Home on Ross Rd - Castanet.net

by Daniel Hayduk - Story: 64146
Aug 30, 2011 / 7:45 am

A West Kelowna family is homeless after waking up to find their home ablaze  early Tuesday morning.

West Kelowna Fire Rescue responded to reports of a residential structure fire in the 1500 block of Ross Road around 4 a.m. August 30.

"First arriving crews reported heavy fire and smoke on the back of the structure coming from the sun deck. The fire did breach into the interior of the home causing heavy fire damage on the upper floor living area," says West Kelowna Fire Rescue Assistant Chief Kerry Klonteig.

"A family of four with two small children under the age of two were awakened by the noise of the fire and managed to safely escape uninjured," says Klonteig.

The 15 firefighters on scene did an aggressive interior attack limiting the fire damage to the upper floor with some smoke damage through the rest of the structure. 

The scene has been secured and fire investigators will be on site later this morning to determine cause, origin and damage estimate.

by Castanet Staff - Story: 64132
Aug 29, 2011 / 4:00 pm

The truck swerved, appeared to over-correct, then flipped over on its side.

That's how witnesses saw a single-vehicle crash on Stevens Road in West Kelowna Monday afternoon.

After it flipped, the truck apparently spun around before it stopped facing the direction it had come from.

The truck, with a camper on back, was travelling eastbound on Stevens behind Bylands at the time of the crash.

The driver of the vehicle was taken to hospital with what appeared to be non-life threatening injuries.

Police are still investigating. One of those investigating the crash said speed might have been a factor.

by Castanet Staff - Story: 64125
Aug 29, 2011 / 10:00 am

The building of 100 publicly-funded residential care beds in the Central Okanagan has moved forward with the signing of a contract with Baltic Properties Group, Interior Health announced Monday.

"These new residential care beds will be built in Westbank town centre," says Westside-Kelowna MLA Ben Stewart.

"This is a significant investment in our community, and the new facility will help keep more people who require complex care in an appropriate setting and free up acute-care beds in local hospitals."

Residential beds provide 24/7 care and support for adults and seniors with complex health-care needs who require 24-hour professional care.

Proposals were received from eight proponents for the design, construction and operation of the new beds. After careful evaluation, Baltic Properties Group emerged as the successful proponent.

"With this announcement we're continuing to move forward on our commitment to provide appropriate levels of care in the best possible settings for those who can no longer remain in their own homes," says Norman Embree, IH Board Chair.

"100 new beds is a noteworthy increase for the Central Okanangan."

Over the past decade Baltic Properties Group have de­signed, developed and commissioned five seniors-oriented health care and housing complexes in British Columbia.

These facilities include supportive housing, assisted living, complex residential care services, hospice/palliative care services, as well as bariatric, respite and community outreach programs in Osoyoos, Lake Country, Kamloops, Chilliwack and Surrey.

"We have a strong record of experience in delivering complex care services," says Will McKay, managing partner, Baltic Properties Group.

"We're looking forward to providing this new campus of care in West Kelowna where we can continue delivering the same high level service as in our other facilities."

Work on the new facility, which will be located on Butt Road, is expected to begin in October, with estimated completion in January 2013.

The 100 beds are part of 527 residential care beds announced by Interior Health last December. The new units are needed to meet the growing needs of an aging population.

by Daniel Hayduk - Story: 64119
Aug 29, 2011 / 6:00 am

Update: 6:00 a.m. - The RCMP dive team has searched the vehicle and determined no one was inside.

All indicators suggest that a limo bus that was stolen from Kelowna early Sunday morning was intentionally dumped into Okanagan Lake off Westside Road.

The fully submerged vehicle was first spotted around 9:30 a.m. Sunday, August 28 north of Bear Creek Provincial Park at the bottom of a 200 foot embankment.

"So far it looks like the vehicle has gone straight over the cliff, there is no indication of it going over at an angle as if it was driving along the roadway," says RCMP Collision Analyst Sgt. Brian Nightingale.

"The unfortunate part is we're in a location where we have a fair number of collisions, so we have to treat it as a potential motor vehicle collision until we learn otherwise."

Until a dive team assesses the scene, RCMP can not confirm whether or not anyone is on board the bus.

The modified Ford F550 Coach limo owned by Sun Valley Limousine was worth approximately $100,000.

It is the same location where a Cadillac went into the lake earlier this year -- the driver did not survive. 

by Castanet Staff - Story: 64078
Aug 26, 2011 / 3:22 pm

The 2011 General Election is now less than three months away.

