Jun 19, 2013 / 7:49 am
A rainfall warning is in effect for the North, South and Central Okanagan, including Vernon, Penticton and Kelowna.
Environment Canada is forecasting between 40-60 millimetres of rain to fall over the next 48 hours, which could pose problems for low-lying areas.
A very moist area of low pressure has developed over the Northwestern portion of the USA, and is approaching Southern British Columbia. Widespread rain is expected to develop across the British Columbia Interior beginning this morning.
With this ample supply of moisture and the slow moving nature, that means low, heavy rainfalls are likely.
Widespread rainfall totals of 40 to 60 mm are expected over a two day period with locally higher amounts possible especially where rain is enhanced by local terrain.
The rain is expected to begin sometime this morning and continue into the night.
Thursday is calling for a 70 per cent chance of showers, and that possibility falls to a 40 per cent chance on Friday.
Jun 19, 2013 / 7:29 am
For the last 900 days, rain, shine and even snow, Bob Purdy has taken to the waters around the province on his paddleboard - SUP (Stand Up Paddleboard).
His hope when he started this endeavour, back on Jan 1 2011, was to paddle everyday as a way to make changes to the way we live on the planet.
"We have environmental challenges, we have social challenges, we have economic challenges all those three pillars," explains Purdy. "My belief is that if we can get to one person at at time and get them to make a change in one of those areas, it will affect all those other areas and we will see an improved health of the planet."
Last year on July 16, Purdy held the first 'World Paddle for the Planet Day', where he invited paddlers from around the world to hit the water and inspire change.
"We saw some incredible changes, there was a fellow who lives in Alaska who has a touring company up there and he banned plastic water bottles from his touring company, which is really cool."
Here in the Okanagan Purdy inspired Sandy Magee, to get out on the water, and take in the environment.
"It's just the dedication to paddle 900 days in a row, and you are standing out here and it's not a great morning, you can imagine what it is like in January, " says Magee. "The fact he is raising money for a cause, you have to support that."
He has raised money for causes like the David Suzuki Foundation, and this October, when Purdy holds his second annual 'World Paddle for the Planet day' in Florida, he will fundraise for Mother Ocean.
Mother Ocean is a charity, derived from an initiative called 'Ocean Hour', which is a trash pick-up in water ways around the world.
"We just got the first chapter going right here in Kelowna, it is the first chapter in Canada," says Purdy.
"So every Saturday we are somewhere out there from 9 to 10 in the morning picking up trash and just bringing awareness to how we look after things."
Purdy hopes to continue his paddle past the 1000 day mark in September and go on until the end of the year.
Look for him out on Okanagan Lake and check out his website.
Jun 19, 2013 / 6:18 am
The City of Kelowna received nearly $100M from citizens and corporations through municipal taxation in 2012.
Figures were released this week as part of the city's 2012 annual report.
The final tax, $98.2M, was part of an overall tax collection of $184.6M, of which $86.4M was collected, and then distributed to other agencies.
- $65M - School Tax
- $10.2M - Regional Hospital
- $9.3M - Regional District
- $1.9M - BC Assessment
The report also notes that, while individual homeowners (69.28%) pay the largest share of municipal taxes, corporations (26.95%) with large land holdings also pay a huge chunk.
In fact, owners of shopping malls and developers sit at or near the top of the corporate tax paying 'top 10 list.'
Orchard Park heads the list of the largest corporate taxpayer followed by Delta Hotels, Inland Natural Gas, FortisBC and Mcintosh Properties, owners of Orchard Plaza Shopping Centre and other holdings.
The city also revealed nearly $1M of tax is not collected through Permissive Tax Exemptions.
These include art galleries, museums and buildings used for a cultural purpose, properties run by athletic or service clubs, charitable or philanthropic organizations, private hospitals licensed under the Community Care Facility Act and public worship/church halls.
In all, 79 properties or organizations were provided with Permissive Tax Exemptions.
The largest of those being Interior Health which was not required to pay a tax bill of $112,098..
The Kelowna Library Society was second on the list at nearly $82,000 while the Kelowna Visual and Performing Arts Centre Society came in at just shy of $70,000.
The annual report also revealed salaries and benefits is the largest corporate expense for the city at $65.7M in 2012.
The amortization of tangible capital assets was the second largest reported expense at $57.3M followed by costs associated with materials and supplies at $45.3M.
Jun 18, 2013 / 4:45 pm
$800,000 for a new bathroom in City Park.
If it was just a toilet - definitely.
Kelowna Mayor Walter Gray says he would agree if it was just a normal, run of the mill washroom.
But this is not your average loo.
Gray says what the city is getting is a one-acre redevelopment project in City Park which includes a washroom.
"It includes a stage, it includes a building that is resistant to graffiti, a building that can operate safely for the public on a 24/7 basis without having supervision and shifts of people being paid forever to protect it," says Gray.
"There is a summer format that is a high volume facility and a dependable, secure full season facility that's all under one roof."
Gray says the $800,000 price tag is the complete cost including wiring, irrigation replacement, sidewalks and a small stage.
