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Kelowna  

Kelowna city council endorses strategy to make electric vehicle charging infrastructure more readily available

EV strategy endorsed

Kelowna's desire to get people out of vehicles and into other modes of transportation may be unrealistic in the short, or medium-term.

After all, collectively Kelowna residents own more vehicles per capita than any other city in Canada, and together, drive to the moon and back twice each weekday.

But, getting them to switch from gas or diesel to electric may be achievable.

However, Kelowna's community energy specialist Chris Ray says there are some hurdles to overcome.

Some of those, such as cost and available models are outside the city's control, but Ray told city council Monday making charging stations more accessible is within the city's purview.

Ray provided 39 recommendations the city can adopt to make EV ownership more attractive.

Many of those surrounded availability of charging outlets on both public, and private property.

"The ability to charge at home is the primary driver, however many new buildings are constructed without any, or adequate charging infrastructure," says Ray.

It's recommended by 2023, all new multi-unit construction would require charging outlets at each stall, while new gas stations would also be required to provide alternate forms of fueling.

By that same time 10 per cent of new commercial parking stalls would also be required to be EV ready, while by 2030, current multi-use residential buildings would be required to provide adequate charging infrastructure.

The change, if approved through upcoming zoning amendments, would be costly according to Ray.

He told council the cost for installing one of various types of charging options could cost between $300 and $3,000 per stall in new construction, and as much as $6,800 to retro-fit current buildings.

"We want to help Kelowna meet, or exceed federal and provincial new zero emission vehicle sales targets, 10 per cent by 2025, 30 per cent by 2030 and 100 per cent (federally) by 2035.

"While EV's are not the transportation silver bullet that can solve all our city's traffic problems, under the climate action lens, accelerating EV and e-bike adoption in the community is absolutely vital to meet our GHG emission targets."

Ray says B.C,. is leading the way when it comes to EV expansion, providing lower fuel costs, fewer emissions, more efficiency and less maintenance, and less noise pollution.

Globally, he says the sale of EV's will outpace the internal combustion engine within the next 15 years.

In terms of E-bikes, he says they can cover a greater distance in less time, "which opens up active transportation to a wider demographic such as seniors."



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City of Kelowna looks to double transit ridership and quadruple bike trips by 2040

City reviews ambitious plan

Kelowna city council has given its endorsement to an ambitious plan that seeks to get more people out of the vehicles over the next 20 years.

The city's draft 2040 Transportation Master Plan, revealed Monday, seeks to double transit ridership and quadruple the number of trips made by bicycle while, at the same time, reducing the average distance each motorist drives by 20 per cent.

The plan seeks to take action on more than 100 recommendations, with investments over the next 20 years prioritized with broad, citywide benefits in mind.

Transportation planning manager Mariah VanZerr says of the localized investment, three quarters would support growth within the Kelowna urban centres, mirroring the growth envisioned by the Official Community Plan, which is expected to be adopted later this year.

"Kelowna is growing, our climate is changing and our transportation needs are evolving," said VanZerr.

"The plan will help us reduce the growth of carbon emissions which contribute to extreme heat, fires and floods.

"It will help us accommodate more trips while reducing our car dependence, and maintain and protect the Kelowna lifestyle we all value.

Transportation planner Cameron Noonan says the city will look to make investments in six key areas, including maintenance and renewal, transit, road connections, biking, neighbourhood streets and education and emerging technology.

Maintenance and Renewal

"The TMP recommends increasing investment by almost 30 per cent which will fund activities such as snow removal, fixing potholes, repairing sidewalks and replacing aging infrastructure," said Noonan.

Transit

"The TMP aims to make transit faster and more reliable," he told council.

These would include a new operations centre, potential dedicated transit lanes on Harvey and more frequent service along the busiest routes.

Noonan says the recommended level of investment would result in a 65 per cent increase in transit service by 2040, with buses on some routes potentially coming as frequently as every six to eight minutes during peak hours.

Road Connections

Noonan says road connections will still be important despite the desire to move more people through walking, biking and transit.

He says a substantial increase in roadway funding is recommended, including extending Hollywood Road North from McCurdy to UBCO, extending Clement from Spall Road to Highway 33 and improvements to Rutland Road.

Biking

Noonan says biking has a strong potential for growth in Kelowna. The key to making it an attractive option is through a network of "comfortable routes protected from traffic."

