$10-a-day daycare is here

$10-a-day daycare has come to the Okanagan.

Families at Okanagan College's Little Scholars are now paying no more than $200 a month per child as part of the B.C. government's universal child care prototype project.

"Little Scholars is a welcoming, inclusive centre, which provides dedicated services for young parents, Indigenous families and children with extra support needs," said Katrina Chen, Minister of State for Child Care. "This focus on inclusivity means that no one is left behind, and every child at the centre is able to learn and thrive under the care of these dedicated staff."

The Little Scholars program is just one of more than 50 sites chosen to offer low-cost child care to B.C. parents. The program is run by the YMCA of Okanagan, with children encouraged to learn and discover through play.

"We are committed to introducing affordable, accessible and quality child care for B.C. parents," said Katrine Conroy, Minister of Children and Family Development. "This project is a step toward fulfilling our goal to bring universal childcare to B.C., and we're excited to be working with organizations like the YMCA to make life better for families."

The project is funded through a $60-million investment as part of the Early Learning and Child Care Agreement with the Government of Canada. It complements the Province's $1-billion three-year investment through Childcare BC to move toward its long-term vision of affordable, accessible and quality childcare for any family that needs it.

Childcare BC Universal Prototype Sites will model what high-quality, affordable, universal child care may look like for B.C. families. The funding will allow Okanagan College's Little Scholars program to offer 51 low-cost licensed child care spaces to parents in Kelowna. In all, parents of around 2,500 children will benefit from the prototype project.

Parents who are not accessing these low-cost spaces may still be eligible for support through the Affordable Child Care Benefit, which provides up to $1,250 per child a month for families with an annual income of $111,000 or less. Families using licensed child care may also see savings through the Child Care Fee Reduction, which has so far helped to reduce the cost of almost 52,000 child care spaces around the province.


Ending 'us' and 'them'

Advocates say the time has come to end the "us" and "them."

People experiencing homelessness are just that – people.

To help shift the dialogue, Journey Home is holding a special event to reflect on individual stories and the challenges many face in finding a safe and affordable place to call home. 

The event is set for the evening of Nov. 22 at Kelowna Community Theatre. It starts with a "Lived Experience Artisan Market" at 6 p.m., where you can check out the work of artists and craftspeople who have previously been homeless. That's followed by a screening of the documentary Us and Them at 7 p.m. The event wraps up with a panel discussion.

Admission is free. 

“There isn’t an ‘us’ and a ‘them’ – there is only ‘us,’“ says Dr. Kyleen Myrah, co-chair of the Journey Home transition team. “We are a community, a community that has come together in a significant way to address homelessness through Journey Home. This event provides an opportunity to reduce the stigma and discrimination experienced by people who have, or are currently experiencing homelessness. We can do this by educating ourselves and others, becoming aware of our attitudes and behaviours, supporting other members of our community and focusing on the positive work being done.” 

Filmmaker Krista Loughton says the documentary was made over a 10-year period.

“I wanted to educate as many people as possible on the realities of homelessness and to encourage proactive solutions. I also want people to watch the film and never look at a street person, or themselves, in the same way again," says Loughton.

The Journey Home Strategy is Kelowna’s five-year plan to address homelessness with a focus on ensuring everyone has a place to call home. Over the course of the five-year strategy, 2,100 people are expected to be assisted. 

The Tenors aid local cause

Here's a chance for a one-in-a-lifetime evening with The Tenors, while also assisting a Kelowna youth soccer team.

The Tenors, a Canadian vocal trio, are bringing their "Home for the Holidays" tour to Prospera Place Nov. 29, and have made a VIP meet and greet package available for during an online auction.

The Kelowna United Jr Heat 2005 boys soccer team is in the process of trying to raise about $50,000 to travel to Portugal for a world class soccer tournament.

The VIP package available for auction includes:

  • Two orchestra seats chosen by The Tenors
  • Meet and greet
  • Photograph with the trio
  • Autographed 8X10 picture
  • Collectible laminate
  • Merchandise item
  • Dine and Stay package from the Hotel Eldorado which includes one night stay and breakfast.

The auction closes this Thursday, Nov. 15.

Click here for information on the auction.



Evening Update Nov.12

Madison Erhardt

Castanet's Evening Update for Monday, Nov.12, 2018, with Jon Manchester. 

Tree hack job 'disaster'

Heavy handed pruning at a Kelowna shopping centre has tree lovers up in arms.

"This is the worst example of landscape maintenance I have ever seen," says Melba Reid, president of the Okanagan Master Gardeners group.

Describing the work at Okanagan Lake Shopping Centre on Highway 97 as "a disaster," Reid said the severe cut-back may well kill the trees.

"Branches are chopped anywhere with no regard or knowledge of where a tree can easily sprout new growth. These were pretty trees and (previously) appeared healthy," she said Monday.

