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Local company is most loved

The best in brands in the province, for 2015, have been ranked according to BC Business Magazine.

In November of last year, Over 1,000 British Columbians were asked a series of consumer-facing branding questions, to determine which brands were the most loved.

This is the second annual ranking of B.C.’s most loved brands compiled by BC Business in partnership with Ipsos.

The list of the top 20 varies from retailers and restaurants. Sitting at number nine is Sun-Rype an Okanagan born and bred company.

Dave McAnerney, the CEO and president of Sun-Rype, says companies who usually make the list have been operating in B.C. for a long time.

“We’ve been here since 1946, so we have our 70th birthday coming up next year,” McAnerney says. “We grew up in the orchards we were formed by the tree fruit co-operative in 1946, and you couple that heritage along with the fact that we make consistently high quality great tasting products and I think that is probably why we are on the list two years in a row.”

Sun-Rype was ranked number 5, last year, in BC Businesses Magazine.

Last year was also the time Sun-Rype underwent a make-over, launching products with less sugar and more health benefits, as well as a taking on a new look by switching to Elopak from Tetra Pak.

“We aren’t just a heritage brand, we also have to stay relevant which means coming out with new products that really appeal to today’s consumer, because consumers change over time,” he says. “I think that has helped us in maintaining our rating.

Topping the list for number one of the '20 Most Loved Brands’ is Save on Foods, a Jim Pattison company just like Sun-Rype.

Save on Foods is also celebrating their 100th birthday this year.

“Save on has a real focus on local too,” says McAnerney. “One of the neat things we are doing this year is we have come out with our retro paks. They said to commemorate their 100th anniversary could we do something that speaks to the heritage our companies have.”

Coming to Save on Foods stores this week, will be the vintage 1970 packaging for certain Sun-Rype products.

Other brands to make the list, were London Drugs (number 1 last year), White Spot and A&W. The biggest surprise of the list, according to BC Business Magazine, is the Vancouver International Airport, which was apparently chosen for it’s total experience from customer service to building decor.

Click here to check out if you favourite brand made the top 20 most loved brands in B.C. 2015



Fire chief's daughter dies in crash

The young Kelowna woman who lost her life Wednesday night in a car accident on Highway 33 has been identified as Alexandra Paulina Nyuli.

She is reported to be the daughter of Joe Rich Fire Chief Curtis Nyuli, who was a first responder at the scene of her accident. 

The Joe Rich Fire Department is not issuing any comment on the death, but staff manning the telephones were clearly emotional on the phone Thursday.

According to the B.C. Coroner's Service, Alexandra was the driver and sole occupant of a car that left Highway 33 for unknown reasons and rolled more than 100 metres down an embankment.

She was deceased at the scene. Road conditions at the time included limited visibility due to fog.

The Coroner's Service and RCMP Traffic Services continue to investigate the death. 

Rutland grade change approved

Students at Rutland schools will see a new grade configuration when they return to classes in September.

At its meeting Wednesday, the board of education gave approval to the change, which will see elementary schools go from kindergarten to Grade 5, middle schools from Grades 6 to 8 and high schools from Grades 9 to 12.

Rutland is the first area within School District 23 to make the change.

Other areas are expected to follow suit in coming years. However, district Supt. Hugh Gloster says the timing of changes in Kelowna, Lake Country and on the Westside has not been determined.

"I can't say, for example, in 2020 it's going to be Kelowna. There's a different point (for each area)," says Gloster.

"For the Westside, we need space at the high school to accommodate the extra grade. City of Kelowna, quite frankly, we would need a second high school because Kelowna Secondary is completely full."

Gloster says a second high school in the Glenmore area would trigger that change.

A new middle school in the Mission would allow OKM to become a true high school and trigger a change there, while in Lake Country a new middle school would also be needed to trigger the transition.

The changes are part of the district's long-term facility plan, which looked at enrolment throughout the district.

"One of the obvious reasons (for change) is the clustering of the Grade 6 to 8 age group. By virtually all accounts, it is a very attractive clustering of ages of students based on their developmental stage in life and how you can design programming to those kids," says Gloster.

"It was always a desire to configure our middle schools Grade 6 to 8, but our facilities wouldn't allow for it when we went to the middle school model."

Gloster says a change to the graduation program, which now includes provincial exams in Grades 10 through 12, was also a factor.

He says the change at the high school level will give students a full year to transition into the high school environment before the added pressure of writing critical provincial exams.


Business as usual at the Grand

It will be business as usual at Kelowna’s Delta Grand hotel, despite the sale of the Delta brand to Marriott Hotels.

Marriott International Inc. signed a deal this week to buy the Delta hotel brand from B.C. Investment Management Corp. for $168 million.

But Delta Grand general manager Daniel Bibby says only the brand Delta was sold, not its properties across Canada. So, the Grand will stay under the Delta banner.

“Our ownership hasn’t changed,” he says.

Bibby says the Kelowna hotel’s 400 employees all received notification from the company’s president and CEO at the beginning of the week.

“We immediately called a town-hall-style meeting for all our colleagues to discuss the news … it is an exciting time.

