Tuesday, July 22nd21.5°C

BC tankers assist US fire

The BC government has come to the aid of firefighting efforts in Washington State.

Five bombers were sent to the border yesterday, (Monday) to help with a wildfire burning near the town of Tonasket.

The fire, which was detected Monday afternoon east of the town has grown to about 1,000 acres (404 hectares) in size.

One home has been destroyed.

"We have the Northwest Contract which allows for the mutual sharing of firefighting resources across jurisdictions," says Navi Saini with the Provincial Wildfire Branch out of Victoria.

"It's an agreement between the western provinces, territories, the northwest states and Alaska. The cost for those missions were covered by the receiving jurisdiction (Washington State).

Saini says the bombers do not physically land in the US meaning the fill up with retardant in BC, drop it around the fire, fly back to pick up more and head back for another run.

She was not sure how many missions each of the five planes flew on Monday.

"It was about 125,000 litres of retardant that was dropped yesterday."

As for the availability of the tankers when so many fires continue to burn in BC, Saini says people need to remember that, while important to fighting a fire, it doesn't make sense to continue using air tankers on a fire.

"Once the retardant lines are in place it's really the hard work of the crews on the ground that actually put that fire out. People like to keep seeing tankers on a fire but that's not cost effective or efficient," says Saini.

She adds retardant only helps slow down the progress of a fire - it's not a substance that will put out a fire like water can.


Buyer sought for Mount Baldy

G-Force Real Estate Inc. out of Vancouver has been appointed marketing agent for a secured creditor who has received conduct of sale from the Supreme Court of BC under a foreclosure action to sell most of the assets of Mount Baldy Ski Corporation and related companies.

The primary objective of the marketing agent is to find a buyer who will be able to complete an acquisition in time to operate the resort for the upcoming 2014-2015 ski season.

Click here for more information on the sales process and the details of the assets for sale.

Mount Baldy Resort is located in the south Okanagan Valley of British Columbia just north of the Canada-US border and east of nearby Osoyoos and Oliver.

With a base elevation of nearly 5,700 feet, the resort boasts one of the highest base elevations, most sunshine and lightest powder of any ski resort in the Okanagan. The resort offers a purchaser significant opportunities for recreation and real estate development.

G-Force Real Estate Inc. of G-Force Group www.g-forcegroup.ca draws on its extensive experience in restructuring, performance improvement, corporate finance and several industries to assist stakeholders in enhancing or recovering their investments and loans from businesses, real estate and construction projects in a variety of industries including real estate development, hospitality, leisure, and other industries in British Columbia and Alberta.

WWII bomber at airport

A plane that flew combat missions during World War II has landed at Penticton Regional Airport.

During this entire week, the public is invited to view the B-25 Maid in the Shade, or even hop aboard for a ride.

The visit came about after the Commemorative Air Force Airbase Arizona approached the Penticton Flying Club.

So far the plane, that flew the missions over Italy between Nov. 4 and Dec. 31, 1944 has visited Cranbrook, with another stop slated for Victoria.

More information is available at www.azcaf.org.

Additional details to come...


White Lake wildfire



A small wildfire in the White Lake area south of Penticton is nearly fully contained.

The fire was discovered about 5 a.m. Tuesday.

According to Fire Information Officer, Melissa Welsh, the fire is about four hectares in size.

"We were on site at 5 a.m. with an initial attack crew at the wildfire by the intersection of White Lake Road and Twin Lake Road," says Welsh.

"Fire behaviour is quiet. It is primarily rank one. They have been successful in creating a hand guard around the perimeter of the fire along with a hose lay."

Welsh says four forestry personnel, a helicopter, a water tender and a dozer are on scene working the fire.

"They are just conducting some heavy mop up activities. Just keeping an eye on it to make sure any temperature increase doesn't increase fire behaviour."

Forestry also was called to a small fire north of Naramata Monday night.

Welsh says that fire, 0.2 hectares in size, was spotted around 10 p.m. Monday evening about 9.5km up the Naramata Forest Service Road.

She says that fire is in the mop up stage.

Fire crews are being assisted with cooler temperatures and the prospect of rain over the next 48 hours.

Environment Canada is calling for a 60 per cent chance of showers today (Tuesday) with 10mm to 15mm of rain Wednesday.

However, thunderstorms are also predicted for Wednesday.


The "WWI Hedley Boys"

Imagine if every person in your town donated an average of $195 to the Canadian Armed Forces and 5 per cent of your town’s population enlisted into the Canadian Army in one day.

