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HVAC, building automation and electrical leaders toast team after busy Okanagan summer

Busy season for Kimco

Local leaders in HVAC, building automation and electrical are toasting their team after a busy and challenging summer in the Okanagan. A surge in demand for services, evolving client needs and unexpected adversities made for a particularly demanding season, but the team at Kimco Controls stepped up to the plate, going above and beyond in servicing the Thompson-Okanagan.

“The dedication and hard work of our staff has shined particularly bright throughout a busy and uniquely challenging period, and we could not be more proud,” Kimco Controls business development director Ken Watt says. “They have gone above and beyond to meet client needs head-on, and Kimco would not be the HVAC, building automation and electrical leaders in the Okanagan that we are right now without the talent and commitment of our team.”

Surge in demand for HVAC in the Okanagan

The unexpected surge in demand for HVAC, building automation and electrical services in Kelowna and the wider Okanagan area stemmed from multiple sources, Watt explains.

With the community getting back on its feet after wildfire emergencies and years of pandemic ups and downs, along with a large number of businesses looking to upgrade their existing HVAC systems and equipment, Kimco’s services were in high demand.

“Local and external resources have been investing in the Kelowna community, contributing to the city’s growth and helping it to thrive,” Watt says.

During this particularly active period supplying HVAC services, the team was able to remain agile under dynamic conditions, quickly adapting to urgent requests, shifting priorities and an ever-changing business landscape.

Handling the unexpected

Already under the pressure of an increased workload, the Kimco staff was unwavering in the face of unexpected equipment challenges.

“Our staff showcased exemplary problem-solving skills, finding innovative solutions to ensure uninterrupted service delivery,” Watt says. “This adaptability and quick thinking were crucial in maintaining our commitment to excellence.”

Grassroots gratitude

Showing gratitude for the hard work of Kimco’s highly skilled workforce is part of the company’s DNA, which has built a nearly four-decade legacy in the Okanagan by investing in its employees and community.

All three company owners today started as employees themselves and understand the importance of acknowledging a job well done when balancing the complex needs of the commercial HVAC, building automation and electrical industry.

Education and professional development, a drive to continually learn and adapt to new technologies, and pride in their work and community are all part of the secret to Kimco’s success.

“It’s always important to say thank you and acknowledge the efforts of our team, but particularly after a season where they navigated unique challenges with outstanding agility and resourcefulness,” Watt says.

To toast the team’s hard work and show their appreciation, Kimco leadership recently held four private events at local businesses: BNA bowling and dinner for the building automation team; Rusty’s Pool Hall and Dinner for the HVAC technicians team; Rockets Hockey and dinner for the office team; and is looking forward to its an annual Christmas brunch in December.

Why work with Kimco

Beyond appreciation events, the staff at Kimco benefits from a wide variety of benefits in the day-to-day, including:
• Competitive compensation
• Extended health care, dental, vision, disability and life insurance
• RRSP matching
• Professional growth and development, including a tool account and tuition reimbursement
• A belief in promoting from within
• A modified work schedule, work-life balance and team-building events

If you're interested in working with Kimco, visit the careers page to view all current job openings. This page is up to date with the latest available positions.

Kimco Controls has been your local go-to for automation and controls in B.C.’s Interior for almost 40 years. Passionate about automation, electrical and HVAC in Kelowna and beyond, Kimco is constantly innovating to provide the best service possible. For more information, visit kimcocontrols.ca.

This article is written by or on behalf of the sponsoring client and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

Chute Lake Lodge adds to long list of fun and relaxation that will be had this winter

Your perfect winter getaway

Chute Lake Lodge emerges anew, ready to enchant visitors with a host of exhilarating experiences and fresh offerings upon its reopening this week, making your winter getaway more enticing than it’s ever been.

The lodge, which is nestled in the mountains above Naramata Bench and Okanagan Provincial Park between Kelowna and Penticton, will re-open on Friday (Dec. 1) for the winter season. Ownership spent the last few months making several upgrades and implementing new offerings that will make it even more alluring for that perfect Canadian winter vacation.

