Power knocked out in parts of Lake Country, Coldstream

Thousands without power

UPDATE 4:20 p.m.

Power has now been restored on the west side of Okanagan Lake.

Just under 2,000 homes in the Carrs Landing area of Lake Country and south end of Coldstream remain in the dark.

BC Hydro says a crew has been assigned to the outage and should arrive on scene at 5:15 p.m. The outage is due to a tree down on lines.

UPDATE: 2:10 p.m.

Power has now been knocked out on both sides of Okanagan Lake Sunday, near Fintry and north of Lake Country.

On the west of the lake, 1,398 homes are without power after a tree fell on power lines. On the east side of the lake, another 712 homes are without power in the Okanagan Centre area.

The cause of the Okanagan Centre outage is still under investigation, and it's not clear if the two outages are related.

ORIGINAL: 1:35 p.m.

More than 1,300 homes are without power along Westside Road near Fintry Sunday afternoon.

According to BC Hydro, a tree fell across power lines just after noon, knocking out power to 1,398 homes along Westside Road.

The outage runs from about Shelter Cove Road north to Killiney Beach.

Strong winds are forecast to persist across much of the Interior Sunday. A tree across power lines has also knocked out power and closed Highway 97 east of Kamloops Sunday.

Launch Okanagan, Wealthsimple Foundation holding online tax workshop

Tax webinar being offered

If tax season gives you the heebie-jeebies, fear no more.

Launch Okanagan and Wealthsimple Foundation are offering a free online tax workshop early next month to answer any and all tax questions you might have before the annual tax deadline.

“At Launch Okanagan, we understand that tax filing can feel intimidating,” executive director Jennifer Robins said in a press release.?“We are so excited to be partnering with Wealthsimple Foundation to offer this workshop. It’s always so meaningful to work with organizations whose financial education goals align with those of Launch Okanagan. We both understand that the tax filing process is an important step in managing your finances with confidence.”

The Wealthsimple Foundation Tax Workshop will be conducted via Zoom and is designed to simplify your tax filing process. The 90-minute session will cover what you need to file, deadlines and a step-by-step walk-through using Wealthsimple Tax.

The registration deadline is Thursday, Feb. 29, and can be done so here.

You can also contact Launch Okanagan at [email protected] for more information.

Castanet Event Calendar: Feb 25 - March 2, 2024

Castanet Event Calendar

A look at upcoming events in the Thompson-Okanagan this week.


Emergency crews rescued a woman from Knox Mountain Saturday

Rescue at Knox Mountain

Emergency crews in Kelowna responded to Knox Mountain Saturday after a woman suffered a seizure on one of the trails.

At about noon, firefighters and paramedics rushed to the top of the popular mountain near downtown Kelowna for the medical call.

The woman was about 200 metres from the top pavilion area, on the Apex Trail.

The woman was still suffering from the seizure when emergency crews first got to her, but they were able to get her up to the road to a waiting ambulance using wheeled rescue equipment.

The woman's condition is not known.

Kelowna shows support for Ukraine on 2nd anniversary of Russian invasion

Candlelit vigil for Ukraine

Large groups of people showed up at the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Kelowna on Saturday night to show their support for Ukrainians on the two-year anniversary of Russia’s full-scale invasion.

Three levels of Canadian government were at the church to show their support for Ukraine, including Kelowna Mayor Tom Dyas.

“Today is a very solemn day; Obviously it’s the two-year anniversary of Russia invading its neighbouring country Ukraine and for that there’s been a lot of individuals who have fled Ukraine and have come to Kelowna,” said Dyas.

“And also there’s a lot of individuals who have lost loved ones, family members and partners, and so we’re here today to support the Ukrainian community who have come to Kelowna and are starting their new lives here.”

A candlelight vigil was held in memory of fallen soldiers, heroes and citizens who have lost their lives to this war.

“Most, if not all Ukrainians that will be here today have lost somebody already in this war, either their friends or their relatives," said Kelowna Stands with Ukraine organizer Denys Storozhuk.

