Calling volunteers

Myra Canyon Trestle Restoration Society is looking for additional volunteers this fall because of the hot and dry summer.  

With the high risk of wildfires across B.C., they decided to postpone maintenance work on the Myra Trail system until the risk eases.

As a result their brushing work is behind schedule. Brushing work involves cutting back bushes and overhanging trees that encroach on the trail. 

To volunteer, the skills involved are pruning, sawing and clean up/raking. Myra Canyon Trestle Restoration will supply equipment.

Several work parties are being scheduled in September and October to catch up with their annual maintenance.

To volunteer, please email your contact information to: volunteers@myra-trestles.com. They will respond with their scheduled dates and additional instructions. 


Province honours volunteers

The Myra Canyon Trestle Restoration Society has been recognized for its work in maintaining and enhancing the Myra Canyon trestles.

The group was among several that will receive the 2016 BC Parks Volunteer Awards.

"A big thank you and congratulations to the 2016 BC Parks Volunteer Awards winners. These British Columbians are passionate about our heritage, parks and natural areas and their efforts are helping to preserve them for generations to come. To spend countless hours and, in some cases, decades without being paid to further what they believe in, is simply remarkable,” said George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy.

The winners are:

  • Individual Volunteer - Don Scott and David Webb
  • Volunteer Group - Caledonia Ramblers, and Myra Canyon Trestle Restoration Society
  • Volunteer Legacy - Ruby Dunstan
  • Community Partner - Living Oceans Society

New convenience at YLW

The first of what is promised to be a larger commercial expansion opened Saturday at Kelowna International Airport.

Called Airport Plaza, if includes an ESSO gas bar, convenience store, Tim Hortons and a Freshii restaurant.

Announced in the spring of 2015 as part of a larger airport expansion, the plaza was scheduled to open in the fall of that year but instead, opened today.

"The airport is growing and the city is growing, said owner Phil Patara during Saturday's grand opening.

"This was needed, a gas station and food outlets."

Patara says this is just the first of two phases for this portion of the airport property. The next phase, which he expects to begin constructing next year, will include a car wash, automobile detailing and other retail shops.

Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran hinted this would be the first of many commercial investments at the airport.

Airport director Sam Samaddar said he couldn't get into specifics as to what could potentially be coming in the future.

"I can tell you we have service land to the north of KF Aerospace, between the highway and what was the railway tracks," said Samaddar.

"That land is available for bringing airport based support facilities and others to locate here at the airport."

Speaking at the opening, Kelowna-Lake Country MP Stephen Fuhr pointed to the "massive" economic impact provided by the airport and the approximately 4,500 people employed on the grounds.

He added the lure of the federal Liberal Caucus to the city next month was, in part, due to direct flights coming into the city from Toronto.


Thousands march with Pride

More people than ever participated in the Okanagan Pride march through downtown Kelowna Saturday.

Dustyn Baulkham, Okanagan Pride Society president, said some 6,000 people took part.

“We had 4,700 last year,” he said.

Baulkham said participants were joined by spectators as they marched from downtown to Waterfront Park where an afternoon of festivities was planned, including a mass wedding.

“It's the first time we've done that. We had some people reach out to us and say they wanted to try it,” said Baulkham, adding four couples will be tying the knot at the same time.

Baulkham said the City of Kelowna has given strong support to the LGBTQ community, and he singled out Mayor Colin Basran for his work on promoting acceptance.

But, Baulkham said there is still a ways to go, especially globally where members of the LGBTQ community are being persecuted on a daily basis.

“It's a scary world out there. Even at home, we have made some amazing progress, but we still have to move forward,” he said, adding events like the Pride gatherings go a long way in promoting acceptance.

“Days like today save people's lives because they can come out and be who they were born to be,” he said.

Trepanier under control

UPDATE 9:48 a.m.

The Trepanier Bench fire is in the mop up stage.

Melanie Morin, fire information officer, said crews held the fire at 0.2 of a hectare.

"We have three firefighters on scene and they will be continuing to do mop up throughout the day," she said, adding the cause of the fire is undetermined, but investigators are on scene.

Morin said crews hit the fire fast and hard, keeping the flames from spreading

UPDATE 6:30 p.m.

The B.C. Wildfire Service has taken quick control of the blaze.

It is now “being held,” according to spokesperson Jody Lucius.

That terminology indicates that the fire is not likely to spread beyond its boundaries under current conditions.

ORIGINAL 5:30 p.m.

The B.C. Wildfire Service is responding to a small wildfire off the Coquihalla Connector, near the Trepanier Rd. exit.

The fire is estimated to be 0.3 hectares in size, and is being fought by nine firefighters with air support.

Winds are “lower than expected,” meaning fire activity is not very aggressive at the moment, according to a B.C. Wildfire spokesperson.

Structures are nearby, but are not threatened.

Castanet will update with more information as it becomes available.

Send you photos and video to news@castanet.net

Movies under the stars

Grab a blanket and a lawn chair and head to the movies.

Interior Savings and Okanagan Boys and Girls Clubs are holding several Moonlight Movies in different Okanagan Communities.

