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West Kelowna  

Overnight fire on Boucherie Road significantly damaged home, no injuries

Home damaged by fire

A home on West Kelowna's Boucherie Road went up in flames overnight, but no one was injured in the large fire.

Fire crews responded to the home on the 2600 block of Boucherie Road at about 11:30 p.m. to find “heavy fire involvement on the upper sundeck.”

The fire quickly moved into the deck's roof, through the attic and down to the main living area of the home.

The family who lived there was home at the time, but all members of the family, including their pets, made it out safely.

Chad Gartrell, assistant fire chief with West Kelowna Fire Rescue, said they were unable to determine a cause of the blaze due to the extent of the damage to the home, but they don't believe the fire was suspicious in nature.



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Multi-car crash on Highway 97 in West Kelowna

Multi-car crash on Hwy 97

Crews are cleaning up a multi-car crash on Highway 97 in West Kelowna.

The crash occurred at about 9:30 p.m. at the Boucherie Road intersection.

As many as four vehicles were involved, according to a witness. It is not known if anyone is hurt.

Traffic is currently getting by on the highway, but is blocked in both directions on Boucherie Road.

Drivers should expect delays while moving through the area while the collision is cleared.



Two qualified contractors interested in West Kelowna skateboard park

Skatepark builders line up

Two companies have shown an interest in constructing the new skateboard park in West Kelowna.

Both unnamed companies responded to requests for qualifications posted recently by the city.

Special projects manager Mark Roberts, in an update on the overall city hall project for council, says both companies have the experience, and expertise, to handle the project.

The current five-year-old skatepark, adjacent to the Johnson Bentley Memorial Aquatic Centre, will be dismantled and moved to make way for the new city hall.

An online public consultation on a preliminary design for the skatepark, concludes Sunday. Results, and feedback will be shared with the design team at the end of next week.

Final design, awarding of the contract and actual construction are expected later this spring.

Roberts says work is also progressing on design of the new city hall.

It is being proposed the building will be about 18 metres wide with entrance on the east and an elevator shaft on the west side.

The Okanagan Regional Library, which will encompass about 15,000 square feet of the approximately 45,000 square foot building, would be located on the ground level.

Council chambers and the lobby would be on the main floor, with administration and day-to-day operations on the upper floors.

City hall could be open to the public by winter of 2022.



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New Peachland water treatment plant operational

Water plant up and running

Two years after construction began, water is flowing through Peachland's new water treatment plant.

The district says that while some work around the site still needs to be complete, the plant, first envisioned as a priority in 2006, is operational, and supplying filtered, treated water to the Peachland Creek distribution system.

The district ponied up about $11.8 million of the $18.8 million cost of the project.

The federal and provincial governments each kicked in $3.48 million through various grant programs.

"We are very grateful for the participation and support of senior governments on this transformative project for our community," said Mayor Cindy Fortin.

"Their funding and support on this project helped us achieve our goal of ensuring there is improved, quality drinking water for our residents and that we are no longer affected by seasonal water quality advisories moving forward."

She adds the project would not have been possible without government grant monies, or the forethought of current, and previous council members.

The new plant currently services about three-quarters of the residents in the area of Ponderosa and those south including properties between the highway and Okanagan Lake.

The district says the remainder of the community will be connected on the Trepanier interconnect project is complete within the next few months.



Construction begins next week on a new roundabout at Gellatly and Carrington roads

New Gellatly roundabout

Construction on a new roundabout means motorists will have to avoid the intersection of Carrington and Gellatly roads in West Kelowna for the next 10 weeks.

Work is expected to begin on a new roundabout at the intersection beginning this coming Monday, April 19.

This means the intersection will be closed from 7 a.m. until 6 p.m. weekdays for the duration of the work.

While detours will be in place for motorists, pedestrian access will be maintained. Cyclists are urged to either follow the same detours as vehicle traffic, or dismount and use sidewalks through the construction zone.

The area will be open to traffic in the evenings, on weekends and statutory holidays.

Area businesses will also remain open.

