Rates for heavy water users may rise in Peachland

Water rates to go up?

Heavy water users in Peachland may soon pay more.

A review of the municipality’s water rates, presented to council on Tuesday, found that Peachland has a much higher threshold for water use before higher rates kick in, compared to other local districts.

Peachland’s higher tier of water rates kicks in a 400 cubic metres per quarter. Other local municipalities and water districts start charging higher rates at 60-100 cubic meters.

Peachland’s base water rate of $101 per quarter is lower than West Kelowna, Summerland, Lake Country and Glenmore Ellison and just over $2 higher than Kelowna, the comparison showed.

Finance director Gary Filafilo told councillors a bylaw that sets the second-tier consumption rate at 100 cubic metres may be submitted to council in 2024, but councillors said they needed time to process the information they’d just received.

It was agreed the issue would be discussed again in budget talks later this year.

The rates and the high threshold were set when Peachland’s new water treatment plant started up in 2021. It was agreed then to review rates in a couple of years.

“The consumption threshold of 400 cubic metres does not promote a reduction in water usage,” Filafilo told council.

Information provided by the Okanagan Basin Water Board shows the average Okanagan household uses one cubic metre of water per day, he added.

Filafilo’s comparison showed a Peachland home using 400 cubic metres of water per quarter would pay $236, compared to $322 in West Kelowna, $623 in Summerland, $344 in Lake Country, $557 in Kelowna and $429 in Glenmore-Ellison.

Responding to a question from Mayor Patrick Van Minsel, the finance director said the water utility is being partially funded by reserves.

“It needs to be revenue neutral,” said Van Minsel.


Blasting about to begin for new housing development on Peachland's Victoria Street

Blasting for new homes

The District of Peachland is advising residents in the Lower Princeton/Victoria Street area to expected extra traffic and noise, including blasting, as construction begins on a new housing development.

Construction work is getting underway on a 10-lot single-family residential project on land at 5950 Victoria Street. That work will include site grading and remediation, road construction and service installation, rock hammering and rock blasting.

The district’s blasting bylaw requires the developer to have a qualified and registered blasting professional conduct and monitor the blasting activity. Neighbours within 100 metres of the blasting site should get prior written notice at least one day prior, and there will be a series of sound signals to warn of the impending explosions.

Area residents should use caution when travelling through the area and are reminded that the construction site is closed to the public. Construction is expected to continue until March, 2024, but is weather dependent.

Questions about the development or construction activity can be directed to Boston Earthworks care of Ricky Sekhon, Project Manager, at [email protected] or Gary Atwal, Site Superintendent, at [email protected].

Peachland golf development approved by council

Golf development approved

A development proposed for the old Ponderosa golf course property easily cleared its biggest hurdle yet, despite strong objections voiced earlier.

Peachland council on Tuesday gave third reading to the Romspen Group’s plan to build a nine-hole golf course and 445-unit development on the southern portion of the property on Pincushion Mountain.

At a public hearing on Aug. 29, owners of property to the north complained about lack of consultation and the expectations that they would also build a golf course, so the area would again have a full 18-hole course.

“The public is being misled here,” said Norm Porter of Beech Westgard developers. “There will not be and there cannot be another nine holes built on that property. And we shouldn’t have the public have expectations that there will be another nine holes,” he said.

But on Tuesday, Peachland Mayor Patrick Van Minsel said the northern development group was wrong to claim there had been no consultation.

“The District of Peachland staff has had 12 consultations documented between August 2021 and May 23, 2023, with Beech Westgard, which is a far cry from the zero consultation claim by Norm Porter and the never-been-consulted statement made by Chuck Westgard at the public hearing,” said Van Minsel.

“The district has gone over and above in consultation efforts with Beech Westgard,” the mayor continued. “It seems the issue is not about the lack of consultation, but rather about Beech Westgard being dissatisfied with the outcome of the consultation, which is a different matter altogether.”

Van Minsel said Peachland was prepared to continue to negotiate with the northern group.

Councillors took turns praising the Romspen project and saying how eager the people of Peachland are to see it move ahead after a decade of false starts. Originally, a 2,100-unit development with golf course promoted by Greg Norman was promised.

“I think the phased development agreement is great the way it’s structured,” said Coun. David Collins. “I’m looking forward to getting that done and getting to fourth reading to advance this.”

