West Kelowna  

Abandoned no more

A prominent building that has for years been decaying on the outskirts of Peachland is finally getting a facelift.

The building's new tenant, Peachland's Dragon Lotus Restaurant, is moving in this October.

The owners plan to make some major changes.

For more on what the upgrade will look like, as well as what will happen to the famous Dragon Lotus ice cream stall, check out the full story on Castanet's business news website, Okanagan Edge.


Smoke over Rose Valley

Residents of Rose Valley may be seeing smoke in the hills.

A concerned resident said she called 911 to report fire burning in Rose Valley Regional Park, across from Peak Point Drive, just off Westlake Road. 

Jan Newmarch says she can see smoke billowing from the bush, about 300 metres from the road.

The B.C. Wildfire Service is conducting a controlled debris burn in the park today, but it is listed as being above Bear Creek Road, off Bowes and Pettman Roads in West Kelowna. 

They are burning in a 10-hectare section of the park, so that is the likely source of the smoke, though that has not yet been confirmed.

Another controlled burn is underway in Black Mountain Regional Park. The park is closed to the public during the fuel management work.

Fire guts Peachland home

Alanna Kelly

A portion of a Peachland home was gutted in a structure fire on Vernon Ave. Sunday afternoon.

It’s not clear at this point how the fire started, but firefighters on scene say no humans were injured in the fire. However, a pet is still unaccounted for.

The right side of the house has been severely damaged in the blaze, which, at one point, appeared to be fully involved.

The roof of the house has shown signs of collapsing, as firefighters wrap up extinguishing the fire.

Castanet will provide more details as they become available.

–with files from Alanna Kelly


Dirt bike victim mourned

The young man killed in a dirt bike accident above Bear Creek last week is being remembered as a man who loved the great outdoors.

The body of Dylan James Gordon Smith, 23, a native of Regina, was discovered last Thursday about seven kilometres into the bush by two other dirt bikers.

Smith is being described as a man who "fell in love with the outdoors at a young age."

"His favourite activities were mountain biking, dirt biking, travelling the world, and sleeping under the stars in his 'Hennessy Hammock.'

"His truck, 'Earl' took him anywhere he wanted to go. This allowed Dylan to spend his time building and fixing trails to ride, and allow other riders to enjoy. His salt of the earth attitude and genuine demeanour was appreciated by anyone that met him."

His obituary says his greatest wish for his grieving family and friends would be to find solace in nature wherever, and whenever you can.

Dylan Smith was found lying face up by himself in a mud bog with a creek running through it. His bike had him pinned to the ground.

The family expressed their appreciation for the assistance of first responders, the West Kelowna RCMP and volunteers and operators of the Central Okanagan Search and Rescue, who respectfully and painstakingly recovered Dylan.

Trash ruining scenic drive

A West Kelowna resident is disgusted over the garbage that has been left along Glenrosa Road.

Doreen Zyderveld-Hagel was travelling on what used to be a scenic drive but the mess she saw was worse than anything she’s seen.

“I saw a car seat thrown into the ditch to my left, and a roof rack to my right, along with trees deliberately cut down,” she said.

“The vandals left an empty Tim Horton's cup nearby.  Further up the road, near the Water Shed, NW of the abandoned Crystal Mountain Resort, I found some wooden fencing torn apart, along with a vandalized hunting shack.”

The garbage was just past the Telemark Cross Country Ski Resort according to Zyderveld-Hagel.

Just a few months ago she found beer cans and an extinguished camp fire with a gas can in it.

Zyderveld-Hagel said she's been eager to explore the backwoods near her home on Upper Glenrosa but the deplorable state the once lovely forest is in is ruining it for her.

She suggested placing a video surveillance camera to try to find who is creating the mess.

But in the meantime, said she will clean up the mess.

“I am willing to clean up the mess with some help of other volunteers,” she said. “If anyone would be willing to help that would be great.”


Better signs welcome all

West Kelowna Coun. Bryden Winsby didn't go so far as to say I told you so.

But, the West Kelowna councillor said he was happy the city decided not to go the cheap way again in replacing its two entrance signs.

The current signs, erected in 2010, have begun to fall apart and need replacing.

They were originally supposed to be made of wood, however, to save money, they were built out of aluminum with vinyl graphics.

"We went the cheap route. We've come full circle, and I'm so happy," said Winsby when council voted to replace the signs with cedar.

