West Kelowna  

West Kelowna liquor store fined $7K for selling cider to minor

Liquor store fined $7K

A West Kelowna liquor store has been slapped with a $7,000 fine for selling alcohol to a minor.

According to a recent decision from the Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch, liquor inspectors were conducting a series of inspections in the Central Okanagan on Sept. 26, 2023.

On that evening, an undercover minor working with the agents attended the Grey Sage Liquor Store at 2961 Gorman Rd. in Glenrosa and purchased a six pack of Okanagan Cider black cherry cider with $20 in cash.

“At no time during the sales transaction did the sales clerk request any identification from the minor agent to confirm the age of the minor agent,” said the decision.

Store ownership did not provide any of their own evidence related to the penalty to the branch.

The store has no prior contraventions of the Liquor Control and Licensing Act so was handed the minimum fine of $7,000.

Two other Kelowna-area businesses, a cannabis store and a cidery, received similar penalties last week.



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West Kelowna opens process to get approval for $8 million fire hall loan

Fire hall loan process opens

The City of West Kelowna has formally launched an alternative approval process for a $8 million loan for a new fire hall.

The one month window for residents to voice their opposition to the loan opened Tuesday and runs through to March 21.

The alternative approval process allows residents opposed to the the loan to have their say by filling out an electoral response form and returning it to the city by the deadline. In order to stop the borrowing bylaw, more than 10 per cent of the estimated 28,098 registered voters would have to submit elector response forms.

The city is looking to borrow up to $8 million to replace fire hall 32 in Lakeview Heights, built more than 50 years ago.

“Our firefighters who protect our community around the clock need an operational facility that meets regulatory standards for fire and life safety,” said Mayor Gord Milsom at a previous council meeting.

“The current fire hall #32 is well past its lifespan, the building is well undersized and leaks, firefighters are stationed in portables, and some vehicles and equipment are housed in pop-up tents outside the fire hall.

If approved, the new fire hall would be constructed on the site of the Lakeview Heights Community Hall on Anders Road. It would also include integrating the hall, park space and amenities.

An individual who is opposed to long-term borrowing may obtain an elector response form by:

  • Downloading a form online at westkelownacity.ca/aap
  • Picking one up in person at West Kelowna Municipal Hall, 2760 Cameron Road, during regular office hours
  • Requesting an electronic form be sent by emailing [email protected]

Completed forms must be submitted using one of the following options by March 21 at 4:30 p.m.:

  • Mail or hand delivery to West Kelowna Municipal Hall, 2760 Cameron Road
  • Fax to 778-797-1001
  • Email to [email protected]


Lone 4-wheel driver stuck in snow above West Kelowna found safely by COSAR

Lone driver found safely

The Central Okanagan Search and Rescue team was called out for their third rescue in three nights on Thursday, this time helping a lone 4-wheel driver stuck in the snow.

COSAR said the driver had slid out of the packed ruts of an unplowed forestry road above West Kelowna.

"The circumstances required additional assistance, and being out of cell range, the driver used their iPhone's SOS feature to connect to an Emergency Response Call center, via satellite," they shared in their social media post.

A small team of local, knowledgeable operators responded in a custom off-road vehicle along with SAR members to the individual's location, which was pinpointed with an excellent degree of accuracy.

There were no medical concerns and crews were able to assist the driver and escort them and their vehicle back to the pavement.

"Progress was captured live during the event, with position tracking during the regular Thursday night COSAR Training exercise, coincidentally focussing on the mapping software."

In all three of the latest callouts, COSAR said the simple missions have been completed safely.

With current backroad snow conditions being variable with lower sections extremely icy, and upper elevation sections providing minimal traction in sugary type snow,

This was COSAR's 17th call of 2024.



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West Kelowna couple spend day touring Invictus Games sites with Duke and Duchess of Sussex

Hosting Harry & Meghan

A West Kelowna couple has rubbed shoulders with royalty.

