Penticton’s Lake-to-Lake bike lane moving quickly

 

Bike lane moving along

Construction on the first portion of the new Lake-to-Lake bike lane in Penticton is set to conclude by the end of August.

The section from the Penticton Public Library along Fairview Road to Duncan Avenue is the last part of the second phase, with two more to come in future months to connect to Skaha Lake.

“Cyclists are reminded to stay off any uncompleted portions of the lane until all works are finished and the barriers and signals are installed and operating. For motorists passing along-side the lane, please continue to watch for crews and obey all traffic signs,” reads an update from the city.

The project is anticipated to cost $8.07 million in totality, including a 25 per cent contingency. Provincial and federal grants have contributed $2.3 million to the project to date.

“On behalf of city council and all our residents, I’d like to extend a big thank you to both the provincial and federal governments who supplied the money to pay for the first two sections of our new Lake-to-Lake bike route,” said Penticton Mayor John Vassilaki.

“When you consider BC’s current wildfire situation and the heavy smoke-filled air that was present on the day we opened the route, the case for building sustainable transportation solutions couldn’t have been clearer. As challenging as bike lane projects are, they’re a tangible and immediate change that local governments can make in our collective action to reverse climate change.”

Grab a fresh lobster roll from Penticton’s newest food truck, The Lobster Pot

 

New food truck in town

How does a roll stuffed with lobster and fresh garlic aioli on a hot toasted bun sound?

A popular Okanagan lobster-specialty food truck has now parked its wheels in Penticton, after a slight delay in opening due to the heat wave.

The Lobster Pot was planning to open its doors two weeks ago in Penticton and Kamloops, but delayed until the temperatures started to lower to look after their staff and customers.

“We were also concerned about people standing in line waiting for food in the heat. The last thing we want is for anybody to get sick or get heat stroke while waiting in line for lunch,” owner Mike Taylor previously told Castanet.

But now the truck is all set up to run in the Home Hardware parking lot on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The food truck has seen good business so far since opening up last Monday, with more people coming by as they learn where they’ve set up shop.

Check out their menu on their website here.

Live music festival setting up in Penticton on Skaha Lake beach in September

 

Live music on Skaha beach

Get ready for live music on the shores of Penticton’s Skaha Lake with the Summerset Music & Arts Festival.

Running from Sept.17-18, 2021, guests will get to enjoy music, art and mouth-watering local food and beverages right on the water as the sun sets.

The two-night series features an evening of music by multi-platinum songwriter Andrew Allen, and a one-of-a-kind intimate ‘Acoustic Evening With….’ night of music by JUNO Award-winning duo Dear Rouge.

The music festival, produced by Red Door Events Inc, is Langley’s premiere music event and was founded in 2019. Penticton has now been added as a second location for the festival.

Summerset Music & Arts Festival Penticton will also be hosting a Saturday Family Afternoon, a special mid-day event geared towards the whole family which features a performance by multi-award-winning family entertainer Ginalina as well as fun activities, food and beverages.

Summerset Music & Arts Festival Penticton artist line up also includes Josh + Bex and Kailee McGuire

“Both Summerset Music & Arts Festival locations will be adhering to current provincial COVID-19 protocols and procedures and will have limited capacity to ensure the safety of all attendees, performers, and staff,” their press release reads.

The Summerset Music & Arts Festival in Langley takes place from Aug. 27-29.

“We are incredibly excited to be a part of the return of live events,” Jonathan Houweling, managing director of Red Door Events said in a press release. “It’s been a difficult year, but this is the perfect way to end the summer. We are looking forward to safely hosting music fans once again for two beautiful weekends of entertainment, food and drink in unique and intimate outdoor settings.”

Tickets for the Summerset Music & Arts Festival for Penticton go on sale for the public starting Friday, July 16.

Penticton businesses report boom in tourism bookings after some restrictions lifted this week

 

Boom in tourism bookings

 

Casey Richardson

Hotels, restaurants and wineries saw a large jump up in bookings after BC moved into stage two of its reopening plan this week, welcoming recreational travel for the province and ending restrictions between health regions.

The provincial government announced on Monday that BC was transitioning to the next phase, effective Tuesday — the earliest date possible in.

“Since the COVID restrictions for the 16 of June have been lifted, we have experienced a lot of phone calls, which is exciting for us and the staff. We expect to be between 90 and 100 per cent full for all of July and August. We’re excited to see what’s going to be happening after the post COVID-era of the last 14 to 16 months for sure,” Billy Coles, co-owner and GM of Hotel Penticton said.

“We saw an immediate boost in bookings, the phone has been running off the hook for, I think a couple of days now. And it’s been really clear to the staff as well, we went from like, second gear to fifth gear, and literally in one day. So for the rest of the weekend, in fact, we have over 100 bookings, every service, so it’s busy,”Michael Ziff, the food and beverage manager for Poplar Grove said.

