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West Kelowna  

Crash slows highway

Traffic is backing up in both directions along Highway 97, south of Gorman Bros. Lumber Mill in West Kelowna, after a vehicle crash knocked the cement median into the northbound lanes.

The crash occurred at 1 p.m. Saturday, when a red SUV and purple SUV, both travelling southbound, collided on Highway 97.

The vehicles hit the centre median on the highway, jarring the cement barriers out of place and into oncoming traffic.

There were reportedly minor injuries in the crash. 



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Fire out in W. Kelowna

UPDATE: 2:11 p.m.

A West Kelowna fire crew has doused a "stubborn fire" that may have started in the electrical panel box of a house on the 3000 block of McGinnis Road in Glenrosa, according to assistant fire chief Brent Watson.

Four residents and a pet in the house were evacuated and are now in the hands of Emergency Support Services.

WKFR was called out around noon to the fire which was smouldering in the walls of the house and "never really took off," said Watson. Four engines and one command unit responded.

"We had to breach the walls because the fire was behind them," said Watson, explaining responders actually cut through exterior walls to reach the flames.

A hydro crew was brought to the scene and cut off power to the house from a nearby power pole.

"The first arriving Engine Company entered the basement of the single family home and found fire burning in and around the downstairs electrical panel box. The crew immediately knocked the fire down and then used a thermal imaging camera to search for fire extension behind the wall. Power to the home had to be cut off before WKFR could breach the walls and access several hot spots, which were quickly extinguished."   

"Damage to the residence was minimal due to the quick response of the fire crew who got (the blaze) knocked down," said Watson.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation although Watson suspects it may have started from the panel box in the basement.


Original story

A West Kelowna Fire Rescue crew is on scene of a two-alarm structure fire in Glenrosa.

No details have been released.

However, power to the house has been shut off and responders have cut through the outside wall of the residence to reach a trouble area.



Despicable dumpers

The Regional District of Central Okanagan is fed up with those dumping their garbage in the woods and fed up with those not reporting it.

Castanet received a tip about an abandoned motorhome and garbage pile up Bear Creek Road and phoned the Regional Waste Reduction Office for answers.

The tipster wondered why the motorhome had been left there for some time and not removed.

The RWRO office immediately replied that they haven't dealt with it because they didn't know about it.

“When you contacted us with the information it was the first we heard of it,” explained Rae Stewart, waste reduction facilitator.

“Apparently it had been there a month. I mean stop calling the media to report these things, call us, our office. If we do not know about it, we cannot task on it.”

She says the RCMP have closed their file on the abandoned camper and now they will have to use taxpayer dollars and local resources to clean up the mess.

“We have to send a tow truck to get that out of there, plus send additional staff to do the clean up around it, and this is all at taxpayer's expense,” says Stewart.

“One person acting so irresponsibly, doing something quite shameful with their own property. One small act, throwing it on the back of taxpayers is just wrong.”

She says there was obviously enough gas to drive it up there and she is frustrated they didn't dispose of it properly or give it to someone who could use it.

“It still ran, could they have not have offered it so someone else? Yes it involves leg work and elbow grease, but why is your problem all of the sudden everybody else's problem because you have decided to act irresponsibly.”

She says there is couch beside the motorhome and garbage strewn on the ground. It appears people may now be adding to the pile.

“Garbage begets more garbage, people will add to that site so we need to get it gone, so that is what we are working on now,” says Stewart.

“Even if it just broken glass and potentially hazardous waste, that is bad news for our environment on so many different levels.”

She notes broken glass can reflect light and even start forest fires.

She wants those who are dumping illegally to be warned that there are cameras everywhere, people are watching and shaming accounts online and on social media are gaining traction.

“You're doing something despicable in the first place and then you get caught, that doesn't go over well with the general public,” says Stewart.

She urges those that come across illegal dumping in the woods to call the office or use the online reporting form to ensure they are made aware of the issue.

“We live in this beautiful place, this beautiful environment, who in their right mind would want to sully it dumping junk in the bush,” says Stewart.

“It is just wrong on so many levels.”

She says there are also tips on the site on what to do when they see or find illegal dumping.

To report illegal dumping click here or call the office at (250) 469-6250 or use the online reporting form.  





Summer camp saved

Waking up with toothpaste on your face, singing songs, and playing capture the flag are just some of the fondest memories of summer camp.

Now thanks to the hard work of some local residents, the distant dream of camp won’t be so far off. Silver Lake Camp has been saved. 

It was at risk of not operating for the 2016 season, but thanks to a newly formed board of directors, the camp is back on track.

New leadership at Silver Lake consists of some previous board members along with a group of fresh faces from the Rotary Club of Kelowna and Alpine Consultants.

James Kay, chair of the Silver Lake Forest Education Society, calls Silver Lake Camp a jewel in Peachland and the Okanagan.

“So when The Rotary Club of Kelowna learned of the plight, eight Rotarians knew we had to act, and together with other directors and volunteers, we are actively improving and re-establishing the camp for years to come.”

Last year, Silver Lake was the host for more than 750 children at the Peachland camp. It has been in operation for over 40 years, offering forest education programs and outdoor camping experiences to young people between the ages of seven and 16 years old.

The board has been working for the past four months to re-open the camp for the 2016 season.

Renovations and upgrades are currently underway and limited camping is to begin in August. The camp includes a brand new lodge with full kitchen, 10 cabins that each sleep eight to 10 people, six no-fee camping areas and a lake fully stocked with rainbow trout.

Silver Lake Camp offers outdoor education and activities such as canoeing, hiking, swimming, archery, field sports, fishing, nature walks, and games. The new lodge, camping for up to 10 families or 75 kids.



