Wayne Moore – Mar 2, 2021 / 4:00 am | Story: 326577
Photo: Artist Rendition
Stephen Cipes will have to convince Kelowna city councillors of his dream to develop and open a culinary education facility at Summerhill Pyramid Winery.
Council was asked Monday to “approve the concept,” and send the application on the the provincial Agricultural Land Commission for a decision.
Instead, they deferred the application in order to hear from Cipes himself.
Cipes, in an application to the city, is proposing the “Culinary College for Humanity” consisting of a culinary facility, educational stays, wine tasting, food producing gardens, and parking.
Rooms would be used by students and faculty only, the application states.
The building would be constructed on top of what is currently a 20,000 square foot wine production and warehouse building, sitting eight storeys in all.
However, council had concerns the 150 room facility has the risk of becoming a destination hotel instead.
“I think there’s a great risk in it becoming more of a travel destination,” said Coun. Gail Given.
“As a Tourism Kelowna representative in building the destination, fantastic. But, as somebody who is looking at a seven or eight storey, 150 unit potential hotel on ag land outside our permanent growth boundary, that’s frightening to me.”
Given says there are benefits, but also potential downsides.
Coun. Luke Stack called the proposal “a little over the top.”
“I remember looking at a four storey residential structure not far up the road from here a few years ago, and we thought it was way too much building for that area,” he said.
“When I look at this structure, it looks like it should be at UBC…but to stick it on the farm down in the South Mission when we don’t have other infrastructure around it, makes me very uncomfortable.”
Only mayor Colin Basran voted against deferral, applauding Summerhill Winery for bringing the proposal forward.
He argued council was only being asked to endorse the concept, saying they would have a chance to hear from the applicant if it gets to the next stage.
“I think it will be a tremendous benefit to agriculture long-term. Agri-tourism, culinary tourism are the hallmarks of this valley,” said Basran.
“I appreciate council’s concerns about the form of this building, but we can control that in the next phase.”
Council can only endorse concept at this stage. Approval would need to be obtained from the Agricultural Land Commission before council would have input on issues such as height.
Colin Dacre – Mar 2, 2021 / 4:00 am | Story: 326568
Photo: Colin Dacre
The B.C. Supreme Court has upheld the conviction of a young Kelowna man who sexually assaulted his coworker and classmate in 2019.
Gurpreet Singh Gill, 21, was convicted after a trial of sexual assault and sentenced to a four-month conditional sentence order — a sentence served in the community — followed by two years of probation.
Gill, who was found guilty by a provincial court judge, filed an appeal to the BC Supreme Court on several fronts, an effort that failed according to a recent ruling.
Prior to the sex assault, Gill and the victim were both attending Okanagan College and had met at work in Kelowna. They were not romantically involved, with the victim being an 18-year-old recent immigrant from India. Gill was 19 at the time.
At trial the victim testified that after initially refusing Gill’s offers to “watch a movie with me at night,” she visited him at his home on the afternoon of March 8, 2019.
Upon arrival, Gill wanted her to go into his room as opposed to the living room. The victim testified that she told him, “Okay, we’re just friends.” Once inside the room, Gill locked the door and took her cell phone away and put it on a table next to the bed.
The victim testified that Gill “offered me to watch a movie,” to which she responded she did not feel comfortable and had to leave. Gill started the movie anyways on his laptop computer and she eventually agreed.
After about 15 minutes, Gill began to slowly make unwanted advances, eventually forcefully hugging and kissing the victim. Her vocal rejection kept him at bay for about 15 minutes, until he attacked and held her arms down while biting and attempting to undress her.
“His hand is on my jeans button and, like – and I grabbed his hand and forcefully, like, ‘Don’t do it,’” the victim testified, adding Gill then tried to remove her jacket and sweater.
“So, like, after that, he put his left arm away and, like, start forcing all these things. And, like, he throw me on the bed and he got up on me and start, like, trying to do sex with me,” the victim testified, explaining she was unable to leave quickly because of the locked door.
