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West Kelowna  

Logs fall from overpass to Hwy 97 in West Kelowna

Logs fall from overpass

UPDATE: 8 p.m.

The Glenrosa Road overpass and Highway 97 south have both been cleared and traffic is moving freely in all directions.

The overpass and highway were partially blocked after a logging truck lost some of its load on the overpass.

Some of the logs fell over the railing and onto the highway below.

There were no reports of injuries resulting from the incident.


UPDATE 4:30 p.m.

The Glenrosa Road overpass over Highway 97 is now closed in both directions. Commercial Vehicle Safety and Enforcement has arrived and it is likely the overpass will be closed for some time.


ORIGINAL 4:15 p.m.

The Glenrosa overpass over Highway 97 in West Kelowna is partially blocked after a logging truck lost its load.

The incident happened at about 3:15 p.m. and resulted in logs falling from the overpass to the highway below.

Southbound traffic was temporarily blocked while heavy equipment cleared the logs from the highway.

The driver of the truck says the truck's bunk — the metal rack that hold the logs — broke while the truck made a turn.

It does not appear anyone was injured in the incident. The cleanup will take some time and motorists should expect delays while moving through the area.



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Police investigate erratic driver who crashed on Hwy 97, then fled on foot

Erratic driver crashed, ran

Contributed Brendan Miller

BC Highway Patrol has taken over the investigation into a crash on Highway 97 south of Peachland that happened Friday and brought traffic to standstill during rush hour.

BC Highway Patrol was conducting speed-control enforcement at approximately 3:45 p.m. when a lone officer spotted a southbound SUV travelling over the speed limit. The officer signalled for the driver to stop, but the driver ignored the officer and made no attempt to stop.

The officer attempted to close the distance on the SUV but it had sped away and was some distance from the officer, who tried to maintain a visual of the vehicle and saw it lose control and crash into the rock face adjacent to the highway.

Despite the severity of the collision, the driver of the SUV attempted to flee on foot after the crash but was quickly apprehended by the officer. The driver of the SUV, who is known to police, was taken to hospital for treatment of injuries sustained in the collision.

As is the case when there are injuries as a result of a police chase or police involvement, this case was referred to the Independent Investigations Office of BC for review. On Monday, the IIO BC concluded that the injuries sustained by the driver did not meet the threshold for further involvement from the police watchdog.

The driver is facing potential criminal charges for failing to stop for police, dangerous operation of motor vehicle, possession of stolen property and prohibited driving. West Kelowna RCMP is also assisting with the investigation.

Anyone with information regarding this incident is asked to contact BCHP in Kelowna at 250-491-5354.



A cat spent three days stuck on top of a hydro pole

3 days on top of hydro pole

West Kelowna resident Dianne Kusch says her cat Boots was stuck on top of a hydro pole for a full 72 hours before it was rescued by BC Hydro.

Kusch says Boots climbed up a hydro pole Friday near Pines Drive in West Kelowna.

Kusch posted an update on Facebook Saturday concerned she wouldn't be able to get Boots down.

"[The] fire department won’t help because it’s hydro pole and wires. Hydro won’t do anything unless he’s been up there three days," she said on Facebook.

"It’s raining, he’s cold, no food and no water and you won’t come," she added.

On Sunday morning BC Hydro came to the rescue.

"I would love to thank everybody who helped get Boots home. I can’t believe how wonderful people are. Thanks for all the advice and helpful hints and support we received. Great thanks to the two Hydro guys who came this morning and got Boots without a fight. Those guys rocked. "

"Boots surely wouldn’t have lasted much longer up there. Very very cold and soaked."

Boots is expected to make a full recovery.



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VIDEO: Highway 97 crash caught on dash camera

Crash caught on dash cam

UPDATE 10:30 a.m.

RCMP have yet to comment on the crash, but Castanet has been contacted by witnesses who say the driver involved was fleeing police at the time. Flashing lights can be visible in the video trailing the vehicle prior to the crash. This story will be updated when police provide more information.


ORIGINAL 4 a.m.

Dash-camera video of a crash on Highway 97 south of Peachland on Friday has been made public.

Brendan Miller shared the video with Castanet News, after first sharing it with police, showing the crash was caused by an illegal attempted pass on a double-solid line.