Hot on the heels of the Province's HST vote, the electorate will now be asked to head to the polls again, this time to select their municipal representatives.

If you live in the District of West Kelowna and would like put your name forward as a candidate, nomination packages are now available.

On November 19, West Kelowna residents will elect the mayor, six councillors and one school trustee.

Potential candidates can now obtain nomination packages at the municipal office, 2760 Cameron Road, West Kelowna.

"We now have the packages ready for anyone who is considering running for office and we are available to answer any questions they may have," says Tracey Batten, West Kelowna's Chief Electoral Officer.

"The packages include the documents required for nomination but also key information including important dates, links to educational information and Council's Strategic Priorities and Annual Report."

Unlike some areas, the District does not require a nomination deposit, however, potential candidates must have 25 qualified nominators sign their nomination.

West Kelowna's Election Office has also created a webpage to guide both candidates and voters.

On the webpage under Mayor and Council/Election 2011, you'll find a frequently asked questions section, information on mail-in ballots and even past election results.

Telephone inquiries can be directed to 778-797-1000.

by Kelly Hayes - Story: 64079
Aug 26, 2011 / 12:57 pm

Castanet's Kelly Hayes reports.

A driver escaped serious injury following a single vehicle roll over on Westside Road north of Traders Cove.

The crash happened around noon Friday when a male driver lost control of a Mazda pickup truck. The vehicle then plunged more than 30 metres down an embankment over rocks and trees before finally coming to rest upside down against a tree.

The lone occupant walked from the scene with no serious injuries, but he did have a few abrasions.

Investigators are still trying to determine the cause of the crash, but say there was no indication of alcohol or drugs involved.

The road was closed for about half an hour.

by Contributed - Story: 63913
Aug 19, 2011 / 1:00 pm

The District of West Kelowna is advising the public that the amnesty period for registering Secondary Suites will end on September 14, 2011.

On September 14, 2010 the District of West Kelowna (DWK) adopted a Secondary Suites Bylaw (Section 3.26 of Zoning Bylaw No. 871), making it quicker and easier to provide affordable rental housing throughout the community, as well as increasing opportunities for housing affordability for both new and existing DWK homeowners.

At the time of bylaw adoption, the DWK established a 12-month amnesty period during which homeowners with non-compliant Suites were given an opportunity to either legalize and register their suites with the District of West Kelowna or decommission their suites. A further 6-month extension of the amnesty period may be considered where applicants have made a full application for the conversion and legalization of any existing suite prior to the end of the 12-month amnesty period.

Throughout the amnesty period the DWK has maintained its existing enforcement policy regarding Secondary Suites, which is to respond to complaints on a case-by-case basis. Staff will be bringing a report to Council in early September to provide an update on compliance with the new regulations and to obtain direction regarding future enforcement of non-compliant property owners.

Homeowners who require suite legalization are to submit applications to the District before September 14, 2011 to take advantage of the benefits of the amnesty period. If you require further information regarding legalizing or decommissioning suites please contact Building & Regulatory Services at 778-797-8820.

by Wayne Moore - Story: 63896
Aug 18, 2011 / 4:00 pm

Say goodbye to the couplet and hello to roundabouts.

New transportation patterns are part of a recent vision of downtown Westbank after West Kelowna Council endorsed the Westbank Centre Revitalization Plan earlier this week.

The plan was adopted after more than a year of consultations with the public as well as the business and development community.

The revitalization plan, expected to take about 25-years to build out, includes everything from transportation to creation of a Business Improvement Area.

It also includes:

  • New design guidelines
  • Phased, strategic public investments to encourage private development
  • Consideration of six-storey building heights
  • Enhancements to Westbank's cultural and heritage assets
  • Preservation of agricultural operations

Major transportation components of the plan include development of a transit exchange and the reconfiguration of the Highway 97 couplet.

The plan proposes that the municipality work with the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure to convert Dobbin Road into a two-way corridor so that Main Street can be transformed into a more pedestrian friendly, two-way local street.

Currently, Dobbin Road serves as the northbound route of Highway 97 through downtown Westbank while Main Street is the southbound highway route.

West Kelowna Mayor, Doug Findlater, says at either end of the downtown core are options.

"It's there for discussion with MoTI (Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure). There has to be something there for MoTi," says Findlater.

