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West Kelowna  

Driver killed in head-on crash on Highway 97's Drought Hill

Fatal crash on Hwy 97

The driver of a Toyota Corolla was killed Wednesday evening following a crash on Highway 97 in Peachland.

The portion of highway was closed for more than eight hours while police investigated the scene.

According to police, the Toyota was northbound when the vehicle crossed the centre line and crashed head-on into an oncoming tractor trailer.

The driver of the car died at the scene

Traffic analysts are continuing to investigate but believe the driver of the tractor trailer, who was not hurt in the crash, made an attempt to stop.

“At this time the cause of the crash is unknown and is still being investigated,” says Const. Mike Della-Paolera.

“Reports also indicate that a third vehicle was involved that left the scene. That vehicle is described as a black Dodge Caravan which had struck the Corolla after the initial impact with the semi, and then drove off.”

Della-Paolera says police are searching for the third vehicle and ask anyone who may be able to assist in the investigation, including dashcam footage, to contact West Kelowna RCMP at 250-768-2880.



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Police raid home on Old Okanagan Highway in Westbank

Search warrant to standoff

Madison Erhardt

UPDATE: 12:15 p.m.

West Kelowna RCMP have arrested multiple people after close to a two-hour standoff on Thursday morning.

Multiple people came out in handcuffs including two men and a woman.

Tactical police officers swarmed the home at 3335 Old Okanagan Highway just after 9 a.m.

Police were heard using a bullhorn to communicate with someone inside the home. Loud bangs were also heard from a police roadblock at Reece Road.

RCMP closed a portion of Old Okanagan Highway between Butt and Reece roads for close to two hours.

A few minutes later, the West Kelowna Fire Department arrived on the scene.

A front window of the home was broken and it appears someone either entered or exited the home via the window.

Police confirm they had planned to search the home that morning after receiving a warrant. The search warrant then turned into a standoff.

Details on the police operation and arrests have not been released yet.


UPDATE 10:55 a.m.

While the standoff has concluded, police are still at the scene of 3335 Old Okanagan Highway.

Fire crews are also there and the smell of smoke is hanging in the air. Fans have been set up to ventilate the home.

A front window of the home has been broken and it appears someone either entered or exited the home via the window.


UPDATE 10:50 a.m.

Police are now in the process of opening Old Okanagan Highway to traffic.

Tactical officers have now left the scene.

Details on the police operation and arrests have not been released yet.


UPDATE 10:30 a.m.

Police also have canine units at the scene and still have the home surrounded.

A total of three people have come out of the home and have been arrested.

A West Kelowna fire truck has also just arrived at the scene.


UPDATE 10 a.m.

Police have now made multiple arrests during a standoff Thursday morning in Westbank.

A Castanet reporter observed two men and a woman in handcuffs outside the home on Old Okanagan Highway.


UPDATE 9:55 a.m.

Tactical officers from the regional Emergency Response Team are at the scene of what appears to be a standoff.

Police have surrounded a home on Old Okanagan Highway and using a bullhorn to communicate with someone inside the home. Loud bangs can be heard from the police roadblock at Reece Road.


ORIGINAL 9:40 a.m.

Police in West Kelowna have closed part of Old Okanagan Highway.

The road is closed between Butt and Reece roads for a police incident.

Details are not known at this point.

An officer working one of the barricades says he hopes the road will be reopened within an hour.

Castanet will update as more information is known.



Collision cleared, had closed Highway 97 north of Peachland

Hwy 97 crash cleared

UPDATE 6:05 a.m

DriveBC reports the collision that had closed Highway 97 overnight north of Peachland was cleared as of 3:25 a.m.


UPDATE 10:20 p.m.

In an update, DriveBC says they still do not know when the highway will reopen.

The next update is due overnight. The detour along Trepanier Bench Road remains open.


UPDATE 8:55 p.m.

A driver who used the detour route along Trepanier Bench Road is cautioning other motorists to take care.

She says it’s getting icy on the detour route. She says some stretches are so narrow that other vehicles are slowing down and pulling over to allow tractor-trailers to get by.


UPDATE 8:23 p.m.

DriveBC confirms that Highway 97 is closed north of Peachland on Drought Hill due to a vehicle incident.

So far, there is no estimated time for reopening the road.


