West Kelowna  

West Kelowna to celebrate new skateboard park

Celebrating new skatepark

West Kelowna is celebrating the opening of its new skateboard park this weekend.

The official opening is Saturday between 1:30 and 4 p.m. — skateboarders and skateboard enthusiasts of all ages are invited to the celebration.

The park opened unofficially in the fall of 2021 and the site of the old skateboard park is making way for the construction of West Kelowna’s new city hall and library.

“This popular amenity will provide opportunities for all ages and abilities to enjoy and be a welcoming place to gather," said West Kelowna Mayor Gord Milsom.

The celebration is free and the skateboarding community is invited to enjoy a live DJ, food trucks will be on site along with skateboarding demos and competitions.

A ribbon-cutting was held last fall but an official opening was postponed until after COVID-19 restrictions were lifted.

The new park is near the old location, next to the Johnson Bentley Pool.

Full boil-water notice issued for Lakeview-Rose Valley water system

Boil water notice issued

The City of West Kelowna has upgraded the water advisory on the Lakeview-Rose Valley water system to a full boil water notice.

All residents within the service area must now bring water to a rolling boil for one minute for brushing teeth, drinking, making baby formula, preparing food and beverages and ice and washing fruits and vegetables.

The notice is due to increased turbidity in the water, which impacts the performance of the chlorine disinfection process. Bacteria, protozoa, viruses and other microorganisms can attach themselves to suspended particles in the turbid water.

A safe, free, alternate source of water is available at the bulk filling station at Shannon Lake and Asquith Roads. The tap is located on the Asquith Road side of the station.

The notice will stay in place until further notice. An interactive map of West Kelowna water systems is here.

RCMP confirm suspicious object found on Bartley Road was an explosive

Police confirm explosive

West Kelowna RCMP say they are continuing to investigate the circumstances surrounding the discovery of what turned out to be an explosive device on Bartley Road Thursday morning.

In a news release, the RCMP's Explosive Disposal Unit, activated from the Lower Mainland, determined the suspicious object was indeed an explosive device.

It was destroyed locally.

RCMP would not specify whether the object was indeed a man-made bomb, stating to "protect the integrity of the investigation, no further details regarding the device will be released at this time."

A resident of the area told Castanet News she was told the device was a pipe bomb.

Police, out of an abundance of caution, secured the scene until the EDU arrived. Residents were not evacuated, but vehicle traffic was restricted through the area.

The West Kelowna RCMP, EDU and forensic team are continuing to investigate.

If anyone has any information about this incident, please call the West Kelowna RCMP detachment at 250-768-2880.

To remain anonymous please call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or leave a tip online at www.crimestoppers.net

A vehicle collision is responsible for power outage to parts of Lower Glenrosa

Some power restored

UPDATE: 11:15 a.m.

Power has been restored for some residents living in the area of Lower Glenrosa Road.

According to BC Hydro, 39 of the 54 customers affected by the outage have had their power restored.

Power went off shortly before 9 a.m. as a result of a motor vehicle collision.

There's no indication when power will be restored for the remaining 14 customers.

ORIGINAL: 9:10 a.m.

Portions of Lower Glenrosa are without power this morning.

According to BC Hydro, 53 customers in the area are without power, resulting from a motor vehicle collision.

One resident in the area says there was a loud bang just moments before the power went out shortly before 9 a.m.

She says it appears as if power lines have fallen on the road due to the collision. Vehicles are being turned away from the area.

The area affected includes those properties north of Glenway Court, east of Woodell Road, south of Salloum Road and west of Highway 97.

There's no word as to when the power may be restored.

It might be cool this spring, but it's not too soon to get FireSmart says West Kelowna fire chief

FireSmart Family Day

Wildfire season might not be top of mind right now because of the cooler and damp spring, but the West Kelowna Fire Department wants residents to be on alert.

