Anaheim Ducks stopping by

While the Vancouver Canucks made sure the NHL playoffs wouldn't be coming to British Columbia this year, those in Kelowna might notice a hint of playoff hockey in the air next week.

The Anaheim Ducks will be travelling to Edmonton to take on the Oilers in the third game of their best-of-seven Western Conference semi-finals Sunday, but Game 4 won't be played until Wednesday.

Rather than spend their two days of rest in the Oilers' hometown, the Ducks have decided to practice in Kelowna on Monday and Tuesday, as reported by the Edmonton Sun.

“It’s just that we felt with the game being early on Sunday and with the two day break that it would be good to get away by ourselves a little bit and do our thing,” said the Ducks' coach Randy Carlyle. “It’s about calming things down, settling down. We’ll practice Monday and Tuesday there. It was just an option made available to us.”

The Ducks are currently down two games to none in the series.

While Carlyle may be looking for a break from the Oilers fanaticism in their hometown, Kelowna may not be the best place to avoid fans of the Oilers. 

“Time to direct staff to remove all ice in Kelowna arenas immediately!” Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran tweeted Friday.

“I'm fairly certain that local hotels are due for their annual middle of the night fire drill this weekend,” tweeted 'Roasted Mighty Duck.'

If the Kelowna Rockets can force a seventh game against the Seattle Thunderbirds Sunday, they'll be heading down to Washington Tuesday, presumably leaving Prospera Place free for the displaced Ducks.

This won't be the first time an NHL team has practiced in Kelowna. In March 2010, the Detroit Red Wings practiced in front of 6,000 fans at Prospera Place, following a win in Calgary.

It's unclear if the public will be able to watch the Ducks' practice. 


Vaisakhi fills the streets

The streets of Rutland were filled with hundreds of people from all cultures taking in the seventh annual Vaisakhi parade.

The parade is put on by the Okanagan Sikh Temple and Cultural Society, and included parade floats, the Sikh riders of Canada on their motorcycles, sword-skill demonstrations, dancing, music and plenty of food.

Vaisakhi celebrates the founding of the Sikh community known as Khalsa in 1699, and marks the Sikh new year.

Along the parade route, every few blocks, people handed out plates of food and drinks to the onlookers. 

The parade started at noon at the Sikh temple on Rutland Road, and finished at the same location. 

Learning at Law Day

A group of Girls Guides was arrested and had their day in court Saturday.

The arrest was a part of Law Day, an annual event held at the Kelowna courthouse to educate the public on the criminal justice system.

“It's intended to be an access to justice thing and really an outreach to the community to demystify the process and say this is how the court system works,” said Michael Sinclair, a local lawyer and organizer of Kelowna's Law Day. “The average person hardly ever interfaces with the justice system ... today is an opportunity for them to speak to lawyers, court registry staff to know where to go if that happens.”

The Girl Guides were given a mock trial in a courtroom, with volunteer lawyers arguing for and against them.

“There's certainly an educational flavour, but also just fun,” Sinclair said.

Firefighters, police, paramedics, and sheriffs and court staff were on hand to talk about their respective professions.

The outcome of the Girl Guides' trial is unknown at this time. 

The event is held at the Kelowna courthouse on Water Street until 2 p.m. Saturday.  


Smoke part of planned burn

Smoke will once again be seen over Black Mountain Regional Park, but it is all part of a planned burn.

With good air quality and venting conditions today, the Regional District of Central Okanagan is conducting the burn to get rid of fire hazard debris collected as part of a five-hectare fuel modification project in the park. 

The park, located on the east slopes just outside Kelowna, is closed to the public and the fuel-management work is part of the ongoing effort to prepare it for future access.

“Today’s burning has been authorized with appropriate permits for fire fuel hazard reduction. All local fire departments and local media have been advised of today’s activity in the park and will be notified when further burning takes place,” said Bruce Smith, regional district communications officer.

Open burning is allowed today for those eligible Central Okanagan property owners with permits from their local fire authority. 

Open burning season ends tomorrow, Sunday, April 30.

For more information visit the Regional District Parks Services webpage, or by calling 250-469-6232.

Developer takes issue

A Kelowna developer has taken issue with policies put forward by both the NDP and Green parties concerning affordable housing.

Renee Merrifield Wasylyk, CEO of Troika Developments, said housing strategies put forward by both parties have missed the mark, and will harm, not help, housing affordability.

