Osprey rescued from twine tangle up 30 foot pole in Oliver

Rescue 30 feet up pole

A daring rescue of an osprey entangled in twine took place in Oliver Monday, thanks to the work of a man willing to shimmy 30 feet up a pole to the bird's nest.

The rescue was facilitated by SORCO, the South Okanagan's raptor rescue facility. 

"We got the call [Sunday night] from a gentleman in Oliver, it was off of Road 22, a big bird watching area," said Dale Belvedere, SORCO general manager.

"He had passed the nest in the morning and saw the osprey in there and he wasn't sure so he went back around 6:30 p.m. [Sunday night]."

He saw that the osprey was still in the same position, so Monday morning Belvedere and others got binoculars to check out the nest. Sure enough, the bird was stuck. 

"We could clearly see it was caught up in twine that [people] use to tie bales of hay together. It was one of the adults, the babies were right there next to it," Belvedere said. 

The organization started putting out calls to local businesses that might have equipment to access the nest but nobody was able to help. Luckily, Belvedere knew one of the SORCO board members had experience in his professional life climbing poles before he retired, and she asked him if he could step up. 

"Thankfully he still had all his equipment!" Belvedere said.

Around noon Monday, the man climbed the pole and cut the twine, and the parent osprey immediately flew away. 

"Everyone's fine and the babies are happy," Belvedere said. "We're happy too of course. It just all came together. It was a little nerve-wracking though to see somebody go up a pole like that!"

While this was a happy ending, Belvedere noted that much of the base of the osprey's nest was made of twine, likely discarded improperly locally and picked up by the bird. She urges everyone in the area to be careful how they dispose of material that could possibly tangle up a bird, especially ospreys which are a species on the brink in the region. 

SORCO is a non-profit that services the entire Okanagan and West Kootenays rescuing birds of prey. To learn more or to donate to their work, click here


Penticton's Hooded Merganser restaurant cracks top 10 per cent on TripAdvisor ratings

The Hood top 10% in world

Penticton's own Hooded Merganser restaurant received a happy surprise via email this week, learning that popular travel website TripAdvisor had ranked them within the top 10 per cent of restaurants in the world in their annual Travelers' Choice awards. 

For the team at the Hood, it was a welcome win after trying times during COVID-19. They are proud of the victory and feel it is well-deserved. 

"Our restaurant has recently made some changes to our menu, highlighting a strong focus on Farm-to-Table and introducing our new Head Chef, Dan Vichitthavong, to our team," said Frances Dellosa, marketing specialist with the resort. 

The rankings and awards are based on over 8.7 million businesses worldwide listed on TripAdvisor. Only 4,817 unique businesses are considered in the awards due to the quality and quantity of their reviews, which got the Hooded Merganser into the top 10 per cent. 

Dellosa said the distinction is exciting, and wanted to give a shoutout to the service, kitchen and other staff members who have been working especially hard in recent weeks and months.

Penticton landslide crushes into home, still slowly sliding

Landslide crushes into home

Chelsea Powrie

Two Penticton homes have suffered major damage after a slope failure pulled the ground out from underneath one, and sent it crashing into the other. 

On Sunday, a slow-moving landslide underneath a hillside on Heather Road forced the evacuation of the property and the one directly below it on Creekside Road, as the earth slowly shifted and crushed parts of the lower home. 

City of Penticton deputy director of development services Ken Kunka said the slip moved seven to eight feet Sunday, and as of Monday, it's "still creeping." 

"We are looking at hiring a structural engineer," Kunka said. "Right now it seems to be quietened down ... until it stops and completes the slide, we can't really do anything more at this point."

The Creekside Road home has already suffered major damage, with the cliff-facing portion of the house partially collapsed. 

There is no current danger to the road itself or city infrastructure.

"Our geotechnical engineer felt there was enough surface area on Creekside Road to accommodate the remainder of the slip because it's a dry slip not a wet slip where there would be a lot more movement. Thankfully," Kunka said.

