Oliver & Osoyoos  

South Okanagan General Hospital emergency department closing until Saturday afternoon

ER closing overnight again

Interior Health has announced another temporary change to emergency department hours at the South Okanagan General Hospital due to limited physician availability.

Emergency services will be unavailable from 6 p.m. Friday, Dec. 8 to 1 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 9.

The closures are an ongoing pattern as the hospital struggles to consistently staff its ER.

Patients can access care at Penticton Regional Hospital during this time.

All other inpatient services will continue as normal at South Okanagan General Hospital.

People in the community who need life-threatening emergency care (i.e., chest pains, difficulty breathing, severe bleeding) should always call 911 for transport to the nearest available and appropriate facility.

Anyone unsure whether an emergency room visit is warranted can call HealthLink BC at 8-1-1, or visit www.HealthLinkBC.ca for non-emergency health information from nurses, dietitians and pharmacists 24 hours a day, seven days per week.


Funding distributed to local food banks set to help Boundary-Similkameen residents

$45.5K to local food banks

Funding provided by the province back in August has been distributed to local food banks and food security programs, set up to support people in need in the Boundary-Similkameen.

Roly Russell, MLA for Boundary-Similkameen, said in a press release that the funding is key in communities like Grand Forks, where food insecurity has risen due to global inflation, and emergencies that have interrupted supply chains and food production.

“There is always a greater need for food banks this time of year, and we know people need extra help these days," Russell added.

“This chance to provide the food banks in Princeton, Osoyoos, Oliver, and the Boundary with additional funds will provide a little extra support to families across the region."

Russell also gave a huge thanks to all the volunteers and support teams that help keep the organizations running.

In August 2023, the province announced $15 million in funding for Food Banks B.C. In the Boundary-Similkameen, the following organizations received funding:

  • $15,000 for the Boundary Community Food Bank Society
  • $12,500 for the Oliver Food Bank
  • $9,000 for the Osoyoos Food Bank
  • $9,000 for the Princeton Baptist Church Food Bank

Russell said funding for these local organizations helps them to have a direct impact on their communities, and be able to choose how best to serve people in need.

Popular Pig Out festival tickets now on sale for 2024

Pig Out tickets now on sale

Tickets are now available for Oliver Osoyoos Wine Country's popular annual Pig Out Festival.

On Saturday, May 4, 2024, Pig Out will take over Cellar Door & More in Oliver, home to wineries Jackson-Triggs and Inniskilin. Chefs will be stationed throughout offering pork-themed dishes that complement the local regional wines, featuring mountains of juicy ribs, pulled pork, local grilled sausages plus sides and salads.

“We are so excited to go the whole hog on the 2024 Pig Out Festival, showcasing our region’s wonderful wineries as well as talented culinary partners from across Western Canada, in a fantastic new location,” said Jennifer Busmann, executive director of Oliver Osoyoos Wine Country, in a press release issued Tuesday.

“Eager Piglet” tickets are now available for $99 plus tax, for a limited time and in a limited quality.

The tickets include entry to the festival and tokens to enjoy the food stations and wine samples, as well as a shuttle service to and from either Oliver or Osoyoos to the festival location. Only guests 19 and older can attend.

Find tickets online here and, for visitors outside of Oliver or Osoyoos, check out a 20 per cent discount at the Coast Oliver Hotel with booking code EVENT.


Stranger allegedly found with gun, drugs in Oliver home gets more time to ponder guilty plea

Armed stranger in court

The woman facing charges for a bizarre trespassing incident in Oliver involving a sawed-off gun fentanyl has been given more time to ponder whether to plead guilty.

Caitlynne Talia Cawston, born in 1998, appeared in Penticton Provincial Court Monday, expected to enter a guilty plea to charges stemming from last winter.

According to a police press release at the time, in the early hours of Jan. 8, 2023 RCMP were called to a residence on Road 18 for a report of a female, now known to be Cawston, passed out in a chair.

The occupants had only been alerted to her presence when their dogs woke them up.

When police arrived, they found a .22 calibre sawed-off rifle in the stranger's hand hidden beneath a big purse. They placed the woman in handcuffs without her waking up.

It was later determined the firearm was inoperable.

Cawston told police she thought it was the house of someone she knew and entered through the unlocked front door. She did not threaten the occupants of the house.

Sgt. Don Wrigglesworth, Oliver RCMP detachment commander, called the incident "very concerning."

In court Monday, Cawston appeared confused as to what her lawyer had informed the court she was prepared to plead guilty to, mainly being in the house without permission and interfering with the lawful enjoyment of that house, and possession of the drugs and inoperable firearm.

She told her lawyer she had found the gun on a beach in Oliver.

Cawston's lawyers explained her client had been on substances at the time, and didn't remember much of the night, and while she admitted to being in the house uninvited and possessing the illegal items, she was sure she would not have intended to hurt anyone.

Judge Gregory Koturbash tried to explain that her intent was not the point, and interfering with lawful enjoyment can include psychological harm.

"She would have known, just entering the house with something like that, that if somebody's home, they're going to be freaked out," Koturbash said, later addressing Cawston directly, after she seemed unsure.

"I want to take the time because I want to make sure that you're guilty to something that you agree you're guilty of. And if you're not, then I can't accept your plea."

Cawston's lawyer then suggested she direct another lawyer to Cawston to try and explain the situation, to which Koturbash agreed, with the caveat that this is the last delay.

Koturbash ordered her to appear in court again in mid-January, either to enter a guilty plea or move forward with not guilty and a trial.

