West Kelowna  

Motorists advised of temporary Boucherie Road closure

One day Boucherie closure

The City of West Kelowna is closing Boucherie Road, between Hayman and Hudson Roads, on Tuesday for seasonal boulevard maintenance.

The work will include irrigation maintenance, removal of seasonal planters, street and sidewalk sweeping, weeding and other care and cleaning.

The maintenance will require a full closure of the road, during non-peak hours, including bike lanes and sidewalks, to motorists, cyclists and pedestrians.

Crews will maintain access for emergency vehicles, residents living within the immediate work area, buses and transit users.

Motorists are asked to respect work crews, slow down around cone zones and maintain posted speeds along detour routes, which include Hudson Road via Highway 97 and Hayman and Stuart Roads and Thacker Drive.


Fatal crash Friday night on Hwy 97 at Drought Hill

Hwy 97 crash was fatal

A crash Friday night on Highway 97 on Peachland's Drought Hill was fatal.

The single-vehicle crash occurred at about 7 p.m. and claimed the life of an Okanagan man in his 40s, according to Cpl. Mike Halskov of the BC Highway Patrol.

"At this time, it appears driver impairment, failure to wear a seatbelt and using an electronic device while driving were contributing factors to this crash," Halskov added.

The highway was closed for several hours during the course of the investigation.

Structure fire on Horizon Drive in West Kelowna

Garage totalled in fire

Madison Erhardt

UPDATE: 5:08 p.m.

A large garage fire broke out on Horizon Crescent in West Kelowna just after 3 p.m.

“As soon as we left the station we could see that there was clearly a working fire. So we arrived on the scene. We stretched the lines to the rear of the structure where we found a garage on fire, fully involved with a car inside. We were able to knock it down pretty quick," said assistant chief Brent Watson.

Watson says the homeowner was home at the time of the fire and has minor burns on his hand.

The house remains untouched, but crews say the garage is a total loss.

Watson says quick action by the fire department was critical given the location of the blaze.

“In a development like this where the homes are fairly close together, it is absolutely imperative we get here quickly, which we did today and prevented any further loss.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

UPDATE 4:20 p.m.

The garage was destroyed in the fire, along with a car that was parked inside the building.

The West Kelowna Fire Department says no one was home at the time the blaze broke out on Horizon Cres.

The cause is unknown at this time.

Firefighters managed to keep the flames from spreading to any other structures or the nearby brush.

UPDATE 3:50 p.m.

One Castanet reader says she heard two loud explosions right before the fire started.

She says the housing complex where it happened is next to Safari Ridge Adventure Park.

ORIGINAL 3:25 p.m.

Firefighters were called to the scene of a structure fire in West Kelowna Sunday afternoon.

They responded to an address on Horizon Drive shortly after 3 p.m.

Reports suggest a garage was up in flames.

Black plumes of smoke could be seen rising from across Okanagan Lake.


Westbank Salvation Army celebrates grand reopening

Salvation Army grand reopen

The Westbank Salvation Army celebrated their grand reopening with the community on Saturday, after the store received a huge makeover.

To celebrate, the Salvation Army had food and drink available by donation, as well as live music and a magician. Dozens from the community came out to see the revamped store, and connect with staff and volunteers.

Upon entering, customers will notice a brighter, more organized space, filled with more merchandise than ever before.

“We have new paint, fixtures, clothing racks, and we’ve added some gridwall. We had a really awesome design team come in and make the space look great, and I think all the work they did will really help enhance the shopping experience,” said Lenetta Parry, community engagement manager.

As the ribbon to officially welcome customers back into the store was cut, the crowd on hand cheered and celebrated. Parry told Castanet community spirit and support is what kept the Salvation Army alive during renovations, and she wants to extend her thank you to all volunteers and donors.

“This organization wouldn't exist without the support of our community. We have senior meal programs, youth programs, emergency food programs, and we provide emergency food and furniture for people in our community. So this is a community organization, and we couldn't do it without their support,” explained Parry.