Final reading will be granted after necessary legal documents are registered and the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure gives its approval.

Coun. Rick Ingram, appearing by video, shut off his camera after declaring a conflict of interest.

Romspen, a large real-estate investment company, is proposing to build “The Pines at Ponderosa.”


Glen Lake no longer ‘wildfire of note’, last to be downgraded in Kamloops Fire Centre

No more wildfires of note

Conditions continue to improve at the Glen Lake wildfire after last night's rain.

“Given the more favourable conditions and reduced fire activity, this wildfire will no longer be considered a Wildfire of Note,” said the BC Wildfire Service In an update Tuesday morning.

The fire was declared as being held on Monday. Central Okanagan Emergency Operations also rescinded evacuation alerts and downgraded evacuation order to alerts late yesterday, including lifting the alert for the District of Peachland. The Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen and District of Summerland has also lifted their evacuation alerts.

The fire is listed at 1,116 hectares. It was discovered on Sept. 16 and is believed to be human caused.

The Munro Lake FSR remains closed from both ends as fire suppression operations are still ongoing. BCWS says nearby communities may also see smoke rising from within the perimeter of the fire over the coming days and weeks.

“This is common with large wildfires and will continue until significant rainfall or snowfall,” notes BCWS.

Glen Lake was the last fire in the Kamloops Fire Centre to be listed as a wildfire of note. All the remaining fires in the Kamloops Fire Centre are now either being held or under control after a fire season that saw hundreds of properties damaged and destroyed.

There were 389 fires in the region this year, burning mor than 200,499 hectares. Provincewide, it was the worst fire season in recorded history for area burned at over 2.486 million hectares.

Wildfire near Peachland now being held, most evac alerts lifted

Most evac alerts, orders lift

UPDATE:3:20 p.m.

The Central Okanagan Emergency Operations Centre has rescinded most evacuation alerts and orders for the Glen Lake wildfire.

Evacuation orders in the Glen Lake area at the origin point of the fire have now been downgraded to alerts.

Alerts that were in place for most of Peachland have now been lifted completely.

For more information, visit cordemergency.ca, or call the information line at 250-469-8490.

UPDATE: 3:05 p.m.

The Glen Lake wildfire is now being held.

The BC Wildfire Service updated the status of the fire at 1:28 p.m. Monday, changing it from out of control to being held.

The fire was first discovered on Saturday, Sept. 16 and is believed to have been human caused.

It remains at 1,116 hectares in size.

ORIGINAL: 11 a.m.

The Glen Lake wildfire west of Peachland remains classified as out of control despite the recent rain.

In an update Monday morning, the BC Wildfire Service says poor visibility has grounded helicopters this morning, but it's hoped they will get back up if conditions improve. Crews are building two new helipads for safety and improved access.

On the ground, a unit crew in the northeast is directly attacking the fire to tie in containment from Billie Road to Finlay Creek. An additional unit crew is mopping up off the machine guard and going up to 100 feet into the burned area.

Crews are also working on the southeast flank, attacking the fire from the Munro Forest Service Road towards Eneas Lakes Park.

Munro Forest Service Road remains closed at both ends to allow for firefighting operations.

“Heavy equipment continues construction of machine guard on the south flank around Eneas Lakes Park from the west to connect with the line constructed by the unit crew, and towards Eneas Lakes from the east. Equipment will also finalize road network improvements,” said BCWS on Monday.

Structural protection specialists have started demobilizing structural protection in areas where it is no longer required, BCWS added.

The weather Monday is expected to be mainly cloudy with isolated showers throughout the day, continuing through the night.

The maximum temperature is forecast at 11 C with southwest winds of up to 25 km/hr, gusting 40 km/hr in the afternoon.

Evacuation alerts and orders remain in place. The fire has remained at 1,116 hectares for days now.

More rain fell on Glen Lake wildfire Saturday, helping firefighting efforts

More rain falls on fire

More rain fell on the Glen Lake wildfire Saturday, helping with fire crews' suppression efforts.

In an update Sunday morning, the BC Wildfire Service says about six millimetres of rain fell over the fire Saturday, after 1.6 mm fell the night before.

No additional rain was recorded Saturday night, although cooler temperatures and higher humidity resulted in “good overnight recoveries,” the BCWS says.

The fire remains an estimated 1,116 hectares in size, burning out of control about six kilometres west of Peachland. Eight rural properties remain under an evacuation order, while most of Peachland continues to be under an evacuation alert.

