Tuesday, September 30th13.7°C

Mystery weed identified

HD by Trevor Rockliffe


It took a marine biologist to solve the question of just what type of weeds are growing in Sutherland Bay around the Fintry Queen.

Laura Hooker, an Associate Professor of Biology at UBC Okanagan, confirms that, for the most part, the plant is quite beneficial.

"It is something called Fennel-leaf Pondweed (Stuckenia Pctinata)," says Hooker.

"Right now as it's actively growing it's actually a good fish habitat. It would be nicer if it wasn't so dense. It gets less good as it becomes denser."

As it starts to die and starts to decompose that can consume oxygen and become problematic if there is not very good flushing of water in the bay to replenish that oxygen.

"My suspicion is that it is a fairly wide open bay so it should be okay but you never know."

Hooker says the plant provides a good habitat for fish and is a good food source for insects and other creatures that feed on it.

"It's when it grows very densely that it because an unpleasantly weed, a nuisance weed to have.

It also dies and washes up on shore and is kind of unattractive."

There is no word from the city whether it will try to cut back plant.


The owner of the Fintry Queen says the foliage round his vessel in Sutherland Bay is not milfoil.

Andy Schwab says the plant growing around the boat is actually a good form of vegetation and not the invasive Eurasian Milfoil.

Schwab says he doesn't know what the plant is but says samples have been taken for testing.

The city of Kelowna is going to investigate what appears to be a large outbreak of milfoil around the Fintry Queen.

The substance was first reported to Castanet by a reader who happened to notice it while hiking in Knox Mountain Park Sunday afternoon.

The pictures show some sort of growth around the vessel.

Aerial shots taken by Castanet Monday seem to show a large outbreak of the lake weed around the vessel, with heavy concentrations on the starboard side near the stern.

John Saufferer with the city has seen the pictures and says they will investigate.

He says it's the first time he has seen something like this around the vessel.

The City has also been in touch with the boat's owner, Andy Schwab.

The Fintry Queen has been moored in Sutherland Bay since October of 2012.

Schwab has been looking for a permanent home for the vessel since then. To date, pitches to Kelowna, West Kelowna and Penticton have netted no results.


Double rainbow show

Kelowna residents were treated to a vibrant, colourful double rainbow late Monday afternoon.

The rainbow popped up after a brief shower rolled through the area.

Of course, as is always the case, you, our loyal readers, came through with some incredible images.

Send your pictures to [email protected]





Hobson will not run

Robert Hobson has confirmed what many already knew - he will not be running for another term on City Council.

Hobson made the announcement official Monday morning.

"Today I am announcing my retirement from civic life. I will not be a candidate in the upcoming municipal election. It has been a distinct honour to have served the citizens of Kelowna over the past 26 years, and in particular to have received the public's trust over nine elections. It was a privilege to work with many dedicated Councils.  All sought the betterment of our city.

I am also deeply grateful for the opportunity to serve as chair of the Regional District and the Regional Hospital District for the past 21 years, and on the UBCM executive for 14 years, including a term as President, as Trustee on the Municipal Finance Authority and as Trustee of the Municipal Pension Board.  All these assignments required support from elected colleagues and staff.

What I have learned is that while great cities have an impetus for growth, growth alone will not make a city great. Greatness comes from investment in those things that provide the quality of life our citizens demand.  Our region has had the fastest rate of growth in the Province over the past census period--11 per cent. Modest tax increases have provided the essential services we need and given the reserves that allow us to create partnerships with other governments, the private sector, and community groups. We have very high levels of citizen satisfaction. Our tax rates are at the lower quartile of similar-sized communities.  These are impressive results made possible by successive Councils and highly trained staff working together and listening to our public. 

Over the next 26 years our population will increase by 50 per cent.  I am confident that our city has the plans and the vision to thrive and prosper, and that a new generation of leadership will emerge to guide us."  


Robert Hobson, Councillor

Motorcycle crash injures one

A motorcycle crash east of Kelowna has put one man in hospital.

A witness tells Castanet that around 4:40 p.m. a "motorcyclist parted company with his bike, which rolled down an embankment between the Big White turnoff and Beaverdell. He sustained a broken leg and was taken to Kelowna General Hospital."

Big White Fire Department tweeted "Crews clear of motorcycle MVI, rider lost control of bike due to wind current of passing semi. Patient in care of BCAS."

The Kelowna RCMP were not immediately available to confirm the details of the incident.

BC's biggest organics expo

The ninth annual Okanagan Organics Expo is one of the biggest in BC and brings out hundreds of shoppers and supporters each year. 

This year the event changed venues to the Rotary Centre for the Arts. It was previously held at Summerhill winery. 

Nearly 30 vendors and information booths were set up inside and spread out the back door of the arts centre Sunday afternoon. Everyone from children to grandparents were in attendance learning about compost, tasting wine, playing with chicks and eating chili. 

