West Kelowna  

Wine trail roundabouts a go

It took a little hand-wringing from city council, but West Kelowna will move ahead with Phase 2 of its wine trail--roundabouts and all.

Council voted to put a tender out for the entire second phase of the project, which would see the trail extended about 1.5 kilometres along Boucherie Road, from Stuart Road to Ogden Road.

Along with upgrades like sidewalks, light poles and bike lanes, the trail brings with it a slew of road and infrastructure upgrades, including more than a kilometre of storm sewers and water mains, new fire hydrants, and a newly paved road.

Business owners have been singing the praises of the first phase of the project, but some residents have expressed their concern with the roundabouts that will come with Phase 2. The cost of the next phase has also gone up considerably since it was first planned.

For more on what's behind the $2 million price increase, as well as why some members of council voted against the project, check out the full story on Castanet's sister business news website, Okanagan Edge.


Vehicle slams building

No one was injured after a vehicle smashed through a vacant building on the Westside Wednesday morning.

An older woman was behind the wheel of a Mercedes SUV when it slammed through the front of the building at the Okanagan Lake Shopping Centre just off Highway 97 near Westside Road.

The vehicle crashed through the front doors before coming to rest inside.

Reporter Nich Johansen, who was at the scene, says the building is vacant, however, there is a Valley First Credit Union sign inside.

The driver of the vehicle was visibly shaken after the incident.

The exact cause of the crash is not known.

                                                                                                                                          --files from Nich Johansen

Mail ransacked, gifts gone

Alanna Kelly

Several Canada Post mailboxes across the Okanagan have been broken into and dozens of Christmas presents stolen.

Inside one of those mailboxes was a handmade stocking for a one-year-old’s first Christmas.

Tiera Bellerive, a West Kelowna resident, said the stocking was delivered last Thursday morning, but when she went to retrieve it, the mailbox in Tallus Ridge was completely empty.

She then found out that many other residents in the area were also missing their packages.

“I left for school to drive my kids that morning and I saw a bunch of garbage on the end of the driveway, so I went to go check it out,” said Thalia Dacosta, also a Tallus Ridge resident.

But what she found wasn’t garbage.

“I found 10 different people’s ripped-open mail packages,” she said.

A neighbour told Dacosta he saw people at the mailboxes with a key on Friday at 3 a.m. and when he approached them, they fled the scene.

“We are assuming it is a stolen key because they were able to take more than one person’s mail,” said Dacosta.

Packages stolen from Tallus Ridge ended up in front of a Peachland mailbox that was also broken into on Trepanier Road the same morning.

“There were packages everywhere,” said Leath Strench, a Peachland resident.

“There were Toyota car parts, a package from granny ripped open, homemade Christmas ornaments, cards, pictures and if there were any gift cards or any other valuable gifts…they are gone.”

Strench grabbed all the wreckage and took it to the Peachland Canada Post office when she realized the parcels were from West Kelowna.

“They must have broken into them there, and then someone is rifling through those packages as they are driving to the next spot,” she said. “There is nothing here from our addresses so I don’t know where our stuff has ended up.”

Canada Post had not commented on the incident by press time. 

RCMP said they are asking the public to remain vigilant  and pay extra attention to suspicious activities when it comes to community mailboxes, especially at this time of year.

“I know there were a lot of special gifts that were being delivered and now they are gone and it is very sad,” said Dacosta. 


B&E suspect named

West Kelowna RCMP have named a man they believe responsible for a brazen daytime break and enter at a residence in the Glenrosa neighbourhood which was interrupted by a local person.

On Dec. 4, shortly before 2:50 p.m., officers responded to a report of an interrupted residential break and enter at a home on the 3400 block of Turnbull Road in West Kelowna.

Police learned that the break and enter suspect produced a weapon when confronted by a local area resident. The suspect, who did not physically injure the man, fled the area on foot.

“Police have now positively identified their suspect as 32-year-old Dale Christopher MacPherson of Peachland,” said Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey, Kelowna Regional RCMP spokesperson.

Several warrants have been issued for MacPherson on possible charges of robbery, break and enter, assault with a weapon, pointing a firearm and use of a firearm to commit an indictable offence.

“Dale MacPherson is believed to be operating a white 2006 Mazda 3 hatchback with a dark grey coloured hood,” said O’Donaghey. “If spotted, the public is cautioned not to approach him and urged to contact their local police immediately, as MacPherson has a history of violence and should be considered as potentially armed and dangerous.”

Anyone with any information on the current whereabouts of MacPherson is asked to contact their local police or the West Kelowna RCMP at 250-768-2880. To remain anonymous, call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477, leave a tip online at www.crimestoppers.net or by text your tip to CRIMES (274637) ktown.

More charges for standoff

The man accused of running over a woman and repeatedly hitting her in the face is facing four more weapons-related charges in connection with a stolen gun he had at the time.

Michael Grant was arrested in West Kelowna on Nov. 5 after a standoff at the Barona Beach Resort.

Upon his arrest, he was found with a .38 Special handgun, which police determined was one of 30 guns stolen from a collector in Saskatchewan.

At the time of his arrest, Grant was under two separate firearms prohibitions, stemming from convictions in 2008 and 2012.

The Crown has recently laid four more charges against Grant in connection to the weapon: possession of a prohibited handgun, possession of a firearm without a licence, possession of a firearm obtained through an offence and possession of a weapon for a purpose dangerous to the public peace.

These charges are in addition to the three charges originally laid against Grant stemming from the night before his arrest.

