West Kelowna  

Relocating transfer station

The City of West Kelowna will ask the regional district for some guidance in finding a new home for its regional transfer station.

The transfer station, which accepts standard household garbage, some recyclables and select yard waste, is located at the site of the former city dump on Asquith Road, surrounded by several residential neighbourhoods.

At last week's council meeting, Coun. Rick deJong put forth a notice of motion concerning moving the transfer station away from its current location.

The motion, requesting the Regional District of Central Okanagan to undertake a business case to investigate moving the transfer station to the industrial area of West Kelowna, was tabled Tuesday evening.

It was supported unanimously.

"It would be my hope the regional district would look at this," said deJong.

Everything at the transfer station is eventually trucked to the City of Kelowna, and deJong says moving the facility to the industrial area could afford the city the opportunity for limited process of glass or bottles, potentially reducing the cost of transporting.

Coun. Duane Ophus was more straightforward in his desire for a "better, and more convenient location."

"We made a commitment to move this transfer station out of a residential neighbourhood at the earliest date possible," he said.

"It's been years and year and years. We need to get on with it. The study should be on how we accomplish relocation of the transfer station to the industrial area or a better location."

He said a better location needs to be found as soon as possible.

Coun. Rosalind Neis suggested the gravel pit on Westlake Road, however, Mayor Doug Findlater reminded council the City of Kelowna, which uses the gravel pit, pays West Kelowna about $70,000 a year in property taxes for that site.

The West Kelowna landfill was converted to a transfer station in 2010.


Flood prep on Gellatly Rd

Flood preparations are underway in earnest in West Kelowna.

The city has begun installing bladder dams along the west side of Gellatly Road, between the Cove Lakeside Resort and the bridge crossing Powers Creek.

The bladder dam is a temporary measure, but will remain in place until the threat of creek flooding has passed.

Powers Creek has a history of flooding in that area. It was one of the first areas hit during last spring's floods.

Gellatly Road will remain open during installation, however, motorists may experience some delays. It's expected to take about two days to install the dam.

The city says the measure is one of several in place along Gellatly Road.

Rotary Trails Park is closed, and has been set up as a staging area for creek flood response equipment.

With conditions expected to be similar to last year, and record snowpacks on surrounding mountains, West Kelowna is monitoring the flood threat constantly.

Homeowners living along creeks can pick up sand and sandbags from the following locations:

  • Kinsmen Works Yard – 3170 Shannon Lake Road
  • Across the street from the Glenrosa Fire Station on Gates Road
  • Across the street from the Rose Valley Fire Station on Westlake Road
  • 4081 Hitchner Road – road end
  • Kinsmen Works Yard driveway
  • West Kelowna Yacht Club – 4111 Gellatly Road

Lakefront property owners are not being advised to put protective measures in place on their properties at this time.

Starting with clean pot slate

The City of West Kelowna is tightening its bylaws around the illegal sale of cannabis.

Council endorsed several bylaws Tuesday in an effort to start with a "clean slate" once federal legislation to legalize the production, sale and use of recreational cannabis is entered into law sometime in late summer or early fall.

The new bylaws, once they are given final reading, would prohibit the use of dispensaries to sell marijuana in West Kelowna, unless in the form of a "full-service pharmacy" under the Pharmacy Operations and Drug Scheduling Act.

"I read this as the intent is to start with a clean slate when legalization comes in," said Mayor Doug Findlater.

"Basically, this is to clean up the anomalies in zoning and business licensing, then at some point, open up the opportunity based on what council decides for both private enterprise and the provincial government to provide, presumably recreational marijuana."

City planner Nancy Henderson says the measures are just temporary.

Once more information comes down from the federal and provincial governments, she says staff will come back to council with several recommendations as to how to proceed.

She says council can then decide where retail sales can occur.

"Once this is all cleaned up and we have a clean slate to work with, I would like to see the availability on a very limited basis, of both recreational and medical marijuana in West Kelowna," added Findlater.

A public hearing on the latest changes will now be set up.


Prepping for the worst

Video taken May, 2017.

The City of West Kelowna will be installing bladder dams along Gellatly Road between the Cove Lakeside Resort and the bridge over Powers Creek.

The stretch of road is notorious for flooding. It was one of the first areas to experience severe flooding last spring.

Installation of the bladder dam will necessitate closing the road for about two days.

While it's a temporary installation, the dam will be in place until the threat of creek flooding has passed.

Rotary Trails Park has been designated a staging area for flood response equipment, and remains closed.

The city asks the public to stay away from all flood protection installations.

With similar conditions to a year ago and a larger-than-normal snowpack, the city is conducting flood prevention work and monitoring of the flood threat throughout the entire community.

Pharmacies only for pot?

The City of West Kelowna is looking to tighten its bylaws around the sale of marijuana.

A series of bylaw amendments will come before council today in anticipation of marijuana's legalization across the country later this year.

The new bylaws, if endorsed, would prohibit the use of dispensaries to sell marijuana in West Kelowna, unless in the form of a "full-service pharmacy" under the Pharmacy Operations and Drug Scheduling Act.

City staff indicated in a report that compassion clubs would also be prohibited "due to the tendencies for these operations to turn into full-fledged dispensaries over time."

One of the other changes would change the wording from marijuana to cannabis to reflect new federal language in the Cannabis Act.

