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Business excellence awards

The recipients of the ten 2014 Business Excellence Awards were announced last night at the Coast Capri Hotel in Kelowna.

Mike Jacobs, president of Emil Anderson Construction, was honoured as the 2014 Business Leader of the Year, the prestigious award was sponsored by Ian Stuart & Associates.

The rest of the awards are as follows:

  1. RISING STAR AWARD Sponsored by: FortisBC 
  • Recipient: Mission Creek Orthodontics
  • Finalist: Wink i Wear Inc.

      2.  COMMUNITY IMPACT AWARD Sponsored by: Urban Systems Ltd. 

  • Recipient: Kelowna General Hospital Foundation
  • Finalist: The Bridge Youth & Family Services Society

      3.  YOUNG ENTREPRENEUR OF THE YEAR AWARD Sponsored by: UBC Okanagan

  • Recipient: Guiseppe Simpatico, GoodSir Creative Inc. 
  • Finalists: Dr. Derek Pollard, Mission Creek Orthodontics
  • David Veldhoen, Shorestone Homes Ltd.

      4.  ECO-STAR INNOVATION AWARD Sponsored by: Interior Savings Credit Union

  • Recipient: GreenStep Solutions Inc. 
  • Finalist: Okanagan Car Share Co-op

      5.  DISTINCTION IN HOSPITALITY & TOURISM AWARD Sponsored by: Tourism Kelowna

  • Recipient: Wells Gray Tours Ltd. 
  • Finalists:Okanagan Wine Country Tours
  • WildPlay Element Parks

      6.  MARKETER OF THE YEAR AWARD Sponsored by: Pushor Mitchell LLP

  • Recipient: Get in the Loop  
  • Finalists: Juice FM, Vista Radio
  • Twin Creek Media Inc.

      7.  SMALL BUSINESS AWARD (1-10 employees) Sponsored by: Prospera Credit Union

  • Recipient: Interior Portable Rentals 
  • Finalists: Cellar-Tek Supplies Ltd.
  • Lyman Lures Manufacturing Ltd.

      8.  MID-SIZE BUSINESS AWARD (11-30 employees) Sponsored by: BDO Canada LLP 

  • Recipient: Border Plumbing, Heating and Air
  • Finalists: AAA Internet Publishing Inc. (DBA WTFast)
  • Building Blocks Educational Daycare

      9.  LARGE BUSINESS AWARD (31+ employees) Sponsored by: Grant Thornton LLP

  • Recipient: Waterplay Solutions Corp. 
  • Finalists: Boyd Autobody & Glass
  • Northside Industries
  • SW Audio + Visual

"We salute those who have recognized a business opportunity, seized it and prospered," says Curtis Darmohray, Kelowna Chamber of Commerce President. "The accomplishments and dedication of all the finalists honoured last evening are impressive, and their stories inspire us all. We are proud of the contributions these exceptional business leaders have made in our community."

The popular Kelowna event was presented by the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce and Platinum sponsors Business Development Bank of Canada and Farris, Vaughan, Willis & Murphy LLP, during annual Small Business Week activities Oct. 20 to 25.

For the past 34 years, Small Business Week has paid tribute to Canadian entrepreneurs and created opportunities for them to share success stories and innovative ideas with the active participation of members of the Chambers of Commerce and BDC branches across the country.


Students take in We Day

Students from Kelowna are showing they care about the local and global community in Vancouver today.

A group of 22 students and staff from Studio9 private school in Kelowna got up at 4 a.m. Wednesday morning to ride the bus to Vancouver where they joined 20,000 educators and youth in Roger's Arena for We Day. 

We Day "Brings young people together to celebrate the actions that they are taking in their local and global communities and to inspire another year of change by sharing the passion of world leaders and entertainers," according to the website. 

It's a stadium-sized youth event that is both educational and inspirational. 

The students of Studio9 earned their spots in the celebration through service and volunteerism in support of causes they care about.

"They have raised money to build a school in a third world country, are collecting food for local needs of children and planning to continue campaigns to help children who have nothing, gain the opportunity for education and health," said Michael Guzzi, CEO and teacher at Studio9.

Tony Cornell is a 13-year-old Studio9 student and said the experience has been eye-opening.

"I didn't really realize there were so many problems in Africa, but now I know they really need our help," he said. "That's what really struck me."

Cornell's favourite part of the event was this year's host, Selena Gomez. Other speakers and entertainers included Macklemore, Shawn Desman, Mariana's Trench and Kardinall Offishall, among others. 

T-shirt and bracelet sales are raising money for communities in need across the world. 

Cornell said the Rafiki bracelets are $10 each and each one provides clean water for a week.

"It really took me by surprise, especially the water part - not having water, that's not good."

