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Kelowna  

Surveillance video shows accused appear to wipe off knife following fatal stabbing

Cleaning knife after stabbing

Surveillance footage taken shortly after Esa Carriere was fatally stabbed in downtown Kelowna shows a man wiping what appears to be a knife off on a curb. And during cross examination Friday, Noah Vaten said he believes the man in the video is himself.

Vaten and Nathan Truant's manslaughter trial began in February, and while it was supposed to last three weeks, the trial has faced multiple delays. While the latest extension was scheduled to wrap up Friday, Crown prosecutor Colin Forsyth was unable to finish his cross examination of Vaten Friday afternoon.

Forsyth spent much of Friday in court playing Vaten a number of downtown Kelowna surveillance videos from the night Carriere was killed.

But Vaten maintained throughout the cross examination that he doesn't remember the evening, due to his intoxication from alcohol and cocaine. The Crown maintains that Vaten delivered a fatal stab wound to Carriere's chest while a group punched and kicked Carriere on the ground near the Queensway Bus loop.

Following the altercation that left Carriere dead, the videos show three people leaving the area to the north, between Kasugai Gardens and City Hall. Flashes of light from the evening's fireworks light up the Kasugai Gardens area as the three people walk away.

While the clips don't clearly show the three people's faces, Forsyth suggested it was Truant, Vaten and Vaten's ex-girlfriend, who was hanging out with their group that night.

In a clip from the alleyway between Kasugai Gardens and the Memorial Arena, one of the three people can be seen stopping near some dumpsters, bending down and wiping something on the curb.

Vaten agreed with Forsyth that the man appears to be himself, and that he appeared to be wiping off a knife on the curb. But he maintains that he does not remember any of the night's events taking place.

“I have no personal recollection of these events happening, so I don't want to sit here and say 'Yes, that's me,' with no memory of doing it,” Vaten said. “I personally believe that's me from watching the video.”

Video from later in the night shows Vaten and Truant boarding a city bus. Footage from inside the bus shows Vaten talking to a woman he knew, and at one point, he hugs her.

Vaten testified he believed he was flirting with the woman, in an attempt to make his ex-girlfriend jealous, but Forsyth suggested Vaten was telling her he had stabbed someone that night.

Upon his arrest in January 2019, Vaten told his cellmate, who was actually an undercover officer, that while he was on the bus ride home, he had admitted to stabbing someone. Vaten also confessed to an RCMP officer during his interrogation. But Friday, Vaten said he doesn't actually remember the events of the evening, and that he had only told police what he had heard from others.

Footage from inside the downtown Kelowna RCMP's “drunk tank” was also played in court, showing Vaten and his cellmate several hours after Carriere was killed. Vaten had been arrested that night for kicking the Rutland RCMP detachment's window, while yelling “f*** the police,” but despite having blood-covered hands and police finding a knife in his backpack, Vaten was not a suspect in Carriere's death at this time.

Vaten's cellmate that night previously testified Vaten had told him he had stabbed someone, and Vaten admitted Friday that the footage shows himself appearing to make stabbing motions in the cell. There is no audio from the cell videos though.

Forsyth also played footage from inside Vaten's friend's garage on the morning of July 2, 2018, after Vaten had been released from the drunk tank. The friend previously testified that during this conversation, Vaten admitted he had stabbed someone. But Vaten claims their conversation centred around the fact he had used cocaine the night prior, and his friend was upset with him. While the video has no audio, Forsyth remained skeptical of Vaten's explanation, due to Vaten's actions in the footage.

“Do you have any explanation then for how producing the knife, making a punching gesture, pointing to your right cheek to the area where you're clearly indicating you were punched, and then you making motions that is essentially, as you agreed, consistent with stabbing motions; can you tell us how that all fits in to the discussion about using the cocaine?” Forsyth asked.

“I cannot answer that, no,” Vaten replied “When I originally saw this footage in court, I was very conflicted because this footage is completely different from how I remember this conversation happening.”

After taking longer than scheduled, Vaten's cross examination has been pushed to next week, while an additional day is needed in early October for both the Crown and defence to deliver their closing statements.

“The best laid plans...” Justice Alison Beames said at the end of the day Friday, clearly frustrated with the trial once again going longer than planned.



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Kelowna care home outbreak declared over after seven COVID deaths

Deadly outbreak now over

Kelowna's David Lloyd Jones long-term care home has been the Interior's hardest hit facility during the pandemic's fourth wave. But Friday, the home's COVID-19 outbreak was officially declared over.

The outbreak at the long-term care home near Bernard Avenue and Ethel Street was declared on Aug. 12, and within three weeks, seven residents had contracted the virus and died.

The virus tore through the 64-bed facility, infecting 45 residents and 16 staff members, before the outbreak was finally declared over Friday.