"We’ve lost so many men on the front line, it’s about 1,000 every day most likely. People in Ukraine, because they don’t see any progress for the last year or so, they start to get depressed and start to lose hope in our victory, so it’s very important at these events to show our solidarity to raise their hope and morale here and in Ukraine.”

Justin Trudeau signed a security agreement on Saturday, which will send more than $3 billion to Ukraine in 2024, something Kelowna Stands with Ukraine believes will go a long way in winning the war.

Ukraine signed it with Great Britain, with Germany, France and now with Canada. They show to the rest of the world and to the Ukrainians that that’s the way to go and that support is not dwindling down. That the world continues to support them and Canada shows it, so hopefully it will give a good example to the United States,” said Storozhuk.

People of Kelowna are encouraged to donate money and other items – like diapers, pots and frypans, dish sets, mixers, irons, vacuums, towels and bedding – to the Ukrainian Free Store of Kelowna Stands With Ukraine, located in the basement of Ukrainian Orthodox Church. The store hands out items to Ukrainians in need each Tuesday from 4 p.m. until 6 p.m.

First part of trial for man accused of UBC Okanagan security guard killing begins Monday

Murder trial set to begin

The first part of a high-profile Kelowna murder trial will begin on Monday.

The UBC Okanagan community was rocked back in February 2022 when 24-year-old security guard Harmandeep Kaur was killed while on duty at the university. The suspect, 22-year-old Dante Ognibene-Hebbourn, was immediately arrested and detained in hospital under the Mental Health Act.

He was charged with Kaur's murder five weeks later, and he's been in custody ever since.

Ognibene-Hebbourn had been employed at the university as a janitor at the time of the killing.

On Monday, exactly two years after the killing, a voir dire hearing will begin in the second-degree murder case. Voir dires are generally held to allow the Crown and defence to argue their cases over the admissibility of certain evidence at trial.

More details about the incident are expected to come out during the hearing.

The five-week trial, meanwhile, is scheduled to begin on April 29.

A few months after the killing, Ognibene-Hebbourn's defence counsel successfully applied for a psychiatric assessment to determine if the accused can be found not criminally responsible on account of a mental disorder, but it appears the trial is scheduled to proceed.

Kaur had immigrated to Canada from India in 2015, and moved to Kelowna in 2018. She had just obtained her permanent residency the month prior to her death. She has been attending school and was working to become a paramedic.

Her family had planned to visit her from India in April 2022.

Comedian known for making other comedians laugh making 2 stops in Kelowna

Comedy star comes to town

If you're looking for a way to chase away the winter blahs, Train Wreck Comedy has a couple of big shows coming to the Actors Studio in March.

"Get ready to laugh until your sides hurt as Castanet.net proudly presents the Train Wreck Comedy Cabaret featuring the uproarious Casey Corbin at the Kelowna Actors Studio on March 22 and 23," says Rob Balsdon, owner of Train Wreck Comedy.

Corbin is renowned for his performances, which revolve around his unique brand of humour.

"With an impressive repertoire boasting five comedy albums, each a comedic gem available on Spotify, Apple Music, and YouTube, Corbin has amassed over 1.8 million streams, captivating audiences worldwide," says Balsdon.

Corbin has his own radio show on SiriusXM satellite radio and in 2023, he embarked on Canada's top corporate tour, the IG Wealth Management Comedy Tour, solidifying his status as a comedic heavyweight.

"Casey Corbin is a comic's comic and always a fan favourite," says Balsdon. "Casey is the comedian who makes all the other comedians laugh when they are in the green room, he's just naturally hilarious. It doesn't take long to see why he is one of the best comedians in the country when you see him live on stage!"

For more information on the March 22 and 23rd shows click here.

Early bird savings end on February 29 at midnight.

Older building method could be key to sustainability and wildfire protection: UBCO

Old techniques get new life

Researchers at the University of British Columbia Okanagan are studying ways older building techniques could help improve construction stability and sustainability.

