West Kelowna country singer raises $45K with ‘Music Fest MS’


$45K for Music Fest MS

West Kelowna country singer Ben Klick’s third-annual “Music Fest MS” raised $45,360 for the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada.

In three years the event has now raised $115,142.

Due to COVID-19, the show was moved online to YouTube and streamed live for viewers across Canada.

Klick, founder and organizer, who also hosted and played the event, reached out to a star-studded lineup of country music artists and speakers spanning across Canada and the United States to take part in the event including Juno Award Winner, Jess Moskaluke, CCMA and Platinum selling artist, Aaron Goodvin, and others.

Klick was inspired to organize and perform Music Fest MS after his father’s diagnosis with multiple sclerosis in June 2018.

“Once I received the news, I knew I wanted to do something to help. My family has always been extremely close, and it’s the least I could do to give back when they’ve all supported me over the years,” Klick said.

Donations to Music Fest MS stay open until October, the replay of the show is on Ben Klick’s YouTube channel, and you can learn more at www.benklick.com/musicfestms.

Public hearing into short-term rental bylaws shows overall support, but specific concerns and questions raised


Concerns over rental bylaw

If public reaction is any indication, it appears the City of West Kelowna is on the right track when it comes to a proposed set of bylaws which would regulate, and finally make legal, short-term rentals within the city.

Residents were given a chance to speak out for or against the contemplated bylaws during a second public hearing Tuesday evening.

The second public hearing was needed after several issues raised during the first public hearing prompted significant changes to the set of bylaws.

Chief among those was the ability to have short-term rentals on a property that also includes a secondary suite or carriage house, or both.

Other changes removed bed and breakfast operators from the bylaw altogether, increasing the number of people allowed within a short-term rental, and cleaning up some of the language contained within the proposed bylaws.

Many of the handful of people who chose to call into the public hearing Tuesday applauded city council for listening to the people.

“You have heard the voice of the people,” says Shirley Pacholok, a member of the Casa Loma Residents Association.

Another speaker commended council for a “reasonable and measured approach,” and for making a dramatic course correction after the first public hearing.

While public sentiment was generally supportive, there were still some concerns and questions seeking clarity.

One speaker wondered if he would be able to enter the short-term pool even though his neighbourhood is not on city sewer, something which seemed to be contrary to proposed bylaws.

Planning manager Brent Magnan suggested those on septic would have to prove to the city their septic system could handle the added load.

There were also concerns about having to be present when the home was being rented. One speaker suggested when his family goes camping on weekends they rent out their home while another said he lives in his home eight months of the year.

They were told those types of site-specific questions would be resolved through the licensing process.

Staff also suggested issues such as enforcement and neighbourhood caps would be dealt with at a later date.

Michael Layland was the lone caller vehemently opposed to the short-term rental bylaws.

“I believe maintaining affordability and long-term rental availability ought to be a higher priority than increasing tourism as it relates to the proposed amended bylaw,” he said.

“Specifically, I do not support the proposed amended bylaw which would allow the use of carriage houses for short-term rentals. I cannot support the continued construction of detached dwellings solely for short-term rental use in residential neighbourhoods.”

City council is expected to debate the final reading and adoption of short-term rental bylaws later this month, and if adopted, the licensing process would begin shortly thereafter.

Chief Administrative Officer Paul Gipps suggested compliance enforcement would have to begin immediately after the bylaws are adopted, and expects council will be asked to review the success of the bylaws after the first year.

West Kelowna will celebrate Canada Day and Westside Daze a little differently this year


Westside Daze goes virtual

Canada Day and Westside Daze will both look a little bit different in West Kelowna this year.

Organizers were hoping to be able to return to some semblance of normalcy after cancelling both events in 2020, but with many restrictions still in place due to COVID-19, changes had to be made.

Those changes include a virtual Westside Daze and somewhat in-person Canada Day.

Thursday, July 1 will be celebrated as a “drive thru” event this year at the Westridge Shopping Centre.

The Canada Day drive thru will include a mini antique and classic car showcase as well as free holiday-themed cupcakes distributed by community VIPs.

The drive thru will run from 3 to 5 p.m.

The virtual Westside Daze celebration will also kick-off online on Canada Day, with events available for viewing, and participating in throughout the month of July.

The highlight of the month-long celebration will be a pair of concerts streamed live from the Emmanuel Church theatre.

Ben Klick will perform Friday, July 2, followed the next night by Elvis impersonator Adam Fitzpatrick and the Cadillac Kings.

Both shows begin at 7:30 p.m. and will be streamed live on the Westside Daze YouTube channel. They will be available on the Westside Daze website the remainder of July.