Meanwhile, the nearby McDougall McDougall Creek wildfire is no longer classified as a "Wildfire of Note" by the BC Wildfire Service, after it was officially considered "held" last week and evacuation orders were lifted for all homes in the area. A fire is considered a Wildfire of Note if it is "especially visible or poses a threat to public safety."

There remains nine Wildfires of Note in the province, including the Glen Lake fire.

The BCWS says a unit crew is directly attacking the Glen Lake fire on its northeast corner, tying in containment from Billie Road to Finlay Creek. An additional unit crew is mopping up off the machine guard and extinguishing any hot spots.

At the southeast flank of the fire, crews are also directly attacking the fire from the Munro FSR towards Eneas Lakes Park.

A machine guard is under construction on the south flank of the fire. Helicopters continue to be used near there, with bucketing occurring at the edge of the fire near Eneas Lakes Park.

More showers are expected in the area through next week.

Weather conditions assist fire crews on Glen Lake wildfire

Cool, wet conditions on fire

A small amount of rain fell over the Glen Lake wildfire overnight, and more could be coming throughout the weekend.

The fire, burning about six kilometres west of Peachland, was sparked last weekend and has since grown to 1,116 hectares in size.

Overnight, 1.6 mm of rain was recorded near the fire. Along with cool overnight temperatures, these conditions have decreased fire behaviour.

Fire crews may be conducting some small-scale hand ignitions on the Glen Lake wildfire Saturday, while helicopters continue to drop water on the fire.

Eight properties remain under an evacuation order due to the fire, while most of Peachland remains under an evacuation alert.

In a Saturday morning update, the Central Okanagan Emergency Operations says no additional orders or alerts are expected to be needed, following the cool evening and possible scattered showers throughout the day.

Firefighters continue to work on the northeast and southeast flanks of the fire.

“Small scale hand ignitions may take place in the area between Finally Creek and Munro Lake FSR to remove unburnt fuel in an intentional way and tie into the existing machine guard,” the BC Wildfire Service says.

Plumes of smoke may be visible as a result.

There remains 61 firefighters assigned to the fire today, with 34 pieces of heavy equipment along with helicopter support.

Helicopters have been focusing their efforts on the southern flank of the fire, bucketing the edge of the fire near Eneas Lakes Park.

Glen Lake fire remains mapped at 1,116 hectares

No growth in wildfire

Firefighters working on the Glen Lake wildfire west of Peachland should be met with similar conditions to those they encountered earlier in the week.

And while much needed rain is not in the forecast, cooler temperatures, higher humidity and light winds are expected to aid the firefighting effort.

BC Wildfire Service fire information officer Casda Thomas says 41 firefighters are working on the fire, many on the northeast flank.

"The fire has had multiple helicopters bucketing since Monday on the northeast side and bucketing operations will continue today," she said.

"Heavy equipment is working on establishing a guard along the north flank and to the east."

Crews and heavy equipment are also working hard on the southwest portion of the fire around Eneas Lake

Thomas says fire crews encountered Rank 1 and 2 fire activity Thursday and expect similar fire conditions today, depending on wind. BC ranks wildfires on a scale of one to six.

"We have heard from residents that winds can pick up in that area," Thomas said.

Earlier this week, Munro Road was closed due to firefighting operations. That road remains closed.

All evacuation orders and alerts remain in effect until further notice.

Glen Lake fire holding steady at 1,116 hectares, weather helping

No growth on fire overnight

There was no growth on the Glen Lake wildfire outside Peachland overnight.

The blaze remains mapped at 1,162.2 hectares with crews from the BC Wildfire Service, Peachland Fire Rescue working together to manage the blaze.

BCWS has been hitting the fire with multiple helicopters bucketing since Monday on the northeast side and bucketing operations will continue today, weather permitting.

"It's shorter days. So the nights are longer and cooler. And the days there's less drying time for the fuels. So it is beneficial to us.The next couple of days are supposed to be moderately warm, but then following that we are looking at a lot of precipitation which will be beneficial, of course," says fire information officer Evan Lizotte.

Heavy equipment is continuing to work on establishing a guard along the north flank and to the east.

"The fire has not breached the guard, however, we continue to monitor the area to ensure there are no spot fires, or if there are, we detect them early," said Lizotte.

