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West Kelowna  

VIDEO: Highway 97 crash caught on dash camera

Crash caught on dash cam

UPDATE 10:30 a.m.

RCMP have yet to comment on the crash, but Castanet has been contacted by witnesses who say the driver involved was fleeing police at the time. Flashing lights can be visible in the video trailing the vehicle prior to the crash. This story will be updated when police provide more information.


ORIGINAL 4 a.m.

Dash-camera video of a crash on Highway 97 south of Peachland on Friday has been made public.

Brendan Miller shared the video with Castanet News, after first sharing it with police, showing the crash was caused by an illegal attempted pass on a double-solid line.

The SUV attempting the pass on the double-solid barely avoids a head-on collision with a freight truck before crashing into the cliff adjacent to the highway as it climbs the hill south of Antlers Beach.

The crash resulted in the closure of the highway for about an hour. An air ambulance was dispatched to the scene.

The extent of any injuries to people riding in the SUV are not known at this time, but the fact that the highway opened shortly after the wreck was cleared indicates there were no fatalities. Castanet will request more information from RCMP.

Send your photos and videos to [email protected]



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Community raises enough to keep Therapeutic Lake Cruises going

The boat will stay afloat

A Kelowna charity fighting to stay afloat will survive to cruise Okanagan Lake again this summer thanks to the communities generosity.

"Everybody was donating, it was wonderful, we even got a potential captain."

Donna Cameron with Therapeutic Lake Cruises Society tells Castanet her group is buoyed with optimism after the community stepped up to make sure the program could continue.

Therapeutic Lake Cruises has been taking seniors and physically challenged individuals out for a cruise on Okanagan Lake in a 24-foot covered pontoon boat for the past nine years. They ran into money issues because they couldn't operate, first due to COVID-19 and then the smoke from the wildfires kept their boat at the dock.

The situation was so dire a GoFundMe campaign was launched and the society managed to raise $1,710, which they say will be enough to keep them going.

"We're hoping that COVID-19 stays away and we don't get anymore heat domes and we're good to go," Cameron says.

She was touched by everyone's generosity and wants to thank Barry's Mobile Marine for donating $1,000 and for taking care of the motor as well as Shelter Bay Marina and Dockside Marine Centre for the moorage slip.

"So many people reached out to help, the seniors homes, the Rotary Club, everyone who donated to the GoFundMe. I know there are so many good causes out there and stories to tell it’s hard to print all but Castanet put smiles on many senior's faces."



Mission Hill hosting 'Season of Trees' in support of Children's Hospital

Season of Trees is back

Mission Hill Family Estate is getting ready to welcome the holiday season with Season of Trees, a magical winter wonderland and wine tasting experience benefiting BC Children’s Hospital Foundation.

From November 29 to December 23, the winery will mark its fifth year as host venue of Festival of Trees, a grassroots campaign held in communities across British Columbia to fundraise for the province’s only children’s hospital. In the four years that Mission Hill Family Estate and Kelowna have participated, more than $109,000 has been raised locally to support BCCHF.

The winery’s festive “Season of Trees” experience includes a special behind-the-scenes tour of the underground barrel cellar, followed by a seated wine tasting that pairs new release wines with delicious bites. Guests can also enjoy the brilliant forest of sparkling, sponsor-decorated trees, set outdoors on the covered Terrace and Loggia.

New for 2021, guests that book a Season of Trees tasting on Sundays (December 5, 12, 19), can also stroll the winery’s pop-up evergreen market mini event on the Loggia featuring a hand-picked selection of local vendors and experts each week.

Ten dollars from every Season of Trees tasting booked this year goes directly to BCCHF.

Reservations for Season of Trees tastings are available online.



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Westbank First Nation to conduct wildfire mitigation work starting Monday

Wildfire mitigation planned

Wildfire mitigation work is set to be conducted by the Westbank First Nation next week.

The work is scheduled to begin on Monday, Nov. 29, lasting approximately 10 days. Nine areas have been identified in need of fuel management beginning with Unit 6 – Bear Creek and Unit 9 – WFN Cut Off Lands.

Forestry crews will be eliminating dead and hazardous trees, fuels, brushing vegetation and spacing trees on just over 66 hectares throughout units 1 through 9.

WFN has hired its own Ntityix Development Corporation for the project who will be working with Tronson Logging Ltd. The work mainly consists of treating potential wildfire ladder fuels by thinning, pruning, and burning.