Four other nearby properties are still on evacuation alert as of Monday. Kunka hopes to get a better idea of the timeline of the slide in the coming days and when the evacuated properties can expect to regain access.

"Hopefully by mid to the end of this week having somebody assess the structure for the renters to get some of their stuff out of there."


A drive-in movie experience is coming to Apex Mountain

Drive-in movie on mountain

It's been a long time since the South Okanagan had a drive-in theatre option, but the tradition will soon be resuscitated on Apex Mountain.

On Saturday, August 22, Apex's main village parking lot will be transformed into a drive-in for a triple-bill evening of films, with proceeds going to the Apex Community Association's community arts, culture and recreation programs. 

The three "edutainment" films shown throughout the night will be:

  • “Fifty”: Chronicles Summerland local Erick Thompson’s 50-mile run on HBC Brigade Trail, which winds through the Cascades Mountains backcountry from Tulameen to Hope.  (15 mins)
  • “Klunkerz”: The definitive film about the roots of mountain biking.  Its cast-list reads like the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame; Joe Breeze, Gary Fisher, Charlie Kelly, Mike Sinyard and Tom Richie.  (84 mins)
  • “Dirtbag”: Hailed as one of the most prolific and influential climbers of all time, Fred Beckey has become a cult hero in the outdoor world.  Eschewing fame, sponsors and family life so his only obligation would be the next summit, this rebel athlete conquered more unclimbed peaks than anyone in history during his 80-year career, staying myopically focused on the mountains until age 94.  (95 mins)

Organic pre-bagged popcorn will be available during intermission, and patrons are welcome to bring their own non-alcoholic beverages.  Access to an FM tuner, 98.5FM, is required to enjoy the soundtrack.

Online ticket sales are here and those with questions can contact Andrew Drouin at 250-486-2443.

Only 50 tickets are available due to COVID-19 so organizers urge those interested to act fast. 

The City of Penticton wants to hear from locals about their child care needs in a new survey

Survey on child care needs

The City of Penticton has announced it is working on an action plan to improve access to child care in the city amid a pressing need. 

“Child care and early childhood education are essential to Penticton's economic and social well-being," said the social development specialist Adam Goodwin.

"Quality child care allows many families to work and ensures children have an environment in which to thrive physically, emotionally and socially. Through the creation of this strategy, we want to make sure all parents and caregivers throughout our community have access to quality and affordable child care.”

The plan will be developed in partnership with the Social Planning and Research Council of BC and community partners, supported by a $25,000 grant from the province. 

Beginning Monday, local parents, guardians and child care providers for kids up to age 12 are asked to complete a "Parent and Caregiver Survey" at shapeyourcitypenticton.ca.

A second "Child Care Provider Survey" is open to directors, managers or owner of child care facilities. Both are available until Aug. 30. 

“If child care has been an issue for your family, we encourage you to share your story. This is an opportunity to confirm the shortages we’re facing throughout Penticton and to create a new action plan to stimulate positive change,” said Mayor John Vassilaki.

Earlier this year, the city entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with OneSky Community Resources in support of developing a new child care facility at Kiwanis Park. An application for a grant worth up to $3 million has been submitted towards a daycare facility to replace the Edmonton Avenue Centre.

The Ministry recently announced it will notify communities in the fall regarding the status of applications.

For those outside of Penticton, a similar survey is due to be launched soon by the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen which will include the municipalities of Keremeos, Oliver, Summerland and Princeton. 

Penticton can be an ideal hub city for a long-term visit to enjoy the South Okanagan

Hub city for adventures

“More to explore” is a 10-part collaboration between Castanet and Travel Penticton, a follow up to the popular "Tourists in your own town" series. Watch for it every Monday morning.

Let Penticton be your hub city for a longer stay to explore hiking, golf, adventure and wine tasting in the South Okanagan. Penticton is ideally located in the heart of South Okanagan and has a lot to offer only a 30 to 60-minute drive in any direction.

There may not be any international travel right now, but some of the 100-plus wineries in South Okanagan can make you think you are in Tuscany at Serendipity Winery on Naramata Bench or visiting a castle in Scotland at Road 13 in Oliver.

