May 17, 2013 / 1:10 pm
It's that time of year: tents, trailers and motorhomes are filing the streets all looking for a place to camp. Ragnar Haagen talks with people at Bear Creek about the long weekend camp-out.
May 17, 2013 / 6:26 am
Families can get a head start on summer this May long weekend as Kids Care Spray Park opens for the 2013 season.
The popular children’s water playground is open to the public, free of charge, from 10 a.m. to dusk from the May long weekend through June and again in September.
Spray park hours are 9 a.m. to dusk in July and August. The spray park is located in Westbank Centre Park, at the end of May Street, behind the Holiday Inn, Dairy Queen and Shell service station. Turn off Dobbin Road or Main Street (Highway 97 Couplet) at Hebert Road.
Kids Care Spray Park offers 20 motion activated pieces of equipment including geysers, hoops, shower towers and water cannons.
The site also offers lots of open lawn space to spread out towels and blankets, shade trees, picnic tables and washrooms/change rooms.
District of West Kelowna built the spray park in the summer of 2011 in partnership with the Rotary Club of Westbank, Okanagan Kids Care, Westbank First Nation and the Rotary Club of West Kelowna Daybreak.
The facility officially opened the following spring, on May 26, 2012.
Click here to learn more about the park.
May 17, 2013 / 6:00 am
The Regional District of Central Okanagan (RDCO) has announced the purchase of a 13.86 hectare property in West Kelowna.
The property will be used to enhance connections to Glen Canyon Regional Park.
Regional District Board Chair Robert Hobson was joined by Director and West Kelowna Mayor Doug Findlater to celebrate the fourth addition this year to the Regional Park system.
Hobson says the purchase of the Brown Road property provides a critical link in the goal of connecting the lower portion of Glen Canyon Regional Park.
"This acquisition will facilitate the creation of a continuous trail from the fish ladders off Gellatly Road south through to the Westbank Town Centre Park," says Hobson.
“The recently announced donation of parkland to West Kelowna, adjoining the existing lower portion of Glen Canyon Regional Park, is certainly an opportunity to work with West Kelowna, to realize this vision.”
The $1.18M property purchase was funded through the Regional Parks Legacy Fund and contributions from and for the benefit of all Central Okanagan residents.
The property meets two important Regional Parks Plan criteria for consideration under the Legacy Fund.
- It’s close to a large number of residents since it’s located between two well-populated areas of West Kelowna.
- It provides great recreation potential as there are fairly easy walks on the historical flume trail, linking with steeper and more challenging trails in the lower sections of the canyon.
This property will remain closed to the public until spring next year to allow for a connecting trail to be designed and built during the remainder of 2013.
Hobson says $1.9M has been provided from residents of all Central Okanagan municipalities and electoral areas to leverage the acquisition of important lands for our Regional Park system.
"This year alone we’ve announced the addition of just over 37 hectares of land with almost $8.3M in funding in order to protect these lands for the use of future generations," says Hobson.
"In addition, another 800-hectares was added through the Regional District’s partnership with the Central Okanagan Land Trust to create the Johns Family Nature Conservancy Regional Park.”
May 16, 2013 / 4:20 pm
The results of the Rose Valley Elementary School’s 6th annual “Helping Hands” food drive for the Westside Community Food Bank are in, and once again the students, families and teachers have outdone themselves.
The Food Drive was led by the school’s Leadership group.
“Our leadership group is made up of approximately 45 grade six students. These students were responsible for motivating the entire school – they made signs, encouraged kids and kept track of all the donations coming in,” says Karina Connor, Grade 5 teacher at Rose Valley Elementary School.
According to 11-year-old Lily, she donates because, “The Food Bank is an important resource for adults and children in our community in case they need help. This food drive was an excellent way to help.”
Malorie, 12, adds, “Many of us at this school are so fortunate. There are people who need help. It’s good to give.”
In one week, the school was able to raise 6,900 items of food for the Westside Food Bank’s shelves and $4,150 in cash.
“The winning classroom will receive a pizza party and get to choose the school’s next Spirit Day, which could mean anything from a pajama day to crazy hair day” says Kumi Nittel, Grade 2 teacher at Rose Valley Elementary School
“I am very proud of our school for doing this. All the students and families did such a great job.”
