$2.8M for water main fix

A project next year to replace two water mains on Ridgedale Avenue in Penticton will cost just over $2.8M, more than what has been budgeted for.

City staff is recommending that council make an amendment to the 2018 budget and increase the water reserve fund by $350K, helping pay to replace the two water mains.

Currently, just under $2.5M is budgeted for the proposed project. 

Staff received four bids from contractors earlier this month to do the work. The lowest bid was just under $2.7M from Cantex-Okanagan Construction, who staff has also recommended council to award the job to.

The additional $350K from the city would cover the difference, as well as "engineering services, consulting fees, permits, contingencies and implementation of the water main work," a report from said from Tyler Figgitt, the city's design supervisor.

Figgitt's report noted that the city's engineering department tried to find areas where they could cut costs, "but no savings have been identified due to the critical nature of these upgrades."

While reviewing the project, the city also found that the cost for materials for the water main project have "risen dramatically" in the past year, and said the increases are tied to a trend of increased construction costs across the Okanagan.

Figgitt also said that the water mains have failed in the past and are at the end of their life.

"Approval will ensure that the City can continue to provide safe, clean, reliable drinking water and water for firefighting purposes to its residents," the report states.

Council will decide on Tuesday whether to approve the budget increase of $350K or budget for the project in 2019 instead.


Local bobsledder 2nd at WC

Summerland native Justin Kripps earned a silver medal in two-man bobsled at a World Cup bobsleigh event on Saturday in Igls, Austria. 

Kripps and partner Jesse Lumsden, a former CFL football player who is from Ontario, finished with a combined time of 1:43.98 in two runs.

The silver medal for Kripps is his third of the season in the two-man bobsled.

He previously won silver medals this year at bobsleigh World Cup events in Whistler and Lake Placid, N.Y., both with partner Alex Kopacz.

The 30-year-old Kripps is also the overall World Cup leader among two-man bobsledders, according to Bobsleigh Skeleton Canada.

Kripps is a two-time Olympian, having taken part in the four-man bobsled in 2010 in Vancouver, and both the two-man and four-man events in 2014 in Sochi.

Dozens show up for vaccine

Between 50 and 60 people, aged 15 to 19, showed up to Penticton Health Centre on Saturday for a meningococcal immunization clinic, according to an employee at the centre.

The vaccination clinic was one of three arranged at health centres in the Okanagan on Saturday, amidst an outbreak of meningococcal disease in the region.

Patricia Park with Interior Health said the health centre in Penticton wasn't sure heading in how many people would come to the clinic for vaccines, as it was only arranged when IH declared the outbreak two days ago.

Park said she anticipates more demand for vaccinations in the coming weeks, with many students in that age group likely coming home for the holidays from post-secondary school. 

The health centre in Penticton will be hosting immunization clinics again on Dec. 27, 28 and 29. People aged 15 to 19 can schedule appointments or drop in to receive a vaccination.

In the South Okanagan, IH also held a vaccination clinic at Summerland Secondary School on Friday.

IH will further be hosting clinics on Monday at Similkameen Elementary-Secondary School in Keremeos and Princeton Secondary School, as well as Penticton Secondary School on Tuesday and Princess Margaret Secondary School on Wednesday.

To date this year, there have been 11 confirmed cases of meningococcal disease in the Okanagan — largely in the age group of 15 to 19. 

One teenager has died since being diagnosed with the disease, and a young woman is currently in a medically-induced coma following her diagnosis. 


Fire crews called to action

Penticton fire crews had an early start to their day Saturday, responding to a call of smoke in an apartment building at 888 Fairview Road at 6:20 a.m.

Emergency personnel were told smoke was coming from a second-floor unit and the building was evacuated while crews checked on the situation, but the cause of the smoke is not yet known.

One elderly woman was taken to Penticton Regional Hospital with unknown injuries.

Castanet will have more information as soon as it becomes available.

NDP offers modular homes

The provincial government is offering Penticton up to 52 units of modular supported housing.

A memorandum of understanding between the city and BC Housing will be presented to council on Tuesday, which if approved, would commit the city to supporting the modular homes at a to-be-determined location.

The agreement is non-binding, and BC Housing isn’t requesting any land from the city. It’s likely the homes will be placed on property already owned by BC Housing or a nonprofit.

“Once a location has been selected, a process of neighbourhood notification will commence,” planning manager Blake Laven wrote in his report to council.

The modular low-income homes are a part of 2,000 being built across the province by the new NDP government

“Suffice it to say, there will be substantial opportunities for senior government investment in housing in BC. In speaking with BC Housing staff familiar with the situation in Penticton, the feeling is that Penticton, needs to be well prepared to respond to the various expected funding announcements,” Laven said.

“This is an issue the City has and should continue to take leadership on.”

To kick off the project, staff will be meeting with BC Housing and CMHC in the new year with all the city’s current and prospective not-for-profit housing providers.

In Kelowna, a province-funded modular housing project has been delayed by aesthetic concerns from the surrounding business community.

Changes for trash pickup

Garbage collection dates in Penticton, Naramata and rural Oliver will be changed for residents on a pair of days over the holidays.

Homes in Penticton that usually receive trash pickup on Mondays will have their garbage collected on two straight Saturdays, Dec. 23 and Dec. 30, as Christmas and New Year's falls on Mondays.

In Naramata and rural Oliver, recycling and garbage will be picked up on the 23rd and only garbage on the 30th.

In Penticton, only garbage will be collected on 23rd and both recycling and garbage will be picked up on the 30th.

Collection will not change for any other days during the holidays, the RDOS said.

The regional district also advised that the Campbell Mountain, Oliver and OK Falls landfills will be closed on Christmas, Boxing Day and New Year's.

For more information, the public is asked to contact the RDOS.

New acting VP for Pen High

Penticton Secondary School will have a new vice-principal for the short term in the new year.

Robert Boxall has been named the acting vice-principal of Pen High, beginning on Jan. 1 and lasting until Jul. 31.

Boxall has been a teacher in the school district for seven years, at Princess Margaret and Penticton High. 

He was also the principal for the district's summer school program for Middle School this past year, and is a member of several district initiatives including the curriculum implementation planning committee. 

Boxall was also the director of sport in the 2016 B.C. Winter Games that Penticton hosted.

He replaces Andrea Devito, who will be taking over as the principal of Uplands Elementary School. 


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