All about pickleball

Pickleball is growing in popularity by leaps and bounds, and on Saturday people can learn everything they ever wanted to know about it.

The racquet sport combines elements of badminton, tennis and table tennis. Players use solid paddles to hit a perforated ball over the net.

Don Friesen of the Vernon Pickleball Association says the club is inviting everyone to an open house at Marshall Fields on Aug. 19, from 3 to 6 p.m.

The day will include music, activities, games, food, vendors, a silent auction, 50/50 draw, an exhibition game and more. Money raised from the event will be used to build more courts.

The club is looking to build 12 courts at Marshall Fields.

“It's a partnership between us and the city,” said Friesen. “It took us a couple of years to get an agreement.”

The city and the club will be splitting the $600,000 cost.

Currently, the pickleball club is sharing courts with tennis players, but neither side is thrilled with the arrangement, so dedicated pickleball courts are needed.


Club clears hurdle

The Okanagan Rhythmic Gymnastics Club has cleared another hurdle.

The embattled club run by former Olympian Camille Martens has been in the cross hairs of regional district officials for months.

RDNO officials ordered the club to stop operating on more than one occasion, but at their regular meeting Wednesday directors gave second reading to a bylaw that would allow the facility to operate on a farm on East Vernon Road in the BX area.

Earlier this year, the club received approval to operate on the site by the Agricultural Land Commission.

Bob Fleming, regional district chairperson, said directors were waiting for the ALC ruling and now that approval has been given, steps are being taken to fully legalize the facility that has turned out several world-class gymnasts.

“That satisfied our requirement so the zoning amendment is going forward,” said Fleming, adding the club will have to post a sign so neighbours can see the proposed zoning change.

A public hearing will likely be held on September to complete the process.

“It would legalize the zoning which was a huge obstacle for them. They still have conditions to meet on the building permit...but they are working through that,” he said

Crews douse car fire

The call came in as a structure fire, but when BX/Swan Lake Fire Rescue arrived, firefighters found a minivan in flames.

Assistant Chief Stephan Hidasi said crews were called to a home on French Road Wednesday afternoon.

“The report came in as a structure fire. From the angle the people were seeing it who called in, it looked like the house was on fire,” said Hidasi.

“It turned out to be a minivan. It was fully involved when we received the report. The knock-down was quick, and there was no damage to the house.”

Hidasi said there was some minor damage to surrounding shrubbery and some plastic had melted from a gas meter.

Crews inspected the home to make sure there was no further damage.

The cause of the fire is undetermined.


Food going to waste?

Feds are good sports

The feds have come up with almost $750,000 to help keep North Okanagan residents active.

On Thursday, Liberal MP Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities, was in Vernon to announce the funding that will be used for a several sporting venues.

The Vantage One Indoor Soccer Centre will receive $150,000 to replace the aging and worn artificial turf, and that is good news for soccer fans.

Kai Tolpinrud, Vernon Soccer Association GM, said the indoor facility gives athletes a chance to train year round.

“This is critical to the soccer-playing community. We're able to train outdoors five to six months a year which is just not sufficient for kids that are trying to develop their games and move on to higher levels of soccer,” said Tolpinrud.

Bob Fleming, regional district chairperson, said the facility is heavily used and without the federal funding replacing the artificial turf would be “several years away.

“The condition of the field has been going downhill and it's in real need of replacement.”

Qualtrough also announced the Okanagan Indian Band would receive just over $47,000 to renovate parts of Komasket Park and build a 1.2-kilometre fitness path.

Vernon’s Centennial Outdoor Rink will be getting $80,000 for upgrades, but the lion's share of the money went to the Okanagan Rail Trail with a grant of $471,500.

Expert to look at water

An independent expert has been assigned to look into the Hullcar aquifer water woes.

Spallumcheen residents who draw water from the aquifer have been on a water advisory for more than two years due to high nitrate levels caused by area agriculture.

NDP Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy George Heyman announced Thursday an independent, national water and governance expert has been commissioned to support the review of the pollution in the Hullcar aquifer.

Oliver Brandes, co-director of the POLIS Project on Ecological Governance at the University of Victoria's Centre for Global Studies, will provide strategic advice and oversee aspects of the review.

Brandes will also lead a team that will make recommendations to Heyman that will ensure that best practices for the agricultural sector are aligned with the goal of ensuring safe, clean drinking water to all British Columbians.

Brandes is also an established technical advisor to the Province with respect to the ongoing development and implementation of the Water Sustainability Act. 

The terms of reference for the review have been posted to the ministry's website and the public are invited to provide input to the review from now until Aug. 31.

The review will be used to inform the development of future regulations and help provide innovative solutions to protect water quality.

Findings from the review will be posted publicly on the ministry's website.

Lucky to be alive

Two people are lucky to be alive after a spectacular accident in Coldstream early Thursday morning.

Coldstream Fire Rescue Chief David Sturgeon said crews were called to the accident at 4:30 a.m. on Kalamalka Lake Road after a car hit a power pole then struck a tree.

The vehicle hit with such force it was sheared in half with part of the vehicle landing in Coldstream Cenotaph Park.

Sturgeon said there were two people in the car, but miraculously both walked away from the crash with undetermined injuries.

Kalamalka Lake Road was closed for a while.

RCMP are investigating the accident and there is no word on the cause or if charges will be filed.

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