"All of these things are of very high quality, industrial strength that will be in keeping with all of the fine redevelopment that will be happening around in downtown Kelowna," says Gray.
"It's the first portion of the redevelopment of City Park itself so it sort of sets the standard."
A new washroom facility was necessary near the Children's Water Park after the old washroom, below the City Park Pavilion, was destroyed by fire two years ago.
Gray says a lot of thought and research went into the features included in the washroom facility.
He says they could have shaved down the cost by removing the anti-graffiti component, but then the city would be forever paying to have graffiti removed from the facility.
"The stalls will also include magnetic closures as opposed to locked enclosures. People that want to perform bad deeds can't lock themselves in for extended periods of time," says Gray.
"They (doors) will essentially give a warning and fling open after 10 minutes."
While there are always places within any budget to trim five or 10 per cent Gray says he believes everything that could have been thought of to ensure the public feels safe and secure has been.
The facility is expected to open later this month.
Gray feels the $800,000 is not money being flushed down the toilet.
Jun 18, 2013 / 4:39 pm
An admitted member of the Hells Angels motorcycle club has been sentenced to 26 months in custody, but with 112 days of credit for time already served, he will not be confined to a Federal prison.
Joseph Bruce Skreptak appeared in complete control of his emotions, up until Justice Al Betton imposed his sentence, at which point he immediately turned and looked at his significant other who began crying softly and wiping tears from her face.
Skreptak, who is believed to be a member of the Hells Angels for at least the past nine years then leaned forward, noticeably agitated now, and slowly shook his head.
After pleading guilty to one count of aggravated assault on the day before his trial was expected to begin last year, the other two charges of Assault and Break and Enter have been stayed. He has been ordered to provide a DNA sample for the national database and will be prohibited from owning or possessing any firearms for 10 years, but will not serve any probation once he is released from jail.
In delivering his sentencing, Justice Betton made mention of Skreptak’s admitted membership in the Hells Angels and said he acted like a “vigilante”, when he committed a “serious and unprovoked assault with serious consequences.”
The assault stemmed from an incident in 2010 when Skreptak believed a youth visiting his home had stolen $10,000 worth of jewelry. Instead of going to the police, he went to the youth’s home and viciously beat the boy’s father, causing “significant facial trauma” that warranted reconstructive facial surgery and the insertion of two metal plates.
Jun 18, 2013 / 12:19 pm
The Bridge Youth & Family Services Society has been chosen as the preferred proponent for a detox and residential treatment services contract.
The contract will be for 20 intensive residential treatment beds and 10 community-based withdrawal management beds, which will be located at separate sites in Rutland.
“Detox and residential treatment are important services within the spectrum available to people who struggle with substance use,” says Randy Murray, Community Integration Practice Lead for Mental Health & Substance Use.
“We are pleased to have this new contract with The Bridge Youth & Family Services Society.”
The withdrawal management beds are expected to open in mid-July and residential treatment beds will open in early-August.
“We know there will be a short period of time from when Crossroads Treatment Centre closes its doors at the end of June to when The Bridge is able to begin offering withdrawal management service,” says Murray.
“Interior Health will ensure that clients requiring urgent community-based withdrawal management services during that time will be prioritized to receive it at The Phoenix Centre in Kamloops.”
The Bridge is a non-profit organization that’s been developing and providing programming for children, youth and families in the Central Okanagan since 1969.
Jun 18, 2013 / 11:30 am
11:30 a.m. update: Kelowna RCMP have confirmed they are investigating a suspicious death at a Glenmore area home.
On June 18, 2013 at 12:37 am, the Kelowna RCMP were called to a house on the 300 block of Yates Road to assist paramedics. When police arrived, they found a 27-year-old Kelowna woman deceased inside the home. Her death has been deemed suspicious and the Kelowna RCMP Serious Crime Unit is investigating.
Cst. Kris Clark would not comment on witness reports that children were living at the home.
10:40 a.m. update: RCMP have not confirmed or denied the police incident on Yates and Ballou is a homicide investigation. The escalation of the investigation and the resources being used deem it to be a serious crime.
Witnesses tell Castanet a mother with two children live upstairs and a man was apparently living downstairs.
We expect an RCMP press release in the next few hours.
Police have Yates and Ballou blocked off in Glenmore. The police tape is around a pink house on the corner.
At least three police cars are now on the scene along with two dog teams, which appear to be sweeping the area.
Neighbours say they heard sirens around 1 a.m.
More details to follow.
Jun 18, 2013 / 10:01 am
Calling it the biggest expense the City of Kelowna will have to endure over the next 10 years, Councillor Andre Blanleil says he wants assurances the city's new RCMP building is affordable.
"This is a staggering amount of money for our city when it comes to our 10-Year Capital Plan," says Blanleil.
"I know there are certain guidelines we have to follow from the RCMP but I have seen some of these buildings and they are staggering."
Blanleil says he doesn't feel comfortable the city has enough say when it comes to the overall cost of the design of the building.