The $1.32 million intersection project will also include a proposed three-metre-wide, asphalt, multi-use path between Witt and Boucherie Roads, to create a key connection between Westbank Centre and the waterfront, and minor in-stream storm work improvements to Smith Creek.

While the intersection itself is expected to be closed for about 10 weeks, the entire project won't be finished until September.



Peachland pop-up vaccine clinic was cancelled last minute Thursday

IH no show at vaccine clinic

UPDATE: 4:20 p.m.

After a number of volunteers were left with no vaccines to give at a Peachland pop-up vaccine clinic Thursday morning, Interior Health has blamed the mix-up on a "gap" in communication.

The Peachland Wellness Centre had organized its second vaccination clinic at the Peachland Community Centre Thursday morning, but when their volunteers showed up, no Interior Health staff came with vaccines.

Christina MacMaster, executive coordinator of the Peachland Wellness Centre, told Castanet that IH told her the clinic had been "cancelled," and there was some type of "glitch" in communicating that.

Thursday afternoon, IH told Castanet that no Peachland residents who were looking for a vaccine were left hanging.

"No immunization appointments were booked or cancelled in Peachland today," an unidentified IH spokesperson said in an email, more than six hours after Castanet requested information on the matter.

"Earlier in our planning, we had held this date for a potential clinic. However, in our scheduling we did not move forward with this date. Unfortunately, there was a gap in our communication with the Community Centre and for that reason volunteers were unaware of the change in plans, and for that we apologize."

IH said they are still planning on holding a second vaccination clinic in Peachland in the future, but no date has been set yet. Eligible Peachland residents are still able to book vaccine appointments in West Kelowna for the time being.

The first Peachland pop-up clinic was held on April 8, and about 400 residents were vaccinated.


ORIGINAL: noon

A pop-up vaccination clinic in Peachland was cancelled at the last minute Thursday morning, when Interior Health never showed up with the vaccines.

The Peachland Wellness Centre had organized two pop-up clinics in the community with Interior Health. The first saw about 400 residents vaccinated on April 8 at the Peachland Community Centre, but when volunteers arrived again Thursday morning, a key component of the vaccination clinic was missing.

“We were there getting ready for the clinic and nobody from IH was there so we sent them a message and they said, 'Oh sorry, it's cancelled.'” said Christina MacMaster, executive coordinator of the Peachland Wellness Centre.

“They have offered their sincerest apologies, it was a glitch in the communication and it didn't get to us as quick as it was supposed to.”

Castanet has reached out to Interior Health for details on why the clinic was cancelled, but IH has yet to provide a response.

The clinic was meant to serve Peachland residents who were eligible to receive vaccinations based on their age. Everyone who received a vaccination at the April 8 clinic had registered with the province online or by phone.

The pop-up clinics have been organized by Peachland Mayor Cindy Fortin, the Peachland Wellness Centre and Interior Health. MacMaster says IH has assured her they will organize another future date to make up for Thursday's cancellation.

“I do not know what happened, whether it was lack of vaccine, whether it was lack of ability to register,” MacMaster said.

“I only know that I have had people calling me saying 'I can't get registered,' and I'm telling them to keep trying, because I thought today was going to be happening.”



Traffic into Kelowna crawling after multi-vehicle collision on bridge

7 vehicle crash hit bridge

UPDATE: 4:20 p.m.

RCMP say seven vehicles were involved in a chain-reaction collision on the William R. Bennett Bridge that brought traffic to a halt during the Thursday morning commute.

The collision occurred shortly before 7:45 a.m. when a commercial garbage truck rear-ended a Jeep Cherokee.

Five other vehicles were caught up as part of the original collision.

Several paramedics treated occupants of all vehicles involved at the scene. One driver was taken to hospital for further treatment of minor injuries.

Kelowna Fire Department personnel were required to extricate one driver from their vehicle.

Traffic began moving again about 9 a.m.

RCMP are still investigating. No charges have yet been laid.


UPDATE 9:22 a.m.

Traffic coming into Kelowna on the William R. Bennett Bridge is now moving and both lanes are open, however, traffic is not moving very quickly due to the large volume of backed-up vehicles.


