Town of Osoyoos receiving update on mitigation efforts in reducing odours from the water treatment plant

Plans to tackle odour

Osoyoos can sometimes be plagued in the summertime with unpleasant smells from the water treatment plant, especially as hot weather rolls in and usage spikes with visitors.

Town Council has been working on a plan to address the issues within the sewer system, budgeting $5M for system improvements in its financial plan.

Staff, along with the Director of Operational Services, will be providing an update to the Committee on Tuesday, in regards to their ongoing assessment and mitigation efforts in reducing odours being generated by the Wastewater Treatment Lagoons (WWTL) and the Wastewater Pumping Stations (WWPS).

The Operations Department had been working alongside the Town’s Engineering Consultant and have completed a preliminary operations assessment of the WWTL. The teams are working together to finalize that assessment; which will then lay the groundwork for the creation of a Wastewater Treatment Master Plan.

Key upgrades to address both odour and treatment will be in the master plan through capital improvements over the next 20 years, which should be presented to the committee upon a third-quarter completion.

The teams have also been investigating potential causes of odours within the collection system, which can be contributing to the odours being generated at the WWTL.

“This review has resulted in a possible issue with H2S generation within the collection system; H2S (hydrogen sulfide gas), creates a “rotten egg” odour and is associated with septic wastewater,” the report reads.

So far, some preliminary gas detection logging at a couple of pump stations have found elevated concentrations of H2S at the final WWPS on the North West Sector Sewer Project as well as the Main Wastewater Pump Station at Legion Beach.

“We are now going to look at the system as a whole and will place gas detection loggers in some other key locations over the summer months to further understand where H2S is being generated and how we can address that generation in the long term.”

The report emphasizes that the odour concerns at the WWTL are not an overnight fix. Further time and analysis are needed to make sure the right solution to address what is generating the odours within the wastewater collection system, which then should lead to a reduction in odour release at the WWT.

Summerland and Osoyoos residents asking for more pickleball courts in their communities

More pickleball courts

Both the District of Summerland and Osoyoos Town council will be reviewing requests from residents in their upcoming meetings asking for more pickleball courts.

As Summerland council reviews the 2021-2025 financial plan bylaw on Monday, they will be receiving 24 written submissions, with 22 of those submissions supporting Council’s commitment to add pickleball courts at Peach Orchard Campground in 2021.

Many members of the Summerland Pickleball Club sent in letters explaining the importance of the upgrades for the community.

“Please support the resurfacing/court expansion at Peach Orchard. This very cost-effective expansion will allow the Summerland Pickleball Club to offer more Fundraising Tournaments, Programs and Drop-in play to not only Club members but every Pickleball player in the community,” a letter from one resident reads.

“Mayor and Council, Please make 2021 a priority for the health and wellness of a large group of seniors in Summerland. For many, pickleball is their social connection, where they meet friends, where they get exercise and have enjoyment,” adds another.

“As we age we still need somewhere to keep fit and socialize. With only two courts in Summerland playing time is limited. To add 4 more courts would be a big help. With a total of 6 courts, that would allow us to put on tournaments, which would also bring tourists and competitors to Summerland increasing the economy,” reads another email of full support.

For the Osoyoos players, a delegation from the Osoyoos Pickleball Association will be speaking at Tuesday’s meeting on their plan to build a dedicated Indoor Pickleball Facility.

“This is an exciting development and we will be over the top if our three asks of the Town Council are positively affirmed. The two buildings will be built in a more timely manner if Town Councillors decide to support/champion our proposal,” the letter to council reads.

The group added that will also attempt to create opportunities for all who desire to attend the ribbon-cutting ceremony in person or virtually if the building is completed.

“The South Okanagan Chamber of Commerce has been sending us links to grants that are outside the usual sources. Businesses are attempting to assist in an economic recovery. We will apply for any/all applicable grants as they become available. Two grants have been applied for to date,” it reads, adding that more will be applied for shortly.

A short presentation with a slide show, building concept animation and projected costs and benefits will be made to the Osoyoos town council on Tuesday.

Osoyoos local on Rust Valley Restorers TV show

Local on Rust Valley show

Local gearhead JF Launier is once again returning to the popular History series Rust Valley Restorers now in its third season premiering this week — featuring one of his favourite projects to date.