It’s hosting FireSmart Family Day at Fire Hall #31 on Old Okanagan Highway this Saturday, May 28, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Fire Chief Jason Brolund said there will be plenty of information to help people protect their homes from wildfire. Other partner organizations will also be on hand including Emergency Support Services and the BC Wildfire Service.

“The most effective actions under the FireSmart program are things people can do for themselves around their home,” Brolund explains.

“Looking at the 10-metre buffer and ensuring things like woodpiles are moved away, that you don’t have trees up against your house, that your gutters are clean. Those are all very small actions that could potentially save someone’s house in a wildfire.”

He adds that the Westbank First Nation and City of West Kelowna have taken on numerous wildfire mitigation projects around the community, and do so every year with the support of the province.

“That’s going into areas like parks or other municipal-owned property–or in the case of WFN, the community forest–and performing really similar mitigation actions. Cleaning up the forest floor or removing debris, cutting branches and trees.”

Brolund notes that while the District of Logan Lake got a lot of attention and accolades for its FireSmart actions protecting the community from the Tremont Creek wildfire last summer, something similar happened with the Mount Law fire.

“The work that the WFN had done in their community forest in the area of Turnbull Road and Gates Road was a tremendous success story.

“That caused the fire to literally almost stop in its tracks and it’s because of that kind of work surrounding our entire community that we’re made safer.”

This year we've had a bit of a break from extreme wildfire risk because of the cool weather but the fire chief points out that the Central Okanagan is in a persistent drought and things could change quickly.

“Even though it seems like it’s been pretty raining this spring, we’re still starting from a pretty significant deficiency in terms of moisture in the ground,” Brolund says people should be using the cooler weather to do the work needed to protect their property.

FireSmart Family Day is open to everyone in the community. There will be free hot dogs, a live auto extrication demonstration, and Sparky the Fire Dog will be there.

Motorists should be prepared. Old Okanagan Highway will be closed between Drought Road and Apollo Road between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Saturday, for the event.

You can find more details here.

Bomb unit called to West Kelowna after suspicious item found

RCMP have left scene

UPDATE 7:19 p.m.

The RCMP are no longer on Bartley Road in West Kelowna following a report of a suspicious object.

Castanet will contact police Friday for more information.

ORIGINAL 1:42 p.m.

Kelowna RCMP have secured the scene around a suspicious object on Bartley Road in West Kelowna.

Police are waiting for the Explosive Disposal Unit to help with the investigation.

In an email to Castanet News, Const. Tammy Lobb says the "suspicious object" was found shortly before 8:30 a.m. Thursday on the shoulder of Bartley Road above Mountain Valley Farm.

Lobb says police on scene are turning all motorists around.

Approximately 10 to 15 homes are in the area, however none have been evacuated at this moment.

"Officers did go door-to-door speaking to them and asking them to refrain from coming and going until further investigation can be concluded," said Lobb.

One witness in the area told Castanet she was told the item looked like a pipe bomb.

It could be a few hours before the bomb unit is able to access the area.

West Kelowna apartment development wins national award

Apartments win award

A West Kelowna apartment building has been deemed the best in Canada by a national organization.

Carrington View Apartments, which is located on Majoros Road, captured the Rental Development of the Year Award at the Canadian Federation of Apartment Associations’ National Rental Housing Awards earlier this month.

The CFAA is the national voice of the apartment housing industry in Canada and engages in advocacy on behalf of the industry as a whole. It also believes Carrington View Apartments was the best development of the year for its spectacular views of Okanagan Lake, great access to nearby outdoor recreational opportunities, and its focus on sustainability and environmental friendliness.

Highstreet Ventures built the 186-unit property to be net-zero energy ready, putting it well ahead of its time. The building is managed by Skyline Living, whose parent company is based in Guelph, Ont.

“We’ve gone with a totally holistic building approach,” Highstreet project co-ordinator Will Monforton said in a press release. “That means everything from low-(volatile organic compound) paints, where we source our wood and building materials and efficient construction to recycling materials, high-efficiency, all-electric heat and water heating and solar panels on the roof.”

