It takes all kinds of people to build a community, from different abilities to varying contributions.
The City of Kelowna recognizes the diversity in our community and recently proclaimed October as Community Inclusion Month.
Members and employees of Pathways Abilities Society gathered outside City Hall to hear the proclamation by Mayor Colin Basran and form an inclusion chain as a symbolic gesture of diversity in our community.
Adam Less, a consultant for Pathways, said the organization supports the needs of people with 'diversibilities' and provides employment opportunities for them.
“What we want to do, is make the point it takes all kinds of people to build a community so by having this event and having everyone represented really shows the diversity of our community.”
The word diversability has been used to replace disability in places like Britain, while here in Kelowna local resident Shelly DeCoste is fighting for the term to become the social normal in Canada.
She claimed she was frustrated by the term disabled claiming it made a person sound broken when actually they are capable of many things.
“I find it really important for people living with diversibility to have their own voice and their own lives, instead of having other people choose what they are doing,” she explained. “Be involved with their lives and let them choose what they want to do.”
DeCoste said those with diversabilities may need a little bit of help but are thankful to receive the support.
“As long as we are being a part of the community and trying to be as independent as we can. It’s just really great to see the support we are getting.”
This is the third year Pathways has built an inclusion chain around City Hall.
Students around the world are being encouraged to walk to school this week, Oct. 5-9, as part of International Walk to School Week (IWalk)
More than 40 countries participate in Iwalk, which gives children, parents, teachers and community leaders an opportunity to celebrate the benefits of walking. The event is also an chance to create safe routes to school and educate children on safe walking or bicycling skills.
Castanet wanted to know what parents in Kelowna think about letting children walk to school either alone or with an adult during this week or all the time.
Here’s what they said:
A horde of zombies was seen walking through the streets of downtown Kelowna Tuesday afternoon.
The young zombies were from Studio 9 Independent School of the Arts.
They're hosting Kelowna’s Thrill the World event on Oct. 24, and were out on the town promoting it with a zombie flash mob to the cranked tune of Michael Jackson's Halloween hit, Thriller.
Thrill the World is an international event in which participants dance to song at the same time as others around the globe.
The dance will kick off at 3 p.m. in Kelowna’s City Park, and all are welcome to join in.
"We got this (flash mob) in to get the word out in time for people to learn the dance," said Mike Guzzi, CEO of Studio 9. "It doesn't take a lot to learn the dance, and even if it's not perfect, it doesn't matter, just come on out and get your zombie on."
To learn the dance and to see what the event looks like in action, check out Thrill the World’s website here.
– with files from Jon Manchester
Kelowna is a vibrant, growing community – which has a lot of room for improvement.
That's the gist of the fourth Vital Signs report prepared by the Central Okanagan Foundation. The report was released Tuesday during a breakfast gathering attended by about 100 people from the community at the Laurel Packinghouse.
"We call it a community snapshot on the vitality of our community," said project coordinator Dr. Kimberly Carter.
The report, said Carter, is guided by the belief that vital and vibrant communities are secure, healthy, smart, creative and connected.
"This year, we narrowed it down to five quality of life issues," said Carter.
"We decided to present some data for each of the issues and complimented it with some qualitative story pieces about a vital project, vital program and vital people in our community that are actively collaborating to address some of the issues we face."
The report offered several statistical findings, but drew no conclusions.
- Security - Overall crime rate is down, but still relatively high
- Health - We are physically active, yet more stressed
- Smart - SD23 children are most vulnerable in physical, emotional and social development
- Creative - Arts and culture employment is on the rise, yet lower than B.C. and Canada.
- Connected - Weakened sense of belonging, yet we give generously
Carter said one of the areas she was not surprised to see centred around mental health.
According to statistics, 69.2 per cent of the Central Okanagan population (12 and over) reported their mental health to excellent or very good. That's in line with provincial numbers and slightly below the national figures.
"It's up (from 2013), but I still don't think that's something to celebrate. The panel of experts today really brought that home too, how mental health really transcends all of our issue areas."
Other information gleaned from the report include crime rates in the Central Okanagan which, while falling the past three years, is still above both the provincial and national rate.
