Wednesday, August 20th16.4°C

Election packages available Fri

The District of West Kelowna is gearing up for the November municipal election.

Nomination packages for those interested in running for mayor, council or school trustee can be picked up at the municipal office on Cameron Road beginning Friday, Aug 22.

"We have the packages ready for anyone who is considering running for office and we are available to answer any questions they may have," says Chief Electoral Officer, Tracey Batten.

"The packages include the documents required for nomination but also key information including important dates, links to educational information and Council's Strategic Priorities and Annual Report."

A nomination deposit is not required in order to run for a position in West Kelowna, however, 25 qualified signatures must accompany the nomination form.

Nomination forms can be returned beginning Tuesday, Sept 30 at 9 .m.

The district has also created a webpage with information for both candidates and voters.

Mayor Doug Findlater as well as four of the six current councillors have indicated their intentions to seek re-election.

Councillor Duane Ophus expects to make a decision by the end of summer while Gord Milsom has also stated he will not seek another term.

West Kelowna businessman, Rusty Ensign, indicated back in June he would seek a council seat.

Eligible voters go to the polls in West Kelowna Nov 15 to elect a new mayor, six councillors and one school trustee.


Boat leaks oil into lake

A power boat suddenly started taking on water and leaked some fuel and oil into the lake Sunday afternoon. 

The incident occurred around 3:30 p.m. just off shore, near Green Bay Landing in West Kelowna.

West Kelowna fire department said the boat started taking on water and the occupants flagged a nearby boater who was able to tow the sinking vessel closer to shore.

All occupants of the boat got off safely and nobody was injured.

As the boat sank, fuel and oil began to leach into the lake. A marine rescue boat was called from Kelowna to set up a boom to contain the slick.

However, by 4:15 p.m. West Kelowna fire department said the wind and waves had dispersed the chemicals significantly.

Suspicious fire in West Kelowna

Police are seeking possible witnesses after a suspicious fire was extinguished late Wednesday night.

Shortly before 10:30 p.m. Wednesday, West Kelowna RCMP and the West Kelowna Fire Department responded to a report of a fire started next to a front entrance of a property located in the 3500 block of Elk Road in West Kelowna.

The small fire was extinguished quickly prior to emergency crews arriving on scene.

A witness reported seeing two young males walking in the area.

Police would like to speak with the males who may have been witnesses.

Police are considering this fire as suspicious in nature and continue to investigate.

West Kelowna RCMP are asking the public to report any suspicious persons or activity to police.

Anyone who may have witnessed any persons or vehicles in the area around the time of the fires is asked to call the West Kelowna RCMP at 250-768-2880. Remain anonymous by calling Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477, leaving a tip online at or by texting your tip to CRIMES (274637) ktown.


City seeks charging station

The District of West Kelowna wants to be the next municipality equipped with an electric car charging station.

City Council Tuesday directed staff to submit a letter of interest to BC Hydro to participate in the proposed BC Hydro Direct Current Fast Charging Station for electric cars.

The municipality was approached by BC Hydro in July to participate in the project.

Hydro has funding for 30 such stations across the province.

In order to participate, the District would have to propose three potential sites for BC Hydro to consider.

The fast charging stations allow a vehicle to charge in approximately 30 minutes instead of several hours at a regular 120 volt station.

BC Hydro is looking for a commitment of two to five years from host communities.

BC Hydro will cover all installation and commissioning costs associated with the project, with the District responsible for $1,000/year in operating cost.

Also from the West Kelowna Aug 12 council meeting:

Local State of Emergency

Council endorsed the Local State of Emergency that was enacted August 7 in response to the Drought Hill forest fire. The Local State of Emergency was required to facilitate the emergency response and coordinate the evacuation of one property threatened by the fire.

Strategic Priorities Second Quarter Update

Council received information on the activities in the second quarter (April to June) in support of Council’s Strategic Priorities. Highlights include:

  • Completion of McDougall Creek Flood Mitigation Project
  • Gellatly Road slope failure emergency response, Local State of Emergency
  • Hosting of Developer’s Roundtable, Breakfast with Business and Your Community Open House
  • Grand Opening of CNR Wharf Park upgrade
  • Pritchard Park enhancements complete
  • Brown Road Revitalization project complete
  • Tourism website launched; Visitors’ Guide completed
  • Launch of Westside Farm Loop and Studio Tour guides
  • Casa Loma drainage improvements, Phase 2, complete
  • Columbaria and mausoleums installed at Westbank Cemetery
  • Glenrosa traffic calming meeting held
  • RapidBus transit exchanges construction 90% complete
  • Preparation for November 15, 2014 Local General Election

Brown Road Rezoning

Council gave third reading to a zoning amendment for 3788-3790 and 2992 Brown Road to amend the zoning of the properties to Urban Centre Commercial Zone. The properties, located approximately 200 metres south of Dobbin Road, are currently zoned duplex Residential and Single Detached Residential. The zoning request is consistent with the District’s Official Community Plan and the Westbank Centre Revitalization Plan.