Protested development approved

After a lengthy public hearing and debate Kelowna City Council has given second and third readings to a controversial development on Strathcona Avenue near Kelowna General Hospital.

The public hearing itself lasted nearly five hours with a final decision rendered about 1:30 Wednesday morning.

City Clerk Stephen Fleming says 42 interveners spoke during the public hearing with opinions for and against, almost split evenly.

The proposed 3.5 storey re-development at the corner of Strathcona and Abbott Street would include a mix of healthcare, residential and a cafe restaurant.

Ironically, this is the same property owned by Dr. Heather Martin, council narrowly gave approval for a family medical practice there two years ago.

Nothing was done with that development until this second proposal came forward.

Councillor Gerry Zimmermann, who voted against the first proposal in 2012 gave his enthusiastic support to this latest re-development.

He says those opposed to the project spoke mostly about the size of the building and the fact it included a cafe or coffee shop.

"We saw that as being something that was really needed down there, not just for people in the hospital but for people visiting from out of town," says Zimmermann.

"Where do they go at nine o'clock at night or where do they go just to get out of the hospital. You just want to get out of the hospital environment."

Zimmermann says he also liked the mixed use with both medical and residential uses.

"They are going to have doctors officers that are right next to the hospital." This means they can leave the hospital to their work space and if they are called back they are only two minutes away.

"The rentals above...Dr. Martin indicated those could be students going back and forth," says Zimmermann.

He says some of the neighbours felt misled because the first development plan included keeping the house and making it a doctor's office.

"For a piece of property that valuable to the community I don't think that would be the best use for it. This mixed use is a way better solution."

The proposal will come back to council for final reading once certain conditions are met.

Subdivision Manager, Ryan Smith says those conditions are fairly standard when it comes to projects such as this.

Smith says they have to resolve development engineering requirements which include water and sewer connections plus a lane widening along the north portion of the property.

And, because the property is within the Heritage Conservation Area, a Heritage Alteration Permit must be brought forward.

Smith says the development won't come back to council for final reading until sometime in the new year.



All candidates forum coming


The Rutland Residents Association will be hosting an All Candidates Forum for the upcoming Kelowna municipal elections.

The event will be held at 7 p.m. at the Rutland Centennial Hall, 180 Rutland Rd N in Kelowna. 

Prospective Mayor, City Councilors, and School Board Trustees will be in attendance to meet and discuss their candidacy and vision.

You are invited to attend and meet all prospective representatives in attendance.

The format for the forum will be a general assembly where each Mayor, Councilor or Trustee seeking election will have a designated area within the Hall. You will be able to meet each candidate on a personal level, and be free to move and meet each candidate as you please.

Those seeking election will have their own table from which they will be able to meet the public, while visitors move from table to table to meet the candidates.

Citizens will have the opportunity to personally meet candidates, and discuss the matters that are important to them, on their own timing. Mayor, Councilor and Trustee Candidates will be randomly assigned tables from which they can use to facilitate their meeting with the public.

A handout will be offered to everyone in attendance with a list of items that have been raised as significant to Kelowna and Rutland, – the list can be used as a tool to facilitate discussion.

Kelowna City Council & School Board Trustee All Candidates Forum, Oct. 28

Rutland Centennial Hall, 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Development builds protest

There has been a lot of vocal opposition to a development proposed for the corner of Abbott and Strathcona.

The neighbourhood community that is vehemently opposed to it, is gathering together tonight to make their opinions heard at the Public Hearing at City Hall.

Concerned citizen Jacquie Jones is heading the group opposing the proposal. She says the proposed office tower will be at the busiest juncture on Abbott Street which includes:

  • Kelowna General Hospital
  • Strathcona Park
  • Cancer Centre
  • KGH Rehab Centre
  • KGH parkade
  • Abbott Street recreational corridor

She tells Castanet that she was shocked when she saw the development sign on the property.

“I saw the original development sign, and I mean this is probably an area about as busy as you can get around the back of the hospital, and I thought man this is a four story building with a restaurant, medical office, residences...this is way too much density in a residential area on a recreational corridor,” explains Jones. She says she quickly delivered information sheets to her neighbours and it snowballed into the movement it is today.

She says the large group working against the development includes cycling clubs, hospital users, running clubs and kids' camps.

“Our first concern is safety, the second concern is heritage conservation as this big box doesn't look anything like the rest of our neighbourhood and the third is zoning as we are wondering why we are putting commercial in a residential neighbourhood,” says Jones who claims the list of concerns grew and grew as more residents joined.

The group plans to head to the public hearing tonight (Tuesday) to let their opposition be known.

“This is a large contingent of concerned citizens who are collectively gathering tonight (Tuesday) to make our voice heard at council,” says Jones who notes many who can't attend tonight have already written to council.

