Kelowna man arrested for allegations of animal cruelty

Arrested for animal cruelty

UPDATE 3:15 p.m.

Court records have named the accused as 20-year-old Leighton Allen Labute.

He is scheduled to appear in Kelowna court for a bail hearing Monday on six charges; including three counts of killing or injuring an animal and three counts of causing unnecessary pain/suffering to an animal.

Prosecutors allege the offense happened on May 1 in Kelowna.


A 20-year-old Kelowna man is being investigated for allegations of animal cruelty.

On May 14, officers were notified of a social media post that had disturbing images of what appeared to be animal cruelty towards a hamster. 

The Kelowna RCMP says it conducted an investigation into the account and linked it to a Kelowna man, who has been arrested and is currently in custody.  

His name has not been released yet.

The full findings will be referred to the BC Prosecution Service for review and further charge consideration. 

This remains an active investigation and no further information is being released at this time. 

Anyone with any information about this crime can contact the Kelowna RCMP at 250-762-3300.  Or remain completely anonymous by calling Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or by leaving a tip online.

Canada Post confirms no mail was in destroyed truck

No mail in postal truck fire

Sarita Patel

Canada Post has confirmed there was no mail in the destroyed truck that was involved in a fire at the sorting centre on Baillie Avenue early Saturday morning. 

"It was a contractor's vehicle that was involved. There were no injuries, and there was no mail in the vehicle," said Sylvie Lapointe, media relations for Canada Post in an email to Castanet. 

The destroyed truck was parked on the north side of the building and residents near the facility awoke to several "massive blasts" at about 2 a.m.

The large truck fire scorched the side of the building, shattering three of the building's windows. 

No word on how the fire started, but it has been deemed suspicious.

Okanagan's Craft Culture launches box to help local vendors

'Local box' supports vendors

Okanagan's Craft Culture has launched The Local Box to help vendors who have felt the negative impacts of markets being cancelled due to COVID-19.

Craft Culture has been operating in the Okanagan for the last seven years, organizing large artisan and craft markets. However the future of large gatherings will remain uncertain for the foreseeable future so Craft Culture has implemented The Local Box to bring the market experience directly to you at home.

The Local Box sells for $60 and includes all handmade items that retail for $120. The boxes can be ordered online and delivered across Canada or picked up at Meadow Vista Honey Wines, BNA Brewing and Elizabeth O Vintage.

The contents of the box are a surprise but buyers can expect locally made items such as soaps, jewellery and food items. Each month a new box will be featured with a wide variety of items.

“By purchasing one box, you are supporting nine local businesses,” says Craft Culture owner Karalyn Lockhart. “Not only has the pandemic been a big blow to the event industry, it has seriously impacted our vendors ability to earn a living."

"The majority of our 500 plus Craft Culture vendors rely on markets across the country to sell their products. We’re doing everything we can to support these businesses, and make it easy for our customers to support local. The Local Box is a fun and easy way shop local, and invites a bit of joy and excitement back into our daily lives.” 

The Local Box is geared mainly towards females however a Father's Day box has been created for dads which includes six items that can be packaged, shipped and delivered in time by June 21.

Recently Craft Culture was forced to cancel the Spring Markets in Penticton and Kelowna due to COVID-19.

“It’s so amazing to see other businesses in the community re-open this month, but unfortunately there’s no light at the end of the tunnel for our industry,” says Lockhart. Despite this setback, Craft Culture is hopeful for a regular holiday market season.

“We are looking at focusing on smaller socially distanced markets for the rest of year, but even those are prohibited as of today if selling non-essential items.  This order expires at the end of the month, so we are crossing our fingers for some positive news from Dr. Bonnie Henry.”


Kelowna's Gospel Mission announces new executive director

New director for the Mission

Kelowna's Gospel Mission has a new executive director.

Carmen Rempel will start in the position on June 15. She is a Kelowna local who comes to the Mission with more than 10 years of experience in the non-profit field. 

Rempel most recently served as the founder of Youth for Christ Okanagan, a Kelowna based non-profit organization that aims to support at-risk youth.