Upgrades could include connecting the Rail Trail to the Mission Creek Greenway, making it easier to bike to UBCO and adding new connections through downtown along Bertran Street and Lawrence Avenue.

Neighbourhood Streets

While the cornerstone of the 2040 OCP is to create walkable streets in the core areas, Noonan says sidewalks, safe crossings and traffic calming are often lacking in some of those neighbourhoods.

"The TMP recommends increased funding for safer crossing, traffic calming and sidewalks, including a new program to fill in sidewalk gaps in the core area."

Education

"The TMP recommends education and programs such as bicycle skills training for students and adults, transit travel training along with bicycle maps and wayfinding.

"Expanding the safe routes to school program to get more students biking and walking to school safely, as well as developing an accessibility transition plan to better understand and address the transportation challenges facing people with disabilities."

The final version of the plan is expected to come back before council before the end of the year.



Ki-Low-Na Friendship Society unveils new t-shirt for Truth and Reconciliation Day

New Orange t-shirt

A new orange t-shirt is on sale at the Ki-Low-Na Friendship Centre ahead of the National Day of Truth and Reconciliation on Sept. 30.

A group of volunteers got together and tie-dyed and printed 1,000 t-shirts with a new logo.

“We decided to do this logo because we wanted to represent the flame that’s getting passed, kind of, from one generation on to the next,” said Kody Woodmass, Strategic Planning Co-ordinator.

“All the profits gained from these t-shirts are going to go towards our new social enterprise call Original Born Art or OBA. And the whole purpose of OBA is to create an e-commerce site where we can offer Indigenous art online for individuals while giving Indigenous youth a chance to increase their tangible skills, increase some soft skills and learn a skill-set that they can use for the rest of their life,” added Woodmass.

They have sold more than 730 shirts and raised more than $6000. That should support 12 months of workshops for youth.

The orange t-shirts are available by calling (250) 763-4905 or email [email protected] Or you can also pick them up on a first-come-first-serve basis at 442 Leon Ave. Currently, they are only accepting cash payments.



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City of Kelowna marks Day for Truth and Reconciliation

City hoping for better future

The City of Kelowna is marking the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation with ceremonial acknowledgements of the new relationship emerging between Canada and Indigenous Peoples.

City flags will be at half-mast on Sept. 30 to express condolence to survivors of the Residential School system and to commemorate the thousands of Indigenous children who died in that system.

“This is a time to learn and listen to the truths of Residential School survivors, families and communities, as well as to support and value Indigenous culture,” Mayor Colin Basran said in a new video. “This might be a day of quiet personal reflection, or it could be a day experienced through participation in a community event, such as those being presented by the Kelowna Museum.”

While the half-masted flags represent the solemnity of Canada’s past with Indigenous Peoples, the lighting of the Sails sculpture in orange represents hopefulness for a new respectful relationship.

Okanagan/syilx leaders and educators have been advising the City of Kelowna on a renewed relationship with local First Nations, one based on the recognition of rights, respect, co-operation and partnership.

“We are still at the beginning of this journey. We have a long way to go,” said Mayor Basran. “But every journey begins with the first step, and I urge you to take your own by learning about the experience of Indigenous peoples on September 30 and throughout the year.”



Some people confused about how to access electronic version of BC Vaccine Card

Vaccine card confusion

Cindy White

Some people are finding it difficult to navigate the ins and outs of getting the electronic version of the BC Vaccine Card, now mandatory at restaurants, gyms, casinos and other venues.

One woman contacted Castanet because she’s frustrated with how complicated and confusing it is.

“It pisses me off for people who aren’t savvy and, or willing to do the research. So, I’ve been sitting on Google putting in every keyword that I can think of to get this up and on.” Kim Prost says calling it a card is misleading when it’s actually not a piece of paper but a downloadable document with a QR code.

Others say they don’t have a smartphone and wonder how they can get a paper copy.
The province has details on its website, but it does take a bit of digging to find the information.

There are a number of options:

  • Ask a friend or family member to help by giving you access to a computer or printer.
  • Visit a library to print your card
  • Order a paper copy by phone by calling 1-833-838-2323 (Note: you can’t request a paper copy for someone else).
  • Print a copy at a Service BC office


Once you have your electronic vaccine card, you’ll need to show it when required, and also make sure to bring I.D.

