West Kelowna  

Humans of Peachland launches to highlight local business owners, non-profits and longtime residents

Humans of Peachland

Based on the Humans of New York social media initiative, the Peachland Chamber of Commerce has launched the 'Humans of Peachland' project.

The entire series is based on someone interviewing 'everyday people' to create condensed short stories. The project is run by former journalist Matthew Abrey, a recent BCIT Broadcast and online journalism graduate.

“The whole idea of the project is to shed some light on the faces and personalities behind our town’s small businesses,” says Abrey. “We’re a tourist town of 5,000 people and when we saw how much COVID-19 is affecting not only local businesses, but businesses around the Okanagan, we knew we had to do anything we
could to help.”

During these unprecedented times when budgets are tight for most, this initiative aims to promote and advertise the businesses of locals, without it costing a dime.

“The chamber and its members are mostly in a good spot. At its root, yes we hope the project will help these businesses advertise, but more than anything, it’s a human interest project,” says Abrey. “If there is one thing Peachlanders have, it’s a good story and my goodness, some of the stories we’ve released so far have gotten an incredible response.“

The average reach per post is more than 3,000 people on Facebook alone.

Humans of Peachland will run for at least the remainder of summer, featuring local business owners, non-profits and longtime residents who all have a story to tell.

Each chapter is posted to the Peachland Chamber of Commerce's website, Facebook and Instagram.


Annual Fire in the Mountains trip returns to break barriers for those living with disabilities

'Fire in the Mountains'

West Kelowna Professional Firefighters Local 4457 are gearing up for this year's annual 'Fire in the Mountains' trip which breaks down barriers for those with disabilities. 

This is an opportunity for one lucky individual to join the firefighters for up to three days while hiking or paddling somewhere within the province's pristine wilderness. The adventure will be guided by CRIS Adaptive along with their Adaptive Travel team.

“This was just like the icing on the cake in terms of experiences in terms of overcoming barriers. We are very, very grateful that he got to have such a significant positive experience and we just want to reach out and say a huge thank you to you the crew the charitable society for doing this for guys like him,” says Anna Wong, the spouse of the 2019 Adaptive Travel participant Aaron Clements.

These trips prove to be not only inspiring for the participants, but they open the doors to what people with disabilities are capable of. 

"The West Kelowna Professional Firefighters donations over the years have changed so many lives. We
are so grateful to Local 4457 for continuing to partner with us on these amazing wilderness excursions. The firefighters’ donation of time and money helps people who wouldn’t have the opportunity, or means to experience such an outdoor adventure,” says CRIS Adaptive CEO Shelley Buchanan Gilmore.

“These trips change the lives of not only the client but of their families and circles, while breaking down barriers and promoting inclusion for all”.

Anyone interested in applying for the Fire in the Mountains trip click here. All inquiries must include why you want to participate and what it would mean to you. Applications are being accepted until Monday, August 17.

Four-car crash on Highway 97 in Peachland slows traffic

4-car crash on Hwy 97

UPDATE 6:20 p.m.

The crash has now mostly been cleared. Motorists should expect delays as the backlog of traffic moves through. 

UPDATE 5:45 p.m.

Northbound traffic has now been detoured around the crash via Beach Avenue. Southbound traffic is still getting by slowly.

ORIGINAL 5:30 p.m.

Emergency crews are at a four-vehicle crash on Highway 97 in Peachland. 

The crash involving a car and SUV, and at least two other vehicles has ended with the rear of the SUV perched on the hood of a silver two-door car near the intersection of Clement Crescent.

An SUV towing a boat has also had the boat come through its rear window after the SUV crashed into a silver car.

It is not known if anyone was hurt in the crash, but firefighters did not need to extricate anyone from the vehicles. Witnesses say southbound traffic is getting by slowly while northbound traffic is stopped. 


GoFundMe set up for family who lost home to fire

Fundraiser for house fire

A GoFundMe fundraiser has been set up to help the West Kelowna family who lost their home to a fire Thursday. 

The campaign organized by Hayden Smith says his mother, stepfather, sister, sister’s boyfriend and Smith himself were living at the home. 

“During this time with COVID and everything on delay we are asking for help, we lost all our belongings including the stuff we use to go to work,” she said.