Residents in the Central Okanagan are more physically active that the rest of B.C. and the country. In terms of education, more than 55 per cent of the Kelowna population 15 and over held a university degree, post-secondary certificate or diploma, higher than both the provincial and national numbers.
The report also suggested people in the Central Okanagan have a weakened sense of belonging. Only 65 per cent of people reported a strong or somewhat strong sense of community belonging, down more than 10 per cent from each of the last two reports, and below both the provincial and national averages.
While admitting the report provides only information and not results, Carter hoped people in the community would continue the conversation through an initiative called '100 Dinners'.
People are encouraged to host a dinner to talk about what the report says and how they may be able to make a difference.
"Sometimes, people walk away from reports and say that's a final say on our community."
"We want to flip that and say absolutely not. It's just the beginning. What's missing, let's talk about what's missing."
Click here for more information on 100 Dinners.
The Kelowna Fire Department made quick work of a garage fire earlier this morning near Cameron Park.
At approximately 5:12 a.m., the Kelowna Fire Dept responded to the 2400 block of Richter Street to a report of detached garage on fire.
“Upon arrival a fire was noticed inside the garage,” said Platoon Captain Tim Light.
“Fire crews gained access to the structure and extinguished the fire quickly.”
Light said there was minor fire damage to part of the structure as well as damage to some of the content inside.
“RCMP were on scene and have deemed the fire suspicious,” said Light.
Kelowna fire investigators will now work with the RCMP to investigate the fire.
For decades, marijuana was cursed as a gateway drug, but a recent study takes the plant in a completely different direction.
In fact, it may even be a way to save lives, when used properly.
Cannabis has been long maligned as an addictive narcotic that could lead to serious health issues, but a UBC and University of Victoria study demonstrates that more people are using cannabis as a substitute for prescription drugs and alcohol.
And that may be a good thing, says UBC Okanagan associate professor Zach Walsh.
“Our study shows more than 80 per cent of medicinal cannabis users reported substituting cannabis for prescription drugs including opiate pain killers,” says Walsh, who’s the primary investigator of the Cannabis Access for Medical Purposes Survey (CAMPS), the largest Canadian survey of medical cannabis patients to date.
“This is consistent with recent findings from the U.S. that indicates medical cannabis use had a role in a nearly 25 per cent reduction in opioid overdose deaths — which is a really big deal given the crisis Canada faces with prescription opioid use,” says Walsh, noting Canadians are amongst the highest users of opiate-based drugs.
The study also found 51 per cent of the 473 respondents report substituting cannabis for alcohol, and 33 per cent suggest they use cannabis instead of illicit substances like cocaine and crystal meth.
The CAMPS study, which provided data on cannabis substitution, was supported with a grant from UBC Okanagan’s Institute for Healthy Living and Chronic Disease Prevention.
Walsh, who teaches psychology with the Irving K. Barber School of Arts and Sciences, worked with the University of Victoria’s Philippe Lucas, a research scholar with the Centre for Addictions Research of B.C.
“While cannabis use can certainly be problematic for some individuals, these findings highlight the potential of cannabis to be an ‘exit drug’ to addiction rather than a gateway drug,” says Lucas, vice-president of Patient Research and Services for Tilray, and the lead author of the publication.
“Used properly, cannabis can substitute for potentially more harmful substances like alcohol, prescription drugs, and illicit substances, and therefore reduce the public health and safety impacts of those substances on individuals and on society as a whole.”
Legal access to cannabis might affect the broader social costs related to the use of both legal and illicit psychoactive substances, says Walsh. That’s why a comprehensive analysis of the consequences of cannabis use must recognize potential effects on the use of other psychoactive substances such as prescription drugs, alcohol and illicit substances.
“We need to compare the risks and benefits of using other substances, such as opiates or alcohol, to the risks and benefits of cannabis use to estimate the real public health consequences of cannabis use,” says Walsh. “Looking at cannabis use in isolation paints an incomplete picture.”
