Monday, August 31st15.8°C

Gas leak forces evacuation


A gas leak, which caused the evacuation of homes and businesses in the Anders Road, has been repaired and evacuees are free to return home.


A spokesperson for FortisBC has said the gas leak is under control.

Michael Allison said the leak was brought under control shortly after 6 p.m. "and now repairs are under way."

Allison could not say when the evacuation order would be lifted, but expects it to be soon.

"When the gas is brought under control and we've taken the proper precautions and the gas has dissipated, we would recommend people be allowed back home," said Allison, adding it is up to the fire department to determine when the evacuation can be lifted.

A dispatcher with West Kelowna Fire rescue anticipated people would be allowed back into their homes after 7 p.m.

A gas leak has forced the evacuation of homes on the 500 block of Anders Road and the commercial area on Ollala Road, including West Kelowna Fire Rescue’s Station 32.

A four- to six-inch natural gas line was struck by a private contractor during construction work on Anders Road about 1:50 p.m.

FortisBC is on scene to repair the damage, and West Kelowna Fire Rescue is monitoring the situation, says Kirsten Jones with the City of West Kelowna.

It's unknown how long repair work is expected to take.

There have been no report of injuries as a result of the leak.

Trashy beach 'disgusting'

Visitors to Hardy Falls in Peachland are making a mess where Deep Creek flows into Okanagan Lake – and at least one nature lover is furious about it.

Trevor Spannier says he visited Hardy Falls Regional Park over the weekend and was "thoroughly disgusted" by what he saw.

Spannier went to the popular park to check out the the spawning kokanee.

When he crossed Highway 97 to the mouth of the creek to watch the fish swim up, he was disappointed to find trash littering the beach.

He walked from Deep Creek to nearby Antlers Beach and collected two shopping bags full of rubbish.

"It would be great if this could be brought to the attention of locals and visitors being that it is an active spawning ground for the kokanee," he told Castanet.

Spannier said he was "truly appalled" by the lack of respect for the fish habitat and environment.

Elvis closes music series

World renowned Elvis tribute artist Adam Fitzpatrick will close out the fourth season of Music in the Park.

Fitzpatrick, who hails from Penticton, will perform on stage Friday at Memorial Park in West Kelowna.

The tribute singer has captured numerous Elvis competitions around the world including Elvis Europe and the Las Vegas Elvis Festival.

Fitzpatrick will take the stage at 8 p.m.

The rest of the lineup includes:

  • Talented Kid: 6:45 p.m.
  • Opening Act: 7 p.m. – Leah West

The free concert series has been highly successful this year, and both the City of West Kelowna and Creative Okanagan would like to thank the public, the sponsors and the performers for all their support.

Music in the Park is produced and promoted by Creative Okanagan. The City of West Kelowna would like to thank the 2015 Music in the Park sponsors including Castanet, Valley First Credit Union, Country 100.7, K 96.3, BMO Private Banking, Quails Gate Estate Winery, and Westside Weekly.

His garden to your table

New father and West Kelowna resident Ben Pallett risked it all to follow his personal and professional dream to pursue a better life for him and his family.

“I emphasize local, sustainable. I support small business and I do high-end food. All those things are probably the most important factor in what I do,” says the executive chef.

From tilling the soil, to watering the garden, harvesting his homegrown vegetables, to making his own deli meats and cooking culinary creations, Pallet aims to do it all with his new company Kitchen Sync Catering.

“I grow a lot of my products from my own garden. I know how things are made, how things are grown, and I can feel really good about selling those products to my consumers,” says Pallet.

“They also then pass on to me that they've now had some of the best foods and freshest flavours, and I can say to them 'I picked that from my garden this morning' and I can be really confident in my work.”

Pallet gave up the steady paycheque and stability of a position in one of the best kitchens in the area to pursue this dream – a decision he made for his son.

“I recently had a son and I wanted to be there for him,” says Pallett. “The way the industry is set up now is that if you are going to work in a high-end establishment very often the rest of your life will suffer. And, that is not a stage of his life I am willing to compromise on.”

“It was tough, we have definitely taken a hit financially. But, we have a such a strong support system here and it is not a huge worry for us.”

He says the decision to risk it all was nerve racking at first, but overwhelming support from friends and family let him know he was on the right path.

