West Kelowna  

2 nabbed as break-ins spike

RCMP hope to slow down a rash of vehicle break-ins after taking two people into custody in West Kelowna Thursday morning.

A 34-year-old Kelowna man and 50-year-old Peachland man were arrested in the Shannon Lake area after an officer patrolling the area stopped a suspicious Chevrolet Cavalier.

Several allegedly stolen items, including credit cards and personal identification in various names, and small electronic devices, were found in the car.

Information released by the RCMP shows a significant spike in thefts from vehicles across the Central Okanagan.

  • 2017 YTD in West Kelowna - 12 
  • 2018 YTD in West Kelowna - 38
  • 2017 YTD in Kelowna - 56  
  • 2018 YTD in Kelowna - 144
  • 2017 YTD in Lake Country - 1  
  • 2018 YTD in Lake Country - 9

Cpl. Jesse O'Donaghey says while a small portion involve damage to vehicles in order to gain entry, a vast majority involve vehicles left unlocked.

“RCMP are once again appealing for the public to always lock their vehicles and remove their valuable possessions,” he said.

“The number of completed thefts and attempted thefts being committed is alarming and had prompted increased mobile patrols in those areas identified by our crime analysts, as affected most by the uptick in crime.”


3 break-ins in 6 months

Alanna Kelly

A man living in Shannon Woods has had his house broken into once and his vehicles broken into twice in the past six months.

Chris Shelton checked his home surveillance video and found a man checking both his vehicles.

Something that seems to be a regular occurrence for neighbours living in West Kelowna.

“Seems to be a weekly occurrence now,” he said.

Shelton’s next-door neighbour had their vehicles broken into and objects stolen from inside.

Video footage shows one to two people driving a vehicle as another person checks for unlocked doors of vehicles.

“It’s getting kind of old and a little bit frustrating,” Shelton said.

Police responded to the 3100 block of Webber Road in the Glenrosa area where a man was checking vehicle handles and stole a large amount of tools from a black ford 150 pickup truck on Tuesday morning.

“RCMP would like to remind residents to properly secure their vehicles, remove any valuables from within and continue to report suspicious activities to police,” said Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey.

Another incident occurred on the same day from a resident in Rose Valley.

“You figure you live in a decent area and you shouldn’t have to worry about leaving your vehicles locked every night and making sure your house is all locked up and secured like Fort Knox every night,” he said.

Shelton said people are starting to get mad about the break-ins.

“It is going to get to the point people are going to start taking things into their own hands,” he said.

Seeking 2018 ambassador

The West Kelowna Youth Ambassador program is searching out new candidates for 2018.

The program, run under the Westside Celebration Society (Westside Daze) banner, is looking for youth interested in this year's competition.

The competition, which replaces the traditional girls only 'beauty pageant' is open to boys and girls ages 14 to 17.

Those taking part in the five-month program will participate at several functions and community events.

They will also be schooled in public speaking, communication and interview skills, self defence, etiquette, self esteem, history of West Kelowna and Westbank First Nation among others.

Interested participants are invited to attend one of two information meetings Jan. 22 and 29 from 7 to 9 p.m. at Heritage Retirement Residence on Brown Road.

Pageant night is Saturday, June 9.

For more information, email [email protected]


Byelection set for Feb. 14

Voters in the Kelowna West riding will finally get a chance to elect a new MLA.

Premier John Horgan announced Wednesday morning voters will go to the polls Feb. 14.

The byelection was made necessary after former MLA and premier Christy Clark stepped down Aug. 4.

Residents of Kelowna West are eligible to vote in the byelection if they are:

  • 18 or older on Feb. 14, 2018
  • A Canadian citizen, and
  • Have lived in B.C. for the past six months.

Eligible voters who are not on the voters list can register or update their information online at elections.bc.ca/ovr until midnight tonight, or by phone at 1-800-661-8683 until 4:30 p.m. this afternoon. They can also register or update their information when they vote.

Advance voting will be available over six days from Feb. 6 to 11. Voters should note that not all advance voting places will be open on all of those days.

Advance voting places and the dates they are open will be published on the Elections BC website and on Where to Vote cards that will be sent to Kelowna West voters before advance polling starts. All advance voting places are open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Four candidates are vying for the vacant seat, including former MLA Ben Stewart (BC Liberals), Shelley Cook (NDP), Robert Stupka (Green) and Kyle Geronazzo (Libertarian).

Neutral chair wanted

A group opposed to a large downtown Peachland development would like someone other than Mayor Cindy Fortin to chair an upcoming public hearing on the matter.

The public hearing, set for Jan. 30 at the Peachland Community Centre, will give the community a chance to weigh in on the municipality's desire to amend the Official Community Plan, allowing for building heights of five storeys on two properties on Beach Avenue.

