Kelowna.

"Our goal is to end ALS through creating a world-class ALS Centre at UBC. 100% of the net proceeds go to the ALS Society of British Columbia and will remain in B.C. to support patient services programs, 60% and research, 40%, through PROJECT HOPE. Join us virtually or in-person to move together toward a cure for ALS," says an ALS Society spokesperson.

The ALS Society of British Columbia provides direct services for people in B.C. with ALS and their families.

“After having teammates and friends pass away from the deadly effects of ALS, I was moved to lend a hand of support to Move to Cure ALS. As we all work together to find a cure, thank you for doing your part,” says Wally Buono, official spokesperson for the Move to Cure ALS.

During 2019-2021 $5.3 M was raised to establish the ALS Society of British Columbia's ALS Research Professorship at UBC, which will work to integrate research and clinical care.





City council will get a first look at a third airport hotel and more student housing for Okanagan College Monday

Hotel, housing on docket

Two large building projects at opposite ends of the city will come before Kelowna council Monday.

Council will be asked to endorse Official Community Plan and zoning amendments for a third hotel within the airport business park, and also approve a development permit for a 216-bed student housing building on the campus of Okanagan College.

The city's planning department is recommending council give its approval for both.

Argus Properties, which developed two other airport hotels, the Hampton Suites and Four Points Sheraton, is seeking approval for this third hotel property as well.

Plans for the Courtyard Marriott hotel call for 200 rooms within a six-storey configuration along with surface and one level of underground parking.

Argus previously submitted plans for a similar sized hotel two years ago, but put those plans on hold due to the pandemic.

The hotel would be situated on Fleet Court, directly behind the Sheraton.

Council is also being asked to issue a development permit for a six-storey student housing building on the southwestern portion of the OC campus.

The property in question was previously rezoned to increase the allowable height on the campus from three to six storeys to accommodate the housing project.

The 216 bed project would include 168 micro units, four double and 10 quad units.

Another 67 parking stalls would also be included to go with parking already available at the adjacent Skaha campus residence.

A club room, game room and study space would also be included on each floor.

If approved, the new project would bring the total number of on-campus student housing units to 360.



Kelowna Summer Fishing Derby to hit Okanagan Lake

Get ready for fishing derby

The 11th annual Kelowna Summer Fishing Derby is set to return to Okanagan Lake on Father’s Day weekend.

Event organizer Rodney Hennig notes Father's Day is a free fishing day for anyone in British Columbia.

"That weekend, people don’t need a fishing license to fish, so we’re trying to push families getting out and people getting outdoors. Especially kids nowadays, get them off their computers and get them outdoors and enjoying nature,” said Hennig.

With $4,000 going to the first-place winner, $1,000 to the runner up and $500 to third-place, the event attracts roughly 120 to 160 participants each year. Not to mention, it’s a great time for families to enjoy the beauty of the Okanagan.

“We’re hoping to get families out, father and son, that sort of thing. We’re promoting Okanagan Lake, the fishery here and it being more of a family event ... it’s just a good day on the water for everybody,” he added.

Hennig says Kelowna’s Summer Fishing Derby also promotes a catch and release style tournament rather than catch and kill. But how will the derby keep track of the winner?

According to Hennig, anyone taking part in the derby will have to use a specific ruler to measure their fish, while also wearing a wristband that will be colour coded to prevent cheating. A picture of the measurement and the wristband need to be taken and sent to the head director for ruling, and whoever snaps a photo of the longest fish wins the grand prize.

“To date, we’ve never had the same people win it, so that’s really good. We feel it’s a really fair playing field because it’s always been somebody different,” said Hennig.

Okanagan Rainbow Trout will be the fish of choice at this year’s derby.

The event runs from 6:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. on June 18, but registered fishers will have to meet at one of three locations the day before to confirm sign-up and receive their ruler and wristband.

  • Kelowna: Trout Waters Fly and Tackle (3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.)
  • Penticton: Berry and Smith Trucking (11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.)
  • Vernon: Earl’s Parking Lot (11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.)




Central Okanagan Search and Rescue called out to help in ATV crash on Postill Lake Road

Rescue after ATV crash

Two men are in hospital after flipping over their ATV and needing rescue from the vehicle on Saturday outside of Kelowna off of Postill Lake Road.

