The Okanagan Sun return to the Apple Bowl for spring camp

OK Sun return to gridiron

After an off-season away, the Okanagan Sun have returned to the gridiron to defend their national championship of 2022, and it all starts at the Apple Bowl with Spring Camp.

Castanet hit the field with the team to get a sneak peak of the action.

“It feels great. It’s definitely a new year, you know, a full brand new start for us. It’s going to be good for us. I love seeing all the young guys out here willing to learn and just asking all the questions,” said third year linebacker Jacob Bond.

“We’re full go right now. We’re hitting — defence is loving it — I don’t know how the offence feels about it, but we’re full go.”

With last season’s starting quarterback Dom Britton off to the University of Calgary, the Okanagan Sun are in need of a new starter.

“His back up last season was Liam Kroeger who’s doing really well in this camp, but we’ve also brought in a veteran transfer named Adam Rochaa from Mount Allison University, so we have a definite battle at that position,” explained head coach Travis Miller.

“Jake Richards from Holland College is here, so there’s some really cool opportunities for our guys to battle it out for that number one spot.”

Miller tells Castanet the ultimate goal is to repeat as national champions, and he believes he has the right team to do it.

“Our focus is to bring that same atmosphere and that same mentality home and win it in front of our fans in 2023. The BCFC hosts the national title this year, and you know, everything we’re doing right now is to put us in the best position to host the national championship in Kelowna and hopefully hoist that trophy again in front of our home fans," continued Miller.

Spring Camp wraps up on Sunday where they’ll be making some final cuts. And then the team will return to the field in July for Training Camp.


New development proposal continues remake of neighbourhood east of Capri

Total remake of Capri area

The City of Kelowna envisions a total remake of the neighbourhoods within what is known as the Capri-Landmark Urban Centre.

This is the area between Landmark and the Capri Centre.

Residents of the neighbourhood around Belaire, Pridham and Sutherland avenues have taken note, putting properties up for sale, and in many cases, packaging several adjacent properties together.

And developers have been snapping them up to create five and six storey apartments on what were single family lots to create the density desired by city hall. The city paved the way for this type of neighbourhood refresh when it pre-zoned the Capri-Landmark, South Pandosy and downtown urban centres for multi-family development.

More than half a dozen projects have either been approved or are moving through the pipeline.

The latest application is for a six-storey, 99-unit building encompassing three properties at 1355 and 1341 Belaire Avenue and 1328 Pridham Avenue.

The plans put forth by Pacific West Architecture, based in Vancouver, suggest these will provide "affordable housing for young and first-time home buyers who have jobs nearby."

The application states the developer is committed to offering long-term, affordable housing solutions for residents who want housing close to the Capri Centre.

"Within close proximity to the Capri Centre to the west and Landmark District to the east, we believe the proposed development will contribute to the dynamics and growth of this area," the developer says.

The development proposes a mix of one-, two- and three-bedroom units.

Parking will be situated within an underground and ground enclosed parking structure.

This marks the seventh development proposed for the area.

If all are built out as proposed, they would add a combined 994 units to the neighbourhood.

With the continued pace of growth in Kelowna, it's expected housing will be required for about 8,000 people within the Capri-Landmark area by 2040.

Pathways Abilities celebrates 70 years in Kelowna

Pathways turns 70

Pathways Abilities Society is celebrating 70 years of community service this year.

The organization was created by a group of committed parents, teachers and doctors who wanted to ensure children with developmental disabilities received an education.

Since its initial inception, the society has gone through name changes. Longterm Kelowna residents may be familiar with the Kelowna and District Society for Community Living (KDSCL) or Sunnyvale.

The society’s mission is “to assist people with diverse-abilities to reach their individual goals and contribute as equal members of community”.

Pathways currently serves over 220 people, their families and caregivers in Activity Services, Integrated Career Opportunities (ICO), Social Ventures, Individualized Funding, homes and Home Share.

In recognition of this milestone, the non-profit is hosting a celebratory BBQ in July.

Community members involved in the society in any capacity over the years are welcome to join the event.

Residents are asked to email [email protected] to attend.