The fire broke out around 10:30 a.m. at a home on Sunview Drive, sending a large plume of black smoke up over the neighbourhood. Firefighters managed to stop the blaze from spreading to the neighbouring home.

West Kelowna Fire Rescue said the homeowners were not home at the time of the fire, but are insured. The cause of the blaze has been deemed accidental, undetermined and not suspicious.

The GoFundMe is already half way to its $5,000 goal.


Pub owner speaks about staff being mistreated during pandemic

'We don't make the rules'

As the pandemic drags on and COVID-19 measures at B.C. restaurants become routine for some, others have been taking out their frustrations on servers and hostesses.

West Kelowna Kelly O'Bryan's owner operator Brad Shave took to Facebook Thursday exasperated over how his staff has been getting treated by some patrons.

"Please be aware of something, we are all stressed. Further, we don't make the rules. There is no reason to accuse staff of being 'unreasonable' for following the rules that they have no control over," he said.

The six-person per table limit, set by the government, has been one of the largest point of friction between staff and customers. 

"If you have six people plus a baby, guess what, that's seven," adding he's also not able to let people get up from one table to visit another.

"We are doing all we can to stay open at limited capacity... we are only trying to follow the rules so we don't get closed."

Shave's social media reminder comes the same day as Premier John Horgan shared some strong words for people who disrespect servers in the province.

“You've got employees that are doing their level best to provide an opportunity for people to come together to share a meal in a safe, comfortable place, and to have idiots come in and be idiots, quite frankly, is not acceptable," he said. 

While Horgan was speaking specifically about an incident at Langford's Mr. Mikes restaurant, he says he has heard stories about restaurant staff being mistreated throughout the province.

“There's a whole host of stories that are emerging about bad behaviour during this pandemic and unfortunately they overshadow the extraordinary stories of kindness that are emerging in every part of British Columbia as well,” he said.

“We all have to up our game, we have to be kinder to each other, we have to behave with other people as we would want them to behave with us and it's not acceptable to abuse people when you're going out to have a meal.”

Brad Shave is also urging any customers of West Kelowna's Kelly O'Bryan's who have issues, to personally email him at [email protected] rather than taking it out on his staff.

"Please, please, be nice to the staff who are working so hard to make your experience great, with the restrictions we are bound."

"We love you all and understand the frustrations we are all feeling, but, as Bonnie Henry says, just be nice."

Lack of items prompts West Kelowna to cancel meeting

Nothing for council to do

West Kelowna has made the decision to cancel next Tuesday's council meeting.

The meeting, according to city officials, was cancelled due to a lack of items for the agenda.

The previous meeting had just a few items, and lasted only 30 minutes.

It's felt the items slated to be presented Tuesday could wait, and be accommodated at the next meeting, slated for Aug. 25.

House fire in West Kelowna Thursday morning deemed accidental

House fire not suspicious

UPDATE: 4:16 p.m.

Twenty members of the West Kelowna Fire Rescue responded to the scene of a house fire in the 2000 block of Sunview Drive at approximately 10:30 a.m. 

Fire crews were met with a single family residence with heavy smoke and flames coming from the back side of the home, with possible extension to the house next door.

Crews pulled hose lines to knock down the fire in an attempt to prevent the fire from reaching the neighbouring house. A small grass fire was also ignited at the back of the property as a result of radiant heat. This was successfully knocked down by the same hand lines.

Once crews managed to cool the fire from the outside, crews began attacking the inside to knock down any  residual fire. 

Fortunately the neighbouring home only suffered minor smoke damage in the attic space.

The home owners of the house that caught fire were not home at the time of the incident, but are insured. The home suffered extensive damage and investigators have deemed the fire accidental and undetermined. The incident is not considered suspicious. 

UPDATE 11:50 a.m.

While firefighters are still working the fire, it appears they have gotten a handle on it. 

The blaze has attracted large crowds from the neighbourhood to watch crews work. 

The cause of the fire is unknown at this point, but initial reports were that it started on a deck.

UPDATE: 11:05 a.m.

Reader pictures from the scene of a house fire on Sunview Drive in West Kelowna show flames shooting from the roof of the home.

