Random checks of Penticton residents’ recycling and yard waste carts this summer



Recycling teams have started checking through Penticton residents’ curbside recycling and yard waste carts in an effort to improve the community’s sorting success rates.

The city said that the team of “recycling ambassadors,’” random inspections of the bins, is all part of an education campaign.

“Overall, Penticton is doing a great job of sorting their recycling into their blue carts, as well as keeping non-plant materials out of their yard waste carts. With a few tips and reminders, we hope to raise awareness of some common mistakes so that homeowners are more aware about what can go in their carts,” David Kassian, community sustainability coordinator, said.

“Please keep an eye out for the city’s recycling ambassadors, who will be auditing the carts this summer.”

Penticton has a goal to lower recycling contamination rate of 7.8 per cent to 4.5 per cent by year-end to meet RecycleBC requirements, bringing costs down and preventing recyclable material from ending up in landfills.

Residents are reminded to keep these items out of your curbside recycling carts:

  • Soft/hard cover books, scrap metal, electronics, ceramics, household hazardous waste
  • Materials contained inside bags or different types of containers nested together (for example, recyclable items stuffed inside a box)
  • Glass
  • Plastic bags and overwrap
  • Other flexible plastic packaging
  • Accepted material containing residue, which includes containers with food inside
  • Foam packaging

Many of the items below can be dropped off at a recycling depot. If you’re not sure where your recycling item goes, try the “Recycling Wizard” tool at penticton.ca/recycling or call the recycling hotline at 1-800-667-4321.

Yard waste inspections will check for non-plant materials, such as gardening supplies, plastic bags, dog waste, food waste and other not-accepted material.

For further details about what can – and can’t – go in your yard waste cart, visit the city’s website here.

Penticton celebrating return of Ironman with call for artists to create new mural



The City of Penticton is putting a call out for artists to submit proposals for a new outdoor mural near Okanagan Lake, in celebration of the impending long-awaited return of Ironman Canada.

Artists have until July 8, 2022 to submit a proposed design as well as examples of previous work. The winning design will earn the artist $4,000 courtesy of grant funding from the provincial government.

Art will be installed by the municipality on the west wall of 185 Lakeshore Drive, facing the triathlon’s swim event starting point.

It will be up and ready the week of Aug. 17, just in time for Ironman to return on Aug. 28.

“The city is proud to welcome back Ironman Canada to Penticton, where the iconic race began nearly 40 years ago,” said Carly Lewis, economic development manager.

“We envision this mural will capture the spirit of this event and help tell the story of its history and importance to Penticton.”

The successful artwork will be photographed and reproduced as a graphic on the exterior wall surface. Designs should be divided into four panels representing four major themes: swim, bike, run and community/volunteerism.

For more information and to apply, click here.



The City of West Kelowna has lifted its boil water advisory for the Lakeview-Rose Valley water system.

The boil water notice was originally needed due to increased turbidity and seasonal algal blooms, but those conditions have now subsided.

The system is typically plagued with water notices of varying severity every spring. A water quality advisory — which provides recommendations to the elderly and very young only — was first put in place for the season 78 days ago on March 31, 2022.

The city is in the process of building a new water treatment plant to permanently fix the problem.

Water quality advisories, however, remain in effect until further notice for two other water systems — West Kelowna Estates and Sunnyside/Pritchard – due to elevated, freshet-related turbidity in Okanagan Lake at the systems’ intakes.

As a result, the city will continue to offer affected residents free access to the bulk filling station for the duration of these other water quality advisories. The station is located at Asquith and Shannon Lake Roads. Bring clean bottles for filling.

A map of impacted water systems is here.

Summerland residents asked for feedback on downtown future plan



Summerland residents are now encouraged to give their feedback on the new Downtown Neighbourhood Action Plan.

A draft plan establishing a roadmap for future actions and projects over the next 20 years is now available, 53 actions that have been prioritized into the short, medium, and long term.

The broad scope of actions include preliminary costing, land use and density, infrastructure enhancements, parks and open space planning and amenities, policy and bylaw regulation review and development of financial incentives.

The plan also includes the Memorial Park Master Plan which is a detailed future concept plan for the park with key amenity improvements like a new bandshell facility and civic plaza area and a focus on enhancing winter activities such as a kids toboggan hill and ice skating in the civic plaza area.

Other identified projects include:

  • Permanent closure of Henry Avenue to vehicle traffic between Main Street and Wharton Street to create a pedestrian-friendly entryway into Memorial Park
  • Revitalization of Wharton and Main Street, including a review of the streetscape, to potentially accommodate wider sidewalks and enhanced amenities like sidewalk patios
  • “Trail of the Okanagans” multi-use pathway connection extended through Downtown via Kelly Avenue and Wharton Street
  • Actions to encourage momentum for private development in the Downtown core

The community is now being asked to review the draft online here, then complete an online survey here.

“We want to hear your thoughts and feedback on the proposed vision for your downtown!” reads a news release from the District Monday.

The public survey will be available until Monday, July 11, 2022.

Lots of local fun for kids coming up in Penticton



The countdown to the end of school for 2022 has begun, and some schoolchildren have already wrapped up the year and packed up their gear.