Owner of JF Kustoms in Osoyoos, Launier and his shop have been a regularly featured on the series since it debuted in 2018. Rust Valley Restorers follows car collector Mike Hall and his shop in the South Shuswap on his never-ending quest to find junkers across the valley and turn them into sweet rides.

The upcoming third season features of Launier’s best-ever restorations, his brother’s 1951 Chevy truck.

“I got a chance to restore my brother’s truck that he has owned since he was 14 years old. For me, including my dad and my son in the restoration is probably one of my favourite memories of any of the stuff I’ve ever done restoring cars,” Launier said.

Launier’s father and son joined Launier’s brother and his children to chip in on the effort to restore the truck which has been in the family for roughly 25 years.

“I think family has always been important to me, so it was a chance to give back to my family in a way. My parents have always helped me with my career and been there to help me with anything I needed. So it was just a chance to give back,” Launier said.

Launier was familiar with the show’s star Hall and had run into him at a few swap meets prior to the debut of Rust Valley Restorers, but has grown to know the cast a bit more as the series has developed.

“It has been interesting too say the least. Those guys are really unique characters as the show portrays them, and they really are those guys which is cool,” Launier said.

Producers were initially looking to focus a TV show around JF Kustoms, which is still something Launier and his crew are working towards as they have grown the brand on the show.

“I think it’s pretty cool we’re the first series to ever get filmed in Osoyoos. In the South Okanagan for that matter. We’re definitely working hard to get our own TV show at some point, and clearly the exposure we’re getting and the fan base that we’re building is going to help with that,” Launier said.

Following Hall and his co-star/friend/friendly competition Avery Shoaf around the Interior of B.C. as they search for the best rust buckets to bring back to life, Rust Valley Restorers is an accurate portrayal of the car culture in the area according to Launier.

“I actually think the show is really accurate when it represents that stuff. That’s one of the reasons I’m on my third season with them because I feel they’ve represented our shop in a way that I think is fairly accurate,” Launier said.

Not only are Launier and his shop featured in the series, but his employees get in on the action as well.

“We all have fun with it to tell you the truth. There are a bunch of racing episodes this year that are really fun because there are all sorts of rivalry and it’s the JF Kustoms team versus the world. We all have a little fun with that because we’re super competitive,” Launier said.

One of the organizers for the very popular annual car show in Osoyoos, Cactus Jalopies — which has been featured on a previous season of Rust Valley Restorers — Launier says there is some hope the car show will return in 2022.

“For 2021 I think our hope is just to gather the troops and maybe do a non-public car gathering with maybe some discussion on how we’re going to do 2022 at this point,” Launier said.

“(Cactus Jalopies) was one of our first experiences with these guys and the show was actually seen on Netflix. So we had Cactus Jalopies in 190 countries. The level of exposure that we did for Osoyoos B.C. was huge,” Launier said.

Rust Valley Restorers premiered Thursday, Feb. 18 at 9 p.m. on History. For more information visit history.ca.

The Town of Osoyoos turned 75, but how did it get here?

How a Town is born

This article is part two of two exploring the history of the Town of Osoyoos as it celebrates its 75th anniversary. Find part one here.

On Jan. 14, 1946 the small village of Osoyoos became a municipality. The first ever meeting of the Municipality of the Village of Osoyoos was held at the Canadian Pacific Railway station a few weeks later and William Andrews was elected chairman of the board, Gordon Kelly and Joseph Armstrong were elected village commissioners.

In the early days of the village severe flooding in the area led to the channelization of the Okanagan River. Houses in East Osoyoos were surrounded by water during the flood of 1948, one of George G. Fraser’s earliest memories. When he was eight years old, there was a week when he and other students had to hop on a boat on their journey to school in Oliver.

“We lived on the east side, and the bridge that is there now is a replacement of a couple of earlier ones and it’s considerably higher than what was there in 1948. So for just about a week I had to take a boat from where we lived over to town a catch the school bus there. Because at that point, we were being bused to Oliver,” said Fraser.

Fraser, who is still an Osoyoos resident today, is the grandson of George J. Fraser, who authored “The Story of Osoyoos: September 1811 to December 1952.”

“He was George J. and I was George G., so that was the separation,” Fraser said with a laugh.

