Mentoring matters

From greeting passengers to checking in, two teens from Oliver were given a behind the scenes look into the Kelowna international Airport this Friday.

As part of the WestJet Cares for Kids program, Big Brothers and Sisters granted the opportunity to several children throughout B.C. to job shadow someone in the commercial airline industry for a day.

In the Okanagan, 15-year-olds Abby Teigan and her cousin Kelly Methven spent several hours working alongside a WestJet employee to see how YLW functions.

“I thought it was a great opportunity to follow people around the airport and see what they do,” said Abby. “So, if I wanted to do this later in life I could.”

Leslee Keating, whose been with WestJet for 13 years, was the teen’s mentor for the event.

“For a lot of them they haven’t flown before or even been in an airport, so they don’t really know what goes on behind the scenes,” she said. “They seem to enjoy it and have a lot of fun.”

She says WestJet is a great company to work for that prides itself on community relations.

“WestJet likes to encourage the mentoring of youth, so they can have the opportunity to look at careers they might not have thought of before or seen before,” explained Keating.

For Kelly, working alongside WestJet was a chance she jumped at, saying she loves learning about new career opportunities.

“I’ve been (with Big Brothers and Sisters) for two or three years,” Kelly said. “It’s been really great. They talk about how to get your confidence up and help with everything.”

Through WestJet Cares for Kids, the company also helps disadvantaged families with flights and administrative costs for children in times of need.


Mediation in transit dispute

The current stalemate between First Canada and its transit drivers in Kelowna is going to mediation.

Amalgamated Transit Union 1722 president Scott Lovell said mediation has been set for Nov. 2 and 3.

Lovell said there is some level of frustration that it will take six weeks for the sides to sit before a mediator.

He said that was the time frame the company had set for another face-to-face meeting.

Last week, union members voted 92 per cent in favour of strike action to back demands for a new contract.

Following that vote, Lovell called the company's final offer insulting. It offered a three-year deal with a 0.5 per cent increase in year one, a 0.5 per cent increase in year two and a one per cent increase in year three.

Lovell said that comes on the heels of the previous contract, which gave transit drivers zero, zero and two per cent over three-years.

The transit workers have been without a contract for six months.

The BC Labour Relations Board has appointed Grant McArthur to mediate the dispute.

"Going on strike is the last thing we want to do," said Lovell. "It hurts the people we care about the most, our customers."

BC Tree Fruits CEO fired

For the second time in a row, BC Tree Fruits has fired their CEO.

The Co-op, a collection of over 500 fruit grower families in the Okanagan, announced Friday afternoon that CEO Alan Tyabji had been served with an “early notice of termination.”

Tyabji has been CEO of the co-op since November 2012, when the previous CEO, Gary Schieck, was fired.

Tyabji will continue working with the board of directors over the next six weeks as they search for a new CEO.

Evening update Sept. 30

This evening’s top stories for Sept. 30, 2016, with Castanet's Wayne Moore.

Castanet's kid report

This week's Castanet Kid Report with junior reporter Ariella Amato.

Cleaning up after dumpers

The Okanagan Forest Task Force isn’t just a Facebook page where people lay out their complaints, those who belong to the group actually get the job done.

Lead by organizer Kane Blake, volunteers will once again head into the back-country of the Okanagan and clean up after those who, for some reason, have decided to turn the woods into a landfill.

This is the second clean-up by the OFTF in just two weeks and Saturday’s event will take place in the same exact spot as the last time.

A 40 yard dumpster full of garbage was taken out of the Postill Lake Road area by the group but more trash still remains.

Blake says their slogan is ‘Working to Keep our Forests Clean’ and members are all like-minded people who love and respect the great outdoors, from hunters, to hikers, trail riders, ATV-ers, snow- mobiler’s, and campers. 

“We all love the bush. What we don’t love is taking our families out there for a weekend of fun, only to come across piles and piles of garbage that others have left behind.  Old furniture, construction waste, appliances, you name it…it’s just sad and sickening to see it. This is our backyard, we respect it, and we want others to do the same.”

Saturday’s clean up will take place at 8 a.m. where Postill Lake Road turns from pavement to gravel. 

“Yes, we’ve accomplished a lot already, but sadly there’s lots more garbage out there.  We have all the equipment and gear lined up already, what we need is more help,” said Blake. “Everyone is welcome, it’s a family event, kids are welcome too.”

Rae Stewart with the Regional Waste Reduction Office says their office fully supports the OFTF cause.

