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Penticton  

Awards gala tickets on sale

Tickets are on sale for the 2017 Western Canada Awards Gala, scheduled for May 5 at the South Okanagan Events Centre.

The gala includes dinner and the tournament's awards ceremony. The Vees are excited to welcome special guests, former NHL players, Andy Moog and Brendan Morrison, and current Vancouver Canucks defenceman, Troy Stecher, for an alumni discussion panel.

“The Awards Gala is one of the biggest events of the Western Canada Cup schedule," said David Michaud, tournament chair. "It will be a great celebration of not only the hockey during the week, but a celebration of hockey in Penticton.

“We’re thrilled that Brendan Morrison, Andy Moog and Troy Stecher are taking time out of their busy schedules to share some stories and experiences with the players and these in attendance.”

Tickets are $75 per person. The gala begins at 5 p.m. with a cocktail hour, dinner at 6 p.m. and awards at 7 p.m.

A limited number of $10 tickets will be available for fans who wish to watch the awards ceremony and alumni panel discussion only.

The Western Canada Cup opens Saturday at 2 p.m. when the Chilliwack Chiefs play the Brooks Bandits. The Vees play later that night at 7 p.m. against the Battleford North Stars.



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Trial delayed for final time?

A man has been granted an adjournment in his assault causing bodily harm trial to bring in a new lawyer, but that adjournment comes with a stern warning – the next trial will go ahead with or without a lawyer.

Charles Houle is charged with assault causing bodily harm against Ronald Street in Bridesville on Aug. 31, 2015, along with Johnathan Jacob Taylor-Miller, who pleaded guilty to charges over the incident and was sentenced to seven months of house arrest in October last year.

Houle, on the other hand, had originally entered a guilty plea, but after he and his lawyer Don Skogstad parted ways last summer, Houle's plea was pulled. Houle was also found to be guilty two weeks ago of a separate assault, also on Street in Bridesville. That assault happened on Dec. 2, 2014.

Following that trial, Houle says he's going to need legal help to contest the more recent assault charges before him.

"Due to the seriousness of these charges before me, I am unable to handle these charges for a trial in a proper manner, so I require legal representation," he said, adding that he has retained a lawyer.

If Houle hadn't brought up his need for a lawyer, Judge Meg Shaw told him she would have, adding that assault causing bodily harm and the other charges before Houle are "extremely serious."

At issue, however, was a recently introduced interpretation of the rules for how long a wait before charges go to trial, which is commonly believed to place the limit at 18 months for provincial matters, and 30 months for federal matters.

Putting off the trial would likely push the trial date past that time, but Houle told Shaw he was willing to waive his right to a timely trial to gain a lawyer.

Shaw told Houle he would get his adjournment, but made it clear that come the next trial date, he would undergo a trial "with or without counsel."



Community garden growing

Incredible Edible Penticton is expanding its garden space and looking for people in the community to help out.

Work groups are planned starting in May to make improvements to the garden on Hastings Avenue.

"There are a number of different reasons to get involved," said Chandra Wong. "You have access to fresh-grown organic produce, vegetables, herbs and fruit, so you can supplement meals and it's about meeting people in your community and doing something with them."

The movement to encourage people to grow more food for themselves and the community at large started in the summer of 2014, thanks to the efforts of avid gardener Hilma LaBelle and different organizations.

LaBelle started researching Incredible Edible when a friend sent information about the original group in Todmorden, England.

It started with the garden on Hastings Avenue and moved to other areas in the city.

The expansion now taking place is thanks to a grant they received from the Community Foundation of the South Okanagan Similkameen in 2016.

The funding has been used to put a fence around the garden to keep the wildlife out. They also plan to increase the number of raised beds and make other general improvements around the garden.

The community is invited to help out with the garden starting on Sunday and Wednesday mornings in May.

More information on Incredible Edible Penticton is available on their Facebook page.



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Car flips onto its side

A car has flipped onto its side at the intersection of Camrose Street and Warren Avenue, though it's not clear if any major injuries were suffered.

It's also not clear how the crash occurred, but skid marks are clearly visible on the pavement leading toward the crashed car. Firefighters were on scene directing traffic late Thursday afternoon as a tow truck arrived.

Castanet will update more information as it becomes available.



More issues with parks plan

With the second draft of the Parks and Recreation Master Plan released, the Save Skaha Park Society is giving the document a failing grade.

In a news release from SSPS, the group took aim at a clause in the master plan's vision statement, which says the city has "trust in the stewardship of our parks and recreation." Leaders of the SSPS call that statement an "astonishing admission of our city's failure to earn that trust to date."

"We think that to say, 'We have trust in the stewardship of our parks and recreation,' in a vision statement is actually an admission that the city does not have that trust now but their aim is to recover it, and that’s why we called it an astonishing admission that requires full explanation in the report," Lisa Martin later clarified.

While the vision statement includes that clause, the SSPS statement says that's not backed up within the remainder of the document.

"Nowhere in the report is this reality described and analyzed in any meaningful way, yet the lack of trust is a fundamental barrier to real progress in maximizing the benefits of our parks to our quality of life and our environment," the SSPS statement says.

The group also set its crosshairs at a statement from a consultant hired by the city to help move the process along. In particular, it scolds the consultant's language on public opinion on taking up parkland for commercial uses and on amusements in public parks.

The consultant says "many" residents oppose commercial uses and that the community is "divided" on amusements.

That, SSPS says, ignores the 85 per cent opposition to commercial uses in parks recorded in a phone survey conducted for the master plan, as well as several rallies and petitions and letters to the editor.

The group's statement takes further issue with the "deliberately ambiguous" language used in the document, including "inappropriate development" rather than "commercial development," and "preferably unencumbered" rather than simply "unencumbered."

The SSPS is calling on the master plan's steering committee to include a recommendation that would, if heeded, amend the Parks Dedication Bylaw to remove a clause that allows council to lease public park land out.

The bylaw was voted on in a 2002 referendum, and SSPS believes those who voted in favour of it "believed they had protected our parks from commercial development."

The city will be holding an open house at the Penticton Trade and Convention Centre on May 1, while feedback will also be received online at the city's public engagement website.



Shooting suspect released

The person involved in Wednesday’s fatal shooting in Penticton has been released without charge, according to the RCMP.

“This was an isolated event, and not a random act as both parties were known to each other. We do not feel the public is at risk,” Cpl. Don Wrigglesworth said. “All of our police resources remain engaged in this ongoing investigation.”

Multiple police officers remained at the scene at 988 Creston Ave., as of Thursday morning.

Sources tell Castanet that the alleged shooter in Wednesday’s homicide called 911 immediately after the incident.

Officers were called to the apartment building at about 10:30 a.m. and arrived to find a deceased male.

Witnesses heard loud banging and yelling, “I know you're in here,” prior to a gunshot.

It remains possible that the suspect could face charges at a later date. 

Anyone with information on the shooting that has not spoken to police yet is asked to contact the Penticton RCMP at 250-492-4300.



Fundraising for fireworks

The Downtown Penticton Association is fundraising for a Canada 150 fireworks celebration.

“We are looking to bring to Penticton the largest fireworks show this city has ever had. With a goal of $20,000 it will truly be an amazing display of colour lighting up our nighttime sky over Okanagan Lake,” reads a GoFundMe campaign launched by the Association.

So far Ellis Don Construction has come through with the majority of the funds, pitching in $5,000. The City of Penticton has contributed $1,500, while the DPA has put up $1,000. Perrin Orthodontics has promised $500, for a total of $8,000 so far.

Donations can also be made at the Downtown Penticton office.



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