West Kelowna  

Two vehicle collision

Crews were busy Tuesday morning clearing a two-vehicle incident in West Kelowna.

The photo we have shows a red SUV with damage to the front end and eyewitness reports indicate two people were taken to hospital with minor injuries.

Ross Road was down to a single lane just after 9 a.m.


10 pups, mom find home

The 10 chocolate lab pups and their mom that almost lost their lives, have now found forever homes thanks to the Rose Valley Veterinary Hospital.

"We were able to find homes for all of the 10 pups and the mom. Most of them are clients. We even had neighbours that adopted them. The mom went home first with one of her babies," veterinary Dr. Oz said. 

Castanet posted a call-to-action story last Wednesday looking for dog lovers to adopt the precious labs.

"The community response was incredible. We had hundreds of inquires and a waiting room full of people wanting to see the babies," Oz adds. 

As of Friday morning the family was spoken for. 

"Everyone was so happy. We sent them home with food and presents for the dogs. It was an exciting couple of days for us," Dr. Oz said. 

Stung over 20 times

A hiker is warning others of a massive hornet nest on a popular Okanagan hike in West Kelowna.

Tyler Gigg contacted Castanet News Monday afternoon saying he and his dogs were stung over 20 times.

“We just came down from Carrot Mountain,” he said. “My back is done and my dogs were swarmed.”

According to Gigg, a big stump was ripped out just one switchback above the waterfall.

“I am just trying to get the word out to people,” he said. “I just worry people could be walking up there right now.”

Gigg said his dogs had a cold bath and are doing OK.


Hwy 97C open after rollover

UPDATE: 7:25 p.m.

Traffic is now moving again eastbound on the Okanagan Connector, after a single-vehicle crash east of the Pennask Summit closed the highway for more than 90 minutes.

A motorist who pulled over at the crash scene said two women were in the white sedan, which is believed to have flipped and rolled several times and was heavily damaged.

It's believed one woman was air lifted to hospital while another was transported by ambulance. 

The cause of the crash isn't known, nor is the nature of the occupants' injuries.

One person at the scene said there was "liquor everywhere" in the vehicle with coolers spilled all over the backseat. It's unclear if alcohol may have factored into the collision.

Another driver said there was heavy thunderstorms and rain along the Connector early this evening, adding there was pooling water in many sections between Merritt and Peachland.

"We had to drive very deliberately... however, many vehicles were flying by us in the passing lane even though we were already averaging just below 100 kilometres in heavy rain," the motorist said.

UPDATE: 6:55 p.m.

DriveBC has confirmed traffic is "being held" heading eastbound on the Okanagan Connector, due to a crash east of the Pennask Summit.

Drivers are advised to expect delays, and it's unclear when traffic may begin moving again.

Details on the nature of the crash, which occurred at about 5:30 p.m., remain unknown.

An air ambulance was called to the scene, and a witness says a tow truck had arrived at about 6:30 p.m.

ORIGINAL: 6:25 p.m.

Traffic is currently blocked off heading east along the Okanagan Connector as crews work to clear what is believed to be a bad crash.

The incident occurred east of the Pennask Summit heading towards West Kelowna, reportedly just before 5:30 p.m.

It's believed a vehicle flipped and rolled several times, and an air ambulance was pictured heading to the crash scene. 

It's currently not clear how the crash happened nor how many vehicles may have been involved.

No details have been provided from DriveBC.

Castanet will update when more information becomes available.

Send news tips, photos and video to [email protected]

6 run for Peachland mayor

To no one's surprise, Cindy Fortin is facing a challenge from all sides as she tries to hold onto power in Peachland.

No less than five challengers have come out to oppose Fortin - much of that opposition surrounds the decision by her council to approve a five-storey building on Beach Avenue, a move not popular with many in the community.

Some familiar names are on the ballot, including current councillor Keith Thom and former councillors Ernie Hurd and Eric Hall.

Hall was elected to council in 2011 while Hurd was elected in 2008, but resigned in  2010 following the failed curling club referendum.

He ran unsuccessfully in 2011 and 2014.