Mike and Lori Bourgeois got to spend the day with Prince Harry and his wife Meghan in Whistler on Wednesday. They were the official ‘hosts’ or Invictus Games ambassadors as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex toured facilities and met with athletes in training ahead of the 2025 Invictus Games in Vancouver and Whistler.

Mike is a former Invictus athlete. He was part of Canada’s archery and cycling teams at the 2022 games in The Hague, Netherlands. He and Lori were asked by the organizing committee to join the prince’s entourage.

“It’s all the Duke of Sussex’s passion project. We benefited greatly, I benefited greatly and my family from being involved, being selected. So now we’re just paying it forward,” said Bourgeois.

He says they spent quite a bit of time interacting with the couple, including one memorable moment. “The duchess borrowed my phone to take a picture of her husband for their kids, which is kind of a nice, family, feel-good story.”

Bourgeois, a retired Canadian Armed Forces infantry captain who served on several humanitarian relief efforts, says that there were plenty of opportunity to chat with Harry and Meghan on Wednesday.

“They did have security teams that keep them on schedule and it’s an army of volunteers that facilitate the movement for the duke and duchess. But the reality is that there’s a lot of dead time also, where we’re just standing around and talking.”

He adds that, “at the end of the day they’re people just like you and I.”

The Bourgeois’ brush with royalty didn’t go unnoticed by the international media covering the Sussexes’ visit. People magazine interviewed Mike about Harry’s commitment to wounded veterans.

“The duke is really all about how are the athletes coping, what has their experience been. He’s very passionate about injured and wounded military. Of course, he lived that life being deployed to Afghanistan himself,” Bourgeois told Castanet.

“He’s spent a lot of time around injured soldiers and everything about what we are doing here is about his passion for the well being of injured and wounded soldiers and their recovery through sport.”



Lunar New Year celebrated at Mar Jok Elementary School in West Kelowna

Lunar New Year at Mar Jok

Students at Mar Jok Elementary School have been celebrating Lunar New Year over the past couple of weeks, with several children in grade five learning and performing the Dragon and Lion Dance.

Mar Jok Elementary School Principal Brady Holland tells Castanet they have been celebrating Lunar New Year for several years, and that it's evolved into something truly special for both students and teachers.

“We really want to celebrate the diversity in our school, and we also want our students to learn about other cultures, and of course it’s really important at this school to learn about Jok Mar and to learn about Chinese culture,” said Mar Jok Elementary School Principal Brady Holland.

Jok Mar was one of the first Chinese settlers who came to Kelowna in 1912, eventually buying the land that Mar Jok Elementary School sits on today.

“His big dream was to own property and he called this the Golden Mountain. And so when he could finally afford it, he bought it from the government and set up his homestead here," said Kelly Jones, the wife of Jok Mar's grandson.

"He also opened the first Chinese food restaurant in Kelowna known as the Golden Pheasant cafe, where he employed many, many people. A lot of old pioneers of Kelowna have fond memories of meeting and dating there and stuff and it’s just, it’s home."

Jok Mar's grand nephew Adrian Mar say Jok Mar would be very excited to see Canadian students learning about Chinese culture.

“When we celebrate Chinese New Year it means a lot about prosperity, success, and making sure that everyone has wealth and happiness throughout that year. So it can’t be understated how important this year is or any New Year under the Chinese calendar,” said Adrian.

Lunar New Year is celebrated between Feb 10 and 24 this year.



Things to do in Kelowna and West Kelowna on Family Day

Things to do on Family Day

Kelowna and West Kelowna are getting ready for BC Family Day and they're promising fun for everyone involved this long weekend.

There's a number of family-friendly activities that are also free to the public on Monday in West Kelowna, including skating at Jim Lind Arena and family play at the multi-sport centre.

A family obstacle course has also been set up at Mar Jok Elementary School for families to enjoy together, as well as sledding (weather dependent) at Rosewood Field.

Jim Lind Area:

  • Public Skate at Jim Lind Arena – 12:45 p.m. – 2 p.m.

Multi-Sport Centre:

  • Family Dome Play Day for all ages – 1 p.m. – 3 p.m.

