West Kelowna  

Fire takes off in kitchen

Fire crews took a break from handing out smoke alarms to residents Tuesday evening to fight a kitchen fire in a condo at the Lakeview Terrace development.

The West Kelowna Department, RCMP and ambulance arrived at the residence on Peak Point Drive to find heavy smoke pouring out of shattered windows at one of the units in a four-unit condo.

“The damage to the exterior of the building looks quite dramatic but the fortunate thing here, is it was contained to that one unit, it didn't spread to the rest of the building and we're working hard to preserve what we can in that unit,” said Fire Chief Jason Brolund.

The family in the condo made it out of the blaze unscathed, but were quite shaken up.

“The cause of the fire is still under investigation,” said Brolund. “I suspect it will be related to cooking in the kitchen.”

Fire crews had been going door-to-door before the call came in, handing out smoke alarms to those residents that didn't have one.

“We really hope that people use this as an opportunity to go check theirs.”

- With files from Carmen Weld



Kate & Will at Mission Hill

After their public visit to UBC Okanagan today, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge had a beautiful afternoon touring vineyards, sampling deliciously prepared B.C. foods and meeting young children at Mission Hill Winery.

The couple were driven to the winery where they were greeted by Premier Christy Clark, MLA Norm Letnick , Mission Hill Proprietor Anthony von Mandl, West Kelowna Mayor Doug Findlater and Westbank First Nation Chief Roxanne Lindley. 

Their Royal Highnesses enjoyed a quick grape removal demonstration in the vineyard before entering through the keystone to the applause of the hundreds of guests in attendance. 

The two then met with teams of young chefs from the “Chefs in the Classroom” program, where they happily took the opportunity to interact directly with the young participants. 

In the courtyard, they greeted some of B.C.'s top chefs, showcasing the variety of B.C.'s agricultural products. William and Kate enjoyed sampling the chef stations of Ned Bell, Vikram Vij, Rob Feenie, Hidekazu Tojo, David Hawksworth and Okanagan chef Bernard Casavant, before heading into the cellar for a quick tour and tasting.

Before leaving the winery, William commented favourably on the warm weather, food and wine.

Click here for more photos from Will and Kate’s visit to West Kelowna.

Head breaks windshield

One person has been taken to hospital after a vehicle hit a median in West Kelowna Tuesday afternoon.

The car hit the median at Ross Road and Highway 97 at 3:30 p.m., sending the passenger into the windshield, breaking the glass.

The passenger was loaded onto a stretcher and taken to the hospital.

A witness at the scene said the crash appeared to have been caused by the front passenger side wheel coming loose at the control arm, causing the car to lose control.

Another witness said the wheel appeared to have been damaged during the crash. 

The condition of the passenger is unknown at this time. 


Over an embankment

Emergency crews investigated Tuesday morning a car that went over an embankment.

Police, firefighters and paramedics were on scene in West Kelowna at Elliott Road and Reece Road when the older white car came to rest on its side.

There's no word on injuries.

Big tree-planting effort

Volunteers are planting 300 trees on Westbank First Nation land today.

The trees are being planted at the WFN cemetery as part of TD Tree Days.

Tree Days is an effort of TD Bank's Friends of the Environment Foundation.

Newly elected Chief Roxanne Lindley is taking part in the event, along with Sensisyusten school children and TD-Canada Trust Pacific region vice-president Dale Safinuk.

WFN staff and community members spent the morning planting trees to demonstrate leadership in environmental stewardship and improve green space.

The Friends of the Environment Foundation has provided more than $57 million to more than 20,000 environment projects across Canada.

Thumbs down to recount

The results of the West Kelowna city hall referendum will remain as they were on election night.

The 'Yes' campaign has decided against asking for a judicial recount, despite a very slim defeat.

West Kelowna residents who turned up to vote, voted against the proposal by 27 votes.

Because there was no official voters list for the referendum, there were concerns of voting irregularities. people voting more than once or people not living within city boundaries voting.

Peter Wannop, co-chair of the Yes campaign said they investigated the possibility of a recount with Victoria, but decided against it.

"To us, it makes no sense to go for some kind of review," said Wannop.

"The ballots are secret, and even if you found a thousand ineligible voters, you don't know how they voted. I think any judge would say we would have to assume they were 50-50 because that's the way the referendum went."

He said that would put them right back to where they started.

Ballots were not numbered so they could not be tied to the voter in question.

"We had a good discussion, our group did, and we were unanimous.

"The big question would be even if a judge said there are so many inconsistencies, I am going to void this, I don't know if council would go back and do another one."

The referendum cost the city more than $45,000.

With the results no longer an issue, city council will look at its next step Oct. 11.

Council could still go ahead by using money it already has put aside in reserves.

Festival of scarecrows

Organizers of a new festival in Peachland are looking to "scare" up participants.

