West Kelowna  

City of West Kelowna looking for driver who crashed into bleachers

SUV crashes into bleachers

The City of West Kelowna is hoping a driver who crashed into a set of bleachers comes forward so the municipality can be reimbursed through insurance.

The city is seeking the public's assistance in identifying a light-coloured SUV, possibly an older model Nissan Pathfinder or Frontier with a canopy. The vehicle crashed into the bleachers Darroch Park on East Boundary Road on April 10, and left without reporting the incident.

The driver appeared to exit the scene unscathed, but the bleachers weren't so lucky and sustained $35,000 in damages.

The city says they are not seeking charges for the driver involved in the accident, but that they just need the driver's information to recover the costs of repair through insurance.

If you have any information on what happened, you can reach out to the City of West Kelowna.


Glenrosa residents looking for answers after several basements were flooded by burst pipes and hot water tanks

Mystery basement flooding

UPDATE 11:15 a.m.

In a brief statement, the City of West Kelowna says public works staff responded to water service calls in Glenrosa Wednesday afternoon.

City crews determined the issue was due to an equipment failure at a pressure reducing valve near McIver Road and completed repairs that evening.

“We are actively working with individual homeowners today, as they are calling in, to help them with their questions.”

ORIGINAL 10:30 a.m.

Some residents of Glenrosa are mopping up and looking for compensation after their basements flooded.

Several people reported coming home Wednesday afternoon to find water everywhere. Most say the release valve on their hot water tanks let go, and they blame the city.

Don Goy lives on McIver Road. He was surprised his hot water tank failed because it was just installed a couple years ago, when he and his wife moved into the home.

“I’ll be honest, I’ve been in a lot of homes and have seen a lot of hot water tanks go. Typically they start leaking from the bottom and, you know, it’s time to go, right.

“I’ve never had one where the pressure relief valve – I’ve never had that go. So, that seemed pretty odd to me,” said Goy.

He’s heard that more than 20 homes have been affected, and it wasn’t just hot water tanks. Some had the hoses burst on their fridge icemakers and overflowing hoses in their laundry rooms.

A plumber was at his house this morning to fix his hot water tank.

Another man who lives on McIver Road at McTaggart Road said he spent $800 out of pocket to get his relief valve repaired.

Goy has emailed the mayor and council asking for an explanation of what happened, and for compensation to cover the cost of the plumber, insurance deductible and the increase in residential insurance premiums. He says he'll be lucky if the bill comes in under $1,000.

He got a response from executive assistant Collette Beggs, saying she would forward his email to the Utilities Department.

Marni Murray, who lives on McBain Road, was one of the first to notice something was wrong.

She got home early in the afternoon and saw water bubbling up in her yard. When she went inside, she heard a strange noise coming from her utility room, and when she opened the door she saw water gushing out.

She called the city. A utilities worker came and told her they were investigating if a valve let go.

Murray guessed it could be related to the new $3.2 million reservoir being built up Glenrosa Road near Turnbull Road.

Castanet has reached out to the City of West Kelowna for details. City utility crews were in the neighbourhood dealing with the situation Wednesday evening.

Boil water notice issued for Sunnyside/Pritchard water system

Boil water notice issued

The City of West Kelowna has upgraded the water quality advisory for the Sunnyside/Pritchard water system to a full boil water notice.

The change has been made due to an increase in turbidity levels affecting further deterioration of the water quality.

Turbidity affects the performance of the chlorine disinfection process because bacteria, protozoa, viruses and other microorganisms can attach themselves to suspended particles in the turbid water. These particles can interfere with disinfection by shielding the microorganisms from the chlorine.

Under a boil water notice, everyone in the service area must use water brought to a rolling boil for one minute or more, or seek an alternative safe source, for brushing teeth, drinking, making baby formula and ice, preparing food and beverages and washing fruits and vegetables.

The bulk filling station at Shannon Lake and Asquith Roads provides a safe, alternative source of drinking water. Bring clean bottles for filling.

An interactive map of West Kelowna water systems is here. A water quality advisory is also in place for the West Kelowna Estates system


West Kelowna RCMP host group of Indigenous youth for mock 'Depot'

Indigenous youth at 'Depot'

The West Kelowna Indigenous Policing Section hosted 16 youth last month for a mini Depot-style experience called “Cop Camp," with a focus on shedding a positive light on the RCMP for young Indigenous kids.

The children were given matching tracksuits, put inside a dorm-style environment and were instructed on a wide variety of aspects within the RCMP.