Skyline Living also won the rental housing provider of the year award.

Tractor-trailer rolls into a ditch in the Gellatly Bay area

Transport truck tips over

Cindy White

A tractor-trailer rolled onto its side and into a ditch in West Kelowna Thursday morning.

A Castanet reader sent a video showing the truck lying in a grassy area at the bottom of a hill in the Gellatly Bay area on Witt Road.

Emergency vehicles were on the scene, including an ambulance.

The truck did not appear to be blocking traffic.

Peachland's planning department not keeping up with community's growth

District needs planning help

Peachland is being buried by development and planning applications and change is needed.

That was the conclusion reached through an external process review of Peachland's planning and development department.

Changes proposed include a streamlining of some of the processes, and additional staffing to work through a glut of development and building permit applications that have descended upon the municipality over the past few years.

According to the report, 31 development applications are presently in-stream which will, if the trend continues, eclipse the normal 30 to 40 applications the municipality has received on average over each of the past five years.

It's also led to a wait of up to a year for some basic applications to roll through the system.

"I think the most important element from that 35-page report is the recognition that, as a small town, we are under resourced for the level of development we are seeing," said planning and development director Darin Schaal.

The report suggests over the past few years staff turnover has left "several vacancies, and the need to train and onboard new staff."

"The vacancies gave resulted in capacity challenges, resulting in a backlog of development applications and slower processing times," the report stated.

Schaal says council recognized the need for more resourcing through the just completed 2022 budget process, approving the hiring of a planning manager and a second building inspector.

"One of the other things I took from the report is recognizing we have a commitment to continually improving our processes," he said.

One of those, he says, is continually working with developers at the pre-application stage, especially with those who are new to the valley or new to the province to ensure they properly understand the requirements and the process, allowing applications to move more quickly through the system.

"We are looking at anything and everything we can to help with that streamlining," said Schaal.

Our communications is one area where we will be focusing on next in terms of how we can keep some of our limited resources working on reviewing and processing applications instead of just responding to inquiries. Every application starts with a general inquiry, and if we can improve some of our communications and answer those questions before they take resources...even if it's a small amount, it will help us."

Council, during a discussion around the report, requested a workshop to better understand implications around changes to the public hearing process made by the province in 2021.

These changes include a process where public hearings are no longer necessary when a zoning application is aligned with the Official Community Plan.

A comparative analysis of development application fees which looked at four specific scenarios also found Peachland charged less than similar sized communities such as Tofino, Revelstoke and Pemberton across the board.

It was suggested those fees be increased to bring them more in line.

Transport Canada contacts pilot of low-flying plane near Peachland

Low-flying pilot contacted

Madison Erhardt

The pilot of a low-flying plane spotted Sunday in Peachland during the World of Wheels car show may be in hot water with Transport Canada.

The small plane startled some residents after it buzzed the car show and busy boardwalk.

"There were people who were concerned and worried who were walking along the boardwalk," said Kirsten de Jager, who captured a video of the maneuver.

Transport Canada says the pilot of the plane could lose their license over the stunt or be fined.

Generally speaking Canadian Aviation Regulations require aircraft, unless taking off or landing, to stay 1,000 feet above the highest obstacle while operating over a built up area.

"The video has been brought to the attention of our Civil Aviation subject matter experts, who have reviewed the video and contacted the pilot," said Sau Sau Liu, Transport Canada spokesperson.

"When the department receives a complaint containing enough information to identify the pilot and verify that there was a contravention of the Canadian Aviation Regulations, an administrative monetary penalty (fine) may be issued or, depending on the nature and severity of the infraction, the pilot’s license may be suspended."

The department publishes a list of corporate offenders and non-corporate offenders on its website to serve as a deterrent and to increase public awareness and education concerning aviation safety.

"If anyone suspects that a pilot is operating an aircraft in an unsafe manner and in contravention of the Canadian Aviation Regulations, we encourage them to record as much information as possible to help the department review incidents more effectively," says Liu.

More West Kelowna News