Time travel back to the groovy ‘60s, where VW vans and tie dye are where it’s at when having fun tasting at Ruby Blues Winery on Naramata Bench.

Or enjoy fire grilled pizza under the shade of vines on a pergola alongside bras and girdles at Dirty Laundry in Summerland, where the back story to this once brothel is as good as the wine tastings.

There are more than 100 wineries and four distinct wine regions in South Okanagan to explore – Naramata Bench in Penticton, Bottleneck Drive in Summerland, Ok Falls – Heart of Wine Country and the Oliver-Osoyoos Wine region.

Each winery has a story to tell, an ambiance to share and wines that linger in your memory long after the bottle is emptied. But with four wine regions and over 100 wineries, there are too many to try in just a weekend getaway.

Penticton has the accommodation options from the Lakeside Resort to motels that line both Okanagan Lake, Skaha Lake and Main Street. It also has quaint B&Bs, some right inside a vineyard, or overlooking one of the lakes. In Penticton, the culinary options are endless and with the ease of walking around, it makes Penticton an ideal home base for a long term stay with everything at your fingertips.

Hiking and biking adventures are plentiful with rugged mountain and desert terrain and sparkling lake vistas. You might even get up close to the majestic big horned sheep in your travels, or see and hear an alert rattlesnake.

The must-do hikes include McIntyre Bluffs in Oliver, Peach Cliff in Okanagan Falls, Giant’s Head in Summerland, Pincushion in Peachland and stop to view the unusual Spotted Lake from the pullout off of Highway 3 West in Osoyoos.

In Penticton, head up to Skaha Bluffs and climb horizontal among the jagged rocks while watching the climbers go vertical 100 feet up the many rock faces there. Then order a picnic charcuterie plate and eat among the vines at Painted Rock Winery at Skaha Bluffs.

Visit the famous Penticton sign at Munson Mountain on your way to Naramata Bench. Or take a bike tour along the scenic KVR Trail and do some wine tasting along the way.

If golfing is your thing, experience the diversity of the region from championship and executive 9-hole golf courses nestled between orchards, vineyards and panoramic lake views to the desert courses as you get down to Osoyoos.

Fairview Mountain golf course will take your breath away for its expansive greens as will Summerland Golf and Country Club and Penticton Golf and Country Club. For an executive 9-hole, check out Pine Hills in West Bench and for a desert experience with plenty of long greens play Osoyoos Golf Club.

When choosing which wine region to start with, the Naramata Bench is a great place to set the bar high for tasting experiences that still have a personal feel. As with all wine destinations during COVID-19, reservations are required.

The Bench is 15 kilometres of scenic road dotted with dozens of wineries spanning from Penticton to Naramata Village. The village is home to the historic Naramata Inn which recently had a total reboot now including fine dining with well-known Vancouver chef Ned Bell at the helm.

“Diners can expect a menu that is a love letter to the Okanagan,” said Kate Colley of Naramata Inn. “The focus at Naramata Inn is hyper local.  Using the very best flavours and ingredients available in each of the many micro-growing seasons. We work with farmers and suppliers that tell us what’s in season and what they need/want to sell.”

Sommelier Emily Walker was tasked with creating the most comprehensive Okanagan wine list possible, said Colley.

Many wines on Walker’s list come from the Bench.

“British Columbian wine enthusiasts who couldn’t visit France or Napa this year are discovering that Naramata Bench wines and the South Okanagan wine experience is to taste world recognized wines,” said Tina Baird, Marketing Director for the Naramata Bench Wineries Association.

“Naramata Bench is one of Canada’s premium wine regions and a top destination for wine enthusiasts.”

Wineries on the Bench have been winning prestigious national and international awards for several years now. Some recent examples include Poplar Grove Winery taking home four Golds on the international stage at the London Wine Competition; and Naramata wineries that are winners in the just announced All Canadian Wine Championships include Daydreamer Wines,  Deep Roots, Four Shadows, La Frenz, Singletree,  Black Widow, Moraine, Bench 1775, Terravista, Hillside and D’Angelo.