The Central Okanagan Search and Rescue team was called out at assist BCEHS crews in evacuating the two males that were injured.

The males were driving an all terrain vehicle, called a Razor, when it somehow flipped over.

According to COSAR, other riders in the group managed to remove the two men from the wrecked machine.

Both men sustained various injures and had to be removed from the scene with the use of the COSAR UTV.

The injured males were transported to waiting ambulances and then taken to Kelowna General Hospital. Twelve COSAR members attended the scene to assist in evacuating the males from the area.



Glenmore number one priority for new schools: SD23

Glenmore schools cramped

With the new high school in West Kelowna now funded, the Central Okanagan School District has a new item at the top of its wish list.

Every summer school district’s across B.C. submit their funding requests for capital projects to the provincial government. Projects can spend years and years on the wish lists before getting funded.

Next week, school trustees at committee will consider the 2023/24 five-year capital plan.

A new middle/secondary school in Glenmore is priority number one in the new school program. That would cost an estimated $85 million. The school system in Glenmore has been operating way over capacity for years now, pressured by the neighbourhood’s explosive growth.

Rutland Middle School remains the number one priority for the school replacement program. The school district wants to build a new middle school on the Quigley Elementary property at a rough cost of $50 million. The school district has been seeking funding for the project for about 15 years.

The school district’s desire to purchase land for a new school in the University neighbourhood is priority number one of the acquisition program and priority number two for the new schools program.

The school district suggests land acquisition could cost upwards of $20 million while a new middle school would cost $60 million to build.

Other proposed projects include construction of a new elementary school in Wilden, at an estimated $40 million. The province approved land acquisition for the Union Road site last year.

School additions are also proposed at several other schools to replace portable classrooms.

The provincial government says it funds capital projects based on priority. In recent years, B.C. has been forced to spend large sums on seismic upgrades at aging schools in the Lower Mainland.



Will the Coquihalla bottleneck a roaring summer tourism season in Kelowna?

The Coq looms over tourism

It was a busy start to the tourism season in Kelowna, as illustrated by the hours of traffic that filled the Coquihalla Highway Sunday afternoon as people returned to the Lower Mainland after the May Long weekend.

Kelowna Tourism President Lisanne Ballantyne believes pent up travel demand over the pandemic had people itching to get back out on a quick vacation getaway.

“I think the May long weekend we just had was probably one of the best on record. Anyone living here or visiting the Kelowna area felt it. Places were activated, there were lineups that unfortunately come along with May long weekend, but the hotels were packed, the restaurants and patios were all very happy," said Ballantyne.

According to Tourism Kelowna, the industry remained strong throughout the pandemic in terms of visitors, but that hotels and restaurants were hit quite hard – something they’re excited to start seeing go back to pre-pandemic levels.

“Getting a resurgence of tourism is so important. In B.C. alone we are one of the major driving economic impact generators for the province. Here in the Kelowna area alone, it’s a $2.1 billion business," she explained.

"That means we're generating direct spending, we’re generating jobs, as well as tax revenue that cities can use to build and create quality of life for residents.”

As a short-haul domestic tourism market, roughly 70 per cent of Kelowna’s tourists come from the Lower Mainland. Ballantyne said the traffic problems that made headlines Sunday are not worrying Tourism Kelowna.

“We’re comfortable that the right people are doing the right things and moving as quickly as they can on a major capital rebuild like the Coquihalla. What we are monitoring carefully is the price of gas for the people who are doing all that driving here ... but what we’re concerned about is once they get here ... are they going to have extra money to spend once they get here?" she asked.

The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure says traffic flow will remain slow during the summer months while repairs continue, especially on long weekends. The Province says traffic caused average delays of 80 minutes on Sunday of the Victoria Day long weekend.

"Drivers should ensure they have a full tank of gas, pack extra food and water, obey all speed limits, watch for workers on the road and consider travelling during non-peak times," the ministry said in a statement.



Three years after water main strike caused flooding in Lake Country, legal battles continue

Legal battles following flood

Three years after a water main break caused widespread flooding and a landslide in Lake Country, the legal finger-pointing continues.

At least half a dozen lawsuits have been filed against the District of Lake Country by residents after a water main break along Glenmore Road caused widespread damage on May 23, 2019.