“It’s business as usual, but the changes open up many new possibilities for our staff. Marriott has 4,100 hotels worldwide in 79 countries. Delta will be one more brand under their flag, but it could provide new opportunities for movement within the company. We’ll still be owned by BCIM.”

Under the purchase agreement, the U.S. hotel chain will take over management and franchise operations for the 38 Delta hotels and resorts, including 10,000 rooms across Canada.

Acquisition of the Delta chain will bring Marriott’s operations to more than 120 hotels and 27,000 rooms in Canada.

Affiliates of B.C. Investment Management own 13 of the Delta hotels and will sign new 30-year management agreements with Marriott. Meanwhile, third parties own the other 25 Delta hotels, including 15 that are managed by Delta and 10 are that franchised.

Marriott expects to close the deal in the second quarter.

B.C. Investment Management manages investments for public sector pension funds as well as publicly administered trust funds and government operating funds.

Suspected bus stabber in court

The man accused of stabbing a passenger on a Kelowna transit bus last year made an in-person appearance at the Kelowna Courthouse, Thursday.

Tyler Jack Newton, 24, has been in custody at the North Fraser Pretrial Centre since his arrest following the Oct. 30 stabbing.

He has been charged with second-degree murder in the unprovoked attack that killed 55-year-old Caesar Rosales, who bled to death while taking the No. 8 bus home from work.

Rosales was an employee at Kelowna Flighcraft and was described as intelligent, gentle, caring and passionate by his co-workers.

Newton’s defence counsel, Michael Newcombe, has asked for the matter to be put ahead until Feb. 26, as he awaits full disclosure on the case.

A few supporters were in attendance inside the courtroom as Newton entered wearing bright red prison attire.

His next appearance will be by video.


Kelowna councillor hospitalized

Kelowna city councillor Charlie Hodge is in hospital after contracting pneumonia earlier this week.

Hodge wrote on his Facebook page Tuesday he was "sick as a dog" and his lungs "hurt like crazy."

He was admitted to hospital Wednesday.

In a posting on Facebook Wednesday evening, his wife Teresa stated:

"Charlie wanted me to let everyone know he was admitted into the hospital this afternoon. He has pneumonia in his left lung. He is being treated with anitbiotics and has two pain killers for the pain. He has had a CAT scan to look for blood clots, but no results yet. He is in awesome hands with his lung specialist, and he won't let Charlie come home until he deems Charlie fit enough to do so, so Charlie is bored. He is in Room 8 on the main floor of emergency. They haven't found him a room yet. He said he wants company because there is nothing to do there. So, Charlie to want to be social. I am praying for a quick recovery so I can get my hubby back home where he belongs. The cats miss him, too."

Hodge suffers from emphysema.

Fellow councillor Tracy Gray joked: If he's bored, "I can drop off the two-inch pile of paperwork I need to read for regional district. He can summarize it for me! Lol, Hope he gets better really soon."

Future of rec centre discussed

Discussions are underway to determine the future of the more than 40-year-old Parkinson Rec Centre.

The future of the rec centre – described as old and tired –  came up this month during council budget deliberations, specifically a budget request for funds to replace one of the facility's roofs.

"Some things need to be done," said civic properties supervisor Martin Johansen in responding to a question from Coun. Luke Stack.

"We've been holding off on a lot of things on Parkinson Rec Centre, and this roof is at a point where we have to do it."

Johansen acknowledged a decision needs to be made soon on the future of the facility because "there's a lot of building systems we are holding together with duct tape to keep the building open."

Many of the systems are at the end of their service life, such as roofing, siding and vapour barriers.

"Some are becoming technically obsolete. We've got some issues with plumbing pipes and different things like that," said Johansen.

The problem with the filtration system that shut down the main pool for two and a half days this week is not related to other issues at the facility, he added.

The rec centre was built in 1972 using insurance money obtained after the City Park aquatic facility burned down.

The building, according to parks and public spaces manager Terry Barton, was never built to "any great standard."

He said it's not like an old heritage building that you would never consider knocking down.

"It was built on a budget back then, and there are some very ad hoc additions that have limited the functionality of the place. When you look at what can we save, there's not a lot there that is of great value," said Barton.

"It's not a great building to begin with, so when you look at building new, you might put a few more points on that because then you are able to get exactly what you want out of the building. You are able to put in all the new technologies, the new building systems, build it to the right size and actually have a recreation centre that responds to residents needs."

Staff are going through that process now, determining the pros and cons of whether the necessary repairs the building requires can give it another 20 to 25 years of life, or whether the cost is too prohibitive.

"If you are putting out this level of expenditure ... what's the intended life cycle and is it a wise use of money to start updating the building systems when we don't know how long the building is going to last?"

There is also the issue of taxpayer tolerance.

Kelowna taxpayers are still paying off the debt from borrowing for the H2O Adventure and Fitness Centre and have just begun paying for the new RCMP detachment building.

Council is expected to see a report with possible recommendations sometime this spring.

If a decision is made to build new it is expected that would be five to 10 years out.