“That’s the one that we’re having the biggest problem with is sometimes people don’t have that other verification I.D.,” says Ian Tostenson, President/CEO, British Columbia Restaurant and Foodservices Association.

He suggests if you’re taking a screenshot or scanning your electronic vaccine card, also save copies of your other documents like your driver's license to your phone.

So, how are restaurants faring with enforcement?

“We’re actually getting emails from people saying I went to a restaurant, they didn’t quite do it right, or I went to a restaurant and now I feel so safe, I’m going to go to a restaurant because I want to be with other people who are vaccinated. So it’s a very positive story that’s developed,” says Tostenson.

He adds, there are few negative reports coming in. “There’s about 100 restaurants in B.C. that have decided not to do this. I don’t know why they wouldn’t because the reason that they’re open is because the industry is taking on the vax card in order to stay open. So as we do that and they defy it, it makes no sense. Plus the fact we want to play our significant role in the health of British Columbians.”

Interior Health says it is taking a progressive compliance approach with businesses, starting with education and escalating to tickets and closure when necessary. If any fines or orders are issued they will be posted on the Interior Health website.



GolfBC donates big bucks to boost UBCO golf program

GolfBC boosts UBCO golf

GolfBC Group, which owns and operates the Okanagan Golf Club and Gallagher's Canyon Golf Club in Kelowna has donated $60,000 for the UBCO Heat men's and women's golf teams.

The donation, which will be provided to the team over the next three years, is designed to help the program reach its goal of becoming one of the best university golf programs in the country.

UBCO will match the donation, bringing the total amount being funneled into the golf program to $120,000.

"GolfBC is pleased to support the UBCO Heat golf team," said Andy Hedley, vice president of Golf Operations for GolfBC. "This gift will support youth to pursue excellence in the mind, body and spirit, components of a meaningful life that we wish to encourage with our philanthropy."

The donation will go directly towards the Heat program, including providing an increase in scholarship dollars available while also allowing for increased training and support for student-athletes.

"This is an exciting step forward for our golf program," says Tom Huisman, UBCO's director of athletics and recreation.

"We have high aspirations for all our interuniversity sport programs at UBCO. This partnership with GolfBC and financial support from the Chan Family Foundation, along with the matching funds from UBC Okanagan, will contribute significantly to our vision of having our golf program be among the nation's best."

In addition to their donation, GolfBC provided a further opportunity for the Heat program by granting a sponsor exemption for this past week's Mackenzie Tour event, the GolfBC Championship, to third-year Ethan Hunt of Kelowna, B.C. Hunt, a psychology major, owned the lowest stroke average on the team last season and finished tied for fourth at the Bears and Pandas Invitational earlier this season.

"This is an amazing opportunity for our program," added Clay Stothers, head coach of the UBCO golf team. "The generosity of GolfBC will allow us to take a step up to the next level of University golf in Canada."

The UBCO Heat have been competing in the Canada West Conference since 2019-20 and are preparing to compete in their second conference championship beginning Monday, October 4 at Squamish Valley Golf Club.



Interior Health declares 2 outbreaks at long-term care facilities over

2 outbreaks declared over

Interior Health has declared that COVID-19 outbreaks at two Kelowna long-term care facilities are now over.

Spring Valley Care Centre long-term care in Kelowna had 16 cases: 11 residents and five staff, with three deaths connected to the outbreak.

Sun Pointe Village assisted living/independent living in Kelowna had 11 cases: nine residents and two staff, with two deaths connected to the outbreak.

Meantime two other outbreaks at Kelowna care homes remain active.

Cottonwoods Care Centre long-term care in Kelowna has 41 cases: 30 residents and 11 staff, with six deaths connected to the outbreak.

Village at Mill Creek assisted living/independent living in Kelowna has 13 cases: eight residents and five staff with two deaths connected to the outbreak.



Kelowna International Airport takes part in Canadian Safety Week

Safety week at YLW

Kelowna International Airport is celebrating Canadian Airport Safety Week which started on Monday.

YLW, along with 16 other airports across Canada, kicked off CASW, an airport-led initiative to promote healthy and safe work practices among airport employees.

“YLW has always focused on ensuring safety for everyone who enters the terminal or steps onto the airfield. Throughout COVID 19, it has been more important than ever to continue to expand safety measures at YLW in new and innovative ways,” said Sam Samaddar, Airport Director.