Meet Me at the Market: Family farm goes value-added route instead of selling fruit to packing houses

Local farm value-added

Meet Me at the Markets is a recurring series highlighting the stories behind the many vendors and food producers who make up the Kelowna Farmers' & Crafters' Market.

A Kelowna family decided that instead of selling their fruit at a loss to packing houses, they would try a new value-added venture.

Plumberry Farm has been in business for the past three years. You can find their booth at the Kelowna Farmers' & Crafters' Market.

The property has been a farm since the 1950s. At one time, it grew tomatoes, and then grapes. Now it's where the Amann family turns plums, blueberries, raspberries, rhubarb, and cherry tomatoes into everything from hot sauce to rhubarb syrup.

"If we were to sell our fruit to the packing houses, we'd probably only be able to sell 30 to 50 percent to the packing house. The rest they just wouldn't accept for being too small or blemished," explains Dean Amann. "So, instead of taking a loss on your crop, we do our own value-added."

All Plumberry jams and sauces are low sugar, something Amann says is increasingly important to shoppers at the farmers' market.

"It's hard to eliminate all the sugar. Usually, a jam has a 1-to-1 ratio of jam to fruit, and we've got it down to 30 percent. It's the biggest question we have. I want to buy this for my diabetic friend. How much sugar is in it?"

Amann, his wife Olivia, and their 23-year-old son work the farm and make the products. Plus, he has a full-time job. When it's harvest time, it's all hands on deck.

"We pick at the peak of ripeness and then sort the fruit as to what will go to the market and what will go to the sauces and jams. I take a day off of work here and there, or we do everything in the evening," said Amann.

He says their hope is to have a commercial kitchen on the property someday. They're also in discussions to set up an e-commerce website for Plumberry Farm.

Truck drives into the corner of RBC downtown Kelowna

RBC damaged after crash

There appears to be damage done to the side of the Royal Bank of Canada in downtown Kelowna after a two-vehicle accident sent one truck into the corner of the building.

A tip sent into Castanet shows the truck wedged up against the north west side of the building at the corner of Leon Avenue and Ellis Street, while the SUV is damaged in the middle of the road.

Castanet received word that this accident took place at approximately 1:00 a.m. Saturday morning, with little details around what caused the crash.

In the photo, you can see two people rushing over to the truck.

There appears to be tape marked up around the building, and Castanet has reached out to the Kelowna RCMP for more information.

Car accident on Highway 97 and Boucherie Road

Hwy motorcycle accident

A car accident involving a motorcycle and a truck has slowed traffic in West Kelowna.

According to a witness, the crash happened at the intersection of Horizon Drive, Boucherie Road and Highway 97 just before the bridge.

The witness tells Castanet they could see a downed red motorcycle, a black truck with some damage, and emergency crews on site.

At this time, it is unknown if any injuries have occurred.

Castanet has reached out to Kelowna RCMP and emergency services, and will update the story when more information becomes available.

Hot air balloon lands on residential road in Kelowna Saturday morning

Hot air balloon lands safely

Glenmore residents were treated to a bit of a show Saturday morning, when a hot air balloon touched down on a residential street.

The large balloon got a little off course and made a safe landing on Whitman Road Saturday morning, just off Glenmore Road.

A video taken by Randy Smart shows several people in the area assist with the balloon's landing, and it appears to have landed without incident.

While it may be a bit of an unusual sight, it happens fairly regularly. Back in 2018, Okanagan Ballooning told Castanet that hot air balloons generally go where the wind takes them, but that it's “an incredibly safe way to travel.”

Pattison radio stations making way for 'focal point' development

From Lizard to tower

The property at the corner of Cook and Lakeshore roads, home to Pattison radio stations Beach FM and the Lizard could be transformed in the coming years.

An application seeks to change the zoning of the property from utilities and small lot rural housing to village centre for a six-storey mixed-use development.

"The proposed building is set to become the focal point of Cook Truswell Village Centre, creating a strong sense of place while also being mindful of the adjacent wetland," the application states.

"To ensure the preservation of the wetland, the development has been confined to a small portion of the site,
keeping it at a safe distance."