Ntityix would like to warn residents that small burn piles may be visible and trails throughout these various work areas may be temporarily closed.

In areas where equipment is unable to gain access, debris-pile burning will be conducted in accordance with air quality and open burning regulations when either open burning is allowed in the region or venting and air quality are favourable with a site venting forecast from the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations.

Once a decision is made to move forward with burning on a certain day, local fire authorities, media and neighbourhood organizations will be advised. The project is slated to run into April 2022.



Traffic moving after crash on Highway 97 near Peachland

Crash on Highway 97

UPDATE 5:05 p.m.

Multiple motorists say traffic is now moving in both directions.

Driver should expect delays while the backlog is cleared.


UPDATE 4:35 p.m.

Other motorists stuck in the backlog say traffic is still stopped on Highway 97.

It's not clear if some motorists near the crash scene were allowed by, but other drivers stay they are still at a standstill.


UPDATE 4:29 p.m.

Traffic is now moving on Hwy 97 near Antlers Beach between Peachland and Summerland.

Reports indicate that a BC Air Ambulance left the scene and traffic has slowly begun to move.


ORIGINAL 4:10 p.m.

Traffic is not moving on Highway 97 near Antlers Beach between Peachland and Summerland.

A photo shared with Castanet just before 4 p.m. shows traffic backing up in both directions and a BC Ambulance on scene.

This is a developing story, more details will be added as they become available.



Proposed Peachland seniors' development talks moved behind closed doors

Moved behind closed doors

Peachland residents will have to wait a little longer to find out more about a planned new low-income seniors’ housing development that will require relocation of several non-profit and community amenities.

At its meeting earlier this week, district council was presented with information to bring it up to date on the proposed project’s impact on the local food bank, community police office, wellness centre and two district-owned houses as well as a community garden.

But right after the report was presented, Coun. Patrick Von Minsel moved that the issue be taken in-camera and discussed into two weeks by council behind closed doors. He said the reason for moving it in-camera was because the project developer, B.C. Housing, has information it does not want council to discuss publicly.

With no discussion, the council voted unanimously to move the issue in-camera.

Before that move, the council was told the timing of construction of what will be the second phase of a project that has already seen one five-storey seniors’ residence built—is not yet known.

The planned second five-story building is slated for district-owned land on 5th Street in the beach-front downtown area.

The district has asked that a community garden be incorporated into the new development as many of the 68 plots to be displaced are tended to by residents of the first phase of the project.

The district's director of community services, Cheryl Wiebe also reported the community policing office could move into a smaller space than it currently occupies, an office located at the local 50+ Activity Centre, which is operated by the Peachland and District Retirement Society. A deal could be made to use the centre for meetings.

She said the food bank could move into the former space of the now-closed local boxing club on 4th Street but major renovations would be required. The wellness centre could be incorporated into the new senior’s residence. However, it would require fundraising to pay for space in the new development as that would not be covered by B.C. Housing.

Residents of the two district-owned houses have both given notice and the district said depending on the timing of construction, they may be rented out again on a short-term basis.

City staff said displacement of community amenities and local non-profit group space is nothing new in Peachland and occurred when previous developments occurred, including a Habit For Humanity project and the first phase of the seniors’ development.

According to Wiebe, while the district once had space it could provide to local non-profit groups, those days are over.

“Space is at a premium in Peachland for both local government and commercial space,” she said in her presentation to the council. “Community space is limited (now) in Peachland.”

The proposed second phase of the proposed seniors' housing will feature 68 residential rental units.



West Kelowna Fire Rescue douse a balcony fire at an apartment Thursday evening

Balcony fire doused

West Kelowna Fire Rescue quickly knocked down a balcony fire at an apartment Thursday evening.

Just after 7 p.m. crews were called out to a fire on the third story balcony at 2250 Majoros Road, NEO Apartments in West Kelowna.

Units saw sparks and open flames coming from a third floor balcony when they first arrived at the scene.

“The fire was quickly knocked down with a hose stream directed up to the balcony from the parking lot on the ground floor,” said Assistant Fire Chief Brent Watson.

Crews then entered the building to attack the fire from the inside, but encountered a locked door to the vacant unit which they had to breach.

Crews found and extinguished a large wooden planter box on the balcony that was still smouldering.

Watson says there was no damage to the building itself, aside from some smoke in the third floor hallway that was cleared with fire department fans.

The fire appears to be an accident, likely caused by improperly discarded smoking material, says Watson.

