City of Penticton launches interactive virtual tasting room maps

Virtual tasting room guide

The City of Penticton has launched digital tasting room maps to make it easier to find and enjoy the 41 wineries, craft breweries, cideries and distilleries throughout the city.

The portal was created as part of the ongoing "Love Local" initiative from the economic development department.

“We are lucky to have so many amazing businesses right here on our doorstep. These maps really demonstrate the variety of the types of tasting rooms available – and we hope this will be a useful tool for residents to learn more about and visit these local businesses,” said economic development manager Carly Lewis.

“This Love Local initiative is in support of this vital industry and the spinoff effects it creates throughout our community in terms of job creation and economic stability.”

One map can be filtered by beverage type, and a second provides a touring map with descriptions of each location.

Explore the maps here.


Public hearing for bylaw change to build residential duplex in Summerland

Disputed duplex hearing

A proposal for a new build of duplexes in Summerland and a change to the OCP future land use designation from 'Low Density Residential' to 'Low Density Residential (Intensification) is so far not gaining positive public feedback.

A public hearing and first and second reading is scheduled for Monday to discuss the site-specific zoning amendment at 8108 Purves Road, in order to facilitate the subdivision and construction of two front-back duplex buildings.

This application was presented to the Advisory Planning Commission on Feb. 26, 2021 and members of the commission were generally supportive of the development on the site, but suggested a redesign of the concept to work with the topography. Safety concerns were also raised about parking and the proximity to the corner as the property is a corner lot.

Since then, the applicant has made adjustments and the revised layout has been noted as an improvement.

In the staff report, it outlines that the developer held a public information meeting on June 7 over Zoom and allowed for participants to ask questions after.

Concerns were raised on how the proposed housing type would fit in the neighbourhood and the potential impact on traffic along Purves Road, as well as safety of the proposed development for a blind corner.

There was support, however, for the affordable nature of the proposed development concept.

As in many cases with development proposals, the attendees agree that this type of housing is needed but some just didn’t feel the location was appropriate.

Further comments sent into the District outlined the neighbourhoods problems with the duplex plans.

“This is a single family residential area. We have bought here for that reason. There are young families, some with young children. Why come in and disrupt a quiet neighbourhood to change our original bylaw? This bylaw was put in place for an original purpose,” one person wrote.

“No, no, no - huge NO,” writes another. “Already bad roads and don’t want more noise than there already is."

Staff recommended that the rezoning application be provided a first and second reading and proceed to a public hearing.

Auditions this weekend for Christmas Spectacular at Penticton Lakeside Resort

Local Xmas show auditions

Have a song in your heart or a desire to dance? Soundstage Productions in Penticton is holding auditions for its Christmas Spectacular concert to be held at the Lakeside Resort.

The company is looking for people aged 15 or older who can sing, and dancers skilled in tap, ballet and jazz aged 12 or older.

They are holding open auditions at the Lakeside Resort Ballroom on Sunday, Sept. 26.

Dancers are asked to come by between 10 a.m. and noon, with a prepared holiday dance routine.

Singers are asked to arrive between 1 and 5:30 p.m. with their favourite Christmas song prepared.

If cast, rehearsals will be Sundays until the show week from Dec. 12-15.

Vaccine passports are mandatory.

Anyone with further questions can contact Lynne Leydier at 250-490-6091.


Princeton installs Upper Similkameen Indian Band flag atop Town Hall as gesture of respect and commitment

Indigenous flag at Town Hall

The Town of Princeton has installed the Upper Similkameen Indian Band flag above Town Hall in recognition and respect of the territory.

The flag will fly there permanently, and symbolizes a commitment to work with the USIB.

"Although on the surface a flag may seem like a small gesture, its permanent place above Town Hall recognizes the legitimacy of the Upper Similkameen Indian Bands place in this valley," Mayor Spencer Coyne shared Friday.

"I want to thank the USIB Chief Bonnie Jacobsen and Councillors Mike Allison and Charles Allison for their working with the Town of Princeton and their friendship and guidance as we work towards reconciliation and bringing our communities closer."

Penticton's Bad Tattoo Brewery commits to checking vaccine passports, manager apologizes and steps down

Bad Tattoo 'sincerely sorry'

A popular Penticton brewery has walked back its vows to refuse vaccine passport mandates, instead choosing to offer a public apology and resume regular service while its owner and manager steps back.

Bad Tattoo Brewing, which was founded in Penticton and recently expanded to Kelowna, announced in late August they would not go along with Provincial health mandates requiring proof of vaccination to sit and dine or drink at their establishment.

