Floating fun in the lake

Registrations have been trickling in for the cardboard boat race to be held in Naramata this Sunday, but the organizers hope to see more come in this week.

The race at Manitou Park is open to locals and visitors alike.

The Naramata Church Women's Group will once again be serving refreshments and food and the Friends of The Library will be selling reading material.

There will also be a showcase of local alcoholic beverages.

Meryl from Peak Perfection will be at the park with her ice cream truck and has donated some ice cream as one of the category prizes.

Following the boat race, between noon and 2 p.m., there will be a dunk tank, inflatable water slide and bouncy castle along with musical entertainment.

RDOS director Karla Kozakevich has agreed to be one of the first to be dunked.

Fire Chief Tony Trovao will also be on hand to take a dip along with several Penticton news reporters.

The race will take place at 11 a.m. at the park. 

Preceding the race will be a parade through the village starting from the school at 10 a.m.

For more information and to register, visit their website.

Telus shelter break and enter

A South Okanagan man who broke into a Telus service shelter in the Oliver area was sentenced to two years, with credit for time served, in a Penticton courtroom on Wednesday.

Steve Godbout was facing charges of breaking and entering, stemming from the shelter incident on March 19, and possession of stolen property from the day he was arrested on April 5. He was not charged with damage to a cell tower on the top of Fairview Mountain, which happened just prior to the break and enter.

Godbout, who occasionally has places to stay but is mostly homeless, was handed the sentence at the end of his trial, after Judge Gregory Koturbash found him guilty of both charges.

The trial itself included testimony from police and Telus witnesses as well as submissions from Crown counsel Vernon Frolick and defence lawyer James Pennington.

A Telus employee testified that the tower collapsed on March 17. Godbout was subsequently seen by the employee exiting the shelter, on March 19, as Telus came in with a helicopter crew and engineers to analyze the tower collapse.

The witness said he caught up with the man and asked him if he breaks in all the time, he then asked the accused to smile and took his picture.

The accused carried on walking and the employee called his manager when he noticed the door to the shelter was so badly damaged he couldn't get in.

He was advised to call the police, and Godbout, who was observed a second time on a ridge near the shelter in the same time period, was arrested on April 5.

At the time of his arrest, he was found to be in possession of a USB storage device, another electronic device and a single key taken from the shelter.

In handing down the sentence Koturbash took into consideration that Godbout has 29 prior convictions for break and enter and that his action of damaging the building had considerable impact on people in Oliver, as it affects cellphone usage.

With the credit for time served, the accused has 549 days left to serve. The judge also asked that Godbout pay for the repairs to the door at the shelter, which cost $16,452.

The accused was not given any probation. Instead Koturbash told him he needs to turn things around.

Getting Smart with security

A fed-up downtown shop has hired a new security guard after an ongoing issue with shoplifting.

SmartShopper owner Leigh Follestad estimates his shop loses about $100 per day in stolen items.

“That’s what we’re able to catch, or either find,” he said. “Even based on last year’s financial, when I analyzed everything, the number is about 100 bucks a day.”

He said shoplifters don’t discriminate in the types of items they steal from the store, which sells an array of products.

“That’s everything from groceries to sandwiches to virtually anything in the store,” he said.

The thought to hire a security guard initially came as Follestad considered hiring a security guard for the August long weekend, which he said is the shop’s busiest time of year.

“It gets absolutely crazy in the store,” he said. “We talked about it and we said, 'You know, we should really hire some security for that weekend specifically.'”

He said he then decided that it was time for the story to hire a full-time security guard.

“I said 'You know what, I think I’m at that point, now, where I need to let the people know that are stealing from me that I’m serious,'” he said. “I have to take a stand, and I have to have security in the store.”

The security guard started on Saturday.

Follestad has previously posted videos and images of shoplifters caught on his security cameras on the Internet and on his door, and said it’s had some level of success for him.

“It keeps a lot of the innocent people innocent,” he said. “It potentially makes someone who’s thinking about doing it, it makes them think twice about it if it’s not something they’ve done before.”

He said it has also helped him to resolve cases of shoplifting in the store.

“It’s helped me more than once, not only identify the people,” he said. “It’s helped me get my money back, or in a couple of cases, you know, people getting charged.”

He said it doesn’t stop all potential shoplifters, though.

“Unfortunately there’s a certain element that doesn’t care, you know, whether their pictures are on the Internet or posted on my door,” Follestad said.

He said hiring a security guard hasn’t affected his ability to staff in other areas at this point, but wouldn’t say so much for winter months, when business dies down.

Tenant at Satikw Crossing

The South Okanagan’s first Nissan auto dealership will open at the Penticton Indian Band’s Satikw Crossing development, according to Chief Jonathan Kruger and John Kot, owner of Nissan Penticton.

“I’m very honoured and excited to work with the Penticton Indian Band and bring this fast-moving automotive franchise to the Penticton community,” said Kot, who confirms lease negotiations are being finalized for the lease of a two-acre site. 