Lenetta Parry, Executive Director for the Westside Community Food Bank says, "It’s genuinely heartwarming to see the collective efforts of these young students, they are making a huge difference in our community.”
The Westside Community Food Bank is located at 2545 Churchill Road and open for donations Monday to Friday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
May 16, 2013 / 2:25 pm
Kianna Lacroix is now at home. When we talked with her she was still in hospital with her boyfriend Tyson Assi at her side. He helped save her life after the unthinkable happened.
Lacroix and her cousin John Jamison were run over by a van while they were eating lunch on the patio at Kelly O'Bryans on the westside on Saturday.
"It just swooped me under and dragged me at least 15 feet," says Lacroix.
"The tire was on my head on this side (right) and my jaw."
Lacroix just had x-rays to see if there was any glass left in her skull. She can't move very much and her jaw is damaged.
"I may have glass in my face here (below her right eye) and it's all swollen. I had a dislocated shoulder."
She was trapped under the van and had no idea what had just happened.
"I just thought it was all a dream - that I was sleeping. I didn't think this was all real."
Just when she thought she wouldn't make it several men came to her rescue.
"My cousin Elias and my boyfriend Tyson and a few other men got the van off my cousin JJ (John) and I. I just remember being in the hospital."
Her cousin John spoke with Castanet News on Face Time while he recuperates at home.
He says the van was right on top of his leg and the driver was doing a burnout on top of his skin.
"It went through the garage door and that's when my legs went under the tires. I got pretty bad burns on my leg from the tire and I got rubber imbedded in my leg that might be permanent," says Jamison.
It was a moment that could have ended his life.
"It all happened so fast and all I was thinking was am I going to survive. It was pretty scary."
Tyson Assi has first aid training and it took over when the van blasted over the table he was at.
"I blink my eye, I hear smash and then I see Kianna and JJ getting dragged forward," says Assi.
"I just started yelling and I looked and made eye contact with the bartender and said contact 911."
He says a police officer and an off duty fire fighter jumped in to help the injured.
It was like a triage centre had been set up at Kelly O's with staff supplying towels and applying pressure to wounds.
"There are no words to even explain it. It all happened so quickly and there was chaos everywhere - everywhere you looked," says Assi.
JJ and Kianna are both at home, they have a lot of rehab ahead of them, but they are lucky to be alive.
As for the elderly driver, no charges have yet been laid.
May 16, 2013 / 10:24 am
Police are looking to identify a man who allegedly attempted to abduct a 3-year-old girl.
"Come here little girl, come with me," those were the frightening words the mother says came from a stranger who was reaching out to her toddler in West Kelowna yesterday.
Leah says her daughter was approached Wednesday morning (May. 15) around 9:45 a.m. as they waited for the bus at the Dobbin bus exchange.
"I was attending to my new born when I see this guy walking up with his hands outreached trying to pick up my daughter. I screamed and he ran away," says Leah.
The mom says her little girl is OK, "She's a little scared and she was attached to my hip yesterday, but she is better today."
The man is described as:
- approximately 30 years old
- "rough looking"
- Wearing a black sweater or sweat shirt, blue jeans and a blue and white Canucks ball cap.
RCMP are looking at surveillance images from the local businesses to help identify the man.
Anyone with any information regarding the identity of the man or who may have witnessed the incident is asked to call the West Kelowna RCMP at 250-768-2880. Remain anonymous by calling Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477, online or text to CRIMES (274637) ktown.
May 14, 2013 / 4:00 pm
Update 4 p.m. - West Kelowna RCMP is pleased to confirm that Bryan Seaton was located today safe and sound.
West Kelowna RCMP are looking for a 22-year-old Castlegar man who was reported missing Monday morning and is believed to still be in the area.
Bryan Seaton apparently borrowed his parent's Jeep on May 11, but failed to return home.
Bryan was found in West Kelowna later that day and the vehicle was recovered at the family's request.
Seaton was taken to a local hotel and was to be picked up by his father the following day - but it appears he never actually spent the night there.
The missing man has been exhibiting paranoid behaviour and ran from police Sunday morning before he had been reported missing.
Police believe he is still in West Kelowna but have no indication of where he might be staying.
Seaton is described as:
- thin build
- brown hair
- Last seen wearing a black or navy blue hoodie with white horizontal stripes and a white hood, jeans and running shoes
Anyone with any information regarding the whereabouts of Bryan Seaton is asked to call the West Kelowna RCMP at 250-768-2880.
