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First challenger for mayor

Long-time West Kelowna resident, Stephen Johnston has thrown his hat in the ring as a candidate for mayor.  

“I love this community, I grew up here, my wife Leah and I are raising our children here, and I know how much potential this area has,” says Johnston.  

Johnston's press release says he is an entrepreneur and business owner with close to a decade of experience building custom homes throughout the Okanagan.

Johnston is a member of the board of directors for the West Kelowna Minor Baseball Association, and director of the the U9 baseball division. The mayoral candidate has also been on the leadership board at Emmanuel Church for the past four years.

Through his community involvement and business ventures, Johnston believes the community is ready to take big steps forward in solidifying its identity.  

“We’re at such a critical stage in West Kelowna’s development,” says Johnston. “The first six years were all about getting the municipality off the ground and setting up the necessary infrastructure, but now it’s time to move forward.”

Stephen is the first declared challenger to incumbent Doug Findlater.



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Search on for missing man

UPDATE 3:30 P.M. AUG 28

Police continue to search for a 64-year-old Alberta man whose boat was found unoccupied on Okanagan Lake Tuesday night.
 
Shortly after 9 p.m. Tuesday, West Kelowna RCMP received a report of a collision between watercrafts on Okanagan Lake.

A local couple were operating their boat in the middle of the lake near Kalamoir Regional Park when they impacted an unoccupied Malibu boat.

The craft did not have any lights turned on and simply appeared to be adrift. Upon closer examination of the vessel, police located some personal effects of Brian Daryl Lakevold of St. Albert, Alberta along with the ignition keys for the boat indicating that he was possibly missing.
 
Investigators have since confirmed with his family that Lakevold is missing.
 
The search for Lakevold continues and investigators are appealing to the public for their help in establishing a time line of his whereabouts Tuesday afternoon in order to better focus the search. Specifically, police are looking to speak with anyone who may have seen him or his maroon and white Malibu LXI after 2:30 p.m. on August 26, up until his boat was found unoccupied that evening.
 


A search of Okanagan Lake is underway for a 64-year-old Alberta man who is believed to be missing.

The man's boat was found unoccupied on the lake Tuesday evening.

Shortly after 9:15 p.m., West Kelowna RCMP received a report of a collision between water crafts on Okanagan Lake.

A local couple were operating their boat in the middle of the lake near Kalamoir Regional Park when they impacted an unoccupied Malibu boat.

The craft did not have any lights turned on and simply appeared to be adrift. Upon closer examination of the vessel, police located some personal effects of a 64-year-old Alberta man along with the ignition keys for the boat indicating that the operator was possibly missing.
 
No one was injured and minimal damage was incurred in the collision.
 
Investigators have spoken since with the man's family and have determined that he is in fact missing. His name is being withheld at this time.
 
The West Kelowna RCMP, with assistance from RCMP Air Services and Central Okanagan Search and Rescue, have commenced a search for the missing man.



Upgrades at Glen Canyon park

Trail upgrades are coming to Glen Canyon, and that means the lower portion of the regional park will be closed for the next two months.

The area most affected will be trails between Gellatly Road and the new bridge span upstream, which will remain closed for up to eight weeks.

Hikers are asked to obey all signage and barricades, as other areas of the park will remain open and accessible, including the loop trail that links with to Westbank Centre Park off May Street.

In addition to trail improvements, the work will also see existing staircases, crib steps replaced, and a new parking area built off Gellatly Road.

Other trails in the park system will also be upgraded through grant funding by the provincial government.



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Burning pole cuts power

A power pole burst into flames at the intersection of Ross Road and Stevens Road in West Kelowna, Thursday afternoon.

Fire crews from the Lakeview Heights Fire Station attended the scene and worked with BC Hydro to secure the area.

BC Hydro crews were able to disconnect the power, while fire crews extinguished the burning pole.

Assistant Fire Chief Darren Lee says the power in the Ross Road area will remain off until repairs are complete.



Bus service expansion

Central Okanagan bus users can expect new routes and expanded service hours as phase two of the RapidBus project wraps up.

According to BC Transit, some major improvements are coming to the Kelowna Regional Transit System starting August 31, 2014.

RapidBus service will extend to Westbank Centre in West Kelowna and new routes will be introduced in the City of Kelowna and the District of Lake Country. Peachland will be getting improved evening service and 15,000 annual service hours will be added to better serve transit customers in the region.

New RapidBus exchanges are opening at Mount Boucherie and Westbank Centre, with real-time passenger information.

A new 'Route 5 Gordon' will provide a two-way direct connection via Gordon Drive to downtown Kelowna, the RapidBus corridor on Highway 97, the Capri Shopping Centre, Okanagan College and the Mission Recreation Centre.

As well, 'Route 8 University' will be realigned to deliver a direct connection to Kelowna General Hospital and Okanagan College.

In Lake Country, a new 'Route 32 The Lakes' will connect Lake Country Town Centre with The Lakes neighbourhood during weekday peak periods. The new route hopes to support current and future residential and commercial growth in the area.

The 'Route 22 Peachland' will boast improved evening, Sunday and holiday service. And the route will now link to the new Westbank Centre transit exchange, improving regional connectivity.

BC Transit says these fall service changes reflect the goals outlined in the Central Okanagan Transit Future Plan and the 2014 RapidBus Service Change Plan.

“The additional 15,000 annual service hours will go a long way towards meeting the public transportation needs of Kelowna,” says MLA Norm Letnick.

“It’s great to see such a positive response to the Kelowna transit system with more riders, more routes and more connections,” adds MLA Steve Thomson.