More importantly, says Walsh, with increased recognition of the legitimate therapeutic use of cannabis, it’s time to re-examine Canada’s laws and openly discuss the potential costs and benefits of creating legal access to cannabis outside of the medical system.
“If you want to make informed choices about pain control, I think use of cannabis is a right every Canadian should have,” says Walsh. “It’s been proven to be much less harmful and addictive than opiates or substances like alcohol.”
The research paper was recently published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Review.
Media was invited, but not allowed into a town hall forum, Monday, on the sale of B.C. VQA wine in grocery stores.
Representatives from local wineries were in attendance at the closed-door meeting at Summerhill Winery.
Speakers from the B.C. Wine Institute and Overwaitea Food Group were on hand to answer questions from the industry.
Institute CEO Miles Prodan spoke with media before the meeting. He said he was there to answer any questions wine industry professionals had and to calm fears.
“There are some people worried about trade violations and the rest of it, and we are here to let members know that is not the case at all,” says Prodan. “ We have confirmed it with government, and they are quite satisfied that wine in grocery is a great opportunity for B.C. wineries – and we are proceeding with that.”
The B.C. Alliance for Smart Liquor Retail Choice claims the move could signal the death of small and medium-sized wineries in the province, but Prodan says that is not the case.
“The people who operate our licence are required to take wine from everybody,” says Prodan. “They have in the past, and grocery has indicated they are keen to do the same – and so far they have been doing it."
"In fact, under our operating agreement, they have to do that. So, it is all about fair and equitable access, making sure everyone has shelf space.”
He says shelf space was key in their decision as there is already a battle for space among suppliers in private and provincial liquor stores. He believes grocery shelves will provide more shelf space to more wineries.
“It is getting tougher and tougher to find space,” says Prodan. “A private liquor store only has so much shelf pace, they have whiskey and beer and tequila and everything else, and a government liquor store has all those product offerings as well. So, just having B.C. VQA wine on a grocery shelf is great for the entire industry.”
Institute data shows more than 2,800 labels of B.C.VQA wine are on the market today. However, the maximum available ever found in a private liquor store was 248.
According the institute, the two licences currently operated by Overwaitea Food Group carry more than 1,000 labels each. More than 70 per cent of those are not available for sale in any other offsite retail venue.
Prodan claims all B.C. VQA wines will be accepted by grocery stores to ensure fair and equitable access for all wineries.
“We think it is a great opportunity,” says Prodan.
Overwaitea Food Group director of wines of British Columbia Steve Moriarty also addressed the meeting, but did not speak with media.
A similar information session was held on the topic in Penticton last week.
Kelowna city council will allow the owner of an illegal secondary suite in Quail Ridge to comply with city bylaws.
According to city planner Ryan Smith, the suite on Volterra Court, has been illegal for more than a decade.
"There has been bylaw enforcement on the property for an illegal suite going all the way back to 2004," Smith told council.
"On and off, staff have had problems dealing the illegal suites on the property. The owner has finally come in to rezone the subject property."
Quail Ridge, along with communities at Tower Ranch and Gallagher's Canyon, are zoned "CD6 golf course resort" and are not zoned for secondary suites.
"With this particular CD6 zone, it's not as easy as adding a secondary suite as a permitted use because in some of the communities, a secondary suite from a servicing perspective wouldn't be possible," said Smith.
"In the case of the Quail Ridge community, it is possible."
If the application does go through, it would be the second suite legalized in Quail Ridge. A similar rezoning application was approved a year ago.
The Quail Ridge Residents' Association was against that application and president Mac Campbell said nothing has changed. He said people bought in the area knowing secondary suites were not allowed.
"We are basically saying, as elected officials, we came in good faith under the CD6 zoning and we would hope you honour and respect that zoning and not intrude after the fact with suites," said Campbell.
"It's not to say we have a problem with suites, per se, but suites in an area that's not zoned should not be allowed."
Smith added this is not the only illegal suite within the Quail Ridge community.
"I believe at the previous public hearing, staff did note that we had been involved in enforcement processes in no less than a dozen illegal suites in that area over the last 10 years," said Smith.
"There are probably more that remain active in the area, just because of the adjacent university and the high student population."
