West Kelowna News
A commitment to protect homes and road access around McDougall Creek is now complete.
"Last year I promised West Kelowna residents that we would find a cost- effective, long-term flood protection solution for McDougall Creek," said Premier Christy Clark, MLA for Westside-Kelowna. "This is a promise made, a promise kept and it happened because we all worked together to do the right thing."
The $585,000 project was primarily funded through BC's Flood Protection Program (FPP), with the provincial portion covering up to two-thirds of the work, $340,000. The remaining one-third was paid for by the District of West Kelowna. It also includes a claim for $75,000 through the provincial Disaster Financial Assistance (DFA) program for removing debris and temporary emergency works from McDougall Creek to restore the creek to its pre-disaster condition.
McDougall Creek is an area with high hazard flood potential that has experienced several recent adverse flooding events.
These events have impacted residents and the local government and resulted in private property losses and increased emergency management costs for the Province.
"Residents in West Kelowna are grateful for the work that has been done through this provincial-municipal partnership," said West Kelowna mayor Doug Findlater. "It is a relief that we are going into spring freshet having addressed this ongoing issue. With help from Premier and MLA Christy Clark and the BC government, we've been able to protect both our community and the creek habitat."
Barbra Hart's home has flooded for the last few years, she's glad the work was completed before this year's runoff.
"In the last ten years it has gotten worse, more vegetation and the berms were not high enough and the extra sediment coming down would raise the level of the creek to where in some places the level of the creek was higher than the road. It was an accident waiting to happen. (Now) It's much deeper and much wider and I'm not concerned at all."
Hart says they could never take a vacation at this time of year and they would be up all night worrying.
"We can go away on a little holiday now, and we can sleep at night. So huge relief, huge."
A short, but noisy, hail storm hit West Kelowna Tuesday afternoon around 3 p.m.
Below is a new digital recording a viewer sent to us of the storm.
Do you have great weather photos or video? Send them to [email protected]
Operations staff has been busy getting parks and sports fields in the District of West Kelowna ready for a new season.
Various park amenities have been prepped for opening on April 17 in time for the Easter long weekend.
The only exceptions will be the Kids Care Spray Park in Westbank Centre Park, which will open the May long weekend, as usual, and CNR Wharf Park and Pritchard Park which will remain closed for reconstruction.
CNR Wharf Park and Pritchard Park are scheduled to open in the summer.
Parks work conducted over the past several weeks has included:
- Cleaning and prepping beaches, pickle ball and tennis courts and washrooms
- Laying down new mulch in dog parks
- Prepping beach volleyball courts and sports fields
- Readying sand and sandbags should they be required for spring freshet.
Commuters travelling between West Kelowna and Kelowna will be hit with more construction delays.
Traffic pattern changes and a construction speed zone will come into effect the last few days of April, on Highway 97 between the Campbell Road Interchange and Westside Road.
The change includes realignment of all five lanes to facilitate construction of the Sneena Road overpass. Cycling lanes will be maintained.
Construction is expected to continue through to mid October.
Starting the week of April 27 crews will begin shifting traffic onto the temporary alignment.
According to the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, transition to the temporary alignment will result in short-term changes to traffic patterns throughout the week and will require temporary lane closures in both directions.
"Wherever possible, lane closures will be scheduled during evenings and non-peak daytime hours to minimize disruption to highway traffic," says MoTI spokesman, Robert Adam.
"A 50km/hour construction speed zone will be in effect during this period and will remain in effect until construction of the overpass is complete."
Once the traffic has been shifted onto the temporary alignment, all five lanes of traffic will be maintained for the duration of the construction period.
This is the fourth time in the last seven years commuters have been faced with construction along the stretch of highway between the William R. Bennett Bridge and Nancee Way.
Previous projects included the Campbell Road Interchange, Westside Road Overpass and Nancee Way Overpass.
The BC Coroners Service has identified the man found dead inside his West Kelowna mobile home early Wednesday morning.
Dennis Marvin Greep, 56, was found along with two dogs after fire ripped through his home.
The fire was reported at approximately 4 a.m. when neighbours awoke to flames at the back of Greep's home.
Neighbours say flames were so high at one point they could be seen from nearby Highway 97.
The coroner is continuing to investigate the cause of death.
A water quality advisory has been issued for some residents served by the Westshore Water System after the Upper Mountain Reservoir was possibly vandalized.
The advisory affects almost 150 properties and Interior Health has been contacted according to RDCO communications officer Bruce Smith .
“Based on the available information and water quality monitoring data, at this time there’s no evidence that the drinking water in the reservoir was contaminated. In addition to draining and flushing the lines to reduce the risk, we are conducting additional monitoring of the water quality and will provide updates as more information becomes available,” he says.
Until further notice the RDCO is encouraging those users in the affected area with weakened immune systems and those wishing to take additional precautions to follow Interior Health’s recommended guidelines.
“All water intended for drinking, washing fruits and produce, making beverages, ice or brushing teeth should be boiled for at least one minute or customers should use a safe alternative to water from the tap such as bottled or distilled water or water filtered through a well-maintained in-home treatment device,” explains Smith.
This precautionary water quality advisory affecting the upper distribution area of the Westshore Water System will continue until further notice.
Roadside sign notices have been placed at key intersections as well to advise residents of the precautionary Water Quality Advisory.
