More snow on the way

The Okanagan has been hit with snow since Friday morning, blanketing the streets with a fresh white layer. And Mother Nature is not quite done yet.

While the skies remain a bit clearer for now, Environment Canada is forecasting more flurries into the evening.

“We're forecasting for another two to four (centimetres) for tonight and another two centimetres for Sunday, and most of that flurry activity should end for the afternoon,” said Jonathan Bau, meteorologist with Environment Canada.

As of Saturday afternoon, there is a chance of flurries overnight Sunday.

Friday's snowfall varied throughout the region, with 10 centimetres falling in some places in West Kelowna and about five centimetres east of the lake in Kelowna.

City streets quickly became skating rinks, and the poor conditions remain on many roads Saturday.

The Kelowna RCMP has reminded drivers to slow down during the less-than-ideal conditions.  


A crafty Christmas market

The lineup wound around the arena towards Ellis Street at 11 a.m., as people eagerly waited to get inside and get their Christmas shopping started.

This is the fourth year the market has been held and its popularity continues to grow.

“More and more people are wanting to meet the people who make their stuff,” said Karalyn Lockhart, organizer of the event. “There's so much stuff available from China and it's so cheap, but you don't get that same value from it.

“Last year we did 8,000 people throughout the weekend, so we're expecting that if not more this year."

While the lineup outside looked intimidating, Lockhart said they had a similar sized one the year previous.

While she said she was a little concerned the weather might keep people away, that clearly wasn't the case.

“It's Canada, we're used to it,” Lockhart said.

Of the 165 vendors at the event, about half of them are local, while others come from across B.C. and Alberta.

In addition to those selling crafts, food and art, live cooking demonstrations are held throughout the weekend, and there's live music as well. 

"If you go to the mall it can kind of be stressful, here you can wander around, enjoy yourself and get into the holiday spirit," Lockhart said. "And the bar opens at 11:30!"

The market closes at 6 p.m. Saturday and runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.

Castanet's week in review

Castanet's week in review with Nich Johansen. 

Wine sales all good

UPDATE: Dec. 10, 9 a.m.

It would appear all the correct paperwork and permits are in place to allow for wine sales at Your Independent Grocers in the Capri Centre Mall.

Originally, city planner Ryan Smith said the store did not have the proper liquor primary zoning, therefore was not allowed to sell wine on its shelves.

However, after digging further Saturday morning, Smith said city maps had not been properly updated since a new CD25 zone was approved as part of the redevelopment plan for the mall.

He said the maps still show the former zoning which did not allow for wines sales, which was introduced by the store Friday afternoon.

The CD25 comprehensive development zone was approved in 2014 to oversee mall redevelopment, which will include a mixed-use site with residential towers, retail spaces, a market square and a community park with an outdoor skating rink.

ORIGINAL: Dec. 9, 7:15 p.m.

Your Independent Grocer in Kelowna brought the media together Friday afternoon to unveil the sale of BC wines within the store.

But, it appears they failed to contact the city.

Castanet has learned the store within the Capri Centre Mall is not properly zoned to be liquor primary, and therefore cannot legally sell wine on the premises.

City planner Ryan Smith confirmed the proper zoning is not in place.

Smith said the city will be in contact with the company, asking them to prepare the proper paperwork.

He said the city would encourage the store to cease selling wine until such time as the zoning application is approved.

Smith stated it could take three to four months to get a rezoning application before city council for approval.

"We are extremely busy right now with applications. It's a first-come-first-served," said Smith.

Nearly a month ago, city council approved rezoning to allow wine to be sold at the Real Canadian Superstore on Baron Road.

Currently, there are two grocery stores in Kelowna able to sell BC wines, two Save-On-Foods locations in Orchard Plaza and in the Mission.

Loblaws officials were surprised by Friday's development.

Officials said they were led to believe all permits were in place.

They said they would be looking into the situation.

Fire forces family out

A chimney fire in Kelowna forced five people from their home late Friday night.

The homeowner called 911 at about 11:15 p.m. to report smoke in the house above the fireplace, said Platoon Cpt. Steve Wallick with the Kelowna Fire Department.

Fire crews arrived at the residence on Springfield Road near Gerstmar Road and found a fire in the attic.

"There was a family of five home at the time and they all got out safely," said Wallick.

"Firefighters had to remove part of the ceiling and wall around the fire place to extinguish the fire. The home suffered moderate damage and the occupants have been displaced.