The new signs will also include vandal-proof solar lighting.

"We didn't realize how sought after it was by the criminal element. We have had all of our components in one nature or another stolen over time," park supervisor Stacey Harding told council.

"In one case, they cut the entire pole down."

The city will produce the signs themselves.

Skate park's a winner

West Kelowna's new amphitheatre and skate park have been recognized for their construction excellence.

The new facilities were recently presented the 2017 Facility Excellence Award by the BC Recreation and Parks Association.

"The city's new amphitheatre and skate park beautifully illustrate how much recreation, parks, physical activity and the cultural sector can contribute to a high quality of life in our communities,” said association CEO Rebecca Tunnacliffe.

“These projects are obviously well-loved and appreciated by residents and visitors alike and will serve their community for many, many years to come.”

Both facilities opened in the summer of last year.

The skate park replaced the 30-year park, while the amphitheatre, cut into the bank at Memorial Park, provides formalized seating and access stairs for musical events throughout the summer.

“We knew these projects would win the hearts of our residents and visitors and we continue to receive compliments on both of these amenities,” said Mayor Doug Findlater.

“It is especially gratifying to be presented with this award by the BC Recreation and Parks Association for our work at Memorial Park and on behalf of all who were involved with the project, I thank the BCRPA for this recognition.”

Lightbulb starts fire

Madison Erhardt

Fire crews were called to the scene of a minor house fire in West Kelowna just after 10:30 a.m.

The incident was reported as a structure fire on Bridal Hill Lane.

"It looks like we have a primary cause already. A lightbulb has heated up some paper towel, which ignited," said assistant fire chief Bren Watson.

"The fire got so hot that it burned through the water line, which helped us control the fire," he added. 

No one was injured in the fire. 

"It's a safe scene. The fire is out, and it is looking good," said Watson. 

Wine trail delayed a year

Construction on the second phase of the Boucherie Road Wine Trail has been delayed by a year.

West Kelowna staff suggested waiting until 2018 to allow all the utility and road work to be completed at the same time, rather than risk having the road dug up over an extended period of time.

It was also suggested the extra time would give the city more time to obtain rights of way from property owners on the affected stretch of Boucherie Road from Stuart to Ogden roads.

Staff also believes the city may get a more favourable price when it puts the project out for tender.

Construction of the second phase of the wine trail is expected to include utility upgrades, a roundabout at Hudson and Boucherie roads, plus a second roundabout or additional turning lanes at Anders road, depending on cost.

A separated bike lane and sidewalks on one side fronting development is also proposed.

Council is also expected to discuss at a later date, a decision to close off access from both Skyline and Stevenson roads.

Mayor Doug Findlater said council has received some negative feedback from residents in those areas about closing access to Boucherie, and hoped to discuss that when appropriate.

While the project was put on hold, staff will look at the prospect of constructing a temporary right turn lane from Hudson onto Boucherie at the urging of Coun. Rosalind Neis.

"Coming here today, at about 3:30, there was quite a lineup on Hudson Road, I would say almost down to the church," said Neis.

"It was all held up by one car trying to turn left. Is there any opportunity to add a right hand turning lane on Hudson for the next year, until this project is complete?"

Staff said they would look into the request and report back within a month.

Care centre on the table

An urgent care has been a priority for West Kelowna council since the inception of the municipality 10 years ago.

Interior Health went so far as to purchase a 2.7 hectare site at Bering and Elliott roads in March of 2010 for a possible centre.

The municipality even included plans for Interior Health to lease space for such a facility in its proposed city hall venture which was defeated by voters in last year's referendum.

The idea has been refloated by the NDP as part of their health care election platform.

Under the platform, announced by party leader John Horgan, an NDP government would construct urgent care centres in communities in the province it says are underserved with health care services.

Kelowna West NDP candidate Shelley Cook says, while no specific communities have been determined, she, if elected, would lobby for one in West Kelowna.

"Absolutely, and I'm hearing that from the constituents as well," she said.

"We know in British Columbia, 700,000 people don't have access to a doctor. I am hearing stories on the doorstep of people who waited days at walk-in clinics because they didn't want to go to emergency rooms."

Cook says, while there are some great assets in much needed core services, the province also continues to face numerous health care challenges.

"In terms of the urgent care centre, we're also looking at more of a multi-disciplinary, or holistic health care perspective, that would also include mental health workers, psychiatrists, pharmacists, nurse practitioners, those types of things."

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