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West Kelowna  

West Kelowna property tax notices in the mail

Tax notices in the mail

Property tax notices are now in the mail in West Kelowna.

More than 15,200 paper notices have been mailed out with another 1,800 sent by email for those registered for e-billing.

Property owners must pay all property taxes by 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, July 2, 2024, to avoid the statutory 10 per cent late penalty.

West Kelowna’s 2024 budget includes a city-wide property tax increase of 6.85 per cent, although the amount due for each lot will depend on property value fluctuations of every property.

Taxes can be paid at the new city hall building at 3731 Old Okanagan Hwy. Do not go to the old city hall location at the Mount Boucherie Community Centre.

There is no afterhours drop box at which to leave in-person payments at the new city hall.

Claim the Home Owner Grant through the Province of B.C.

Regardless of whether you pay taxes in-person, through your bank, via a mortgage company, or through a city prepayment plan, you must still separately claim your home owner grant through the province before the deadline. To claim the home owner grant:

Visit gov.bc.ca/homeownergrant or call 1-888-355-2700.

Once you complete the application process, record the confirmation number. The province will provide confirmation so you do not need to follow up with city staff.

Payment options available

The city recommends paying online through your bank, and note that Monday, July 1, 2024 is the Canada Day statutory holiday, which may delay the city receiving your payment.

  • Select WEST KELOWNA – TAXES as the payee.
  • Use your roll number starting with 364 as the account number, with no dashes, spaces, or periods.
  • Record your transaction confirmation, which must have a date of July 2, 2024 or earlier.

You may pay by cheque or in person, at the new city hall at 3731 Old Okanagan Hwy., West Kelowna B.C. V4T 0G7.

Make payable to City of West Kelowna, record your roll number in the memo line, and include the remittance stub with your cheque.

The city accepts cheques and debit cards in person, but ensure your debit limit is sufficient to cover your balance owing.

The city can also accept cash, if paying in person.

If paying in person, please remember:

  • City hall is closed Canada Day, Monday, July 1.
  • Expect lines and wait times, and dress for the weather.

The city does not accept credit cards, but does accept cheques from credit card companies. Inquire with companies like Plastiq and PaySimply to pay by credit card for a fee.



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West Kelowna approves three-year extension for Bartley Road shelter

Shelter extended three years

The temporary shelter situated within a gravel pit on Bartley Road in West Kelowna will operate for at least three more years.

City council ensured the shelter would remain in place, agreeing Tuesday to a three-year extension of a temporary use permit first awarded to BC Housing in 2021.

Since that time, city staff say 305 unique individuals have been supported through the shelter. Of those, 39 have found permanent housing, 45 have been referred to treatment, detox or transitional housing programs while the remaining either continue to be supported, have left the community or are being supported at other shelters.

“It’s great to see the successes that have come through the operation,” said Mayor Gord Milsom in supporting the extension.

“The program needs to have some certainty. We do want BC Housing to move forward on some improvement but it is going to take awhile.”

Those improvements include a permanent shelter in the city which council has been lobbying for for a number of years.

Over the past two months, staff say the city and BC Housing have been meeting on a bi-monthly basis to review potential properties for a permanent location.

Nothing has been found to date.

“I recognize a lot of funds have been captured in the region but we are still waiting for some of ours because we would like to make some of these facilities permanent,” said Coun. Stephen Johnston, who is also the BC United candidate for West Kelowna-Peachland in the upcoming election.

“Any time now would be great."

“There is a real need in our community…this is a challenging decision to make,” said Coun. Rick de Jong.

“There are people that will be happy to see this move, then there will be people unhappy that it is now placed beside them. We are never going to make everybody happy.”

For the most part, staff say there have been very few concerns raised about the shelter from either bylaw or the RCMP.

It was noted there were five letters of concern from Crystal Springs residents pertaining to a rash of fires earlier this month on the Brookhaven Care Centre property.

BC Housing will continue to fund the shelter while Turning Points Collective will operate it.

The shelter has room for up to 40 individuals at any one time.

The COVID-19 Rapid Rehousing program operated out of the Super 8 Motel was closed at the end of March.



West Kelowna council hold first meeting in new city hall

Council christen chambers

The City of West Kelowna christened its new council chambers Tuesday night.

Despite a few sound related glitches, the newly-completed chamber room saw its first council meeting in front of staff and a few dozen onlookers.

It’s been a long time coming for a council which held meetings at the Lions Hall before eventually moving into chambers at city hall located in the refurbished Mount Boucherie Centre.

Mayor Gord Milsom says the city has come a long way since that first meeting.

“It feels great,” says Milsom, one of three people in the room who attended the inaugural council meeting in 2007.

“The building feels good to have proper facilities and many of our employees housed under one roof. As far as our first meeting in a proper council chambers, ya, it feels really good.

“It’s been a long go but we have the perfect location and collaboration with other services.”

Milsom was co-chair of the committee advocating for a city hall to be built on Elliott Road nearly a decade ago. That idea was shot down in a referendum in 2016.

Looking back, he says this is the perfect site for city hall.

