West Kelowna  

Peachland mayor recovering from surgery that caused her to miss Canada Day celebrations

Mayor misses Canada Day

Peachland’s mayor is recovering from emergency surgery.

Cindy Fortin posted on Facebook Tuesday, explaining why she missed Canada Day celebrations on Friday.

“Sadly, I missed all the Canada Day celebrations due to needing an emergency operation,” wrote Fortin. “I was so looking forward to this special day – all the fun events, and seeing the many faces of the community out there celebrating after two years of having to cancel events – but my gallbladder had other plans.”

Fortin says she’s on the mend and feeling much better. She will be taking this week off to rest but says that won’t stop her from working.

The mayor thanks Councillor Pam Cunningham for filling in for her at the last minute. She also thanked district staff and all the community groups who were involved in planning the Canada Day festivities.

“I can’t wait to get out there and enjoy this long-awaited summer with the residents of our community,” adds Fortin.


Shannon Lake Road to be upgraded as part of development

Road work in Shannon Lake

Drivers in West Kelowna are being advised of construction taking place on Shannon Lake Road, starting Tuesday.

A contractor is starting work on installing water main infrastructure, sidewalks, streetlights and landscaping on the section of Shannon Lake Road south of Tallus Ridge Drive.

The work is part of the West 61 townhouse development on the northwest shore of Shannon Lake.

Brantal Contracting Ltd. crews are scheduled to perform work from 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. weekdays until early fall.

Shannon Lake Road will remain open during construction, but there will be traffic controls in place, including reduced speed zones, sections of single-lane alternating traffic, and limited street parking along the construction route. The city is working closely with the contractor to keep traffic flowing during peak periods.

Outside of construction hours, the road will be open to thru traffic and work will not be scheduled on long weekends or holidays. Transit and access for emergency services will be maintained during construction.

Motorists are advised to allow for extra travel time when driving through this area. For the safety of crews and residents in the area, please follow all construction signage and instructions from traffic control personnel.

For more information, please contact Brantal Contracting Ltd. at 250-801-1658 or [email protected]

Show and shine, cupcakes and music for Canada Day at Memorial Park

Shining for Canada Day

Memorial Park was the place to be for Canada Day fun in West Kelowna Friday.

Celebrations were back with the Murray’s Pizza Show & Shine and the Canada Day cake made of cupcakes delivered in an air-conditioned ambulance.

There were kids' activities with Kinshira, The Battle of the Bands, and the evening wrapped up with a performance by teen country music artist Bearmer Wrigley.

The Canada Day events are a prelude to Westside Daze, which takes over Memorial Park from July 7 to July 10.

It will include a midway, mainstage entertainment, local school band performances, a CycleKarts Show & Shine, fireworks and the Westside Daze Parade on Saturday.

The musical guests include Andrew Johns Tribute to Sir Elton John, A Man Named Sue, Tracy Millar and Kenny Rogers Tribute.

You can see the full list of Westside Daze events here.


Driver stops on Highway 97 to help ducklings cross

Ducklings cross highway

Madison Erhardt

A resident stopped traffic on Highway 97 in West Kelowna Thursday to help a group of ducklings cross the road.

The adorable moment was captured on dashcam video.

A man is seen getting out of his car on the highway, walking over to the ducklings and shooing them off the roadway.

It appears the mother duck was around during the incident.

West Kelowna man raises $40K for mental health with cross-B.C. ride

$40K raised on bike ride

West Kelowna's Sam Biffart raised $40,000 for local mental health programs with a cross-B.C. bike ride.

The 23 year old blew right past his original $15,000 goal to support Third Space Charity, thanks to a matching donation from the Stober Foundation.

“When they got in touch and let me know they wanted to match what I’d raised with B.C. Trek, I couldn’t believe it, to be honest. I’m so incredibly grateful,” said Biffart.

“This whole wild adventure challenged me mentally and physically in more ways than I could ever have imagined, and I couldn’t have done it without the support of so many friends, family, sponsors, and even complete strangers who donated money and rooted me on along the way.”

The money raised will support Third Space Charity’s community of mental health programs, which include intensive practicum program for clinical counsellors in training, and free supportive care couselling for young adults between the ages of 18 and 29.