“I do paper work everyday, I clean everyday,” says Pallett. “So, I am like judge, jury and executioner of Kitchen Sync Catering. Everyday there is a little bit of everything. But, it is that ability to balance, to have that work/life balance, that makes this something special.”

For him this is also about sharing his passion for serving the best ingredients to his friends, family and customers. 

“I grow a lot of my own stuff and that allows me to save money, and that is something I am happy to pass along to you because I want people to purchase those products, and I want the word to get out there. It is not only a means of making a living for myself, but also raising awareness,” says Pallett.

“It is something I take very personally. This is something that strikes home as well.”

And his future is promising. Pallett says the movement for better and more sustainable quality food continues to gain speed and his company aims to meet that demand.

“You can see that even in the bigger chain food stores the sustainable ocean seafood section is getting larger and there is more advertising for it, you can see the organic sections are getting larger. This is reflective of the fact there is a demand out there – for local food, for sustainable food,” says Pallett, adding that the local farmers' markets get bigger and better every year. He believes that speaks to the demand for local and regional cuisine.

“The way information is easily shared now is raising awareness of some of the terrible practices that go on, and that is where I believe the demand has come from,” says Pallett. “Now people like me will start to pop up more frequently and hopefully give a more grassroots feel to where your food comes from.”

His venture, Kitchen Sync Catering is a 'boutique caterer' that specializes in smaller, unique events like anniversary parties, customer appreciation events, etc.

He does everything from smaller bites and tapas to multi-course plated sit-down dinners and he does everything from the ground up.

“I am open to catering in a park, or in an office or anywhere you need catering – I am happy to do it,” says Pallett. “I have been a take-home chef and I will be again, but I don't just go into homes, I go all over.”

In fact one of his favourite 'take home chef' concepts is called the 'vanishing chef'.

“You go into someone's house earlier in the day. You bring all the food and prepare it, then leave it on their stove top or in a bowl or in the oven ready to go. You clean up and disappear. Then, when their guests arrive, they put the heat on low, they pull it out of their oven and they present it as if they prepared it themselves – and the guests are none the wiser,” says Pallett.

Pallett adds that by growing and harvesting his own ingredients he pushes to embody the farm-to-table concept.

“This is something I really believe in and I am lucky enough to have the ability to chase my dream."

You can find out more about Pallett and Kitchen Sync Catering' by checking out his website here.

Skate park design help

West Kelowna is seeking input into the design of a new skate park via an online survey.

In partnership with the Canada 150 Community Infrastructure Program, the city is designing and constructing a new skate park at Memorial Park in 2016. The project will be located adjacent to the Johnson Bentley Memorial Aquatic Centre.

This park will be open to skateboarders, scooters, bmxers and other small wheel shredders of all ages.  

Skateboard park users who want to provide input and help shape the design features are asked to complete a short questionnaire. Click here to go to the questionnaire.

The new skate park will replace the current skate park that was built over 20 years ago.

Survey participants are asked to view presentation materials and design options before completing the survey. The survey will remain open until Sept. 14.

Grass fire in Peachland

UPDATE 6:30 P.M.

Firefighters with the Peachland Fire Department are mopping up a 0.1 hectare fire which hit in the Deep Creek area of the municipality late Monday afternoon.

According to Kayla Pepper with the Wildfire Management Service, provincial firefighters were called back after it was learned the fire had been knocked down quickly by local crews.

The fire is now in the hands of Peachland crews.

Another brush fire in the Central Okanagan - this one in Peachland.

The fire is in the Bulyea Avenue area near Hardy Falls.

Witnesses indicated the fire was burning on the north side of Deep Creek.

Fire crews are apparently hitting the fire from both Vernon and Bulyea avenues.

The BC Wildfire Service is also sending a six man crew to assist with the fire.

According to officials with the provincial ministry Peachland firefighters appeared to be getting a handle on the fire.

More details when they become available.

Send photos/video to [email protected]

Fire quickly knocked down

West Kelowna Fire Rescue responded to a structure fire in the 1000 Block of Anders Road in the Lakeview Heights Area, at approximately 3:45 p.m., Saturday.

The initial arriving crew, based in Lakeview Heights, found a fire burning on the exterior of the home.

They made a quick attack from the outside and were able to knock the fire down. Once the main fire was under control, the attack crew forced entry into the home to check for fire extension and overhaul the fire area.