"The Nissan lineup consists of very exciting vehicles and we look forward to the expansion of our operations to this beautiful area. The facility will boast a state-of-the-art, 16,000-square-foot building with Nissans New Image program."

More than 30 full-time jobs are expected to be created at the dealership when it opens in mid-2017, plus more jobs during construction.

Infrastructure work by the Penticton Indian Band to service the site is expected to start within 60 days.

The interest and inquiries for the Satikw Crossing development, also know as the Channel Lands, has steadily increased since the completion of the bridge as there has been a number of businesses who have already contacted the Penticton Indian Band Development Corporation.

“Signing our first commercial tenant at Satikw Crossing proves that when you build it, they will come. This is the culmination of a 22-year journey to resolve legal, environmental and financial hurdles to build an $8-million bridge to the future that links our economies with the broader region,” said Kruger.

"By building and financing the bridge and infrastructure on the Channel Lands we demonstrate our commitment to help locatees develop their vision for the lands they own.”

The recently completed Satikw Crossing bridge, meaning “river crossing” in the Okanagan Sylix language, spans the Okanagan River Channel at Green Avenue in Penticton.

The new five-lane bridge was financed by the Band to open up access for the first time to more than 140 acres (60 hectares) of prime development land adjacent to Highway 97 and the Penticton Regional Airport for residential, commercial, industrial and recreational uses.

“It is great to see the Nissan brand come to Penticton and strengthen the product offerings here to keep people and dollars in our region. This really shows the potential of the Satikw Crossing to bring new business opportunities and continued momentum to Penticton,” said Penticton Mayor Andrew Jakubeit.

The Penticton Indian Band, with the largest reserve lands in British Columbia, has seen a flurry of development activity over the past three years.

In addition to the Satikw Crossing bridge and commercial development projects, the band has recently completed the construction of two major state-of-the-art community facilities – Sqilx’w Community facilities and the PIB Outma Sqilx’w Cultural School – both valued at more than $13 million.

The new facilities are powered by geothermal energy.

Play Winery recently opened at the Band’s Skaha Hills development.

The 550-acre resort-residential development overlooking Skaha Lake sold out its first phase and a majority of its second phase and will eventually see over 600 homes, vineyards, a winery, walking and cycling trails built on this exceptional parcel of land.

The band envisions more than $100 million in capital projects taking place on its lands within the next 10 years.

“I’d like to thank our band council and our community for providing support on economic initiatives such as the Satikw Crossing. We are committed to work with all of our locatees in helping them succeed with their business and development ventures.  The Penticton Indian Band will be one of the strongest engines in the region for economic growth,” said Kruger.

Kruger also thanked the federal government for their contribution to the Satikw Crossing infrastructure project, and acknowledged the City of Penticton and the Province of BC for their support as approvals for construction were being sought.

Businesses interested in more information about development opportunities at Satikw Crossing can contact PIBDC Economic Business Development Officer Lesley Gabriel at (250) 492-3154 or [email protected], or visit satikwcrossing.com.

Peach Fest bus extensions

People looking to avoid traffic during this year’s Peach Festival will be getting a little relief from the bus service along Main Street.

From Aug. 3 to Aug. 7, BC Transit is extending its bus times for the Route 5 bus, which runs along Main Street to the Cherry Lane Shopping Centre

Typically both buses that run along Main Street end their services just past 6:40, but for the festival, Route 5 will continue its hourly service until 11:41, when it will make its final departure from Martin Street and Lakeshore Drive.

For more information on Penticton’s bus routes, people can visit the BC Transit website.

Peach Fest street closures

The City of Penticton is warning drivers about street closures during next week's Peach Festival.

Various streets and parking lots will see closures throughout the week to make way for the 69th annual Peach Festival.

Streets will be closed to regular traffic due to various events like the Peach Fest Parade on Aug. 6 and a motocross event on Aug. 4.

The annual festival brings thousands into the city for a week of free events, which will also include the PenTown Throwdown, a skateboard and BMX event entering its fourth year, and the Reel Peach Film Festival.

Details on street closures can be found on the city's website.

Petro gas cards stolen

The Penticton RCMP responded to several business break and enters in the city in recent days.

On July 25, several Petro-Canada gas cards were reported stolen from school buses parked at the Berry & Smith Trucking Ltd. lot on Warren Avenue.

The cards apparently had $3,000 worth of gas charged to them from the Petro-Canada card lock facility on Okanagan Avenue, according to the police. 

The suspect in the incident was driving a black truck with a faded canopy and a large tank in the back.

There was also a break and enter reported on July 25 at the Toro and Feed outlet on Industrial Avenue.

The glass door was broken, with two Toro gas trimmers and two Toro hedge trimmers also stolen.

Earlier in the week on July 22, Just Zumba Fitness on Fairview Road reported a break and enter.

The front door was jimmied and a cash box and laptop were taken.

The theft is believed to have happened between July 15 and 16.

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