Wednesday, August 5th13.8°C

Westside water funding

Both the City of West Kelowna and Regional District of Central Okanagan benefited from federal funding announcements, Friday.

In a one-third split partnership, the federal and provincial governments and City of West Kelowna will each contribute $454,000 toward replacement of the Horizon Village lift station.

The lift station is being replaced to ensure the wastewater collection system continues to adequately serve the growing community.

To reduce the risk of sewage effluent discharge, more storage will be constructed and a backup energy supply will be installed to improve reliability of the system in the event of an emergency or extended power outage.

"The works are identified as a top priority in the sewer master plan, and it is imperative this infrastructure be replaced," said West Kelowna Mayor Doug Findlater.

Findlater said the lift station was build in the mid-1990s, but due to extensive growth in the area it is serving a population far greater than originally anticipated.

Farther up the lake, a second federal/provincial partnership has been approved for upgrading of the Killiney Beach water system.

The federal and provincial government will each put in $950,000 with the RDCO contributing to the remainder of the $2.851-million project.

The project will increase the holding capacity of the upper reservoir by 500 cubic metres through construction of a new holding cell. The aging lower reservoir will be decommissioned.

New, more powerful water pumps at the intake will also be installed, along with the replacement of 4.9 kilometres of distribution pipe.

The senior government contributions to both projects come through the Small Communities Fund.

Glenrosa fire all but out

UPDATE: Sunday 7 a.m.

The Glenrosa fire is now in "patrol" status.

B.C. Wildfire Service fire information officer Melissa Klassen says "that doesn't mean the fire is out, but that crews have likely finished their mop up and will now just be monitoring the site."

Klassen said no firefighters remained on site overnight, and a small crew will check on the fire today.

Meanwhile, she says the fire situation is looking good across the region.

"It's looking really quiet across the fire centre right now," she said. "Yesterday, we had ideal conditions for fires to start, but it didn't happen. Hopefully, people are listening to the message to be careful out there."


No new fires started in the last 24 hours in the Kamloops Fire Centre region, she said.

UPDATE: 4:40 p.m.

Melissa Klassen, B.C. Wildfire Service fire information officer, said there is only a three-person crew left at the fire.

They are starting to pack up their equipment, in preparation for leaving the area. 

UPDATE: Saturday 9 a.m.

Crews fighting the wildfire above Glenrosa are in mop-up mode today.

B.C. Wildfire Service fire information officer Melissa Klassen says a unit crew of 20 firefighters worked late into the night Friday establishing a guard around the perimeter of the 1.3-hectare fire.

"Five firefighters stayed on scene overnight to ensure there was no spotting or that anything escaped the guard," Klassen said this morning.

That crew will be turning over efforts to another five-man crew, working on mop up and extinguishing hot spots.

Klassen said fire activity this morning will determine the need for any continued air support.

However, she did emphasize that extremely low humidity coupled with high temperatures continue to pose a danger in the woods.

"We remind everyone to be cautious," she said. "If a fire starts in these conditions, it will be very combustible."

Klassen anticipates, given the good progress made Friday evening, the fire will likely be out sometime today.

The fire is burning at a Rank 1 or less, she said, meaning it is smouldering rather than exhibiting open flame.

UPDATE 6:25 p.m.

Fire crews have made good progress on the wildfire burning above Glenrosa.

Melissa Klassen with Wildfire Management says the blaze at the top end of Glenrosa Road remains at 1.3 hectares in size.

“We had two air tanker groups respond to this incident and those air tankers have now completed their action. Basically, fire behaviour has decreased substantially and it's quiet right now.”

The fire is considered a Rank 1, a smouldering ground fire.

A crew of 20 firefighters remains on site and will stay on until late in the evening to construct a guard around the perimeter.

Klassen says the blaze was blanketed in retardant.

“Things look really good right now, and they are working to establish that guard containment."

UPDATE: 5:10 p.m.

A resident in the area, Sandy Siewert, said she is concerned about the fire moving downhill toward her property. She has lived in the area for 13 years and has been evacuated once before. 

She was packing her RV in preparation of an evacuation at 4:15 this afternoon. She also had someone coming by to take her horses away.

"A neighbour went up there on her horse, and they said they were going to evacuate us," Siewart said. 

There has been no official word on an evacuation as of yet.

"There's not many (houses) up there, but the worry is that everything's so dry that it's going to come this way," Seiwart said. "We're prepared, but not really."