This long venture took Biffard on a journey of more than 1,500 kilometres with 15,550 metres of incline, which is equivalent to climbing Mount Everest twice. Biffart also dealt with unexpected environmental challenges like washed out roads, cold temperatures and bear sightings.

“I’d planned to stay off main roads and camp as much as possible, but given the weather and other factors, I had to change plans in order to finish the journey,” he said. “It was definitely wild, and one of the most fulfilling, uncomfortable, memorable, painful at times, exhilarating, fun, exhausting, and enjoyable adventures of my life so far. It taught me a lot about my own capabilities, and I can’t wait for the next one.”

Executive director of Third Space Charity Karen Mason is absolutely blown away by Sam’s commitment to supporting young adult mental health, and the incredible effort and passion he put into this fundraising bike ride.

“Not only will the money he raised truly help change lives, but he’s also been an incredible inspiration and example of resilience to so many along the way,” said Mason.

Statistics Canada reported from September to December of 2020 that 1 in 5 Canadians over 18 screened positive for symptoms of depression, anxiety or PTSD. Young adults 18 to 24 were most likely to report those symptoms.

Two dead at home in Peachland after apparent murder-suicide

2 dead in Peachland home

UPDATE: 6:35 p.m.

A resident of the Garraway Place neighbourhood in Peachland where two are dead after a murder-suicide says the occupant of the home now filled with forensic investigators kept to himself.

“[He] was a very quiet person, kept to himself," Cyndy Bruyere said. "He was not friendly with anybody, he didn’t have any friends around here and he lived with his youngest son there … He looked after his place, had a dog - they went biking all the time and he was just a nice guy. It’s really sad."

She said police swarmed the street and surrounded the home Monday afternoon all at once.

“It happened fast. Before I knew it there were policemen all over," she said.

"My husband was going to the dog park with the dog and he stopped at the police car and they told me to get in the house and lock the doors and stay in. Then the next thing I know, the police are at the back door."

“It’s just too close to home. This is a quiet little place we have here … Everybody is a little nervous and afraid of what could happen next. Like, yeah, we’re a very quiet and close neighbourhood. Everyone is on edge.”

UPDATE 1:50 p.m.

Police have confirmed two people are dead at a home in Peachland, in what is ostensibly a murder-suicide.

RCMP received a report at 4:30 p.m. on Monday stating a woman had received a call from her friend saying that a homicide had taken place and they were considering self-harm.

Officers determined the call was related to a home in Peachland, at 6033 Garraway Place. Police swarmed the home and set up a containment perimeter, but were unable to contact those inside.

Tactical officers entered the home at about 6:20 p.m. and found a person dead with what appeared to be self-inflicted wounds with a weapon nearby. A second individual was also located deceased in the home.

“It is believed that the two people were known to each other and that there is no further ongoing threat to the public,” said RCMP spokesperson Dawn Roberts.

RCMP say they will work with the BC Coroners Service to identify the deceased individuals and the exact cause of death.

B.C.’s police watchdog, the Independent Investigations Office, has also been called in to determine whether police actions contributed to the deaths. The IIO investigates all incidents of death or serious injury involving police, regardless of if there are any allegations of wrongdoing.

ORIGINAL 12:50 p.m.

Two people are dead at a home in Peachland that was the site of a major police response Monday afternoon.

RCMP responded to a home at 6033 Garraway Place on Monday at around 4:30 p.m. Neighbours reported seeing tactical officers with weapons drawn surrounding the home.

Officers eventually forced entry to the home, breaking down the front door, finding two bodies.

A Mountie at the scene Tuesday confirmed two people are deceased. Forensic investigators remain on site.

More information is expected from the Southeast District Major Crimes unit today.

Coun. Patrick Van Minsel announces run for Peachland mayor

Councillor seeks mayor role

Saying It's time for a change, Peachland Coun. Patrick Van Minsel announced his bid for the municipality's top job.

At a news conference Tuesday morning, Van Minsel, completing his first term on council, said he believes he has demonstrated his commitment to the community and has gained the experience necessary to run for mayor.

"These years have also convinced me of the need for consensus-minded leadership," he said.

"As a community, we face challenges in governance. I have been fortunate to receive feedback and concerns from Peachland residents.

