Over 10,000 visited Peachland tourism centre last year
10,000 visit tourism centre
More than 10,000 people walked through the doors of the Peachland visitor centre last year.
Most of the visitors were local or from B.C., but the centre had visitors from elsewhere as the year progressed, a report presented to council on Tuesday revealed.
“As COVID restrictions lifted, we began to see a change in our demographic,” the report said. “We welcomed an array of fellow Canadians, mostly Albertans and Quebecois, and were delighted to see many Western Europeans, mostly from Germany.
Of course, the warm-weather months were busiest with more than 1,000 monthly visitors from May to October. The busiest month was August with 1,319 visitors.
Twenty-two per cent of visitors were seeking maps or directions to other locations, and 20 per cent were interested in food and wineries.
Fifteen per cent wanted information on parks and hiking. Another 15 per cent were looking into attractions and adventure. People also asked about shopping, emergency information, First Nations and community services.
The centre’s Trina Shields noted the tourist season wasn’t affected by any natural disasters last year, but there was a heat wave.
The visitor centre is expanding its line of Peachland-labelled clothing and consigned offerings in an artisan gift shop.
More co-operation with the Westbank First Nation is in the works.
“We plan to add an enclosed glass display case for artifacts and creations of local Indigenous artisans. We will sell artwork, jewelry, souvenirs, books, clothing, etc.
“We plan to create a slideshow presentation with historic information of the Syilx Nation, reflecting their culture.
“Finally, throughout the year, we will invite members of the Westbank First Nation to hold special events and workshops, such as storytelling, drumming, beading techniques, medicinal plants/healing, Language/Historical sessions, and guided Indigenous nature walks,” the report said.
The centre will offer downtown historical walks for the third year.
The organization had seven volunteers and two summer employees last year. They’re looking for volunteers again and will apply for federal funding for summer staff again.
Peachland attractions include the Little Schoolhouse, the Peachland art gallery, which is in the other historic school along with the visitor centre and a colony of bats, and the eight-sided museum.
The visitor centre is run by the Peachland Community Arts Council.
Peachland townhouse development prompts traffic concerns
Development traffic worries
A townhouse development with some 50 units would bring additional traffic to Princeton Avenue in Peachland.
And that has a few people concerned.
The development is proposed for the lower end of Princeton Avenue near Lipsett Avenue. A rezoning approval would allow up to 63 units to be built, but the developer is proposing closer to 50, a public hearing was told on Tuesday.
Two people spoke up to say they opposed the project because of the extra traffic it would bring.
Council previously asked the developer to consider adding a southbound left-turn lane on Princeton, but was told on Tuesday the developer commissioned a study and traffic count at Princeton and Somerset to the south earlier this month, and determined the $1-million lane wasn’t needed.
“The analysis showed that a southbound left-turn lane is not expected to be warranted by the estimated 2023 traffic volumes, nor the 2038 traffic volumes,” a presentation said.
Spokesman Ruibin Li with McElhanney Ltd. said the developer would instead offer a financial contribution for the town to enhance its infrastructure.
“We acknowledge there are traffic concerns on Princeton Avenue. This is a broader issue the community is facing … We want to contribute,” Li said
Li said the developer did hear concerns about building heights and committed to an 11-metre maximum height (three storeys).
“We have actively listened to the community and we have addressed their concerns proactively,” he said.
Council heard the strata development could hook up to existing services and no new services will be required. It will not be a gated community.
Without rezoning, a two-lot subdivision is all that would be allowed on the 2.65-acre property.
The developer has agreed that 10 per cent of the total units proposed will contain long-term rental flex units, as is Peachland’s policy. Flex units are essentially secondary suites with their own entrances.
The developer will contribute $4,000 to upgrade four bus stops nearby.
Council was told the five per cent park requirement will be a mixture of parkland and cash. The parkland will essentially be a rest area/pullout on Princeton Avenue, council was told.
At a previous public meeting, a McElhanney presentation noted “a developer is building 56 townhouses in 14 buildings on a site approximately 500 metres east of the subject property. The project is known as ‘Somerset Reach.’”
No decision on this proposal was made after the hearing.
Peachland to buy new portable stage with plan to rent it out
Excited about new stage
Who knew that a new portable stage for Peachland would be the item to get councillors most excited at their regular Tuesday meeting?
Councillors were gushing over the prospect of the municipality buying a new stage and renting it out to make money.
The stage will cost $90,000 to buy and about $10,000 a year to maintain. Peachland already has the money to buy it. Taxes don’t need to be increased, councillors heard.
Peachland doesn’t currently have a proper outdoor stage and uses a flatbed trailer that lacks proper safety features, council was told.
“The trailer lacks a roof to protect performers and equipment from sun, rain and snow. It also lacks a proper stage floor, staircase or railings to protect performers, sound technicians, volunteers and guest speakers, and staff from the risk of dangerous trips and falls,” a report from director of community services Cory Labrecque said.