He added if those people came forward, staff would consider them favourably, provided they met the building code an other components of the bylaw concerning parking and access.
Kelowna's mayor thinks he and council let the city down this summer.
In response to a proposal to impose permanent odd-even watering restrictions for the 17,000 customers of the city's water utility, Colin Basran stated bluntly, he thinks the city's response to this summer's drought was slow.
"I think we as a council have to wear that because that's what we were elected to do, and I have no problem saying that," said Basran.
"I'm happy to say that we are taking steps to make sure that doesn't happen again."
Those steps include implementation of the odd-even watering system currently used by cities around the Okanagan and by other water purveyors in the city.
Basran pointed to a graph showing Kelowna's water consumption was 15 per cent above the 10-year average from April through the end of July, but eight per cent below that average once the Okanagan was declared to be in a Level 4 drought and the city implemented water restrictions.
"When you talk about a culture of conservation, if we had odd-even in place starting in April, that graph may have looked a lot different," said Basran.
The last used odd-even water restrictions in 2010.
Instead, utility services manager Kevin Van Vliet said Kelowna has relied on water meters and an escalating fee structure in which users pay a higher rate as consumption goes up.
While pleased to see the city move forward, several councillors wondered if they could go further.
"Right now, our bylaw states we can implement water restrictions when council or the manager deem there is a water shortage," said Van Vliet.
Primarily, we want to take out 'when there is a water shortage' and allow more flexibility to implement the regulations outside the bylaw. There will be an opportunity to review those and tweak those if we need."
In response to questions about meters that could detect who is watering outside their allotted day or give people an opportunity to see their consumption, Van Vliet said those features could be included in new meters that will be needed to replace the current ones in about five years.
Coun. Charlie Hodge took issue with how the new regulations might be enforced.
"I think people who are cognizant of when they are watering already do so. Unless we can implement a way of effectively enforcing, I'm not sure if the odd and even will work anyway," said Hodge.
Van Vliet countered, saying education and awareness would be preferred over enforcement for the first couple of years.
"Reminding people that by saving water they are going to save money can be an effective motivator. And, a lot of people don't even look at their water bill. It's amazing when we find out that some people have no clue how much they pay per month for water.
"At least until we come to the next generation of meters ... it will have to be complaint driven and witnessing people watering outside their time."
Staff will return to council with a new bylaw before next April.
Adele Kornell always wanted to care for others. She dreamed of being a nurse and providing whatever she could to those in need.
Today, her friends and family are not only celebrating her life’s work, but also her 100th birthday.
Growing up in the 1920s she had wanted to become a nurse; however it just wasn’t possible. Adele never gave up hope on her goal of helping people.
Her son Tim Kornell said when she moved to Kelowna in 1952, as the wife of a pastor, she began to look after seniors at the parsonage the church had given them.
“After my dad retired in ’57 they built a home on Pandosy Street that today is a backpacker’s hostel,” explained Tim. “It became clear there was a continuing need for care for seniors, so at that point in time in ’62 they built Still Waters private hospital which is presently the site of the Village at Mill Creek.”
Adele and her husband also build the Joseph Benjamin Residence, the Village at Smith Creek (formerly the Westside Care Centre) and Sun Pointe Village.
Baptist Housing purchased the Village at Mill Creek, along with Sun Pointe Village and the Village at Smith Creek from the Kornell Family in 2008. Adele moved into the Village at Mill Creek just three-years-ago.
“I saw the care that the older people needed. Nobody cared for them, somebody had to care for them,” said Adele of her work with seniors.
Dozens of people showed up to celebrate the centenarian’s birthday, including a woman who said Adele became an influence in her life when she was just a child.
“(I met them in) Minitonas, Man. They were a pastor and his wife and she led me to the lord at seven-years-of-age and he baptized me at 14,” said Vi Seib, who currently lives in West Kelowna.
At 100-years-old many are wondering just what Adele’s secret is to a long and happy life?
“Do the best you can everyday, treat other people kindly and yourself, and trust in God,” she said.
Adele’s two sons say she is doing well, she still plays the piano and has her sense of humour.
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