  • Aug. 20 - OK Falls Kenyon Park - Trolls
  • Aug. 21 - Webber Rd Community Centre - Storks  
  • Aug. 22 - Kelowna’s City Park -Trolls 
  • Aug. 23 - Lake Country’s Beasley Park - Storks. 
  • Aug. 24 - Vernon’s Polson Park - Storks

The movies will be shown on a giant, inflatable cinema screen at sundown. Everyone is encouraged to arrive early to get a good viewing spot and take part in some of the many family friendly pre-show activities and concessions.

While there is no charge to attend the event, a donation of $3 per person or $10 for a family of four is suggested with all funds benefitting the Okanagan Boys and Girls Clubs.  

“We are delighted to be able to partner with Interior Savings and be part of the Moonlight Movie Tour. I hope everyone will take the opportunity to enjoy this unique movie experience with friends and family. Proceeds from the event will help us raise funds to support the essential after school programs and service ensuring everyone has a safe place to belong where they can discover and achieve their dreams,” said Richelle Leckey, Community Engagement Coordinator of Okanagan Boys and Girls Clubs.

“With the Interior Savings Moonlight Movie Tour, we are able to provide a family-friendly, free night out while raising money and awareness for youth programs in the community,” said Kathy Conway, CEO of Interior Savings. “To date, this tour has raised over $115,000 for local programs that help youth develop leadership and life skills.”

Pre-show activities will start at 7 p.m. with the movie scheduled to start at dusk. Bring blankets and lawn chairs, to be comfortable and warm. 

Smoky skies once again

The smoke is back.

After a couple days of relatively clear skies, Okanagan residents woke up to smoky skies once again Saturday.

According to Environment Canada, the smoke index is rated at five, or moderate risk today. Kamloops is expected to hit an air quality rating of seven, which is high risk.

The good news is, the air quality rating is expected to drop down to three for the Okanagan on Sunday.

People are advised to avoid strenuous outdoor activities. If anyone is experiencing any of the following symptoms, contact your health care provider: difficulty in breathing, chest pain or discomfort, and sudden onset of cough or irritation of airways.

Exposure is particularly a concern for infants, the elderly and those who have underlying medical conditions such as diabetes, and lung or heart disease.

Members of the public who are sensitive to the effects of smoke are asked to monitor their symptoms and, if necessary, take steps to reduce their exposure to smoke.

Building bones at UBCO

Bone replacement could get a whole lot more accurate thanks to a UBC Okanagan researcher.

Hossein Montazerian, a research assistant at UBCO’s School of Engineering, has found a way to model and create artificial bone grafts that can be printed exactly as needed.

“When designing artificial bone scaffolds, it’s a fine balance between something that is porous enough to mix with natural bone and connective tissue, but at the same time strong enough for patients to lead a normal life,” says Montazerian. “We’ve identified a design that strikes that balance and can be custom built using a 3D printer,” he said.

Montazerian compared 240 different bone graft designs and focused on those that were both porous and strong.

“A few of the structures really stood out,” Montazerian said. “The best designs were up to 10 times stronger than the others, and since they have properties that are much more similar to natural bone, they’re less likely to cause problems over the long term.”

“We hope to produce bone grafts that will be ultra-porous, where the bone and connective tissues meet and are extra-strong at the points under the most stress. The ultimate goal is to produce a replacement that almost perfectly mimics real bone,” he added.

Repairing Mission Creek

After unprecedented water levels in Mission Creek this spring, repairs will be needed to embankments on a newly constructed flood plain. 

Crews will be working next week to repair phase one of the Mission Creek restoration initiative project, which was built to restore the flood plain and fish habitat. It is located on the south side of the creek between Casorso Road and Gordon Drive in Kelowna.

Phase one was completed last year, but organizers say they were prepared for an unusual season.

“We knew it would come, we just didn’t know when ... It’s probably close to a 100-200 year event," said Steve Matthews, project co-ordinator. “We planned for it with an adaptive management plan where we would go back in and make any necessary adjustments following a freshet like this."

In a news release, the group stated its plan to adjust three of four meander notches in the floodplain, which were constructed to provide spawning and rearing habitat for kokanee and rainbow trout.

Additional repair work will take place in October.  

"It’s important for people to understand that this wasn’t a complete surprise. We figured there would be changes that would occur as a result of the freshet flows," said Matthews. 

There won't be any additional tax burden for the work, as all funding comes from partners that generate their own revenue. 

100 men helping kids

The Canucks Autism Network's I CAN Swim program, located at the Parkinson Recreation Centre in Kelowna will be swimming many more lengths, thanks to a donation on Wednesday from men who gave a damn. 

100 Men Who Give a Damn! is a "non-organization", with groups around the world comprised of men who donate to a charity of their choice quarterly. After hearing three pitches from local charities at a dinner, hosted at Porsche Centre Kelowna, the group decided that I CAN Swim was their cause of choice.

“We are incredibly thankful for the financial support", said Kayla Ungaro, CAN regional coordinator. “This funding will allow us to continue delivering our adapted swim program, ensuring that children with autism are safe in the water and enjoying an active lifestyle within their community".

The amount donated by the group wasn't disclosed, but the monetary request from each member is $400 per year, according to co-founder Chris Willis.

In four meetings in 2016, 100 Men Who Give a Damn donated more than $40,000 dollars to charities of their choosing.

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