May 14, 2013 / 5:25 am
It was just another day at the office for the West Kelowna Rural Drug Unit when they shut down an illegal marijuana grow operation last week.
On May 9, the West Kelowna Rural Drug Unit assisted by plainclothes and uniformed members raided a home in the 3400 block of Gates Road.
The residence was found to be unoccupied with a marijuana growing operation located in the basement.
Police were able to seize 203 marihuana plants and 84 grams of dried marihuana bud.
No arrests have yet been made and charge recommendations are pending the results of further investigation.
"Marijuana grow operations are inherently dangerous," says Cst. Kris Clark.
"The use of enormous amounts of electricity combined with illegal tampering with electrical system can lead to fires. The hazard often extends to neighbouring houses or buildings."
The West Kelowna Rural Drug Unit is dedicated to increasing public safety through the investigation and enforcement of marijuana grow operations.
May 13, 2013 / 3:18 pm
Wade Swetlishoff was just leaving the patio to pick up some drinks at the bar for a customer when he heard a loud crash behind him.
“I turned around and saw people jumping out of the way and a woman was being dragged under a van,” he said. “[The driver] wasn’t stopping.”
The elderly man behind the wheel was trying to park when he accidentally smashed through the patio of West Kelowna’s Kelly O’Bryan’s Pub Saturday afternoon, injuring four patrons and causing thousands of dollars in damage.
“He seemed to be trying to back out,” said Wade. “But there was a woman trapped under the car so one of the customers reached in and turned off the ignition.”
The cries of help turned restaurant staff and customers into heroes and life savers.
Swetlishoff, who was a volunteer firefighter with West Kelowna, was one of seven people who lifted the van off the trapped woman and pulled her free.
“I’m really proud of our staff and customers,” said Brad Shave, Kelly O'Bryan's General Manager.
“Everyone was calm, cool and collected.”
According to Swetlishoff, patrons jumped at the chance to try and help. They collected names and contact information for the police and a Kelowna firefighter who was having lunch with his family when the accident occurred played a major role in coordinating the rescue and management of the scene.
Four people were sent to hospital as a result of the incident, one with serious injuries. The driver and his passenger were taken to KGH as a precaution.
Significant damage was done to the tiles on the patio and a main support beam was knocked out. Inside the pub, there is damage to the carpet and an overhead, sectional door is completely destroyed.
“[The driver] was very distraught,” said Wade, who has seen the couple in the pub before.
“He apologized and was in tears, but it was just an accident."
"We hope we see them again and that everyone is alright.”
Both the pub and restaurant will remain open during normal hours while repairs are made.
May 13, 2013 / 12:38 pm
It would appear creeks in West Kelowna are not in any immediate danger of flooding.
West Kelowna assistant fire chief, Kerry Klonteig, says fire crews completed another inspection of McDougall Creek Sunday.
"McDougall Creek is stable right now," says Klonteig.
"Where we see a majority of impact is down on Hitchner Road and Jennens Road. The property owners down there were really proactive and they did a lot of mitigation."
The area along McDougall Creek suffered severe flooding a little more than a year ago following a massive rain storm and snow melt.
"We are still looking at the infrastructure part which is the roadway because it is the only way in and out of that little neighbourhood," says Klonteig.
"Once that is impacted it becomes a little more difficult."
Klonteig says Powers Creek and Smith Creek are both still maintaining their banks fairly well.
Last week, the District of West Kelowna did close the walking trails along Powers Creek as a precaution as creek waters began to rise.
That closure remains in effect.
People walking near creeks and streams are still reminded to be careful and stay away from the edge.
Sandbags are available at local fire halls for any property owner facing imminent danger from flooding.
The District of West Kelowna has deposited sand and sandbags for its property owners in three locations: Casa Loma, Green Bay and Whitworth Drive.
Read more West Kelowna articles
- Golf course fire ruled an arson May 13
- Uncovering youth homelessness May 13
- Westshore water advisory May 12
- West Kelowna will control its own pests May 12
- Shannon Lake clubhouse video May 11
- Van goes into restaurant May 11
- Clubhouse destroyed by fire May 11
- Mystery driver wrecks car May 10
- Motorists asked to avoid Angus Drive May 10
- Burnt out headlight tips off cops May 9