“We salute these dedicated volunteers, we could sure use more of them, and we hope they continue to connect and help us stamp out illegal dumping once and for all one day.” 

The Regional Waste Reduction Office will be assisting once again by covering the cost of some heavy equipment to support the clean-up, paying for a 40 yard dumpster, plus supplying the safety gear the volunteers require, and covering the tipping fees at the landfill.

“It’s a beautiful wilderness corridor that’s heavily-frequented by outdoor groups and nature enthusiasts, so for someone to sully it with their garbage is a real travesty and unfortunately garbage begets more garbage," said Stewart.

"When you consider the time and gas it takes to drive out into the bush as well as vehicle wear and tear, illegal dumping is completely senseless.  We have many options in our community for the proper disposal of waste, many of which are low cost and some are free."

This site is also designed to be a home base to facilitate the connecting and the networking of concerned citizens who would like to contribute to the cause of keeping the Okanagan's forested and rural areas in good condition.

If you find any dump sites or littering while out enjoying our local natural areas click here to report it.

The Regional Waste Reduction Office will supply any groups interested in cleaning up their community with bags and gloves to support their efforts, and will arrange for the collection and disposal of the garbage collected

Water funding flowing

Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran is encouraged by Wednesday's announcement by Premier Christy Clark concerning water.

During her keynote address to delegates at the Union of BC Municipalities Convention in Victoria, the premier announced $148.5 million in provincial funding for a new clean water and wastewater fund.

The fund is designed to enable communities to move ahead with vitally important improvements to their water and wastewater systems.

Costs for approved projects would be shared 50 per cent by the federal government, 33 per cent by the province and 17 per cent by municipalities.

The City of Kelowna has a well documented desire to amalgamate all water systems within the city under one umbrella.

"It's welcome news and if, and when, we are able to come to agreement on a new plan to provide an integrated water system for our community, certainly we would be applying for funds to do some of the work," said Basran.

"Keep in mind too, we also have wastewater projects we could also use the funds for."

As part of the meeting process at the convention, Basran said a city delegation met with Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development Peter Fassbender Wednesday to discuss developments in the integration process.

"There continues to be ongoing negotiations and conversations between the ministry, irrigation district and the city.

"Those talks will be ongoing until such time as we can reach a mutually agreeable conclusion to the situation."

Top wines in B.C. chosen

The 36th annual Fall Okanagan Wine Festival kicked off Thursday night with the announcement of the British Columbia Wine Awards winners.

Ten judges spent four days tasting the 624 submitted wines from over 90 B.C. wineries.

In the end, eight wines were given the title of platinum winners, while just one took home the Premier's Award for Best Wine in B.C.

The top wine was given to Kelowna's own SpierHead Winery's 2014 Pinot Noir Cuvee.

The other seven platinum winners included CedarCreek's 2013 The Last Word Red Meritage Blend, Deep Roots' 2014 Syrah, Mission Hill's 2014 Reserve Chardonnay, Red Rooster's 2015 Riesling, Road 13's Sparkling Chenin Blanc, Summerhill's Cipes Blanc de Blanc and Time Estate Winery's 2013 Syrah.

The Fall Okanagan Wine Festival will continue over the next days with over 100 events across the Okanagan.

Garbage burns in park

Flames shot high in the sky and black smoke filled the air of a park off Enterprise Way in Kelowna Thursday night, prompting a quick response from the Kelowna Fire Department.

A man driving by Enterprise Park just after 7 p.m. saw the flames from the road, pulled over, and called the fire department.

“It seemed to be in the entrance to the park in a pile of garbage,” the witness said. “It looked like a shopping cart or two, a bike and a whole bunch of garbage. It looked like a transient pile of sorts.”

No one was around when he came upon the fire.

Steve Wallick, platoon captain of the Kelowna Fire Department, said one fire truck responded to the blaze and quickly got it under control.

Wallick said there were no nearby buildings that were threatened.

Cyclist rescued from trestle

Emergency crews rushed to the Myra Canyon trestle bridges Thursday afternoon to come to the aid of an injured mountain biker.

A woman had ridden off the central wooden section of trestle 9 at 1:30 p.m. and slammed into the railing, injuring her shoulder and preventing her from riding.

Eight Central Okanagan Search and Rescue members, two Kelowna firefighters and two BC Ambulance members used ATVs and a Gator to travel the five kilometres of trail from the June Springs side parking lot to her location.

“It was a great team effort with all three organizations,” said Duane Tresnich, spokesperson with COSAR. “It was a pretty straightforward rescue.”

The woman was taken down by ambulance, but her injuries were not life threatening.

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