Air Canada announces overnight stays in Penticton

Early morning flights resume

Dale Cory

There is good news on the horizon for South Okanagan residents looking to travel to and from Vancouver. Air Canada Jazz is adding an overnight stop in Penticton to its schedule.

An Air Canada flight will now arrive from Vancouver at 8:30 p.m.

That same plane will then depart Penticton Airport at 6 a.m. the following morning, rather than 7 a.m. is it does currently.  

This is welcome news for those hoping to spend a day in the big city or catch a connection, including local MP Richard Cannings.

"Obviously I'm pleased that we have a step in the right direction, especially with regard to those morning departures," said Cannings. "It's really important to the business people going to meetings in Vancouver. Once that schedule comes into effect, they can get there and not have to fly to Vancouver the night before and stay overnight in a hotel."

Air Canada's decision to eliminate the early morning flight was controversial, given that local residents had to spend more time away from home and additional money while in the Lower Mainland.

MP Cannings spearheaded efforts last spring to have Air Canada continue its early morning flights from Penticton to Vancouver.

The new schedule starts in May and runs for the summer, but Air Canada had yet to confirm if the overnight flights will continue into the fall. 

Consultation for a five-year regional South Okanagan transit plan begin soon

Mulling increases to transit

An upcoming transit planning project will be taking a look at expanding bus options and routes in the South Okanagan-Similkameen, and looking for public engagement. 

Every five years, a Transit Future Plan is adopted by the Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen as a guideline for the next half decade.

The last one was adopted in April 2015, so a new consultation phase in concert with BC Transit is about to begin for the 2020 plan. 

Oliver council heard a preview of the process at this week's meeting. 

Starting in early March, an on-board customer satisfaction survey will gather feedback.

In early April, open houses throughout the region will gather more input from current and potential transit users and an online survey will be launched, with the goal of having a completed plan for fall or winter 2020. 

Questions that will be considered include a possible increase in service for Route 40 Osoyoos/Penticton, which currently runs twice daily during the week. An increase to four times daily and a Saturday trip are on the table. 

Also up for discussion is a local Oliver service and what that might look like, as well as increased service between Oliver and Osoyoos.

Already in the works is an expansion to the Route 70 Penticton/Kelowna service, with the RDOS approving its portion of the funding. Starting in September 2020, it will operate twice each weekday, meaning South Okanagan Transit riders will have access to Kelowna Monday through Friday. 

Time to make a team for the annual Walk for Alzheimer's

Team up against Alzheimer's

Registration is now open for the annual Penticton Walk for Alzheimer's to support people affected by dementia. 

On Sunday, May 3 at Skaha Lake park, teams from around the region will assemble for the short walk to celebrate and remember the people in the community whose lives have been touched by the disease. 

Register with family, friends or colleagues to start collecting pledges that will go toward support services, education and information relating to dementia, as well as research into causes and cures. 

Two in three British Columbians have personally known someone who is living with or who has lived with dementia. The walk is the Alzheimer Society of B.C.'s flagship fundraiser of the year, taking place in dozens of communities around the province. 

"We all have a team of people who support us during the difficult times and celebrate the good times with us. For people affected by dementia, their team is crucial,” said Collen Cahoon, regional manager of Vancouver Island at the Alzheimer Society of B.C.

“We’re encouraging people to invite their team to participate in the Walk to show their support for fellow community members affected by the disease.”

Find out more and register a team, or learn about how you can become a volunteer for the event here.


Penticton RCMP searching for missing man

RCMP seek missing man

The Penticton RCMP is appealing to the public for help finding a missing man. 

Victor Genero, 46, was last seen by family in Penticton on Feb. 24, 2020. 

It is possible he is camping in his 2007 Ford Ranger with BC licence plate LM7471.

He is described as 168 cm in height, 82 kilograms, brown hair/bald, brown eyes and Caucasian.

Should anyone have information about Victor’s whereabouts, they’re encouraged to call the Penticton RCMP at 250-492-4300.

Penticton's Hoodoo Adventures steps aside as Lodge operators

Chute Lake Lodge in limbo

As it turns out, the adventure was more than they bargained for.