In addition, the District of Lake Country has filed its own suit against a developer, a contractor and an engineering consulting firm, claiming at least $168,000 in infrastructure damage caused by the water main break.

But through hundreds of pages of court filings, the parties involved can't agree on just who's to blame.

On the day of the incident, the District of Lake Country said the flooding and landslide was caused by a water main break that had been hit by construction crews working near Glenmore Road and Okanagan Centre Road West. Water poured down the hill towards Highway 97, through residential properties and the Voyager RV property on Highway 97, and across the highway.

Voyager RV is one of several plaintiffs that has filed a claim against the District of Lake Country, Glenmore 3 Development Corporation, Double T Dirtworx and Protech Consulting. The company is seeking $35,000 in damages – the maximum allowed in Small Claims Court.

Glenmore 3 Development was developing a property near where the construction work was taking place. They contracted Double T Dirtworx to construct the sewer line and the water main for the development, and Protech was contracted to provide engineering consulting services on the project.

In its own suit against Glenmore 3, Double T Dirtworx and Protech, the District of Lake Country says on May 23, 2019, construction crews were building a new water main for the development and connecting it to the existing one in the area. The District alleges the crews struck a different water main during the work, which has the capacity to transmit 640 litres per second. The water main allegedly ran for about 50 minutes before District crews were able to shut it off.

The District says it incurred “at least $168,162” in damages to District infrastructure, and it may incur further loss as a result of the number of civil claims made against the District by residents.

In its response, Glenmore 3 claims the the District of Lake Country provided them with drawings identifying the location of the water main that was struck, but “this water main was not shown to be in the correct location.”

In its own response to the Voyager suit, the District places the blame entirely on Double T Dirtworx, claiming the contractor “failed to locate and properly identify the 450mm main.” The District also claims Dirtworx “agreed to assume liability for any damage undertaken with respect to the work.”

Glenmore 3 also claims that in its contract with Dirtworx, the contractor agreed to “make good any damage which arises as the result of the Contractor’s operations except for damage which, in the performance of the Work, the Contractor could not reasonably avoid.”

But in its own response, Dirtworx denies it assumed liability and denies that its employees were responsible for breaking the water main.

Bizarrely, Dirtworx denies “that the flood occurred on or about May 23, 2019, as alleged or at all.”

“Dirtworx further says that the District, Protech and Glenmore did not notify Dirtworx of the location of the water mains, including the Transmission Main [which was struck],” Dirtworx claims in its response.

“Dirtworx reasonably relied on the District, Protech and Glenmore to provide all information relating to the schematics of the Work and/or Activities, including the location of any water mains in the area.”

Meanwhile, Protech also denies any responsibility. It points to a note on the design drawings it produced for the project that allegedly stated: “Location of existing water services are unknown. Contractor to work with District staff to locate and reconnect services to new 300 PVC line. The existing water main locations and sizes are taken from the most recent as-built information but must be confirmed in the field prior to construction.”

Kirsten Jones, communications officer with the District of Lake Country, told Castanet that all legal matters with respect to the May 23, 2019 incident remain ongoing, but she couldn't provide any further details.

Meanwhile, the lawyer representing Voyager RV in its civil claim, Roger Tangry, said that their Small Claims Court case is in a bit of a “holding pattern,” until the B.C. Supreme Court cases related to the incident are completed.

The construction project on Glenmore Road was eventually completed in mid-July, 2019.

While most of the lawsuits related to the incident were filed in 2020 and 2021, the most recent suit, filed by a resident on Mountview Road against just the District of Lake Country, was just filed on May 19 of this year.

It remains unclear just how long the legal battles around the devastating water main break will continue for.



Crime levels in Kelowna have returned to pre-pandemic levels

New normal includes crime

It seems the criminal element within our society, like us, craved a "return to normal" coming out of the pandemic.

That is borne out in the latest crime numbers coming out of the Kelowna RCMP detachment.

In her quarterly report for Monday's city council meeting, Kelowna RCMP Supt. Kara Triance paints a picture of increases in crime across most statistical categories.

Many of those had shown a dip throughout much of 2020 and into 2021.

"Statistically, paralleling societal returns to post-pandemic lifestyle, Kelowna RCMP's comparison of Q1 2022 with Q1 2021 indicates a return to pre-pandemic property crime rates," Triance noted in her report.