Mar Jok Elementary School:

  • Family Obstacle Course – 1 p.m. – 3 p.m.
  • Craft station in the Multi-purpose Room – 1 p.m. – 3 p.m.

Rosewood Field:

  • Sledding, weather dependent – 1 p.m. – 3 p.m.

Families can also try their hand at the Family Day Bingo Challenge, where families are kept busy exploring the city and marking off as many activities as they can along the way. Cross off a line or two and submit it online for a chance to win.

Families looking to go for a swim on BC Family Day are encouraged to check out Johnson Bentley Memorial Aquatic Centre rates and schedules.

Other free outdoor options include strolling along Gellatly waterfront, hiking Mount Boucherie Rush Trail, Glen Canyon, Goats Peak or Kalamoir and more.

In Kelowna, families can visit MNP Place from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. for all ages drop in activities, including park and play, a bouncy castle, soccer, community stations and public skating.

Parkinson Recreation Centre will also be open for holiday hours 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. giving access to the swimming pool and sports activities.

The Kelowna Art Gallery and YMCA will also be open to families on BC Family Day.



West Kelowna council approves townhomes on Gellatly Road South

Gellatly housing approved

A multi-family housing development on West Kelowna's Gellatly Road has the blessing of city council.

The multi-residential development would include 20 three-storey townhouse units ranging in size from two to five bedrooms, at 3830 Gellatly Rd. South.

Staff indicate each of the units would include two parking spaces with sufficient visitor and loading stalls.

"All parking space requirements have been met," said planner Chris Oliver when addressing residents concerns about parking.

He added on-street parking is not allowed in that area.

A number of variances pertaining to a reduction in side and rear setbacks and a narrowing of the minimum driveway width from seven to six metres along the central access road were also approved as part of the permit application.

Residents also expressed concerns about the condition of that portion of Gellatly Road South given the increased traffic as the area densifies.

"Road improvements are on the radar," said Coun. Rick de Jong.

"It's developments like this that will help pay for those road improvements. The money has to come from somewhere and this is a Development Cost Charge road.

"As we get more developments like this, that is going to help fund the necessary improvements on this stretch of road, and other roads in our community."

He also voiced concerns about the close proximity to a cherry orchard which could lead to conflicts with the new residents in the event helicopters are used early in the morning to try off the crop after a rainstorm.

He hopes the developer will do what they can to mitigate the potential for conflict.



Taylor Swift-Mania providing boost to some Okanagan restaurants

Swifties helping hospitality

Restaurants in Kelowna and West Kelowna are taking a page out of the NFL playbook, using Taylor Swift-Mania as a way to boost sales for a struggling hospitality sector.

When the wins are fewer and farther between, you’ll take them where you can get them. That's been the sentiment of several Kelowna-area restaurants and establishments when it comes to the phenomenon of hosting themed events surrounding the global pop star.

“We had seen a few other local spots do it and heard that some of them had sold out, like, four or five themed nights. So we gave it a try and sold out our private space for sixty people and had to actually create a waiting list,” said Emily Scott-Wild, marketing manager at Mt. Boucherie Estate Winery.

Fresh off a sold-out event, Mt. Boucherie Estate Winery screened Swift’s “Eras Tour” concert film at an all-ages event on their big screen in their private dining space on Feb. 13.

The singer’s popularity has soared to even greater heights in recent months, partly due to her relationship with Super Bowl champion and Kansas City Chiefs tight-end Travis Kelce, with reports indicating that her presence around the league has brought upwards of $500 million dollars in revenue to the NFL alone.

According to Mt. Boucherie Estate Winery, Red Bird Brewing, the OK Corral Cabaret, Just Peachy, and the Kelowna Curling Club are a few other establishments that have used the hype around Swift to hold special events and promotions.

“Regardless of what you might think about Taylor Swift, there’s no doubt her cultural significance has provided a much needed opportunity for us to get people together in restaurants and other spaces and do our best to keep business somewhat healthy, especially during the slow season,” said Mt. Boucherie CEO Craig McCulloch.