Streets Affected by Westshore Water System – Upper Mountain Reservoir Water Quality Advisory
- Dogwood Drive
- Northern View Rd
- Crown Crescent
- Lakewood Rd
- Alder Drive
- Evergreen Way
- Hillcrest Way
- Hillside Drive
- Bluebird Drive
- Westshore Rd (even addresses from 10614 to 10890, odd addresses 10725 to 10883)
- Pinecrest Rd (even addresses from 10736 to 10790)
- Columbia Way (even addresses from 10400 to 10600, odd addresses from 10579 to 10595)
- Mountain Drive (even addresses from 310 to 610, odd addresses from 311 to 659)
- Spruce Drive (address from 36 to 78
Construction on Westlake Road will begin later this month after West Kelowna Council tendered the $5.1M project Tuesday.
TT Contractors Ltd. had the lowest bid on the construction project which will see Westlake Road, between Highway 97 and Starlight Crescent, transformed from a rural state to an urban arterial standard.
The project is expected to take approximately five months to complete and will include the construction of:
- 3.6 metre wide travel lanes in each direction
- 1.5 metre cycling lanes in each direction
- Curb, gutter and underground storm drainage
- Replacement watermain
- 1.8 metre wide sidewalks at in each direction from Stevens Road to Highway 97
- 1.8 metre wide sidewalks on the east side from Stevens Road to Starlight Crescent
- 56 streetlights
- A roundabout traffic circle at the intersection of Stevens Road and Westlake Road.
During construction, motorists can expect traffic disruptions and road closures. Signage will be placed at key intersections indicating alternate routes during construction.
Detour routes will be established to access homes and businesses throughout the construction period with a detailed detour map available on the District’s website.
Residents can watch the website for traffic notifications related to Westlake Road or to sign up to be emailed this information directly via the District’s e-Notification system. The District’s Facebook and Twitter followers will also be notified of construction activity.
The total Westlake Road Upgrade project is expected to cost $6.2 million with the following funding sources:
- Development Cost Charges: $3.876 million (from new construction projects over the past several years).
- Gas Tax Funds: $500,000 (provided by the Government of Canada and Province of British Columbia).
- District Capital Reserves: $479,300
- Reserves for Future Expenditures: $250,000
- Water Reserve: $1.038 million
- Donation: $95,000
A small, family run, organic winery has shown size doesn’t matter when competing at big league wine competitions.
Kalala Organic Estate Winery has taken its second Gold Medal at the Chardonnay du Monde. The company operates on a sliver of land in West Kelowna.
The winery was started by Karnail Singh Sidhu who says this award proves something he already knew, their Chardonnay Icewine is 'liquid gold.'
“It feels great to be awarded this kind of award when you are a small tiny little guy on one little corner of BC,” said an excited Sidhu. “It says a lot for us, it says a lot about our wine quality. It says we do grow quality grapes and we do make a quality wine.”
Anyone who produces chardonnay in the world can enter and Kalala was the only winery in Canada to medal or come into the top 10.
“It is really nice for us to get this recognition from a highly regarded award for such a small winery, working from such small little grass,” laughs Sidhu.
Kalala won their first gold medal at the event for their 2007 Chardonnay icewine at the 2010 competition.
"We don’t produce a Chardonnay icewine every year, but we felt this vintage would stand up to our 2007. We’re so proud to have been awarded a gold medal again,” said Kalala Winemaker Tibor Erdelyi.
The Chardonnay du Monde is held annually in France with over 300 international expert judges and over 900 wines sampled.
Sidhu says their success is because his team never stops working.
“I totally believe that if you can grow good organic grapes then you can make excellent wine out of it.”
The award winning chardonnay grapes were planted by the Sidhus' themselves in 2003 and are located right beside their home, which is at the vineyard.
“It really speaks to the input from the people we have working here. We have a great group of people that work here and we work like a family. That is part of our success, everybody who works here is like a family member to me and we take care of each other,” said Sidhu.
An early morning house fire erupted in West Kelowna this morning at the Westpoint Modular Home Park.
The fire started around 4 a.m. and witnesses say the blaze quickly engulfed the home.
The West Kelowna Fire Department awoke residents with loud sirens, to ensure no one was caught unaware if the fire spread to neighbouring buildings.
Crews have now confirmed that a man's body and a dog have been found inside, they are now awaiting the BC Coroners Service.
Neighbours say the man was in his 50's and had recently separated from his wife.
The fire department responded with four engines and 16 firefighters.
The cause of the fire has not yet been determined.
We’ll have more details as they become available.
The driver behind a fatal car-surfing joyride that killed one of his best friends has avoided jail time.
It was in June 2011 that 25-year-old Christopher Bezaire of Saskatchewan was driving his friends car down Bear Creek forest service road in West Kelowna when he lost control.
That friend, 24-year-old Jody Rud, was on top of the vehicle partaking in a death defying stunt known as car-surfing. The accident left Rud with fatal injuries and he was pronounced dead at the scene.
Bezaire was charged with Criminal Negligence Causing Death.
His trial was set to begin Oct 7, 2013 but Bezaire entered a guilty plea instead.
According to the BC Court Service Bezaire has been fined $5,000 and put on probation for three years.
RCMP describe 'car surfing' as an incredibly dangerous stunt that involves standing or laying on the roof of a moving vehicle without any safety equipment or attachment to the vehicle.
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