Thursday, April 2nd3.0°C

Injured kitten needs owner

UPDATE 4:15 P.M.:

Kitty rescuer Chelsea says she has been inundated with calls from Castanet readers who are interested in adopting the little guy.

She is very appreciative of the response, but says they are no longer needing to hear from potential adopters. 

If you believe this may be your lost kitten, you can still contact Chelsea at 250-878-0089. 


While driving home Tuesday evening, a West Kelowna resident saw an unfortunate accident take place.

A small kitten was struck by a passing motorist, just above the Bennett Bridge. The kitten was able to make its way safely over to the meridian, and the concerned motorist stopped and went to check on the injured feline.

"When I tried to pick it up, it tried to run away – not very well as it was injured," said Chelsea, who was driving behind the vehicle that clipped the kitten.

"I managed to grab it and make it back to my car."

She called Dr. Oz at Rose Valley Veterinary Hospital, who was kind enough to take time out of his evening to look at the animal.

It was determined the kitten is a boy, between two and three months old, and has a fractured hind leg that will require surgery.

However, the animal must be reunited with its owners or adopted out before the surgery can be performed.  

Dr. Oz has graciously volunteered to waive the surgery fees if the original owners cannot be found, or if someone would accept the kitten into a good home.


WFN celebrates success

While many First Nations across Canada continue to face significant hardships, Westbank First Nation continues to buck that trend.

WFN celebrates 10 years of self-governance this week.

But it was only through a long process of negotiation and community consultation that the possibility became law on May 6, 2004, and came into force on April 1, 2005.

Many First Nation reserves, especially in Canada's North, lack proper infrastructure, everyday services and the quality of life most Canadians take for granted. Not so in Westbank, where the band has developed lucrative residential, commercial and recreation properties, making it one of the most prosperous First Nations in Canada.

“I am proud of how far our community has come over the past 10 years,” Chief Robert Louie said Tuesday.

“Self-government has opened doors to opportunities that the community would not have seen if we were still governed by Canada. Not only has self-government increased the accountability and transparency of the WFN government as well as bringing a great sense of pride to our community, but it has also resulted in increased opportunities for our members, increased property values and an improved standard of living.”

In fact, property values have skyrocketed over the past 10 years, with the Westbank First Nation now ranked 61st in the province for assessed value, out of 162 B.C. municipalities.

The value of band land has nearly quadrupled during that time, from $398 million to more than $1.4 billion, according to the WFN.

The band says they've also contributed $80 million of annual fiscal revenue to the federal and provincial governments through the generation of sales tax, personal income tax and corporate tax on Westbank First Nation Lands, $500 million annually to the local economy, and remains one of the largest employers on the Westside.

Indigenous rights in focus

The Okanagan Nation Alliance and Westbank First Nation welcomed UN special rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples Victoria Tauli-Corpuz on Tuesday.

Between giving talks at UBC Okanagan and Mary Irwin Theatre, Tauli-Corpuz spoke at Sensisyusten School in Westbank.

"I decided to apply for this ... for several reasons. First, there is still a long way to go before indigenous peoples' rights are effectively respected, protected and fulfilled,” Tauli-Corpuz said.

“I can see the important role (it) can play in helping states to implement more effectively their role as duty bearers of human rights. In this era, when many of the world's remaining natural resources are largely found in indigenous peoples' territories, there are increasing violations of their basic rights to lands, territories and resources and to self-determination and participation.

"This need not be the case. I think the SR can help governments understand better how the development visions and aspirations of indigenous peoples are consistent with sustainable development objectives and principles. Achieving sustainable development cannot be delinked from the need to respect and protect the basic human rights and fundamental freedoms of indigenous peoples."

Tauli-Corpuz made a special note of telling the audience that this was not an official visit, and she had not been invited by government.

“They would not really recommend that I engage in dialogue with indigenous peoples, but I can always justify and say that whenever I go to a particular country, indigenous peoples would like to come and share their stories with me,” she said.

Tuesday’s roundtable included a number of local dignitaries, including Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, WFN Chief Robert Louie and Grand Chief Edward John.

Much of the gathering revolved around a report authored last year by UN human rights investigator James Anaya, about Canada’s relationship with its First Nations.