A number of contests and events are also slated to begin July 1 and run throughout the entire month, including:

  • Community Scavenger Hunt — Get in your bubble and learn about historic and cultural events in our community- contest winner $250 gift certificate
  • Dine Around the Globe – partnering with restaurants to experience ethnic cuisine. Contest winners will receive dinner certificate(s) from participating restaurants
  • Colouring Contest – Colour a pre-selected picture available on westsidedaze.com – or colour your own picture of ‘What Canada Means to Me’ – Win $100 in each of 4 categories: under 3, 4 to 7, 8 to 10 and 11 and over
  • Ethnic Recipe Contest – Enter you favourite ethnic dish and win $250
  • VIP Children’s Story Time – Darlene Hartford and Linda Lovissa have graciously offered to let our VIP’s read their children’s stories

All contest details and entry forms will be available on the Westside Daze website next week.

West Kelowna elementary school may be displaced by new high school


New school site selected

The Central Okanagan School District says it has been left with just one option to build a new secondary school in West Kelowna.

Next week school trustees will review a recommendation that would see George Pringle Elementary downtown Westbank knocked down and rebuilt as a high school.

English elementary students from George Pringle would then be sent to the Webber Road Elementary School site, which was closed years ago and is now leased to the Boys and Girls Club. The school district still owns the site.

George Pringle’s French Immersion students would be sent to Glenrosa Elementary and/or Hudson Road Elementary.

The school district says it considered building a new high school on the Webber Road site because of “significant challenges with location, topography and the designated archeological/historical site where the school would be built.”

The school district says it is urgent they move ahead with the project as Mount Boucherie Secondary is expected to be at 126 per cent capacity, with 17 portables, within five years. Provincial funding for other projects would also be in jeopardy if there are further delays.

“Left with only a single feasible solution after years of comprehensive investigation, the Board is faced with an incredibly difficult situation as it strives to ensure that it has the space to serve our students on the Westside,” says board Chairperson Moyra Baxter. “As a board, we are committed to ensuring that the students and families of E?cole George Pringle Elementary School will be well supported if the decision is to proceed with this plan.”

The school district says students who currently could walk to George Pringle Elementary will require busing under the new plan. The commute by car would be an additional 6-10 minutes.

SD 23 says it will also work with the City of West Kelowna and the Okanagan Boys and Girls Club to preserve as many of the Webber Road community centre’s operations as possible when the school opens. By 2024, SD 23 will also terminate its lease with the city for the community gardens and dog park on the George Pringle site.

The full motion that trustees will be voting on Wednesday is below:

THAT: Subject to funding approval by the Ministry of Education that the École George Pringle Elementary School site be repurposed for a new Secondary school:

THAT: The Board of Education relocates the École George Pringle Elementary School English program to the Webber Road Elementary School site and the French Immersion program to Glenrosa Elementary School and/or Hudson Road Elementary School effective September 2022;

AND THAT: The Board of Education conducts a comprehensive community consultation starting in the Fall of 2021 to establish new elementary, middle and secondary catchments for the Westside family of schools;

AND THAT: The Board of Education develops a clear and measurable plan to address the needs of students transitioning from George Pringle Elementary School prior to the relocation.

West Kelowna pausing fire mitigation on Mount Boucherie this weekend


Wildfire mitigation paused

The City of West Kelowna has paused wildfire mitigation work to allow residents to hit the trails this long weekend.

Mount Boucherie will be fully open to recreational users throughout the three-day Victoria Day long weekend.

Crews will be working on the vicinity of Mount Boucherie Secondary School and the city’s arenas and ball fields.

Crews will continue their work after the long weekend on the northern slopes located east of Royal LePage Place and Jim Lind Arena.

The City says trails and the access staircase, east of the parking lot, will be closed temporarily over the next two weeks.

The wildfire mitigation work on public lands is funded under a grant provided through the Province of BC’s Community Resiliency Improvement Program.

Residents who wish to complete FireSmart wildfire mitigation work on their private property may be eligible for grants of up to $500.

For more information on the grants, click here.

Developer suing City of West Kelowna over infrastructure charges


Developer suing city

A developer is taking the City of West Kelowna to court over $750,000 in infrastructure charges the municipality forced upon the builder.

In a lawsuit filed Tuesday in BC Supreme Court, Ironclad Developments alleged the city did not follow policy when finalizing a latecomer agreement to fund the construction of Gosset Road between Eilliot and Brown roads

Latecomer agreements are used by municipalities to fund infrastructure required to support development. An initial developer pays for the costs of infrastructure improvements up front and subsequent developers who benefit from that work within 15 years must pay for a portion of the work in the form of latecomer fees.

In the case now before the courts, Ironclad Developments is disputing the $749,000 latecomer fee imposed by the city in relation to its four-building, 193-unit apartment project at 3623 Elliott Road.