Structural protection specialists completed structural protection around cabins Monday near Glen Lake and will be setting up sprinklers in the Princeton Avenue neighbourhood in Peachland Thursday as a precautionary measure.

"Small, planned hand ignition operations may be considered today on the northeast flank of the Glen Lake wildfire to tie into the existing guard. Hand ignitions are a routine firefighting tactic, and they only occur when conditions are suitable," Lizotte says.

The purpose of the planned ignition is to remove unburnt fuel in an intentional way to secure the control lines and achieve containment.

Munro Road remains closed from both ends due to the wildfire being conducted in the area.

New mapping puts Glen Lake wildfire at 1,116 hectares

Fire now 1,116 hectares

The Glen Lake wildfire remains out of control, but crews were able to make some good progress in bucketing operations on Wednesday.

New mapping was also completed. That enabled the BC Wildfire Service to update the size of the fire to 1,116 hectares, up from the previous estimate of 763 hectares.

“Today was a good bucketing day. We were able to put a lot of water on that east side,” said fire information officer Evan Lizotte. He says four helicopters were working and those bucketing operations are expected to continue on Thursday.

Lizotte is part of an incident management team from Ontario that is wrapping up its two week assignment on the Grouse Complex, which includes the Glen Lake and McDougall Creek wildfires.

After strong winds pushed the flames south on Monday, cooler weather Tuesday and Wednesday slowed the fire’s progress. The new mapping of the fire perimeter was completed Wednesday evening.

UPDATE 11:50

The BC Wildfire Service says fire guards around the Glen Lake wildfire set earlier this week by attending aircraft are holding.

Aircraft laid retardant along the northeast flank of the fire assisted by bucketing helicopters.

However, due to heavy smoke associated with increased winds Tuesday afternoon has made it impossible to map out a current size of the blaze.

"Today, BC Wildfire Service continue to have aircraft, ground personnel and heavy equipment fighting the fire, working in conjunction with Peachland Fire and Rescue on structural protection," a BCWS update states.

"Additional resources are arriving to the community to be deployed if needed."

Evacuation alerts and orders issued earlier in the week remain in effect.

No new alerts or orders are expected today.

UPDATE 10:15 a.m.

Cool, wet conditions continue to aid firefighters working to contain the Glen Lake wildfire burning west of Peachland.

Temperatures are expected to reach only between 11 C and 14 C Wednesday, however wind gusts later in the day continue to pose a challenge.

"Ridgetop winds at this fire are usually more than forecasted, creating challenging conditions for actioning spot fires in the slash blocks and other suppression challenges," the BC Wildfire Service said in an update Wednesday morning.

"Gusty winds of up to 65 km/hr increased fire activity and fire behaviour in the late afternoon yesterday."

Increased smoke activity as a result of the wind made it impossible to get an accurate mapping of the size of the blaze.

The fire continues to be mapped at 763 hectares and has moved to about six kilometres west of the municipal boundaries.

"The fire has had multiple helicopters bucketing over the past few days on the northeast side and bucketing operations will continue today. Heavy equipment is working on establishing a guard along the north flank and to the east.

"The fire has not breached the guard at this time; however we continue to monitor the area to ensure there are no spot fires, or if there are, we detect them early."

Evacuation alerts and order put in place by the Central Okanagan Emergency Operations Centre, District of Summerland and RDOS remain in effect.


Heavy smoke prevented the BC Wildfire Service from getting an accurate track of the Glen Lake wildfire on Tuesday evening.

The blaze about six kilometres west of Peachland was last mapped at 763 hectares on Monday night.

“Due to heavy smoke in the afternoon, an accurate perimeter map was unable to be obtained and the fire size is expected to grow once the fire has been mapped,” BCWS said in an update late Tuesday night.

“Gusty winds of up to 65 km/hr have increased fire activity and fire behaviour. The BC Wildfire Service is working with the Peachland Fire Department and local structure protection specialists on potentially activating the structure protection and defense plan,” BCWS continued.

Peachland fire chief Dennis Craig said crews were in neighbourhoods Tuesday conducting planning work out of an abundance of caution.

While the winds have been a challenge, crews have been helped by cooler and wet weather.

Evacuation alerts for most of Peachland, parts of the Summerland and rural areas within the regional district of Central Okanagan and Okanagan Similkameen remain in place.

BCWS says they should be able to provide an update on the fire later this morning.

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