UPDATE 7:45 p.m.

A witness who passed by the scene of the crash said it appeared that the driver’s side of a sedan crashed into the driver’s side of a car carrier truck.

Another motorist said police are now turning drivers around. She says they told her the highway would be closed for hours.


ORIGINAL 7:40 p.m.

Traffic was at a standstill Wednesday evening on Highway 97 near Peachland.

One person posted on the Penticton Facebook group to say that a passenger vehicle had collided with a tractor-trailer hauling automobiles just north of Peachland. She said it happened around 7 p.m. near the turnoff to Seclusion Bay Resort.

Another caller said she was going southbound, but traffic was stopped. She could see the lights from several emergency vehicles in the distance.

Expect major delays in the area .



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West Kelowna high school robotics team preparing for competition

Robot needs a sponsor

The Mount Boucherie Bears Robotics Team is getting ready to compete at the FIRST Robotics Competition, Charged Up.

At the Canadian Pacific regional event, the Mount Boucherie Bears will be taking on other top teams from around the province for a chance to build and operate the most functional robot possible.

"In this year’s game, two alliances of three teams compete to gather the game pieces, cones and cubes, and bring them back to score points. Every match starts with a 15 second autonomous period where every robot has to gather the game pieces based on pre-programmed code," explained Tyler, MBSS robotics team member.

"After 15 seconds the players take control. At the end of each match every robot races back to its charging station. Every team is graded based on the number of points they get during the game."

The ultimate goal is to walk away with a first place win, but in order to pull it off, the team is in search of a sponsorship deal that can help cover the costs.

"We are looking at all local businesses, particularly ones based around engineering and technology. Sponsors are our primary source of funding and cover our registration, robot building, travel costs, etc," continued Tyler.

"People should sponsor us because we are a team of youth who are taking an interest in STEM and business, and sponsors can help us achieve our goals and allow us to have this amazing experience."

The team is reaching the halfway point of the overall construction of the robot, planning to work for eight straight weeks at a pace of least four days a week.

"We're all spending a lot of time on it. We're into our third week of building now, and it’s probably going to take us right til the end to finish," said team member Nicole.

"We're working on the chassis now and we still need to add the arm and other stuff, so I'd guess we're maybe about 40 per cent done."

To help cover costs, the team has also set up a GoFundMe page ahead of the competition.

The Canadian Pacific Regional is set to take place on March 1.



West Kelowna seeking feedback on plans to shape the city's future

Shaping West Kelowna

The City of West Kelowna is looking for your input on two major planning initiatives designed to guide growth over the next 20 years.

Phase 2 of the Transportation Master Plan (TMP) and Phase 4 of the Official Community Plan (OCP) are both ready for review and public input.

The OCP’s new growth concept focuses most future growth in two urban centres, five neighbourhood centres and accommodates continued development beyond these centres with a focus on infill housing. It also enhances key economic opportunities in the city’s industrial and business park areas.

The TMP is being developed in conjunction with the OCP. This phase of the TMP recommends a future network for roads, transit and active transportation, based on how and where the City plans future growth.

“We are a fast-growing community and it’s important to hear from our residents as we update these guiding long-term plans,” said Mayor Gord Milsom.

“Input from the community will help shape our city now and into the future, building on the community vision to achieve a vibrant, walkable and connected West Kelowna.”

The present phase of consultation is open until Feb. 7.

Click here to provide feedback online.

A public information session will also be held Wednesday, Feb. 1 at Mount Boucherie Secondary from 4:30 until 8 p.m.



West Kelowna man captures video of rare green comet

Video captures rare sight

Rob Gibson

A West Kelowna man captured a rare celestial phenomenon on video from his home in Glenrosa.

Sean Perdue tells Castanet he took up photographing the stars a couple of years ago after being inspired by the NEOWISE comet which was visible in the Okanagan in 2020.

"I was never interested in photography. This comet (NEOWISE) kind of inspired me. I bought a little telescope and started taking shots with my cell phone just through the eyepiece of the telescope of Jupiter and Saturn. I thought it was the coolest thing ever," says Perdue.

In the past two years Perdue has expanded his photography skills and equipment to the point where he is capturing breathtaking shots and videos.

"I saw your story on the green comet passing by earth so I went out and got some shots of it through my telescope this past weekend. ... The video shows the comet's movement over a 2.5 hour period."