Grant allegedly drove his truck into a woman outside a West Kelowna home and proceeded to punch her in the head repeatedly as she lay on the ground.

The woman's nose was fractured as a result.

The identity of the woman is protected under a publication ban.

Grant faces charges of assault with a weapon, aggravated assault and dangerous operation of a motor vehicle, in addition to the new weapons charges.

Grant remains in custody and will next appear in court on Dec. 21 to elect a jury or judge-alone trial. 

Do you know this man?

Police in West Kelowna are hoping the release of surveillance images will lead to the identity of a suspect in the robbery at the Bank of Montreal.

Shortly before 3:30 Saturday afternoon, RCMP say a man handed the teller a note, and left with an undisclosed amount of cash.

RCMP have obtained images of the robbery suspect from the banks digital video surveillance system, says Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey.

"We are releasing these images publicly in an effort to positively identify this individual."

The suspect has been described as a Caucasian male in his 20's. He has a slim build and stands just under six-feet in height.

The man was wearing a black jacket, black pants, a red and black baseball cap and was carrying a black laptop bag or briefcase.

Anyone with any information is asked to contact the West Kelowna RCMP at 250-768-2880. Or remain anonymous by calling Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477, leaving a tip online at www.crimestoppers.net or by texting your tip to CRIMES (274637) ktown.

Quails' Gate recognized

OpenTable has come out with their top rankings for B.C. restaurants.

Only one restaurant outside of Vancouver managed to crack the list and that was a Kelowna winery.

A total of 14 B.C. restaurants are ranked among the best 100 dining rooms across the country, according to OpenTable's new year-end list. The list is based on more than a half million reviews submitted by diners across the country.

OpenTable Canada spokesman Ziv Schierau says, “this year’s honourees have excelled at providing world-class hospitality and the finest fare that is a reflection of the nation’s diverse cultural landscape and vast natural resources.”

Just two restaurants are based outside of Vancouver.

Quail’s Gate Estate Winery’s Old Vines Restaurant made the list and is a local favourite as well.

The only other restaurant to make the list was Araxi Restaurant & Oyster Bar in Whistler.

Passes note, robs BMO

Police are searching for a man who is believed to have robbed a West Kelowna bank on Saturday.

RCMP responded to a report of a robbery at BMO Bank of Montreal at about 3:30 p.m. on Gosset Road.

The suspect passed a note to a bank teller and fled the bank with an undisclosed amount of cash.

“RCMP set up containment in the area and called for the support of both the Police Dog Services section and RCMP Air Services section of the Kelowna RCMP,” said Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey.

“A search of the area surrounding the bank was conducted with negative results.”

The suspect is described as a Caucasian male, believed to be in his 20’s, under six-foot-tall, slim build and was seen wearing a black jacket, black pants, a red and black baseball cap and carrying a black laptop case or briefcase.

Anyone with information is asked to contact West Kelowna RCMP at 250-768-2880.

Libertarian enters byelection

West Kelowna residents will have a fourth option when they take to the polls at the byelection for former premier Christy Clark's vacated seat in February.

Kyle Geronazzo, a 29-year-old Kelowna man, is throwing his hat into the ring with the BC Libertarian Party, to run against the NDP, BC Liberals and Green Party.

Geronazzo has lived in Kelowna since he was five and is currently a team leader at a local furniture store.

This is Geronazzo's first foray into politics, but he says he's been a long-time libertarian.

“I've felt that the large parties that we have currently don't accurately represent enough opinions in this political system, so I want to raise a more pro-liberty voice for the Kelowna West residents,” Geronazzo said.

“On one hand we have quite a pro-big government NDP party and on the other hand we have a really pro-corporatist Liberal party. What I think we need is more representation for people who have the people's interest at heart.”

He says the province's opioid crisis is an issue of particular interest to him.

“I want to focus on the victims of this drug as opposed to looking at it like a crime,” he said.

While Geronazzo concedes his chances of winning the election is slim, he says he hopes to reach “hearts and minds” of voters and provide a different option.

In the May 2017 election, the BC Libertarian Party had 30 candidates run in ridings across the province.

Geronazzo will be up against BC NDP candidate Shelley Cook, BC Liberals candidate Ben Stewart and Green Party candidate Robert Stupka.

Clark won the riding handily in the May 2017 election, before resigning as BC Liberals leader and vacating her seat when the NDP took power in June.  

Shelter desperate for help

The West Kelowna Shelter Society is in desperate need of help.

The society runs a cold-weather shelter at Emmanuel Church in West Kelowna. Spokesperson Rosemary Weighill says the shelter has been over their provincially-funded capacity for well over a week now.

Weighill says the shelter has funding for 15 people, but can accommodate up to 25.

"We've maxed out at 25 the past week," she says.

Weighill says they have two staff members on duty at all times, but need more help.

She says they need one or two volunteers per night from 6:30 p.m. to midnight. The shelter is open seven days a week.

Volunteers don't have to work the entire evening.

Weighill says the shelter has also been feeding up to 40 people during dinner time, although not all stay the night because of space.

Along with volunteers, the society is also looking for donations of socks, underwear, gloves and toiletries. They can't take clothing because of a lack of storage space.

If you can help, email [email protected]

While the shelter remains busy, Weighill says they have struck out in efforts to look for a daytime space for the homeless in West Kelowna.

She says they had leads on three spaces in the central Westbank area, but all fell through.

As the temperatures drop, she says the homeless and marginalized in the community will look for any space to get warm.

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