The vaccine passports went into effect Sept. 13. Castanet reporter Casey Richardson visited on Sept. 15, and was told by a server proof of vaccination was not required.

On Thursday, Sept. 23, Bad Tattoo released a statement on social media saying they would be stepping back from seated service, instead transitioning to a takeout-only model.

The following day, they pivoted again.

"As of Sept. 25 Bad Tattoo will be checking vaccine passports and returning to normal service.
I sincerely apologize to everyone," owner/manager Lee Agur wrote on Facebook Friday evening.

"I was trying to be inclusive and make a safe space for everyone to be able to enjoy as that is what the hospitality industry is about, so we went to counter service only like the fast-food establishments, cafes, food courts and cafeterias that many people currently feel safe in and are not requiring vaccine passports."

Agur expressed concerns that many people are "losing compassion, empathy, understanding and patience."

He added that he will be stepping down from management of Bad Tattoo "for a while," but is confident the team will continue making "world award-winning beer and creative pizzas for you."

Penticton youth, other residents, gather to urge climate action

'We are unstoppable'

Chelsea Powrie

UPDATE: 3:10 p.m.

"We are unstoppable, another world is possible!"

That chant rang out along Penticton's Main Street Friday afternoon as youth and community members marched with signs, drums and musical instruments from the library to Gyro Park as part of a Youth Global Climate Strike.

A few dozen people attended of all ages, gathering to urge elected officials to take urgent action now to address the continuing threat of climate change.

"I am scared," said one young organizer, named Eden. "I am scared that one day there won't be a single old growth tree left standing. That plastic will outnumber fish in the sea, and we will be drowning in the poison of our creation. And we will say, hey, isn't there something we could have done? Something our ancestors could have done to prevent this? There is ... we have the power right now to heal our connection with the Earth."

The area's newly-reelected Member of Parliament Richard Cannings marched alongside the protesters, carrying a sign that said "Smokin' hot summers" and "Climate change is real."

"We have to get the message through to Ottawa. I went into politics because I wanted to be a voice for science and reason in Ottawa, especially for climate change," Cannings told the crowd.

"I wanted to run again and go back to Ottawa, so that with this voice you've given this we can get this to the top of the agenda ... as [the late NDP leader] Jack Layton said, 'Don't let them tell you it can't be done.'"

The youth organizers told the crowd they will be repeating the protest on the last Friday of every month moving forward.

ORIGINAL: 9:30 a.m.

Penticton students and residents will rally Friday afternoon as part of the annual Youth Global Climate Strike.

Local youth are asking anyone who wants to join their cause of demanding leaders take climate emergency action to come along on their march to City Hall from the grassy area near the city library, where they will meet at 1 p.m.

The march will have chants, musical instruments, signs, banners and speakers, and will double as a demand for action and a celebration of Penticton's launch of its Energy and Emissions Plan.

The rally has a theme of "Uproot the System," and is endorsed by First Things First Okanagan.

Masking and physical distancing are requested.

Penticton launching profiles on 12 inspirational older adults in the community to honour their contributions

835 years of inspiring stories

Meet some of Penticton's older residents who have contributed to the community as part of a week-long celebration leading up to International Day of Older Persons on Oct. 1.

The city has put together Q&A profiles highlighting 12 older community members who have a combined 835 years of experience and inspiring stories as athletes, community builders, coaches and volunteers.

“By telling their stories, we celebrate them – and the many others like them – who make Penticton the fantastic place it is today,” said the city’s social development specialist Adam Goodwin.

“The purpose is to reduce the stigma and celebrate the amazing things people over age of 55 are doing throughout our community.”

The project included partnerships with practicum students at the University of British Columbia Okanagan’s School of Health and Exercise Sciences and School of Social Work and several organizations throughout the community.

Older adults contribute in many ways to the community, and this project aims to highlight that. Forty-six per cent of the local population is 55 or older. Twenty-nine per cent of older adults aged 65 and older in Penticton live alone.

Many older adults are active member in groups like Lions Club and South Okanagan Similkameen Crime Stoppers, as well as athletic organizations like the Penticton Curling Club, Penticton Tennis Club, Nickel Plate Nordic Centre and Penticton Dragon Boat.

“The City of Penticton is proud to celebrate International Day of Older Persons on Oct. 1 and would like to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of you who are donating your time to help others throughout our community,” said Penticton Mayor John Vassilaki.