“It’s land that we own and by waiting a few years we were able to build it without any additional tax increases.

“And it’s a true gathering place to have that partnership with the library that didn’t exist back then. To have the MP and MLA here…that wasn’t considered back then."

"It was worth the wait," he said.

The new city hall was first expected to be completed by December 2022 at a cost of roughly $18 million, but ended up costing $22.8 million.



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Missing West Kelowna man found safe

Missing man found safe

UPDATE MAY 29 8:11 a.m.

The family of a missing 29-year-old man tells Castanet that he has been found safe and sound.

"Everything is OK and it was through the help of the public that we found him," says a friend of the family.

His identifying information and photo have been removed from this story.


ORIGINAL MAY 28 9:36 a.m

A West Kelowna family is searching for a man who has been missing since last Thursday.

The family says he has been battling mental health issues and recently returned to Kelowna from Vancouver but wandered away from his Rutland apartment last week.

"He has been in Vancouver for four years in and out of treatment. We brought him back home from Langley.
As of Monday, a week ago yesterday, all communication stopped. I called the RCMP, they went to the residence and talked with the roommate, and he had just simply kind of vanished," says the mother.

He left his apartment leaving everything behind including his cell phone and bank card.



Dozens more permits issued as McDougall Creek fire rebuild ramps up

Fire rebuild ramps up

UPDATE 10:20 a.m.

The Westbank First Nation says all demolitions have been completed for the 12 single-family homes affected by the fire in the Royal Heights neighbourhood.

Demolition has also wrapped up at 1525 Bear Creek Road and at the 4-plex at 1555 Bear Creek Road.

The WFN says construction is currently underway with valid permits on five houses in the neighbourhood.


ORIGINAL 4:00 a.m.

Rebuilding in the wake of the McDougall Creek wildfire is proving to be a slow process.

As of May 24, the City of West Kelowna had issued 40 demolition permits and 14 building permits to people whose homes or outbuildings were destroyed or damaged in the inferno last August.

Of those 14 building permits, eight were for total structures, three were for renovations due to partial loss, one was for a manufactured home, one was for a carriage house and one was for an accessory building. One of the applications was a blasting permit.

The City of West Kelowna says another 10 permit applications are under review. Three of those are for total single-family homes, one is a carriage house, three are for accessory buildings and three are demolition permits.

The Regional District of Central Okanagan has received 73 demolition permit applications so far. It has issued 71, of which 36 are complete. Fifteen building permit applications have been filed with the RDCO and 13 have been issued as of May 22, 2024.

The numbers are an improvement from a couple of months ago. Back in early March, RDCO had issued 66 demolition permits, but only one building permit while the City of West Kelowna had issued 40 demolition permits but had only received one building permit application.

Progress was moving a bit more quickly on Westbank First Nation land. Castanet spoke to ARG Contracting in March as they were about to begin excavation work on four rebuild projects in the Royal Heights neighbourhood.

For those who had property at Lake Okanagan Resort, the process is likely to be much slower. Not only do many have to go through their own insurance companies before construction can begin, they also have to wait for claims made by strata councils. There has also been little to no information about whether the company that operates the resort plans to rebuild infrastructure like water and sewer systems.

One man who recently called Castanet said he had been living in a mobile home on the property where his condo once stood at Lake Okanagan Resort but was told by the RDCO that he must leave.

Arturo Peralta said he has been struggling to get a building permit and said the resort has been doing nothing to clean up the site.

The Insurance Bureau of Canada said the McDougall Creek wildfire and destructive fires in the Shuswap in 2023 caused an estimated $720 million in insured losses.



Left turn lane being added on Boucherie Road at Black Swift Vineyards

New turn lane on Boucherie

A new left turn lane is about to be installed along Boucherie Road.

The City of West Kelowna says a private contractor will be making safety improvements, including a left turn lane, across from 2345 Boucherie Road, right in front of Black Swift Vineyards.

Work is set to begin Wednesday. Crews with Bronag Contracting Ltd. and Fredex Construction will be on scene from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays until the end of June, weather permitting. Work is not scheduled during evenings or weekends.

Boucherie Road will remain open during construction, but traffic controls will be in place, including reduced speeds and intermittent single-lane alternating traffic through the work zone. Motorists are advised to allow for extra travel time, drive with caution through construction zones, give extra space for roadside workers, and follow directions of traffic-control personnel.

Outside of construction hours, the road will be open to through traffic. Pedestrian, cyclist, transit and emergency services access will be maintained at all times and the city will ensure the contractor maintains traffic flows during peak periods.

For more information, contact Fredex Construction Inc. at 250-878-1875 or [email protected].



Chief Tomat Elementary School in West Kelowna to be expanded

School to be expanded

Madison Reeve

UPDATE 12:35 p.m.

The provincial government has announced an expansion of Chief Tomat Elementary School in West Kelowna.

The province is spending $10.5 million on a prefabricated addition to the school that will add 165 students spaces for 2025.

BC NDP MLA Ravi Parmar made the announcement Monday in front of ongoing work to expand North Glenmore Elementary with a similar prefab addition. He says every 37 days, 10,000 people move to B.C., and many settle in the Central Okanagan.