He concluded, “the numerous initiatives that have been taken at the federal and provincial/territorial levels to address the problems faced by indigenous peoples have been insufficient. Aboriginal peoples’ concerns and well-being merit higher priority at all levels and within all branches of government, and across all departments.”

That point was further clarified by Chief Louie as he introduced Tauli-Corpuz to the crowd.

“Without question, she represents our indigenous lives, she has impact throughout this world. That is hugely and immensely significant. The issues I know that she speaks upon are absolutely phenomenal,” he said.

“We know that we live in an inadequate society. Hopefully, that’s slowly changing, hopefully that’s getting better. We know that there’s inadequate capacities that exist, we know many of our peoples are still without water and proper services in the Far North. We know that there’s serious housing conditions, and there’s people like Victoria who understand that, and help bring that understanding to the world.”

A copy of the report can be found here.


Robberies may be linked

A West Kelowna man is in custody after a string of armed robberies on the Westside.

RCMP say the 21-year-old man is facing multiple charges after he was finally caught on Sunday.

Police believe the man is tied to the robbery at the Super 8 motel on March 27, followed by a robbery at the Superstore on the 27th and another at a Tim Hortons Saturday evening.

On March 27, a lone man with a black T-shirt covering his face produced a weapon and demanded money at the Super 8 motel on Westgate Road, just before 3 a.m.

Later that day, according to staff at the West Kelowna Superstore, a man came in with a suspected flare gun and demanded cash before leaving.

Then on March 28 at 10:42 p.m., West Kelowna RCMP responded to a report of a robbery at a Tim Hortons.

“Information was provided that a male suspect entered the Tim Hortons with his face covered, produced a weapon and demanded money from a cashier,” said Cpl. Joe Duncan. “The suspect fled the scene on foot with an undisclosed amount of cash.”

As in the previous robberies, a police dog was called in and followed the track, but the man could not be found.

Duncan said on Sunday, thanks to public tips, the 21-year-old suspect was taken into custody without incident.

“The man is charged with robbery and disguising his face with intent to commit an offence,” said Duncan. “The suspect remains in custody and will appear in court in Kelowna on April 2.”

West Kelowna RCMP are still investigating the robberies and believe all three may be linked.

Anyone with information should contact West Kelowna RCMP Cpl. Cullen at 250-768-2880.

Or remain anonymous by calling CrimeStoppers at 1-800-222-8477, leaving a tip online at or by texting your tip to CRIMES (274637) ktown.

UN activist in town

A well known indigenous activist and expert on human rights will be in the Central Okanagan next week.

Victoria Tauli-Corpuz represents the United Nations, and is the Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples.

She will be visiting with the Westbank First Nation March 31 to examine ways and means of overcoming existing obstacles to the full and effective protection of the human rights and fundamental freedoms of indigenous people.

The talks are presented by UBCO’s Indigenous Studies Program and the Schools of Arts and Sciences, with support from the International Distinguished Visitor Fund.

Tauli-Corpuz is from the Kankanaey Igorot people of the Cordillera Region in the Philippines. She has previously been a social development consultant, indigenous activist, civic leader, human rights expert, public servant and advocate of women’s rights in the Philippines.

The daytime talk will take place between 12-6:30 p.m. at the Sensisyusten Gymnasium, located at 1920 Quail Lane. 

Fined for illegal offroading

Conservation officers are warning the public not to damage the environment in unauthorized areas after a man was heavily fined for mud bogging, Thursday.

About 2 p.m. Thursday, biologists with the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resources were taking a helicopter to do a bighorn sheep inventory. 

As they were en route to the location, they noticed a black pickup mud bogging near the Bear Creek Main forest service road near West Kelowna.

"(The team) observed a vehicle that was essentially creating their own trail," said Conservation officer David Cox. "We were notified, and we attended and found the individual mud bogging in the area."

Cox said the lone male was on Crown land and the area is not necessarily protected. However, it is popular and important for many forms of wildlife.

"It's wintering habitat for a lot of ungulates like moose, bighorn sheep and mule deer," Cox said. "They rely on grasslands and use that area, especially in the spring, it's one of the first areas that greens up."

Cox said mud bogging is not an issue if people stick to designated trails and areas that permit that type of activity. Unfortunately, this person did not.

The man was served a $575 ticket under section 46 of the Forest and Range Practices Act.

