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ALC denies bid to remove property on Webber Road from ALR

Glenrosa farm stays in ALR

The province's Agricultural Land Commission has said no to a request to have 1.4 hectares of land on Webber Road removed from the Agricultural Land Reserve.

The owner of the property had applied to have the property excluded to make way for a nine-lot residential subdivision.

In his submission to the ALC, Manfred Loch stated removing the property from the ALR would bring "uniformity." to what is largely a residential neighbourhood.

"It is a small isolated lot, far from any other agricultural lands or market, fairly steep graded, surrounded by residential uses on three sides and a commercial use on the remaining side," the application stated.

"All City of West Kelowna services are available on Webber Road and Walnut Glen Drive."

He added the property is within walking distance of Glenrosa Middle School.

The application also claimed a 1993 ALC decision to support exclusion of all ALR lands west of Powers Creek north of District Lot 3482, which would include the Webber Road property.

The ALC concluded it was not bound by that previous resolution, and further noted the City of West Kelowna's OCP does not contain the same exclusion language.

The ALC also ruled the property is a viable agricultural parcel, situated ideally to market its farm products to the community.

"Based on the agricultural capability ratings, the panel finds that the property has prime agricultural capability that could support the production of a wide range of agricultural crops with good farm management practices and is appropriately designated ALR," Okanagan panel chair Gerry Zimmermann wrote in his decision.





Rope rescue needed after car crashes down embankment

Car hangs on embankment

The West Kelowna Fire Department conducted a rope rescue Tuesday evening on Bear Creek Road. 

Emergency crews were called to the 1500 block of Bear Creek Road at about 8:15 p.m., arriving to find a vehicle half way down the embankment being held in place by a small tree. 

“A rescuer was lowered on a rope rescue system to secure the vehicle with a winch and to extricate the occupant from the vehicle,” said assistant fire chief Chad Gartrell.

The driver was assessed by paramedics at the scene and released, but firefighters were not done. 

Crews lowered their rescuer for a second time to retrieve the occupant’s small dog that remained uninjured inside the vehicle, reuniting it with its owner.

“WKFR would like to thank RCMP and BCAS for their support during this incident and to remind the public to exercise caution on wet roads especially in light of the heavy localized downpours we have seen throughout the valley in recent weeks,” Gartrell said.



Osprey being blamed for large power outage in West Kelowna

Osprey blamed for outage

Rob Gibson

UDPATE 4:05 p.m.

BC Hydro says the power outage Tuesday afternoon in West Kelowna was caused by an osprey dropping wet sticks onto electrical lines and poles. 

“The arcing shown in the video is a result of the wet sticks contacting our equipment. The fault then tripped back to the substation,” says Mary Anne Coules, BC Hydro community relations. 

“In order to restore power, our crews had to remove the sticks from our wires and poles and then re-energized the line at the substation.”

BC Hydro says small animals and birds are one of the leading causes of outages in B.C., responsible for 10 per cent of them in 2019. 

“To address this issue, we have implemented a variety of measures to help prevent birds and animals from contacting our equipment,” Coules continued. “This includes building nesting platforms for osprey nests to deter them from nesting on our power poles and installing wildlife protection measures at our substations, such as ‘bird guards’ that protects birds and wildlife from contacting energized equipment in substations.”


UPDATE 2:38 p.m.

Dash-cam video taken by Gord Marshall on Highway 97 and Horizon Drive appears to catch the exact moment an electrical surge hits a power transformer.

"Quite a show and there was a second surge as I drove by that the camera didn't catch," Marshall said, adding he captured the video at about 12:15 p.m., right when power was knocked out to 3,500 customers in West Kelowna. 


UPDATE 2:30 p.m.

Electricity has now been restored in West Kelowna, according to BC Hydro. 

The utility did not say online what caused the outage.


ORIGINAL 1 p.m.

Nearly 3,500 BC Hydro customers are in the dark in West Kelowna.

The utility reports the power has been out north of Aubrey Road since 12:15 p.m.

BC Hydro has assigned a crew to the outage but cannot offer an estimate as to when electricity will be restored. 

A second smaller outage is also impacting less than five homes off Old Boucherie Road. Crews are on site there, where the power has been out since 9:15 a.m.





Three bighorn sheep create a scene crossing Hwy 97

Bighorns roam the highway

UPDATE 12:56 p.m.

West Kelowna RCMP had to get involved after numerous reports of a traffic disturbance near Butt Road Tuesday morning.

A news release from Cpl. Jocelyn Noseworthy posed the question, "what has 12 legs and no traffic sense? A herd of three bighorn sheep!"

West Kelowna RCMP arrived on scene of the traffic incident at Highway 97 near Butt Road just after 11:00 a.m., Tuesday to find a herd of three bighorn sheep who decided to merge with traffic.

A marked police vehicle stayed behind the group and slowed traffic down until they could be convinced to safely exit the roadway and head back into the hills.


ORIGINAL 11:46 a.m.

Here's something you don't see every day, three bighorn sheep roaming the highway on the Westbank First Nation Tuesday morning. 

Castanet reader Marla Williamson sent in pictures of the odd sighting outside Kelly O'Bryans on the Westside.

RCMP officers were on scene trying to steer the three sheep off the road as travellers were slowed down to get a glimpse. No word on where officers led the wild animals.