Preliminary plans show five ground-floor commercial spaces fronting onto Lakeshore plus 104 residential units.

Residential units are broken down into one studio, 68 one, 30 two and five three bedroom units. Five are situated on the ground floor with the remaining 99 on the upper five floors.

A parkade is proposed for the rear of the building with space for 111 vehicles. Another 136 long-term and 152 short-term bike spaces are also planned.

Amenity space, including an outdoor kitchen and pool is proposed for the third floor with a grass area planned for the top of the parkade.

It's unclear whether the radio stations, which have occupied the site since the fall of 1982, will occupy space in the building or find a new home.

The application must first pass through various departments within city hall before the rezoning application goes before city council.

Development and building permits would then have to be granted before the first piece of ground can be turned.

Stober Group and UBCO create scholarship to honour Kelowna business leader

Scholarship honours leader

The University of British Columbia Okanagan and the Stober Group are honouring deceased Kelowna business leader Dave McAnerney with a new $50,000 scholarship.

McAnerney, the CEO of the Stober Group, passed suddenly in October 2022. He had deep ties to the Okanagan business community, having served as president and CEO of SunRype, and holding executive positions with Labatt’s and Columbia Brewing.

“Dave was absolutely exceptional, someone who took the time to get to know you, showed an interest in you as a person and a human,” says Ken Stober, president of the Stober Foundation. “Anyone in his orbit benefited from his kindness, strength and deep love of his family and community.”

The Stober Foundation chose to honour McAnerney with a $50,000 gift which will be matched by the university to create the Dave McAnerney Memorial Award in Management which will be used to support third and fourth-year students that perform at a high academic level, are committed to giving back to their community, and demonstrate a financial need.

“As a management faculty, we aim to cultivate opportunities for our students to explore and redefine leadership,” says Sandy Hilton, dean pro tem of the Faculty of Management. “This generous gift—through its transformative effect on students’ university experience in management—will continue Mr. McAnerney’s legacy as a compassionate leader and business innovator.”

Stober Foundation CEO Keith Brewster says that establishing this memorial award is a testament to McArnerney’s impact on the community and his role as a friend and mentor.

“To say that Dave was a leader is an understatement. Setting up this award, with the support of his wonderful wife Anne and their children Michelle and Renee, is a blessing and, quite simply, the right thing to do. It warms our hearts to know that these awards will benefit a lifetime of young scholars. His legacy will remain, elevating excellence in community service, just like he did in life.”

Mother breaks neck on Kelowna's Gyro Beach rope swing

Beach day turns into tragedy

Rob Gibson

The May long weekend took a tragic turn for Kelowna's Stanford family when an idyllic day at the beach turned into a nightmare.

Rachel Stanford took what everyone expected would be normal ride on the rope swing at Gyro Beach.

"Initially, she came up screaming, and I thought it was because of the cold, like just shocked," said her husband, Ben Stanford, noting the whole incident was caught on video.

He says he rarely records anything on his phone, but when Rachel jumped up and went for a ride on the rope swing, he wanted to catch the moment. He did not realize he would be recording the instant his wife broke her neck falling in the water.

"I started running into the water. I was fully dressed and just ran into the water. I initially thought I was looking for a tooth and as I got closer, I saw blood coming from several areas and she was grabbing at her neck then I knew it was spinal trauma," says Stanford.

Fortunately, Ben has emergency training through his care aide job at Kelowna General Hospital. In fact, his quick actions may have prevented a more severe injury.

"If we hadn't been first aid trained, I can't say enough for being first aid trained, she might not be walking," said Ben.

Rachel is facing a long recovery and she will have to put her healthcare studies aside. Ben wants to stay by her side and help in her recovery.

"We started the fundraiser so that I can stay with her 24/7 and just do what she needs when she needs it. For me, it would mean everything if I got to stay home and do the care, and it'd be just a familiar face being able to provide it for Rachel," Stanford says.

Rachel is a mother of six and Ben says the ordeal has been very hard on everyone.

"She will require around-the-clock care for 10 weeks and I am able to provide it but it comes at the cost of my wages and overtime," Ben said, explaining that he is hopeful his wife will make a full recovery.

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