This is what happened in Hedley in the late summer of 1915 – just into the second year of the First World War.

In August and September of 1915, with a population of less than 400 people, Hedley’s citizens raised $3,500 to support the war effort. Specifically, $3,000 was allocated to the purchase of machine guns and $500 to the Red Cross. Accounting for inflation, the amount raised translates to $75,850 today.

Additionally, on Aug. 24, 1915, 17 Hedley men all enlisted together into the 54th Kootenay Battalion out of Vernon. Two more volunteers shortly followed this group, for a total of 19 men departing Hedley to serve their country, and like that five per cent of the town’s population was gone.

Six men from this group of 19 never came home. They are buried in military cemeteries in France, Belgium, England and for one an unknown grave. Their names are all memorialized on the Hedley cenotaph, along with the names of five more WWI “Hedley Boys.”

Directors at the Hedley Museum, Andy English and Jennifer Douglass, have been researching and uncovering new information about the eleven WWI names on the town’s cenotaph. As well as finding information about an additional 39 men (as known at this time) whom enlisted from Hedley and survived the war.

English and Douglass have created a new exhibit at the Hedley Museum to honour these men’s service and sacrifice for their country.

The “WWI Hedley Boys” exhibit features four Hedley soldiers – three of whom were killed in France, and a fourth who returned to Hedley to marry and raise his family – in photos, biographies and artifacts. The 54th Kootenay Battalion is featured in a wall display with a map of their troop movements in France and a panoramic photo of the entire battalion.

And, the Cenotaph Roll of Honour and historical text provides details of newly discovered information about Hedley’s eleven “fallen.”

There will be two local lectures in August when English and Douglass will present the findings of their WWI “Hedley Boys” research thus far. The first presentation will be at 10 a.m. on Monday, Aug. 4 at the Hedley Seniors' Centre. This is a free event.

The second lecture will be at 1:30 p.m., Sunday, Aug. 17 at the Keremeos Grist Mill.  Admission price to the Grist Mill will gain complimentary admission to the WWI “Hedley Boys” lecture on the grounds.

English and Douglass are also seeking relatives of these 50 WWI enlisted men from Hedley in their quest to uncover more information, photos and artifacts. Thus far it is known that three of these men had connections to Keremeos and one, known so far, resided in Princeton after the war.

People with information to contribute to this research effort, can reach English and Douglass at the museum at (250) 292-8787 or by email at [email protected]

This WWI exhibit at the Hedley Museum will be on display for the entire four years commemorating the centennial of the First World War, 2014-2018.

As new research is further discovered, the “WWI Hedley Boys” exhibit will also be evolving.

Smoke in the south

Despite smokey skies in the south Okanagan, there are no new wildfires of note in the region.

The haze is being blamed on the raging fires south of the border in Washington state.

Castanet has received several emails from residents of Penticton and Oliver claiming the air is thick with smoke.

Wildfire Management tells Castanet those living in Penticton may see bombers leaving the airport, but they are not working on any fires in the area.

The bombers are in flight and are doing checks over the south Okanagan, it is also possible they are headed to Washington to assist fire crews, says Wildfire Management.

Penticton council highlights

A public hearing on allowing the sale of alcohol at the Penticton Farmers Market will take place Monday night in council chambers.

The council passed first reading of zoning changes that would include liquor tastings and sales within the outdoor market at its last meeting.

The government of BC recently made changes to the regulations around the service and sales of liquor within the province, including permitting liquor at farmers markets.

While market tastings have just been deregulated by the province, market organizers must still adhere to Liquor Control and Licensing Branch rules in order to maintain their license.

The zoning change would ensure organizers have the flexibility to offer wine tastings in the market provided they meet all provincial regulations.

The Downtown Penticton Association has endorsed the move. They have seen a big interest from individual wineries, winery associations, distilleries and breweries and look forward to the opportunities it presents.

Also on the council agenda, following the hearing, is a letter from the chamber of commerce that states in part, "Based on the answers and additional information provided as a result of the Penticton and Wine Country Chamber of Commerce Members Forum on July 8, we respectfully ask council to take the time to re-evaluate the recommendation made by the city of Penticton's own Community and Business Development Committee and provide council's endorsement of the Boonstock Music and Arts Festival."

The letter in full is on the council agenda on the city's website.

In other business, there is a recommendation from Councillor Helena Konanz that council direct staff to post elected officials expenses on the city website on a quarterly basis.

The meeting starts at 6 p.m. at City Hall.

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