Restrictions on Delcliffe Water Utility users have been lifted

Water flowing again

The water is once again flowing for users of the Delcliffe Water Utility.

On March 30, the Regional District of North Okanagan (RDNO) advised customers supplied by the utility to reduce water use due to a blockage at the intake.

During the incident, the water remained treated and safe to drink. Repair work is now complete and the water restrictions have been rescinded.

Vernon puts out request for proposals on Active Living Centre architect services

RFP for ALC architect

The City of Vernon has put out a request for proposals seeking architect services for Vernon's new Active Living Centre.

The city says it invites proposals "to join a highly collaborative integrated project delivery team for delivery of the $121-million project, which was approved by voters in an October referendum.

It will be located on the former Kin Racetrack grounds beside Kal Tire Place.

"The city seeks to create a partnership with a qualified architecture firm to participate in the ALC project. Experience and familiarity with IPD ideology, methodology and mindset are vital. The architect team should have considerable experience with designing facilities which are similar to the ALC requirements," the RFP states.

Early work for the architect would ideally commence in May and continue through the duration of the project, to approximately September 2026, the city says.

It would include: pre-validation, validation, design, construction, commissioning, and post commissioning.

Closing date on the RFP is April 28.

Special event to mark Sikh Heritage Month at Vernon temple

Celebrate Sikh heritage

Vernon residents are invited to a special event during Sikh Heritage Month.

“Sikh Heritage Month invites us to remember, celebrate and educate about Sikhs and the important role that we play in the community,” says Ramandeep Kaur, settlement worker with Vernon and District Immigrant and Community Services Society.

“We celebrate Sikh Heritage Month not only to commemorate the resilience and achievements, but also to remember that there is much more to do.”

The public invited to attend the Gurdwara Vernon Sikh Temple, 3800 Commonage Cres., on April 12, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

A lunchtime discussion circle will feature kirtan (a practice of call and response chanting that combines mantra and devotional music), refreshments and an opportunity to engage in an open dialogue with local Sikh women to better understand the past and present contributions of Sikhs in the North Okanagan.

Following recent violence targeting a Sikh student attending UBC Okanagan in Kelowna, the event will provide a space to better understand the experiences of Sikhs in Vernon and to explore individual roles and responsibilities with respect to advocacy.

“Sikh Heritage Month is an important opportunity to reflect on the prevalence and impact of systemic racism,” says Naaz Kaur Grewal, local immigration partnership council co-ordinator.

“Starting constructive dialogues about racism can be daunting, but these conversations are a vital aspect of building a stronger, consciously more inclusive community.”

Seating is limited and pre-registration is required.

OKIB firefighters to burn down derelict house in weekend training exercise

Hot training for OKIB

Okanagan Indian Band firefighters will get some real life training when they set a house on fire this weekend.

The OKIB says the old home is structurally dangerous and poses a risk to children and the community.

“So if you see smoke rising over Reserve #1 over the weekend it is probably the OKIB Fire Department doing a controlled burn and training exercise on an abandoned house,” a press release from the band states.

“The structure has been in disrepair for some time, however there are signs of ongoing activity in the house, and it’s just too unsafe for anyone to use,” the band says.

By burning the house, firefighters will gain experience working close to a real structure fire.

"This sort of practical training is done frequently by fire services when there is an opportunity for a win-win outcome: training for firefighters and enhanced safety for the community."

Vernon Lapidary and Mineral Club hosting an exhibition at Vernon museum

Museum ready to rock

Vernon's museum is going to rock on Saturday.

The Vernon Lapidary and Mineral Club is hosting an exhibition and sale of jewelry, rocks and gemstones, 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The club encourages families to get out and enjoy the last weekend of spring break by exploring the museum.

Admission is by donation, in support of the club.

“We are a fun club for beginner and serious rock hounds of all ages and backgrounds. Satisfy your natural curiosity about local rocks and minerals surrounded by knowledgeable others with a similar passion and interest. We are proud members of the British Columbia Lapidary Society,” says a statement on the club's website.

The club meets on the second Wednesday of the month at the Vernon Community Arts Centre at 7 p.m., September through June.

The club also holds field trips spring through fall to various local rock sites.

Coldstream eyes big-ticket projects for Aberdeen, School roads

Growth drives project need

Coldstream councillors will consider two big-ticket infrastructure projects at their committee of the whole meeting on Monday.

The district sought federal grant funding in 2021 for the Aberdeen trunk sanitary sewer project, but was recently advised that its application was unsuccessful.

"Although this grant application was unsuccessful, the necessity of this project is gaining prominence," a report to council states.

Development along Aberdeen Road will require the district to proceed in the near future to support anticipated growth in the area.

Council has approved an amenity contribution of $7,002 per lot for development in the area to support infrastructure requirements.

The sewer project has an estimated cost of $3,805,000 including service connections and tie-ins along Aberdeen Road.

It would also incorporate an on-street, separated path.

Connections to adjacent residential communities not fronting Aberdeen would happen in a future second phase.

Work would be funded through development cost charges ($834,075), sanitary sewer amenity contributions ($329,094), the Growing Communities Fund ($1,164,409), and Coldstream's sanitary sewer surplus ($1,477,422).

The second project is the reconstruction of School Road in Lavington.

The Learmouth Road to Highway 6 work is estimated at $2,335,201.

It would be funded through the Canada Community Building Fund.

The project includes "a complete rehabilitation and/or reconstruction of School Road to address both the road base and road surface. Additionally, new drainage infrastructure will be installed to improve the environmental impacts of water entering Coldstream Creek. A new multi-use path and/or sidewalk will be installed to improve safety of pedestrians."