One injured in accident

Traffic on Highway 97 was disrupted Tuesday afternoon because of a two-vehicle accident on the Westside.

Witnesses tell Castanet one person was taken away in an ambulance with undetermined injuries following the 5 p.m. crash between two SUVs.

The southbound lane was closed briefly while police, fire and ambulance crews attended the scene.



Moose caused semi roll

UPDATED: 2:48 p.m.

The driver of the semi-truck that rolled over on the Okanagan Connector Tuesday morning said he was swerving out of the way of a moose that had walked onto the road.

The crash occurred just after 3 a.m., and the 29-year-old driver suffered minor injuries.

He was taken to the hospital for treatment and observation. 


ORIGINAL: 9:43 a.m.

A semi-truck rolled off the Okanagan Connector Tuesday morning, ending up on its side in the centre median.

The crash occurred in the eastbound lane, five kilometres east of the Pennask Summit.

As of 7 a.m., a large tow truck was on scene, attempting to remove the large truck from the median.

There is no information on the reason for the crash, or the condition of the driver at this time. 



Rear-ender backs up bridge

Traffic is backed up on the William R. Bennett Bridge after a two-car crash Tuesday afternoon.

Emergency officials were working at about 2 p.m. to clear the scene, as traffic reportedly backed up past Ross Road heading into Kelowna.

It's unclear whether there were injuries in the rear-ender, which involved two vehicles.



Pit bull deemed 'aggressive'

A pit bull that attacked the dog belonging to the mayor of Peachland has been deemed "aggressive."

Bruce Smith, spokesman for the Regional District of Central Okanagan, says the animal is now considered aggressive under the Responsible Dog Ownership bylaw.

“Once a dog is declared aggressive, the owner is subject to more stringent controls when it’s outside,” says Smith.

Peachland Mayor Cindy Fortin told Castanet Monday she was out for a walk when a pit bull escaped through an unlocked fence and attacked her husky, named Nanook.

She managed to grab the pit bull’s choke chain, and she channeled all her adrenaline into choking the attacking dog off Nanook. 

“I consider myself extremely lucky that I wasn’t injured, physically, that is. It will take a long time to erase the images and the sounds of the attack in my mind,” she says.

“Afterwards, I couldn’t stop shaking for hours. Poor Nanook had some serious puncture wounds on his face, one very close to his left eye which would require some surgery and a drainage tube. He also had a wide strip of his flesh torn off his snout and another piece torn off the rubbery tip of his nose.”

Smith says the "dangerous" distinction is used when a dog is involved in an attack causing very serious injury or death.

The aggressive classification under the RDCO bylaw carries certain consequences to dissuade irresponsible dog ownership, including a ban from off-leash dog parks and sports fields. It also means a higher fee for registering aggressive animals.

“It’s an encouragement to keep your dog under control,” says Smith.

Fortin says she shared her story “not to be breed discriminate against pit bulls, but to hopefully bring about more awareness about dangerous dogs.” 



Early morning balcony fire

A resident was able to suppress a balcony fire before crews even arrived, early this morning in West Kelowna.

According to West Kelowna Fire Rescue, at approximately 1:30 a.m. on Tuesday, crews responded to a report of a fire on a balcony of an apartment in the 2700 block of Riffington Place.

“When the first crew arrived, they found that the fire had already been knocked down by the resident,” explains assistant fire Chief Darren Lee.

“The fire had been confined to the balcony area of a single unit on the main floor of a two-storey garden-style condominium. The initial arriving crew was able to ensure that the fire had not spread into the structure and began overhauling the fire area.”

The lone resident who put out the small blaze suffered minor burn injuries while suppressing the fire and was treated at the scene by WKFR firefighters and paramedics.

The resident was transported to Kelowna General Hospital for further treatment.

“The preliminary fire cause and origin investigation is complete and fire crews have thoroughly overhauled the fire area and are monitoring for hot spots,” says Lee.

“The cause of the fire has been determined as accidental and is attributed to improper disposal of smoking materials.”

Lee is reminding residents and visitors that smoking materials should be disposed of in a safe manner.

“If the resident had not noticed the fire and taken action, this incident could have been much more severe,” says Lee.

“In this incident the resident was injured suppressing the fire. The actions taken are commendable, however citizens should ensure that their safety and the safety of others is the top priority while suppressing an incipient fire.”

A total of 16 personnel, three engines, one water tender and one command vehicle attended the incident. West Kelowna RCMP and BC Ambulance were also on scene.



Punched and robbed

Police are looking for three men who attacked and robbed a person early Monday morning.

Const. Jesse O'Donaghey says West Kelowna RCMP were called to the area of Old Okanagan Highway and Apollo Road just after 3 a.m.

“The victim was confronted by the three unknown male suspects, one of whom was in possession of a knife,” said O’Donaghey. “The victim was punched by one of the suspects at which time he turned over several electronic devices including his cellular phone to the suspects who fled the area south on Apollo Road.”

The victim sustained minor injuries, and was able to walk to the police detachment to report the attack.

The investigation is ongoing at this time and police are seeking information from the public to help identify the suspects involved.

Suspect one has been described to investigators as:

  • First Nations male
  • In his early 20’s
  • Slim build
  • Five-feet-six-inches tall
  • Wearing a black baseball cap, a red bandana and a red, black and white jacket.

Suspect two has been described to investigators as:

  • First Nations male
  • In his 30’s
  • Skinny
  • Five-feet-six-inches or slightly taller
  • With a thin moustache and slicked black hair.

Suspect three has been described to investigators as:

  • First Nations male
  • 17 to 20 years of age
  • 160 lbs
  • Five-feet-11-inches or six-feet tall.

Anyone with any information is asked to contact the West Kelowna RCMP at 250-768-2880.



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