"And we're going to put in big, bold letters that this file needs to move forward."

Oliver residents left rattled by loud bang and earth shaking

Earthquake rattles residents

Oliver and area residents were rattled Monday afternoon when many felt the earth shake and heard a loud bang, leaving many wondering what they had just experienced.

The U.S. Geological Survey and Earthquakes Canada report that just after 2 p.m., a 3.2 magnitude earthquake took place a few kilometres north of Oliver, at a less than 10-kilometre depth.

Nearby resident Stan Marshall recalled the experience.

"I felt a big rumble, and heard a big bang," Marshall said.

"I looked out my back door and my dogs were booking it home like they were scared. I went around my house thinking my roof had collapsed, then called my wife in town and she said they felt it there too ... it's the talk of the town right now."

Initially, the U.S. Geological Survey had the incident listed as an "explosion," which had the town talking even more.

That has since been changed to a normal earthquake incident.

Oliver's Emergency Department set to close again Sunday

ER to close yet again

Oliver residents will be without an emergency department yet again Sunday, as the South Okanagan General Hospital ER will close for 12 hours, following a 24-hour closure from Friday to Saturday night.

Interior Health announced Saturday afternoon that limited physician availability will once again force the closure of the hospital's emergency department, from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 3.

The hospital's ER is currently closed, from 6 p.m. Friday to 6 p.m. Saturday. There were similar closures Tuesday and Wednesday of last week, and the closures have been ongoing for months.

IH says those who need emergency care in the Oliver area will need to travel to the Penticton Regional Hospital, about a 35 minute drive away.

South Okanagan General Hospital ER woes continue with 24-hour closure Friday night

ER to close for 24 hours

Once again, the South Okanagan General Hospital emergency room will experience a brief closure due to limited physician availability.

Emergency services will be unavailable from 6 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 1 to 6 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 2.

The closures are an ongoing pattern as the hospital struggles to consistently staff its ER.

A provincial government commitment of $7.5 million for the communities of Merritt, Oliver/Osoyoos, Salmon Arm and surrounding communities to address physician shortages was announced in October, and marks a move away from the “fee for service” model to the Alternative Payment Plan scheme, in an effort to attract more doctors.

The impact from that has seemingly not yet arrived, as November saw multiple ER closures and December is starting off with shuttered doors.

"People in the community who need life-threatening emergency care (i.e., chest pains, difficulty breathing, severe bleeding) should always call 911 for transport to the nearest available and appropriate facility," reads a press release issued Friday from Interior Health.

"Anyone unsure whether an emergency room visit is warranted can call HealthLink BC at 8-1-1, or visit www.HealthLinkBC.ca for non-emergency health information from nurses, dietitians and pharmacists 24 hours a day, seven days per week."

Osoyoos Lite Up parade to briefly close Highway 3 through town Friday night

Hwy 3 closure for parade

Osoyoos residents and drivers are reminded about highway closures related to the annual Christmas Lite Up parade Friday evening.

From 6:15 to 7:15, Highway 3 at the intersection of Highway 97 will be closed.

Suggested alternate routes are:

  • Eastbound on Hwy 3, turn right at lights on Hwy 97 and Hwy 3. Continue to 62nd Avenue, turn left, and follow detour signs to Hwy 3
  • Westbound on Hwy 3, turn left at the junction of Hwy 3 and Kingfisher, follow detour signs to Hwy 97, turn right on Hwy 97, and proceed Northbound to Hwy 3
  • Northbound and Southbound traffic on Hwy 97 to access Hwy 3 eastbound, turn at the intersection of Hwy 97 and 62nd Avenue, and follow detour signs to Hwy 3

For more information about the Lite Up festivities, click here.

Trixie the Elf is back spreading magic, fun and prizes in Osoyoos this season

Find the elf, win a prize

A sneaky Christmas elf is back in Osoyoos this holiday season, but where is she hiding?

The popular family-friendly "Elf in the Park" hunt will take place again this December, featuring Trixie the Elf hidden in secret locations around the community.

Every Thursday until Christmas, Bounce Radio will release a clue as to Trixie's whereabouts at 8:15 a.m., both on air and on their Facebook page. The first clue has already been posted!

Use the clue to find Trixie, snap a photo with her, and email it to [email protected] with your name and contact information to be eligible to win a weekly prize worth $50, and a possible grand prize worth $100.

Pictures are due by 11:59 p.m. on Dec. 5, 12 and 19, before Trixie finds a new hiding place.

And remember, don't touch Trixie, or she will lose her magic!

Weekly prize draw winners and the grand prize draw winner will be contacted by phone. For more information, click here.

Osoyoos ready for holiday light up plus fireworks on Friday

Lights, fireworks, holidays

Osoyoos' Christmas Lite-Up and fireworks are just a few days away.

On Friday, Dec. 1, a full day of activities will take place, culminating with a fiery show overhead.

Check out the Kiwanis Toys for Tots to Teens from 7 to 10 a.m. at Smitty's Restaurant. Bring an unwrapped toy or cash and receive a free breakfast.

Then from 4 to 7 p.m., the Osoyoos Farmers' Traditional Christmas Market will take place at Town Hall, featuring artisan vendors, food trucks, live music and more.

At 6:30 p.m., the Christmas Parade will kick off down Main Street, followed by a bonfire and carol singing at Gyro Park at 7 p.m.

At 8 p.m., enjoy the fireworks show.

The celebration will continue the following day with more activities. For more information, click here.

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