Also seeking the mayor's chair are Harry Gough and Bob Henderson.

Four of the six current councillors are seeking re-election among an 11 person field.

They include Pam Cunningham, Mike Kent, Terry Condon and Mario Vucinovic. Former mayor Keith Fielding is also looking to rejoin the council table.

Also seeking a seat around the council table are Patrick Van Minsel, Leanne Sarsons, Karen Mustard, Rick Ingram, Pete Coolie and Andrew Kwaczynski.

School District 23 chair Moyra Baxter has three challengers for her seat on the board of education.

Baxter is being challenged by Marjorie Brims, Mark Steppell and Jennifer Carlson.

Voters will go to the polls Saturday, Oct. 20.




West Kelowna mayors' race

For the longest time, it appeared Gord Milsom would run unopposed for mayor of West Kelowna.

That all changed late Friday afternoon.

Mary Mandarino handed in her nomination papers at City Hall just moments before the 4 p.m. filing deadline.

Chief elections officer Tracey Batten read out the nominations in council chambers just after the deadline had passed to a small group who appeared to be surprised at the last-minute nomination.

Milsom, who announced his candidacy in January, had said he's going to continue his campaign right up to election day, regardless of whether he had a challenger for the seat.

"I've campaigned now for many months. I've had the opportunity to talk with a lot of people, did a lot of public consultation, and I feel I fully understand the priorities of our residents," Milsom said following the declaration.

Milsom says he has knocked on about 2,000 doors since announcing his candidacy, and says the top priorities of citizens he has talked with are clean drinking water, safe roads, bike paths and sidewalks, and policing."

Mandarino was not available for comment.

Milsom previously served three terms on council, while Mandarino is making her fourth run at office after running unsuccessfully for council twice and for mayor in 2014.

While only two have declared for mayor, there will be 17 names on the ballot for councillor.

Those include five incumbents, Rick de Jong, Rusty Ensign, Rosalind Neis, Bryden Winsby and Carol Zanon, as well as former mayor Doug Findlater, who decided to stay in politics after all.

Other contenders include:

  • Philip Akins
  • Jerome Chung
  • Brad Dobbin
  • Gerry Evans
  • Jason Friesen
  • Joe Gluska
  • Stephen Johnston
  • Tiffany Paré
  • Winston Wammer
  • Gordon Wiebe
  • Jayson Zilkie

It's the largest field for a councillor seat since the municipality's first election in 2007, when 24 people ran for the six available seats.

Two candidates are running for school trustee, Chantelle Desrosiers, and Chris Vernon-Jarvis. They are looking to claim the seat held by Julia Fraser, who is not seeking re-election.

Information on the election is available at the city's website.

Candidates do have a week to pull out of the race if they choose to do so before the ballot is made official next Friday.

Voters will go to the polls Saturday, Oct. 20.

Spook back in owner's arms

UPDATE: 1:40 p.m.

Shortly after the publication of Castanet's story about a dog's disappearance earlier this week in Peachland, Spook is now back in the arms' of her owner.

The mixed-breed dog never returned after her owner and a friend let her run off leash up Brenda Mines Road above Peachland Wednesday afternoon with several other dogs. Her owner presumed the worst when they found Spook's GPS collar discarded in a bush a few kilometres down the road. 

April Kitzan, a friend of Spook's owner, says she got a phone call from a woman Friday morning who said her daughter had found Spook. When Kitzan asked if Spook had a collar on when she found her, the woman said no.

"Honestly, we just don't care. We're so grateful that we got her back, that was the priority," she said. 

Spook's return came just in time. Her owner, who lives in North Dakota, is heading home on Saturday. 

ORIGINAL: 11:45 a.m.

Peachland residents are looking for their friend's dog, after they believe it was stolen.

April Kitzan says her husband, Denver, and friend Joey were four kilometres up Brenda Mine Road in the hills above Peachland Wednesday afternoon, allowing their dogs to run off leash.

“They were just running the dogs and giving them some good exercise, and the dog, Spook, she had a pink GPS collar, and they lost reception of her,” Kitzan said.