For more information on the Kelowna Regional Transit system check out all the details here.



Elvis tribute wraps up music series

The third season of Music in the Park wraps up Friday night at Memorial Park in West Kelowna.

Attendance has steadily risen over the three years of the event.

This year, more than 7,100 fans having already enjoyed the free concert series, with just one event left.

Up to this point last year, nearly 5,800 people had attended the events. Total attendance in 2013 was 6,355.

The weekly summertime music series concludes with what should be the biggest event of the summer, as award winning Elvis tribute artist Adam Fitzpatrick of Penticton headlines.

Friday's line-up includes:

  • Talented Kid: 6:45 p.m. – Alya Buckberry
  • Mount Boucherie Talent Show: 6:55 p.m. featuring, Alexandra Aitken, Adam Kern and Georgia Kemp
  • Opening Act: 7:30 p.m. – Jon Bos
  • Headline Act: 8:00 p.m. – Adam Fitzpatrick Elvis Tribute

Fitzpatrick has recently won Elvis tribute competitions in England and Vegas.

A large turnout is expected for the Adam Fitzpatrick Elvis Tribute and additional event parking has been arranged.

The District of West Kelowna and Creative Okanagan thank Westbank First Nation for providing space in the same lots used for Westside Daze, which are located at the end of Old Okanagan Highway and off Carrington Court behind A&W and Kentucky Fried Chicken.

Attendance at the Friday night Music in the Park concerts and West Kelowna World Music Festival on Saturday, Aug 23 has averaged nearly 800 fans this summer, compared to approximately 650 last year.

Music lovers have enjoyed a variety of genres including country, rock, classic rock, celtic, jazz and big band.



New dock for Shannon Lake

A new dock will soon be installed on Shannon Lake in West Kelowna.

The dock will be made possible through a $15,000 donation from the Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC, the provincial government and the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation.

The donation includes installation of the new accessible, floating dock was approved Monday by the Regional District of Central Okanagan.

Community stakeholders and partner agencies provided their support for the dock in order to enhance the fishing experience and support expanded Regional Parks programming.

Each year, the Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC stocks Shannan Lake with small rainbow trout as part of the 'Go Fish' program.

The Regional District will now apply to the Provincial Government for required approvals to allow installation of the dock.

On Monday, the Regional District also approved an agreement with the District of West Kelowna to manage the municipality’s parkland as a portion of Glen Canyon Regional Park. 

As part of the five year agreement, the Regional Parks service will construct a trailhead and parking area at Gellatly Road with a trail developed through the municipal parkland that was acquired by West Kelowna in 2012 below Canyon Ridge Estates. 

This agreement and subsequent improvements will enhance the visitor experience from the lower portion of Glen Canyon through the existing Regional Park. The District of West Kelowna Council has also approved the agreement.



Brush fire doused

Update -- August 26

West Kelowna Fire crews rechecked the fire area during the night and will conduct rechecks today. The fire is 100 per cent guarded and considered under control.

Darren Lee confirms the blaze began when a boat trailer had a mechanical issue, causing a wheel to fall off. The wheel ignited the dry grass alongside the roadway and the fire grew to approximately 300 square meters.


A small grass/brush fire burning off Westside Road at Nancee Way appears under control.

Castanet's reporter on the scene says there are several hot spots with large smoke plumes but fire crews have the upper hand.

The fire is about a quarter hectare in size.

The majority of the visible flames have already been extinguished by crews. 

There were no structures immediately threatened but there was concern over a nearby electrical box. Fire crews have successfully kept the flames away from that box. 

Traffic is not affected at this time but traffic is slowing on Hwy. 97 as people take a look. 

West Kelowna fire crews on the scene say the fire started at 3:30 p.m. Although they are not sure of a cause they suspect that a boat trailer may be to blame. 

The trailer was being towed through the area when a tire blew and rolled into the brush. At this time they suspect sparks from that may have started the blaze. 

 

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World Music Festival gallery

People danced and sang at the World Music Festival in West Kelowna Saturday night. 

The event ran from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. and attracted a large crowd. 

Check out these reader-submitted photos.

 



World Music festival kicks off

The World Music Festival is bringing international sounds to West Kelowna Saturday night.

The District of West Kelowna and Creative Okanagan have teamed up to add World Music Festival to the summer concert schedule at Memorial Park. 

World Music Festival takes place Saturday, from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. The event is being held in addition to the successful Music in the Park concerts that have been drawing up to 1,000 spectators every Friday night.

Mayor Doug Findlater says West Kelowna World Music Festival is a celebration of Okanagan culture and a boost for local tourism.

“There’s nothing like grabbing lawn chairs and lemonade and watching great local and regional talent as the sun sets and the stars come out over West Kelowna on a warm summer evening,” says Findlater. “My family and I have taken in a great number of these events each summer and we’ve come away enjoying each and every experience.”

Creative Okanagan’s Ryan Donn says World Music Festival builds on Music in the Park’s solid musical foundation.

“Not only do we have a terrific lineup of onstage performances, World Music Festival adds free cultural activities and experiences, plus the excitement of the Interior Savings Kids’ zone,” says Donn. “Various food vendors will also be on site for those wanting to purchase savory snacks or cool off with some refreshments.”

For a complete West Kelowna World Music Fest lineup, please visit West Kelowna’s homepage atwww.districtofwestkelowna.ca.

World Music Festival is made possible with support from 99.9 Sun FM, Castanet, Gorman Bros. Lumber, Interior Savings, Rotary Club of Westbank, Westbank First Nation and Westside Weekly.



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