The most noticeable addition is a three-storey cabin, complete with a private outdoor sauna, that can sleep up to 12 people. It has three bedrooms, including one with bunk beds for the kids, and two bathrooms. The basement level features a rec room with a ping pong table that will guarantee plenty of family fun. It’s now available for bookings, including Christmas and New Year’s.

“We were getting a lot of requests for accommodations that could fit multiple families or larger gatherings, so we wanted to accommodate those clients,” Chute Lake Lodge general manager Aja Mingay says.

All bookings can be made here.

Also new at the lodge this winter will be guided adventure packages. The lodge brought in an experienced guide from Clayoquot Wilderness Lodge who will take adventurers out into the surrounding wilderness for journeys that cater to every adventurer’s whim. From snowshoeing escapades through pristine landscapes to captivating ice fishing expeditions and star-gazing sessions under the celestial canopy, these personalized adventures promise an unparalleled connection with the great outdoors, led by seasoned experts passionate about sharing the secrets of Chute Lake’s beauty. Stay tuned for more adventures coming available.

“Chute Lake has always been a haven for those seeking solace in nature’s embrace,” Mingay says. “With these new additions and experiences, we aim to elevate every visitor’s journey, ensuring a deeper connection with the stunning landscapes and unforgettable moments.”

Other new features this winter include moving the outdoor ice rink down next to the lake. The soft lights that surround the surface will make those evening skates even more magical, offering both novices and seasoned skaters a chance to revel in the beauty of the season. Additionally on the lake this winter, Chute Lake Lodge has set up a geodesic dome that people can rent for ice fishing, complete with an auger and rods, chairs and blankets, and snacks are available upon request.

As Chute Lake open its doors, eager to welcome visitors and invites everyone to embark on a journey filled with adventure, tranquility and moments of bliss amidst the pristine winter landscape. All the new fun will complement the rest of the good times that are always had at Chute Lake Lodge during the gorgeous winter months. Whether it’s skating, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing or eating s’mores and drinking hot chocolate next to a crackling fire, it’s a winter wonderland that will create long-lasting memories.

The lodge’s restaurant will be open every day from over the Christmas holiday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. During the regular winter season, the hours will be Fridays from noon to 8 p.m., and Saturdays and Sundays from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Accommodations are available to book throughout the week.

For reservations, bookings and more information about Chute Lake's offerings, visit chutelakelodge.ca or call the lodge directly at 250-496-5262.

This article is written by or on behalf of the sponsoring client and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

Kelowna cancer trial saves 'palliative' patient

Trial saves cancer patient

Allan Wolfram’s Stage 4 esophageal cancer diagnosis in 2019 was a shock, but the journey that came after is almost as surprising. The diagnosis would bring Wolfram, then 63 and living in Winnipeg, nearly 2,000 kilometres to access a cutting-edge immunotherapy clinical trial at BC Cancer-Kelowna.

“My prognosis was six months to a year on palliative chemo,” says Wolfram, who not only has beaten those odds by over three years but is cancer free. “I wasn’t ready to go. I had young grandkids and wanted to be around a bit longer.”

Wolfram is sharing his story to give thanks to the staff at BC Cancer-Kelowna and share the importance of advancing research to bring life-saving treatment options to more patients like him. Clinical trials are made possible in B.C. through donor support.

He quickly began down the path of “Dr. Google.” This research led him to immunotherapy, a cutting-edge form of treatment that harnesses the body’s own immune system to attack cancer cells. However, it wasn’t available as standard of care for the type of cancer he had, and there weren’t any clinical trials in Manitoba.

Three months after his diagnosis, his oncologist connected him with Dr. Kaethe Clarke, who was leading an immunotherapy clinical trial at BC Cancer-Kelowna. Two days later, Wolfram and his wife were on a plane out west.

“It was the first time in months that I had any hope,” Wolfram says. “Dr. Clarke had great success with this treatment on other types of cancer and was confident it could work on mine.”

Wolfram faced an initial setback after developing drop foot and discovering the cancer had spread to his brain. He postponed the trial for a month to treat the new tumour through chemotherapy and surgery. Hours after the first chemo treatment he had regained feeling movement in his toes.

On the day of surgery to remove the tumour—already gowned and prepped—a final CAT scan yielded another surprise: the tumour in his brain had significantly reduced in size and he wouldn’t need the operation. Wolfram laughs as he describes the surgeon walking into Dr. Clarke’s office, his morning suddenly freed up, to share the news. “She called it one of the best days of her career.”

