Wastewater in good shape

Kelowna's wastewater treatment system is in relatively good shape looking towards the next 20 years.

Infrastructure engineering manager Joel Shaw made the assertion as part of the 20-year Wastewater Asset Management Plan presented to council Monday.

It's the second of several asset plans looking at all aspects of city infrastructure.

Shaw says the city has nearly 600 kilometres of wastewater mains, 35 lift stations along with the main treatment plant on Raymer Avenue, the Brandt’s Creek Trade Treatment Plant and a regional compost facility.

In all, Shaw says the assets are valued at $761 million.

"The existing system is in relatively good condition, with approximately 84 per cent of the infrastructure with greater than 40 per cent remaining service life," said Shaw.

"The assets with less than 20 per cent of remaining service life account for approximately three per cent of the system value."

Shaw says two important changes will occur within the system over the next 20 year.

One of those is the addition of about $103 million worth of new assets to both accommodate growth and improve service. Additional money will be needed to operate and maintain those new assets.

"The second major change over the next 20 years is that the wastewater system will age, and the assets with less than 20 per cent of their service life will increase to about eight per cent of the system value, or about $73 million.

Shaw expects the cost of providing wastewater services will rise from $17 million a year ago to about $26 million by 2035.

"Renewal costs will also increase as our system ages. They will be increasing from about $3.3 million in 2016 to $6.5 million annually in 2035."

In order to meet those demands, Shaw recommends rates increase to meet inflation by two per cent a year.

He cautions figures could change if infrastructure depreciates quicker than it's renewed.

"Twenty years is a long time, and it's tough to project that far ahead."

With that in mind, Coun. Luke Stack wondered if it would be prudent to increase rates a little more at the front end to ensure the funds were available if needed rather than hit the taxpayers will a big increase all at once.

"The reserves are reasonably healthy right now. We had a hard look at this and I think we are going to manage it through regular updates. It is difficult to predict these cost pressures."

The Thrifty Fashionista

When you think fashion shows, expensive designer wear comes to mind.

But, the Salvation Army is turning that on its head with its first Thrifty Fashionista spring collection fashion show.

Models will strut the runway Feb. 27, 7 p.m., at the Ramada Hotel.

They'll be sporting casual wear, work outfits and over-the-top party gowns. 

The Sally Ann says its local models will "represent the diversity of women today" and will also include Lady of the Lake Michelle Mazur and Kelowna Princess Rachel Sousa.

Tickets are $10 and are available at Salvation Army thrift stores in Westbank, Rutland and on Sutherland Avenue in Kelowna.

The Salvation Army has been helping the marginalized in Canada since 1882 and is the country's largest non-governmental provider of social services.

Evening update Feb. 20

Castanet's Evening Update for Monday, Feb. 20, with reporter Wayne Moore.


Door ripped off in crash

Part of the driver's side door was ripped right off in a crash with a tractor-trailer on Monday afternoon.

An SUV and a semi-truck collided along Highway 97 at Oceola Road in Lake Country.

The crash happened just after 2 p.m., when the SUV driver pulled a U-turn and was struck by the big truck, says a witness.

The SUV driver appeared to be OK, but told a bystander he was experiencing chest pains.

Castanet will update as more information becomes available. 

YLW delays, cancellations

Five flights were cancelled and three others have been rerouted over the last 48 hours at Kelowna International Airport.

“Flight delays and cancellations are often a part of aviation, especially during the winter months where conditions can be more critical as it relates to flight safety. The airlines do their best to try to re-accommodate passengers," said Sam Samaddar, airport director.

Flights scheduled for Saturday night and Sunday morning were cancelled due to “low visibility,” according to Jasmine Patrick, communications advisor for the airport.

Flight AC 8416/8418 from Vancouver to Kelowna returned back to YVR due to “gear issues.”

On Monday, one flight was diverted back to Vancouver due to low visibility in Kelowna and another was cancelled due to maintenance.

To check the status of flights, visit YLW website.

Drunk driver flees on foot

A driver pulled over by police for swerving all over the road assaulted the officer then fled on foot.

Kelowna RCMP say an officer pulled over the driver of a Ford F-150 pickup truck early Sunday morning after he was seen driving erratically along Highway 97 near Highway 33.

The officer asked for a breath sample.

