Colin Dacre – Mar 26, 2021 / 3:26 pm | Story: 329230
Photo: Miriam Halpenny
A vaccine clinic in Kelowna on March 15
Interior Health has hit a milestone in the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine.
The health authority administered its first dose of the vaccine on Dec. 22, 2020, and in three months, 101,156 doses have been delivered throughout the Interior. There are more than 742,000 residents in the IH region.
“I am so proud of our teams who have simultaneously kept their focus on contact tracing and supporting people in self-isolation to slow the spread of COVID-19 while rolling out this COVID-19 immunization campaign,” said Interior Health president and CEO Susan Brown.
“Meanwhile, staff and physicians throughout the Interior continue to support community health services, catch up on paused surgeries, support patients at two tertiary, four regional and 18 community hospitals, and provide so many more valuable programs. I am eternally grateful to everyone throughout Team IH for your endless commitment to care.”
The rollout is being coordinated between IH, the First Nations Health Authority and First Nations communities.
IH is reminding the public to pay close attention to vaccine eligibility dates and criteria as the program accelerates.
- The primary immunization campaign is based on age eligibilities described here.
- Many front line workers are now eligible for vaccine and those details are described here.
- The process to vaccinate people considered clinically extremely vulnerable is listed here.
- For the next few weeks additional supply of COVID-19 vaccine announced by the Province makes it possible to direct immunizations to select high-risk workers and people living in congregate settings described here.
People who are eligible to book their COVID-19 immunization may call 1-877-740-7747 between 7 a.m. – 7 p.m. PDT, seven days a week to schedule their appointment.
Photo: Big White
More than three months after Interior Health declared a “cluster” of COVID-19 cases connected to Big White Ski Resort, the cluster is now contained.
Friday afternoon, Interior Health announced the cluster is contained and further transmission is not expected, after a total of 237 cases were linked to the resort. Of these cases, 150 of the people lived and/or worked at the resort, while the others tested positive after attending the resort.
“Thanks to the efforts of those living and working at Big White following precautions, the cluster has been contained,” said Dr. Silvina Mema, IH medical health officer.
“As well, the local community and team at Big White have been incredibly supportive and worked hard to keep the ski hill safe for visitors this winter.”
When the cluster was first announced, IH said much of the transmission at the resort was linked to social gatherings and group housing. Big White fired some of its staff as a result.
No new cases have been linked to Big White since Feb. 19.
Last weekend, many staff at the resort received their first shot of the COVID vaccine, due to many living in group housing. This immunization program is separate from the age-based rollout, and eligible workers are decided on by public health.
Colin Dacre – Mar 26, 2021 / 2:31 pm | Story: 329222
Photo: Jarvis Autey, UBC 2012
The City of Kelowna is making improvements to a number of intersections this year in an effort to make right-turns safer.
The “smart channel” right-turn lane design improves sight lines for drivers so they can merge safely while keeping an eye out for pedestrians.
“This is a great example of the evolution of traffic safety,” says Chad Williams, Transportation Planning Engineer. “This geometric reconfiguration of right turn channels improves sight lines and simplifies the turning movement, reducing collisions.”
The design forces the vehicle to enter the cross street at a sharper angle, reducing the turning radius and causing drivers to slow down.
The sharper entry angle also means that more of the intersection and cross street is within the driver’s immediate cone of vision. As a result, the driver does not need to do a sharp left shoulder check, which simplifies the turn. Finally, this layout also positions crossing pedestrians more directly in the line of sight of oncoming vehicles, which increases their visibility for drivers.
“ICBC contributes funding to road improvement projects, each year, that reduce collisions,” says Williams. “Last year ICBC invested more than $170,000 in Kelowna projects, for their safety benefits.”
Improvements are currently underway at Gordon Drive and Clement Avenue and are anticipated for completion by mid-April. People walking and cycling are asked to use an alternate route.
Smart right turns have already been completed at Cooper and Benvoulin roads and at Gerstmar and Springfield roads.