The victim testified that Gill assaulted her or lay on top of her three different times.
Once she left Gill’s apartment she told friends what happened and contacted the police, who took photos documenting a bruise or contusion on her neck and another injury on her collarbone.
Gill testified at trial in his own defence and denied all the allegations beyond suggesting that they watch a movie together in his bedroom.
The trial judge ultimately accepted the victim’s version of events, finding Gill’s testimony “lacking in detail and disjointed.”
In his appeal, Gill claimed certain parts of the trial and the evidence were mishandled. But BC Supreme Court Justice Robert Jenkins found all of the issues raised in the appeal were “generally irrelevant” to Gill’s conviction.
“It is not for a reviewing judge to assess each and every conclusion reached by the trial judge or to second guess each statement of the trial judge,” Jenkins wrote. “It is for this court to determine whether the assessments made by the trial judge could be supported on a reasonable view of the evidence.”
Gill also tried to argue at appeal that the court “should have asked itself” if it was plausible for a sex assault victim to not leave the home as quickly as possible after the assault, as was the case with Gill’s victim.
“I cannot speculate what a person who has been sexually assaulted may or may not do,” the trial judge reportedly stated, which the superior judge found to be the correct response.
“The trial judge was right to remind herself that it is improper to draw inferences relating to credibility where she is expected to compare the behaviour of the complainant with some mythical standard,” Jenkins ruled.
Jenkins ultimately rejected the appeal and upheld Gill’s conviction.
Kelowna’s Copper Brewing has created a violet-coloured beer to benefit local women in need, ahead of International Women’s Day on March 8.
“The brewing industry is looked at as a very male-dominant industry. So we thought it would be important and empowering for the women of the brewery to get together, grow this beer together and showcase women in beer,” says taproom manager Jess Kozak.
“For every four-pack and sleeve sold, a dollar will be donated to HOPE Outreach. We thought it was important to find a local organization that gives back to exploited women.”
HOPE Outreach provides support for women experiencing homelessness, addiction and exploitation in Kelowna and Vernon.
Kozak is the mastermind for the new beer called Butterfly Pea Blossom Pale Ale.
“Last year, I home brewed a beer using butterfly pea flower that actually turned the beer dark purple and I thought it would be a great fit for a Women’s Day beer and an opportunity to give back to the community,” she says.
Butterfly pea flower petals turn deep blue when steeped, however the PH balance of the beer transforms it into a deep indigo, similar to the colour used by the International Women’s Day foundation.
“It’s really interesting because the deep indigo colour makes you think that it might be heavy or fruity, but actually it’s a really light pale ale. Very florally, a little bit of light tea and it’s only 4.8 per cent, so it’s a really sessionable beer,” says Kozak.
Kozak and her team were busy canning the beer on Monday which will be available on tap and by the can this Friday. You can purchase individual cans and four-packs from Copper Brewing and the four-packs will also be available at select liquor stores.
If you’re looking at a can of the beer, you’ll notice a picture of a Bernese Mountain Dog named Porter.
“He’s our current mascot for Copper Brewing. Copper Brewing is actually named after one of the owner’s original Bernese Mountain Dogs. Unfortunately, Copper passed away a few months before the brewery opened but now we’re blessed with Porter,” says Kozak.
Copper Brewing opens at 12 p.m. daily and is located at 102 1851 Kirschner Road.
The City of Kelowna has announced work will begin this week to move the Skyline Pump station above ground.
The original pump station built at the corner of High Road and Clifton Road was established underground in the 1990’s to pump potable water to higher elevations.
These improvements will address flooding and safety issues with the construction of a new electrical room and relocation of the equipment above ground. The new facility will be built on top of the existing underground one.
This is a $1 million project which will not impact traffic in the area, aside from occasional interruptions to allow for the delivery of materials.