The work apparently took place some time over the last 10 days, and was the hot topic at the Master Gardeners' annual general meeting this past weekend.
"This is the second incident I have seen at this location," said Reid. "The first was a couple years ago when I had to tell the maintenance crew that several of the trees were dying because they were over-growing the wire support around the trunk and being killed."

Several of them have since been removed, as they died.

She says a tree specialist friend agrees these trees may not survive either.

Reid says she's emailed mall management with her concerns, and Castanet has also reached out for comment.

"It's unbelievable. It's an absolute waste. Those trees were beautiful this summer and fall."

She said some nearby aspen trees were also topped, but will likely be OK, as lower branches were left untouched.

Dreary week ahead

Madison Erhardt

Environment Canada forecasts a damp and cloudy week in the Okanagan. 

"To start the week off, we are under the influence of a ridge of high pressure that is resulting in some low cloud through the Okanagan," says meteorologist Alyssa Charbonneau.

"We will see a big shift in the weather as we get into Tuesday. It will be a much more active weather pattern with storms coming through, and for the Okanagan Valley that looks like a chance of rain showers and a little bit more steady cloud cover," Charbonneau said Monday.

This afternoon, the sun may make an appearance, with a high of 3 C.

Tuesday should see a mix of sun and cloud and a high of 4 C. 

But, you can put away your sunglasses for the rest of the week. 

Showers are expected Wednesday through Friday, with highs of about 5 C.

Saturday and Sunday will reach only 4 C, with cloudy periods. 

Have you seen Cassy?

Friends and family of Cassy Miller are concerned for her safety and trying to determine her whereabouts.

Miller hasn't been seen since November 6th, 2018 and her family say it is unlike her to remain out of contact with them for so long.

Her friend Ashleigh Blank tells Castanet, "it's out of character for her to not be in touch with absolutely anybody at all."

RCMP have been notified and they have issued photos of Cassy and are searching for her in Rutland. There have been unconfirmed reports that she has been spotted in the Rutland area over the past several days.

Cassy is 28 years old, listed as 5'3" tall with dark hair and freckles. She often wears the purple sweater she can be seen wearing in the photo.

If you have any information you are asked to contact Kelowna RCMP at 250.762.3300.



Bring out your best

Local artists are getting some time in the spotlight at the Kelowna Art Gallery.

A new exhibit is currently on display in the front project space at the gallery and will remain on display until January 13, 2019.

Some 70 local artists have their work on display for the annual members' exhibition entitled "Bring Out Your Best". The group show features a wide variety of media, including painting, sculpture, drawing, mixed media, photography, and digital media.
“It is always exciting to see the wide range of works contributed for the annual members’ exhibition,” says Nataley Nagy, Executive Director at the Gallery. “We are once again thrilled to be able to share these with the community as one of the many ways we give back to our valued members for their ongoing support.”
A reception to celebrate the artistic accomplishments of these talented individuals will be held on Friday, December 7, 2018, from 6 to 8 p.m., at the Kelowna Art Gallery.
The Kelowna Art Gallery offers four exhibition spaces that showcase changing contemporary and historical Canadian art and is located at 1315 Water Street in the heart of the Cultural District in downtown Kelowna.

Sally Ann ready to help

It's that time of year again when families in need can register for the Salvation Army's Sharing Christmas food & toy program in the Central Okanagan.

With Christmas Day less than seven weeks away, the Sally Ann began booking appointments Friday.

"Christmas truly is the most wonderful time of the year," says Sonia Withers, community ministries co-ordinator. "Each year, we are blessed with the opportunity to provide assistance to the members of our community who may be walking through some challenging financial times. It is an honour to be able to walk alongside and provide support."

Last year, the Salvation Army provided assistance to almost 600 families in the Central Okanagan, including toys for more than 1,100 children – an eight per cent increase over Christmas 2016.

So far this year, they're seeing a 13 per cent increase in those seeking services. 

“We could not provide this blessing without the tremendous support of the community,” says Pastor Darryl Burry. “From financial donations to the donation of food products and new toys … each contribution helps us to provide hope and dignity to families right here in our community.”

“We desire to ensure that no one falls through the cracks during this special season of love and giving, however, in order to meet the demands placed upon us, we would respectfully ask that all families set up an appointment to register as soon as possible."

To book a registration interview, call 250-860-2329 extension 335. 

Gala supports clinics

Nursing students at UBC Okanagan will host their 10th annual Global Gala, a fundraiser to support medical clinics in Ghana and Zambia.

The gala is run in partnership with the Okanagan Zambia Health Initiative.

The formal evening includes a three-course dinner, entertainment and silent auction. Money raised go directly to fund health initiatives which support outreach clinics, and the purchase of medical equipment.

Each year, a group of nursing students and faculty travel to clinics in Zambia and Ghana to deliver funds raised and see how that money is benefitting people in those countries.

The gala is set for Friday, Nov. 23 at the Delta Grand Resort.

There is currently a flash sale on tickets to the event, starting at $100 which and can be purchased through Eventbrite.

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