"As far as I know, it's the biggest organic week event in BC," said Jen Gamble, executive director of operations for Certified Organic Associations of BC.

Event coordinator Wendy Wright said the event is not all about food, either. 

"You have a little bit of everything, we have a couple of organic farms, organic producers, coffee and tea," she said. "Everyone who is forward thinking in sustainability and the green movement, they should be here."

The OOF festival was planned to coincide with national Organic Week in Canada, which ends today. 

Wright says although numbers for OOF have declined slightly over the past couple of years, the national movement is growing. 

"There's $3.7 billion in sales in Canada in the organic industry. In BC alone, over 66 per cent of people are buying organic groceries weekly and there's over 5,500 organic farms in Canada," she said. "That's why we do this event, to showcase and celebrate the people that are doing it right."

Gamble said the growth of organic farms and organic products is booming in BC and Canada.

"It's just getting bigger. On the other end, it's becoming the type of farming that the next generation wants to do," she said. "It's really becoming the future of agriculture."

To have a certified organic farm, there is a minimum of one year transition to ensure the soil being used isn't contaminated. 

Contamination can come from a variety of sources, from the previous use of the land down to the fencing materials used. 

"Under the organic standard, if you're putting something in like a fence of some sort, you can't use treated wood. Treated wood leaches chemical into the ground. Steel posts don't," she said. 

Schedule of Events

11 A.M. – RCA ATRIUM STAGE - Honourable Norm Letnick, B.C. Minister of Agriculture and Kelowna-Lake Country MLA.  Hon. Norm Letnick will officially open the 9th Annual Organic Okanagan Festival.

ALL DAY - RCA ATRIUM STAGE - COTA minutes!  Listen to current organic industry updates from Stephanie Wells of the Canadian Organic Trade Association.

1 P.M. - HARMONY HONDA STUDIO - Nature’s Path Organic Soil Workshop Hands on learning about organic soil ecology and leave with your own organic seeds planted and ready to sprout!  First to come, first to plant!

2 P.M. - RCA ATRIUM STAGE - Raging Grannies Raging Grannies are caring older women who use song to protest and raise awareness of the issues of Peace, the environment and social justice. Satirical and serious, they are politically conscious but non-partisan.

2 P.M. - RCA ATRIUM STAGE - Niki Martinus Niki is a Kelowna based singer/songwriter; she looks forward to bringing her acoustic originals and covers to this year's festival.

3 P.M. - RCA ATRIUM STAGE - Ginger & Rose Comprised of singer songwriters Jayme Mc Killop and Lowell Friesen, Ginger & Rose contrast and complement each other like any great pairing, bringing their diverse styles into the musical kitchen and cooking up a unique and soulful musical banquet.


Kelowna Open for Business

For an unprecedented second year in a row, Kelowna has received the province’s Open For Business Award.

The B.C. Small Business Roundtable’s Open for Business Awards were presented Wednesday evening during the Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) annual convention in Whistler.

“Open for Business is an attitude that permeates our entire organization,” said Kelowna Mayor Walter Gray. “Winning this Award for a second year in a row demonstrates the Kelowna Advantage and is a testament to the positive attitude and high standard of service by valued team players at the City of Kelowna. Management and staff truly deserve this recognition.” said Kelowna Mayor Walter Gray in accepting the Award.

As a community where 94 per cent of businesses have fewer than 20 employees, the City of Kelowna has adapted and streamlined services to ensure entrepreneurs receive prompt service and advice on technical and licensing matters.

For example, the City partnered with the Ministry of Technology, Innovation and Citizens’ Services earlier this year to make the process of setting up a new business easier than ever. Under the ministry’s OneStop Business Registry service for entrepreneurs registering a new business, they can now also complete a City of Kelowna Business Licence at the same time.

“The City of Kelowna is truly blessed with such great partners including the Economic Development Commission, Tourism Kelowna, the Kelowna Chamber, our Business Improvement Areas, Accelerate Okanagan, as well as our business service providers such as the Women’s Enterprise Centre and Community Futures,” said Jim Paterson, Kelowna’s Executive Director of Business Development. “It is the Team Kelowna partnership and our collective action that demonstrates the Kelowna Advantage.”

This year’s other recipients are Grand Forks, City of Langley, Parksville, Port Coquitlam, Salmon Arm, Smithers, Surrey and Vernon. The award also comes with $10,000 as an incentive to further promote an open-for-business culture.

“Communities across our province can look to the winners for best practices and help make B.C. the most small-business friendly jurisdiction in Canada,” Minister of State for Tourism and Small Business, Naomi Yamamoto said in a statement at the presentation ceremony.


Rollover on KLO

A two vehicle crash sent a small SUV rolling onto its roof and put two men in hospital with unknown injuries Sunday morning.