UPDATE: 3:45 p.m.

Bombers are now dropping fire retardant and a bucket helicopter is dropping water on a small wildfire burning in Upper Glenrosa.

RCMP have closed off Glenrosa Road at Carre Road and are only letting residents through.

Const. Ryan Smith confirmed at the scene that no homes are in the immediate area of the fire.

Sarah Gray who lives in the area was asked if she is concerned about the fire coming down the hill toward her home.

"With the winds, yea but I think the firefighters are going to have it under control.  The crews are good at what they do," said Gray.


A wildfire is burning in Upper Glenrosa.

The fire began Friday afternoon in the Jack Creek area, near Carre Road.

The fire has grown and is burning vigorously since it was first reported about 2:30 p.m. West Kelowna firefighters have responded to the blaze.

B.C. Wildfire Service skimmer planes were seen circling the area.

Fire information officer Melissa Klassen says seven provincial firefighters were en route, along with an air tanker and a bucketing helicopter.

Klassen says the fire is burning in a forested area with some open flame visible.

There are homes in the area, however, she says none of those homes are currently threatened time.

The fire is less than a hectare in size.

Castanet has a reporter on scene and will update with more information shortly.

Smoke visible all summer

You can expect to see some smoke emanating from inside the Shelter Cove fire all summer long.

That's according to Noelle Kekula with the Wildfire Management Branch.

A controlled, proactive burn within the perimeter of the fire over the last few days produced some large plumes of smoke and some open flame which concerned some residents who believed a new fire had started up.

"Don't panic," said Kekula. "You will see smoke all summer long from that fire."

Kekula said people shouldn't be too concerned with the smoke coming from within the perimeter of the fire.

The Shelter Cove fire burned an estimated 560 hectares of forest and forced the evacuation of about 70 homes along Westside Road.

Firefighters have the fire 90 per cent contained. Kekula said the final 10 per cent is in areas with steep slopes which are tough to access.

Meantime the fire danger rating within the Kamloops Fire Zone sits at moderate to high with some pockets of extreme.

The rating is expected to reach the extreme danger rating as temperatures continue to hover around the mid to upper 30's through the long weekend.

During his daily fire briefing, fire information officer Kevin Skrepnek said lightning activity is expected to accompany the warmer temperatures Sunday and Monday.

He said thunderstorms could hit the southern part of the province later in the day Sunday and linger into Monday.

"We do expect lightning on Monday and we don't expect it will come with a lot of precipitation. Monday is our key day of concern given the potential lightning activity," said Skrepnek.

At the present time 129 fires continue to burn in the province, with seven of those reported Thursday.

To date, the province has spent more than $167 million fighting fires across the province.

While some campfire bans have been lifted in parts of the province a complete campfire ban remains in effect throughout the entire Kamloops Fire Centre.



Crash shears light pole

One man was taken to hospital as a result of a single-vehicle crash on Old Okanagan Highway Friday afternoon.

The crash occurred sometime before 2 p.m.

The dark-coloured Ford SUV was heading northbound on Old Okanagan Highway when it left the road on the right and took out a light standard.

The vehicle continued down the embankment, coming to rest in a ditch next to Highway 97, facing the opposite direction.

The light standard also ended up next to the highway.

Opry in the park

The Westbank Opry will take over Music in the Park in West Kelowna tonight.

The popular West Kelowna group will perform their unique brand of country music during a two-hour performance beginning at 7 p.m. at Memorial Park.

The Westbank Opry will be preceded by talented kids the Hannigan Sisters.

Free, family friendly Music in the Park concerts take place every Friday from 6:45 to 9 p.m. through Aug. 28 at Memorial Park, adjacent to Johnson Bentley Memorial Aquatic Centre.

Music lovers will enjoy a variety of genres, including country, pop, classical and more.

West Kelowna recreation staff will be in the park hosting games and activities for kids. A food and beverage vendor will be operating during the concerts.

'Bomb' has healing powers

UPDATE 1:30 P.M.

What started out as bomb scare turned out to be nothing more than a pipe with "healing powers."

An employee at Kelowna Pick-N-Pull on Stevens Road in West Kelowna found what he believed could be a pipe bomb in a vehicle he was dismantling.

RCMP and the West Kelowna Fire Department were called in as a precaution.

RCMP Cpl. Joe Duncan said police took a picture of the device and sent it to the Explosive Disposal Unit in Vancouver.

