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Big White celebrates summer

Big White have a big celebration planned for the final long weekend of the summer.

The ski hill will open the Bullet Chair Lift this Saturday through Monday for what it calls the Bike, Bike and Beverage Festival.

As part of the festival, residents and tourists alike are invited to ride the Bullet Chair to an elevation of 2,151m above sea level and walk or ride the chair back down.

Access to the chair is by cash or food donation for the Kelowna Community Food Bank.

The festival itself will include biking and hiking races, mountain bike demos, an outdoor carnival, live music and beverage tastings.

"We are excited to once again be offering rides to the alpine on the Bullet Express lift over the September long weekend," says Sr VP, Michael J Ballingall.

"Last time we did this was 10 years ago and over 1,000 people showed up."

Click here for more information on the festival.


Myra Canyon park opens

Despite a blatant attempt to ruin the summer season for a new outdoor adventure company, the group has opened their doors, for free, for some of their sections.

Back in July Castanet brought you the story of the vandalism at the Myra Canyon Adventure Park. Vandals chainsawed multiple trees on the property, trees that were being used in the adult tree course.

This damage delayed the park opening and caused the park to cancel the adult course for this summer entirely.

Owner Rolf von Andrian says despite the setback they wanted to open their doors and allow the public try out the new park, for free, before the summer ends.

“We wanted to open what we had ready despite the damage that was done. We do it for free because we are not 100 per cent ready and we do not want to charge for it when we are not 100 per cent ready,” says von Andrian. “Just come and see for yourself.”

He says the adult course, that was badly damaged by the vandals, is still not safe and will not be up and running until it is completely repaired next spring.

However, the kindercourse, the mini slack line park and the frisbee golf course are now all open.

von Andrian says his team is excited about the park opening and hosting the community but still frustrated the damage nearly destroyed their entire summer.

“The damage hurt us a lot. We didn't have insurance, because why would we insure something that isn't even open yet, so the damage was very big, but we survived.”

The Myra Canyon Adventure Park is currently free to the public and will be until Sept 7, 2014. 

“We want people to see what we did and get a taste of it and provide feedback so we don't charge for it,” says von Andrian.

Since the park opened last Sunday they are getting busier day by day and are happy with the response so far.

“Everybody is welcome. I think we did a good job and we are really happy with our product so we are excited to host everybody in the community,” adds von Andrian. 

Alcohol fueled crash


A crash on Highway 97 near the entrance to Lake Country Wednesday afternoon was alcohol and speed induced.

RCMP confirm the driver of a Subaru Legacy provided blood samples following the crash that were four times the legal limit.

The 45-year-old Prince George man was handed an Indefinite Driving Prohibition and faces impaired driving charges.

According to witnesses the man drove his vehicle into the back of an RV at a high rate of speed.


Highway 97 on the southern reaches of Lake Country has claimed another vehicle.

The stretch of highway, just south of Beaver Lake Road in front of Voyager RV, has been the scene of three vehicle crashes in less than a month.

Zach, who worked at the RV centre, says people never seem to obey the 50km/hr speed signs.

On Wednesday, the driver of a red station wagon plowed into the back of an RV that was merging onto the highway after leaving the RV lot.

The force of the crash sent the RV several metres forward.

The bumper of the sedan remained under the RV while the car's battery was completely dislodged from under the hood.

The driver of the car was able to vacate the vehicle under his own power.


Beware, bears return to valley

Part of the attractiveness of our Central Okanagan Regional Parks is that visitors experience wild, untouched, natural settings.  That also means they may encounter wildlife at any time.  

And as summer draws to a close, visiting our more natural Regional Parks requires more bear awareness.

Across the Okanagan, Kokanee salmon are starting to spawn and orchard crops are ripening.  

With that, there’s increasing evidence of bear activity as they leave the higher elevations in search of food in the valley.

Evidence that bears are around is already occurring along the Mission Creek Greenway, in Mission Creek, Scenic Canyon and Hardy Falls Regional Parks. 

Each year, evidence of their presence is also often found in other more natural regional parks like Bertram Creek, Glen Canyon, Johns Family Nature Conservancy, Kalamoir, Mill Creek, Rose Valley and Woodhaven Nature Conservancy.

“Usually around this time of year, our parks staff and visitors start seeing more signs of bears in some of our Regional Parks.  As sightings increase, we post signs advising that the animals may be active in the area” says Communications Officer Bruce Smith.

"To reduce your chance of an encounter, if possible travel in a group, make noise or carry something that makes noise.  During the fall fish spawning season local creeks and rivers can be teaming with spawning salmon.  As a result, visitors may encounter bears taking advantage of this plentiful food source.  Bears fishing for food may not hear you over the noise of the creek water.   If you see a bear, give it plenty of space and stay well away from it.”

People should respect all bears and anticipate and avoid encounters with them whenever possible.  Bears can be aggressive, especially when defending their food or their cubs. 

They also have excellent senses of smell and hearing, and better sight than you might believe.  Dog owners are reminded when in Regional Parks that their pets must be leashed and kept on trails at all times.  It’s not only the law, but will help avoid any potentially serious wildlife encounter.

Residents also have a role to play in preventing animal confrontations on their property, by keeping any garbage securely stored and wheeling their garbage cart out only on the morning of their regular curbside collection.  That also helps to reduce the potential temptation for bears and/or other wildlife.

Crash on Highway 97

Update -- 10:45 a.m.

Two drivers were sent to hospital with non-life threatening injuries Wednesday morning after a three vehicle crash closed Highway 97 north of Summerland.

According to the RCMP, a 59-year-old Peachland woman was pulled over on the side of the highway with a flat tire, when her vehicle was struck from behind. 

She was hit by southbound Honda, driven by a 59-year-old Vernon man, who told police he did not see the first vehicle stopped.

A third vehicle, also travelling southbound, driven by 49-year-old West Kelowna man, attempted to avoid the collision but was unsuccessful and collided with the two vehicles.

His GMC pickup truck struck the two Hondas, crossing into the northbound lanes before flipping onto its side.

The driver of the first Honda had to be removed from her vehicle with the jaws of life. She and the driver of the second Honda were taken to hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

The driver of the pickup was treated on the scene for minor injuries.

The highway was closed for approximately one hour between while crews administered medical treatment, conducted an investigation and removed the vehicles from the road.  

Update -- 10 a.m.

DriveBC is reporting that both lanes of Highway 97 are now clear and traffic has returned to normal.

Original story -- 8:30 a.m.

Traffic has come to a standstill on Highway 97 north of Summerland after reports of a multi-vehicle crash this morning.

Witnesses say three vehicles were involved, including one truck that has flipped onto its side. The other vehicles are said to have crashed into the concrete barriers lining the highway.

The accident happened just before 8 a.m. and the road was closed in both directions.

There is no word on injuries at this time, but at least one person has been taken to hospital.

We’ll have more details once they become available.

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