The crash occurred around 9:40 a.m. at the intersection of KLO Road and Benvoulin Road. 

"One vehicle was turning left from Benvoulin onto KLO, one vehicle was going straight and they met in the intersection," said Cst Bevan with Kelowna RCMP. "We are still investigating to find out who was at fault and if there's any violation tickets that may or may not be issued."

The driver of the rolled SUV, a man in his forties, was sent to hospital on a spinal board. 

The grey Ford Focus involved received less damage to its front end. The driver, estimated to be in his fifties, was taken to hospital as a precaution.

The crash also took out a traffic light at the intersection. KLO was closed to eastbound traffic and RCMP estimated it would reopen before 11 a.m.

A witness who was at the nearby Mission Creek golf club at the time of the crash said he didn't hear any squeal of brakes before the incident. 

The witness told Castanet the driver of the Ford Focus was supposed to be playing in a golf tournament today. 

New music from local artist

A local musician is releasing his third full length album this week.

Andrew Judah is the man behind Monster which is set for release on Sept. 30.

Judah plays all the instruments except the drums on Monster. For that role, he recruited his brother-in-law Paul Clark.

Judah's day job is composing music for advertisements, including a series of ads for Lincoln Motor Company one of which played during the 2013 Superbowl. He also has two other full length albums, as well as a couple of EPs.

"The Super Bowl ad was cool!" he said. "I was fairly new to composing music for ads at the time so it was very exciting." 

This time, he wanted to do something a little different. 

"With the new album my goal was to create something that was the opposite of that music. Music that required full attention, not background music," he said in an email. "Lyrically a lot of the songs feature untrustworthy narrators. Often what they are saying is a little bit off putting and dark."

The album was recorded in Kelowna between Bottega studio and Judah's own home. 

More information about Judah and his music can be found at andrewjudah.com



Dragoons battle ready

The British Columbia dragoons are trained up and ready for deployment after performing individual battle standards testing Saturday morning. 

The dragoons are a reserve armoured reconnaissance regiment based in Kelowna. They dedicate some weeknights and at least one weekend per month to paid training. More than 45 reservists took part in Saturday's exercise. 

The exercise included fitness evaluations, small arms training on a computer simulator, navigation, reconnaissance, radio operation procedures and vehicle checks, all for keeping the reservists ready for a deployment at home or abroad in defence of Canada or in support of our NATO allies. 

The reservists also help locally with search and rescue efforts or with local emergencies such as in the Okanagan Mountain fires of 2003.

The reservists do their firearms training on a computer simulator for safety and economy. 

"It's all about letting the guys find out what is best for them in a safe and cost effective way," said Master Corporal Joe Bowker as he demonstrated different firing positions. 

The simulator is made up of a slightly older version of the C7 rifle that is currently issued to the Canadian armed forces. An infrared laser is attached and an air hose so that when one squeezes the trigger at a target on the screen, the firearm kicks and the shot is registered on a computer.

It is all designed to be as realistic as possible, down to the weight of the removable magazine. 

Master Cpl Bowker also demonstrated the C9 light machine gun in the simulator, also known as the M249 in the US. 

The reserve force originated in Vernon April 1, 1911, when two four-squadron regiments designated the British Columbia Horse were authorized to be formed.

New police office opens

Kelowna RCMP have expanded their area of service in the Mission with the opening of the new KLO

community policing office.

The new office replaces the decommissioned Mission community policing office.

The Kelowna RCMP has operated a Community Policing Office in the Mission since 1996 when the first office was opened as an 800-square-foot addition to the fire hall on DeHart Road.

In 2001 the Mission CPO was relocated to Lakeshore Road for additional work space along with a large meeting room which was used extensively for training.

Due to the age of the building it was deemed too costly to renovate and maintain to meet RCMP security standards, so a new location was acquired before the old building was decommissioned last December.

Through a lease agreement between the City of Kelowna, the Regional District of the Central Okanagan and the RCMP, the new office has been opened at 100-1450 KLO Road. This new location brings access to policing services to the broader communities of Mission, Crawford Estates and East Kelowna.

The new office provides for even more work space and will be staffed by both municipal employees and RCMP officers in addition to being a base of operations for over 50 RCMP volunteers and various crime prevention programs.

Services similar to those available at all Kelowna Regional RCMP Detachment offices can be obtained at the new KLO Community Policing Office but criminal record checks can only be processed at the main Kelowna Detachment, located at 350 Doyle Avenue, or in West Kelowna.

KLO Community Policing Office hours of operation will be from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday to Friday, excluding holidays. Non-emergency services can be obtained by attending 100-1450 KLO Road or calling the office at 250-470-0600.

9-1-1 should be used in case of emergencies where an immediate response is required.

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