Thursday, the outbreak at West Kelowna's Brookhaven Care Centre was also declared over. The outbreak was first announced Aug. 3, and since then, three residents who contracted the virus have died.

Overall, 10 residents and seven staff at Brookhaven tested positive for COVID-19.

There remains active outbreaks at four other long-term care homes in Kelowna, and 10 across the entire Interior.

The outbreak at Kelowna's Cottonwoods Care Centre remains active. To date, 28 residents and 11 staff have contracted the virus, and six residents have died during the current outbreak. This is the second time Cottonwoods has been hit with a COVID-19 outbreak though. An outbreak there last spring left two residents dead.

With the elderly prioritized for the COVID-19 vaccine last December and January, the majority of residents have been vaccinated. But provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has said vulnerable people like the elderly can still suffer serious health impacts from the virus, even if they're vaccinated.

Interior Health does not disclose the vaccination status of care home deaths.

The Interior's current COVID-19 outbreaks are as follows:

  • Sun Pointe Village in Kelowna – nine residents and two staff; two deaths
  • Cottonwoods Care Centre in Kelowna – 28 residents and 11 staff; six deaths
  • Village at Mill Creek in Kelowna – eight residents and five staff; two deaths
  • Spring Valley Care Centre in Kelowna – 11 residents and four staff; three deaths
  • Hardy View Lodge in Grand Forks – one resident and five staff
  • Kamloops Seniors Village – 10 residents and nine staff; one death
  • Hillside Village in Salmon Arm – three residents and six staff; one death
  • Hamlets at Westsyde in Kamloops – three residents and three staff
  • Joseph Creek Village in Cranbrook – nine residents and five staff; two deaths
  • Overlander in Kamloops – three residents and two staff


Kelowna residents rally for climate action

Kelowna joins climate rally

Kelowna residents joined protesters around the world for the 2021 global climate strike on Friday.

The event was organized to raise awareness for the current condition of the climate, and protesters on hand were demanding change. Ben Cuthbert, an organizer with Fridays for Future, tells Castanet what happened, and what the overall goal behind the protest was.

“We blocked Bernard, we made a ton of noise, we blocked some of the traffic, did a u-turn and then we came to finish at Tracy Gray’s office,” said Cuthbert. “We want Tracy to recognize that we need to immediately reduce emissions, and scale back fossil fuel extraction.”

Some students at KSS were also taking part in the global climate strike. Gracie Teslyk and a few of her science classmates chose not to walk out of class and participate in the protest downtown due to COVID concerns, so they found a unique way to show their support.

“We decided to build a 12-foot-tall Minecraft tree. We went around to all of our classes as a group and got all of our students to write a little message on paper that is currently being taped to the tree,” explained Teslyk. We got them to answer a couple questions like what are they actively doing to prevent climate change.”

Teslyk also said she wants everyone to be as educated as possible when it comes to the climate, as we all have a job to do.

Dayna Margetts is a science teacher at KSS, and she admits seeing her students take action on climate change makes her emotional. “I might tear up, it's just so inspiring and we’ve worked our butts off this week to make this happen, and what I love is the fact that they love doing this."

The teacher was also very blunt about older generations taking immediate action, as she doesn’t feel the younger generations should have to suffer the consequences of climate change.

“We as adults need to do something. We can’t leave it all up to them, because that's just like us saying here's an easy get-out-jail free ticket. Sorry, but we can do it too, and I think the young people seeing that someone in my position cares so much about their planet, I think that's what really inspires them,” said Margetts.



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International flights to return to Kelowna's airport

International flights resume

International air travel is returning to Kelowna International Airport.

International flights into YLW have been essentially grounded since the outbreak of the pandemic.

But Alaska Airlines has announced its Seattle to Kelowna route will resume on Dec. 16, "just in time for the holidays."

The route will use a Q400 Dash-8 aircraft.

Air Canada announced they would be offering new non-stop service between Kelowna and Montreal back in early July, but YLW has been struggling to survive since the pandemic all but halted air travel, including international flights 18 months ago.

Early in 2020, YLW had projected to reach 2.25 million passengers by 2025. But by April 2020, YLW’s 47 daily flights to 14 destinations had been reduced to nine daily flights to eight destinations.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on Canadian airports and the aviation and tourism industries,” said Sam Samaddar, airport director.

While it has been possible to fly to international destinations, including the United States during the pandemic all direct international flights out of Kelowna were cancelled in favour of the four hub cities: Vancouver; Calgary, Toronto and Montreal.

Starting in November, any air traveller going to the U.S. will need to provide proof of vaccination and a negative COVID-19 test taken with 72 hours of boarding.