The response included three engines and two command units. A total of 13 firefighters were supported by West Kelowna RCMP.

No residents were home at the time of the fire and no injuries were reported.

The cause of the fire is under investigation at this time. 

Boater faces charges

A West Kelowna man is facing charges following an incident on Okanagan Lake Wednesday evening.

RCMP Const. Jesse O'Donaghey said police in West Kelowna RCMP were called to assist the West Kelowna Fire Department who were responding to rescue a couple boating on the water.

A 45-year-old man, a 20-year-old woman and an eight-month-old child were in the boat at the time.

"The 45 year old man and operator of the vessel was reportedly passing out and required medical attention," said O'Donaghey.

"He was transported to Kelowna General Hospital for further assessment."

O'Donaghey said the woman and the infant were examined and released after being seen by paramedics.

"We did a safety check of the vessel and charges under the small vessel regulations are being considered."

O'Donaghey couldn't say whether drugs or alcohol were involved.

Police are continuing to investigate.


Moms try MOGA

Everything from picking up your baby to how your body feels doing it can be a brand new experience when you’re a first time mom.

But being surrounded by women who are in the same position can be both reassuring and supportive, which is why Amy Rauscher created MOGA, a fun, safe environment for new moms to exercise with their babies.

“I know I started MOGA because after my own baby, there is a lot of pressure to get your body back, to get an incredible beach body, and skinny and MOGA is not about that at all. It is about just being strong enough to lift your baby up verses the perfect bikini body."

You don’t have to be at your physical peak or even know your downward dog from your cat and cow; MOGA is about letting moms find balance in their lives and on their feet.

Rauscher says you won’t be alone if you’ve got a fussy infant or a troublesome toddler.

“Babies cry, we get it, moms are breast feeding,” she said. “One time I had no one doing yoga at one point, two babies were crying, one mom was breast feeding, the other was M.I.A., but we just go with it.”

Rauscher says you can come and go from the class as you please and there is no experience necessary.

Brianne Kirschener was one of the first students to attend MOGA and says she has only missed one class so far.

“The moms are all super supportive of one another and there are a few of us that come every week, and we catch up and find out how everyone’s week has been, it’s a little community, it’s amazing.”

Laisa Ebanks is another of Rauscher’s students who says she wanted to come because she wasn’t only a new mom but also a young mom and didn’t know many other women with babies.

“It was a good idea to get to know the other moms,” she says. “I was pretty active during pregnancy but of course your body changes and shifts so it was good to start stretching and getting back into it."

For the last two months Rauscher has been collecting donations for an online group called Mamas for Mamas, which helped her with creating this special class.

“I entered pregnancy alone as a single mom and I was nervous and quite scared to do it alone, but I found this Mamas for Mamas group and you’re never alone,” she explains. “You have so many moms behind you and it is all about helping moms with emotional support, or financial support or just diapers.”

Rauscher will get her opportunity to give back to the group on Aug. 31 during an event, where money and donations collected from the MOGA classes will be given to the group to help mothers in need.

The event is at 10:30 a.m. at Just 4 Fun Westbank.

MOGA classes take place in West Kelowna at Maternity Care on Stevens Road Wednesday at 10 a.m. and Thursday’s at noon. Classes are drop in and not just for new moms, but all moms, local and those who have just moved to the city.

For more information check out

Who shot Nyla the beagle?

The reward for whoever shot a 10-year-old beagle with a BB gun has just gone up.

Initially, Wade Thomas was offering $500 for information leading to charges against whoever shot his beloved dog, Nyla, last Thursday.

But since the story went public on Castanet, Sunday, family members and a complete stranger have donated money, bringing the reward total to $1,500.

The dog was viciously attacked at a cabin on Lindley Drive on the Westside last week.

“She was out for about five minutes. She came back, and her face was covered in blood,” Thomas said Sunday.

Thomas rushed Nyla to a local vet who examined the dog. Nyla had to be taken to a specialist in Vancouver, where she had to have an eye removed.

It was then the vet found the BB.

Aside from the emotional trauma of the attack, Thomas has paid more than $3,500 in vet bills and travel expenses.

“I want them charged with animal cruelty. There are lots of small dogs and cats in the area, I don't want it to happen again,” he said.

Thomas has contacted police about the incident and anyone with information is asked to call the RCMP at 250-762-3300, or CrimeStoppers at 1-800-222-8477, or online.

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