The direction West Kelowna is taking is vastly different from that of Kelowna, where it is expected storefront dispensaries will be allowed to operate, with the possible exception of on Bernard Avenue and along South Pandosy.

Sandbags ready for pick up

In anticipation of what could be a busy flooding season, the City of West Kelowna is making sand and sandbags available at a number of locations around the community.

Property owners wanting to begin the process of protecting the homes from the potential of flooding can pick up sandbags and sand at six locations, including:

  • Kinsmen Works Yard – 3170 Shannon Lake Road
  • Across the street from the Glenrosa Fire Station on Gates Road
  • Across the street from the Rose Valley Fire Station on Westlake Road
  • 4081 Hitchner Road – road end
  • Kinsmen Works Yard driveway
  • West Kelowna Yacht Club – 4111 Gellatly Road

The latest readings released by the River Forecast Centre on Monday show mountains in the Okanagan with a snowpack of 152 per cent above normal.

Officials with the centre says anything greater than 135 per cent above normal puts lower levels at a higher risk of flooding.

West Kelowna has already closed Rotary Trails Park to begin the process of staging supplies in that area and other locations in the city as a precautionary measure as the city braces for possible flooding.

Residents are asked to contact the city's planning department at 778-797-8830 before doing any work in waterways or around sensitive aquatic areas.

Click here for tips on constructing a sandbag wall.

Hedge fire near trailer

Firefighters doused a large hedge fire beside a mobile home in West Kelowna, Thursday.

The fire broke out just before 4 p.m. at the corner of Old Okanagan Highway and Shannon Lake Road. 

A witness at the scene says tall cedar bushes were on fire, and crews had extinguished the flames.

“Firefighters are tearing siding off a trailer in behind the hedge. The flames are all put out," said Rodney Reid.

Firefighters could also be seen spraying fire retardant foam.

The cedars are about 12 feet in height. 

Jersey Day for Humboldt

Madison Erhardt

People across Canada traded in their workday outfits and pulled on a jersey in support of the Humboldt Broncos and Jersey Day on Thursday. 

Students at Mount Boucherie Senior Secondary School were decked out in their favourite team colours.

"As soon as they heard about it, everyone participated right away. They were excited. This school is full of such giving leaders," said PAC president Debbie Kushneryk.

"If one of us gets hurt, we all get hurt. It's a hit to everyone in Canada, so we really need to be there for them," said daughter Sarah Kushneryk.

Students also signed a banner with encouraging messages for the Humboldt community.

The West Kelowna warriors are also hosting a vigil tonight at 6 p.m. All are welcome, but you're asked to wear a jersey.

Premier agrees to meeting

Premier John Horgan has agreed to a meeting with West Kelowna Mayor Doug Findlater about the proposed speculation tax.

Just when that meeting will take place is anybody's guess.

The city has made it clear it wants to be removed from the list of municipalities being stung by the new tax. Findlater made those feelings known to the premier when he and other politicians dropped in unannounced to a meet-and-greet with Horgan when he was in Penticton last week.

The premier suggested West Kelowna has a negative rental rate, to which the mayor responded West Kelowna numbers are lumped in with Kelowna's. He said the city is preparing a separate set of figures he hopes will show West Kelowna is better off than current numbers show.

"He said yes to the meeting, so we have finalized a letter reminding him of the meeting and commitment," said Findlater.

He reiterated West Kelowna is unique among B.C. municipalities.

"We are a 10-year-old city with rural infrastructure that needs to go to urban standards. If this suppresses and scares off new development, and there are signs that is already happening, it costs us big bucks," said Findlater. "We are using new development, which is an increased tax base and DDCs to fund our infrastructure upgrades.

"If we want to stick to our infrastructure plan and development is depressed, we would have to increase our property taxes about two per cent a year over what we already are. We would be going into the five per cent range."

Lobbying for health centre

The City of West Kelowna hopes to convince the province an Urgent Health Care Centre is urgently needed in the community.

The city renewed calls for a health care centre to service the entire Greater Westside area after Health Minister Adrian Dix reportedly said a similar facility was being contemplated for Kelowna.

Chief administrative officer Jim Zaffino told council Tuesday he has since broached the subject with the ministry and has a tele-conference call scheduled for Friday morning.

Zaffino said he reminded the ministry they do own property in West Kelowna. IH purchased the 2.7 hectare parcel of land in 2007 for such a facility.

There is also $2 million in a restricted reserve account with the regional district for planning a health care facility.

The city is making the request of the province on behalf of all communities on the Westside, including Peachland, Westbank First Nation and the Central Okanagan West electoral area. The combined population is 49,000.

"We are one of the largest communities that doesn't have one," said Zaffino.

"Princeton, Summerland, Oliver and Osoyoos have something and they are a quarter of our size or smaller."

Mayor Doug Findlater called the province's desire to meet a good sign.

"I think we are well positioned to make our case. We've done a lot of work on this before," said Findlater.

"We could take the pressure off KGH. They are now spending money on parking that should be going to health care. If we can keep some people away from KGH, we are doing health care a big favour."

Coun. Rusty Ensign said a regional health centre in the city could also reduce transit and handiDart costs.

"Our community health needs aren't going away," added Coun. Rick deJong, adding the community's health needs have gone largely unaddressed.

"I think it is time we started working with the province to have this dealt with.

Along with authorizing Zaffino approach the province, council will ask, at the urging of Coun. Rosalind Neis, to seek a support letter from Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran and his council.

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