Section 46 reads: A person must not carry out a forest practice, a range practice or another activity that results in damage to the environment, unless in doing a person is acting in accordance with a plan, authorization or permit under this Act.

The maximum penalty for the offence could be fines up to $1 million, or imprisonment for not more than three years, or both.

"We don't take this type of activity very lightly. The damage and effect to the environment can be very serious and altering," said Cox. "Everything from aquatic species, to carnivores and ungulates can be affected.

"People need to respect the environment – we can't afford to have people out there causing this type of destruction, there is zero tolerance."

Robbery suspect sought

Police are asking for the public's help to identify the man responsible for an armed robbery in West Kelowna early this morning.

According to West Kelowna RCMP, a lone man with a black T-shirt covering his face, produced a weapon and demanded money at the Super 8 motel on Westgate Road, just before 3 a.m.

“The suspect fled the scene with an undisclosed amount of cash. A police service dog attended, but the suspect could not be located,” says Cpl. Joe Duncan.

The suspect is described as:

  • Male
  • six feet tall or just under
  • 170 pounds
  • White baseball cap
  • Blue or grey hoodie
  • Black pants

Anyone with any information is asked to contact West Kelowna RCMP Const. McCall at 250-768-2880.

You can also remain anonymous by calling CrimeStoppers at 1-800-222-8477, leaving a tip online at or by texting your tip to CRIMES (274637) ktown.

Electoral change name only

It would appear any change to electoral boundaries in the Central Okanagan will come in name only.

A report by the B.C. Electoral Boundaries Commission has proposed changing the name of Westside-Kelowna to Kelowna West.

The riding includes all of West Kelowna and Westbank First Nation lands from the Okanagan Connector, north past Killiney Beach, and stretches across Okanagan Lake into Kelowna to include the downtown and much of the North End of the city, ending at Spall Road.

According to the commission, some submissions requested significant changes to the boundaries, including the addition of a fourth riding within the Central Okanagan or creation of electoral districts that did not cross the lake. Others suggested Westside-Kelowna should include more of downtown Kelowna.

The commission chose not to make any boundary changes, suggesting the populations of the three ridings (including Kelowna-Lake Country and Kelowna-Mission) have similar populations.

"We were not convinced change would achieve more effective representation," the report states.

Tractor-trailer stolen

A West Kelowna man is worried about his livelihood after his 85-foot tractor-trailer was stolen from his locked compound this morning (Friday).

Scott Horovatin with J&T Holdings Ltd. says the truck was stolen shortly before 3 a.m., and the thief must have known what they were doing.

“You would have to know how to drive a truck, and you could tell they obviously knew what they were doing,” says Horovatin. “The way they pulled out of our yard, they knew how to take a big corner, so they knew what they were doing.”

Horovatin says the thief broke the lock on the gate of their compound in West Kelowna, and then broke into the truck.

He says as a logging contractor, this truck is crucial to his work.

“This is our livelihood, this is how we move all of our equipment around, how we get from job site to job site. That truck is also used to transport logs. It is a very important piece of our company.”

The truck and trailer are nearly brand new and in excellent condition according to Horovatin.

The truck (pictured above and below) is described as a white 2014 Kenworth, with a tan coloured 2008 Peerless lowbed trailer.

Cst. Goodwin with the West Kelowna RCMP is investigating and asks anyone who may have seen the truck, or have information on the theft, to call him at 250-768-2880.

You can also remain anonymous by calling Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477, leaving a tip online at or by texting your tip to CRIMES (274637) ktown.

Clerk assaulted in robbery

West Kelowna RCMP are searching for a suspect in a liquor store robbery Monday night. 

About 9:45 p.m., West Kelowna RCMP responded to a robbery in progress at the Liquor Depot on Gosset Road.

Three men had entered the store in an attempt to steal alcohol.

Aided by an unknown patron, a staff member apprehended two of the men, while the third was able to flee with two bottles of liquor.

During the altercation with the suspects, a 19-year-old man punched the store employee several times in an attempt to get away. The employee was treated by first aid attendants on scene.

A 19-year-old man is being held in custody on several charges. The second male was released without charge, and police are still attempting to identify the third.  

Anyone with information is asked to contact West Kelowna RCMP Const. Hall at 250-768-2880.

Remain anonymous by calling CrimeStoppers at 1-800-222-8477, leaving a tip online at or by texting your tip to CRIMES (274637) ktown.

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