In 2021 the City will be improving three more intersections in Kelowna:
- Bernard Avenue and Spall Road
- Clifton Road and Clement Avenue
- Leathead Road and Hwy 97
The safer right-turn lanes have been used for years in Penticton with great success. Accidents fell by more than 50 per cent after the safer turns lanes were installed along the Channel Parkway.
Photo: Jarvis Autey, UBC 2012
Before and after changes made to three right-turn lanes in Penticton. Similar changes are being made to some intersections in Kelowna.
Colin Dacre – Mar 26, 2021 / 1:59 pm | Story: 329216
The subscription box for the month of March
Charity will benefit as you try out products from B.C. alcohol producers with thebcbasket.com donating 100 per cent of profits from new subscription orders to Kelowna-based Mamas for Mamas.
The company works with the BC Wine, Cider & Spirits Festival and Lakeview Liquor to feature a B.C. red wine, white wine, sparkling wine, beer, cider, and spirit and other local products.
From now until April 15, all proceeds will go to support Mamas for Mamas in their mission of supporting mothers and caregivers struggling with poverty and hardship.
“Mamas for Mamas is extremely grateful to this amazing community for including us in their giveback plans. If it wasn’t for businesses such as thebcbasket.com, we would not be able to keep our poverty relief programs running,” expressed Stephanie Horman, national partnership coordinator for Mamas for Mamas.
Wine, cider, spirits and beer subscription baskets can be purchased for $149.98 a month, and are offered in a six month, or 12 month commitment through thebcbasket.com. All items in the basket change monthly and follow a new theme.
“Supporting our industry and community throughout this pandemic has been our main goal since we partnered with thebcbasket.com in November of 2020,” states Katherine Bramall general manager of The BC Wine, Cider & Spirits Festival. “Donating 100% of the profits to Mamas for Mamas over the next couple of months gives us the ability to further support our community, and a charity we respect so much.”
Police have received another report of a man attempting to lure children into his vehicle earlier this week.
After releasing information Thursday about a possible luring incident in the Upper Mission on Monday afternoon, the Kelowna RCMP received a report Friday about another incident on the same day.
At about 3:45 p.m. Monday, a man drove up to four young girls on Forest Edge Drive in the Glenmore area and asked them if they wanted to get in his vehicle. He had a small dog with him at the time.
The girls refused and ran to a nearby relative’s home.
“The children did everything right in this situation. This incident is concerning, and we are working diligently to determine more information and identify the driver involved in this report,” said Cpl. Jocelyn Noseworthy of the Kelowna RCMP.
“In general, please remember that you should never attempt to interact with, or pick up, children that you don’t know. If you are concerned for a child in the community, please call the police in your jurisdiction immediately and we will follow up and ensure their safety.”
The previously reported incident occurred about two hours prior on Arbor View Drive, about a 25 minute drive from Forest Edge Place. The two boys that were asked to get inside a vehicle also refused. It’s unclear if the two incidents are related.
Police have asked anyone who witnessed the interaction, or has surveillance footage in the area, to call the Kelowna RCMP at 250-762-3300.
Rob Gibson – Mar 26, 2021 / 10:11 am | Story: 329178
Photo: Paul Larsen
Kelowna’s newest radio station is about to hit the airwaves, officially.
103.9 CKOV-FM, The Lake returns to the airwaves after a year off-air with new local ownership, the historic CKOV call letters and a fresh new name and format.
103.9 FM ceased broadcasting one year ago as the COVID-19 pandemic was ramping up. Kelowna resident Paul Larsen, a career broadcaster, pursued the purchase of the license from bankruptcy and was granted CRTC approval to revive the radio station.
Today, 103.9 The Lake is back on the air, featuring a soft rock music format that will play the biggest adult hits of the late 1970s through the early 2000s. Larsen says, “for the next few weeks, The Lake will play non-stop music to establish itself with the community. In mid-late April, The Lake will introduce a full slate of well-known local personalities along with news, weather, sports and community information to complement the music.”