Some flame is also visible on the deck, which is where some witnesses believe the blaze originated.

Dark black smoke could be seen around the Central Okanagan shortly after 10:30 this morning.

More details when they become available.

ORIGINAL: 10:50 a.m.

Dark, black smoke can be seen billowing from what appears to be a structure fire in West Kelowna.

Early reports indicate it is a deck fire on Sunview Drive.

No other information is available at this time.

Castanet has a reporter heading to the scene.

Send pictures, video to [email protected]

Gallery: Photos of house fire on Sunview Drive

Your photos: Sunview fire

A house fire in West Kelowna on Sunview Drive appears to be contained.

Fire crews responded quickly and the neighbours and area residents did a great job of alerting authorities and Castanet.

Here are some of the most dramatic photos we have received of your pictures of the fire.

As always we very much appreciate your contributions and you can always send us your photos and tips to [email protected].


Flushing planned for Westshore Estates water system

Water flush for Westshore

Residents using the RDCO Westshore Estates water system should be aware of plans to flush water mains. 

Starting tomorrow (Aug. 6) through Aug. 14, engineering staff will be flushing mains weekdays from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 pm.  

Notice boards will be put in place for the approximately 270 properties in the Westshore Estates subdivision, located off Westside Rd. 

"Flushing ensures continued optimum water quality and removes any sediment deposits that may accumulate over time throughout the systems," writes Jodie Foster, director of communication and information services for the RDCO in a news release. 

"When flushing is taking place, water pressure can vary slightly and there may be some slight discolouration in the water."

The district asks the public to check the water before use.  They also, recommend avoiding doing laundry during the flushing period. 

If discolouration is present, run the cold water tap until the water runs clear.

Customers will find more information and answers to questions they might have about the Regional District Water Main Flushing Program on the Water Systems webpage.

Body of drowned cliff jumper pulled from Okanagan Lake

RCMP have located body

UPDATE 8:34 p.m.

The Central Okanagan Search and Rescue says they were able to locate the body of the man missing and presumed drowned after jumping off the cliffs at Squally point on Aug. 1 after three days of searching. 

"RCMP were notified and decided to delay the announcement and retrieval until they were better able to do so," says COSAR in a media release. 

In total, COSAR spent 16 hours over three days on board their 30-foot landing craft, The Sweatman, scanning Okanagan Lake with underwater cameras. 

"The body was discovered Monday morning in 150 feet of water, approximately 25 feet from the cliff face."

They also remind the public that each year more people drown in Okanagan Lake than in any other lake in the province. 

UPDATE 3:19 p.m.

RCMP tell Castanet they have located the body of the man missing and presumed drowned after jumping off the cliffs at Squally point on August 1.

"Operations are now underway to retrieve the body of a swimmer presumed drowned in Okanagan Lake," says Cpl. Jocelyn Noseworthy.

Noseworthy says West Kelowna RCMP, Peachland Fire and Rescue and members of the Central Okanagan Search and Rescue searched for days with no results.

However, today, the RCMP Underwater Recovery Team is at the location attempting to retrieve the man's body, the release states.

“For the safety of our divers and the entire search team, we request that boaters remain away from the area while we complete our search,“ says Cpl. Jocelyn Noseworthy. “At this time, we are unable to estimate how long this operation will be on-going."

Investigators do not believe criminality was involved in this incident and the BC Coroners Service has been notified.

ORIGINAL 1:09 p.m.

The search for the body of a 33-year-old Alberta man is entering its fifth day.

RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Jocelyn Noseworthy says the underwater search team is returning to the area around Rattlesnake Island Wednesday in search of the man's body.

The unidentified man is presumed to have drowned after he did not resurface while cliff diving around the island Saturday afternoon.

RCMP, Central Okanagan Search and Rescue and fire department rescue boats from Naramata and Kelowna all searched the area immediately after the incident, but were unsuccessful in locating the man.

Noseworthy says RCMP dive teams will continue to search until such time as they are certain all search avenues have been exhausted.

There had been some reports the man's body had been recovered, after it was learned a body had been recovered from the lake.

However, the BC Coroners Service and Vernon RCMP have now confirmed the human remains found Sunday morning were discovered in the north end of Okanagan Lake off Westside Road.

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