The four-day event introduced the youth to the importance of physical fitness, drills, and demonstrations shown from various sections of the RCMP such as, police dog Services, forensic identification, emergency response team, traffic services and recruiting.

Const. Rolly Williams — who organized the event — says the goal was to pique the kids’ curiosity and to show them a snapshot into the Depot experience, as well as to explore career opportunities as a police officer.

“These young people are our future. My job here is to get a few kids to come out of the camp and get them interested in and excited about becoming a member of the RCMP. With a career in the RCMP, they can go out and make a difference in the world,” explained Williams.

The experience came two years after it was postponed by the COVID pandemic.

West Kelowna woman says coyote lunged at her

Woman charged by coyote

A West Kelowna woman says she was charged by an aggressive coyote near Rose Valley Elementary School last week.

Kirst Racich says she was walking her dog on June 18, just before noon, when a coyote lunged at her and her dog. She called the experience "intense."

Racich says she has lived in the Rose Valley area of West Kelowna her whole life and has never seen a coyote act so aggressively.

“I ended up hiding underneath a fence and being stalked for about 15-20 minutes by this thing, and it actually charged at us at one point."

Racich says she called Rose Valley Elementary to let them know, but they had already been alerted that there was an aggressive coyote in the area. At that point, Racich began backing away from the area and eventually began making her way home.

“I've lived in this area for 33 years pretty much and I've never seen a coyote be so aggressive and out during the day. I've seen bears out in the day and usually they just go on with their lives and don't really care but this coyote was not afraid. I've never been so scared in my life,” Racich says.

Coyotes can be aggressive when they are protecting their young and people with small pets are advised to keep them on a leash and keep their pets inside for their protection.

According to the provincial website, If a wolf or coyote approaches you:

  • Make yourself look as large as possible - if sitting, stand for example.
  • Wave your arms and throw objects at the wolf or coyote.
  • Shout at the wolf or coyote in a loud aggressive voice.
  • If the wolf or coyote continues to approach don't run or turn your back. Continue to exaggerate the above gestures and slowly move to safety.

Golfer sinks hole-in-one at Two Eagles, wins $25,000

Hole-in-one nets $25K

A men's night at Two Eagles golf course in West Kelowna was a lucky one for one player.

Brad Wightman nailed a hole-in-one on the 161-yard, 9th hole.

The ace scored him $25,000 in a contest sponsored by Cherry Hill Coffee.

The golf course is hosting four major men's nights events this season, with the next one taking place July 13.

Search underway for Calgary man who did not surface after jumping into Okanagan Lake

Swimmer missing in lake

A search is underway on Okanagan Lake for a Calgary man who has been missing since Saturday.

West Kelowna RCMP say Oluwaseun Samson Adedeji, 34, jumped from a boat near Squally Point, south of Rattlesnake Island, at about 3:45 p.m. on June 18.

He did not resurface.

Police, firefighters and search volunteers responded quickly but have so far been unable to locate Adedeji, who was in the Okanagan vacationing with five friends.

The search for him is still ongoing.

No other details were released.

West Kelowna wins temporary injunction ordering path at Boucherie Beach Resort be opened

Judge orders path opened

The City of West Kelowna has won the first round in a legal fight against the strata owning the Boucherie Beach Resort over a walkway on the development’s waterfront.

Following a hearing earlier this month, a BC Supreme Court justice awarded the municipality an interlocutory injunction ordering the strata unlock the gates blocking the pathway and to remove any signs suggesting the path is not public.

When the City of West Kelowna in 2013 approved the rezoning related to the Boucherie Beach Cottages development, it included a covenant that secured a public walkway along the waterfront.

Around the same time, the city had embarked on a long-term plan for a beachfront path spanning from Peachland to the Bennett Bridge. The right of way for the path would be obtained through development deals like the one at the Boucherie Beach Resort.

The developer built the path in 2014, and because it was not connected to the north or south, it was used little by the public.

Things changed with the development of Frind Winery directly south and the Paradise Estates townhome project to the north. In 2020, Frind Winery removed the large hedge that separated the two properties.

According to court documents, the Boucherie Beach strata reported an immediate increase of several hundred, often drunk, pedestrians during the summer. Residents complained about an increase in trespassing on private amenities like the pool and dock.

In response, the strata erected gates blocking the path and signs declaring it private property. They also refused to consent to a city registration for a statutory right of way for the path.

In April 2021, the City of West Kelowna sued the strata over the issue. The matter has yet to go to trial, but the city was successful last week in obtaining a temporary injunction until then.

