West Kelowna to construct new roundabout at Gellatly and Carrington intersection


New roundabout coming

The City of West Kelowna will begin construction on a new roundabout at the Gellatly and Carrington Roads intersection in early April.

The city has provided a $1.33 million contract to Double T Dirtworx to construct the roundabout, implement minor in-stream storm improvements to Smith Creek, as well as a three-metre wide multi-use asphalt path from Witt and Boucherie Roads. This will provide connection from Westbank Centre to the waterfront.

This price was below the estimated $2.5 million budget, with 80 per cent covered by development cost charges.

This decision comes after an independent review of the current and future traffic needs for the intersection — including all vehicle types and alternative forms of transportation.

Construction is expected to finish in September.

The Gellatly and Carrington Roads intersection will be closed during the weekdays from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. It will be open to the public on evenings and weekends. Detours will be put in place for approximately 10 weeks in mid April.

The City of West Kelowna will provide a traffic management plan in the days ahead.

Portion of Mission Creek Greenway reopening ahead of schedule


Mission Greenway opening

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

UBCO professor working to create renewable, energy dense and safer batteries


The future of batteries

A UBC Okanagan professor is working to manufacture renewable, energy dense and safe batteries as the world continues to adopt clean energy.

Creating sustainable storage systems is a challenge when getting electric vehicles on the road and getting intermittent renewable energy resources into society.

Assistant professor with UBC Okanagan’s School of Engineering Dr. Jian Liu runs the Advanced Materials for Energy Storage Lab where he’s working to develop next-generation battery technologies.

His team is working on renewable technologies while also aiming to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase public awareness and education.

In a recently published article in the Journal of Power Sources, Liu talks about creating zinc-ion batteries. These safe batteries provide high energy densities at low costs.

Liu has answered some questions in regards to batteries and their development in society.

In layperson terms, how does a battery work?

“A battery works by moving electrons and ions back and forward between negative and positive electrodes via different paths. Electrons diffuse through external circuits to power up devices, while ions mitigate the energy inside the battery. During the charging process, electrons and ions move from the positive electrode to the negative electrode with energy stored and visa-versa during the discharge process with energy released.”

We are all familiar with the batteries we use in our electronics and electric vehicles. How are batteries changing?

“Over the past decades, we have witnessed the rapid adoption of rechargeable lithium-ion batteries in various applications, ranging from portable electronics to electric vehicles and grid storage. The dramatically increasing demand requires rechargeable batteries to be smaller, more energy-dense, safer and cheaper. And at the same time, this demand drives the current evolution in new battery chemistry, such as solid-state batteries, aqueous zinc-ion batteries, etc.”

Are there other applications where batteries will soon become commonplace? For example, aviation?

“Rechargeable batteries have been increasingly used in electric flights and marine applications to reduce carbon footprints. They are also used in wireless and intelligent devices, such as health monitoring sensors, Internet of Things and life-saving devices. Moreover, rechargeable batteries are popularly used in electric bicycles.”

How is battery technology becoming more sustainable?

“The development of efficient and cost-effective battery recycling processes is a key to close the loop for battery technology and make it sustainable. Current batteries use many elements with limited reserves, such as lithium, cobalt and nickel. Determining how to properly recycle the valued components from retired vehicle batteries is an urgent task to avoid potential adverse environmental impacts from battery disposal.”

“Currently, if you want batteries to hold a charge for longer, I recommend charging them at room temperature when the remaining battery level is about 20 per cent. This will also improve the lifetime of batteries, meaning they don’t need to be recycled as often.”

What’s the next big thing on the horizon?

“The solid-state battery is one of the impending battery innovations on the horizon to bring breakthroughs in energy storage sectors. It will fundamentally address the safety issue associated with lithium-ion batteries, such as overheating or exploding, due to the use of solid electrolytes. This can potentially increase the driving range of electric vehicles beyond 500 Km per charge. Aqueous zinc-ion batteries are also promising safe and low-cost energy storage solutions for large-scale grid storage to meet the increasing need from intermittent renewable energy, such as wind and solar.”