George J., originally from Alberta, came to Osoyoos in 1917 when the population “jumped from 13 to 17,” Fraser joked. A combination of goings on in the town, historical events and personal history, George J.’s book would become one of the earliest documentations of activities in what would eventually become the Town of Osoyoos.

“I think because he had been here so early, and a great part of the changes that took place, I think he felt it important to document it,” Fraser said.

Aside from taking a boat over flood waters to get to school, Fraser recalls Osoyoos as a village that was “very friendly, very small” in the early days.

The Canadian Pacific Railway would come to Osoyoos in 1944, a memory that stands out for Fraser as he was on the opening run of the new line.

“That was kind of neat and for me it stood out because they ran, I think, two passenger cars on to the locomotive to Penticton. And we got to ride all the way down from Penticton to Osoyoos. Sort of the opening run kind of thing. My parents and myself were on one. I have no idea who else of course,” Fraser said with a laugh.

The population of the small village would continue to grow, with 899 people living in Osoyoos in 1951 around the time when Gayle Cornish and her family moved to Osoyoos from Port Coquitlam. Her earliest memory of Osoyoos includes former landmark water towers which no longer exist.

“We lived in a small house on Highway 97 and the first day I went to school I got lost very far from where we lived, just close to where the water towers were at that time. So that’s one of my first memories,” she said with a chuckle. “But the water tower was always kind of a landmark.”

She recalls Osoyoos as a lovely small village where “everyone knew everyone” and celebrations for Christmas as well as the annual Osoyoos Cherry Carnival, known today as the Osoyoos Cherry Fiesta.

“It was a really good community and we have a lot of good memories from July 1, which has always been celebrated. At that time, it was the Osoyoos Cherry Carnival and it was a very special day for all the kids in town.”

When a group of Osoyoos residents got together in the spring of 1949 to plan the community’s first Cherry Carnival, the idea was to hold an aquatic sports day to raise money for park development. Cornish recalls swimming and raft races and plenty of summertime days on the lake, experiences she would later turn into a career as a swimming instructor and life guard for many years.

“There was a children’s parade, which started first, so a lot of children decorate their bikes and wagons and so forth. And I remember, we made a covered wagon, a chuckwagon, and put our wagon in the parade. I guess I was in Grade 2 or 3 at the time. And then everybody went down to the community hall and it was just a great day.”

Cornish recalls many of the students she went to school with at the time often worked on their family’s farms. The economic focus in the community at the time revolved around fruit orchards.

“One thing I remember quite clearly is there was two packing houses in town and everyone had a connection to the packing house. Everyone worked there. When I was 13 I worked at the packing house sorting cherries,” Cornish said. “Nowadays that wouldn’t be allowed, but then if there was a run on cherries they needed you to come and help. And so that was where, I think, I got my first paycheque was from the packing house.”

The main packing house, one of a few in Osoyoos, was located where the Watermark Resort stands today at the end of Main Street. It was in operation until the 1980s and the building remained vacant through most of the 1990s right up until the Watermark was built. It was a key to agriculture in the area, said Kara Burton, executive director of the Osoyoos Museum and Archives.

“The train station and the train tracks were right there coming to the packing house so fruit and everything could be shipped out quite easily,” Burton said.

The economy would inevitably transition with trains no longer coming into town in the 1970s and the tracks removed in the 1980s. Osoyoos began shifting from majority fruit orchards to the vineyards and tourist-hosting hotels of today.

“The orchards were prominent then,” Cornish recalled. “And now of course, it has switched around and vineyards have been taking over for the last 50 years. So it’s quite a change in the landscape.”

Prior to the Osoyoos Secondary School opening in 1979, there was only one high school serving the Oliver and Osoyoos area, seeing around 800 to 900 students. Much like the rest of the world, Osoyoos was not immune to racism. Chief Clarence Louie of the Osoyoos Indian Band recalls drop-out rates were higher with Indigenous students at that time.

“Most of the band members would quit school because they couldn’t put up with the racism and it’s not that they were scared of white people. I always say that the white kids had a deep respect for the kids from the Osoyoos Indian Reserve because they know if they picked on the Rez kids the Rez kids would beat them up,” Louie said.

“There can be quiet racism where you know you’re not included and you know you’re not welcome. The drop-out rate was pretty high back then. Kids know when they’re not welcome.”