Hoodoo Adventures has parted ways with the ownership group which controls Chute Lake Lodge Resort.

Hoodoo CEO Lyndie Hill confirms the Penticton outdoor tour company, which operated the resort the past year and a half, has stepped aside from Chute Lake Lodge Ltd.

“We just decided amicably and collectively as a group that we would basically go our separate ways. It was both parties' decision, said Hill. “Sometimes visions don’t align, and it was one of those situations.”

The entire vision is not dead in the water. After a winter closure, the lodge is going ahead with plans to re-open this spring. 

“It was really tough. Everybody wanted it to work out,” says Hill. “We’ve put an incredible amount of blood sweat and tears into the whole thing. But sometimes you have to make business decisions.”

The investor group which was formed in October of 2018 will continue the revitalization of the mountain retreat on its own, and without the expertise of Hoodoo Adventures.

Revitalization of the century-old resort was extensive.

“The place needed so much work. The ownership side had to invest a lot from the basics, from water and electrical,” added Hill. “And then, operationally, it was everything. The cleaning, deciding the vision. We were basically starting from behind zero.”

Hill indicates there were challenges with the road and just getting people up to the lodge, located about 31 kilometres northeast of Penticton.

Still, Hill and her husband Mike saw potential. 

“We did everything that we could to get people up there. And it worked,” said Hill. “We had sell-out events, and people were excited about it. We feel we knocked it out of the park. We’re really proud of what we accomplished up there. It was just a business decision that needed to be made.”

As for the future, Hill says Hoodoo Adventure is hopeful Chute Lake Lodge Resort will open as planned, and continue to operate.

“Kettle Valley Railway is important to us, and we see it as an asset for Penticton, the region and the province,” she added. “We will 100 per cent continue to support it, and see how we can help create it as an international destination.

“We think it’s a beautiful place and wish the new operators best of luck. It’s an absolute gem up there.”

SD 67 in Penticton hires accountant, gets extension on budget deadline

SD 67 audit gets underway

The Board of Education for School District 67 has announced the outside accountant who will oversee an audit of its tangled financial situation. 

Joan Axford is a professional accountant with over 35 years of experience in education finance, including as secretary-treasure in SD 63 (Saanich), director of school finance with the Ministry of Education and executive director of the BC Association of School Business Officials. 

The board decided it needed outside help at a chaotic meeting Monday at which it was supposed to vote on a budget, but trustees could not agree. 

James Palanio, Board Chair indicated that the Board was pleased to engage someone with such vast experience

Her investigation is aiming for the following outcomes:

1. A simple explanation of the 2018/19 operating deficit.

2. Clarification of the decisions in the amended 2019/20 budget, impact on the 2020/21 budget and a financial forecast to June 30, 2020.

3. A report on operating reserves, school generated funds and local capital over the past three years.

4. Provision of a Financial Literacy and Budget Development Workshop for the Board.

5. Provision of budget consultation and communication strategies.

6. Development of a budget implementation plan to ensure that all areas of the organization understand and can manage their area of budget responsibility.

The Ministry of Education has agreed to provide the District with an extension from the February 28 deadline to submit the 2019/20 amended budget so the Board will consider the third and final reading of the budget bylaw at its regular Board meeting on March 9.

Slackwater Brewing to host new monthly comedy series

New comedy series in town

Kelowna's Train Wreck Comedy is bringing its brand to Penticton, kicking off a new series featuring a different act each month at Slackwater Brewing. 

For their inaugural show, they are bringing comedian John Beuhler to the stage, a veteran performer who has been making audiences laugh since he was 19 years old.

Beuhler has won the Just for Laughs Home Grown Comedy Competition, finished in the finals of the Seattle International Comedy Competition, and won the $10,000 Corner Gas Comedy competition, among other achievements. 

He has also opened for the likes of Dennis Miller, Brent Butt, Joan Rivers, Martin Short, Zach Galifianakis, and Craig Ferguson.

Train Wreck Comedy describes hiss style was "wickedly funny, fearless and poignant."

Tickets are now on sale for this first event in the partnership with Slackwater on March 20. Early bird tickets are $15 until March 6 at midnight, then $20 after that, available here while they last. 

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