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Driver hurt in crash

The driver of an SUV was injured Thursday morning after a crash on the Westside.

A pickup truck pulling a trailer and the SUV collided at Boucherie Road and Gellatly Road at about 9:40 a.m.

RCMP, fire and ambulance responded.


West Kelowna teen missing

West Kelowna RCMP are requesting the public’s assistance locating a missing West Kelowna teen.

Liam O'Brien, 15, was last seen on May 16, 2016.

“There is nothing to indicate foul play at this time and police believe he is either in West Kelowna or Kelowna,” says Const. Jesse O’Donaghey.

“Since O'Brien's disappearance, police have followed up on several leads and possible sightings. However, O'Brien remains missing.”

O’Donaghey says O'Brien continues to be active on social media and investigators believe he is intentionally avoiding police.

He is described as;

  • Caucasian male
  • 15 years old
  • brown hair

Anyone with information on the whereabouts of O'Brien is urged to contact their local police, or remain anonymous by calling Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477, leaving a tip online at www.crimestoppers.net or by texting your tip to CRIMES (274637) ktown.

Kelowna woman missing

Kelowna RCMP are requesting the public’s assistance in locating a missing Kelowna resident.

Sandra McLaughlan, 60, was last seen on May 19, 2016.

“There is nothing to indicate foul play at this time,” says Const. Jesse O’Donaghey.

“Police are very concerned for Sandra McLaughlan’s health and well-being and friends and family report that it is out of character for her to be out of contact for this long.”

McLaughlan is described as:

  • Caucasian female;
  • 60 years;
  • 5 ft 6 in (169 cm);
  • 161 lbs (73 kg);
  • blonde hair;
  • hazel eyes;

She was last seen wearing:

  • beige pants;
  • red shirt;
  • glasses

Anyone with information on the whereabouts of McLaughlan is urged to contact their local police, or remain anonymous by calling Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477, leaving a tip online at www.crimestoppers.net or by texting your tip to CRIMES (274637) ktown.

Warriors past and present

It's never difficult to sell a hot brand.

In the Central Okanagan, there's no brand hotter than the West Kelowna Warriors.

Hockey fan or not, you couldn't look at a publication or turn on a radio without hearing something about the BCHL, and now, RBC Cup champion Warriors.

While fans and those involved with the organization are still riding the euphoric high from Sunday's RBC Cup  clinching win, members of the team's past are starting to roll into town for the fourth annual Tim Hortons/Warriors Alumni Weekend.

"This one has been the easiest one yet (to market), with the all-star team they had this year," said weekend organizer Joel Woznikoski.

"It sure made for a lot of demand to come out golfing and hopefully we'll get a great turnout for the Tim Hortons Cup game Saturday."

The game begins at 3 p.m. Saturday at Royal LePage Place.

"Admission is a non-perishable food item for the Westside Community Food Bank. There will be autographs and pictures. All the trophies will be there."

Sunday's golf tournament at Shannon Lake Golf Course has completely sold out.

Unfortunately, Woznikoski said none of the current players will be playing in Saturday's charity game featuring the alumni and the West Kelowna Fire Department, or Sunday's golf tournament.

"We don't have any of them playing in the golf tournament, only because we wanted the guys to focus 110 per cent on the task at hand.

"We didn't want to bug them, so, with the late timing of the tournament, we didn't save any spots for them. But, I'm sure some of them will pop up throughout the weekend, at least we're hoping so."

Woznikoski said about 30 players will be coming from out of town. However, one player who won't be here is Justin Schultz, the face of the event for the first three years.

Schultz and his Pittsburgh Penguins are still alive in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Shooting in Peachland

RCMP are investigating a shooting in Peachland.

The incident occurred the Trepanier area last Thursday at about 6 p.m.

According to the RCMP, a man was confronted by a suspect on a rural property in the area and verbally threatened then shot in a lower limb. The suspect and his associates fled the area toward the Okanagan Connector.

The victim was taken to hospital for treatment of his injuries.

RCMP believe that this was not a random act and the public is not at risk.

The suspect has been described to police as:

  • Caucasian male
  • Late 20s early 30s
  • Large in stature
  • Muscular
  • Approximately 6-2
  • Short light coloured hair
  • With tattoos on his hands
  • Wearing a red and grey track suit

The suspect vehicle is described as a black newer Dodge or Toyota pickup truck with blacked out windows.

Anyone with any information is asked to contact the West Kelowna RCMP General Investigations Section at 250-768-2880. Remain anonymous by calling Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477, leaving a tip online at www.crimestoppers.net or by texting your tip to CRIMES (274637) ktown.

Memorial flowers can stay

The flowers can stay – for now.