Louie said he didn’t personally experience much direct racism and touts sports for being a great way to bridge the cultural gaps between communities, but he said he doesn’t see as many inter-community leagues today.

“When I was going to school there in the ‘70s there was what I would call just Indians and whites. I never got picked on, I didn’t notice any racism because I was involved in sports,” Louie said.

“Sports whether on reserve or off has gone down, down, down. Back in the ‘70s and ‘80s sports used to be a big thing. The men’s hockey league in Oliver used to be a big thing. All the Rez boys got to know the white kids in town because we played hockey or basketball with them. There’s no more basketball league, there’s no more men’s hockey league. Sports has gone down in this town which really sucks … maybe soccer has gone up,” Louie said. “A lot of relationship building to me comes through sports. A lot of racism can be broken down through sports. All the boys who played hockey, the white guys in town, had a mutual respect because we played on the ice together.”

The Osoyoos Indian Band has been celebrated for its successes as a business enterprise in the past few decades, with Chief Louie leading those efforts to bring economic growth to his community. The OIB owes some of its success to the location of the band’s land, Louie said.

“Even though we had 4,000 acres of our best land stolen, we still had land from which to work with. Even though most of our reserve land is hills and mountains and rocks, we still had some decent land from which to work with,” Louie said. “A majority of my people want to work for a living and they want good development that provides jobs, an income for the band. It’s no different than the mayor and council (of Osoyoos).”

Today the economies of the OIB, Osoyoos and Oliver are greatly intertwined and there are far more job opportunities on the OIB today compared to the early days of Osoyoos.

“What I find kind of neat is so many white people now make a living off of Osoyoos Indian Reserve land where they work at the prison, Spirit Ridge or Area 27 or the wineries, or the upcoming wine village,” Louie said.
“That’s a big reversal.”

Despite the origins of colonialism possibly putting up barriers in the past, the business relationship between the OIB and the surrounding communities is good today, Louie said, and people from outside of the OIB are now enrolling students in the Sen’Pok’Chin School on OIB land, building homes and working on the Osoyoos reserve.

“They’re even bringing their kids to our daycare on the reserve and bringing their kids to our Rez school on the reserve that started in the 1990s,” Louie said. “We have a health clinic here now too and it’s the first time I’ve ever seen in my life where Oliver people are coming to the reserve not only for pre-school and schooling now, but they are even coming to the reserve to see the doctor at our health clinic. That I’ve never seen before and that’s only been recently.”

 

LIBRARIES REOPEN DOORS

Okanagan Regional Library branches reopen for browsing

The Okanagan Regional Library has reopened most of its branches.

People can now browse the library’s collection and self-checkout books, DVDs, and other materials, the library says.

Staff are closely following recommendations from the public health authority and WorkSafe BC.

Safety measures include:

  • Risk assessments have been completed by each library to determine mitigation strategies to minimize risks where possible.
  • Signage to advise on safety protocols for staff and public.
  • Public computers in the libraries have been moved to ensure physical distancing.
  • Acrylic barriers have been installed at the desks.
  • Hand sanitizing stations have been set up in each branch for patron use as they enter the buildings.
  • Books are to be returned at the external book return areas only and will be quarantined for 72 hours.
  • All libraries have set occupancy limits. These limits are posted at the library entrance.
  • Visitors to the library are encouraged to wear a mask.

Meeting rooms, meeting spaces, study rooms, public seating, and other gathering areas in the library will remain closed to the public, however.

“While our curbside delivery service which has been running since early June has proven to be very popular (over the first couple of weeks we checked in over 75,000 physical items and re-loaned almost 80,000 new ones), we know that the public is anxious to enter library space once again, browse for their favourite materials, and use our computers to access the web and other needed online services. We ask that visitors follow the outlined process and rules so that everybody stays healthy and safe,” says CEO Don Nettleton.

Customers are encouraged to select materials quickly, check them out using the self-checkouts if possible, and leave to allow others to enter. Online programming – including the ever-popular children’s summer reading club – will continue.

The Okanagan Regional Library serves over 400,000 residents through 31 branches from Golden to Osoyoos.