For Hillside Winery, bookings in their restaurant and wine tasting room have been coming in ‘fast and furious,’ according to the Director of food and beverage, Lisa Henderson.

“Both are looking very busy. Reservations are definitely recommended…We actually have had a few bigger groups that we just don’t have the room for. So lots of groups are out and about. And we’re kind of limiting how many we’re actually taking. So we have had to juggle a little bit, but we can usually get you in on a different evening,” she explained.

Businesses are having to turn people away due to being fully booked.

“I think Penticton has become a little bit of the palm springs of Canada, so many people are calling, especially on the weekends and the long weekends, looking for rooms. And unfortunately, we’re not even able to send them to other hotels because a lot of folks are just booked on those weekends,” Coles added.

And while some businesses are struggling with getting staff hired now that tourism season is back, others are prepped and ready to go.

“This is my ninth season here at Hillside. We have a very dedicated crew that’s actually knocking on my door in spring going, ‘When are we open?’ So it’s fantastic, they are ready…And it’s really, really nice to have those same faces come back every year,” Henderson said.

“We’re actually quite good for staff. I know it’s not easy, in lots of places. I’ve talked to a lot of colleagues in the industry, whether it be in the tasting room or restaurants and some people have been having some issues staffing up. Luckily, I did it in advance. I’m tight, but I’m there. If I had any less, it would be problematic,” Ziff explained.

The outlook for tourism is strong throughout the summer months, and even extending into fall.

“I joked with my wife today that I’ll probably see her in October. So I’m guessing it’s going to be right through till harvest too,” Ziff said.

Henderson added that everyone coming in is in a positive mood,

“I think everybody is really happy. The energy of everybody is almost that little bit of relief. And it’s kinda like getting back to normal. I think it feels good.”

Penticton anticipating Air Canada flights to return in late June

 

Air Canada flights returning

Air Canada will soon resume service to the Penticton airport after a lengthy pause.

As of June 28, the airline is expected to be offering four flights per week out of Vancouver in the evening to Penticton, overnighting in town, then flying out to Vancouver the next morning. Arrivals in Penticton are planned for Sunday, Monday, Thursday and Friday, with flights to Vancouver on Monday, Tuesday, Friday and Saturday.

The flights from Vancouver to Penticton will leave at 7:40 p.m. and arrive at 8:37 p.m., and the reverse flight will leave at 6:30 a.m. and arrive at 7:27 a.m.

It is welcome news to local Member of Parliament Richard Cannings, who has long been a champion of the regional airport and the importance of flights to and from Vancouver.

“These flights are vital to tourism and commerce in the region. As we move cautiously back to our new normal, convenient flights to the Lower Mainland are important for residents and businesses alike,” Cannings said.

The flights were due to resume June 1 but were pushed back to the end of the month due to travel restrictions within B.C.

Also in Cannings’ South Okanagan-West Kootenay riding, the Castlegar airport will be welcoming Air Canada service again, three times a week to and from Vancouver.

Air Canada director for government relations Serge Corbeil said the plan is to add a Wednesday and Thursday flight from Vancouver to Penticton in August, then move to daily service after Labour Day depending on demand and future travel services.

Apartment For Sale in Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Falls

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Top Floor 2 Bedroom Condo.

•  1029 sqft , 1 bath , 2 bdrm apartment – FOR SALE  CAD329,900 . Okanagan Falls Skaha Lakeview MLS® 189760

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Discovery House thrilled to open their newest addictions recovery house in Penticton

 

Housing to save lives

 

 

Casey Richardson

Discovery House has opened their newest location on Edna Avenue in Penticton to help those suffering from addiction continue their progress in substance-free recovery beds.

The home is affectionately named “Parker Place,” in honour of Parker’s Chrysler’s instrumental donations and their family.

Janet Parker, the president of Parker’s Chrysler, was proud to see the home come to fruition. She’s been working with Discovery House since her son Colin passed away from an overdose on Oct. 4, 2016.

“This is huge working towards a goal of having another house for Discovery House in memory of my son and it’s an honour to have it called Parker Place,” Parker said. Parker’s Chrysler donated $40,000 towards the organization’s annual Shed the Light on Addiction campaign, along with a further $10,000 cheque personally from Parker herself.

“It means that we’re really helping to save lives, we’re helping get families back together and I love that it’s an abstinence-based approach, I think that it’s the only successful way to go forward in treatment. For after treatment, this is just perfect.”

Created as an independent living house to help continued support for recovery, the house has five beds for clients that have been in abstincence-based recovery for a year or more.

“It’s a really big win all around. It gives some depth to our organization and it also ensures that we don’t necessarily have to have finite timelines as far as treating people. Guys can stay here until they’re ready to leave,” said Jerome Abraham, Discovery House executive director.

“We’ve seen a real need for housing after the treatment program and long term care.”