In addition to introducing the new identity and format, Larsen is returning the heritage CKOV call letters to the city. “CKOV was Kelowna’s very first radio station going all the way back to 1931. The call letters were abandoned for the past decade and we feel privileged to be able to return them to their original city of license”, added Mr. Larsen.
In addition to broadcasting at 103.9 FM, The Lake can be found online at 1039theLake.com, on social media platforms and on your smart device of choice.
“With the vaccine rollout and a renewed sense of optimism, timing seems ideal to launch this new local radio service,” says Larsen. “Kelowna’s future is so bright with a growing population, changing skyline and many new businesses opening. We’re extremely excited to serve this community and be another brand new, small local business contributing to the success and growth of this city.”
Photo: Nicholas Johansen
A portion of Mission Creek Greenway Regional Park is reopening ahead of schedule.
Starting Friday, visitors can use the trail between the Cedars and Smoothing Stones bridges.
The trail has been closed upstream from the Hollywood Road trail entrance since March 17 due to work being done on the Cedars bridge. Work was done to repair damage from previous flooding and ahead of the spring freshet.
“Later this summer, the second phase of work will see in-stream bank repairs and reconstruction, ecological restoration and installation of rip rap protection in the vicinity of the bridge,” reads a release from the Regional District of Central Okanagan.
Once work is complete, the project will provide visitors with:
- An improved trail along this section of the Greenway
- New boardwalks
- Enhanced natural vegetation
- Important bridge asset and infrastructure protection
You’re invited to the Wine Country Tai Chi Society’s 2021 Wine and Chi series.
The event takes place in the vineyards of six different wineries. People of all ages are welcome to join the society in a free tai chi set.
“We will do a set, get a little sunshine and following that, anyone who wishes is certainly free to go and do a wine tasting at the winery,” says Doug Waines, director of the Wine Country Tai Chi Society.
The first event starts at 10 a.m. on Saturday, April 24 – National Tai Chi Day. It will take place at Off the Grid Organic Winery in West Kelowna.
Afterwards, there will be one event every month until September:
“It’s probably the best example of continuous exercise that can generate a lot of rejuvenation of the body. All of the body movements are done with an extension, contraction, a turn and an intention,” Waines explains.
“When you’re doing all of those things together and doing them properly, you are getting a tremendous workout,” he adds.
Tai Chi is so soothing, the only thing that could make it more relaxing is doing it on a vineyard surrounded by mountains, and participants agree.
“I just know how good I feel after I do tai chi. I had fourth-stage ovarian cancer and I beat the odds, and I give tai chi a lot of credit for that,” says longtime participant, Ava Eshpeter.
Practicers say that the movement of the energy throughout the body can be facilitated by tai chi.
“Good movement of the energy brings your body into better balance and health,” says Waines.
Drinking wine probably won’t help your balance, so Waines recommends you have a glass after the class.
If you are interested in one of the following upcoming Wine and Chi events, RSVP here.
- Saturday, April 24 at 10 a.m. – Off the Grid Organic Winery
- Wednesday, May 12 at 10 a.m. – Grizzli Estate Winery
- Saturday, June 19 at 10 a.m. – Ciao Bella Winery
- Wednesday, July 14 at 10 a.m. – Rollingdale Organic Winery
- Sunday, August 29 at 10 a.m. – Kalala Organic Estate Winery
- Sunday, September 19 at 9 a.m. – Mt. Boucherie Estate Winery
All COVID-19 protocols will be in place. Masks are mandatory.
Wayne Moore – Mar 26, 2021 / 4:00 am | Story: 329095
Photo: Martin Weiss
All Martin Weiss wants is the ability to do business in the City of Kelowna as he, and his father before him, had done for more than 50 years.
He’s taking the city to court in order to do just that.
Weiss, owner of M.Weiss Masonry, filed papers in BC Supreme Court in Vancouver earlier this month against the city and business licensing manager Greg Wise.
