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Vernon  

Environment Canada calling for rain and thunderstorms today

Rain may not prevent fires

UPDATE 12:19 p.m.

Environment Canada meteorologist Bobby Sekhon said a cold front is causing the unsettled conditions that will bring rain and lighting the region, but he warns there may not be enough rain to douse a fire should it start.

“It will be basically today and into this evening and then tomorrow and Saturday look fairly dry and gradually warming up,” said Sekhon.

“The showers should be gone by this evening and it should be warming up by Sunday.”

Sekhon said there is going to be a mix of showers and dry days with the possibility of showers early next week.

Sekhon said there will be some showers accompanying the lightning “but it might not be enough to stop forest fires. It's going to be a bit tricky. There will be showers, but it might not be enough to douse the flames.”

Sekhon said there will likely be more rain east of the Okanagan and into the Thompson area.


Southern Interior residents weary of the summer heat will get a brief reprieve today.

Environment Canada is calling for showers and thunderstorms this afternoon with a high of just 24 C, a full 10 degrees cooler than recent highs.

However, as of 9 a.m., no special weather advisory had been issued.

There is a 70 per cent chance of rain and thunderstorms in the North and Central Okanagan regions later today.

Forecasters are also expecting periods of rain and thunderstorms in Kamloops and Penticton this afternoon.

However, a return to sunny skies is forecast through the weekend, but temperatures are expected to reach only the low 20s Friday and Saturday.

The thermometer is expected to bounce back to 29 C by Sunday and Monday.



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Trail and access improvements at Vernon's Cools Pond

Cools Pond gets facelift

Nature lovers and bird watchers may have noticed some work going on at Cools Pond in Vernon's B.X. district.

Nature photographer Tom Skinner shared in the Hell Yeah Vernon Facebook group that the ducks "look quite happy" despite the construction.

The Regional District of North Okanagan says the nature area has been re-fenced and a new gate installed.

Some thinning has been done, and a path pushed along the length of the pond, along the fence line.

The project is expected to be complete by the end of August, and will include a new, elevated viewing platform.

If you haven't been, the quiet spot is a must for nature lovers.

Cools Pond is located at the intersection of L&A and Rimer roads.

For more of Skinner's amazing nature photography, check out the Tom Skinner Photography Facebook page.



'No camping' spray painted on family's camper in Grindrod

Covid vandalism on camper

A local family's camper was vandalized in the North Okanagan this week.

"No camping, COVID-19" was spray painted on the camper situated on private property in Grindrod.

"The property owners are neighbours of mine ... they have their family out every summer and they camp on the weekends," says Elliot Scott, who spotted the vandalism. "They are very respectful and nice folks who make use of their little slice of paradise."

Scott says the property has been used by the campers for over 15 years, and those who use the land are locals from the small community north of Enderby.

"The trailers are there all season, and they're wrapped up nice and neat while they are away," he adds. "I shared the photo so locals were aware to watch for problem people and have a chance to protect their property."

Virus-fuelled vandalism and targeted harassment is not an isolated incident.

Lug nuts have been loosened on visiting vehicles in the Okanagan, and cars have been keyed for having out-of-province licence plates.





Phone with unique lock screen found by Vernon RCMP, looking for owner

Unique phone found

Are you a tabby cat with false teeth? If so, police have your phone.

An older generation iPhone was found on Vernon's Turtle Mountain Boulevard last month.

On July 18, the citizen who found the phone turned it over to RCMP in hopes of finding its rightful owner.

"The lock screen photo is pretty unique, as it is a cat with a human mouth," says Cpl Tania Finn.

"If you can unlock the screen, we would love to be able to return the phone to you."

If this is your phone, contact Sgt. Colby Attlesey at 250-545-7171. You should be prepared to go to the detachment in the next 30 days to prove your ownership.



Splatsin Elder struggles to stop tubers from accessing his private property

Tubers invade Elder's land

As you drive down Cliff Avenue in Enderby, you come to a bridge that passes over the Shuswap River. On any given summer day, you are likely to see cars lined up along the Splatsin First Nation roadside. 

Over the years, it's become a hotspot for locals and tourists – a pit stop for tubers to jump off. 

What most don’t know is that the riverfront and adjacent area floaters have been parking on is private – owned by Splatsin elder Nathan Kinbasket.

Kinbasket has asked the public to access the beach on the other side of the river, and to respect his land. 

Kinbasket says the issue began when his grandmother allowed the public to access the waterfront because locals didn’t have a place to swim.  

“The problem is, a long time ago, back in my grandmother’s day when we still had that wooden bridge here, she let the public come swim here,” he says. “Because they didn’t have Barnes Park or anything, so out of the goodness of her heart, this was a swimming spot.”

The city built the Enderby Lions swimming pool for the public at Barnes Park, but years later many still believe that Kinbasket's land is for public access. He says river floaters have destroyed his many attempts at posting warning signs.