“I am honoured to have the opportunity to serve with Kelowna’s Gospel Mission. Randy Benson has built up a strong and solid team that serves well, despite concurrent crisis and ever changing circumstances that impact people experiencing homelessness in Kelowna.” says Rempel.

Benson served as executive director since 2001 and over the years the Mission has benefited considerably from his steady leadership. He will help Rempel get settled in her new role.

“I’m thrilled to be passing the baton to Carmen and am confident that there are great days ahead for Kelowna’s Gospel Mission under her leadership," says Benson.

LIVE: Kelowna council

3. Development Application Reports & Related Bylaws

3.1 and 3.2 Zoning Bylaw No. 8000 Text Amendment – Fencing and Retaining Walls

3.3 and 3.4 Snowsell St N 470, Z20-0009 - Grant Douglas Vestner

3.5 and 3.6 Glenmore Dr 850, Z20-0022 - James Scott Dakin and Jennifer Ann Dakin

3.7 and 3.8 Water Street 1570-1580, Z19-0098 - Tri-Moor Holdings Ltd., Inc.No. 1050685; Raya lEnterprises Ltd., Inc.No. 70194

3.9 to 3.11 (W OF) Union Road and 2025 Begbie Road, Z20-0030 OCP20-0008 - Glenwest Properties Ltd

3.12 and 3.13 Gallagher Road 2980, Z20-0021 - Kirschner

3.14 and 3.15 Knowles Rd. 472, Z20-0029 - Amarjit S. Hundal, Jaswinder S. Nahal, Harminder S. Dhillon and Gurdip K. Dhillon

4. Bylaws for Adoption (Development Related)

4.1 to 4.7

5. Non-Development Reports & Related Bylaws

5.1 Liquor Licensing Delegated Authority - COVID19 Recovery

5.2A mendment No. 7 to the Development Applications Procedure Bylaw No. 10540

5.3 Expanded Patio Program - Bernard Avenue

5.4 Update on Temporary Changes to Parking Operations

5.5 BL12047 - Amendment No. 37 to the Traffic Bylaw

5.6 Proposed Reporting Framework for Strategic Partnerships

5.7 Non-Market Lease - 1055-1063 Ellis Street

5.8 Reporting Progress on Council Priorities 2019 – 2022

6. Mayor and Councillor Items





RCMP searching for missing Kelowna woman Kelly Joy Zuchotzki

Kelowna woman missing

Kelowna RCMP are asking for the public's help locating a missing woman.

Kelly Joy Zuchotzki was last seen on May 24. Police are very concerned for her health and wellbeing.

She is described as a caucasian female, 58-years-old, five feet tall, 115 pounds with brown eyes and brown hair.

She was last seen wearing a light grey jacket with jeans and blue runners.

Zuchotzki's friends and family say that it is out of character for her to not be in contact for this long of a time.

Anyone with information on Kelly Joy Zuchotzki's whereabouts is urged to contact local police or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

Bird blamed for power outage in Lake Country Monday morning

Bird blamed for outage

A bird making contact with BC Hydro wires is being blamed for a power outage in Lake Country this morning. 

The utility reports power was knocked out shortly after 7 a.m., impacting 1,704 customers east of the Pelmewash Parkway.

BC Hydro says power was restored at 9:19 a.m.

Salvation Army donation centre and thrift store to open this week

Take donations to Sally Ann

Sarita Patel

The Salvation Army will be reopening its Donation Welcome Centre today, welcoming the public to bring in any donations they may be holding onto during the pandemic. The Rutland location is one of five stores to open their doors in British Columbia and the first in the Interior. 

The centre will be receiving mostly everything it typically takes in, except cloth-covered furniture at this time.

“If it’s something that could be wiped down easily and sanitized we’ll receive those items still because they can go directly onto our sales floor,” explains Darryl Burry, lead pastor and executive director for the Kelowna and Lake Country Salvation Army.

