Monday, April 27th11.2°C
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Crash closes Boucherie Rd

Boucherie Road is closed to traffic between Pritchard Drive and Westbay Road after a car struck and sheared off a hydro pole.

The northbound vehicle went off the road and into the ditch, leaving a second power pole compromised and leaning dangerously.

Police, fire, ambulance and hydro crews all responded to the accident, which was called in at 8:15 p.m.

Unconfirmed reports have wires down on the side of the road.

There is no word on injuries or a cause of the crash at this time.



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4 things you need to know

Castanet's AM Update for Friday April 24, with Carmen Weld.



Winged war underway

The District of West Kelowna is looking for the public's help as it gets ready to resume its goose management program.

The district is asking for assistance in locating possible nesting sites.

In 2014, West Kelowna used tactics to scare away geese from the waterfront parks on a trial basis. The trial was deemed a success.

One of the key components to the program’s success is public assistance in reporting nesting sites. Residents who are aware of nesting sites can contact parks at 778-797-8849 or the program co-ordinator directly at 1-877-943-3209 to provide this information.

As this is prime nesting time for the Canada Goose, a licensed contractor and district staff will be using noise guns and other scare tactics to frighten geese and discourage them from nesting in and around beaches and overcrowding lakeside parks.

Licensed contractors will also continue with past years’ efforts to locate nests, conduct population counts and addle eggs to aid in further controlling goose numbers.

These humane efforts in West Kelowna are part of the wider Okanagan Valley Goose Management Program, which adheres to federal and provincial wildlife regulations.

The program is a partnership involving the District of West Kelowna and the Cities of Kelowna, Penticton and Vernon, the Districts of Lake Country, Peachland and Summerland, the Glenmore Ellison Irrigation District, the Regional Districts of Central Okanagan and Okanagan Similkameen, the Towns of Oliver and Osoyoos and Westbank First Nation.

The program is succeeding in holding population numbers steady in an effort to preserve water quality, reduce conflicts with humans and pets and prevent the invasive geese from crowding out natural species in the Okanagan as Canada Goose are highly aggressive and have few natural predators.



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Earth-Day gardeners

Students at Shannon Lake Elementary proved you’re never too young or too small to make a difference.

About 70 students in Grades 2, 3 and 4 clambered up a hill behind Talus Ridge to pull marked plants and shrubs from the ground and have them transplanted back at their school for Earth Day.

Teacher Sharon Foster says the plants will be replanted near slopes at the school to stop erosion from an interpretive trail the students are building.

“The interpretative trail is where others can come and learn about plants and what plants are drought tolerant to this area,” she explains.

They also hope to build a pollinator garden to attract bees and butterflies.

“We will also build a food garden so we can show students what happens when it goes from seed to food."

The money to build the trail and gardens came from an $8,000 grant funded by BC Hydro and the Okanagan Basin Water Board.

Talus Ridge provided the area for the plant picking, as it's soon to be developed.

John Grods with Beckingham Environmental has been working with developer to put a focus on sustainability.

“So what this (the students transplanting) is doing, is taking the plants that are sustainable here naturally and giving them an opportunity to put into areas that may have been disturbed or destroyed and so you can now reclaim those areas."

The project for Shannon Lake Elementary students kicked off on Earth Day. More than six million Canadians were expected to participate in Earth Day activities in communities across the country.



Mom thanks rescuers

The mother of a 12-year-old boy trapped on Mount Boucherie after nightfall Tuesday is reaching out to first responders.

The woman said she hiked up the side of Mount Boucherie to help her son when someone in the parking lot asked if we needed help. She said that person called 911.

"And only a few minutes later and pretty high up Mount Boucherie, reunited with my trembling son, we had a view of Westbank and those fire trucks coming. Those lights were like a symbol of safety. It was an amazing feeling after scaling in pitch black over fallen logs, a wall of loose rocks and through bush, trying to call out to my son to locate him, then hearing his screams for help, not knowing if he was injured or not."

"The cellphone I took up with me rang, and a man (whomever was in charge at the bottom) quickly yet quite efficiently asked me questions to assess our situation."

She said there were no injuries except for a shaken and embarrassed little boy.

"We were able to come back down after a few minutes to gather ourselves. The firemen hiked up anyway to light our descent, carefully pointing out fallen logs or jagged rocks. They offered water and were pretty gentle on the embarrassed preteen. One of them even noticed the slight limp my son had as we made our way down a trail and made sure to ask and assess whether it was an injury or pre-existing issue (It was the latter).

"I was impressed by how little time it took for them to come to my son's rescue, gear up and make their way, their efficiency on assessing the situation and observing even the smallest things (in the dark). I know this is what they do. It's their job.

"I'm just proud we have such good responders, be it firemen, police, ambulance. Our community is quite fortunate. As a citizen and, last night, a mother, I am incredibly grateful."



Sprinkler vandals strike

Vandals are targeting irrigation systems in West Kelowna.

During the past two weeks, no less than three systems have been hit. These include the newly upgraded portion of Brown Road in Westbank Centre, the upgraded wine route portion of Boucherie Road and the Rosewood Sportsfields.

The culprit or culprits targeted these areas in particular and shut some of the systems off.

While there was no damage per se, the municipality is concerned some of their plantings will die as a result.

The nature of the vandalism also suggests those responsible have a specialized knowledge in irrigation systems.

The public is asked for assistance in identifying those responsible.

West Kelowna RCMP have been notified and are working with the district to identify the person or persons responsible.

If you have any information regarding this vandalism to public property, please contact the West Kelowna RCMP detachment at 250-768-2880.