Hillside Development Permit – Sageview Road

Council approved the Hillside Development Permit to facilitate the construction of five single family residential lots within Phase 10 of the Smith Creek Hills development, located at the end of Sageview Road.

Neighbour’s Pub Rooftop Patio

Council provided a recommendation of support to the Liquor Control and Licensing Branch for the requested Approval in Principle for an occupancy load increase for Neighbour’s Pub in Shannon Lake. The request for an additional 114 seats stems from a proposed addition of a roof-top patio at the pub and the conversion of an office space into an events room. Council discussed concerns related to additional parking that could be generated with the expansion, but agreed to provide approval in principle with the understanding that the applicant would need to address parking concerns.

Westbank Centre – Gellatly Road Corridor Study

Council will not be considering a proposed Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) exclusion for 3853 Brown Road after the applicant has chosen not to proceed with the application. But Council agreed to investigate the opportunity for a Westbank Centre – Gellalty Road corridor through the subject property. In 2003, the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC) supported an exclusion of the property from the ALR once a proposed road alignment through the property was finalized and dedicated. Since then, the property has seen a number of different Official Community Plan designations applied to it. The applicant wishes to work with the District to address the requirements of the 2003 ALC decision. Council agreed to close the file on the ALR exclusion application and directed staff to bring forward the Westbank Centre – Gellatly Road Corridor Study for consideration during the 2015 budget deliberations.

Glen Canyon Park Management

Council approved the Glen Canyon Park Joint Management and Regulation Agreement with the Regional District of Central Okanagan (RDCO) for a term of five years. A property adjacent to Glen Canyon Regional Park was donated to the District in 2013 by the developer for use as passive parkland. As a result of the proximity to the regional park, and in the spirit of partnership and operational efficiencies, staff recommended RDCO be given permission to operate the park. The District of West Kelowna will retain ownership of the park, while the RDCO is authorized to construct a trailhead and parking area adjacent to Gellatly Road, construct a new trail within the park, install joint jurisdiction signage at the trailhead and parking area and maintain the park.

Water Utility Master Plan

Council agreed to defer consideration of adoption of its Water Utility Master Plan until after the District’s new General Manager of Engineering and Public Works has a chance to review the document. The start date of the new General Manager has not been determined yet.

Evacuation alert rescinded

The only family evacuated during the Drought Hill fire can finally breathe a sigh of relief as they are no longer under an evacuation alert.

The alert issued during the fire affected one property on MacKinnon Road, and forced them to evacuate for several days before they were able to return home Sunday. The alert meant they still had to be ready to leave at anytime, but that has now been officially rescinded.

Fire officials says the blaze remains 100 per cent contained and the BC Wildfire Management Branch continues to mop up of the area in the event of any flare ups.

The Emergency Operations Centre that was activated to support the Drought Hill fire emergency response has also now stood down. 

Castanet's UFO? video

A news video shot and posted by Castanet has the UFO community all a-buzz.

The video was shot on July 17 in West Kelowna at the command centre a few hours after the Smith Creek Wildfire sprung up.

In the news piece, a bright object appears from behind clouds above the fire area quickly moving left to right.

Since the video and related story was posted on Castanet, it has been re-posted on several UFO websites including latest UFO sightings, UFO stalker and UFO sight.

The author of the initial report on the sighting stated:

Witness report: Shot out from the clouds above the mountain during a forest fire near our nieghbourhood. It pulled a wisp of cloud with it as it exited.

A forest fire broke out on the mountain behind us and during the attempt to put it out, this event took place.
I was watching a video online of the fire from a little earlier in the day and i spotted the UFO 37 seconds into the video. I have no idea whether anyone else has noticed this or not. Most folks would be focused on the fire.

37 seconds into the video the UFO comes shooting out from a cloud right above the mountain and passes through a clear spot back into the next cloud. I was quite startled and surprised when i saw it.
The UFO left a thin trail of cloud vaper as it exited the cloud. This, to me, eliminates any thought that this might be a camera lens artifact or light phenomenon effect.

The event lasted only a couple seconds. Judging by the distance i was from the object it had to have been moving very fast. The scene cuts away while the UFO is still visible. I’m left to assume that there must be more footage of it than i saw.

I phoned the website’s news department to ask if it would be possible to see the full footage, but was met with disapproval. In retrospect, perhaps i shouldn’t have mentioned the word UFO. (lol)

The YouTube posting has received more than 22,000 hits.