Winery explosion around Oliver

Okanagan Crush Pad winemaker Matt Dumayne crafted a diverse bunch of new release wines for the Summerland-based Haywire and Narrative labels. Lionel Trude

They have names such as Red Horses, Second Chapter, Sonora Desert, French Door and Lakeside.

They are the Okanagan’s newest wineries and belong to the Oliver Osoyoos Winery Association, taking membership of the group to 44.

In all, B.C. now has 370 wineries, most of them in the Okanagan.

 The statistics are a testament to the strength and rapid growth of the wine industry in the province.

Thirty-five years ago there were only 15 wineries in B.C.

Now, with 370 wineries, the industry is worth $2.8 billion annually.

The wineries get their grapes from 929 vineyards covering 10,260 acres in nine regions, Okanagan, Similkameen, Fraser Valley, Vancouver Island, Gulf Islands, Thompson, Shuswap, Lillooet and Kootenays.

Red Horses, owned and operated by three generations of the Fortin family, is the first winery right in the town of Oliver at 365 Zinfandel Ave.

While its address may be Zinfandel, the winery capitalizes on Oliver’s heat and gravelly soils to make three big and bold Cabernet Sauvignons.

The winery also makes a Chardonnay and Merlot and two other wines with horse-inspired names, the Cross Breed blend of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon and Run Away Rose.

Second Chapter Wine Co. on Tinhorn Creek Road in Oliver is owned by John Pullen, previous co-proprietor of Church & State Winery in Oliver for 15 years.

Church & State was sold and Second Chapter is literally Pullen’s second chapter in the Okanagan wine industry.

Sonora Desert Winery in Osoyoos is a venture of grape growers and brothers Paul and Herman Gill.

French Door is a family-owned winery on Oliver’s Black Sage Bench.

And Lakeside Cellars is indeed beside Osoyoos Lake on the East Bench.

The Oliver Osoyoos Winery Association also wants you to know its Uncork the Sun series of podcasts with Moss Scheurkogel of The Vinstitute continues.

The first four episodes (creating a wine cellar, terroir, oak or no oak and viticulture) can be downloaded from OliverOsoyoos.com, iTunes or Spotify.

Scheurkogel also hosts virtual wine tastings on Facebook Live with the oak or no oak theme repeated Tuesday at 7 p.m., sparkling wines on June 23 at the same time and the softer side of reds on July 7.

The association has also posted the 360-degree video tour of Covert Farms Winery to its website.

Amazing winemaker

Winemaker Matt Dumayne can do it all.

The evidence is in the 12 new-release wines he crafted for Okanagan Crush Pad in Summerland under the Haywire and Narrative labels.

The dozen runs the gamut from white and red to rose and sparkling.

Dumayne is a Kiwi who worked in New Zealand, Australia, California and Nk’Mip on Osoyoos before landing at Okanagan Crush Pad in 2012.

Taste South Africa

Affordable, approachable and quality.

That enviable trifecta is being touted all of June as B.C. government liquor stores celebrate Wines of South Africa Month.

The COVID pandemic meant special tastings and events couldn’t be arranged.

However, there’s ample signage drawing attention to South African wines and tempting you to take home a bottle from the well-established Southern Hemisphere wine region.

You’re also urged to flaunt your drinking on social media with the hashtags #SpectacularSouthAfrica and #DrinkChenin.

Chenin Blanc is a grape and wine originally from France, but South Africa has made it it’ signature white wine.

Livestream Class with the Virtual Vinstitute

HOSTED BY: VINSTITUTE WINE SCHOOL AND OLIVER OSOYOOS WINE COUNTRY

 Event Dates:
  • Tue  May 26, 2020  7:00 PM – 8:00 PM

To bring the Vinstitute to you, we have partnered with Oliver Osoyoos Wine Country to produce a monthly Virtual Vinstitute session that will explore different topics in wine as well as feature a spotlight on some of the magnificent wines of our region.

The session will air on Facebook Live on the Oliver Osoyoos Wine Country page.

The first session will feature Gehringer Brothers Estate Winery Pinot Noir and Tinhorn Creek Vineyards Pinot Gris

Hiking and Biking around Osoyoos

Hiking the hills around Osoyoos is a major pastime for locals and visitors alike. Around Osoyoos, for example, you’ll find a terrain that varies from easy strolls along the shoreline and along the Okanagan River to more strenuous climbs on nearby Mount Kobau where you’ll find yourself atop a rampart that separates two ancient river valleys.