The SUV attempting the pass on the double-solid barely avoids a head-on collision with a freight truck before crashing into the cliff adjacent to the highway as it climbs the hill south of Antlers Beach.

The crash resulted in the closure of the highway for about an hour. An air ambulance was dispatched to the scene.

The extent of any injuries to people riding in the SUV are not known at this time, but the fact that the highway opened shortly after the wreck was cleared indicates there were no fatalities. Castanet will request more information from RCMP.

Send your photos and videos to [email protected]



Community raises enough to keep Therapeutic Lake Cruises going

The boat will stay afloat

A Kelowna charity fighting to stay afloat will survive to cruise Okanagan Lake again this summer thanks to the communities generosity.

"Everybody was donating, it was wonderful, we even got a potential captain."

Donna Cameron with Therapeutic Lake Cruises Society tells Castanet her group is buoyed with optimism after the community stepped up to make sure the program could continue.

Therapeutic Lake Cruises has been taking seniors and physically challenged individuals out for a cruise on Okanagan Lake in a 24-foot covered pontoon boat for the past nine years. They ran into money issues because they couldn't operate, first due to COVID-19 and then the smoke from the wildfires kept their boat at the dock.

The situation was so dire a GoFundMe campaign was launched and the society managed to raise $1,710, which they say will be enough to keep them going.

"We're hoping that COVID-19 stays away and we don't get anymore heat domes and we're good to go," Cameron says.

She was touched by everyone's generosity and wants to thank Barry's Mobile Marine for donating $1,000 and for taking care of the motor as well as Shelter Bay Marina and Dockside Marine Centre for the moorage slip.

"So many people reached out to help, the seniors homes, the Rotary Club, everyone who donated to the GoFundMe. I know there are so many good causes out there and stories to tell it’s hard to print all but Castanet put smiles on many senior's faces."



Mission Hill hosting 'Season of Trees' in support of Children's Hospital

Season of Trees is back

Mission Hill Family Estate is getting ready to welcome the holiday season with Season of Trees, a magical winter wonderland and wine tasting experience benefiting BC Children’s Hospital Foundation.

From November 29 to December 23, the winery will mark its fifth year as host venue of Festival of Trees, a grassroots campaign held in communities across British Columbia to fundraise for the province’s only children’s hospital. In the four years that Mission Hill Family Estate and Kelowna have participated, more than $109,000 has been raised locally to support BCCHF.

The winery’s festive “Season of Trees” experience includes a special behind-the-scenes tour of the underground barrel cellar, followed by a seated wine tasting that pairs new release wines with delicious bites. Guests can also enjoy the brilliant forest of sparkling, sponsor-decorated trees, set outdoors on the covered Terrace and Loggia.

New for 2021, guests that book a Season of Trees tasting on Sundays (December 5, 12, 19), can also stroll the winery’s pop-up evergreen market mini event on the Loggia featuring a hand-picked selection of local vendors and experts each week.

Ten dollars from every Season of Trees tasting booked this year goes directly to BCCHF.

Reservations for Season of Trees tastings are available online.



Westbank First Nation to conduct wildfire mitigation work starting Monday

Wildfire mitigation planned

Wildfire mitigation work is set to be conducted by the Westbank First Nation next week.

The work is scheduled to begin on Monday, Nov. 29, lasting approximately 10 days. Nine areas have been identified in need of fuel management beginning with Unit 6 – Bear Creek and Unit 9 – WFN Cut Off Lands.

Forestry crews will be eliminating dead and hazardous trees, fuels, brushing vegetation and spacing trees on just over 66 hectares throughout units 1 through 9.

WFN has hired its own Ntityix Development Corporation for the project who will be working with Tronson Logging Ltd. The work mainly consists of treating potential wildfire ladder fuels by thinning, pruning, and burning.

Ntityix would like to warn residents that small burn piles may be visible and trails throughout these various work areas may be temporarily closed.

In areas where equipment is unable to gain access, debris-pile burning will be conducted in accordance with air quality and open burning regulations when either open burning is allowed in the region or venting and air quality are favourable with a site venting forecast from the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations.