One of the methods UBCO researchers are looking at is "rammed earth" construction, which uses materials that are alternatives to cement and are often more readily available.

With international shortages in construction sand—which is much different than sand found on beaches—builders are searching for cheap, and readily available materials that are equally as strong, for next-generation cement.

"Everything old is new again and that is precisely why we’ve been investigating rammed earth construction,” says Dr. Sumi Siddiqua, with UBCO’s School of Engineering. “By integrating industrial by-products, we’re addressing an increasing need for readily available building materials and being sustainable in the process.”

One such alternative is wood fly ash, a by-product of pulp mills and coal-fired power plants.

The construction industry has been trying to find a use for materials like fly ash that predominantly ends up in landfills. Fly ash, better described as a fine powder, shares the same strength and texture characteristics as cement, which is often added to concrete to enhance its strength.

“There are many benefits to using this material. Using local soil along with rammed earth products reduces sand exploitation. And just as importantly, this material is not affected by wildfires to the same extent as current wooden structures,” says Siddiqua.

UBC’s Build Better Cluster, together with BC Housing, is teaming up with Indigenous communities to integrate rammed earth into the construction of new homes.

Test results show that, under most circumstances, fly ash enhances the structure’s properties and makes it suitable for use in cold and hot climates as load-bearing, non-load-bearing and isolation panel walls. Fly ash is also available in remote communities and provides increased insulation properties.

There may not be an immediate uptick in the construction of rammed earth homes and buildings but adding materials like fly ash into composite cements has already begun.

“There is an increasing demand for sustainable building products here in Canada and around the world, and materials like fly ash are just the start of a new and important trend,” Siddiqua says.

A prime example of rammed earth can be found at the 'Bernard Block' in downtown Kelowna. At the midpoint of the building, on the ground floor, is a rammed earth wall that rises just over 55 feet. Another example can be found at the Spirit Ridge at Nk'Mip Resort, in Osoyoos.

The research was published in the latest edition of the Journal Construction and Building Materials.

Power has been restored for thousands in Lake Country, Westside Rd. Saturday morning

Power restored after outage

UPDATE: 9 a.m.

Power has been restored to the 3,331 homes in Lake Country and along Westside Road Saturday morning, after it was out for about 2.5 hours.

ORIGINAL: 7:30 a.m.

More than 3,300 homes are without power in parts of Lake Country and on the west side of Okanagan Lake Saturday morning.

The power has been out for the 3,331 homes since 6:30 a.m., but BC Hydro has not yet listed a cause for the outage on its website.

Lake Country homes west of Highway 97 are impacted by the outage, along with homes across the lake along Westside Road, from Wilson Landing north to Killiney Beach.

BC Hydro does not have an estimated time power will be restored, but crews are expected to arrive at the scene by 8 a.m.

YLW and Uber continue to work toward agreement to allow pickups at the airport

Airport, Uber continue talks

Negotiations between Uber and YLW to allow the ride sharing giant to pick up and drop off passengers at the Kelowna airport are continuing.

Airport manager Sam Samaddar says those negotiations are "going well."

Uber is presently the only company unable to pickup or drop off passengers at the airport since YLW instituted a new fee structure in May of 2021.

"We do have a full agreement with U-Ride and all the other cab companies," Samaddar told Castanet.

Under the new fee structure all ride sharing and taxi companies are required to pay a flat fee of $2 for every trip to and from the airport greater than three kilometres.

That replaced the flat yearly fee of $638 charged per cab or transportation network service vehicle to operate at the airport.

Samaddar says they are getting close to the finish line and is hopeful everything can be worked out in about a month.

Agreement close at hand

"We are very, very close.

"Our goal from day one was to always create a level playing field between the taxis and shared ride services and we put all these measures in place well before Uber and U-Ride came along.

"We made our applications to the Passenger Transportation Board, got approvals on all the things that we did and we created that level playing field. We just need to ensure those agreements and the way we administer those agreements, whether it's shared ride services or taxis, are maintained on that level playing field."

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