Beads help wildfire victims

Bead charms sold in the South Okanagan are helping fund assistance for B.C. residents who have been affected by this year's record wildfire season.

BeadTrails Experience, a jewelry store located on Victoria Road North in Summerland, raised $1,395.00 in donations for the Canadian Red Cross in B.C.

The jewelry store sold bead charms that boasted a fire department shield by donations of $15 dollars or more.

Karen Griggs, the owner of BeadTrails, said the initiative drew donations from all across Canada and some from Britain as well.

The jewelry store has nearly 200 business members throughout the Okanagan and the Interior.

"The BeadTrails team felt a strong connection with those affected by the wildfires and wanted to provide a meaningful way for people to donate," Griggs said.


Blue bins filled with trash

Colton Davies

The South Okanagan is getting serious about contaminated recycling.

According to the Regional District Okanagan Similkameen, eight to 15 per cent of recycling that is collected from homes in the region is materials that are not accepted.

Contamination in recycling is audited by Recycle B.C., and the district can be slapped with fines if the contamination amounts are too high.

It used to be easy for municipalities to get away with having garbage mixed in with recycling.

Shipping containers with recycling are regularly sent to China, where those materials are then reused. 

In reality, those shipping containers had large amounts of garbage.

That was until China created a 'green fence' six years ago, and began sending shipments back to North America that had garbage and mixed recycling, according to the RDOS.

"We’ve known thousands of tonnes of mixed recycling and garbage were being shipped to China," Cameron Baughen said, RDOS regional waste mangement coordinator.

“Since then, the Province of BC has pushed to make sure that all recycling collected is recycled appropriately."

Baughen acknowledged there has been a shift in recent years on what materials are acceptable.

"Local residents have expressed frustration that some items, especially soft plastics, used to be collected but aren’t now," he said.

A province-wide program with Recycle B.C. was implemented in 2014 to regulate what is collected in residential recycling, and the rules have been consistent since.

"It's been getting slightly better, but not fast enough," Baughen said.

According to Baughen, workers are checking blue bins more often before loading.

The RDOS said in some cases, residents who put out inappropriate materials will not have their recycling picked up, and workers will leave a note providing more information on why their materials were left.

Overnight outage planned

The District of Summerland is preparing residents to be in the dark early Sunday morning.

A planned power outage will take place from 12:01 a.m. until 6:00 a.m. on Oct. 22nd in the community, excluding the areas of Trout Creek, Front Bench and Canyon Views.

Staff will be upgrading electrical switches at the Prairie Valley substation during the outage, replacing the existing porcelain switches with more epoxy ones which are more durable.

This will be the second and final planned outage needed this month.

The time allotted for the work was deemed the least disruptive to residents by the district.

For more information, you can contact Summerland's works and utilities department at 250-494-0431.


Shatford opening for youth

Penticton’s Shatford Centre is opening its doors to youth for the next month as a part of the Art for Peace exhibition.

Open studio opportunities for those aged 12 to 24 will be held every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Oct. 21 to Nov. 25. Participants can paint, draw, dance practice poetry and more with the help of on-site mentors and space to create. Youth are asked to bring their own supplies, but will have access to more.

The Art for Peace exhibition opens Nov. 10; billed as an intergenerational space for artists in the Okanagan to showcase their work.

Pre-registration appreciated. Call 250-770-7668 or email at [email protected]

Protected trees chopped

Councillors with the District of Summerland will debate Monday what to do with a couple who illegally removed four protected trees from the Lighthouse Landing subdivision.

The trees at 902 Lighthouse Landing were topped by a contractor on June 29, despite a registered covenant that was negotiated with the developer in exchange for the removal of a vegetative buffer.

A staff report going before council says Wayne and Betty Maclaren first approached the District of Summerland in Sept. 2016, expressing that the trees were “annoying, ugly, messy, etc. and that they were too low, limiting what they can do with their backyard.”

“Staff informed them that they would need to submit a formal request to the CAO, as the trees were protected by covenant. No such request was received."

The report notes that the owners’ stated reasons for removing the trees without district permission are because falling branches posed an immediate danger to property and family, and the district never followed up with them after the Sept. 2016 meeting.

“A similar breach of this same registered covenant by the neighbour the year before led to public outcry from neighbours and the community at large as well as attention from local and regional media,” the report adds.

In the case of the neighbour's breach, a settlement was reached between the district and homeowner.

But that’s not the case this time.

“The property owners have failed to agree to the proposed settlement and have denied any duty to pay damages or compensation,” the district report says, adding direction is being sought from council how to proceed.

The report cites a North Vancouver case heard by small claims court where the defendant was ordered to pay $25,000 for unlawfully damaging a tree.

Replacement cost for the four Summerland trees is approximately $4,000.

MP blasts softwood inaction

South Okanagan—West Kootenay NDP MP Richard Cannings laid into the current and previous federal governments this week for failing to stand up to the United States on softwood lumber.

In a lengthy speech in the House of Commons Thursday, Cannings blasted Justin Trudeau for failing to reach a deal with former President Barack Obama, despite the duo's “highly flaunted bromance.”

“Now we must negotiate with President Trump, whose administration has moved to hit our softwood lumber industry with even more tariffs,” he said, adding the industry is “reeling.”

Pointing to tariffs as high as 27 per cent hitting softwood lumber, and 300 per cent tariffs in the aerospace industry, he said “the way we negotiate trade deals is wrong.”

“If the Liberal government is serious about holding out for a good deal, instead of signing a bad one tomorrow, then it owes Canadians more transparency and openness about how it will help Canadians and Canada's industry weather the impending trade storm.”

Cannings noted that the B.C. forestry industry’s strategy of mitigating the American tariffs by selling to China has plateaued due to stiff competition from Russia with the low-value Ruble.

He took the chance to tout his private member's bill, that would compel the federal government to consider using more wood when building public buildings.

Two fires minutes apart

Fire crews in Oliver had a busy evening on Thursday, responding to a pair of unrelated calls about 15 minutes apart.

The Oliver Fire Department responded to a shed fire at about 5:35 p.m., at Highway 97 and Nettle Road.

Fire department spokesperson Rob Graham said crews were able to contain the fire to just the shed and had it out quickly. 

At 5:50 p.m., crews were called to a grass fire at Sawmill Road near Oak Avenue. 

Graham said the fire grew to an estimated 200-square-feet in size, as northeast winds pushed the fire up a hillside. The fire wasn't in a forested area, but some trees in close proximity fuelled the flames.

Crews had the fire extinguished at about 7:15 p.m., and Graham said no homes were in immediate danger.

"It's still very dry... we've had a little bit of rain, but the rain that we get really doesn't saturate the ground deep enough to help any," Graham said.

The cause for both blazes remains under investigation.

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