“We continue to be among the top ten busiest airports throughout the pandemic, and safety measures taken by airport staff are key to ensuring travellers feel confident in returning to air travel through YLW.”

Airport staff will have the opportunity to take part in virtual safety-themed activities and events from September 27 to October 1.

“Airport safety affects everyone, whether you are a passenger or airport employee,” said CAC president Daniel-Robert Gooch. “Canada’s airports have made significant investments over the years in their infrastructure, including safety-related airside projects, to ensure all workers and passengers are safe.”

YLW has made significant investments to its infrastructure to keep workers and passengers safe. COVID-19 has presented a challenge for passenger safety and travellers are reminded to monitor for signs of illness, postpone travelling if feeling sick and avoid coming to the airport if unwell.



A Kelowna city councillor has changed her mind two weeks after voting against an ALR land exclusion

Singh reversal on ALR vote

Kelowna councillor Mohini Singh has had a change of heart concerning a vote two weeks ago against excluding land from the ALR to make room for a new transit operations centre near UBCO.

In open council Monday, Singh said after the vote, and after it was too late to ask for a re-vote, she did a "deep dive, and realized (the exclusion) had to be done."

"It's no secret I'm always very passionate about our agricultural land, and from a passionate perspective, my vote is always to keep it in the land reserve," she said.

"Today, we heard about the Transportation Master Plan, so from an environmental point of view, and to support the future transportation needs of our city, I realized that is absolutely quintessential."

Singh says the decision was a difficult one, and not one she took lightly.

But, she says she came to the conclusion for the greater good of the community.

Singh says it would have been hypocritical to vote in favour of the city's 2040 Transportation Master Plan, while in essence voting against a new transit facility which will be at the heart of any transit expansion in the future.

"I want to publicly state that, after discussions with the mayor and city manager, I have added a letter of support to the package that is going to the Agricultural Land Commission."



Ceremonies will take place across the Central Okanagan to remember those affected by residential schools

Orange Shirt Day events

UPDATE 3:45 p.m.

The The Ki-Low-Na Friendship Society ceremony honouring those affected by residential schools will be held on Wednesday, Sept. 29 at 3 p.m.

To drive awareness of the first National Truth & Reconciliation Day, the society has created special orange shirts.

They are selling at the KFS office for $25 each.

All funds raised will be redirected into a social enterprise called Original Born Art, which increases opportunities for Indigenous youth through art, culture, and recreation.

Reach out to us (250) 763-4905 or email [email protected] to inquire about the shirts.

They can also be picked up on a first-come-first-serve basis at 442 Leon Ave.


ORIGINAL 4 a.m.

First Nation groups across the Central Okanagan have events planned Sept. 30 to remember those who were lost and affected by residential schools and colonization.

While the Trudeau government declared the day a federal holiday earlier this year, Sept. 30 has been recognized by First Nations as Orange Shirt Day since 2013.

Its origin dates back to 1973 when six-year-old Phyllis Webstad had her new orange shirt stripped from her on her first day at St. Joseph's Residential School in Williams Lake.

She never saw the shirt again.

The Ki-Low-Na Friendship Society will host a ceremony outside their Leon Avenue facility.

The ceremony will be held the day prior, Wednesday, Sept. 29 beginning at 3 p.m.

It will include speakers, drumming and meals for the first 60 attendees.

Westbank First Nation community members will host a drum circle beginning at 2:15 at the Elders Hall on Shannon Lake Road.

The event is open to everyone, however, attendance will be capped at 50 people. Masks are required and social distancing will be practiced.

Officials say those looking for ways to honour the day can do so in a variety of ways.

  • Kelowna Museum will host a variety of events recognizing the day throughout the week
  • Download, print and display an Every Child Matters heart
  • Purchase local Indigenous books
  • Purchase an orange t-shirt to wear on Sept. 30. They are available at Spirit of the Lake Native Boutique on Nancee Way
  • Tour WFN’s Sncewips Heritage Museum. Pre-booked tours are available at $15/person, unguided tours are by donation.

Kelowna City Hall will also be closed on Sept. 30 for the holiday. The Glenmore Landfill will be open regular hours from 7:30 a.m. to 4:45 p.m.

Parkinson Recreation Centre will be open adjusted holiday hours on Thursday, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The Kelowna Memorial Cemetery administration office will be closed on Sept. 30 but the Cemetery gates will remain open from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.



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