Peachland staff removed flowers placed on a teenage murder victim's memorial bench by her mother earlier this month.

Ashlee Hyatt’s mother, Charrie Fichter, has been leaving flowers on the waterfront bench for the last five years in remembrance.

Hyatt was killed by one of her classmates at a house party in Peachland in 2010. The two girls were 16 years old at the time. Hyatt’s killer was convicted of manslaughter in 2013.

Peachland Mayor Cindy Fortin says the flowers should not have been taken without notice, despite a policy that prohibits leaving such items.

The mayor said she was disappointed to hear the flowers had been removed by staff without first notifying Fichter.

She brought the issue before council on Tuesday to see if bylaws around memorial benches and other items could be reviewed.

“We decided they can leave the flowers for now while we directed staff to look at some options, particularly to put those cone shaped flower holders on either side of the bench,” she said.

The mayor says she was shaking her head at the whole incident, which began after someone complained to district staff about the flowers, saying it made them feel sad.

“I suppose it is in the eye of the beholder, but most people I have talked to – except for maybe one – loved the flowers and they were nicely taken care of and nicely maintained.”

She says she even took down her own flowers to leave on the bench after she found out Fichter’s had been removed without any notification.

“I am absolutely in favour of this,” she said. “But I understand that we don’t want these donated benches to become shrines, with a whole bunch of teddy bears and crosses and balloons. But just a couple nice bouquets of flowers, there absolutely in no harm.

Sometimes I think we get so entrenched in policy we forget the human factor, and we can’t forget that it’s what we do in the first place.”

Firefighting partners

From technical rescues, to fire mitigation, to protecting homes, a renewed fire services agreement will cover it all.

On Tuesday, an agreement was formally signed to extend the long-term fire protection by West Kelowna Fire Rescue to Westbank First Nation (WFN). The agreement is for 15 years with an optional five-year extension.

West Kelowna Fire Rescue, chief and council of Westbank First Nation and West Kelowna mayor and council gathered at Station 31 to sign the agreement.

West Kelowna fire Chief Jason Brolund says the agreement ensures fire crews will deliver the exact same service to residents on WFN land as they do for those living in West Kelowna.

“Fires often don’t respect borders and that is what we have seen here in the Okanagan time and time again,” he said. “(It's important) not having to worry about whose fire the land is on, and in particular who is going to fight that fire. If it is on our border we are going to action it and take care of it.”

The agreement will be reviewed by all parties every five years to ensure it is still meeting the needs of both communities. The Westbank First Nation will appoint Brolund as its fire chief with authority to exercise powers under the Westbank First Nation Fire Prevention Law.

Chief Robert Louie says the West Kelowna fire protection services are second to none, and the WFN doesn’t have to rely on any other neighbouring community for such services.

“We feel confident that the training is put in place that is necessary to protect the people on our land,” said Louie.

West Kelowna Fire Rescue will provide quarterly updates to the WFN and facilitate joint training and exercises with WFN law enforcement officers.

The WFN will pay West Kelowna a fee for fire services, calculated annually and reflecting its share of service delivery. The fee is based on BC Assessment Authority property values and the approved fire department annual budget.

Chief Louie also announced talks were in place to build another fire hall near the WFN government offices.

“We have the lands in our planning that can be set aside for a potential future fire hall because of its location and accessibility and the immediate needs in the most strategic place possible,” he said.

“We have had discussions with past Fire Chief Wayne Schnitzler and West Kelowna city council so we are hoping over the next several months, sometime within this fiscal year, that this is an opportunity that we should capitalize on.”

A new fire station possibly being built in West Kelowna is good news to Brolund who says he would like nothing better than to have his staff work out of a modern facility.

“We look forward to exploring this with the chief going forward.”

 The agreement replaces a previous agreement which was signed in 2000 and expires in 2017.

Manhunt on Westside Rd.

UPDATE: 3:39 p.m.

Mounties have arrested a woman and continue to search for a man after the pair fled from police early Saturday morning.

At 9:29 a.m., the West Kelowna RCMP responded to a report of a disturbance between a man and a woman at a business located in the 2600 block of Ross Road.

When police arrived on scene the man and woman fled in a 90s GMC Jimmy and failed to stop for police. The vehicle was being driven in a dangerous manner.

The vehicle was later located abandoned in the Bear Creek campground. With the assistance of a police service dog the woman suspect was located and arrested without incident. The suspect man remains outstanding.

Police have received a report of a boat stolen from the area. The boat is described as flat (hull) bottom, pointed at the front, dark green with beige strip near the top, three seats and a Minkota motor.

Investigators believe that the suspect may have stolen the boat, however are unable to confirm at this time.