In fact, she says, when the re-zoning proposal went to first reading several weeks ago, council received over 70 letters opposing the development and only seven in favour of the rezoning. 

Jones expects over 100 people, clad mostly in red, to meet at the Bean Scene tonight (Tuesday) on Bernard at 5:30 and walk over to the Public Hearing together for 6 p.m.

Jones has been told mayor and council hopefuls will be at the public hearing.

KGH ready for Ebola

Kelowna general hospital is one of five hospitals designated to assess people at risk of having Ebola and to treat confirmed cases.

British Columbia's health minister, Terry Lake, says a task force reviewed the province's protocols to respond in the unlikely event that the Ebola virus arrives in BC, and decided that five regional centres should care for such patients.

The hospitals are: Surrey Memorial, Kelowna General, Royal Jubilee Hospital Victoria, University Hospital of Northern BC in Prince George and BC Children's Hospital in Vancouver, which would deal with all paediatric cases.

Lake says the sites will provide training for health-care workers on the procedures they should follow to treat suspected or confirmed cases.

He says emergency room staff and any workers who could come in contact with Ebola patients at all other health-care facilities will also be trained to receive, isolate and triage people who may have symptoms.

Lake says the Public Health Agency of Canada has recommended a buddy system so health-care workers can observe each other donning and doffing personal protective equipment to ensure protocols are followed.

Do you work at the hospital? Let us know your thoughts on the hospital's readiness. Send information  to [email protected]

The Canadian Press

Soccer dome scores profit

Kelowna could easily sustain a second indoor soccer facility.

That on the heels of the overwhelming success of Kelowna United's indoor soccer dome situated behind the CNC in the Mission.

Officials with Kelowna United were before council Monday to provide an update on the success of the facility which opened in the fall of 2013.

"We feel current demand would support a new facility right now," says Kelowna United representative Surinder Gosal in response to a question from Councillor, Gerry Zimmermann.

"Current demand is there for a facility of this type and larger now. We have just had that much interest."

The privately run indoor facility, which features a state-of-the-art Astro Turf,  cost Kelowna United about $1M. It goes up in the fall each year and comes down at the end of April.

According to club president, Mark Krehel, revenues the first year far surpassed original projections.

"We were hoping for $60,000 in revenue and 10 user groups. By the end of the year in mid April we had over 22 user groups and over $140,000 in revenue.," says Krehel.

"This upcoming winter schedule is fully allocated. Unfortunately we are having to turn people away. We've even had groups that like it enough they are coming to us and wanting to give a deposit hoping they can get a three year contract."

Krehel says the second year will be extremely profitable.

He adds the facility is being used by more than just soccer groups.

Rugby, lacrosse, touch football and fitness programs are being run out of the facility.

Bear-ing the weight

An on-going problem around the base of The Bear statue in Stuart Park is being rectified.

Fences have been put up around the statue while city crews make structural changes to the walking area around The Bear.

Since the statue was erected in the summer of 2010, the city has had to perform periodic maintenance on the paving stone base to repair damage caused after people jumped from the structure.

Civic property supervisor, Martin Johansen, says it's been an on-going issue and not caused by one particular incident.

"It didn't take long after it was open that the security guards on site at Stuart Park were chasing people off of there," says Johansen.

"You can't guard it 24/7. We've got signage up there, we've got a security presence in place."

According to Johansen, the force of people jumping from the statue to the stones below have shifted, and in some cases, cracked the stones.

He says the area was designed to withstand people jumping up and down but not from a height of three or four feet.

Without getting into structural details, Johansen says crews will basically put a layer of sand between the paving stones and a layer of Styrofoam several inches below the stones.

"We are going to fill the void, we are going to put some landscape fabric down, put some sand on top of it and put the pavers in the sand."

Cost of the entire project is about $40,000. This includes about $28,000 to replace several lights with LED lights which are also part of the base.

"We are putting in a better fixture and encasing all of that in concrete so they are solid and in there," says Johansen.

As for timing of the repair, Johansen says it's just an on-going maintenance issue.

"Do we have to do it now? no we don't have to do anything now. We could continue to work with it and fix it up when people do this," says Johansen.

"This is just an on-going operational maintenance cost. We said we've got some time, we've got some money. Let's take care of it and fix it."

As for erecting something to try and keep people off The Bear, Johnasen says while he is not close enough to the project to know if that is being contemplated, he does believe it would alter the integrity and the vision of the art work.

He says part of the beauty of the piece is allowing people to look underneath it and look through it.

Modifying it would get a little messy.

Wrap it up, shrink it up

They will wrap it up, heat it up and shrink it around your boat, to protect the vessel from the elements during the chilly winter months.

Dyck’s Mobile Shrink Wrap is the only professional service in Kelowna that comes right to your door or boat launch, and will ensure your water craft is covered this season.