It’s worth the hike to find yourself among wildflowers that bloom on the slopes between the sage and pine, looking down on orchards, vineyards, wetlands, and grasslands. And at night, stargazers are in their element. Drive up the mountain, set up your telescope (if you have one) and be dazzled by the brilliance of the stars.

Several trails throughout the area provide interpretive signage or guided tours with opportunities for bird watching and wildlife watching, with panoramic views. And, if you’re a birder, bring your binoculars for seeing some of the 300 species found throughout the Okanagan – two-thirds of which breed in our area. The best hot spot to viewing is at South Okanagan Grasslands Protected Area around Kilpoola and Blue Lakes, the Osoyoos Oxbows wetlands and the Golden Mile Trail north of Osoyoos. Among the species, depending on which habitat you’re at, are great blue herons, woodpeckers, raptors, warblers, white tailed ptarmigan and the boreal chickadee.

Cyclists come to us for high road, back road, off road, mountain and BMX biking adventures. Many top-end athletes come to us for endurance biking, which you’ll find in several locations. One of the most popular – and difficult – is the road up Anarchist Mountain, a straight up the mountain test that puts the heart rate up and muscles straining. Once you get to the top, you’ll have one of the most spectacular views in the entire region.

More gentle cycle tours can be found on Black Sage Road and the International Hike and Bike Trail. Take the Black Sage Road, north of Osoyoos, and pass dozens of small and large wineries including Desert Hills Estate, Burrowing Owl, Black Hills Estate and Church and State Winery, among others. Stop in at one or two, have lunch and experience this exceptional industry. The 18 km (10mi) and generally flat International Hike and Bike Trail borders the Okanagan River Channel and like the Black Sage Road route, passes wineries and fruit stands.

Walkways & Trails

Walkways

Pioneer Walkway & Cottonwood Park
The first of these two public lake shore parks is along Main Street, the second on Cottonwood Drive. Beautiful gardens change with the seasons. Easy short strolls with benches, picnic tables, public washrooms. Wheelchair accessible.

Lakeshore Drive Pathway
This paved pathway starts at the public beach access where the road makes a sharp left turn, then runs parallel to the roadway and next to the waterfront. This is an easy familiy biking route for those staying in RV campgrounds along Lakeshore Drive.

Irrigation Canal Walkway
This popular 12 kilometer round trip trail is accessed on 62nd Avenue just north of Osoyoos Secondary School. Parking is available around the corner adjacent to the trail sign. The walkway can also be accessed from the Visitor Centre parking lot. This trail follows an abandoned section of the irrigation canal, once the lifeline of Osoyoos that opened up the area for the fruit industry. Flat with hard surfaces, ideal for easy strolls and strollers.

Trails

Swiws Wetlands Trail
Located within Swiws (formerly Haynes Point) Provincial Park, this easy 1.5 kilometer gravel trail is designed for bird watchers and other nature lovers. Pathways, a spotting tower, boardwalks and interpretive signs will heighten appreciation for this precious wetlands area.

International Bike and Hike Trail
Located at the north end of Osoyoos Lake and running parallel to the Okanagan River channel, this 18.4 kilometer trail is perfect for biking between wineries, fruit stands and farms. The parking lot is accessed on Road 22 off Highway 97, eight kilometers north of Osoyoos.

Osoyoos Lake Oxbows
Recently restored, the oxbows at the north end of Osoyoos Lake are ideal for watching both migratory and resident birds. Access at the same parking area as for the International Hiking and Biking Trail but head south instead of north. Located next to and as part of the Haynes Lease Ecological Reserve.

Mount Kobau Trail Network
The five kilometer Testalinden Trail has oustanding views of the Similkameen and Okanagan Valleys. Access via Highway 3 approximately 11 kilometers west of Osoyoos, then 11 kilometers along the gravel/dirt access road (not suitable for low clearance vehicles) which takes you within one kilometer of Mt. Kobau’s summit. Follow the trail to the forestry lookout for a great view of the valleys and mountains.

Unmarked Trails
Please note that the Kruger Ridge and Strawberry Creek trails are unmarked.  Please see the map above for locations.