Help West Kelowna’s urban canopy with the Re-Leaf program

Re-Leaf program is back

You can help improve West Kelowna’s urban canopy by purchasing a tree through the city’s Urban Re-Leaf program.

Starting Monday at 8:30 a.m., residents can buy one of 200 trees online for $63, plus tax. Residents can choose from one of five different species in 10-gallon pots.

Trees include Armstrong Freeman maple, maidenhair, tulip, Chanticleer flowering pear or ivory silk Japanese lilac. Residents can only purchase one tree per household and they will be on sale until April 1, if supplies last.

Click here to start your order and view the trees. You must login or create an account through the ActiveNet system. Once purchased, you will get an email receipt.

If you’re unable to purchase online or you have questions, call 778-797-8800.

By participating in the Urban Re-Leaf program, the City of West Kelowna is reminding residents that they’re helping air quality, climate change mitigation, water conservation, energy conservation and economic and community vitality.

Purchasers can pick up their trees on April 10 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the gravel lot next to Mount Boucherie Recreation Complex at 2760 Cameron Road. Residents are reminded to bring proof of purchase and staff will be on site to help with the pick up and tree planting information.

Okanagan Symphony Orchestra invites people to virtual concert ‘Suites & Serenades’

Symphony moves online

The Okanagan Symphony Orchestra is presenting their second livestream concert: Suites & Serenades.

The event takes place March 13, at 7:30 p.m. from the Kelowna Community Theatre featuring works from Holst, Tchaikovsky and Morlock. The orchestra’s talented string section will be the featured players in this hour-long performance.

“The juxtaposition of Holst’s light-hearted St. Paul’s Suite with the heart wrenching yearning of Tchaikovsky’s Serenade holds a mirror to the wild mix of emotions that we are all experiencing through these tumultuous times,” says music director Rosemary Thomson.

“While I consider both of these works to be among my favourites, Jocelyn Morlock’s Solace, which showcases the soaring virtuosity of our own Rachel Kristenson is sure to resonate with anyone who is looking for some deep connection to artistic expression.”

You can enjoy the performance from the comfort of your home on your TV, computer or tablet. Access to the concert will be available through the Unicorns.Live platform. Tickets are $25 plus GST. Once the livestream ends, the recording will be accessible for 30 days as video-on-demand.

You can also enjoy a charcuterie platter and wine for two during the concert, from Peak Cellars. The season’s sponsor will be delivering the treats to peoples doors from Vernon to Peachland. Details will be provided to you once you purchase your livestream access.

All orders must be placed by noon on March 13.

Local program working to get musicians back to work amid COVID-19 pandemic

Elevate your music dreams

A new local program is working to get musicians back to work during a time when the entertainment industry has taken a huge hit amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Kelowna’s LMS Entertainment talent agency has launched the Elevate your Music Dreams studio sessions program with the help of Puresound Recording Studios in West Kelowna, which features widely known and professional musicians from the Okanagan.

“I employ approximately 17 different musicians throughout the course of a touring year and to see all of these musicians not playing, not honing their craft, but just sitting at home and basically waiting for this to finish, I thought it was a great time for us to get back and get creative,” says Mike Schell owner of LMS Entertainment.

“Our mandate is to get professional musicians back to work due to the demise of the entertainment industry as a result of COVID-19.”

The program includes cost-effective pricing for artists to record their music, suitable for musicians of any genre or ability. So, if you’re new to creating content, not to worry. A music arranger and session musician will be brought in to help you establish your ideas with instruments, voices and everything needed to create your sound.

“It’s the perfect time to do it while you’re sitting at home. Everybody’s had the last year and a bit to hone their craft. Let’s make some magic. Get in touch with us today and we’ll elevate your musical game,” says Schell.

Along with creating content, artists can also get help with marketing strategies, brand image, photos and more. All packages come with a professional engineer and music producer.

There are four different packages available including the Custom Package for $900 which includes one song mixed and mastered, two session players, one performance video and a promotional photoshoot. The Silver Package for $1,500 includes one song mixed and mastered, a four-piece band, one performance video and a promotional photoshoot.