A polyethelyne plastic is applied to the boat, then heated up with a 220,000 BTU ‘Shrink Fast Torch’, explains owner Jerod Dyck.
“It pretty much makes it like a hard cover, and protects it from the elements. It holds a heavy load as well, so you wrap your boat and leave it outside and don’t worry about it until the spring.”

The shrink wrap beats a regular boat cover, according to Dyck because tarps or covers are not as durable and they tend to let in moisture which can lead to mould.

“Tarps can flap away in the wind, where this stuff is really durable and it will last the whole season without any moisture getting inside.”

A wrap takes anywhere from one to two hours to complete, and the boat must be completely dry before it can be covered.

“A lot of people are worried about humidity in the boat, causing mould, but if we wrap your boat dry and put four vents in, it will be fine,” says Dyck. “We’ve never had any problems with any mould or humidity.”

However if people are really concerned about the possibility of mould, Dyck’s does have dehumidifiers for sale that will dry the air out of the boat.

“Boats that are on lifts -- we can cover them on the water in the marina. So if you don’t want to worry about getting your boat off and trailering it, there are mobile mechanics out there that will winterize your boat on your lift, then we will come and wrap it on your lift and you just leave it,” Dyck explains.

Dyck and his father started the company four years ago, and underwent specific training to learn how to properly shrink wrap a boat and ensure no moisture will get trapped inside.

This year the two are looking past water crafts and into other items that can be shrink wrapped.

“When we're not doing boats, we are doing anything that you can transport on a highway that you want to protect or store. We have done patio furniture all the way up to modular homes and apartment buildings in the construction trade, wrapping around scaffolding so you can work through the winter.”

For an average motor boat, the price is approximately $13 a linear foot, or approximately $300.

The shrink wrap can be removed using an xacto knife - or something similar- and the material is recyclable.


Council's Kumbaya moment

All that was missing was a campfire, a bag of marshmallows and the Council octet humming Kumbaya in the background.

One by one, many on Kelowna Council took turns Monday lauding their accomplishments of the past three years.

Many of those accomplishments, Bernard Avenue Revitalization, Pandosy Waterfront Plan, downtown pier, expanded pedestrian and cycling networks and Central Green were started by the previous council and, in some cases, many councils before it.

"Nothing gets done by one council. Everything gets built on the shoulders of others, whether it's the financial plans or reserves or zoning or strategic land acquisitions," says veteran Councillor, Robert Hobson.

"Many of the things done by this council I think two or three previous councils can take credit for. Every time you put money into reserves you are essentially giving a future council the opportunity to look good and avoiding the opportunity to grandstand yourself because you're not cutting the ribbon."

While lauding the groundwork and initiative of previous elected bodies, Hobson did take the opportunity to laud the work of his own council.

He says some of the projects couldn't be completed by any previous council.

"That's partly because of circumstances, but it's also partly due to your leadership your worship (Mayor Walter Gray) and because of the collective vision of council and staff."

Hobson cited progress made on a potential second crossing as an example. Hobson says he was skeptical council would get very far on the second crossing as a priority.

"I am just astonished at the extent at which you grabbed onto it, hugged the premier at every opportunity...and low and behold it's become a provincial priority," says Hobson.

"It's just magic really."

He also pointed at the CN Rail opportunity which fell into council's lap over the previous 12 months or so.

"On that cheery note, I think I'll carry on. I've likened our council to a team of horses where we have one wagon but we have eight horses pulling in the same direction," says Councillor, Luke Stack.

"When you are all pulling in the same direction you can really get something done and I think we've seen that."

Stack pointed to the newly proposed downtown Interior Health building which also came to this council part way through its mandate.

"It took a very clear focus of seeing the opportunity of IHA coming downtown...but staff are the ones that had to get out there and meet with them and work out the details.

That led into us having to figure out what to do with parking and the parkade. There was just a myriad of things that came out of that."

Stack also applauded city staff led by City Manager Ron Mattiussi, saying it's amazing what can be accomplished when everyone is pulling in the same direction.

Councillor Andre Blanleil, who is not seeking re-election, echoed those comments saying it takes leadership from council to enable staff to have the confidence and the ability to do their job.

"That's the big difference I see in this council. Staff is given direction and the freedom to make something happen...and I don't think that happens by accident," says Blanleil.

We do have some exceptional young staff who are doing a fantastic job but I think it's also that this council has supported them. They come in front of us and know they aren't going to get beat up for an idea and I think that's a key to what's going on.

I know there are going to be comments made that we are just talking about all these successes, but it really has been an incredible three years of getting these things done."

The current council has just a handful or regular meetings and public hearings left before its mandate ends Nov 15.

At that point, a new council will be elected which will feature at least four new councillors.

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