The Salvation Army has had a difficult 18 months between trying to provide for the community during the pandemic, store closures due to renovations, the pandemic, and the recent wildfires. Parry said she feels a strong sense of gratitude towards everyone who helped make the store's grand reopening happen.

Westbank First Nation councillor Jordan Coble was one of many politicians on hand at Saturday's event, and he had the honour of cutting the giant red ribbon, with an equally giant pair of scissors. Coble spoke about how the Salvation Army brings communities together.

"Sincerely, from the bottom of my heart, I’m so grateful for the Salvation Army and how it brings our community together, not just on days of celebration but in times of need,” described Coble. “It gives us that sense of community that we need to look after one another.”

The store has introduced new hours of operation. From Tuesday to Friday, customers can shop from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m., and on Saturdays from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. If you’d like to make a donation, the donation station is located on the back side of the building at 3531 Old Okanagan Highway in West Kelowna.

Hwy 97 reopens after crash on Drought Hill

Hwy 97 reopens after crash

UPDATE 10:40 p.m.

The highway has now reopened to traffic in both directions.

Witnesses say the crash was a vehicle that went down the embankment at Drought Hill.


Highway 97 is closed in both directions near Peachland.

DriveBC has reported a vehicle incident between Buchanan Rd and Seclusion Bay Rd for 2.5 kilometres.

The road is closed, and a detour has not been set up at this time.

Castanet will update the story when more information is available.

Rose Valley Veterinary warns pet owners of dangers of speargrass

Vet warns of speargrass

The Rose Valley Veterinary Hospital is warning pet owners after a dog came into the vet with strange symptoms.

On Facebook the vet hospital posted recently about Charlie, who's owners had been noticing excessive head shaking over the past few days.

An examination of the dog found speargrass inside its ear canal.

"Stay clear from speargrass infested paths and walkways," Rose Valley Veterinary said.

Speargrass is a type of wild grass with barbed seed heads. The speargrass carries sharp seeds and is found across the Okanagan. It can cling onto skin, fur and paws, causing great damage to animals.

"When speargrass penetrates the ear canal, the consequences can be severe. Because of the incredible grass migratory ability and inability to back out there is a risk that the awn will perforate the ear drum. This condition might lead to permanent complications in the ear," the vet said online.

Charlie is now feeling fine and recovered from his ordeal.

West Kelowna has adopted measures to allow for electronic access to meetings

Council meetings tweaked

West Kelowna city council has approved measures that will allow for remote access to meetings for councillors and the public under certain circumstances.

The changes to the city's procedures bylaw were made necessary after the province removed the order allowing cities to offer electronic participation in meetings late last month.

The changes will allow the city to continue to allow remote access, as it has the past 18 months due to COVID.

The two-part amendment would allow for electronic participation at council meetings upon authorization of the mayor, and also that council members could attend a meeting remotely, again by authorization of the mayor, "under extraordinary circumstances."

City CAO Paul Gipps says extraordinary circumstances was added to the amendment as a way to clarify why a councillor could attend remotely.

Coun. Rick de Jong says it's a logical step to allow both the public and those presenting to council the ability to dial into meetings when necessary.

As for council, he cautions the additional clarification was welcome to prevent abuse by future councillors.

"I think we need to be really clear to us, and future council in setting the intent, that if you are running for council and you get elected, you are expected to be at council, in person, on a regular basis," said de Jong.

"Taking a three month holiday in Mexico and just dialing in, that's not part of this gig."

That point was agreed unanimously by councillors.

However, Coun. Doug Findlater believed leaving the wording at "extraordinary circumstances" didn't go far enough.

He cited an instance a few years ago where a city councillor in a B.C. community moved to Alberta, but continued to attend meetings remotely and draw a salary.

"I don't think this is tight enough to prevent that, I would like to see this a little less discretionary," said Findlater in voting against that particular part of the amendment.