“If you have a couch, maybe a fabric couch we’re going to ask you to hold off on those items for the time being until we’re able to find out different measures to make sure everything can be sanitized effectively.”

They also ask people who would like to donate to come during the store hours of 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. as donations left outside tend to get ruined. 

“People tend to rummage through those items overnight and then typically what happens is the next day we need to take all of those items to the dump, they’ve been destroyed,” explains Burry.  

The Salvation Army has seen a significant increase in families and individuals accessing their services over the last couple of months and Burry says they ‘don’t see that slowing down anytime soon.’

“We’ve seen approximately between 25 to 30 per cent of those accessing our services each month have been brand new, who have never accessed our services before.”

They did receive grants and donations throughout the pandemic but those funds were specified to food purchased only. 

“We still need to pay the bills, so the funds from the thrift store sales enable us to keep all of those bills paid and as you can imagine without being in operation for the past two months, we’re really missing that resource.”

Burry adds “all of the funds remain local here in Kelowna and go directly to support the services we are offering to the community.”

People will have a different shopping experience at the thrift store starting on Wednesday. 

They will only be allowing 12 customers at a time, sanitization centres and social distancing markers are placed throughout the store along with change rooms are closed at this time. 

With customers unable to try on the clothes they’ve adapted the return policy to meet the needs of the customers and will be holding onto returned clothing for a minimum of two days before they’re processed for the sales floor.

“We want to make sure it’s going to be a safe experience for our customers and those coming into the stores as well as our staff,” adds Burry. 

The Welcome Donation Centre opens up today from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and the Thrift Store opens on Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. both will be open from Monday to Saturday.

Man caught on security camera stealing flowers returns them

Stolen flowers returned

A man caught on security camera stealing a pot of flowers from a Kelowna residence on May 20 has returned the stolen goods. 

Homeowner Alvin Braumberger says he realized the pot of yellow, white and purple flowers had been stolen after checking his surveillance footage on the morning of May 21. 

However, one day later the same individual was seen returning the flowers safely to Braumberger's house on Leckie Road, and giving two thumbs up for the camera. 

Anyone with information about the May 20 incident is asked to contact Kelowna RCMP at 250-762-3300.

To report information anonymously via CrimeStoppers, call 1-800-222-8477 or visit the website

Boys and Girls Clubs serving kids in a time of crisis

Boys & Girls through crisis

During the COVID-19 pandemic, charitable organizations had to adapt to continue providing for those most vulnerable as they're essential for communities across the country. 

"Our role and the roles of our partner organizations during this pandemic hasn’t changed, except that the needs of those vulnerable populations have grown exponentially," writes Diane Entwistle, CEO of Boys and Girls Clubs of the Okanagan in a press release on Friday.

Nationally, the Boys and Girls Club movement have served Canadian kids and youth and their families for more than a century. 

"We have navigated world wars, the Great Depression, economic recessions, and now, a pandemic. Through it all, we have been there for kids and teens and their families."

The Boys and Girls Clubs of the Okanagan is guiding kids through the pandemic, to help them understand what is happening in the world and offering them stability. 

"Our programs are rooted in supporting kids’ mental health, in helping ease anxieties and fears, in navigating the effects of trauma."

The organization relies heavily on its program facilitators who spend time every day with young people. 

"Our staff are showing up every day, either in person, or virtually, and making sure that our clubs are safe places for children and youth to be."

They've provided many different services, including child care for Essential Service Workers (ESW), housing for young people, youth drop-in support and food security in communities. 

Project Impact, demonstrated that Club members are better at establishing positive relationships and building interpersonal skills, and have a stronger sense of belonging and acceptance.

The Okanagan Club, has been tackling food insecurity by delivering food and critical care packages to families, providing childcare for essential workers, running virtual programming for kids and teens, providing housing supports, connecting with young people online to offer counselling and one-to-one support, and connecting with families.

"We have always tailored our programs and services to meet the needs of all 16 communities that we serve throughout the Okanagan, and we will continue to do so."

The Boys and Girls Club of the Okanagan has been operating in the region for 60 years. 

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