“With this growth, we know that there is a need for more services and access to services, including schools,” Parmar said. “But we know that traditionally built classrooms and new schools can take years to construct.”

Parmar says the prefabricated additions are fast to construct and much more comfortable than portables for students and staff.

The Chief Tomat expansion will add five elementary rooms and two kindergarten rooms.

“With prefabricated expansions the build time can be cut in half, making a big difference and delivering more spaces sooner for kids, he said.

Central Okanagan school board chair Lee-Ann Tiede said they appreciate the funding for the school expansion.

“We look forward to continuing to work together and meeting the needs of our students and families as we continue to grow,” she said.

The provincial government says it has spent $180 million creating 2,385 new student seats in the Central Okanagan School District over the past six years.

SD 23 superintendent Kevin Kaardal says the addition is more than needed.

"We are currently at 108 per cent capacity across the district and so we need seats for kids and I will say that government has really come to the table," he said.

Madison Reeve

ORIGINAL 12 p.m.

The provincial government will be making an announcement Monday about school expansions in the Central Okanagan.

BC NDP MLA Ravi Parmar, appearing on behalf of the education minister, will be making the announcement at noon at North Glenmore Elementary.

A livestream of the announcement will be carried by Castanet.



Pair of thieves use stolen truck to break into West Kelowna cannabis store Friday morning

Stolen truck used in break-in

A pair of thieves used a stolen pickup truck to break into a West Kelowna cannabis store in the early morning hours of Friday, but they made off with very little.

Just before 3 a.m Friday, surveillance footage at West Kelowna's Skye Cannabis Co. captured two people backing up a red pickup truck in front of the store. One of the thieves smashes the front-door window with a hammer and then attaches a chain to the door, before the other person drives the truck forward, ripping out the door and security fence.

Surveillance footage from inside shows the pair running through the store, throwing items into a large garbage bin they had brought, before taking off in the truck.

Skye Cannabis spokesperson Natasha Raey said she called police as soon as her phone notified her that the store's alarm was going off, but the thieves were gone before an officer arrived.

She said the pair only ended up making off with some pre-rolled cannabis joints, worth “a couple hundred bucks."

“It wasn't a very big score for them,” Raey said.

But the damage to the store was extensive.

“The damage is insane, for insurance coverage, now we need a new door,” Raey said. “We hired a private security company, so there's a man who's literally sitting in front of my store every night until everything is completely fixed.”

Police have since informed Raey that the truck used in the theft was stolen. She said they've been operating at the location for about four years and this is the first time they've dealt with any theft issues.

Anyone with any information about the theft can contact the West Kelowna RCMP detachment.



West Kelowna council hold next meeting at new city hall

New council digs ready

West Kelowna city council will get a chance to test drive their new council chambers.

The city announced Friday council will hold its inaugural meeting inside the new chambers next Tuesday, May 28.

It will be a welcome change for council after holding meetings inside a refurbished Britco trailer for the past four years.

“Council is very pleased to provide this new city hall as a place of governance and administration for our community,” said Mayor Gord Milsom.

“It’s been 17 years since we’ve been in temporary facilities, and it feels great to be in our first purpose-built city hall and host an inaugural council meeting in proper council chambers.”

Testing of the audio-video equipment is now complete allowing for the transition to take place.

“We wanted to ensure that everything was working smoothly before we moved forward with in-person council meetings,” said Milsom.

“With all the technology ready, council is pleased to invite the public here to the new city hall council chambers for the May 28 meeting.”

The meeting begins at 6 p.m.

The city is the first of six tenants to relocate to the new building on Old Okanagan Highway.

The West Kelowna branch of the Okanagan Regional Library is set to open June 5 while MLA, MP, ICBC and ServiceBC offices have yet to announce their opening dates.



Watch: Power pole on fire in West Kelowna around same time as large power outage

Pole fire linked to outage?

Contributed

UPDATE 6:03 a.m.

The lights are back on for most of the 3,000 customers affected by a power outage in West Kelowna Wednesday night.

However, a new outage reported around 2:45 a.m. Thursday is affecting 226 BC Hydro customers in a smaller section of the same general area. That outage is located between Brown Road and Old Okanagan Highway, south of Ingram Road.

BC Hydro says at this point the cause is under investigation. A crew has been assigned.

One Castanet reader suggested that a pole fire may have caused the earlier, larger outage on Wednesday night. BC Hydro listed the cause as a bird contacting its wires, but the reader sent in a video of a power pole on fire near Truck 59 Cidery on Brown Road.

She says that not long before the fire there was an extreme flash of lightning that she believes sparked the fire.


ORIGINAL 9:15 p.m.

Power is out for more than 3,000 BC Hydro customers in West Kelowna Wednesday night after an equipment failure.

According to BC Hydro’s outage map, the power outage is impacting 3,043 customers between Whitworth Road in the south to properties north of Reece Road and Old Okanagan Highway.

The power went out at about 8:45 p.m., and BC Hydro said a crew has been assigned.

This story will be updated when more information is available.



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