The stage Peachland would buy comes equipped with a hard-shell roof, guard rails, stairs, a 20’ x 16’ flat and level stage floor, along with other specialized equipment, the report said.
It could be rented out to for-profit groups. Noting that neighbouring municipalities don’t have a stage like that, councillors were told it could be transported within a 100-kilometre radius.
“I think it’s a great idea. It’s one of those things where it clearly benefits the community … that has a way to recoup the cost that isn’t necessarily through taxation, but events and sponsorship - just a fantastic idea,” said Coun. Dave Collins.
"I’m really excited about the opportunity to make money off this unit. That just makes me happy,” said Coun. Alena Glasman.
Others were equally as enthusiastic.
Council was told that after approving the purchase in its final budget, the stage should be delivered about two months after ordering.
Drop-off recycling depot coming to Peachland
Drop-off bottle depot plan
An automated bottle recycling station is coming to Peachland.
The Encorp Express & Go depot will be installed in a 2nd Street parking lot, behind the Edgewater Inn, after an agreement couldn’t be worked out with the Peachland Village mall.
It’s solar powered, but needs to be near a power hookup in case of extended cloudy weather.
The Royal Canadian Legion branch 69 has agreed to install a printer for stickers that must go on the recycling bags in its entry vestibule, Peachland council heard on Tuesday.
At the Express & Go stations, people bring their unsorted containers in clear plastic bags. The machine sorts and count the containers and puts the refund into to an online account. That’s why the sticker is needed.
Installation is set for April 13 with a soft launch of the station on May 3, council heard.
The station will open for full use on May 10 with an ambassador team on hand May 11-13 to help residents set up accounts and answer questions.
A municipality has signed a one-year agreement with Encorp, which can be renewed. Encorp will pay Peachland an annual $2,000 licensing fee to cover electrical costs, additional maintenance or snow removal.
There are 15 Express & Go depots throughout B.C. One opened recently at the Kelowna landfill.
ZipZone Peachland gets new owner as business founder decides to retire
ZipZone owner retires, sells
ZipZone Peachland has a new owner.
Vernon’s Christine Einarson, an entrepreneur, outdoor enthusiast and adventurer, has purchased the zipline business and is committed to continuing its “tradition of providing unforgettable experiences to guests from all over the world,” according to a press release.
The business will open for the 2023 season on April 22.
“I’m thrilled to be taking over the reins of such an amazing company,” Einarson said. “ZipZone Peachland has a well-deserved reputation for offering world-class adventure experiences, and I'm excited to build on that legacy and take the company to new heights.”
Former owner Kevin Bennett opened the business 12 years ago but has decided to retire.
“We created a world-class adventure experience, and I’m proud of what we accomplished,” Bennett said. “It's been a pleasure to welcome tens of thousands of guests to Peachland, but it’s time for me to retire.
“It's a bittersweet moment for me. I’m sad to say goodbye to ZipZone but delighted to hand the company over to a younger, more energetic owner, who has the passion and drive to take ZipZone to the next level.”
Peachland Lions revive annual golf tournament, funds to support Camp Winfield
Lions golf tourney returns
The Peachland Lions club is getting back in the swing of things after an extended pandemic pause for its annual golf tournament.
Registration is now open for the 22nd edition of the CSN Collision Centres and Peachland Lions Club Charity Golf Tournament. It will take place at the Summerland Golf Course on April 30.
It’s the first time the tournament has been held since 2019, says Lions Club member Anne-Marie Mizzi.
She says they are hoping for between 130 and 180 participants, with a goal of raising $10,000 for Easter Seals Camp Winfield. The camp gives children and adults with disabilities a chance at a fun, safe and memorable summer experience.
The early-bird entry fee for the golf tournament is $135 and it’s available until April 15. After that, the registration fee is $145. The fee includes team golf, a golf cart and the banquet. $40 tickets are also available for just the banquet.
There will be prizes and a silent auction.
For golf entry forms contact David Tarry at [email protected] or call 778.363-2263.
Tick season has arrived in the Thompson-Okanagan
Tick season has arrived
The start of spring also brings with it tick season in the Thompson-Okanagan.
Peachland resident Margaret Derksen is sounding the alarm after finding a large tick on her granddaughter's head. Derksen believes Madison got the tick bite either Saturday or Sunday.
"They were out playing in the back yard and then they were out playing at the beach where they have the wood chips there. We went for a walk where the old golf course was. I honestly do not know where she picked it up. My guess is maybe down by the park with all the wood chips," she said.
Derksen didn't spot the tick until Monday.
"It was pretty gross. It was a very large tick," she said, adding it is believed it was a wood tick.
Derksen says they stopped at Ridge Meadows Hospital in Maple Ridge on the way to Vancouver.
"The doctor was wonderful. He got the whole tick out all intact," Derksen added, explaining her granddaughter was also treated for Lyme disease as a precaution.