Wayne Moore – Mar 1, 2021 / 8:45 pm | Story: 326579
Photo: Google Street View
The Central Okanagan School District says an exposure to COVID-19 has occurred with the Ecole Peter Greer Elementary school community.
Interior Health confirmed the exposure in a news release Monday evening.
The individual is self-isolating at home with support from local public health team.
Anyone potentially exposed to the individual will be notified directly through contact tracing.
“The safety and well-being of students, families, and staff remains our highest priority. Central Okanagan Public Schools will continue to implement the strict health and safety protocols and procedures that are in place so students and staff can continue to attend school as safely as possible,” the district said in a news release.
“Central Okanagan Public Schools will continue to work closely with Interior Health to determine if any additional actions are required, and to support ongoing communication to the affected school community. As always, we remind people to stay home from school if they show any symptoms.”
Photo: Miriam Halpenny
Kelowna City Council provided feedback on Monday for the city’s community shelter plan.
The plan is currently in development and will be presented to community stakeholders before the final plan gets presented to council later this year. It is focused on providing shelter services through choice, community, safety and healing principles.
As part of the plan, shelter location considerations are crucial because they will help navigate the nuanced considerations that are looked at when selecting a shelter site and how they may integrate with the community.
“The concept of the Community Shelter Plan emerged from a community consultation process on the future of sheltering services in our community. The stakeholders involved in that process saw the value in such a plan, incorporating the views and wisdom of people who have experienced and are experiencing homelessness into a new and innovative vision for shelter services,” says social development manager Sue Wheeler.
“Having a clearly articulated plan will put Kelowna in a position to advocate for senior government investment in future shelter services that aligns with our community’s vision.”
A key benefit to the plan is the coordination it will bring to Kelowna shelter provisions. Shelters should provide a variety of health and wellness services and the Community Shelter Plan approach calls for smaller shelters that are dispersed and designed to accommodate a bigger range of choice and need.
The plan hopes to see shelters that are client oriented where equity and inclusion guide their operations, design and staff training.
“I’m really excited about this plan,” says executive director of the Central Okanagan Journey Home Society Stephanie Ball.
“It will be an important step forward for the organizations in Kelowna that are working to address homelessness. We’ve come a long way to better integrate all the different agencies involved in recent years and this plan will cement the progress that we’ve made to date.”
New research from UBC Okanagan suggests people may not be uniformly protected by police services thanks to the prevalence of private security systems.
Dr. Ross Hickey, an economist in UBC Okanagan’s Faculty of Management and the Irving K. Barber Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, and his team of researchers examined data from a Canada victimization social survey.
The survey asked people whether or not they had added security measures to their homes to protect them against crime.
“We are seeing more expenditures on private security systems installed in homes and, as economists, we have to ask why. We know that crime rates are down and expenditure on police is up,” says Hickey. “But private security purchases are at an all-time high.”
Initially, the research team thought of supply and demand equations. The government provides resources and supply for policing which creates a demand for public protection. Although, when you combine the supply of various security products with criminals, Hickey says the supply and demand equation does not add up.
There is a wide variety of security measures out there for people to take, including putting bars on windows, getting a dog, adding motion-detection lights to your home, alarms and security cameras.
While these measures may make people feel more secure and safe, it’s been proven that barking dogs deter thieves more than a camera or alarm would.
Many security systems will automatically alert police, even if it’s just a false alarm. According to Hickey, these systems can divert police from attending to other duties.
“All of these innovations in private security don’t prevent the crime, they increase the chances of the person getting caught. When the police are called to homes using these technologies, we see the police being taken away from responding to another, perhaps, more urgent call,” he says, adding that this demonstrates inequity between segments of society.
“This is a dimension of inequity that doesn’t show up directly,” he says. “The inequity is in how some people are accessing this public good. It is available for everybody but some people are getting more of it, because they have chosen to install these private systems. And police are responding to those systems.”
According to Hickey’s research, municipalities should consider police budgets differently because right now, adding more money to the system will not change the inequity that continues with the widespread presence of home security systems.