"Many have highlighted their desire for a professional, team-oriented approach, with increased transparency and opportunity for community input."

Van Minsel cited taxation, a range of housing developments, infrastructure, watershed protection, fiscal responsibility and transparent stewardship of taxpayer money as some of the issues brought to him.

He says leadership and hard work will be needed to overcome the challenges Peachland faces.

"Peachland’s future ability to provide services cannot rely entirely on revenue from property tax and parcel tax alone. Building stronger relationships with both provincial and federal government agencies will grant us access to necessary funding to take care of our infrastructure needs like sewers, roads, sidewalks, and parks."

Van Minsel says he stands for building partnerships, and delivering cost-effective solutions.

"There will always be challenges, but through respectful dialogue, honest communication, and holding the best interest of our community at heart – we can and will – move forward together."

Peachland residents will head to the polls to elect a new council Oct. 15.

Mayor Cindy Fortin is concluding her second term as mayor. She won re-election four years ago when her name was drawn out of a hat after she and challenger Harry Gough finished in a dead heat. She has not said if she is running for re-election yet.

Motorcycle crashes off Westside Road

Motorcycle leaves the road

Emergency crews had to respond to a motorcycle crash on Westside Rd. Monday evening.

RCMP tell Castanet they received a report of a single-vehicle collision just before 10 p.m.

“We had a single-vehicle motorcycle collision. The rider failed to negotiate a curve and both the driver and passenger suffered minor abrasions but no broken bones,” said RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Tammy Lobb.

Motorists say the crash occurred north of Traders Cove and resulted in the brief closure of the road.

Water quality advisory reissued for Lakeview-Rose Valley system

Water advisory reissued

It was nice while it lasted.

The City of West Kelowna has re-issued a water quality advisory for the Lakeview-Rose Valley water system.

The advisory was posted Tuesday just 11 days after the previous water notice for the system—which ran 78 days—was lifted.

The water quality advisory is being put in place due to seasonal turbidity in the Rose Valley Reservoir. The City of West Kelowna is in the process of building a new water treatment plant to permanently fix the problem.

Turbidity affects the performance of the chlorine disinfection process because bacteria, protozoa, viruses and other microorganisms can attach themselves to suspended particles in the turbid water. These particles can interfere with disinfection by shielding the microorganisms from the chlorine.

Under a water quality advisory, it is recommended that children, the elderly and those with weakened immunity use water brought to a rolling boil for one minute or more, or seek an alternative safe source, for brushing teeth, drinking, making baby formula and ice, preparing food and beverages and washing fruits and vegetables.

The bulk filling station at Shannon Lake and Asquith Roads provides a safe, alternative source of drinking water. Customers can use the touch-free side of the station free during the water quality advisory. Bring clean bottles for filling.

A map of West Kelowna water systems is here.

A boil water notice is also in place for the Sunnyside/Pritchard water system while a water quality advisory remains in place for the West Kelowna Estates system.

Last summer's Glenrosa arsonist is now out of prison

Glenrosa arsonist sentenced

A man caught on camera last summer trying to set fire to a forest in a residential area of Glenrosa has been released from prison and into the custody of a recovery house in the Fraser Valley.

Stephen Leader, 37, pled guilty last week to one count of intending to cause an explosion resulting in harm in relation to a July 10, 2021 incident that saw him observed by residents lighting a fire near the top of Webber Road.

In exchange for his guilty plea, the Crown stayed four other charges.

Leader received a 223-day conditional sentence, followed by three years of probation. He had been behind bars since August 2021.

For the first 150 days of his conditional sentence, Leader will be under 24-hour house arrest at Joshua House Recovery Ministries in Abbotsford. After that, he will be on a curfew between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m.

He will be required to participate in and complete treatment, not possess incendiary devices, not possess or consume alcohol, not enter a bar or liquor store and not be within one kilometre of Glenrosa Road in West Kelowna.

At the time of his crime in July 2021, in the midst of a catastrophic wildfire season, Leader was serving 18 months of probation for three unrelated convictions of possession of stolen property over $5,000 and theft under $5,000 in West Kelowna, along with breaking and entering in Kamloops. The three charges all occurred in 2020.

More West Kelowna News