The Scarecrow Festival will run from Sept. 30 to Oct. 16.

As it sounds, businesses, homeowners and community groups are invited to put up scarecrows all over the town.

An official opening kickoff will be held Sept. 30, 4 p.m. at Heritage Park on Beach Avenue.

On Oct. 9, there will be entertainment in the park, starting at 11 a.m., including a ribbon dance by the Peachland Ambassadors, clog dancing, face painting and more. 

At noon, winners of the best scarecrows in several categories will be announced. These include:

  • Most hilarious scarecrow
  • Most unique scarecrow
  • Most realistic (lifelike) scarecrow
  • Best representation of a business
  • Best representation of a community organization
  • Best overall scarecrow

Visitors are invited to follow the scarecrow trail from downtown Peachland to Peachland Plaza on Highway 97.

Car versus railings

A driver went off the road in West Kelowna overnight, crashing a car into railings at Gellatly Bay.

The accident happened about 11:15 p.m. on the 4000 block of Gellatly Road, near the old ferry dock.

The southbound car received minor damage, and there were no injuries in the incident.

Police, firefighters and ambulance paramedics attended the scene, which closed one lane of traffic.

Referendum results official

The City of West Kelowna is satisfied the election process was followed properly during the referendum to decide whether it could borrow the funds to build a city hall.

All that is left now is for council to decide a next course of action and the Yes side to determine if it will apply for a judicial recount.

In a packed city council chambers Wednesday afternoon, returning officer Tracey Batten announced the official outcome, which did not change from Saturday's preliminary results.

"Yes: 4,185; No: 4,212."

The 27 vote margin didn't change.

Batten said a complete audit was conducted, however this did not include a recount or a line-by-line accounting to determine whether people who voted were in fact eligible to do so or voted more than once.

"A line-by-line validation is not part of the determining process," said Batten.

"We review the voter registration to ensure our election officials registered voters in the required manner."

While results have been deemed official, the process may not be over.

Peter Wannop, co-chair of the Yes campaign, said he is trying to get clarification from Victoria to determine what basis could be used to ask for a judicial recount.

"One question I do have, were the ballots numbered, so, if you found somebody who voted twice or someone was ineligible to vote because of residence, how would we know what ballots to pull," said Wannop.

"They could have voted yes or they could have voted no."

Wannop said he has no evidence of any voter impropriety.

A decision will have to be made soon. Rules laid out by the province state a recount must be requested within nine days of the vote.

Ian Graham, who spearheaded the No campaign said he was not surprised at a possible call for a full recount.

He said he's not surprised by anything the Yes side does.

"We'll wait to see what happens next. I'm hoping that it'll be dead."

City council could also decide to go ahead with the city hall project by using monies it has accumulated in reserve account, thus bypassing the borrowing process altogether.

Council will look at its options at its next meeting Oct. 11.

New chief has big plans

Chief Roxanne Lindley is hitting the ground running.

The newly elected Westbank First Nation chief is learning the inner workings of the band and the band office on the fly.

After being elected last Thursday, Lindley and her new council were sworn into office Tuesday morning. Between the swearing in, they have been attending meetings to get up to speed.

Castanet News had a chance to speak with Lindley between meetings to discuss a variety of topics.

Castanet: You have to be thrilled at being a trailblazer, being the first female chief elected by WFN members?

Lindley: I'm very excited. It's been a really interesting time in my life and I'm really grateful. I'm full of energy, full of passion, full of ideas. I really look forward to what we can do for our members for the future.

Castanet: What is your vision for the next three years?

Lindley: I want to enhance community member's lives. I want to improve the community, I want to work with all of our community members, all of the residents. I had talked about collaboration and partnership, and I think that's important with West Kelowna and Kelowna.

Castanet: Westbank First Nation is one of the wealthiest bands in Canada but some members continue to struggle. Do you have any plans to bridge that gap?

Lindley: When I speak of community and community enhancement, I am speaking of our community members, so we are bringing that quality of living up to par. That is my priority ... that we are all prospering, we are all receiving benefits. We are taking that pride back.

Castanet: How do you achieve that?

Lindley: I believe education is critical, but what I think is really important here is education. Being able to sit down with the band members and say what is it you need, what do you want, and carry that message forward.

Castanet: Everybody wants to know about the hospital. Do you have an update?

Lindley: I am only so many days into it and I'm not going to speak about the hospital. I'd rather not go there. That's a discussion for our general band membership.

Castanet: What are your plans to try and fill many of the vacant commercial properties in malls on WFN lands?

Lindley: I find that probably the most exciting, the economic part. When I'm done here, I'll be sitting with our corporate group and start putting some of my ideas and  thoughts out there. Start making those plans to go forward, improve and enhance, so what we put out there will be of benefit to everyone. If we do it right, I could see us having people coming into this area because of these malls and these spaces.

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