Storm drainage work to create delays on 48th Avenue through next week

Expect delays on 48th Ave

Motorists are advised City of Vernon crews will be upgrading infrastructure along 48th Avenue starting Sunday.

Expect delays as construction on storm drainage will take place between 6 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Sunday, continue until next Friday.

The work is anticipated to be completed April 7, but timelines may change if emergencies arise.

Single-lane traffic will be maintained in both directions along 48th Avenue between 20th Street and Pleasant Valley Road during construction hours.

Some delays should be expected for motorists, however, every effort will be made to minimize disruptions, the city says.

Motorists are reminded to watch for construction workers, slow down in construction zones and obey all traffic control measures.

Byron Louis returned for seventh term as OKIB chief

Louis returned as chief

Byron Louis has been returned to another term as chief of the Okanagan Indian Band.

Louis won by just four votes over challenger Dan Wilson, with 290 versus Wilson's 286.

This will be Louis' seventh term as chief.

The OKIB's electoral officer confirms the following results for band councillors:

  • Rachel Marchand 330
  • Tim Isaac 329
  • Allan Louis 295
  • Donna Good Water 264
  • Valerie Chiba 248
  • Raymond Marchand 235
  • Rochelle Saddleman 233
  • Floyd Oppenheimer 232
  • Viola Brown 225
  • Patricia Jack 215

A total of 585 ballots were cast in Thursday's election.

The newly elected chief and council will be sworn in at Head of the Lake Hall on April 3, at 10 a.m.

They will hold their first council meeting after the ceremony.

25th Street residents call on City of Vernon to replace cut-down heritage tree

Call to replace lost tree

Residents of lower East Hill in Vernon remain upset over the loss of a large heritage tree cut down by the City of Vernon.

In a letter to City Hall, 25th Street resident Tom Carlson expresses "concern and consternation" over the removal of "one of Vernon's most magnificent trees."

The stately silver maple was cut down earlier this month at the corner of Pleasant Valley Road and 25th.

"This tree was a cornerstone for our neighbourhood, to the point where residents of 25th Street banded together to insist that the sidewalk when it was put in, go around the tree, thereby preserving it," Carlson writes.

Carlson notes the city's own Tree Protection Bylaw states such trees must not be cut except, in his words, "the most dire of circumstances, preceded by clear and abundant proof that the tree in question presents an imminent threat to human health and safety."

Carlson is calling on the city to replace the tree with one "of like species and size," noting that the bylaw outlines removed trees are to be replaced by a similarly large tree.

"I've heard three wildly different reasons given for the tree's removal, none of which seems to be supported by any credible evidence," continues Carlson.

The city told residents the tree was unhealthy and blocked drivers' view of the stop sign at Pleasant Valley Road.

Now, all that's left is a stump that's more three feet in diameter.

Carlson says large trees have many benefits beyond their beauty, from enhancement of property values, to their cooling effect during summer.

Neighbour Michael McLellan said his own arborist told him the tree only needed some pruning.

"It was part of the charm of the neighbourhood," said McLellan.

"It was an iconic tree, loved by everyone in the neighbourhood."

Carlson suggests the city also make some traffic changes to reduce speed on the street, a frequently used short cut to avoid busy 27th Street.

"In addition to replanting our lost tree, the easiest, cheapest, simplest way to accomplish this would be to remove the left turn lane at the intersection of 25th Street and 32nd Avenue, and replace it with a barrier, thereby transforming that section of 25th Street into a right-in, right-out traffic situation," he says.

"There are numerous examples of this to draw from in Vancouver and other such cities that have begun prioritizing calm, livable residential neighbourhoods."

Castanet has reached out to the city to see if the tree will be replaced.

Winter kill of invasive goldfish in Vernon's Cools Pond

Invasion of the goldfish

A kill-off of goldfish in a Vernon pond has the local naturalists club wondering where the invasive fish came from.

Social media was abuzz this week about dead gold fish in Cools Pond in the BX.

Some were concerned about what killed the fish, but Harold Sellers is more concerned the fish were there in the first place.

There are not supposed to be any fish in the pond, let alone goldfish, says the co-chair of the North Okanagan Naturalists Club.

Shallow bodies of water like Cools Pond can experience what is known as a winter kill, which is caused by low levels of oxygen.

Goldfish have become common in bodies of water not only only in the Okanagan, but throughout North America.

“It's a pretty widespread problem everywhere,” says Sellers. “When people get tired of their goldfish pets, they don't want to kill them, so they look for some place to dump them, and most of our ponds have goldfish in them.”

As goldfish are an introduced species, they can cause damage to the ecosystem.

“Without the restraint of an aquarium, they can grow quite large. I know there are goldfish in the McKay Reservoir which have grown very large – up to a foot long in some cases. They are related to carp, so they can do a lot of damage to vegetation by rooting in the soil, and they can eat the eggs of things like frogs and salamanders,” says Sellers.

They can also feast on the eggs of spadefoot toads, which are an endangered species in the area.

“We are not sure if the ones in (Cools Pond) all died off. There has been a pretty extensive winter kill everywhere in B.C. this winter. So we are going to monitor it to see if there are any more,” says Sellers.

Otter Lake in Spallumcheen also had a winter kill, with hundreds of carp dying.

Sellers encourages people not to dump goldfish into local waterways. There is an effort to have pet stores take back goldfish or any other fish they sell.

The only viable option to remove goldfish from places like Cools Pond would be to trap them or catch them with a scoop net.

“The one benefit of them is they do provide food for herons,” says Sellers.

The naturalists club is monitoring Cools Pond on behalf of RDNO. If anyone sees live fish, they are asked to post on the NONC Facebook page.

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