One of Discovery House’s clients in the new home, Brian Campbell, spoke about how he was glad to see the continual support for individuals like himself that are in recovery.

“It gives you another opportunity, more time to kind of be under the umbrella of what gets you your foundation and recovery to begin with.”

As someone who suffered from alcohol addiction, the sobriety and being clean allows for him to continue to recover from his problems.

“I can assure you that I was at basically my end….I didn’t have any hope left. I didn’t know anything else,” Campbell explained.

“Life was just too hard and I didn’t want to be here anymore. That’s what made me come into Discovery House and I’m very fortunate I had a spot open up…. And now I’m here and I’m doing relatively well.”

Local politicians MLA Dan Ashton, Coun. Judy Sentes and Mayor John Vassilaki were in attendance for the public reveal Thursday, showing support for Discovery House’s work.

“We need a heck of lot more of such facilities, not only in the City of Penticton but also British Columbia. This is what actually works and I’m proud to be here today,” Vassilaki said.

“I just hope BC Housing is paying attention to something that actually works, where people come with their addictions and leave better than there were when they came in,” he added, ostensibly referencing an ongoing feud between the city, BC Housing and Minister of Housing David Eby over the Victory Church emergency homeless shelter and other so-called “wet” supportive housing facilities in Penticton.

Discovery House is currently working with BC Housing to see if they can add on two more beds with a carriage house in the back.

“The province has been supportive of this, the city has been supportive of this because of our past reputation. We’ve been good neighbours in every neighbourhood we’ve been in so far and we expect that to continue,” Abraham added.

“We hope that it can be a catalyst for the city and for the province to start working together to implement solutions that fill out the whole harm reduction continuum.”

Penticton safety and security advisory committee to discuss official guidelines for where to put homeless shelters, supportive housing

 

Where to put shelters?

The City of Penticton is holding a special Safety and Security Advisory Committee meeting Monday, in order to discuss location selection guidelines for homeless shelters and supportive housing units.

On Monday morning, the committee will vote on whether to forward their draft siting guidelines to city council at its next meeting.

The committee has outlined the guidelines as follows:

  • Must be a minimum of 150 metres away from K-12 private and public schools.
  • Must be a minimum of 150 metres away from Marina Way Beach, Okanagan Beach, Skaha Beach, Gyro Park, Lakawanna Park, Marina Way Park, Okanagan Lake Park, Rose Garden, Skaha Lake Park, and SS Sicamous.
  • The property must not front any of the following highways: Lakeshore Drive, Main Street (100-700 blocks), Martin Street (100-300 blocks), Riverside Drive, Skaha Lake Road, and Westminster Avenue.
  • And it should consider, where possible, not to be near businesses that rely on foot traffic, and residences/homes for older adults/seniors, and should be near health/medical services.

These guidelines would further render the current Victory Church shelter on Winnipeg untenable, a location which is already contentious and the subject of a battle between the city and province to keep it open, and exclude a proposed 62-unit supportive housing complex at 3240 Skaha Lake Road, the lot for which has already been purchased by BC Housing.

The committee will vote Monday on finalizing the location selection guidelines and forward those to council for consideration and potential adoption.

Find the meeting’s full agenda and information on how to watch it virtually at 10:30 a.m. Monday can be found here.

200 block breezeway in Penticton closed as City installs new security gates

 

Breezeway getting gates

City council decided back in February to install the secure gates in the walkway so that they can be closed overnight after seeing issues in the area, including a defacement of the public art murals.

A previous staff report found “loitering and vandalism have been a constant nuisance in the breezeway – including, graffiti, persons congregating and sleeping in the breezeway, panhandling, litter, drug use and other undesirable activity.”

The breezeway connects Main Street to the Ellis Street parking areas in Penticton’s downtown and the intent is to secure the space during hours when the majority of downtown businesses are closed.

The cost to install gates was estimated at $20,000 for full design, custom manufacture and installation when staff presented the project to council for approval.

According to construction crews, installation will be taking place on Monday and access will be restricted throughout the day.

The decision to close the space hopes to remove opportunities for unwanted activity (graffiti, litter, camping, etc.) during hours when most stores are closed and allow the breezeway to remain clean and tidy when it reopens in the morning.

However, there is a concern about pushing the vandalism to another street now instead, and plans are unclear whether there will be a similar gate installed the 300 block breezeway. A city representative was not immediately available for comment.

The opening and closing of the gates will be managed by Bylaw Services, with hours adjusted for seasonal differences, but the gates are expected to generally be open when businesses are open downtown.

Single Story For Sale in Penticton Rural, Penticton

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Private, 10 acre parcel, located on Carmi Road

•  1894 sqft , 2 bath , 3 bdrm single story – FOR SALE  CAD799,000 . Panoramic views, Penticton Lakeview MLS® 188874

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Click here for: Property information