Madison is reportedly doing well and has no signs or symptoms of the disease. Test results for the tick are expected to come back in a few days.
Lyme disease is caused by the bacterium borrelia burgdorferi and the borrelia mayonii. It is transmitted to humans through the bite of infected blacklegged ticks.
Ticks can be found year-round in B.C. but they are most likely to bite in the spring (from March to June).
Information on dealing with the nasty critters and Lyme disease can be found here.
Go Wild! youth camp returns to Peachland's Silver Lake
Go Wild! in Peachland
British Columbia’s biggest and oldest conservation organization is hosting a nine-day overnight adventure experience for youth in Peachland this summer.
The BC Wildlife Federation’s Go Wild! Youth for Conservation event, scheduled for July 19 to 27, is more than just a camp.
“Go Wild is an intensive program to develop outdoor and leaderships skills geared to teens who want to make a difference in their communities. Participants will gain the skills and knowledge they need to become environmental leaders and run their own conservation projects,” said BCWF.
Based at Silver Lake Camp, the program includes a three-day, two-night backpacking trip, conservation workshops, and hands-on habitat restoration projects. It is for youths aged 12 to 17.
Participants learn map and compass skills, archery, fire and shelter building, trip planning, conservation, and leadership skills from BCWF experts in the field.
By the end of camp, participants will have a comprehensive toolbox of skills and techniques to enable them to lead conservation initiatives in their communities for a lifetime.
Registration for the program is limited and it typically sells out fast, with an early bird discount ending on April 14. BCWF members also receive a discount at registration.
If cost is a barrier to participation, you can ask about a subsidy at [email protected] More information is here.
Peachland ready to borrow if it must; $75,000 in grants approved
$75,000 in grants approved
Peachland will receive authorization to borrow $1.5 million, but probably won’t use it.
Council was told Tuesday a borrowing bylaw must be passed annually in case the municipality needs the money before taxes are collected.
“I’m not aware that the council has ever used funds under this bylaw and it is not expected they will be used this year. However the bylaw needs to be in place,” Director of Finance Garry Filafilo told council.
“This is largely a housekeeping item. It is a statutory requirement that we have access to sufficient funds should we be slow in collecting taxes. It happens every year and in the time I’ve been on council we’ve never had to use it,” said Coun. Terry Condon.
Council gave three readings to the bill Tuesday and will give final approval at its March 28 meeting.
Also approved at Tuesday's Peachland council meeting — ten community groups will receive almost $75,000 in community grants from the municipality.
Council approved the following grants:
- Peachland Citizens’ Patrol and Office — $4,150
- Peachland Historical Society — $16,000
- Peachland Community Arts Council — $15,000
- Peachland Wellness Centre — $15,000
- Okanagan Folk School Society — $3,000
- Peachland Fall Fair — $3,000
- Bat Education and Ecological Protection Society — $1,000
- Peachland Watershed Protection Alliance — $1,000
- Peachland and District Retirement Society — $10,000
- Peachland Ambassador Society — $5,375
Peachland urges upgrades on pair of Highway 97 intersections
Ministry lobbied on Hwy 97
Several Peachland intersections will be slated for upgrading under a Highway 97 transportation plan that was recently finalized.
Peachland council received a presentation Tuesday on the Central Okanagan Integrated Transportation Strategy.
The plan calls for a multi-million dollar improvement project at the Trepanier Bench Road-Highway 97 intersection, and as well as upgrades to several other Peachland intersections.
“I guess I was kind of alarmed to hear that for the Trepanier intersection, you requested funding you don’t actually have it in place yet,” Coun. David Collins said to the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure staffers giving the presentation.
Collins was told that’s not unusual. Planning is done first. The funding follows.
“Trepanier’s no small project,” said James Donnelly, a senior transportation engineer with consulting firm Urban Systems. “It’s many, many millions of dollars to fix that intersection.”
Mayor Patrick Van Minsel said he lobbied Minister of Transportation Rob Fleming in a meeting earlier Tuesday about the Renfrew Road intersection at the south end of town and was assured it’s priority No. 2.
Council on Tuesday gave preliminary approval to a 72-unit development on Renfrew Road that may make upgrades there more urgent.
The highway plan, in the works for years, proposes improvements from Peachland to Lake Country. It recommends removing the Westbank highway couplet. The solution may be to put the entire highway on one of the roads running through the centre of Westbank, council heard.
A second bridge across the lake is rejected, but a sixth lane could be added to the W.R. Bennett Bridge for transit.
Previous studies have said a Peachland bypass won’t be needed until 2040. The idea will be revisited closer to that time, council was told.
The strategy was presented to Kelowna council on Monday. Presentations will also be made to Lake Country and West Kelowna councils and the Central Okanagan regional district. Funding is not in place for any of the projects proposed in the strategy.
Peachland is also lobbying to lower the 90 km/h speed limit on Highway 97 from Princeton Avenue to Antler’s Beach to 70 km/h
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