“We have dug a ditch so cars couldn’t go in there and we put posts in too, but some people came in with a 4×4 and pulled them right out,” he says.

Kinbasket is trying to keep an open mind and says that if he fences off the land to stop the parking, then the community members won't have a safe place to walk.

“I don’t want them to get hit or run over,” he says. “I really don’t want to put anyone in jeopardy. So I’m stuck in between a rock and a hard place.”

Kinbasket is also pursuing legal action with B.C. Highways for allegedly widening the road onto his property, which he says was done without consent.

“The highway is encroaching,” he says, gesturing toward where the highways paved over his land. “Last year, they paved all this… they put this road here without anyone’s permission.”



Which crosswalks in the region have the most pedestrian crashes?

Most high-risk crosswalks

There are a a few intersections in the Thompson-Okanagan with a higher tendency to have pedestrian-involved crashes. Certain roads and highways play a factor in that, as some roadways have multiple crash hotspots.

Here are the crashes involving pedestrians in the Thompson-Okanagan from 2015-2019 for each major municipality in the region, according to ICBC data.

Kelowna

As you may have guessed, Kelowna has the highest rate of pedestrian-related crashes in the area, and Harvey Avenue accounts for four of the top five high-risk crossings. The Cooper Road and Harvey Avenue intersection has the highest reported pedestrian crashes with nine in the past five years. Tied for second place is the Harvey Avenue-Gordon Drive and Spall Road-Springfield Drive intersections with seven reported crashes apiece. There are four crossings that have five pedestrian crashes, which are: Harvey Avenue-Pandosy Street, Harvey Avenue-Richter Street and Highway 33-Rutland Road N.

West Kelowna

Across the bridge in West Kelowna, the crashes are fewer and farther between. Highway 97 is the main culprit again, with the top two crash sites in West Kelowna. Highway 97 and Butt Road had four reported pedestrian collisions, followed by three at the Highway 97 and Daimler Road intersection. The Elliot Road and Main Street crossing had two crashes, along with a couple on Louie Drive as well.

Vernon

The pedestrian crash data in Vernon is more spread out, with the 25th Avenue and 43rd Street junction reporting three crashes from 2015 to 2019. A number of intersections report a total of two pedestrian collisions, including multiple spots on 27th Street, 32nd Street and 30th Avenue.

Penticton

Penticton has a few trouble spots in the city, with Main Street accounting for six of the top ten locations. The Kinney Avenue-South Main Street intersection and the Forrestbrook Drive-Government Street crossing tied for the top spot with three apiece. The Calgary Avenue, Dawson Avenue, Jermyn Avenue, Nanaimo Avenue and Warren Avenue interchanges along Main Street each have two pedestrian crashes.

Kamloops

Kamloops has four crossings with four pedestrian incidents each, which are: 4 Avenue-Seymour Street, 7 Street-Fortune Drive, 8 Avenue-Seymour Street and Notre Dame Drive-Summit Drive. There are a number of other intersections with three collisions each, with Seymour Street and Summit Drive making appearances in that list as well.

This data is based on ICBC reports, and they state the numbers are self-reported and not always verifiable. To check the list out for yourself, click here.



Vernon's rooftop bagpiper pens tune in honour of Dr. Bonnie Henry

Pipes play for Dr. Bonnie

Vernon's rooftop bagpiper has scaled back his performances since the reopening of the B.C. economy and a return to busy streets in the city centre.

But, Pipe Major Don MacLeod of the North Okanagan Pipes and Drums, was so inspired by the reception he received for his daily playing during the pandemic lockdown that he has penned a tune in honour of B.C.'s top medical health officer and guiding light during the crisis, Dr. Bonnie Henry.

MacLeod debuted the song for Castanet on Wednesday, playing from his rooftop garden patio on 30th Avenue.

The piper had played daily for three and half months, often up to an hour and a half at a time, not only to practise in isolation, but also to add a spark of life to downtown Vernon during the height of the shutdown.

"I thought I'd liven things up a bit," he said, "so I took it upon myself to just start playing for people ... It lifted my spirits, and hopefully others' as well."

MacLeod said once word spread of his 1 p.m. performances, people would start to gather. Sometimes, he'd have 30 or more people watching from the street below.

"With the reopening and things getting more back to normal, I just play now when I want to ... but I felt Vernon needed me before."

Indeed, merchants told him it was just what the downtown needed.

MacLeod's titled his homage A Tribute to Dr. Bonnie Henry.

"At first, I drew a blank. I tried for something lively, upbeat. But then I thought it needs to be more like her – calm and quiet, soothing."

MacLeod described it as "a pretty little piece."

You can still catch him playing, if you're lucky, on the rooftop across from The Phoenix restaurant.



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