“We encourage everyone to get involved in making Penticton an even more age friendly and welcoming community.”

Read all of the profiles here and get to know the older adults in the community living inspiring lives.

Annual migratory bird observatory open house returns this October at Vaseux Lake

Inside look at bird banding

The always-popular bird migration open house at the Vaseux Lake Bird Observatory is back after a year's hiatus due to COVID-19.

Each October, the Okanagan Similkameen Conservation Alliance opens the doors of the observatory tucked off the highway next to the lake to allow the public a peek at the work they do banding migratory birds, and explore the area on a guided nature walk.

Participants will also learn about bird adaptation to migration, and bird conservation issues and threats.

“Our public and school programs have become very popular and we are very fortunate to have the continued support of Nature Canada and Environment and Climate Change Canada who provide funding to run these programs. This is the first time we have been able to have this open house since covid and so it is a very meaningful event," says Janet Willson, OSCA Chair.

The observatory is one of just nine migration monitoring stations in British Columbia and the only one in the Southern Interior.

It sees more than sixty species of birds come through each year, which are given harmless bands on their feet and then released to allow biologists to track species numbers long-term. Data collected at VLBO is added to a world-wide database that monitors bird population trends and supports efforts by scientists and conservationists to overcome threats to bird populations.

The open house will take place Sunday, Oct. 3 from 9 a.m. to noon at the observatory, located three kilometres south of Okanagan Falls along Highway 97.

Attendees are asked to park on the west side of the highway at the parking pullout, and note that it is a 500-meter walk down a path to the lake to the observatory site. Anyone with mobility issues who wishes to attend can contact the observatory ahead of time to arrange specific parking.

Masks are mandatory and a maximum of 100 attendees will be participated. The event goes forward rain or shine.

For more information contact Rachel Bland at 778-386-9436.

Cluster of COVID-19 cases at Oliver Elementary School

Virus cluster at elementary

Students from one class at Oliver Elementary School are self-isolating following a cluster of confirmed COVID-19 cases.

Families of students and teachers received an email from the school district informing them Friday. There are currently three confirmed cases, affecting one classroom.

"Out of an abundance of precaution, Interior Health is recommending that students in this class self-isolate and self-monitor for symptoms," reads the letter, signed by superintendent of School District 53 Bev Young.

"Provided the students remain asymptomatic, they can return to normal school activities on Friday, Oct.1."

Letters were sent previously directly to students and staff of the class.

"If you have not received a letter and/or a call from the school specific to this cluster, this means, your child is not considered exposed," Young wrote.

Students who are isolating are being supported with remote learning options.

Any parents with questions are asked to contact OES principal Jason McAllister directly.

Penticton Vees ready for their first game with fans welcomed back to the stands

Excited for fans in the stands

Casey Richardson

The number one thing the Penticton Vees are looking forward to this season is having their fans back in the building.

For most of the players on this year's roster, this season will mark this first time any of the Vees will get to play with a crowd cheering them on.

"We need you back. I talked to a lot of our fans, it sounds like they need us to and so that's what's made a great relationship over the years," Head Coach Fred Harbinson said.

The team is full of energy in practice on Thursday afternoon ahead of their exhibition game on Friday night against the Vernon Vipers.

"[They're] ready to have people back in the building. I don't think people really understand on our part how much we miss them. And it's not about even the financial side of it, it's just about having them be a part of it. With our guys, listening to them during practice today, about how excited they are to have a game in front of people again, it is going to be pretty special."

The Penticton Vees will be welcoming crowds back to the South Okanagan Events Centre at 50 per cent capacity this season. BC Vaccine Cards will be required.

Harbinson said that the community response has been mostly positively for passports to attend games.

"There's been the odd person that's voiced a different opinion, which they're clearly allowed to have. But we as an organization, we feel strongly about this too, and this is a mandate by the province, but at the same time, we're supporting it," he added. "As part of our community, we feel that we had to do our part. We're leaders in the community and I'm proud to say that we're moving forward with it."

"We're hoping that by the end of October that maybe we're back to full buildings. And either way, our fans are always really loud and supportive."

The goal for the team this year is to earn their tenth division championship title in a row and continue to build better players.

Harbinson said the players to watch are Captain Finn Williams, Luc Wilson and their two team goalies Kaeden Lane and Colin Purcell.

"The one thing I'll say about our team is I think we're gonna be a hard working group. I don't know if we have really any superstars but we're gonna have a lot of really good hockey players and guys that care and that gets you a longways."

The 2021/22 regular season officially starts Oct. 8.

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