The lawsuit alleges the fee was originally estimated to be $397,000, but it dramatically increased after cost increases associated with the construction of Gosset Road.

Ironclad claims the city did not give the company the chance to provide feedback on the costs associated with the new road, as outlined in city policy.

“Instead, after months of ignoring Ironclad’s requests to review relevant information and to make submissions, the city simply gave notice to Ironclad that it had delegated the matter to a quantity surveyor,” the lawsuit says.

The city would accept that surveyor’s conclusions and imposed the fee on Ironclad while tying its payment to the occupancy permit for the project’s first building.

On Nov. 20, 2020, the city told Ironclad that the fee amount was final and invited the company to go to court if it wanted to dispute it further. The company paid the fee, under protest, 10 days later.

“Ironclad submits that the process by which the city made the decision — including without input from the only latecomer and in absence of review by an independent third party engineer — was unreasonable,” the lawsuit claims.

The company is seeking an order that the $749,000 latecomer fee be returned and that the city reconsider the charge and explain its decision in writing with documentation.

None of the allegations contained in the lawsuit have been proven and the City of West Kelowna has not filed a response in court.

West Kelowna Warriors request highway sign promoting arena


Warriors seeking a sign

The West Kelowna Warriors are lobbying the city for a new sign on Highway 97 to promote Royal Lepage Place.

City council will discuss a request from the team on Tuesday for a 24-foot high sign at the corner of Hwy 97 and Bartley Road.

“It is quite common for municipal events facilities, like Royal Lepage Place, to have signage on nearby thoroughfares to increase the profile of the facility and promote the events held within,” the team said in its written request to the city.

“We believe a significant presence on Highway 97 will increase the awareness of the 1500-seat Royal Lepage Place, as well as provide the opportunity to communicate relevant messaging of upcoming community events and drive more patrons to the facility.”

The Warriors say many residents may not be aware of the amenities at Royal Lepage Place and the sign would improve awareness.

The sign would cost between $60,000 and $75,000. The Warriors says they are “open to exploring subsidizing a portion of these costs.”

“However, given the residual benefits for City and the naming rights partner, we are asking for financial support on this project.”

West Kelowna council has made significant changes to proposed bylaws around short-term rentals


City’s about face on rentals

The City of West Kelowna has done a complete 180-degree turn when it comes to a new bylaw regulating short-term rentals.

During a public hearing last month, city council heard loud and clear from residents who were vehemently opposed to provisions which would restrict short-term rentals on property which already included a secondary suite or carriage home.

The bed and breakfast industry was also up in arms over wording that would lump them in with short-term rentals, thus restricting the way they currently operate.

City council had narrowly adopted those provisions at second reading prior to the public hearing, but made it clear after hearing from the public they wished to see what a set of bylaws would look like without those restrictions.

During a lengthy presentation and discussion, council moved away from both points and asked staff to craft a new set of bylaws.

“My concern initially was we would lose some long-term rentals,” said Mayor Gord Milsom, who initially voted in favour of restrictions on carriage homes and secondary suites.

“I understand we have to find a balance, and it’s not right to put the responsibility of long-term rentals on the backs of secondary suite owners.”

Council also agreed to change the categories of short-term rentals away from minor and major, as well as to look at setting a cap on the number of rentals allowed within the city.

“We are stewards to protecting this community…and I am concerned about losing the residential aspect of our neighbourhoods,” said Coun. Rick de Jong.

“I do want to send a message we won’t be a free-for-all.”

Council voted 6-1 to allow staff to bring back the concept a cap back to council after the initial intake of applications has taken place.

Council will now be tasked with rescinding second reading of the current bylaw proposal and bringing forward a revised bylaw. A second public hearing will also be required.

Water quality notice issued in West Kelowna


Water quality notice issued

The City of West Kelowna and Interior Health has issued a water quality advisory for the Lakeview/Rose Valley System due to increasing turbidity in the Rose Valley Reservoir.

The municipality says increased turbidity can allow bacteria, viruses and microorganisms to attach themselves to the suspended particles in the turbid water avoiding chlorine disinfection.

Determine if you are in the affected water system by viewing the city’s Water Quality Advisory Map.

Under a Water Quality Advisory, children, the elderly, those with weakened immunity must use water brought to a rolling boil for one minute or more, or seek an alternative safe source, for brushing teeth, drinking, making baby formula and ice, preparing food and beverages and washing fruits and vegetables, and any other consumption.

A safe source of water is available at the bulk filling station at Shannon Lake and Asquith Roads. Customers can use the station free throughout the duration of the Water Quality Advisory. Please bring clean bottles for filling. A touch-free tap is located on the Asquith Road side of the facility.

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.