Hwy 33 crash confirmed fatal

UPDATE 9:30 a.m.​

RCMP are now confirming a 21-year-old Kelowna woman died after the vehicle she was driving went over an embankment on Highway 33 Wednesday.
RCMP responded to the crash east of the hairpin corner in Joe Rich, on the 6900 block, about 4:15 p.m. Vehicle tracks were seen leading from the roadway, down an embankment, said Kelowna RCMP spokesman Const. Kris Clark. She had been driving westbound, toward Kelowna.

The woman's Mitsubishi Lancer was approximately 250 feet down the embankment.

The driver's name is being withheld pending notification of next of kin.
The highway was closed for several hours, and traffic was diverted while an RCMP traffic reconstructionist conducted a detailed scene analysis.
The cause of the accident is not yet known.
RCMP Central Okanagan Traffic Services and Integrated Collision Analyst and Reconstructionist Services continue to assist the B.C. Coroners Service in the investigation, said Clark.

UPDATE 9 a.m.

Hwy. 33 has reopened in both directions after a reportedly fatal crash claimed one life Wednesday afternoon. 


One person has reportedly died after a fatal rollover on Highway 33 near the hairpin, late Wednesday afternoon.

Multiple unconfirmed sources indicate a woman lost her life after her vehicle tumbled down an embankment shortly after 4 p.m.

RCMP will not confirm the death, but say they are on the scene of a serious accident. The Joe Rich Fire Department says they are also on the scene working on a recovery.

Kelowna RCMP are now rerouting drivers around the accident on via Goudie and Cardinal Creek roads.

There are currently warnings on that section of road, according to DriveBC, of limited visibility due to fog.

We will have more details as soon as they become available.

Behind the scenes at the CCC

Behind the scenes of the Canadian Culinary Championships the pressure is on, and students in the culinary program at Okanagan College are up for any challenge presented to them as they assist the competing chefs.

More than 30 lucky students in the program volunteer their time over the two day event that takes place in Kelowna on February 6 and 7.

Okanagan college instructor Chef Bernard Casavant says the event is very intense going so far as to describe it as a marathon.

“It’s not about showing up, and being told to show up from six in the morning to till 10 at night, it is a matter that you meet the chefs and they meet you,” he says. “You never know when that is needed on a job opportunity or another competition opportunity.”

Second year student Sarah Maw volunteered at the championships last year and says it was an eye opening experience.

“We got to do a lot of plating with them (the competing chefs), which basically they would give us little tasks for the plate, and they would teach us how they want it. Every chef is different, so it was great to see a variety of chefs teaching you.”

Toted as one of the most intense events in the competition, ‘The Black Box’ is a time sensitive challenge and culinary student Jake Kirstin was brought on to assist the chefs in the event.

He says time pressure brings out people’s character.

“You see when it gets down to the crunch, who can handle it and who can’t. When it comes to the Gold Medal Plates, all of these chefs are very seasoned and they understand these constraints and that is why they got successful enough to start and finish in the competition.”

Castanet asked several other students who participated last year if they have any words of advice for the newbies who are looking to take on the challenge in 2015.

We were told students should be prepared both mentally and physically for long days, get in the mind set for a stressful environment, but most importantly remember the experience is priceless.

“Working with professional chefs and best chefs from all over the country will be worth it,” says student Nicole Taylor.

Instructors in the culinary program will have their students spend most of their year prepping for the opportunity to work at the Gold Medal Plates.

Danny Capadouca, a Pastry Arts Instructor, says students do get involved in Skills Canada which can go to a national level, but it’s not the same caliber as the Gold Medal Plates.

“Gold Medal Plates is going to a good cause, and it is really just seeing how the young chefs could aspire some of these (competing) chefs.”

For more information on the Gold Medal Plates click here.


Bobcat hit by vehicle

Another bobcat was spotted lurking near Highway 97 and Kelowna International Airport on Wednesday.

Conservation Officer Terry Myroniuk attended the area and found the animal badly wounded.

“I had to euthanize the bobcat, it was in rough shape and was leaning up against a house. It appears it was hit by a vehicle,” said Myroniuk.

This is one of many bobcat sightings in the Kelowna area during the last few weeks, which Myroniuk explained is due to heavy snowfall at higher elevations.

“Traditionally, when there are high amounts of snow, it pushes the bobcats down into the suburbs. The snow makes mobility hard for the cat, and they also experience problems hunting.”

Conservation has received calls regarding bobcats in the Mission neighbourhood of Kelowna, Naramata and the Vernon area.

On Jan. 25, Castanet received a news tip regarding a bobcat in West Kelowna that reportedly grabbed a pheasant, then took off down the road.

Late Tuesday, a Castanet viewer observed a coyote near the McDonald's in Rutland, at the corner of Highway 33 and Hollywood Road.

Myroniuk says no calls were made to conservation regarding the coyote. However, they did receive a call about a coyote on Monday, near the Mission Creek Greenway but did not attend.

Mike Badry, wildlife conflict manager, says wild animal sightings documented through the Wildlife Alert Reporting Program. The online mapping system geo-locates incidents on a map of the province that can be searched by species, conflict type, geographic area, etc.

The site is updated daily at: 

If you recently spotted wildlife in your neighbourhood and have photo or video footage of the animal, please email us at [email protected]

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