The current OCP suggests a maximum of three storeys downtown, which sparked opposition that ultimately led to a court challenge, asking the height be pushed back to three storeys.

The court has yet to rule.

RCMP had to be called to a council meeting earlier this month introducing the OCP amendment after several people packed into council chambers refused to leave on orders of the fire chief because the room was over capacity.

The group opposed to the development, Friends of Beach Avenue, said that meeting "clearly exhibited disorganization, lack of control, and showcased how out of touch council is with their constituents."

"The mayor can use her prerogative to appoint an experienced chair or professional facilitator to run the meeting," the group said in an email Tuesday.

"School trustee Moira Baxter has been suggested as an excellent candidate. These propositions will surely assist in a fair, and judicious public hearing for the benefit of call."

Months for ruling on firing

It could be months before a judgment is made in a wrongful dismissal lawsuit involving a former West Kelowna assistant fire chief and the District of West Kelowna.

Kerry Klonteig is seeking more than $150,000 after he was fired for drinking and driving in the chief’s truck in 2013.

The trial concluded on Friday, but defence lawyer Barry Anderson said the judge didn't give any sense of how long it might be until a decision is made.

“Could be a month, or a few months,” he said.

Klonteig and his wife went to dinner at Kelowna’s Lake City Casino on the evening of Oct. 6, 2013.

He describes drinking 12 ounces of wine, half an ounce of liquor, half an ounce of rum and 36 ounces of beer during dinner and while gambling.

Klonteig then made the decision to drive in Fire Chief Wayne Schnitzler’s truck, which was owned by the municipality.

“I had felt OK, I had a meeting the next day, and we didn't have a vehicle of our own and I didn’t feel comfortable leaving the chief's truck, that particular vehicle, downtown,” court heard on Jan. 9. “So we made the decision to drive home.”

He was pulled over by an RCMP officer while crossing the William R. Bennet bridge and failed two breathalyzer tests.

Two days later, he was handed a 90-day driving suspension, a 30-day impoundment of Schnitzler’s truck and was fired.

Klonteig argued his employer “failed to implement alternative disciplinary actions” and says they should have given him 18 months of notice prior to his firing.

He filed a civil claim against the district in May 2014, seeking more than $152,000 in damages plus other special damages to be determined by the court.

Klonteig admitted he made a mistake and said “this was an individual incident that happened as a mistake on my personal off-duty time,”

Schnitzler described him as a “strong leader,” who brought “a wealth of knowledge and understanding of fire service” when he was hired in 2008.

Klonteig worked as a firefighter and assistant fire chief at the Kelowna Fire Department for 13 years before taking on the role of assistant fire chief position with West Kelowna in 2008.

Watch for rock on highway

Careful on your commute.

Rock debris was reported overnight on Highway 97 at Drought Hill in Peachland.

A Castanet reader reported rocks in the southbound lane as of late Monday.

"It looks like a small portion of rock broke off from the hillside and tumbled down. It's in a corner and is hard to see in the dark," the tipster said.

It's not known if the debris has been cleaned up as of early this morning.

Westbank mall sold

Kelowna's Kondola family are the new owners of the Westbank Shopping Centre. The family, which owns West Kelowna’s City Furniture, today announced they have closed a deal to buy the building.

The purchase means both the management and ownership of the centre will now be local.

According to a firm involved in the sale, the Kondola family plans to update the mall over the next few months, but "no major changes are planned at this point."

For more on the sale, including how much the centre sold for, check out the full story on Castanet's sister business news website, Okanagan Edge.

Rescued from icy trail

A female hiker was rescued from a West Kelowna trail, Friday, after injuring her ankle.

The woman apparently slipped in snowy conditions on the beach trail off Sunnyside Road, about 2 p.m.


Firefighters and paramedics responded to the scene, and brought the woman to a waiting ambulance on an all-terrain stretcher.

She was taken to Kelowna General Hospital at 2:45 p.m. to be checked over.

Caught napping, literally

A West Kelowna man with 13 outstanding warrants was arrested Thursday after falling asleep at a commercial property the night before.

Just after 8 a.m., employees of a business on the 1500 block of Stevens Road called police after finding a man on the property while they were opening the business.

While employees initially thought he had broken in, it turned out the 34-year-old had attended the business on Wednesday and fell asleep inside his vehicle.

The business closed for the evening, trapping the man inside until the next morning.

“When our officers arrived on scene and positively identified the individual, they subsequently executed a total of 13 outstanding warrants for his arrest out of Kelowna,” said Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey. “Those warrants included charges such as breach of his release conditions, failure to appear in court and possession of a controlled substance.”

The man remains in police custody.

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