According to Alaska Airlines website, travellers to Canada are required to submit information digitally using the ArriveCAN app or website.



Kelowna RCMP reveals plan to fight local property crime wave

'New vision' to fight crime

The Kelowna RCMP says it is increasing patrols in commercial areas and restructuring its street enforcement teams in response to a property crime wave hitting local businesses.

The detachment has made the announcement following a series of stories by Castanet News featuring a wide variety of local businesses who have called for more to be done about break-ins and vandalism.

The Kelowna RCMP confirmed Friday there has been a “marked increase” in break-and-enters to businesses in commercial zones.

“The Kelowna RCMP works to respond intelligently to crime trends, and this is exactly what we are doing in this case. We are altering the way that we are structured and we will continue working with our partners to address this spike and prevent further crimes. There is work to be done throughout the community to ensure we all take steps to prevent criminals from operating here and we are committed to this continued effort,” said detachment commander Supt. Kara Triance.

“As a society, we must also recognize that many of these crimes are tied to more complex social issues with underlying root causes. The Kelowna RCMP is further committed to our continuing work with our partners, including the City of Kelowna, Interior Health and the Ministry of Justice to address these concerns.”

In addition to increased patrols in the downtown and Harvey Avenue areas, the detachment says it is rolling out a “new vision” to target property crime. Street enforcement teams have been reorganized into two larger teams under the banner of the Proactive Enforcement unit.

Within the unit, the “Target Team” will focus on property crime while the “Drug and Organized Crime Unit” will focus on its namesake. The two teams hit the streets next week.

“This change refines the overall mandate of our teams and eliminates cross over,” says Insp. Beth McAndie, investigative services officer for the Kelowna RCMP. “By having focused and larger teams, we will be able to more effectively address this upward trend in property crime within Kelowna.”

The detachment is also encouraging residents and businesses to do their part in reducing property crime.

“Our files have shown that almost half of our break and enters to businesses and parkades have involved an insecure door or someone allowing access to criminals to access secure areas,” said Cpl. Jocelyn Noseworthy.

“An example of this trend is a parkade where a side door is propped open, or a business where the compound isn’t locked properly at night.”

The Kelowna RCMP says the following tips will make it harder for thieves to make you a victim.

  • Ensure that you lock up. Keep doors and windows secured and locked whenever possible.
  • Close and secure your garage, storage containers and compounds. When you leave them open, it gives thieves and opportunity to see what you store there.
  • Record serial numbers of tools, bikes and valuables. This information allows police to return stolen property when it’s located.
  • Install a home alarm system, cameras, and well-placed motion detector lighting if possible.
  • Report any suspicious behaviour or activity to your local police as soon as possible
  • Don’t allow people to access shared garages, lobbies, or parkades if they don’t live there.


Two Kelowna residents attacked by stranger in backyard

Attacked in backyard

A man is facing numerous charges after being accused of attacking two people in their backyards in Kelowna.

Police say they were called to a home on Coronation Avenue just before 3:30 p.m. on Sept. 22, arriving to find an injured 66-year-old Kelowna man.

"The man stated he had heard a neighbour screaming for help and when he had gone into her backyard a man had attacked him," says a news release from Kelowna RCMP.

Officers quickly found the 40-year-old female victim who said she had been in her backyard when she was attacked by an unknown man who attempted to choke her, and tried to get into her house.

The victim fled into a nearby building, but then had to flee again when he followed her. She hid in a neighbour’s yard until police arrived.

Both victims suffered what are believed to have been non-life-threatening injuries.

Brady Dolphin, 35, was arrested without incident. He is now facing charges of aggravated assault, assault by choking, assault with a weapon and break and enter.



Police seek public's help piecing together final movements of woman found dead in Kelowna

Tracing Krystal's last steps

Police are working to retrace the steps of a woman who was found dead last weekend on the side of Highway 33 in Rutland.

The day after media reported on her identity, the Kelowna RCMP have now confirmed that Krystal Moyan, 41, was found dead on Sept. 19 near the intersection of Highway 33 and Nickel Road.

Officers were called to the scene at 7 a.m. that day for the suspicious death.

“Retracing Krystal’s movements leading up to her death is one of the priorities for our investigators and we urge anyone who may be able to assist us with this to contact us immediately,” said Const. Solana Paré of the Kelowna RCMP.

“In particular, we are looking to speak with anyone who saw or spoke with Krystal on the evening of Saturday, September 18th and the morning of Sunday, September 19th. We are also appealing to the public for dash camera footage from anyone who may have been traveling on Highway 33 near Nickel Road on September 19th between midnight to 7:00 a.m.”

Krystal Moyan is described as an Indigenous female, five-foot-five, with a medium build and short black hair and brown eyes. She was last seen wearing a black and grey winter jacket, a red t-shirt, dark sweatpants and black Nike shoes with a white sole and white logo.

