West Kelowna  

Life jacket saves boater

A 35-year-old West Kelowna man is lucky to be alive after being ejected from his cabin cruiser into the cold waters of Okanagan Lake on Sunday evening, RCMP report.

Moments afterward, the boat crashed into a cliff edge along the shoreline in Peachland.

On Oct. 15, at 5:20 p.m., emergency responders rushed to the scene of a marine incident after reports were received of a boat collision along Okanagan Lake's shoreline near Seclusion Bay Road.

“Police have learned that the boat operator, and sole occupant of the 29-foot Maxum cabin cruiser, was thrown from his vessel while navigating in rough waters,” said Cpl. Jesse O'Donaghey, RCMP spokesperson. “After being ejected from his boat, the unmanned vessel reportedly continued to drive at a high rate of speed before colliding head on into the shoreline.”

Luckily, the victim was wearing a life preserver.

“He was wearing a personal floatation device, which even in the cold waters, assisted him in being able to safely swim to the shore. Once he reached the shores of Okanagan Lake, he was able to call 911 for assistance using his cellular device, which he reportedly kept in a water tight case in his pocket.”

The man was medically assessed and later released from hospital.

Police said the vessel has major damage to its hull as a result of the collision.


Quick action stops fire

A grass fire was reported beside the road in the area of Scottstown and Webber roads just after 8 a.m in West Kelowna. 

The quick action of three residents passing by the scene put out the small bush fire as emergency crews made their way to the area. 

Darin Trovato spotted the fire on the side of the road as it was growing quickly. 

"I showed up, and there were a couple guys there. One guy was stomping it with his foot," he said. 

"It started getting bigger, so then we went and got a hose from across the street. We could hear the fire truck on their way, and by that point we had put the fire out," Trovato added. 

The cause has yet to be determined. 

Small grass fire overnight

Firefighters responded to a grass fire overnight in West Kelowna.

Details are few at this time, but the small fire was reported on Old Okanagan Highway, below the Johnson Bentley Pool about 10:45 p.m.

Three fire engines and crew responded, along with RCMP and paramedics.

It's not known how the fire started or if anyone was injured in the incident.

Castanet will provide more information as it becomes available.


Boat rescue after crash

The RCMP marine rescue team was on scene of a boat crash Sunday evening.

Ambulance and fire arrived on scene around 6:15 p.m. after reports of a boat crashing on the rocks near Seclusion Bay Resort in West Kelowna.

There is no word on injuries at this time.

Hunter fell 30 ft

UPDATE: 7:20 p.m.

A hunter sustained serious head injuries after falling 30 feet from a cliff in the Fintry area. 

West Kelowna and North Westside firefighters, Central Okanagan Search and Rescue and RCMP officers spent 90 minutes working to rescue the victim after his fall.

Ephraim Nowak, search manager, said COSAR received the call to assist at 11:35 a.m. Sunday. 

“When we reached the subject we determined it would be best to fly him out by air so we requested Vernon Search and Rescue's helicopter winch rescue team," said Nowak.

“They were able to hoist the subject up in the helicopter and fly him directly to Kelowna General Hospital."

The hunter was located 500 feet from Westside Road but the terrain made things difficult.

“It was extremely rugged terrain so it would had to have been a high angle rope rescue by ground to get him out," he said.

–with files from Alanna Kelly

UPDATE: 6:45 p.m.

A joint mission involving Central Okanagan Search and Rescue, North Westside and West Kelowna fire departments and RCMP helped rescue a man who fell from a cliff Sunday. He was then airlifted to hospital.

According to a source who asked not to be identified, COSAR members went back to assist and found a rifle near the scene of the incident.

Fourteen members from COSAR responded to the scene.

UPDATE: 1:50 p.m.

The victim of a cliff fall off of Westside Road was airlifted to Kelowna General Hospital around 1:40 p.m. Sunday. 

The man's injuries were not known however Air Rescue One, a Kelowna-based chopper operated by Wildcat Helicopters and manned by members of Vernon Search and Rescue, was used to transport the victim.

A number of North Westside Kelowna firefighting crews were involved in the high-angle rescue of the man. Crews have yet to return to the station, said a spokesperson.

ORIGINAL STORY: 12:13 p.m.

West Kelowna emergency crews are at the scene of an incident near the 5000 block of Westside Road where a man is believed to have fallen.

A number of crews have been called in for a high angle rescue – when ropes are used to hoist victims up or down a slope.

Castanet will update when more information becomes available.

House fire accidental

UPDATE: 11:10 a.m.

The cause of the fire has been determined as accidental.

Investigators were not able to determine an exact ignition source. It was confirmed that the fire started in the workshop area of the home's garage.

ORIGINAL: 6:48 a.m.

West Kelowna firefighters stayed on the scene overnight after fire broke out at a Lakeview Heights home.

Crews were called to the 3000 block of Ourtoland Road at 10:46 p.m. Friday.