The strata argued in court that it did not yet exist when the deal was struck between the developer and municipality and claims the covenant related to the path has now expired.

In his decision granting the injunction, Justice Gary P. Weatherill noted that the public had uninterrupted access to the path for seven years before the gates went up. He also ruled the strata would not exist if not for the deal struck between the developer and city over the pathway, which was key to allowing the rezoning.

The strata now has until July 1 to hand over to the city the keys to the gate blocking the path and take down any signs suggesting it is private.

It is not known when the matter will make it to trial.

Labour board rejects WFN's late appeal of decision involving former care home employees

WFN's late appeal tossed

The Westbank First Nation will not get a chance to appeal a labour board decision on the severance owed to former employees of the now-closed Pine Acres care home because they didn’t file the paperwork in time.

The First Nation announced in May it was appealing a labour board decision that ruled former unionized employees were owed additional severance that the employer was withholding.

The original decision is not public, so details of the dispute are murky, but a former Pine Acres employee told Castanet WFN paid out union members under the Employment Standards Act, not their collective agreement, which the arbitrator ruled against.

The WFN described it somewhat differently at the time, when it announced it would be disputing the “fairness” of the decision, which stated “that the more lucrative ‘layoff’ provision” of the collective agreement applied.

Either way, the appeal isn’t going anywhere.

The arbitration award for the union was issued on March 2, 2022. The Labour Code requires appeals to be filed within 15 days, and WFN did not submit their application until April 22, 2022.

The application WFN submitted was also incomplete and initially rejected by the registrar, and finally, a full package was submitted on May 5, 2022.

WFN tried to argue its application should be accepted outside the 15-day window because of “certain internal governance procedural requirements concerning decision making.”

“These requirements can include, among other things, meetings, discussion, and voting. WFN chief and council are required to act in the best interests of WFN members at all times when acting in their elected capacities,” the First Nation argued.

The B.C. General Employees Union, which represents the former employees, said in response WFN’s systems are not all that unique.

“Many, if not most, employers have board processes and internal procedures, as well as responsibilities to their constituents and members,” the union argued, adding WFN was being represented by a “prominent Vancouver law firm” and is “is obviously an employer with sophisticated business practices and procedures.”

WFN ultimately did not respond to the union’s submissions on the timeliness of the application, and on May 26, the labour board tossed the appeal.

“I agree with the union that the employer has provided no compelling reason to grant relief from the 15-day requirement,” said labour board associate chair Brett Matthews in his decision.

When the WFN announced its appeal, it was unwilling to explain how much severance it was withholding from former employees pending the planned appeal. The band cited $8 million in required upgrades and staffing shortages as the reason it closed the care home in January.

WFN Chief Christopher Derickson abruptly resigned on Friday, blaming corruption in the band.

West Kelowna driver has dodged 3 wrong-way vehicles in 6 months

Bad luck or just bad drivers?

A West Kelowna man says he had to swerve his vehicle to avoid a car travelling in the wrong direction and on the wrong side of Highway 97 Thursday morning between downtown Westbank and Glenrosa.

Jeremiah, who asked that his last name not be published, was headed south towards downtown West Kelowna travelling at 80 kilometres an hour when he managed to dodge a Smart car headed his way.

Unfortunately for Jeremiah, it was the third time this has happened to him and his wife over the past six months, but luckily enough, he’s avoided a collision each time.

“I think people should realize that it’s important to spend more time and attention looking at the signs of the roads that they’re [travelling] because we are getting into an even heavier road trip season as the summer months are upon us and kids have a break from school. So the possibility of these instances happening are going to be even higher,” he explained.

Jeremiah says this should serve as a wake-up call to drivers in the Central Okanagan. As the tourist season begins, many drivers will be travelling on unfamiliar streets and it’s important to take the necessary time to slow down and follow the rules of the road.

“I’ve been in car accidents before and I know they can take years to recover from. A simple mistake, like turning the wrong direction, can turn into years of recovery from a car accident, which I don’t want to see happen to anybody,” said Jeremiah.

Earlier this year, Jeremiah was travelling down Bridge Hill when he had to quickly swerve to avoid a head-on accident with a vehicle driving on the wrong side of the road.

Jeremiah experienced another close call back in December when the same thing happened again. This time it was in Kelowna when Jeremiah was driving northbound down Pandosy Street near Highway 97.

Jeremiah contacted the RCMP and gave a description of the Smart car that was travelling on the wrong side of the road. Jeremiah says the RCMP sent out an officer to try and locate the vehicle and the driver responsible.

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