While the final cost won't be known until later this year, estimates included within the city's 10-Year Capital Plan peg the anticipated 86,000 square foot, three to four storey building, at more than $44M.
That cost will be absorbed by taxpayers.
"This is going to be a very expensive building. Are there going to be any checks and balances when it comes to what the needs and wants are versus what we can afford?" asked Blanleil.
Parks and Public Spaces Manager, Terry Barton says the building, which will replace the antiquated Doyle Avenue Detachment, must be built in accordance with the Provincial RCMP accommodation standards.
Despite certain safety and other requirements, Barton says the best way to control costs is through an efficient planning process - one that has been done over the past year.
"We've had a chance for our project team to weigh in which components should be part of this building, which ones are optional and which ones could be left out," says Barton.
"We have had some great conversations about which components make the most sense from an efficiency point of view and others where it doesn't make a lot of sense."
Barton says at one point they were contemplating housing the city's Bylaw Services in the new detachment, however, it was felt that would not be appropriate.
Still, Blanleil says he wants to see the city become more involved considering the money will be coming directly from the taxpayer.
City Manager, Ron Mattiussi, assured Blanleil and council that city staff are doing everything they can to have as much say in non-essential parts of the building.
"There are some areas where you have to meet federal regulations - the way the lockup is done today versus the way it was done 20 years ago. They have re-designed it for safety," says Mattiussi.
"Some of the things that are not related to security and are not related to some of those other aspects, we are going to try to make sure we have more say."
Mattiussi says staff will also report back to council on the progress of the design as much as possible.
"We won't let the project get too far down the line. That's part of the commitment."
Council Monday approved spending of $200,000 for the design process of the new detachment.
Before the new detachment can be built the city will be required to run an Alternate Approval Process in order to get approval to borrow the necessary funds.
That is expected sometime late in the year.
The new RCMP building will be constructed on city owned land on Clement Avenue between St. Paul and Richter streets.
If the AAP goes through, construction would begin sometime in 2014 with a 2017 completion date.
Jun 18, 2013 / 9:59 am
A local real estate agency has gone dark for the month of June by turning off their technology as a way to personalize their service.
They have also pledged $300 to the Kelowna Gospel Mission for every home sale they make this month.
At the midway point of the industry’s busiest month, Vantage West Realty Managing Broker A. J. Hazzi, presented a cheque for $3,300 to the Mission.
The cheque presentation was conducted at Harmony House, one of two transitional homes for women that provide supportive recovery programs.
The Vantage Goes Vintage campaign goal is to raise funds for the Kelowna Gospel Mission and remind everyone that many don’t even have the basics in life – much less a smartphone.
While the realtors will keep their phones, they have swapped out their smartphones for vintage cells with no texting capacity.
The realtors are also making a personal pledge of $300 to Kelowna Gospel Mission for each text, tweet or email they are caught sending.
Web and social media sites will remain dark for the month too.
Jun 18, 2013 / 5:33 am
Kelowna City Council has thrown its support behind a new liquor establishment in the downtown core.
The proposed 250 seat establishment would be located at 587 and 589 Lawrence Avenue just west of the intersection with Bertram Street.
According to Urban Land Use Manager, Danielle Noble, the applicant is proposing two separate licenced establishments at the location.
"One would be a 204 metre squared kitchen and bar operated as a coffee shop with a pub featuring microbreweries and local wineries," says Noble.
"Additionally, approximately 3200 square foot social lounge catering to a more mature, upscale clientele. The intent would be to provide a combination of beverage dining and entertainment options operating as one facility to be called 'The Mixing Room.'"
Noble says the kitchen and bar would have a capacity of 120 people while the lounge area would hold an addition 130 people.
She adds the application for rezoning is consistent with council's policy; it is located within the downtown core and it is not located within 250 metres of another large liquor primary establishment.
Council unanimously supported the application.
Councillor Andre Blanleil stated this type of use is appropriate for Lawrence Avenue although he does hope the new owners will update the building's facade.
Councillor Luke Stack agreed the city is looking for new businesses in that area of the downtown core.
"We really want to have some new image buildings in that area so the place starts reflecting the revitalization that is now starting to take place," says Stack.
"We have seen a couple of new developments in this area and we really need to capitalize on that to create an ambiance that will be attractive to people to go down there and use these facilities."
The application will now move to a public hearing before final adoption by council.
Read more Kelowna News
City of Kelowna
Kelowna Discussion Forum
Kelowna's Cultural District
Kelowna Road Closures
William R. Bennett Bridge
Central Okanagan Regional District
District of Peachland
District of Lake Country
School District 23
- City to test family alcohol zone Jun 18
- Missing teenager has been found Jun 17
- Attempted murder charges laid Jun 17
- Gas leak capped on Borden Ave. Jun 17
- Wiens trial to resume in July Jun 17
- Room to grow - hotel tax continues Jun 17
- Sugar closes sorting plant Jun 17
- Assault sends one man to hospital Jun 17
- Memory card looking for a home Jun 17
- Firetrucks off to Peru Jun 17