Coun. Stephen Johnston voted against the second part of the amendment, stating he wants people in chambers whenever possible.

"I have a bit of a hesitancy because, if we are hiring a consultant to do work for us, there is much greater value for in-person meetings," said Johnston.

"The way we do public hearing in a post-pandemic world, I think we do need to get to in-person public hearings.

"I think it's important the public comes out. I wouldn't be a proponent of online participation in public hearings."

Council gave first three readings to both amendments.

They will now go to the public for comment before being adopted.

Bear hangs out on Glenrosa deck, doesn't smell Thanksgiving turkey

Bear hangs out on deck

Rob Gibson

A West Kelowna man is giving thanks that a bear didn't wreck his Thanksgiving dinner.

"I had my turkey soaking in brine outside around the corner and I was worried that the bear was going to smell it and get at the turkey."

Gary Stoutenberg tells Castanet he was getting ready to barbecue his turkey when his wife told him there was a bear on the deck Monday afternoon.

"He wasn't big, probably the size of a German shepherd and he just hung out there for about 20, 25 minutes."

Stoutenberg lives in Glenrosa and says he has seen several bears over the years but this one seemed to just want to hang out. "The bear just sat there looking at us through the window.'

Eventually, the bear left and Stoutenberg wanted to get cooking his Thanksgiving dinner, "I went out about a half-hour later and we startled each other. I looked at him and he looked at me and then he turned around and bolted he went around the house and kinda disappeared.

"Thanksgiving was a success."

'Couple of morons' break into Peachland's ZipZone, leave empty handed

'Morons' hit ZipZone

Peachland’s ZipZone adventure park was hit by thieves on Thanksgiving Monday.

Business owner Kevin Bennett says a “couple of morons in an F-350” pulled down a section of fence and drove into the base camp area.

ZipZone’s sea-cans were too well secured, so the crooks left empty handed, but left parts of their truck stuck on the fence along with a power bank with the name “Mike” scratched into it.

The evidence has been handed over to police.

“These thieves are so dumb they actually think we leave anything at ZipZone that can be sold. All of our stuff is specialized ziplining equipment, serial numbered and indelibly marked,” Bennett said.

“It’s useless outside of our park and no one would ever buy it. Pawn shops wouldn’t even look at it and if a thief were dumb enough to approach another zipline with gear like ours they’d be reported immediately”.

ZipZone says its fence is under repair and should be fixed in the next couple of days.

West Kelowna authorizes borrowing up to $11 million for its new city hall

City hall borrowing finalized

West Kelowna city council has given the go ahead for the city to borrow up to $11 million to pay for its new city hall.

The financing was approved a year after authorization was given to borrow the money needed for four-floor, 51,500 square foot building, estimated to cost $18 million.

The total cost will include $7 million from reserves put aside for the new city hall, as well as money from the Okanagan Regional Library for their share of the building.

Chief financial officer Warren Everton told council the purpose of approving the borrowing authorization now is to "maintain cash flow and take pressure off the city's reserve bank balance."

Everton says spending is well underway and starting to draw on cash reserves.

"Having borrowing in place until we are certain about final costs is a real benefit," Everton said.

"The city can borrow at a low rate for up to five years, until having to convert to long-term debt. Once this bylaw is passed, we can draw from reserves, the library and the temporary borrowing proportionally as we move through the project."

Responding to questions raised by Coun. Doug Findlater concerned about budget and the volatile construction climate, CAO Paul Gipps said the three tenders issued thus far have all come within budget projections.

"As we go through each of the tenders, we make sure we are coming in within the budget," said Gipps.

As for the cost of materials, Gipps says some are going up and some coming down.

"Lumber prices are going down in some cases, some of the engineered products are going up.

In some cases, concrete came down, then concrete went back up again."

Construction is expected to conclude near the end of 2022.

More West Kelowna News