The suit claims Weiss’ business licence was terminated without notice, and he was refused a 2021 business licence without cause.
It further states Wise did not have the “statutory or delegated authority” to cancel, or refuse to renew, a valid business licence.
Weiss told Castanet News the decision has put several hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of signed contracts, some more than a year old, in jeopardy.
He acknowledges the business at 3990 Swamp Road is on farm land within the Agricultural Land Reserve, but tells Castanet he only stores his work vehicles and does paperwork on the property. He says he doesn’t store materials used in the business on site.
Weiss further says he still farms the the property, using it mostly for hay production.
In the court filing, Weiss says the city approached him in 2015 about purchasing four acres of the 14 acre property for “fish enhancement” purposes along Mission Creek. That property was used as part of a larger, $1.2 million restoration project on the creek.
Documents indicated instead of the fish enhancement work, the city built a dyke about eight to 10 feet high, adjacent to and abutting his northern property line.
Shortly afterwards, Weiss built a berm on his property to protect the farm, and provide some privacy.
It’s around that time, he says, issues with the city began to crop up.
There were references to bylaw notices issued at the end of 2016 for operating contrary to licensing bylaws and causing a “visual nuisance to the neighbourhood” contrary to the unsightly premises bylaw.
He was told his licence was under review, and that he must discontinue outdoor business activity, clean up the property and relocate the business to a different zone.
During a face-to-face meeting in 2018, the court filing alleges Weiss was told the tickets should not have been issued, the offence notices would be “put on hold,” and the city would look into “how the matter had escalated to fines.’
Without hearing more, documents indicate Weiss was notified by mail in December of last year that his 2021 licence would not be renewed.
The reason given in a subsequent letter stated in part, “the business does not meet licensing requirements for a home-based business minor licence category for which the business licence has been previously issued as a contractor-bricklayer HBB minor.”
The property was also under enforcement action.
The city, in a letter to Weiss’s counsel, contended it was within its right to refuse the licence, and that Mr. Weiss was able to petition city council to have the matter reconsidered.
The court filing also references documents reviewed under the Freedom of Information Act, in which the businesses licence was “put on hold for 2021 renewal,” on Aug. 31 of last year. Weiss claims he was never advised of that decision at that time.
Weiss is asking the city simply to reissue him his business licence. He says he is willing to pay the $25 fee.
In a conversation with Castanet, Weiss says he is surprised by the action taken by the city, stating he has undertaken a number of masonry contracts for the city over the years.
The city has not yet responded to the allegations in court. None of the allegations in the lawsuit have been proven.
Calls to City Hall for comment have not yet been returned.
Rob Gibson – Mar 25, 2021 / 8:00 pm | Story: 329064
Should vaccinations be mandatory?
The University of British Columbia Okanagan will be debating the merits of that argument at the end of March.
While many eagerly await their turn in the COVID-19 vaccination queue, UBCO student debaters will face off for what is sure to be a provocative debate.
The organizer of the debate, Dr. Julien Picault, has thrown down the gauntlet.
“The pandemic has affected everyone in some way, and that’s the type of topic we look for—one with wide-reaching implications, one that nearly everyone has an opinion about one way or another,” says Dr. Julien Picault, associate professor of teaching in economics and the event organizer.
“While the overarching theme of this debate is governmental power, it’s really pitting one’s right to public health and safety against one’s right to choose what goes into their body. Our students have been debating for weeks using thoughtful, evidence-based arguments. Our top debaters have made it to this final round and I expect a high-quality, engaging debate as always,” Picault adds.
The event is named after the late Roger Watts, a respected member of the Okanagan’s legal community, and a skilled orator and advocate.
If you’re interested in watching the debate unfold you can watch virtually on March 31 at 5:30 p.m. The event is free, open to the public, and supported by local donors and community sponsors.
Prizes of $1,000 will be awarded to the first-place finisher, the runners-up will be awarded $500 each.