"As far as they're concerned the current couplet arrangement works quite well for moving traffic."

Findlater says adding the traffic circles and perhaps dropping an intersection or two along Dobbin Road could actually improve the flow of traffic.

The plan also sets out a vision for what the downtown core will eventually look like.

"It sets some guidelines for what development might look like. We'll go up to six storeys, although people can apply for a variance if they want more," adds Findlater.

"We see that as a mixed-use residential core with ground floor commercial and maybe second floor office space."

Findlater says the municipality is trying to make this an area where people want to live and be.

"Downtown Westbank, particularly in the couplet area, is not really a residential area. We will introduce the idea of a residential component in some of the buildings. It goes with the transit component because there is a portion of the population that wants to live close to transit and within walking distance of all the services and people places."

He adds the municipality was looking to do something different with the downtown core. He compares the vision to what has been done in parts of the South Pandosy area.

"There's no use in building strip malls and big box stores. That's been done. We had to do something different that makes sense, that's achievable. This should look very upscale when all is said and done."

With the current downturn in the economy, Findlater doesn't expect change to happen overnight.

The municipality has set aside $250,000 in the 2011 budget for Westbank Centre improvements.

Findlater says council will work with staff to determine which action items should be addressed within the coming year.

"This plan has all the elements needed to attract partnerships with other players, namely the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, developers and the business community."

by Wayne Moore - Story: 63841
Aug 17, 2011 / 5:00 am

A popular waterfront park in West Kelowna will be expanded with the purchase of property at 1595 Pritchard Road.

Mayor Doug Findlater said the land purchase creates contiguous open space at Marjorie Pritchard Park, where, until now, two sections of the park were divided by the private parcel.

"Council is pleased the District of West Kelowna has seized this rare opportunity to expand lakeside open space with its first parkland purchase since incorporating in December 2007," says Findlater.

"This investment is strategic, offers practical uses, and benefits all residents of West Kelowna in perpetuity."

The municipality purchased the property for $1.525 million, using funds from Parks Development Cost Charges and the Parks Cash in Lieu Fund.

These funds consist of contributions developers make to the municipality to create or improve parks, as part of the development approval process, to accommodate community growth.

The municipality also agreed to provide the seller with a $10,000 tax receipt, because the agreed-upon purchase price was below the $1.535 million market value determined through an independent appraisal, which the municipality commissioned before completing the purchase. With closing and appraisal fees and risk-mitigation expenses, the total purchase cost is $1,569,700.

"The property was listed for $1.69 million and was purchased below the 2010 assessed value of $1.551 million," Findlater added.

"This is a win-win situation for the municipality and its residents because we now have an idyllic piece of recreational, lakeside property that can be treasured and used for all time and that was purchased with no impact on anyone's finances in these economically uncertain times."

The property is .187 acres with 71.5 feet of beach, a 173-foot dock, and a residence with a swimming pool. Findlater says that Council directed staff to identify and mediate any risks associated with the dock and the beach so both could be opened to the public as soon as possible.

The District of West Kelowna will inform residents as soon as these amenities are ready for use. Council has further directed staff to close off the swimming pool and determine the best use for the residence.

The municipality will consult with neighbours and residents and draft a Marjorie Pritchard Park Management Plan to identify options for optimal future use of the property. The park management plan will become an addendum to the Waterfront Plan.

"This purchase was envisioned in West Kelowna's Waterfront Plan and Council is pleased to be able to make this vision a reality."

by Wayne Moore - Story: 63847
Aug 16, 2011 / 4:30 pm

The old saying 'Walk softly and carry a big stick' certainly paid off for the employee of the Canadian 2 for 1 Pizza Restaurant on Ross Road in West Kelowna.

In this case, the stick was a knife.

In an attempt to rob the store, a man apparently pulled out a knife and pointed it at the cash register, demanding cash.

"The employee stood away from the cash register and picked up a large pizza knife and told the suspect 'no,'" says Const. Steve Holmes.

"The suspect then asked for a small amount of money and left the store when the employee again refused to comply. A Police Service Dog team followed a track from the restaurant south to a nearby RV Park where the track ended."

The man was wearing a black jacket and his face was disguised. Police have no further description.

"Police are not in support of persons putting themselves at risk in this way and, fortunately, no one was injured," added Holmes.

If anyone has any information concerning this incident, please call the West Kelowna Detachment at 250-768-2880 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS) or visit the Crime Stoppers website to report.

31 Aug, 2011

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