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West Kelowna  

Up for prestigious award

A West Kelowna student is a finalist for one of the most prestigious scholarships in Canada.

Mount Boucherie Secondary School student Nhi Dao is among the top 88 of 5,089 candidates for a $100,000 Loran Award. 

She'll be travelling to Toronto in February to participate in the awards' national selections.

The scholarships are awarded based on evidence of character, commitment to service in the community, and leadership potential, and pay for four years of undergraduate studies in the student's chosen field.

Dao was nominated by her school and has already gone through a day of regional interviews to narrow down the field of candidates.

After the national selections, the Loran Scholars Foundation will grant 34 awards.

The Loran Award includes annual stipends, tuition waivers from a partner university, mentorship, summer-internship funding, as well as annual retreats and forums.

If not selected as a Loran Scholar, Dao is still eligible to receive a $5,000 finalist award.



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Elderly woman killed

UPDATE: 7:10 p.m.

RCMP have confirmed that an elderly woman died as a result of a pedestrian-involved collision Saturday morning in the 2300 block of Highway 97. 

The operator of a black F150 truck hit the woman while attempting a left-hand turn in the parking lot. 

The 83-year-old West Kelowna victim suffered severe injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene, according to Cpl. Jesse O'Donaghey of the Kelowna RCMP. 

A 34-year-old West Kelowna man was the driver of the truck, who remained at the scene and cooperated with the investigation. The BC Coroners Service is now directing the investigation, and will rely on nearby video surveillance and RCMP collision analysis and reconstruction. 

If you witnessed the incident and have not yet spoken to police, contact West Kelowna RCMP at 250-768-2880.

The identity of the deceased will not be released. 


ORIGINAL: 12:30 p.m. 

A pedestrian is believed to have been killed on a roadway in a West Kelowna shopping centre's parking lot Saturday morning when they were struck by a truck.

Police and ambulance are on scene at the Westbank Shopping Centre near Highway 97 and Gosset Road, examining a black Ford F-150 with a yellow tarp around the front passenger side of the vehicle.

A firefighter on scene told a passerby that a body was underneath the truck.

The incident occurred near a four-way stop on the roadway that passes through the Westbank Shopping Centre's parking area, by the Tim Hortons and Dollarama. The collision is believed to have occurred just after 11 a.m.

Police have yet to comment on the incident. 



Seeking 4 years for shooting

The Crown is seeking a four-year sentence for a 61-year-old man who shot his tenant two years ago.

Charles Maskell was arrested on Dec. 2, 2016, after police attended his home on West Kelowna's Granada Crescent for a report of a shooting.

Maskell had shot his tenant, Robert Delve, and he was charged with attempted murder.

During his sentencing hearing Friday, Maskell's lawyer Paul McMurray said his client had rented out rooms in his home to Delve and Tyson Bone after his mother and brother he had been living with passed away. Struggling to pay the mortgage on the home, Maskell rented his home to “what turned out to be questionable characters,” McMurray said.

The tenants “saw him as vulnerable” and began selling drugs from the house while “getting (Maskell) addicted to drugs again.” Maskell also alleges Delve stole $15,000 from his bank account after he gave Delve his PIN number, but he could not provide the court with any proof of this.

Becoming “increasingly fearful and paranoid,” Maskell kept an unregistered antique handgun he had bought at a garage sale in his room, and on the day of the shooting, Maskell says Delve pushed him and threatened to “cave his head in.”

In response, Maskell pulled out the gun and shot Delve, injuring him.

After the shooting, police found evidence that drugs, including cocaine and GHB, were being trafficked out of the home.

While Maskell was initially charged with attempted murder, and additional charges of attempted murder for a criminal organization, aggravated assault and unlawfully discharging a firearm were added four months later, he took a plea deal with the Crown, pleading guilty in September to the lesser offence of assault causing bodily harm and possessing a loaded restricted firearm.

Maskell also pleaded guilty to assault with a weapon, stemming from an Aug. 1, 2018, incident at the Kelowna Walmart, where Maskell was caught by a security guard stealing meat while on bail. In response, Maskell discharged a can of bear spray in the store.

While Crown prosecutor Nick Lerfold is seeking a 3.5 to four year sentence for the shooting plus an additional six months for the bear spray incident, McMurray suggested a day under a two-year sentence, in addition to the 150 days he's spent in jail since his arrest in August, would be appropriate.

A sentence under two years will allow Maskell to serve his time at a provincial institution, rather than a federal prison.

Burdett is scheduled to sentence Maskell on Jan. 14.



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Christmas quackers in traffic

Why did the duck cross the road? To get to the other side, of course.

And so did his feathered friends, Friday afternoon in West Kelowna.

The waddle of Christmas quackers brought traffic briefly to a halt on Bering Road, beside Highway 97, in the Westbank First Nation commercial area.

Trucks and SUVs waited patiently for the ducks to go on their way.

No word on where they were headed once they did get to the other side of the street.