UPDATE 9:01 a.m.

Traffic coming into Kelowna on the William R. Bennett Bridge has begun to move after being completely stopped for more than an hour.

Castanet reporter Wayne Moore says, "we just started moving but it is very slow and will take a long time to clear the large volume of traffic that has been backed up."

The collision appears to have happened just before 8:00 a.m. Thursday morning.

As of 9 a.m. traffic is still backed up on Highway 97 to Daimler Dr.


UPDATE 8:53 a.m.

DriveBC is estimating the Bennett Bridge will be reopened at 9 a.m.


UPDATE 8:42 a.m.

Traffic coming into Kelowna on the William R. Bennett Bridge remains stalled after a multi-vehicle collision Thursday morning just before 8 a.m.

Castanet reporter Wayne Moore says he was attempting to cross the bridge at approximately 7:45 a.m. when traffic stopped moving, "we've been sitting for almost an hour now."

No word on when traffic will begin moving again. For the latest traffic information check DriveBC and Castanet's traffic cameras.


ORIGINAL 8:09 a.m.

The morning commute into Kelowna has been brought to a standstill following a multi-vehicle collision on the William R. Bennett Bridge.

Traffic into Kelowna from West Kelowna is not moving as emergency crews work to clear the scene. Traffic heading to West Kelowna is unaffected by the collision.

It is unclear if there are any injuries.



RCMP capture suspect who allegedly stole a bait car

Thief takes bait car

A Kamloops man is in custody after allegedly stealing a RCMP bait car in West Kelowna.

Police in West Kelowna were alerted on April 12 just before 2:45 a.m. that one of their bait cars was activated and in motion.

Bait cars are equipped to send live updates of their locations, including speed and direction of travel, so officers planned out the route the car was heading in and strategically positioned themselves for the arrest.

The vehicle and driver were intercepted near the intersection of Apollo Road and Hoskins Road.

"Our dispatchers were integral in providing timely information while coordinating a police response to stop the bait car and arrest the suspect," said S/Sgt. Duncan Dixon, detachment commander of the West Kelowna RCMP.

The suspect, 30-year-old Raymond Francis Thiffault of Kamloops, was also wanted on an outstanding Canada-wide warrant.

He is being held in police custody and he has since been charged with theft of a motor vehicle over $5,000.



Police allege motorcyclist who blew through West Kelowna construction zone was impaired

Motorcyclist impaired?

Police say a motorcyclist who blasted through a West Kelowna construction zone last week was likely impaired.

RCMP were called just after 9:40 a.m. on April 8 for a report of a motorcyclist who collided with a traffic control person at Campbell Road and Campbell Place.

“The nearby road construction workers were able to stop the motorcyclist from departing prior to police arriving on scene,” said Const. Solana Paré. “Officers arrived on scene and formed grounds to believe the motorcyclist was impaired.”

Police arrested the 36-year-old Kelowna man and issued an immediate roadside suspension under the Motor Vehicle Act.

“The driver faces potential charges and is expected to appear in court at a later date,” added Paré.

Traffic control workers at the site told Castanet News last week the motorcyclist blew by a flagger down a one-way road through the construction site.

“This is what happens when you don’t stop when a flagger tells you,” said the worker



COSAR locates missing UTV rider after hours-long search

Missing UTV rider found

Search and rescue crews were called in to help locate a missing off-roader Sunday evening in West Kelowna.

Search manager Duane Tresnich says RCMP called in Central Okanagan Search and Rescue about 7:20 p.m. after a male UTV rider was reported missing.

The off-roaders were exploring the trails above Bartley Road when they became separated.

The friend searched for several hours before calling RCMP and getting COSAR involved, says Tresnich.

Sixteen COSAR members and the riding partner spent several hours searching in the dark along several ATV trails, until the missing male was located about 12:30 a.m.

"Due to his location and the deep snow still in the area, it took another three hours to get the man out," says Tresnich.

COSAR reminds backcountry enthusiasts to ensure they have the essentials when exploring.



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