Anyone with any information is asked to contact the Kelowna RCMP at 250-762-3300 or remain completely anonymous by calling Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or by leaving a tip online at www.crimestoppers.net.



Kelowna looks at making EV charging stations mandatory on most new developments

EV chargers to be mandated?

The City of Kelowna is proposing to legislate the number of electric vehicle charging stations around the city by 2023.

According to recommendations within the community electric vehicle and E-bike strategy, new residential and commercial developments would be required to be EV ready.

Recommendations being put before council would make it mandatory for all parking stalls in new residential developments be EV ready beginning in 2023 while 10 per cent of stalls in new commercial developments would have to be EV ready.

All new gas stations constructed beginning in 2023 would require "alternate fueling infrastructure," while all existing multi-use residential buildings would be required to provide "adequate" EV charging infrastructure by 2030.

The city would do its part by purchasing only zero emission light-duty vehicles by 2025 and pledge that all shared mobility made in light-duty vehicles be done in zero-emission vehicles by 2030.

The report suggests the measures are needed to encourage residents to make the switch to electric.

While Kelowna is seeing an upward trend in the number of battery and plug-in hybrid EV's being purchased, Monday's council report suggests several real or perceived barriers continue to exist including higher purchase cost, limited availability of class and model of vehicles and lack of charging options.

With the popularity of E-bikes, it is being recommended the city investigate zoning options for E-bike charging, and update local regulations to be more E-bike permissive.

"If Kelowna is to meet its climate change goals, reducing GHG emissions in the transportation sector is paramount," the report concludes.

"While the priority is shifting people to more sustainable modes, passenger vehicles will remain a dominant transportation mode for at least the next twenty years.

"EVs can significantly reduce GHG emissions from the passenger vehicle sector in BC while providing many other benefits when compared to their gasoline and diesel-powered counterparts."

Figures released by the city indicates 53 per cent of GHG emissions are related to transportation, with 90 per cent of those attributed to tailpipe emissions from light-duty vehicles.



BC Housing searching for additional shelter space in Kelowna

Search on for shelter space

BC Housing is looking to the City of Kelowna and the private sector to find additional shelter space in the city.

With winter approaching, the need to find additional beds to temporarily house those marginalized within the city is growing.

"We are working closely with the City of Kelowna and stakeholders to find additional locations for shelters to accommodate those experiencing homelessness," BC Housing officials stated in an email to Castanet News.

"We (BC Housing) currently funds 175 shelter spaces in Kelowna, but has exhausted all locations we own, and are looking to other stakeholders for help in providing additional shelter space."

BC Housing has already extended the temporary lease of two shelters within proximity to the downtown area.

Shelters at both the former Daily Courier on Doyle Avenue and Tree Brewing on Richter Street have been extended through March 31 of next year.

The leases were extended because other shelter spaces are at capacity, meaning with colder temperatures on the horizon, any closure would have forced those people onto the streets with nowhere to go.

"We know that shelters are not a long-term solution, which is why BC Housing continues to work with city and non-profit partners to build new supportive and affordable housing options in Kelowna.

"Over the past two years, we have opened 274 supportive homes for people experiencing, or at risk of, homelessness in Kelowna."



Businesses pressure the city to do more to curb property crime

Business wants crime action

Cindy White

Even more businesses are speaking out about the impact of repeated property crime.

The latest is the owner of OK Tire on Dilworth Road.

Kelly Mouillierat says windows have been smashed and several vehicles were broken into recently.

He blames what he calls the "homeless superhighway" along Mill Creek and points to a government office across the street where people go to collect assistance cheques.

He has sent a letter to the mayor and city council saying the issue has also gotten worse at the OK Tire on Springfield Road since supportive housing was built nearby.

Castanet recently spoke to the owner of Skogies Car Wash and several other business operators in the area. They say the rampant break-ins, thefts and smash-and-grabs are costing them thousands of dollars in repairs.

So what is the city doing?

“We continue to work very closely with a range of partners, including Interior Health and BC Housing to address some of the underlying root causes or associated causes to our property crime challenges in Kelowna,” said Darren Caul, community safety director with the City of Kelowna.

“We’re also nearing the tail end of developing a community safety plan. And the community safety plan will be a five-year action plan comprised of tangible things that the city and governmental partners and non-governmental partners can do to reduce the criminality and the victimization that’s occurring in our city.”

Caul also urges businesses to continue to report these crimes. "The RCMP take an intelligence-led approach and they deploy their resources based on where the crimes are occurring and when they’re occurring, but if they don’t know, they can’t go.”

Castanet has reached out to RCMP for comment but has not had a response.



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