City eyes 3% tax hike

 

West Kelowna's draft 2019 budget includes a three per cent tax increase.

That would equal about $58 on the average West Kelowna home, valued at $600,996.

The draft budget includes:

  • $1.2 million for sidewalk construction
  • $3.17 million for roadwork including $800,000 in road rehabilitation
  • Funds to design Gellatly Road upgrade Phase 4 (Carrington Road to Boucherie Road) and design Glenrosa Road improvements (Glen Abbey to McGinnis)
  • $2 million budgeted for an upgrade of the Gellatly Road Bridge over Powers Creek.
  • The Capital Plan also calls for $5.5 million in works on the city’s water system, including a water main replacement to accommodate a new soccer dome in Rose Valley and improvements to storage in the Westbank Water System.

The is anticipating a projected growth factor of 2.4 per cent. Final growth from 2018 will not be determined by BC Assessment until March 31. 

The tax increase and growth will result in a more than $850,000 boost to city coffers.

Council will begin deliberation of the 2019-2028 Financial Plan at a special council meeting on Jan. 15.

Council will discuss the possibility of a higher tax increase, with the funds placed in reserves for future capital expenditures, along with a franchise fee on utility companies. West Kelowna is the only municipality in B.C. that does not have a such a fee.  

The draft budget will be the topic of an open house Jan. 30 at the Westbank Lions Community Centre, from 4 to 7 p.m.



Second library for Westside

Okanagan Regional Library is opening a second location in West Kelowna.

Renovations have started, and furniture and materials have been ordered for the Okanagan Lake Shopping Centre site on Highway 97.

It's set to open in late February.

The focus of the new location is on learning, technology, and community partnership, the ORL says.

The Westside Learning Lab will feature bookable community space and meeting rooms for events, programs and gatherings. A key component will be a "maker space" that will enable people to learn and use technologies related to 3D printing, material design, crafting, coding, robotics, electronics and more.

A sound booth will also be available for recording audio projects such as family stories, practicing musical instruments, recording podcasts and conducting interviews online.  

It will also have a small collection of materials like ORL other branches, and library users will be able to pick up holds and return books at the new location.

Okanagan Regional Library serves more than 370,000 residents through 29 branches from Golden to Osoyoos.



Stranger helps cadets

The kindness of a stranger will help send 50 West Kelowna cadets to Canadian Forces Base Cold Lake in Alberta. 

The 909 Peregrine Air Cadets and parents gathered at their base in West Kelowna to award the winner of their recent 50/50 fundraising raffle draw. Nancy Chapman of West Kelowna was ecstatic to accept the grand prize of $5,000.

She was so impressed with the cadets, she decided to donate a portion of the winnings back to the squadron.

“I think it is very generous. It is always really nice to get the support from the community and when an individual gives back,” said Commanding Officer Hannah Moir.

The 909 Peregrine Air Cadets have been fundraising for their citizenship trip to CFB Cold Lake in March.

“It is a big undertaking to take 50 kids to Alberta from here,” said Moir. 

The cadets, who range from 12 to 18 years of age, sold hundreds of raffle tickets in the weeks leading up to the draw.

All funds raised go directly to cadet training and equipment, including flight ground school, flight simulator training, marksmanship, first aid and wilderness survival training. 



Slope sliding away

There are concerns about the stability of a section of the bank along Powers Creek in West Kelowna.

Pictures from the area show a portion of the slope has broken away.

The city says it is monitoring the situation, and has informed residents along Webber Road that back on to the slope.

A geotechnical team, funded through Emergency Management BC, is determining the extent of the instability, potential causes and levels of remediation.

A creekside trail within Glen Canyon Regional Park was also closed in October after BC Hydro crews alerted the city to slide activity.

The city has not issued any evacuation orders or alerts as a result of the slide.



Looking for crash answers

Kelowna resident Diana Munro is pleading for the public's help after her car was hit by a semi, causing substantial damage.

And to make matters worse, ICBC says both parties are at equal fault because there were no witnesses. 

Munro was driving down Dobbin Road at Highway 97 in West Kelowna on Oct. 18 when she says the semi pulled into her lane, side-swiping her car. 

"I was in his blind spot, but that isn't my responsibility. I'm just really saddened that nobody stopped and gave a statement to police. My car is completely totalled, and ICBC says it was 50/50 – but it's not," Munro said. 

The big rig shoved the car off the road, leaving lug nuts and a hub from the wheel scattered across the street. 

Munro said RCMP attended the scene and took down both drivers' stories, but they didn't match up. 

The semi had minor damage; Munro says her exterior is a write-off. 

If you witnessed the crash or have any information, file a report by clicking here



Truck crash on Glenrosa

Traffic exiting Highway 97 onto Glenrosa Road has slowed down following a single-vehicle crash.

According to witnesses, a pickup truck crashed into a centre median.

The driver of the vehicle was being checked out by BC Ambulance personnel on the scene.

Highway traffic is not being affected.



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