Perdue says his set-up is computerized and controlled remotely by his phone.

"It's a mini-computer which is connected to everything, the camera, and there's a tracking mount. That's all computerized so that it follows the stars as they move. I just program it through my phone to take [different] exposures," said Perdue.

The green comet currently passing by hasn't been seen in British Columbia for 50,000 years and is technically known as C/2022 E3 (ZTF). Tt was first spotted in March of 2022.

According to Marley Leacock, an astronomer at the H.R. MacMillan Space Centre in Vancouver, this could also be the last chance to get a glimpse of this comet before it leaves our solar system.

"By definition, a hyperbolic orbit means that the object will only enter the solar system once, so comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF) may leave our solar system entirely," Leacock said.

The comet is difficult to see with the naked eye but will be at its most visible the first days of February.

Comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF) has a ghostly green glow as it works its way across the northeastern sky. "It comes up around 10:30 p.m. in the northeastern sky, and it's on its way up, it's going to pass between the Big Dipper and the North Star. It's going to be in that part of the sky until February 2," Perdue said.

Perdue says he got his shots and video between 3 a.m. and 5 a.m.

"I want to get a lot better," Perdue says he's hooked on astrophotography and says he likes to focus on what he calls the star-forming regions of space, "they're basically big space clouds."



West Kelowna resident captures bobcat on video

Bobcat wanders Westside

Contributed

A bobcat was spotted wandering an area of West Kelowna Monday afternoon.

Jody Harris shared the video with Castanet and says the bobcat was spotted just before 2 p.m. on Gregory Road. The video shows the cat walking along the side of the house

The Interior Wildlife Rehabilitation Society says bobcats are very common in the Okanagan, especially if there are birds such as domestic chickens or other small pets on the property.

While it may not be as common to see a bobcat, it is important to remember to admire them from afar.

A bobcat was also captured on video, two weeks prior, in West Kelowna in Lakeview Heights.



West Kelowna fire crews respond to garage fire

Extensive damage after fire

A West Kelowna garage went up in flames late Monday morning.

Just before noon, the West Kelowna Fire Department responded to a structure fire on Emerald Road.

Crews arrived to find a fully involved garage fire with exposures to equipment.

"Crews were able to extinguish the fire quickly. There was extensive damage to the shop and surrounding excavating equipment," said assistant fire chief Lionel Bateman.

The fire is under investigation.

The fire department is also reporting no injuries.

The West Kelowna Fire Department responded with two engines and two water tenders along with 15 firefighters, a safety officer and command unit.



Truck up in flames, fire spreads to garage in West Kelowna

Fire spreads to garage

UPDATE 10:40 a.m.

West Kelowna Fire Rescue says an investigation has determined the blaze originated in a vehicle parked on the driveway near the garage.

“There were not any sources of heat or ignition found in the area of origin of the fire. Therefore, the cause of the fire is undetermined,” the fire department said in a release.

The file has now been passed to the RCMP for further investigation.


ORIGINAL 6:10 a.m.

A vehicle fire spread into a West Kelowna garage overnight.

West Kelowna Fire Chief Jason Brolund says shortly after 1 a.m., crews responded to the scene on Gellatly Road.

Firefighters from the Westbank station arrived to find a pickup fully involved in fire, which had spread to a detached garage.

Supported by crews from the Lakeview, Glenrosa and Rose Valley stations, the fire was knocked down quickly.

Crews contended with multiple compressed gas cylinders and power lines present in the area of the fire, says Brolund.

Homes nearby were protected from any damage, however.

No one was injured in the incident.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

KKFR responded with four fire engines and three support vehicles, with 17 firefighters.



Man in medical distress rescued from Mount Boucherie trails

Rescue on Mount Boucherie

West Kelowna Fire Rescue was called into action early Sunday morning to help rescue a man who was injured on the Mount Boucherie trails.

Fire Chief Jason Brolund says crews were dispatched to assist BC Emergency Health Services in the removal of a patient in medical distress. Brolund did not disclose the nature of the medical emergency.

Photos sent to Castanet show firefighters and paramedics brought a man down the snow-covered trails in a wheeled stretcher chair.

The patient was turned over to BCEHS for care.

Brolund says everyone made it safely down.



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