“An increase of bureaucracy, an increase of taxes and the introduction of capital gain taxes on primary residences all lead to higher costs of housing," said Wasylyk.

“The only way to positively affect housing affordability is to use political levers to increase supply. The BC Liberals are going to incent cities to move development permits through more efficiently, increase density, and work to get first-time homebuyers into homes faster."

Wasylyk says concerns are not just tied for purchasing affordability.

She says proposals to tighten up rental control will actually backfire.

“The rental rates go down when there is enough supply. We need to make it easier for landlords to rent, not harder.

"That way, our kids will have affordable rental housing when they need them.”

Wasylyk says she believes the Liberals are the only party with a good understanding of the housing market in the province.

She says they help pull B.C. through the 2008 downturn and have moved the province forward ever since.

“They not only have the experience in this market, but they also have the smartest solutions for housing moving forward," she said.

Residents douse small fire

The occupants of a home on Woods Road in Kelowna were able to extinguish a small structure fire overnight.

Just after 4 a.m., a 911 call reported the fire on the 300 block of Woods Road in Rutland.

Firefighters arrived to find a small fire had been extinguished with help from a neighbour.

Crews checked for any fire extension as there was a small deck directly above the fire.

The incident is not suspicious in nature, and the occupants were not displaced from the home, as the fire was contained to the exterior of the structure, says Platoon Capt. Tim Light.

Kelowna Fire Department reminds the public to safely discard smoking materials in a non-combustible container.

Girl Guides go to court

Girl Guides will go to court for Law Day today.

The annual event showcases the legal system and provides an opportunity to learn about the law, and the legal profession's role in society.

A mock trial will see a group of guides sit through the ins and outs of the courthouse.

A number of community agencies will also take part, providing information about their organizations and potential careers.

“It’s a chance for us to recognize and show appreciation for our volunteers and a chance for volunteers to connect with one another,” said organizer Stephanie Moore.

The family friendly event takes place at the Kelowna Courthouse from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Castanet's week in review

Castanet's week in review with Nich Johansen.

Cheer the cheerleaders on

The 5th Annual Okanagan Cheerleading Championships are only a few days away.

This Saturday, April 29, more than 800 athletes from around B.C. and Alberta will be competing, including teams from Okanagan Firestorm Cheerleading and Rutland Senior Secondary. 

The competition will take place at the UBC Okanagan campus from 9 a.m. until approximately 5:30 p.m. Doors will open to spectators at 8:30 a.m. and  the awards ceremonies will immediately follow each session.

Athletes will perform skills in tumbling, jumps, dance and stunting for a panel of internationally recognized judges. 

Spectator admission is at the door $10 for adults, $5 for students and seniors, kids five and under free.

Voting begins Saturday

What to expect when you vote

Advance polls for the 2017 provincial election open up around the province this weekend.

Six days of advance polls have been set aside prior to general voting day Tuesday, May 9. Advance polls will be open this Saturday and Sunday, as well as Wednesday through Saturday, May 3 to 6, of next week.

Polls will be open each of the six days from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m.

In the three main Central Okanagan ridings, Kelowna-Lake Country, Kelowna Mission and Kelowna West, 16 advance polling stations will be set up.

These include:

Kelowna-Lake Country - 5 locations

  • Dr. Knox Middle School, April 29-30 only
  • Kelowna International Airport, all six days
  • Rutland Centennial Hall, all six days
  • St. David's Presbyterian Church, May 3 to 6 only
  • Winfield Memorial Hall, all six days

Kelowna-Mission - six locations

  • A.S. Matheson Elementary School, April 29 and 30 only
  • East Kelowna Community Hall, April 29 and 30 only
  • Evangel Church, May 3 to 6 only
  • Mission Creek Alliance Church, May 3 to 6 only
  • Okanagan Mission Community Hall, all six days
  • Willow Park Church, May 3 to 6 only

Kelowna West - five locations

  • Emmanuel Church, May 3 to 6 only
  • George Pringle Elementary School, April 29 and 30 only
  • Grace Baptist Church, all six days
  • Kelowna Curling Club, all six days
  • Super 8 West Kelowna Motel, all six days

To be eligible to vote in the May 9 provincial election, you must be a Canadian citizen, 18 or older on general voting day, and a resident of B.C. for the past six months.

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