In the meantime, Duncan said officers were able to contact the wife of the vehicle owner.

Duncan said, according to the woman, the pipe was filled with water and healing crystals.

"It gives off good spiritual vibes. It's like having a copper bracelet on your wrist," said Duncan.

EDU confirmed the device was harmless and cleared the scene.


Police are investigating the yard of Pick-n-Pull after something suspicious was discovered inside a vehicle.

Officials say that what appears to be the makings of a pipe bomb were discovered by an employee, inside a vehicle on the lot.

Castanet reporter Wayne Moore is on scene and says the yard is being evacuated, but no other information is being released.

We will have more information as it becomes available.

Playground a safety risk

The City of West Kelowna is dismantling the playground at Horizon Drive Park.

City officials said the playground is seldom used and poses safety concerns. Parking is difficult, and the playground is hard to find.

Safety inspectors have determined the play equipment also doesn't meet Canadian Safety Association standards.

There have been frequent reports of vandalism as well. Vandals apparently attempted to light the playground's plastic slide on fire and destroyed the barrier that holds sand around the play structure.

After assessing the park and reviewing the availability of nearby amenities, city staff concluded it would be best to remove the playground.

Moonbeam Park and Rose Valley Elementary School are within walking distance of homes in the Horizon neighbourhood. Both parks provide family recreational opportunities.

Horizon Park will be left in a natural state, taking advantage of the existing open space and surrounding trees.

Staff will investigate options for future amenities, such as benches, and recommendations will be provided to council as part of future budget deliberations.

Bloomin' beautiful

The City of West Kelowna and Westbank First Nation have a lot of curb appeal, thanks to the hard work of home owners and businesses in the two communities.

Awards and appreciation gifts were presented to 2015 Partners in Bloom "Most Beautiful" contest winners and nominees during a reception Sunday night at the Cove Lakeside Resort.

Winners were announced in the following categories:

  • Business — Paynter’s Market
  • Curb Appeal — Annette and Bob Mason
  • Edible Garden — Nadine Charlton
  • Large Personal Garden — Jenny Kerkovius
  • Medium Personal Garden — Marilyn Mathieson
  • Small Personal Garden — Melba Reid
  • Strata — The Pointe

Okanagan master gardeners Heather Doheny, Pat Zander and Hermann Matis judged the entries and made evaluations based on Communities in Bloom national program criteria, which emphasize smart design, turf and ground cover best practices and environmentally friendly techniques.

Communities in Bloom is a Canadian non-profit organization committed to fostering civic pride, environmental responsibility, beautification and quality of life through community participation and protecting and promoting green spaces.

Partners in Bloom is a City of West Kelowna and Westbank First Nation joint initiative to advance the goals of Communities in Bloom in the two communities.

Vehicle rolls near winery

UPDATE: 6:25 P.M.

A witness at the scene said one occupant was sitting near the road and looked fine, and the other occupant was being treated in the ambulance. 


A single vehicle rolled over on Mission Hill Drive Wednesday afternoon, near Mission Hill Winery.

The silver Volkswagen rolled and landed on its side just after 5:00 p.m.

RCMP, fire crews and an ambulance attended the scene.

The condition of the occupants is unknown. 

More flame than smoke

Residents living around the area of the Shelter Cove fire are being told not to worry after some reported seeing open flames, Wednesday.

The Wildfire Management Branch is conducting proactive burning operations within the fire zone in an effort to burn off unburned fuels.

Fire information officer Kelsey Winter said the amount of flame or smoke is dependent on the fuel behaviour.

"We had that little bit of precipitation which has knocked back the dry, upper layers of fuel. When we do a burn-off like we are trying to do today to eliminate those pockets of fuel, it's going to be a little bit drier, so there will be more flame and it will get up into the trees," said Winter.

"If you have fire burning in something that has already seen fire come through, then you'll mostly see smoke because it's partial combustion and not full combustion."

Winter expects the burning operation to last three or four days. They will shut down the operation if winds start blowing toward residential areas.

She added the burn off is designed to eliminate as much fuel as possible to prevent possible re-ignition.

"For a fire as big as this one, it's really hard to get full extinguishment of the whole 560 hectares. It's difficult to get into the deep layers where fire can smoulder. So, we do the burn off to eliminate all that fuel," said Winter.

"As we head into another period of hot and dry weather and the fuels dry off again, those embers that have been burning can pick up. And, if there is fuel available, we will be back to active fire behaviour."

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