The suspect is described as six foot, two inches tall, heavy set, bald and in his 30s.

He is wearing a blue sweater, purple shirt, blue jeans and white runners.

The West Kelowna RCMP continue to investigate a variety of criminal offences.

If the general public spots the boat or the suspect, police ask that they not to approach them and call 911 immediately.

Anyone with any information is asked to contact the West Kelowna RCMP at 250-768-2880. Remain anonymous by calling Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477, leaving a tip online atwww.crimestoppers.net or by texting your tip to CRIMES (274637) ktown.

UPDATE: 1:15 P.M.

A man at the Bear Creek Provincial Campground said two RCMP SUVs pulled into a campsite with a blue Chevrolet Blazer and no tent or trailer at about noon.

An unmarked police SUV followed with a K-9 unit, and began searching for a man, described as 230 pounds, 6'2", with a shaved head and wearing a purple shirt. 

RCMP were reportedly stopping cars leaving the campground, checking for the suspect, but by 1 p.m. they were no longer checking cars. 

UPDATE: 12:45 P.M.

An official at Bear Creek Provincial Park tells a Castanet reporter that police may be looking for an armed suspect.

Police found the female suspect hiding in the campground and made the arrest.

UPDATE: 12:30 P.M.

RCMP confirm that they are searching for a man after an incident in Kelowna.

There are no details on what that incident actually involved. However, police say a man and woman fled Kelowna, crossed the bridge and headed up Westside Road.

RCMP officers have since arrested a woman, but add the man is still on the lam.

– with files from Nicholas Johansen


Police have converged on Bear Creek Park on the Westside.

Witnesses in the area off Westside Road near Traders Cove say there appears to be a manhunt underway.

At least one police dog team appears to be involved.

Castanet will have more information as it becomes available.

Send your tips and photos to [email protected]

Getting ready for fire

Glenrosa residents in West Kelowna are being reminded that alternate emergency evacuation routes are available in case of a wildfire.

They include Jackpine, Bear Lake Main and Bear Creek Forest Service roads.

The routes were identified as emergency exits after the 2009 Glenrosa forest fire.

City staff have traveled the routes to ensure they are clear of obstructions and well-marked with signs to assist with navigation, according to a press release. Patrols will continue through the fire season to ensure the roads remain passable and, as required, city staff will provide pilot vehicles to aid in navigating the winding, gravel, logging truck roads.

In the event of an emergency, residents will be advised through emergency personnel, the Regional Emergency Program website and media, if they are under an evacuation order or alert and instructed on what route to take.

The city says the primary exit from Glenrosa is Highway 97 via the Glenrosa Road Interchange or Lower Glenrosa Road. If for some reason the primary route is impassable, residents will be advised to use an alternate route. Residents would then travel up Glenrosa Road, turn north onto Jackpine Forest Service Road (FSR) and continue onward to the junction at Bear Lake Main FSR. At Bear Lake Main they would turn east to access Westside Road or, if necessary, go west on Bear Creek FSR and Sunset Main to access Highway 97C.

Learning from the terrifying Fort McMurray fire, new signs have also been posted reminding motorists to have at least a half tank of gas, and/or a 20L, safely stored emergency container of fuel, in order to travel the routes and reach the next available service station. Signs also advise that cell service is unavailable along the majority of either route.

The City of West Kelowna has posted a PDF map of the alternate routes on its website. In the event of an emergency, the map will also be posted on the Emergency Program website along with maps showing the evacuation order and alert areas.

Small fire in Smith Creek

Update: 7 p.m.

Fire crews quickly contained a blaze in the hillside above Smith Creek, Friday afternoon.

Assistance Fire Chief Brent Watson says a plume of smoke was reported in the trees approximately 600 meters above Copper Ridge Place, just before 4 p.m.

“Due to the limited access and steep terrain, crews had to hike up to the fire carrying hand tools and water cans with them,” he said.

The blaze was estimated to be 25 by 20 feet wide, with rank 1-2 fire behaviour.

A West Kelowna Wildland Unit was able to make its way through the dense trees and over rough road to within 100 metres of the fire.

A total of 13 personnel attended the fire along side one Wildland Unit, a pumper truck, and a command unit.

The cause of the fire is under investigation and Watson says there was no lightening reported in the area.

Watson reminds people to exercise extreme caution in the parks and in the forested area. 

Fire crews in West Kelowna were called to a small brush fire in Smith Creek, Friday afternoon.

According to witnesses the blaze was on a trail near where a wildfire sparked in 2014.

The fire was not reported to be close to any residences; however crews set up command in the 2500 block of Copper Ridge Drive.

Firefighters remain on scene.

Castanet will have more information when it becomes available.

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