“We need to think more carefully about this. In a world where private security investments are happening, we may need to look at different methods of funding the police,” he says.
Hickey says the solution is not adding extra funding. Right now, people are not uniformly protected by police because officers are being drawn to those who have invested in private home protection measures.
“Are the people with lower incomes, or those living on the street, getting the same service from police? And we have to ask—if the city adds more police services next year, is that really going to make downtown much safer?”
Hickey’s research was published recently in the Journal of Public Economic Theory.
Wayne Moore – Mar 1, 2021 / 6:19 pm | Story: 326566
Photo: City of Kelowna
It took more than three hours of presentations, questions, discussion and debate before city council voted down a proposal for a new subdivision in the Upper Mission.
Melcor and Canadian Horizons had proposed construction of 680 homes in what is known as Thomson Flats.
While applauding the applicants desire to remediate Rembler Creek, provide walking and hiking paths and trails and construct a second phase of South Perimeter Road, council stuck to its newly adopted policy against new suburban development.
Planning staff recommended against the application for traffic, financial and policy reasons.
Much of council’s reasons for turning down the application was what some agreed to was “the worst congestion already facing motorists in the city.”
And, while the developer agreed to only build 680 homes as opposed to the original built of 1,200, transportation staff indicated the unplanned units would have an adverse affect on downstream transportation projects outlined in the newly adopted Transportation Master Plan.
It was indicated the twinning of Casorso Bridge, currently estimated at about $12 million, could escalate to $20 million with additional need.
Staff also believed an extension of South Perimeter Road would only be of benefit to residents of that new neighbourhood.
The Thomson Flats project has been envisioned since the mid 90’s as part of the overall Upper Mission development, while specific work has been ongoing the past seven years.
However, since that work began, council has altered its philosophy when it comes to suburban and hillside development, as part of the new Official Community Plan.
“We need to give the new OCP a chance,” said Mayor Colin Basran.
Council voted 7-2 to dismiss the application, with councillors Brad Sieben and Mohini Singh wishing more traffic information before making a decision.
Rob Gibson – Mar 1, 2021 / 5:05 pm | Story: 326535
A Kelowna sea cadet has been chosen to perform as part of the online Commonwealth Day celebrations scheduled for March 8.
Petty Officer Second Class, Alexander Xiao of the 93 Royal Canadian Sea Cadet Corps in Kelowna has been selected to perform with cadets from around the world as part of a virtual concert scheduled for next Monday.
The Commonwealth Day Cadet Band Concert brings together youth from the United Kingdom, Australia and Canada to perform three pieces of music.
“Xiao, who plays the Alto Sax is one of just fourteen cadets representing Canada,” said public affairs officer, Capt. Cheryl Major.
Xiao and the other musicians were chosen for this unique opportunity based on their excellence in music in the Cadet program.
The concert will be available to view on the British Columbia Cadets Facebook page on March 8 by 4 p.m.
The Cadet Program is designed to help develop confident, self-sufficient leaders who form lasting friendships and are engaged in their communities, while promoting physical fitness, healthy living, and fostering an interest in the activities of the Canadian Armed Forces.
Rob Gibson – Mar 1, 2021 / 2:29 pm | Story: 326537
Another sure sign of spring has arrived in the Okanagan.
Two Eagles, Golf Course and Academy has announced they are opening this week. According to a post on the Two Eagles Facebook page the course will open Wednesday to walking golfers only.
Michaelbrook Golf Club located in the Mission opened their restaurant on Monday and plan to open the course on Tuesday.
“The restaurant is open today and we are busy,” says a spokesperson for Michaelbrook.
The openings are weather permitting, as weather in our area can change frequently as we move into spring.
Environment Canada is calling for highs of close to 10 C this week, with a chance of flurries on Tuesday and possibly some rain in the forecast for the weekend starting Friday.
With temperatures like that in the forecast it likely won’t be long until other Central Okanagan courses announce their opening day plans.