Due to the event’s popularity, Mt. Boucherie Estate Winery has already begun planning a second date to satisfy the demand for events based around Swift’s music.

“At the end of the day, we look at successful restaurant marketing as identifying a public need and fulfilling it in our own unique way," said said Scott-Wild.

"If Taylor Swift is the person or thing that makes it possible for people to get together, have a glass of wine and a snack, support their local businesses and communities, and have a good time, then we see that as a total win-win."



Process to get approval for West Kelowna fire hall loan begins next week

Fire hall AAP starts soon

The City of West Kelowna begins the process of obtaining voter approval to spend up to $8 million on a new Lakeview Heights fire hall next week.

The one month window for residents to voice their opposition to the borrowing bylaw begins next Tuesday, Feb. 20 and runs through Thursday, March 21 at 4:30 p.m.

The alternative approval process or AAP allows residents opposed to the the borrowing bylaw to have their say by filling out an electoral response form and returning it to the city by the deadline.

In order to stop the borrowing bylaw more than 10 per cent of the estimated 28,098 registered voters would have to submit elector response forms.

Forms are available online and at city hall and can be returned via email, fax, mail or in person.

Residents in favour of the borrowing bylaw need do nothing.

The city is looking to borrow up to $8 million to replace fire hall 32 in Lakeview Heights, built more than 50 years ago.

“Our firefighters who protect our community around the clock need an operational facility that meets regulatory standards for fire and life safety,” said Mayor Gord Milsom at an earlier meeting.

“The current fire hall #32 is well past its lifespan, the building is well undersized and leaks, firefighters are stationed in portables, and some vehicles and equipment are housed in pop-up tents outside the fire hall.

If approved, the new fire hall would be constructed on the site of the Lakeview Heights Community Hall on Anders Road.

It would also include integrating the hall, park space and amenities.



West Kelowna council nix gymnasium at refurbished community centre

No to new gymnasium

The City of West Kelowna will go ahead with designing the new Mount Boucherie Community Centre without a gymnasium.

City council nixed the gym addition during Tuesday's council meeting.

Including the gymnasium on the north side of the community centre was one of three options presented to council, however escalating costs to more than $4.7 million plus the proximity of the gym at the adjacent Mount Boucherie Secondary school prompted council to steer away.

Council was presented with three options to convert the present city hall back to a community centre - its original use until the city took it over in 2009.

Council opted unanimously for the second of the three options to restore the community centre to include 80 child care spaces.

Facilities and recreation manager Erin Goodwin says the restoration would turn the centre into a "joint-use" facility.

"It would be used as a child care during the day Monday to Friday and on evenings and weekends used for community space," said Goodwin.

The city, in partnership with BGC Okanagan received a $3 million grant through the ChildCareBC New Spaces Fund for the project.

However, the funding application also included construction of the gymnasium.

"Staff feel it will still qualify for the child care grant, however the city will have to amend the grant application which will entail deleting the gymnasium from the project and await a decision as to whether the updated application is approved and for how much."

Goodwin says there is a chance the grant could end up being reduced with the amended application but added the parameters for the grant have changed since the city first applied.

Under new parameters he says there is no maximum amount as opposed to the previous $3 million ceiling.

"We will be asking for 100 per cent funding if possible."

Cost of the restoration is pegged at about $3.6 million.

"We do have competing interests for where to place money and staff resources," said Coun. Rick de Jong in supporting Option 2.

"When we are talking about two gymnasiums down two flights of stairs I would prefer the Boys and Girls Club or whatever operators we are working with explore opportunities for joint use agreements with the school district."

De Jong says he is not convinced the city needs another gym stating a number of elementary school gyms that are underutilized.

Staff will move forward with a progressive design build and bring back a final design with budget and financing strategy at a future council meeting.

City staff are expected to vacate the present city hall later this spring once the new city hall adjacent to the Johnson Bentley Memorial Aquatic Centre is complete.



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