Instead, the driver pushed the officer out of the way and ran. However, other Mounties in the area quickly nabbed him.

“We are grateful that our officer was not injured during this incident,” said Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey.

“Kelowna RCMP would also like to commend their complainant for not only recognizing the potential hazard the erratic driver posed to other motorists on the highway, but also for immediately passing that information along to police.”

A 21-year-old Alberta man faces fines and a driving prohibition. He also faces criminal charges.

Are you ready to retire?

Madison Erhardt

Most people aren't ready for retirement, according to a recent survey.

The survey by Insights West found that 30 per cent of Canadians have not yet set aside any money for retirement.

Many end up having to retire earlier than planned because of health problems or being let go from a job.

Castanet hit the streets to ask: "Are you ready for retirement?"

One Kelowna resident said, "No not even close, and I'm only 25, so it hasn't been on my mind at all." 

Missing woman found

UPDATE: Feb. 20, 12:35 p.m.

Police say Elisha Dawn Nixon-Barron has been found.

"The West Kelowna RCMP is pleased to confirm that the 24-year-old woman reported missing had been located over the weekend. Thanks to the media and public for your assistance," said RCMP in a statement.

UPDATE: Feb. 16, 8:35 a.m.

Kelowna RCMP confirm they are also searching for Elisha Dawn Nixon-Barron.

The 24-year-old was last seen in West Kelowna on Feb. 9, and a fundraising campaign is underway to send her mom to the Okanagan to search for the woman.

"There is nothing to indicate foul play at this time and police believe she is either in Kelowna or West Kelowna," said police in a statement. 

"Since Elisha’s disappearance, police have followed up on several leads and possible sightings. However, Elisha remains missing."

RCMP say they are very concerned for her health and well-being.

Anyone with information on her whereabouts is urged to contact police, or remain anonymous by calling Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477, leaving a tip online at crimestoppers.net or by texting your tip to CRIMES (274637) ktown.


A campaign is raising money to send a worried mother to the Kelowna area to search for her missing daughter.

Elisha Dawn Nixon-Barron, 24, has been missing since Feb. 9.

"We are all very concerned for her well-being," says the GoFundMe campaign. "Every donation big or small will be a great help in aiding to find her and return her home safe!"

It appears no official RCMP release has yet been sent. However, information has been posted to a website set up to help find missing people in B.C.

"She was last seen in West Kelowna. She is living a high-risk life style and doesn’t know many people in Kelowna. She is from Winnipeg. She has a large chest tattoo with a heart and wings," says BC Missing Person.

NixonBarron has blue eyes and dark hair. She is about 5-foot-3 and 120 pounds.

If you have any info, contact her mother Lesley Nixon through Facebook or the Kelowna RCMP at 250-768-2880.

Date from hell not over

A Peachland man who was arrested for abducting and threatening a woman he met on an online dating site is still in jail.

Jean-Francois Dufour, 36, has pleaded guilty to forcible confinement and uttering threats.

Dufour was to have a psychiatric report prepared by Feb. 16 and he briefly appeared Monday in the Kelowna courthouse by video. However, his lawyer did not show up.

Dufour picked a woman up in his silver 2000 Dodge Durango on Aug. 12. The two had met several times before.

The woman wanted to get out of the vehicle during the date, but according to police he continued to drive her around for several hours against her will.

Dufour was arrested six days after the incident and has been in custody since Aug. 18.

The woman suffered non-life-threatening injuries.

Dufour originally faced charges of kidnapping, forcible confinement, sexual assault and uttering threats.

He will remain in custody until his next court appearance on Thursday at 10:30 a.m.

A break from the snow

Madison Erhardt

Here is some good news to start off your week.

Kelowna shouldn’t be seeing the white fluffy stuff for several days.

This morning it will feel like  -1 C out there, but it is quickly warming up and should reach a high of 5 C later this afternoon. Scattered showers are expected off and on until 5 p.m. this evening.

Tuesday should mirror today with temperatures around 5 C. 

Wednesday, Thursday and Friday will cool off slightly with temperatures around 1 C.

As far as your weekend is concerned, sunshine is expected on Saturday. On Sunday, the Okanagan may see scattered flurries. Both days, the temperature will hover around zero.

If you come across an accident or have a news tip, you can email: news@castanet.net.

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