According to the website UFO Hunters, there have been 32 reported UFO sightings from as far south as Keremeos north to Salmon Arm since 2008.


Elliott Road finally reopens

Elliott Road, from Main Street to Dobbin Road, is again open to traffic.

The section of road has been closed since February for the construction of the Westbank RapidBus transit exchange.

Construction is still ongoing along this section of Elliott Road and motorists and pedestrians are asked to obey traffic control signage as work continues.

Westgate Road, where the Boucherie Mountain transit exchange was constructed this year, is also now open to vehicle traffic.

The Westbank and Boucherie Mountain exchanges are part of the Kelowna RapidBus project. RapidBus is designed to improve travel time, reliability, passenger comfort and convenience.

It features fast, direct service and modern, attractive amenities.

Kelowna RapidBus is a partnership between Transport Canada, the BC Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, City of Kelowna, District of West Kelowna, Westbank First Nation and BC Transit.

Its total cost is $44.5 million.

Industrial fire

West Kelowna fire crews were called out to a structure fire at an industrial site on Ross Road Monday night.

The fire was reported at 8:40 p.m. A thick smoke plume could be seen rising from the area.

Fire captain Pat Harmata says flames reached upwards of 20 feet when crews arrived.

"It looks like it may have started in some electrical. He had a a couple of breakers tripped on the panel so that's a good indication," says Harmata.

"It started on the exterior of the building and just started to extend into the structure when we arrived. It got knocked down pretty quickly with no extension into any exposure buildings."

Harmata says the structure itself is raw wood with no siding.

"It's highly flammable. We're lucky we didn't lose the whole thing."

The business inside the building manufactures cedar fencing.

Harmata says there were a few difficulties in fighting this particular fire.

Crews had to break the locks to gain entry into the building and there was also an issue with water supply.

"A lot of our equipment has been disbursed throughout the district lately. In the last couple of days we have been in the process of getting everything back on the vehicles," says Harmata.

He says they were in the process of getting their equipment back tonight when they got the call for this fire.

Send photos and video to [email protected]

Drought Hill fire contained

UPDATE 3:45 P.M.

The Drought Hill fire is 100 % contained and BC Wildfire Management Branch and local fire crews are in the mop up stage.  

Fire personnel will continue to monitor the area for flare ups.  

The Evacuation Alert for one property on the 4700 block of MacKinnon Road remains in effect. No further Evacuation Alerts are anticipated.  

The Drought Hill wildfire is now 100 per cent contained.

Substantial progress was made over the weekend and Fire Information Officer Kelsey Winter says the containment was completed Sunday evening.

The blaze is still 40 hectares in size, but no fire personnel was needed overnight. Monday, however, will be a different story.

“There will be 50 firefighters on the ground today, including 20 from BC Wildfire and 30 from local fire departments and contract crews," she says.

They will be doing mop up work and patrolling the fire zone.

An evacuation alert is still in effect for the area.

Paynter Road house fire

Update 12:45 p.m.

Glen Hauser and his cousins Eddie and Gary are being lauded as heroes today after saving a woman and her dog from a burning house.

The fire on Paynter Road in West Kelowna was called in about 8:45 a.m. Monday.

"My cousin was walking down from the back of his place when he noticed the smoke," says Glen Hauser.

"He knew it was too big for a barbeque as we all ran over and the house was on fire."

Hauser says they began banging on the windows and yelling, asking if anyone was inside the home.

"I heard the dog barking so went to the back and banged on the window and saw the woman looking through the window," says Glen.

"I ripped the screen out... tried to get the dog out. She couldn't lift it so Eddie jumped in, helped get the dog out and the woman."

Eddie says he's just glad they were all there.

"She wouldn't have made it. My back is just killing me getting that dog out. The dog wouldn't come."

The woman was alone in the house at the time, she was still sleeping when the fire started.

Her husband had apparently already gone to work.

Glen Hauser says they had to get the dog, the woman and Eddie out through the window because the door was already too hot.

The cause of the fire has not yet been determined, however, Hauser says the woman indicated it could have started near the air conditioner in the living room.

Update -- 10:15 a.m.

A group of good Samaritans noticed smoke coming from a home on Paynter Road and immediately rushed to the scene, saving a woman and her dog.

Witnesses say they were forced to break a window in order to enter the house and get everyone out safely, as smoke filled the rooms. 

The fire is believed to have started at the front of the house, possibly in the air conditioner unit.

RCMP have roadblocks set up in the 3500 block of Paynter Road while fire crews work on a house fire.

The call came in about 8:45 a.m. Monday.

According to witnesses everyone got out safe and all pets were removed unharmed.

It appears as if much of the home has been destroyed by the fire.

Details to come.


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