The Gold Package for $2,500 includes two songs mixed and mastered, a four-piece band, one performance video, a promotional photoshoot and music marketing setup. The Platinum Package for $3,000 includes two songs mixed and mastered, a four-piece band, one performance video, a promotional photoshoot, EPK branding and music marketing setup.

Julie Masi, a multi-Juno award winner and one of the B.C. Interior’s most in demand musicians has joined in as one of the session players to help bring artists’ ideas to life.

“We’re really excited to see who’s going to take part in this and really excited to help any young musicians who are really looking to see what they can do with music,” she says. “All of the musicians that Mike hires are professionals and we’ve all had writing experience and singing and playing, so it’s going to be a lot of fun.”

In addition to Masi, more local favourites have joined in on the project, including Jimmy LeGuilloux, Dennis Marcenko, Conrad Burek, Sean Bray, Scott Gamble, Aaron Anderson, Peter Freddete and Mike Sanyshyn.

Elevate your Music Dreams is suitable for musicians of any genre, age and ability. To learn more click here.

Confirmed COVID-19 exposure at Westside Learning Centre

COVID exposure at school

Central Okanagan Public Schools and Interior Health have confirmed a COVID-19 exposure at the Central Programs and Services Westside Learning Centre.

The exposure was confirmed Sunday. Those affected are currently self-isolating with the help of local health teams. Interior Health will follow up with anyone potentially exposed to the virus 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,” reads a statement from the school district.

“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.”

BC Hockey Hall of Fame jersey raffle features six signed Vancouver Canucks jerseys

Signed jerseys up for grabs

Calling all Vancouver Canucks fans!

The BC Hockey Hall of Fame Winter 2021 Jersey Raffle is running online now until mid-February with six signed jerseys up for grabs.

The jerseys are from different eras of Vancouver Canucks history and each of the signatures are from players who played during that specific era with the Canucks.

All players have also been inducted into the BC Hockey Hall of Fame including Orland Kurtenbach, Harold Snepsts, Kirk McLean, Trevor Linden, Brendan Morrison and Daniel and Henrik Sedin.

“Like many not for profits, our organization has had to come up with creative ways to keep the lights on given the onset of COVID-19, and this is one of the ways we’re trying to do that,” says executive director of the BC Hockey Hall of Fame Blain Ford.

Raffle tickets are $5 each, or you can purchase a three-ticket package for $10, a 10-ticket package for $20 or a 50-ticket package for $50.

Family Literacy Week encouraging people to get active while improving their literacy skills

Read your favourite book

Family Literacy Week has officially started and British Columbians are encouraged to read their favourite book, get outside, play games and connect with their loved ones virtually while improving their literacy skills.

The Ministry of Education and The Ministry of Municipal Affairs has proclaimed Jan. 24 to 31, 2021, as Family Literacy Week. This year’s theme is ‘Lets Be Active! Move, Play, Learn.’

“Children’s literacy skills expand and grow much faster when families read, play and learn together,” says Minister of Education Jennifer Whiteside. “Family Literacy Week is a great opportunity to focus on dynamic ways to support our youngest learners so they can develop the skills they need to succeed in their school years and beyond.”

The 2021 theme is focused on the longterm and wide-ranging benefits of being active. The province has proclaimed Jan. 27 as Family Literacy Day for the last 21 years. 2021 is the fifth year that B.C. has extended the celebration from one day to more than a week.

“Families have learned to adjust to doing things differently under COVID-19, spending more time together and embracing creativity while learning,” says Minister of Municipal Affairs Josie Osborne. “Family Literacy Week is a wonderful time to connect with children, have fun together and read inspiring stories, and these activities help to build a solid foundation in literacy and lifelong learning.”

The government has provided more than $2 million this year to Decoda Literacy Solutions in support of community literacy. The funding is used to support literacy services and initiatives throughout B.C.

The province also contributes $500,000 to Postmedia’s Raise-a-Reader campaign each year.

“Active play is essential for children’s development. It builds strength in so many areas – physical, social, emotional, language and thinking. Children learn by watching, so join in the fun,” says Margaret Sutherland, executive director at Decoda Literacy Solutions.

Decoda Literacy Solutions has provided a full list of Family Literacy Week events happening throughout the province.