Dark mountain rescue

A potentially dangerous situation on Mount Boucherie was averted Tuesday night.

Members of the West Kelowna Fire Department were called to the mountain about 9 p.m., well after nightfall, for a 12-year-old boy who called for help.

"A younger person went for a bit of a hike and, what the crews are telling me is, when nightfall came he got spooked when he was near a cliffs edge," said assistant Fire Chief Darren Lee.

But, before our rescuers could get to him, his parents had walked up in advance of them and they talked him off the cliff edge. Basically, our crews just walked him out. They didn't have to break out their ropes. It was just a hike up and make sure they got out safely."

Lee said he doesn't recommend people of any age hiking the trails on Mount Boucherie after dark.

"Not this time of night. It's starting to get lighter later in the day, and people do enjoy the outdoors. These walking trails on Boucherie are really nice, but to hike them at night, they are steep and you have to be heads up."

Conditions can even be tricky for crews tasked with making the rescue.

"Night operations do add an element of danger in so far as not being 100 per cent sure of your footing," said Lee.

"But, as far as your rigging and tying anchors and setting up rope systems, our guys are capable of that. But it does add an extra wrinkle and, to be honest, it would slow us down, too, over daytime."



No hockey rage allowed

Players with West Kelowna Minor Hockey won't be allowed to step on the ice next season until their parents prove they can be polite.

The Respect In Sport program has been offered for the past several years through Hockey Canada. West Kelowna Minor Hockey has always suggested parents take the online course. But now it's no longer a suggestion.

The course is similar to one team officials must complete.

The minor hockey executive recently passed a resolution making it mandatory for at least one parent or guardian to complete the program. It further states until the course is complete, players will not be allowed to participate.

WKMHA second vice-president Warren Saretsky said the decision was partly made in response to what happened this past season on Vancouver Island when several parents were banned for verbally abusing players from another team.

"It seems like every other week there's a parent issue in the news, and I think basically we want to get ahead of the curve until Hockey Canada or possible Hockey BC make it mandatory," said Saretsky.

"A lot of associations and other provinces have already made this a mandatory thing, so it is just following suit."

The course is one hour in length, can only be completed online and costs $12.

Saretsky thinks it's a step in the right direction.

"When I started coaching my son, I took it maybe six to eight years ago ... but it did open my eyes to a few things that maybe I was doing at the time," he said.

"In the heat of the moment, it kind of makes you bite your tongue. At the end of the day, let your kid have fun. They don't need the extra attention of yelling and things."

The association will not reimburse parents who complete the course.

Saretsky said there have not been any major incidents he has been made aware of involving West Kelowna parents.

The Vancouver Island Hockey Association has taken the directive one step further. Along with making the Respect In Sport program mandatory, parents must also sign a code of conduct agreement.



Chiefs leave Clark's office

After occupying Christy Clark’s MLA office for six days and five nights, First Nations leaders from the Nicola Region and their supporters are moving out.

In a press event Monday afternoon Chief Aaron Sam of the Lower Nicola Indian Band, stated that the protesters would be leaving in a gesture of good faith after the province committed to a high-level meeting  to resolve ongoing concerns about bio-waste operations in the Nicola Valley.

“We have repeatedly told the province that the bio-waste operations pose a serious threat to our environment and to our Title and Rights.

“There needs to be a mediated process to resolve this situation in everyone’s interests. We are pleased that the province today has finally committed to come and meet with us to reach an agreement on a process for addressing this issue.”

The sit in started last Wednesday after Chiefs say they were unable to have an open dialogue with the province over their concerns regarding the trucking of sewage sludge from the Central Okanagan to land near Merritt.

"We decided we had no choice but to begin the occupation once it became clear that the province was refusing to take our concerns seriously,” said Upper Nicola Indian Band Chief Harvey McLeod.

“The province should have sought our consent before allowing any kind of biowaste dumping on our lands. Instead, the Province refused to give us proper information about the effects of biowaste and went ahead and allowed the operations without even consulting us.”

During the occupation RCMP members were on site both day and night ensuring the protest remained peaceful.

Cpl. Joe Duncan told Castanet there had been no issues with the demonstrators and officers wished to show their appreciation for the peaceful protest.

“Supt. Tim Head gave Chief Sam a blanket, a symbol of respect for going through these peaceful negotiations and having an open and honest dialogue.”

Although he had never seen a gesture such as this before, Cpl. Duncan did say the RCMP giving the blanket was a positive step in any negotiations and that officers respect everyone in the community.

Last week Environment Minister Mary Polak said in order to have an open dialogue protesters needed to stop their occupation of Clark’s office. Castanet will provide details of the meeting between the chiefs and the province once it becomes available.



Pharmacy robbed of drugs

Police are searching for a suspect in the robbery of Remedy RX Pharmacy in West Kelowna.

Just before 3 p.m. on Friday, RCMP responded to a report of a robbery at the pharmacy. A lone male entered the business and approached the clerk, demanding pharmaceutical drugs.

The suspect fled the scene on foot initially and then hopped on a bicycle and rode off with an undisclosed amount of medications.

A police service dog initiated a short track, but the suspect was not located.

No weapon was produced during the robbery, and no one was injured.

The suspect is described as:

  • Caucasian
  • Five-foot-six (167.5 cm)
  • In his late 20s
  • Scruff on his face
  • Blue jeans
  • Dark hair
  • Sunglasses

Anyone with information is asked to contact West Kelowna RCMP, Const. Taylor, at 250-768-2880. Remain anonymous by calling CrimeStoppers at 1-800-222-8477, leaving a tip online at www.crimestoppers.net or by texting your tip to CRIMES (274637) ktown.



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