Once a decision is made to move forward with burning on a certain day, local fire authorities, media and neighbourhood organizations will be advised. The project is slated to run into April 2022.



Traffic moving after crash on Highway 97 near Peachland

Crash on Highway 97

UPDATE 5:05 p.m.

Multiple motorists say traffic is now moving in both directions.

Driver should expect delays while the backlog is cleared.


UPDATE 4:35 p.m.

Other motorists stuck in the backlog say traffic is still stopped on Highway 97.

It's not clear if some motorists near the crash scene were allowed by, but other drivers stay they are still at a standstill.


UPDATE 4:29 p.m.

Traffic is now moving on Hwy 97 near Antlers Beach between Peachland and Summerland.

Reports indicate that a BC Air Ambulance left the scene and traffic has slowly begun to move.


ORIGINAL 4:10 p.m.

Traffic is not moving on Highway 97 near Antlers Beach between Peachland and Summerland.

A photo shared with Castanet just before 4 p.m. shows traffic backing up in both directions and a BC Ambulance on scene.

This is a developing story, more details will be added as they become available.



Proposed Peachland seniors' development talks moved behind closed doors

Moved behind closed doors

Peachland residents will have to wait a little longer to find out more about a planned new low-income seniors’ housing development that will require relocation of several non-profit and community amenities.

At its meeting earlier this week, district council was presented with information to bring it up to date on the proposed project’s impact on the local food bank, community police office, wellness centre and two district-owned houses as well as a community garden.

But right after the report was presented, Coun. Patrick Von Minsel moved that the issue be taken in-camera and discussed into two weeks by council behind closed doors. He said the reason for moving it in-camera was because the project developer, B.C. Housing, has information it does not want council to discuss publicly.

With no discussion, the council voted unanimously to move the issue in-camera.

Before that move, the council was told the timing of construction of what will be the second phase of a project that has already seen one five-storey seniors’ residence built—is not yet known.

The planned second five-story building is slated for district-owned land on 5th Street in the beach-front downtown area.

The district has asked that a community garden be incorporated into the new development as many of the 68 plots to be displaced are tended to by residents of the first phase of the project.

The district's director of community services, Cheryl Wiebe also reported the community policing office could move into a smaller space than it currently occupies, an office located at the local 50+ Activity Centre, which is operated by the Peachland and District Retirement Society. A deal could be made to use the centre for meetings.

She said the food bank could move into the former space of the now-closed local boxing club on 4th Street but major renovations would be required. The wellness centre could be incorporated into the new senior’s residence. However, it would require fundraising to pay for space in the new development as that would not be covered by B.C. Housing.

Residents of the two district-owned houses have both given notice and the district said depending on the timing of construction, they may be rented out again on a short-term basis.

City staff said displacement of community amenities and local non-profit group space is nothing new in Peachland and occurred when previous developments occurred, including a Habit For Humanity project and the first phase of the seniors’ development.

According to Wiebe, while the district once had space it could provide to local non-profit groups, those days are over.

“Space is at a premium in Peachland for both local government and commercial space,” she said in her presentation to the council. “Community space is limited (now) in Peachland.”

The proposed second phase of the proposed seniors' housing will feature 68 residential rental units.



West Kelowna Fire Rescue douse a balcony fire at an apartment Thursday evening

Balcony fire doused

West Kelowna Fire Rescue quickly knocked down a balcony fire at an apartment Thursday evening.

Just after 7 p.m. crews were called out to a fire on the third story balcony at 2250 Majoros Road, NEO Apartments in West Kelowna.

Units saw sparks and open flames coming from a third floor balcony when they first arrived at the scene.

“The fire was quickly knocked down with a hose stream directed up to the balcony from the parking lot on the ground floor,” said Assistant Fire Chief Brent Watson.

Crews then entered the building to attack the fire from the inside, but encountered a locked door to the vacant unit which they had to breach.

Crews found and extinguished a large wooden planter box on the balcony that was still smouldering.

Watson says there was no damage to the building itself, aside from some smoke in the third floor hallway that was cleared with fire department fans.

The fire appears to be an accident, likely caused by improperly discarded smoking material, says Watson.

No injuries were reported and all residents are now back in the building.

WKFR responded with a ladder truck, four engines, two Safeties and a Command Unit.



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