Heavy winds could return

Strong winds could hit the South Okanagan once again on Saturday evening. 

The winds won't be as extreme as the treacherous winds that blew through the region earlier this week, but Environment Canada said there is potential for 50 kilometre-per-hour winds with gusts of up to 70 km/h.

Meteorologist Johnathan Bau said moderate winds of 20 km/h with gusts to 40 km/h will occur, with a chance of those winds increasing due to a frontal air mass. 

During the height of last week's wind storm, wind gusts were clocked at 94 km/h at the Penticton Airport on Tuesday.

On Wednesday, the peak of those winds reached 75 km/h.

On both of those days, crews dealt with a significant number of downed trees and power lines in the region.

Bau said a further 5 to 10 millimetres of rain is expected in Penticton before midnight on Saturday.

Prior to Saturday, a total of 8.6 mm of rain had fallen in Penticton this month. The average rainfall for October is 26 mm.


Bluffs project 'great' for city

The proposed expansion of Penticton's city limits near Skaha Lake is something the Wild Sheep Society of B.C. would like to see happen.

The boundary extension near the Wiltse area would add a 300-acre parcel of land that is currently privately owned and uninhabited. 

About 180 mixed-use residences would be built on part of that land, and the developer plans to formally gift 150 acres to B.C. Parks and expand Skaha Bluffs Provincial Park.

The Skaha Bluffs park, currently about 1,200 acres in size, is a critical habitat for bighorn sheep.

The Wild Sheep Society of B.C. has voiced their support for the proposed development and provincial park expansion.

"It’s a great opportunity for the community... This will ensure that sheep have access to this ecologically-sensitive habitat," Lisa Hettrich said, the society's executive director.

"The mission of the Wild Sheep Society is to promote and enhance wild sheep habitat throughout B.C. We believe in working together with all stakeholders on these issues."

The proposed expansion would be another victory for the bighorn sheep habitat near Skaha Lake.

In August, the Nature Trust of B.C. purchased a parcel of land more than 200 acres in size to conserve for that species and several others.

The expansion and development project that is proposed requires an alternate approval process to determine if residents support it, since it involves extending municipal boundaries.

City staff has hosted four open houses to inform the public on the plans, the last of which was hosted on Oct. 15th.

At least 10 per cent of Penticton's population would formally need to oppose the project to kill it, and residents have until Nov. 15th to fill out the paperwork if they wish to do so.

Ben Johnson, the city's special project manager, said that most concerns heard have been to do with increased traffic in that area if the development goes through, when speaking at an open house on Oct. 6th at Wiltse Elementary.

"We'll look at mitigating those as best as possible," Johnson said.

More information can be found here.

Compost back at council

Summerland council will debate Monday allowing the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen onto its landfill to carry out testing for a controversial proposed regional compost facility.

With Coun. Erin Carlson on maternity leave and Coun. Richard Barkwill on vacation, council punted the decision in August to ensure everyone could weigh in.

Now fully staffed, council will decide if it should allow technical studies to take place on the landfill to determine the feasibility of the compost plant.

Council will hear from a vocal contingent of residents who are calling for the district to slam the door in the face of the RDOS. In addition to a bevy of letters, a petition of 240 signatures opposed to the compost plant will be presented to council.

Opponents have been organizing, with lawn signs popping up in front of homes in recent weeks. Concerns revolves around additional truck traffic, smell and leachate.

The RDOS selected Summerland as the prefered site for a needed compost facility following an extensive period of public consultation and debate. The board also voted to take the second choice of RDOS staff — an entirely new facility in Marron Valley — off the table when they selected Summerland.


Beads help wildfire victims

Bead charms sold in the South Okanagan are helping fund assistance for B.C. residents who have been affected by this year's record wildfire season.

BeadTrails Experience, a jewelry store located on Victoria Road North in Summerland, raised $1,395.00 in donations for the Canadian Red Cross in B.C.

The jewelry store sold bead charms that boasted a fire department shield by donations of $15 dollars or more.

Karen Griggs, the owner of BeadTrails, said the initiative drew donations from all across Canada and some from Britain as well.

The jewelry store has nearly 200 business members throughout the Okanagan and the Interior.

"The BeadTrails team felt a strong connection with those affected by the wildfires and wanted to provide a meaningful way for people to donate," Griggs said.

Blue bins filled with trash

Colton Davies

The South Okanagan is getting serious about contaminated recycling.

According to the Regional District Okanagan Similkameen, eight to 15 per cent of recycling that is collected from homes in the region is materials that are not accepted.

Contamination in recycling is audited by Recycle B.C., and the district can be slapped with fines if the contamination amounts are too high.

It used to be easy for municipalities to get away with having garbage mixed in with recycling.

Shipping containers with recycling are regularly sent to China, where those materials are then reused. 

In reality, those shipping containers had large amounts of garbage.

That was until China created a 'green fence' six years ago, and began sending shipments back to North America that had garbage and mixed recycling, according to the RDOS.

"We’ve known thousands of tonnes of mixed recycling and garbage were being shipped to China," Cameron Baughen said, RDOS regional waste mangement coordinator.

“Since then, the Province of BC has pushed to make sure that all recycling collected is recycled appropriately."

Baughen acknowledged there has been a shift in recent years on what materials are acceptable.

"Local residents have expressed frustration that some items, especially soft plastics, used to be collected but aren’t now," he said.

A province-wide program with Recycle B.C. was implemented in 2014 to regulate what is collected in residential recycling, and the rules have been consistent since.

"It's been getting slightly better, but not fast enough," Baughen said.

According to Baughen, workers are checking blue bins more often before loading.

The RDOS said in some cases, residents who put out inappropriate materials will not have their recycling picked up, and workers will leave a note providing more information on why their materials were left.

Overnight outage planned

The District of Summerland is preparing residents to be in the dark early Sunday morning.

A planned power outage will take place from 12:01 a.m. until 6:00 a.m. on Oct. 22nd in the community, excluding the areas of Trout Creek, Front Bench and Canyon Views.

Staff will be upgrading electrical switches at the Prairie Valley substation during the outage, replacing the existing porcelain switches with more epoxy ones which are more durable.

This will be the second and final planned outage needed this month.

The time allotted for the work was deemed the least disruptive to residents by the district.

For more information, you can contact Summerland's works and utilities department at 250-494-0431.

Shatford opening for youth

Penticton’s Shatford Centre is opening its doors to youth for the next month as a part of the Art for Peace exhibition.

Open studio opportunities for those aged 12 to 24 will be held every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Oct. 21 to Nov. 25. Participants can paint, draw, dance practice poetry and more with the help of on-site mentors and space to create. Youth are asked to bring their own supplies, but will have access to more.

The Art for Peace exhibition opens Nov. 10; billed as an intergenerational space for artists in the Okanagan to showcase their work.

Pre-registration appreciated. Call 250-770-7668 or email at [email protected]

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