If your kids are getting into summer fun mode and you’re looking to burn off that early vacation energy, there are a few fun and creative festivals and events coming up, with many will be great for the whole family to enjoy.

Sign the kids up for an art class with the Okanagan School of the Arts. A weekly pottery class with Artables has recently started, but of you missed it, consider signing your young ones (aged 6 to 12) for the Under the Sea Creativity Camp taking place at Cherry Lane Shopping Centre from July 4-8.

The Creativity Camp runs from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m daily, and offers a mix of visual art and activities, featuring an ‘under the sea’ theme, fish painting, and even sandcastle construction.

From July 11-15 the Creativity Camp theme will be ‘Jurassic Journey’, followed by ‘Barnyard-palooza from July 18-22, and ‘STEAM!’ (science, technology, engineering, art, and math), from July 25-29.

To get in a creative mood, the first in-person HaHaHa Kidzfest, running June 9-11 in Penticton’s Gyro Park will provide some inspiration.

“We’ll have performances all day long, and it’s all appropriate for any age,” says Kidzfest board chair Rachel Bland.

“And ‘Around the World in a Festival Day’ is our theme.”

Kids get a passport when they come to Kidzfest, can get it stamped and then win a prize. As well, everyone will be able to explore an Indigenous Village that will have Pow Wow dancing and story telling.

Numerous arts and culture organizations, including the Penticton Public Library, Penticton Museum & Archives, Penticton Art Gallery, and Penticton & District Community Arts Council, are partners in the event, which expects to welcome 3000-3500 visitors on Thursday and Friday.

While those two days have more than 20 schools attending, Kidzfest will be open to everyone. Saturday it will be adjacent to the Farmers’ Market and feature some additional performers, and Rachel reminds visitors that Kidzfest will be fenced and for safety, no dogs will be allowed.

Tickets can be purchased at the gate and online.

Hoodoo Adventures has a number of activities in the works, not to mention the climbing wall is open – check for availability and events in advance; there’s an occupancy counter online that shows how many climbers are on the wall, in real time.

Summer programs for youth include one-day clinics for mountain biking, outdoor survival, and introduction to outdoor climbing.

Longer multi-day clinics are offered in July and August for ages 10-14: outdoor climbing, mountain biking, canoeing, and kayaking.

Some space is still available for the Trekkers summer camps for kids aged 5-7, the Explorers summer camps for kids from 8-12. These camps are week-long adventures that let kids experience and discover nature while learning skills with qualified and caring instructors.

Explore the options with Hoodoo before they’re fully booked.

Get the kids ready for a summer full of fun in and around Penticton.

Learn more at www.visitpenticton.com and on social @visitpenticton

Stop and smell the roses with Dad at the Summerland Ornamental Gardens this Fathers Day



The Summerland Ornamental Gardens are offering a way to stop and smell the roses this Father’s Day — literally.

On Sunday, June 19, rosarian for the Friends of Summerland Ornamental Gardens Rick Sauder is offering a tour and talk at the gardens to learn more about growing roses.

Sauder will point out the English rose garden, beds of specimens developed by Agriculture and Agri-food Canada breeders, a new Canadian heritage garden and more.

It all kicks off at 11 a.m. on the Lakeview Lawn at the gardens, and attendees are asked to bring their own chair, water, and to dress appropriately for the weather.

Numbers are limited, so to pre-register, email workshops.summerlandgardens@gmail.com.

They also suggest packing a picnic lunch, and enjoying it after the tour at one of the many tables in the gardens.


ASK Wellness Society seeking funding to keep their community program running, which helps keeps Penticton clean

Over the last nine months, individuals in safety vests have been hard at working cleaning-up around the community of Penticton, picking up more than 6,000 pounds of garbage and 150 needle sharps.

The ASK Wellness Society’s Peer Ambassadors are program participants who have lived-experience with homelessness and support clean-up efforts in the community.

The social services agency based in the Interior currently operates two supportive housing sites within the city, Burdock House and Fairhaven.

The ambassadors from these supportive housing sites can be hired within ASK’s Peer Ambassador Program, and while not earning a wage, are provided with stipends via gift cards to access food and life necessities.

The program, which began operations in August of 2021, is temporarily funded with the financial support of BC Housing. The City of Penticton also entered into a partnership with ASK Wellness Society in November 2021, providing $5,000 towards the program.

“The City of Penticton is proud to be able to support ASK Wellness Society and the Peer Ambassador program, which provide an opportunity for individuals to learn new skills, connect to the community and help create a cleaner and safer home for all of us,” Mayor John Vassilaki said in a press release.

“This is an innovative project that shows how by working together we can make a difference for those in need.”

Keith Girard, team lead, has witnessed the positive results of the program first-hand.

“I’ve heard from participants about the effects the program has had on their mental health. They’ve been able to budget their money better, they feel good about themselves when out in community, and it also strengthens their trust in others. I’ve directly witnessed participants becoming more open and comfortable sharing their struggles and background as they participate in the program,” Girard said.

One program participant shared they have been particularly impacted by the public’s response.