Comparing the first three months of this year with the same period in 2021, shoplifting has jumped 63.3 per cent, business break ins 13.2 per cent, residential break and enters 15 per cent and auto theft 47.8 per cent.

Triance indicated auto theft is typically a crime of opportunity, involving unlocked or idling vehicles.

It is also noted a large number of property-related crime is committed by a small number of criminals.

"In Q1 this year, 149 files were attributed to a relatively small number of prolific offenders, many who require a multi-agency response."

In a separate report seeking provincial solutions to prolific criminals, it was stated one particular offender was responsible for more than one police file per week over the past six years.

While most property crime showed dramatic spikes, there were also dramatic decreases in theft from vehicles (down 19.3 per cent) and bike theft (down 32.3 per cent).

Drug trafficking offences took a sharp drop, however, Triance attributed that to a shift in federal enforcement and prosecution policies.

Traffic violations also nosedived from 1,052 to 316 due to a temporary redeployment of traffic services resources to address pressures related to calls for service, workloads and human resourcing.

Triance did indicate a concern around a sharp rise in assaults with a weapon which jumped nearly 41 per cent.

She indicated the trend is being felt nationally, which has prompted Public Safety Canada to make $250 million available for community-based prevention initiatives.

"Kelowna RCMP, in partnership with the City of Kelowna, will be exploring opportunities under this fund in the coming months."

With a significant tourism boom expected this summer after two years of restrictions, Triance says a plan is in place to "optimize shifting, schedules and resourcing," to prepare for seasonal events, an influx of tourists and potential emergencies.

"The Okanagan will benefit from the deployment of RCMP officers from around British Columbia, coming to work events and weekends, to ensure adequate staff in our busiest season."



New plans unveiled for rental development in Rutland

New Rutland build planned

A new vision for the corner of Rutland and Robson roads has been unveiled.

Nearly two years after city council gave initial approval to rezone three Robson Road properties to make way for a three-storey, 54 unit development — plans have changed.

The original development suggested consolidating the three properties to make way for the project but, in the intervening years, a fourth property at 285 Rutland Road has been acquired, changing the scope of the development.

New plans unveiled this week include a five-storey development and 106 rental condo units.

In its application, Lakeview Homes calls the project a "prime example where we can better utilize the land by providing 100 rental condos in place of four existing single-family homes."

In order to integrate into what is mostly a single-family neighbourhood, the developer says the building will be designed so it steps down in height as it borders onto the residential area to the south.

"Lakeview Homes is looking to meet the high rental demand in the area by increasing the building to five storeys in height and rezoning to RM5R instead of the previous RM3 application," the application concludes.

"There is a 0.6% rental vacancy rate per CHMC figures, and as such there is much need for additional rental units despite the location of the property being outside of the urban center."

The proposed unit makeup includes 46 one bedroom suites, 25 one bedroom with den and 35 two bedroom. A total of 131 surface and below grade parking spaces are proposed.



Networking and business event, F***Up Nights comes to Kelowna

F***Up Nights in Kelowna

Kelowna and the rest of the Okanagan are invited to celebrate their failures.

You read that right, F***Up nights is a speaker series and networking opportunity coming to Kelowna's Innovation Centre on June 2.

F***Up Nights is a global movement that celebrates professional failures that lead to success. The events have been hosted in 318 cities and 92 countries worldwide.

Now the movement is coming to Kelowna and local business owners and entrepreneurs are invited to listen and to share their stories about failure and how it eventually can lead to success.

"F***Up nights offers business people the opportunity to share the stresses of an entrepreneurial life. Failures are shared, failures are embraced, while lessons are taught and revered," says CEO Tony McGrath.

McGrath purchased the franchise in part to elevate the Kelowna networking scene and to bring excitement and entrepreneurial insights to the Okanagan.

The first event will feature Ragwha Gopal, CEO of Innovate BC, Tricia Chrzanowski, co-owner of 9Round Fitness and the Associate Managing Partner of Simplex Legal, Rudy Tomazic, founder of Friends of Dorothy Lounge and Ria and Trent Kitsch, founders of Kitsch Winery. Guests will enjoy the trials and tribulations of entrepreneurs as they share the failures that led them down the road to success.

For more information click here.



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