Back on track, Wolfram began the immunotherapy clinical trial—a course of chemo every two weeks and the immunotherapy drug once a month. After just one month, Wolfram and his wife received another unexpected call from Dr. Clarke. The large tumour on his esophagus was gone.

“We were literally dancing in the kitchen,” shares Wolfram of the moment. “The chemo had a side effect of prickly skin when I got too excited. I had to tell her to be careful or I’d get the ‘prickles.’”

He continued the treatment for several years and is still carefully monitored, but he’s showing no signs of cancer. He recently celebrated his youngest grandson’s first birthday—a grandson he wouldn’t have met without the trial.

Wolfram acknowledges this incredible result won’t be the case for everyone on a clinical trial but says research and trials are the only way to bring hope to patients like him.

“Cancer’s a terrible disease, but there are a lot of people working to make a difference and they’re constantly making progress,” he says. “Five years ago, I wouldn’t have a chance.”

To support patients like Wolfram in Kelowna, visit bccancerfoundation.com/Interior.

This article is written by or on behalf of the sponsoring client and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

Vital Signs reports explore what it's like living in the Okanagan

Vital Signs 2023

Together, the Community Foundation North Okanagan (CFNO), Central Okanagan Foundation (COF), and Community Foundation of the South Okanagan Similkameen (CFSOS) are releasing three Vital Signs reports that examine the strengths, challenges and needs across the Okanagan Valley.

The three reports take a closer look at their respective smaller communities making up the North Okanagan, the Central Okanagan and the South Okanagan Similkameen—while making comparisons to the entire Okanagan and the province of British Columbia. These reports show us where we fall short in providing for our most vulnerable residents and offer a platform of data and trends to examine for future solutions.

The Vital Signs reports aim to provide a focus for conversations with residents, businesses, community organizations, universities and colleges, and government leaders to take action and direct resources where they will have the greatest impact. In the coming year, each community foundation will hold “community conversations,” events and gatherings in their respective communities to facilitate local discussions, and use ideas to guide their own service delivery, program planning or funding decisions.

Some key findings from the 2023 Vital Signs reports are:

• Rapidly rising food costs, interest rates and rental rates are leaving residents feeling squeezed. Food banks in the Okanagan region report their numbers of clients increasing by well over 30% between 2021 and 2022, and no relief is on the horizon.

• Home prices have increased 10% to 15% across the Okanagan since 2022. Home prices and assessed values continue to rise, making homeownership more difficult for first-time buyers.

• The occurrences of violent crime have dramatically increased across the Okanagan. Sexual assaults are also reported at a higher rate in each region.

• Across the Okanagan, the rate of toxic drug poisoning deaths was 46.9 per 100,000 in 2022, compared to 44.0 across British Columbia.

• There are currently 2,203 farms operating in the Okanagan—40% of those farm operators are female, and half of the operators are 60 years of age or older.

• There are 224,688 hectares of land in the Agricultural Land Reserve within the entire Okanagan, a decrease of 16.4 hectares between 2021 and 2022.

“The issues that seemed pressing after the COVID-19 pandemic started in 2020, including affordable housing, income inequality, a changing climate and community safety, now feel intractable. The enormity of the intervention needed is overwhelming," said Aaron McRann, executive director of CFSOS, Kristine Bugayong, executive director of COF and Leanne Hammond, executive director of CFNO in a joint statement.

"Yet our strength lies in our togetherness. Our problems cease to be intractable when we’re working together towards something we care about. We invite you to join us in moving from a shared understanding to collective action.

"We proudly participate in the national Vital Signs program because we want residents of the Okanagan to connect over a shared understanding of the trends and changes affecting the quality of life in our region. Programs such as Vital Signs, with its local data and community-driven knowledge, help us make bolder and better decisions that ensure everyone has the support and opportunity to flourish in the Okanagan."

To read your local Vital Signs report, go to:

Community Foundation North Okanagan

Central Okanagan Foundation

Community Foundation of the South Okanagan Similkameen

This article is written by or on behalf of the sponsoring client and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

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