Just a 15-minute drive down Highway 97 will bring you to Bottleneck Drive in Summerland.

“Summerland is still off the beaten path for many people exploring the Okanagan wine regions, but you can spend a day immersed in the area,” said Cameron Walker, Bottleneck Drive’s marketing director and proprietor of Lunessence Winery.

“We have 15 boutique wine producers as well as four craft cideries  and a distillery, all of which are situated around Giants Head mountain, an extinct volcano that offers mineral rich soils optimal for vineyards and orchards. And climb Giants Head mountain for some of the best views in the valley.”

Nearly every winery offers a view, including Bottleneck’s newest winery Lightning Rock.

“There are a number of beautiful patios to enjoy your wine, whether at Dirty Laundry enjoying a pizza, at Lunessence overlooking the lake with a charcuterie board or enjoying poutine on the lawn in amongst the vines at Summergate.”

Down the hill is the Okanagan Crush Pad, home of wines: Haywire, Free Form and Narrative. Most of the wines are made in their concrete tanks that look like alien eggs. Learn about the way they sustainably manage the vineyard, using goats as mini lawnmowers and ducks for pest control instead of spraying.

A 30 minute scenic drive along Eastside Road from Penticton, will get you to OK Falls -the Heart of Wine Country.

At Wild Goose Vineyards & Winery, there’s three generations of family passion in winemaking that has produced award after award for delicious wines. If you’re a patron of the arts, see Liquidity Winery, where there’s another great dining option with an infinity pool view of Canada’s Nature Reserve.

Just next door is the Oliver Osoyoos wine region --  a collection of 44 member wineries. Desert-like landscapes and heat combined with one of the warmest lakes and cellar doors welcome you.

Oliver offers a wide range of wineries with dining options like Hester Creek Estate Winery with Terrafina and Tinhorn Creek Vineyards with Miradoro. The newest and largest winery to come to town is Phantom Creek Estates – visit just for the architecture and art alone.

For a completely immersed working farm experience, spending a day at Covert Farms is a must.

Taste award winning organic wines, pick berries and peaches, meet the farm animals and take in this 650 acre landscapes of orchards, vegetable patches and vineyards.

“We offer two different private tours.  Our "Hands on Harvest Tour" is geared to families and touches on all aspects of our organic farm.  Our other tour is our "Wine Enthusiast Tour" which is great for wine lovers and includes vineyard wine tasting/grape tasting, regenerative farming and winemaking and extensive patio tasting and pairings,” said owner Gene Covert.

On the way into Osoyoos, LaStella Winery has all the charm of Italy and the wine is pure bellissima. Travel to France at Le Vieux Pin Winery where vin is made the traditional way. According to the Osoyoos Oliver Wine Association, there is as much diversity in grape varieties as there is in wineries.

From Pinot Noir and Merlot to Tempranillo, Riesling and Viognier, the expression of terroir combined with winemakers’ creativity and know-how makes South Okanagan wines a real contender on the world stage.

Learn more by checking out VisitSouthOkanagan.com, a collaboration initiative between Visit Peachland, Visit Summerland, Discover Naramata, Travel Penticton, Okanagan Falls and Kaleden, Visit Oliver and Destination Osoyoos.

Slope failure prompts State of Local Emergency on Heather Road

Slope failure evacuation

The City of Penticton has declared a State of Local Emergency due to a slope failure at 645 Heather Road.

With the advice from a geotechnical engineer and the city has issued the following evacuation orders and alerts:

  • 645 Heather Road and 718 Creekside Road ordered to evacuate
  • 619 and 673 Heather Road be put on evacuation alert
  • 712 and 734 Creekside Road be put on evacuation alert

“There is no danger present or forecasted for Creekside Road and no danger exists for the electrical utility,” states Ken Kunka, deputy director of development services for the City of Penticton. 

The city will receive more geotechnical information and will reassess the situation once more information is available.

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