No injuries were reported and all residents are now back in the building.

WKFR responded with a ladder truck, four engines, two Safeties and a Command Unit.



Pics with Santa at Sunshine Pet Supplies to support the food bank

Sunshine and Santa

Sunshine Pet Supplies wants to help those in need in the community this holiday season.

The independent pet store in West Kelowna is hosting its annual pictures with Santa this Saturday, November 27, from 12-4 p.m.

Entry is by donation. All proceeds will go to the Central Okanagan Food Bank, explains owner Steve Gregory.

“We’ve done many causes over the past, but we felt that this year the food bank was really in dire need. Our goal this year was to try and help them as much as we could.”

Gregory says they’ll accommodate just about any type of pet. “We’ve had everything from Tarantulas to snakes to lizards to dogs to cats. Even a pony, we would try,” he jokes.

“The staff really put their best effort into trying to make this a fun and enjoyable experience for everyone.”

The photo studio will be set up in the building next door to Sunshine Pet Supplies, which is located at 3011 Louie Drive.

Gregory said they designed the space to allow people to maintain physical distancing. Due to COVID-19 concerns, you are asked not to bring children, if possible.

There will be some giveaways and draw prizes, including a dog water fountain and a cat water fountain.

He’s hoping they get a good turnout. “We’ve had as low as 75 in certain bad winter days, and we’ve had as high as 150.”



Officials seize dogs involved in attack in West Kelowna

Still looking for dog owner

UPDATE 1:43 p.m.

Two of the four dogs allegedly involved in an attack on a victim in Kalamoir Park have now been seized, but RDCO manager of protective services David Gazley says they are still looking for the two other dogs and the woman who was walking them at the time.

The owner has now been identified.

"We received information about the dog's whereabouts and we have seized two of the four dogs," Gazley says but when they went to seize the dog walker was not there.

"We know who she is, but we're still trying to determine which dog belongs to who."

Gazley says they are also hoping to hear from any witnesses who actually saw the attack, "once we seize the dogs then we will bring in a professional trainer to assess them."

The victim is still recovering and wants to remain anonymous as she is still coping with the trauma of the attack.


UPDATE 11:10 a.m.

The West Kelowna RCMP says they have helped the Regional District of Central Okanagan seize a group of dogs involved in an attack on a woman earlier this month.

RDCO protective services managed to identify the suspect before asking police to assist as they attended and seized the dogs in question.

Castanet has reached out to RDCO manager of protective services David Gazley for more details.


ORIGINAL 4:00 a.m.

The Regional District of Central Okanagan is investigating an alleged dog attack at Kalamoir Park earlier this month.

RDCO manager of protective services David Gazley says there was a swarming attack on Nov. 16 just after 3 p.m., where it is believed several dogs either managed to get loose or were off-leash when they attacked a woman. The injuries were serious and will require plastic surgery to repair.

"Our understanding is they met each other and somehow the dogs got loose from their leashes or pulled away and the victim suffered numerous dog bites that required medical attention," Gazley says.

Gazley says police attended the scene quickly and took statements from the victim and the person who was handling the dogs at the time.

However, the person who was handling the dogs either by mistake or on purpose provided a false name and contact information, and officials have been unable to follow up and find out who the actual owner of the dogs is.

"All I know is that when we tried to follow up with the name and number, it didn't go through, so we're investigating that as well," Gazley said.

A friend of the victim tells Castanet the victim has been in and out of hospital and will need plastic surgery on her leg where she is missing skin.

"If anybody has any information or witnessed this, please call our dog control office at 250.469.6284. RDCO has an investigator working on this file," says Gazley.



Crash closed right lane of Highway 97 in West Kelowna Wednesday evening

Serious injuries in crash

UPDATE: 6:45 a.m.

A witness who say they were one of the first on scene at a crash on Highway 97 in West Kelowna Wednesday evening says the occupant of the pickup walked away with "little to no injuries," while the driver of the SUV was taken by ambulance with severe injuries and was apparently unresponsive.

The scene was cleared about 7 p.m.


ORIGINAL: 5:45 p.m.

A right lane of Highway 97 westbound is closed at Grizzly Road in West Kelowna due to a crash.

The crash involved a pickup and compact SUV.

The truck has ended up through the highway barrier. Airbags have been deployed, but it is not known if anyone was injured.

RCMP and traffic control are on scene.

Motorists should expect delays while moving through the area.



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