“They got in the truck and loaded all the other dogs up, and they headed back down Princeton Avenue, and through the GPS collar, they were able to locate her collars, because somebody had taken them off and thrown them into a bush at the corner of Turner and Ellison.”

That is several kilometres away from where the dogs were running.

Joey, Spook's owner, is visiting from North Dakota and is only in the Okanagan for a week.

“She's part of his family, and he has a little girl, Riley, and a wife, Breanna, and they're going to be devastated,” Kitzan said.

Spook is a mixed-breed dog that looks like a black lab with big ears. She has a little bit of white on her paws.

Free house could be yours

You could win a brand new house in West Kelowna – but you will have to guess the lucky number first.

Developer Troika is hosting a lottery event on Sept. 30. The first 1,000 people who take a tour of the West Harbour show home at 1825 Viewpoint Dr. between now and then will receive a free ballot.

Those 1,000 people will return on Sept. 30 and enter a seven-digit number of their choosing into a certified lottery machine. If your number matches the winning digits, you win a home in the third phase of the development.

“We are committed to creating and fostering a vibrant sense of community, and what better way to bring people together than by trying to give away a free house?” Troika CEO Renee Wasylyk said in a press release. 

“This event is fun, it’s suspenseful, it’s entertaining.”

There will also be a free barbecue lunch, entertainment, family activities and other guaranteed prizes.

Pushing on policing, power

Policing, power grid redundancy and a second crossing of Okanagan Lake were on the agenda for West Kelowna's delegation at the Union of B.C. Municipalities convention in Whistler this week.

On Thursday, Mayor Doug Findlater and council members lobbied for a review of provincial policing levels serving out of the West Kelowna RCMP detachment.

In face-to-face meetings with ministry representatives, they pressed for discussion on rural detachment policing levels. The city is concerned the province’s contribution is not adequate and is asking for a review of services by the province.

West Kelowna pays for 26 officers to serve the city, while the province pays for 24 to serve Westbank First Nation, Peachland, the Central Okanagan West electoral area, the Okanagan Connector, and Okanagan Lake from Peachland to Lake Okanagan Resort, as well as rural areas like Big White and Joe Rich.

The RCMP is requesting eight additional officers in West Kelowna, which would amount to a 4.5 per cent tax increase, and council wants to ensure it is not taking on policing costs outside its jurisdiction.

“A condition of our municipal policing agreement with the province to conduct reviews of service levels has not been met. Council is hesitant to entertain hiring more officers, particularly since it will mean a large tax increase for taxpayers, without a solid understanding of provincial policing out of the West Kelowna detachment,” said Findlater. 

Also, council continued to push for a second power transmission line into the community. Currently, a single line serves the area from West Kelowna to Summerland.

A commitment has been made by BC Hydro to construct the second line, however a final route has not been determined.

“The new route should be considered with potential forest fire threat in mind,” said Findlater. “The Smith Creek forest fire in 2014, which came very close to the power line, reminds us how vulnerable we are if the power supply is compromised.”

It's anticipated shovels could be in the ground by 2023, with a projected completion date in 2025.

On Wednesday, the delegation pressed the Ministry of Transportation for continued consultation on Highway 97 corridor planning, including consideration of a second bridge across Okanagan Lake.

“The highway, and any changes to it, will have significant impact on West Kelowna residents and we want to be sure that our voice is heard on the matter," said Findlater.

Candidates invited - to listen

Peachland residents will have the opportunity to share thoughts about their city council at a community forum next week.

The Peachland Residents Association is hosting the “open mic discussion” for residents to “voice their concerns about past decisions made by the District of Peachland council,” according to organizers.

“Peachlanders have a good record of participating in the planning and governing practices of their council ... Peachlanders expect that their opinions will be respected by their local government,” Peachland Residents Association spokesperson Gillian Evans said in a press release.

The association has come out against a five-storey development on Beach Avenue that's been approved by council. The development has been very controversial among residents.

The forum will take place at 7 p.m. Sept. 19 at Peachland's 50 Plus Activity Centre. Candidates in the upcoming elections have been invited to attend, but not to speak.

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