Sightings of bighorn sheep are not uncommon in West Kelowna and on WFN land, however, they typically stick to less populated areas like Westside Road. 



Police hunting arsonist after bush fire in West Kelowna

Arsonist sought in bush fire

Police are searching for a suspected arsonist after a fire was lit in a wooded area of West Kelowna on Monday. 

RCMP were called by the West Kelowna Fire Department at 2:40 p.m. for a blaze in the forest off Blue Jay Drive in Glenrosa. Fire crews were extinguishing the fire when police arrived. 

“RCMP believe that the fire was deliberately set,” states Staff Sergeant Duncan Dixon of the West Kelowna RCMP. “Thankfully no one was injured, but this incident was extremely dangerous.”

Witnesses describe the suspect as:

  • Caucasian male
  • Short dark hair
  • Dark jacket
  • Dark shirt

The suspect had fled the area prior to police arrival.

Anyone with information on the incident is urged to contact  the West Kelowna RCMP at 250-768-2880. Or remain completely anonymous by calling Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.



City removing diseased trees at Willow Beach on June 30

Removing diseased trees

The City of West Kelowna will be removing a pair of diseased trees at Willow Beach tomorrow. 

To accommodate the removal process, crews will close sections of the beach for the day on June 30. 

“Assessments of the willow trees last year and again this spring have determined they are progressively deteriorating and deemed a risk to public safety,” said Stacey Harding, parks and fleet operations manager.

“We are disappointed to see them go. However, we plan to replace the trees once the removals are completed.”

The City will either replant willows or maple species to match the others that crews have planted since 2010 during the various phases of Gellatly Road and Trail Upgrades.



Late night two-vehicle collision results in minor injuries

Collision at Dobbin Rd.

Emergency crews responded to a collision near Dobbin Rd. late Sunday evening.

The collision happened at 10:45 p.m. at Highway 97 and Hebert Rd.
Rescue 31 and Engine 32 attended the scene.

A car and a pickup truck collided at the intersection resulting in minor injuries and one lane closed on Hwy. 97 northbound.

The incident has been cleared.



West Kelowna family looking to reunite lost drone with owner

Looking for drone owner

A West Kelowna family made an odd discovery in their Smith Creek driveway earlier in June.

"I just looked out our window and it was sitting in our driveway," Debbie Kurshneryk tells Castanet. The "it" is a drone and Kurshneryk says she and her husband have tried everything to find the rightful owner.

"I knew it was a drone because my husband has one as well, but I thought it was odd that it was just sitting in the driveway."

Kurshneryk says it doesn't appear to be an expensive drone, in fact, she thinks it may belong to one of the children who live in her area and she'd like to make sure they get it back.

"I think what happened is it ran out of power so they couldn't retrieve it."

Kurshneryk says her neigbour posted the lost drone on their Facebook page and they tried our Lost and Found section but so far haven't heard anything.

If you own the drone you can email the Kurshneryk's and Debbie says you'll have to bring the controller in order to prove that you are the rightful owner.



Parts of Kelowna and West Kelowna were flooded Saturday.

Flooding on local roads

The severe storm rolling through the Okanagan Saturday afternoon flooded several local roads, including parts of downtown Kelowna. 

Video sent to Castanet shows vehicles driving along the aptly named Water Street Saturday afternoon, where water reached midway up the wheels' of parked cars outside the Playtime Casino. 

The storm also looks to have quickly overwhelmed a culvert in West Kelowna. 

At about 2:30 p.m., Bailey McNulty was driving home when she came to what appeared to be a river flowing down Westlake Road, near Caledonia Way. 

"As I went through it, you could hear the big rocks hitting my car, they're like softball-sized rocks, and quite a lot of water," McNulty said. "It was all rushing out of an underground culvert, like a huge river."

By 3 p.m., the rain in the area had stopped.

"It's definitely washed a lot of gravel and rock onto the road," she said. "Road maintenance will have to come clean the rocks off, but that was it."

 



West Kelowna vet reminds residents not to use barbed fish hooks

Turtle saved from hook

A West Kelowna veterinarian is asking residents to remain vigilant when fishing this summer, after performing life-saving surgery on a turtle that nearly died from a barbed fishing hook.

Rose Valley Veterinary Hospital's Moshe Oz stayed at work until 8 p.m. on June 20 to help the turtle, who had the barbed hook caught just an inch away from its eye. 

Now, he's reminding residents keen on fishing to avoid barbed hooks, and fish away from the Shannon Lake pond where the turtles reside. 

"Every year summer comes and we have at least two, three cases of this," says Oz.

"Everyone knows where the [turtles] live at Shannon Lake, they have their spot, so please don’t fish there. We have the whole lake, you know.

"Fishing with the barb is a life sentence for them. They cannot really release it with the barb. What's happening is it takes some time for them to come and then I need to anaesthetize and take it out. It's quite complex to do an anaesthetic on a turtle and release a barb hook."

Oz says if a barb hook isn't used, and the turtle is affected by a regular fishing hook, he can at least operate on the turtle while it's awake and not put it under anaesthetic. 

He'd also like to remind the public to bring in any injured turtles they see, and not hesitate based on fear of consequences.

"Usually people are afraid to bring the turtle in because they think, maybe somebody would think that they did it, but bring them. Bring them to us so we can actually deal with it, and not let it die alone. There are lots of things that we can do to try to help the turtle, so if mistakes happen, we fix it." 



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