"A faulty or dirty chimney was the cause of the fire."

There were no injuries.

"The Kelowna Fire Department would like to remind everyone to clean and inspect their chimneys on a regular basis."

Santa's got time for pets

Santa will be stopping by Rose Valley Vet Hospital to pay a visit to some furry friends. 

All pet and pet owners can stop by and snap a picture with Santa himself between between 3 and 5 p.m Saturday. 

Not only will pets and their owners be able to sit with Santa, but yummy treats will also be served. 

This holiday promises fun for the whole family all while raising money for the local SPCA. 

"It's a great holiday event," said Dr. Oz of Rose Valley. "We always get a big turnout. There is a ton of fun to be had all while supporting the SPCA."

For those who can't make the event, The B.C. SPCA, located at 3785 Casorso, would still love the help. You can help make the holidays purr-fect by providing financial aid or donating new or unused pet toys. 


Tourism site up for debate

Tourism Kelowna's new information centre proposed for the foot of Queensway comes up for debate at city council Monday.

Before council is an application to rezone the site from parks and open space to major institutional.

The site is currently a parking lot, and, since there will be no parking provided at the proposed site, Tourism Kelowna will be required to make a $180,000 cash-in-lieu of parking payment to the city.

Tourism Kelowna has been looking for a downtown location for its information centre for several years – to replace the one on the highway. A previous proposal to place the centre in a revamped City Park was not received favourably by the public.

If the zoning change is approved by council, Tourism Kelowna would lease the property from the city.

The city would be responsible for water and sanitary service upgrades, while Tourism Kelowna would be responsible for storm service upgrades, shallow utilities and Queensway Avenue frontage improvements.

Construction of the new $2.8 million building could begin next year with an early 2018 completion.

Thanks for gift of life

Organ transplant recipients said thanks – with popcorn – at hospitals across B.C. this week.

It was the 25th anniversary of Operation Popcorn, an annual tradition in which transplant recipients thank health professionals for the gift of life.

Liver recipient Matt Scaife led a group handing out treats at Kelowna General Hospital.

“When I heard health-care professionals that work with organ donors and their families rarely get the opportunity to talk to post-transplant patients, I realized how important it was to participate in Operation Popcorn," he said.

"I love that I have the opportunity to talk to and visit, but more importantly, thank those who put in so much hard work dealing with the tragedies that lead to organ donation. This will be my 15th year participating in Operation Popcorn, and I hope to continue to be able to thank all those involved locally.”

Teams visited 31 hospitals in B.C. and one in the Yukon to give festive tins of popcorn in appreciation.

So far this year, there have been 91 deceased donor cases and 92 living donor cases in B.C. – providing the gift of life to 396 recipients. 

“As many as 150 health-care workers can be involved in the donation and transplant process, and some never learn the outcome of their efforts, much less get an opportunity to meet the people they helped,” said Dr. Sean Keenan, medical director at  BC Transplant. 

A total of 1,044,908 British Columbians are registered organ donors. You can register at any Service BC government agent office.


Evening Update Dec. 9

Castanet's Evening Update for Friday, Dec. 9, with reporter Wayne Moore.

Climbing to the Olympics

The first sanctioned rock climbing competition in B.C. to be held outside of Vancouver is coming to Kelowna Saturday, with the goal of preparing athletes for the Olympic level.

Rock climbing will be featured at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games for the first time. This has prompted Sport Climbing British Columbia, the governing body of the sport in the province, to adjust its mandate to develop competition climbing across the province.

With this new mandate in mind, Saturday's Pop + Lock competition at Kelowna's gneiss climbing gym will push competitive climbing outside of the Lower Mainland.

“This is definitely the biggest indoor climbing competition (in British Columbia) east of Vancouver to date,” said Chris de Vries, owner of gneiss climbing.

The competition will host 134 climbers from all across B.C. at varying skill levels and ages.

While climbing in the Olympics will involve three different styles of climbing competitions, including speed climbing, difficulty and bouldering, Saturday's event is a straight bouldering event.

Gneiss climbing just opened up last April.

“We really didn't expect to get awarded one,” de Vries said. “That's a big deal for us, we've obviously hit the ground running pretty hard.”

The event will run throughout the day Saturday, with younger climbers, including some as young as six-years-old, starting at 7:30 a.m.

The open category, the most competitive division, starts at 2 p.m., with the finals running at 7 p.m.

For those wanting to catch a bit of the action the action, admission is free. The gym is located at 430 Banks Rd.

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