They arrived to find smoke coming from the attached garage of the house. No one was home at the time.

Firefighters forced their way in to fight the flames.

The fire had extended into common walls between the garage and living area, and had also breached the ceiling and spread into the floor above the garage.

A second attack line was advanced to the second floor as firefighters searched for occupants and any fire extension.

The fire had burned out a section of floor and was burning the contents of a bedroom on the second floor.

A fire-watch detail remained on the scene, and fire investigators will return to the scene this morning.

The three occupants of the home will be staying with family in the area.

Trustee change requested

The City of West Kelowna would like to see changes made to how school trustees are elected.

Currently, four of the seven trustees of School District 23 are elected from the City of Kelowna, one from Lake Country and the surrounding regional district area, one from West Kelowna and one from Peachland, the surrounding regional district area and Westbank First Nation.

Council voted Tuesday to send a letter to School District 23 and the Ministry of Education, asking that the entire Westside region, including West Kelowna, WFN, Peachland and the regional district area be represented instead by two trustees at-large.

Mayor Doug Findlater said the change would make a closer to equitable population representation.

According to 2016 census figures, population distribution is as follows:

  • City of West Kelowna population of 32,655
  • City of Kelowna population of 127,380 (31,845 per trustee)
  • District of Lake Country + unincorporated population of 16,746
  • District of Peachland + IR9 & 10 * unincorporated population of 16,437

Coun. Rusty Ensign, who made the motion, said the Westside change to two at-large trustees would give the region one trustee for every 24,000 population.


Shannon bridge reopens

Traffic will again move, uninterrupted, along Shannon Lake Road this morning.

As of 8 a.m., the Shannon Lake Road bridge, which crosses McDougall Creek at the east end of the road, will reopen to traffic.

The portion of road has been closed since early July while the city replaced the bridge which was not only at the end of its life cycle, but also suffered damage during spring floods.

The replacement, at a cost of $1.55 million, is the largest infrastructure project tackled by the city in 2017.

The project included:

  • Diversion and habitat protection of McDougall Creek
  • Road realignment
  • Sidewalk installation
  • Complete bridge replacement
  • Environmental monitoring
  • Safety and materials testing and inspection
  • Habitat restoration

The new bridge has also been built to accommodate heavier traffic loads, such as fire trucks. It is expected to have a life span of about 70 years.


Alleged assault investigated

Police are looking into an alleged assault against an 11-year-old girl Friday afternoon in West Kelowna.

According to police, the girl and a 10-year-old friend were riding their bicycles along the sidewalk on Brown Road shortly before 1:30 p.m., when they approached a man wearing headphones.

When they attempted to pass him, the man is said to have grabbed hold of the bike. He then grabbed the girl's wrist, and she fell against a light standard as he pushed her away.

The suspect continued on his way.

He has been described as Caucasion, in his twenties, with reddish-brown curly hair and was wearing a grey trench coat, jeans, brown boots and large, yellow headphones.

“The young girl was not physically injured,” says RCMP Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey. “However, we would like to talk to the man involved in this incident, or anyone who may have witnessed it, or who has further information.”

Contact Const. Leshia Clark at 250-768-2880 or CrimeStoppers at 1-800-222-8477, www.crimestoppers.net or text your tip to CRIMES (274637) ktown.

Pot clubs lose licence

West Kelowna council has effectively shut down what staff call two storefront marijuana dispensaries in the city.

Council Tuesday afternoon supported staff recommendations to cancel the business licences of 0977843 BC Ltd., doing business as The Healing Club on Steven Road and Black Crow Herbals on Westgate Road.

Representatives of both companies implored council to put off a decision until the new year when it is expected the provincial government will have decided on a distribution model for the legal sale of marijuana.

David Towill, lawyer for The Healing Club, said the club has operated for three years with no problems, and deciding to cancel the business licence would not only put the owner out of business, but harm many of the 700 members of the 'private members club.'

Towill said the company does not sell to people off the street, but only to those members with a legal medical marijuana prescription.

In a statement read on behalf of the owner of Black Crow Herbals, Robert Janicke, he added the company has the right to serve its customers in a dignified manner under the Charter of Rights.

He said failing to do so will likely amount to costly court challenges.

Towill, when questioned by council whether what the company was doing was illegal, said by the letter of the law, "it is an illegal activity."

"The reason I am in favour of this is safety," said Coun. Rick de Jong.

"My concern is the interim...we heard there has been no harm done, but there is no regulatory body to ensure the safety of the product. We don't know if it is safe."

De Jong said his secondary issue is that of legality adding, in the case of Black Crow Herbals, "I don't believe there is any intent here."

Coun. Bryden Winsby said it was important to note council's decision is not a statement it is for, or against the legalization of marijuana.

Coun. Carol Zanon stated she can't condone the businesses, even though there is a need, while Coun. Rusty Ensign added it's a decision he didn't want to make, but one he had to make.

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