“I like the reception we get while out in the community, people waving, smiling, and telling us to keep up the good work,” they said.

Forty ambassadors have collectively worked over 1,000 hours and recently supported the city’s bylaw team in cleaning up a homeless encampment, and continue to respond to calls from the community.

The program’s temporary funding will end in August of 2022. To keep the program going, ASK is hoping to identify and receive support from corporate and private donors to assist in funding.

To find out more about the ASK Wellness Society’s program, visit their website here.

West Kelowna to celebrate new skateboard park



West Kelowna is celebrating the opening of its new skateboard park this weekend.

The official opening is Saturday between 1:30 and 4 p.m. — skateboarders and skateboard enthusiasts of all ages are invited to the celebration.

The park opened unofficially in the fall of 2021 and the site of the old skateboard park is making way for the construction of West Kelowna’s new city hall and library.

“This popular amenity will provide opportunities for all ages and abilities to enjoy and be a welcoming place to gather,” said West Kelowna Mayor Gord Milsom.

The celebration is free and the skateboarding community is invited to enjoy a live DJ, food trucks will be on site along with skateboarding demos and competitions.

A ribbon-cutting was held last fall but an official opening was postponed until after COVID-19 restrictions were lifted.

The new park is near the old location, next to the Johnson Bentley Pool.

Tourists numbers looking strong for summer in South Okanagan hotels



GM of the Penticton Lakeside Resort & Convention Centre, Elizabeth Cucnik, said that bookings are looking healthy at this point.

“We really feel the injection of enthusiasm in the public, throughout the province, throughout Canada, we are seeing some travellers from the United States again, opening up. There’s quite a bit of optimism around tourism at the moment as a tourism operator.”

The reservations are getting close to being back at pre-pandemic levels.

“It feels like it’s the same kind of environment as pre-covid, In terms of our occupancy levels. However, I do continuously stress that it is with caution, because, we really do need this injection of tourism to help recover and it will take a long time,” Cucnik said.

“It’s not going to happen overnight. It’s not going to happen with one summer of high occupancy, it’s going to take some time.”

The Naramata Inn shares a similar story in seeing their bookings rise this year.

“We opened in a pandemic. So things are a little unusual as a starting point, but we’re really happy to see that this year is going to be our strongest year yet. And we are trying to get to a place called ‘normal,’” Partner Kate Colley said, adding that they’re up over our goals for every month ahead except for August.

“I think people are really hopeful that this is going to be the year and the summer that everything kind of improves for the better. And we’re feeling that way too.”

Confidence has grown in visitation to Naramata so well that the Inn has expanded their dining offerings, opening a specialty wine bar, called Eliza, in their lower level.

As some of the area’s biggest festivals and celebrations return, the high attendance expectation can be seen in the rooms already being booked out.

“August long weekend is a huge weekend for us and most tourism operators throughout the South Okanagan. That is sort of our creme de la creme, the big weekend. But we have quite a few events that have returned this year, Peach City Beach Cruise is coming back, and the Elvis Festival too,” Cucnik said.

“We definitely have full occupancy around the Ironman and the GranFondo which is really exciting to know that people are considering Naramata even though they’re attending events in Penticton,” Colley added.

Both hospitality businesses continue to look for staff to hire on, as the worker shortage continues to impact the Okanagan.

“Staffing levels are always a challenge. I know for everybody, we’re not unique to that problem,” Cucnik said. The resort continues to attend job fairs and runs a program for Ukrainian refugees, with an offer to accommodate people that are coming over from Ukraine that can help work at the resort.

There is still some trepidation remaining for some visitors in their bookings.

“I’m certain people have various reservations about traveling in general after the last two years that we’ve had that included, of course, the pandemic, but also wildfires and a heat dome, like we’ve not seen here before,” Colley said.

“So I think people can’t help but have those kinds of thoughts in their mind when they’re making bookings. But we’re happy to see that people really are making the bookings and I’m sure this is going to be our best summer yet.”

Accelerate Okanagan hosting hackathon on affordable housing



The Okanagan innovation sector is going to attempt to “hack” one of the region’s great problems.

Accelerate Okanagan is organizing a single-day hackathon on June 23, dubbed Hacking House, at the Innovation Centre to build solutions and business models to address affordability in housing.

“Hackathons are a great opportunity to collaborate and build new connections in the community. Whether you are working in the housing industry, a current resident of the Okanagan, or you’re new to the area and want to expand your network, this is an excellent opportunity to plug in,” says Alex Goodhew, community manager at Accelerate Okanagan.

“The teamwork I see at these events is really inspiring and I’m excited to see what ideas the participants come up with.”

The event will see participants introduced to “design thinking” — a process that can bring an idea to life in hours. Teams will be formed to create sustainable business models for solutions.

At the end of the day, teams will pitch their ideas to a panel of judges and an audience of community members at a public event held at the new Metro Community Centre.

This event is open to all who are interested in developing an innovative mindset and building creative solutions to a critical challenge faced by our community. You don’t need to be a coder or work in IT to participate in a hackathon.

More information is here.

According to the British Columbia Real Estate Association, The annual average MLS residential price in B.C. last year was $927,877 — an 18.7 per cent increase