Give and Volunteer in Kelowna

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Kelowna Santas is a volunteer initiative that works to provide a better Christmas for less fortunate children in Lake Country, Kelowna and West Kelowna.

Volunteering with Kelowna Santas allows you to bring joy to families this Christmas as you wrap and deliver presents for the people in the community that need it the most. 

It’s inspiring to see that so many members of our community want to make a positive impact in the lives of less fortunate children every year.

To give a gift, just visit one of the many drop locations to donate a new unwrapped gift.

+ Contact + Info

+ Register your family


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Donate to the Vernon Salvation Army is to go to our website: vernonhouseofhope.com and click on one of the ‘donate today’ buttons. You can also drop off donations to the House of Hope at 3303 32 Ave or the Thrift Store at Unit 1 – 5400 24 Street both in Vernon.

To volunteer, check out their volunteer page: vernonhouseofhope.com/volunteering to get information. Or call 250-549-4111 and ask to speak with the person in charge of volunteers.

Different volunteer positions include the Food Bank (sorting, distributing, packing hampers, etc.), Thrift Store, and Emergency Response (preparing and serving food off emergency trucks during emergency situations).

+ Contact and Info


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The Christmas Hamper Program at Archway Society for Domestic Peace – a transition house for women in Vernon – invites members of the community to sponsor a Christmas Hamper for a family in need this holiday season. If you are interested in sponsoring a family, please reach out to Archway Society (contact info below) for more information.

+ Contact and Info

+ Wish List Ideas

+ Donate Money Directly


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Be a Santa to a Senior in Vernon, Kelowna, West Kelowna and Penticton who may be isolated from friends or family this holiday season. Visit one of these participating London Drugs, and locate their Be a Santa to a Senior tree:

  • 4400 32 St., Vernon

  • 1950 Harvey Ave., Kelowna

  • 2111 Main St., Penticton

  • 2151 Louie Dr., Westbank

Each tree will be decorated with ornaments featuring seniors’ first names and their desired gifts. Buy the requested gift and return it to the store with the ornament attached. Community volunteers will wrap and deliver the gifts to local seniors in time for the holidays.

+ Contact and Info


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Candy Cane Lane consists of several connecting streets in a quiet Rutland neighbourhood, where houses are decorated with spectacular holiday displays for the month of December. It’s free to visit, but visitors are asked to bring non-perishable items for the food bank.

Where: Gramiak Rd., Kelowna

When: From 5 p.m. until bedtime, every night throughout December.


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Kelowna Women’s Shelter offers a safe place to stay, and essentials such as food, clothing, and toiletries for women in need. Residents are provided with emergency housing, as well as crisis intervention, support and outreach counselling, and children’s programs.

  • Head over here If you’re interested in donating to this important organization.

  • Quality used items are also welcome, and can be dropped of from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Monday, Wednesday and Saturday.

  • For a comprehensive list of items most needed, or wish list items such as phone cards, movie passes, toiletries, pyjamas, and baby items, check out this useful PDF.

+ Contact and Info


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The NexusBC Making Spirits Bright campaign provides gift cards for items that low-income Vernon seniors want and need.

  • Purchase a gift card from a local store that can provide basic necessities (food, toiletries, clothing), and bring this to the NexusBC office along with a cheerful card.Add it to a small gift that they can unwrap on Christmas Day.

  • Useful gift cards include the Wholesale Club, Safeway, and Walmart.

  • Drop off your donation to NexusBC Community Resource Centre, 3201 30th St. Vernon

+ Contact and Info


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With snow just around the corner, the NexusBC Community Resource Centre is in need of snow shovellers to help local seniors keep their driveways and sidewalks clear.

+ Contact and Info

 

Cross Country Ski and Snow Shoe trails

 

 
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Silverstar Mountain Resort, VERNON

SKI AND SNOWSHOE

Discover the beauty, sweeping views and 700cm of annual snowfall in the Monashee Mountain range! Silverstar is located 22 km East of Vernon and is a full mountain resort offering a variety of activities and services.

More Info: -HERE-

Map: -HERE-

 

 

Sovereign Lake, VERNON

SKI AND SNOWSHOE

Check out Canada’s largest groomed network of cross-country ski and snow shoe trails! Sovereign Lake is a designated nordic centre 24 km East of Vernon. The high elevation, abundance of dry snowfall and mild winter temperatures provide for outstanding conditions.

More Info: -HERE-

Map: -HERE-

 

 

Predator Ridge, VERNON

SNOWSHOE

Explore 1,200 acres on snowshoes! Predator Ridge is a golf community tucked up in the hills 15 km South of Vernon. In the winter, you will find a wonderland of snow, mountain & lake views, wildlife and un-groomed (but well tromped) snowshoe trails.

More Info: -HERE-

Map: -HERE-

 

 

Kelowna Nordic Club, KELOWNA

SKI AND SNOWSHOE

Perched in the hills, come and experience a unique skiing experience filled with state-of-the-art grooming and rustic facilities! Kelowna Nordic Club is 50 km east of Kelowna.

More Info: -HERE-

Map: -HERE-

 

 

Big White Mountain Resort, KELOWNA

SKI AND SNOWSHOE

Hailed as Canada’s largest ski-in, ski-out resort village, Big White is nestled high in the mountain tops! 56 km east of Kelowna, you will find your self in a vibrant little winter town full of things to do.

More Info: -HERE-

Map: -HERE-

 

 

Telemark Nordic Club, WEST KELOWNA

SKI AND SNOWSHOE

Discover stunning ski and shoe trails through snow-kissed forests with sweeping valley views. Telemark is a mountain gem 26km West of Kelowna (see map below in red).

More Info: -HERE-

Map: -HERE-

 
 
 

West Kelowna rejects proposal for winery lookout tower

 

Winery tower crushed

A wine tasting building proposed for Goat’s Peak Winery will not become the tallest structure in West Kelowna.

Developers of Goat’s Peak Winery had originally proposed a 35 metre tall tasting facility in the form of a lighthouse.

Council deferred a decision on that design after giving it a lukewarm reception, prompting winery owner Darrel Monette to scrap the lighthouse in favour of a more slender, concrete structure.

At 35 metres, the building would easily be the tallest in the city, 10 metres taller than the bell tower at Mission Hill Winery.

Monette is seeking a non-farm use in order to construct the building on ALR land and, at the same time, is asking the city for a height variance. The maximum height allowed is 15 metres.

City planning manager Brent Magnan said the new iteration of the tasting room tower is a “significant redesign” over the lighthouse, but added height was still an issue.

If approved, he told council the city would have to spend about $250,000 on a new training program for the West Kelowna Fire Department.

Fire Chief Jason Brolund suggested the costs, including about $150,000 in training alone, could be spread over two years. Training and equipment would be required before the building opened to the public.

The expenditure was a non-starter for Coun. Rick de Jong, who didn’t see the need for a 35 metre “lookout tower.”

“I think the driving force behind that investment should be because we have a highrise tower coming in with residential development where those apartments are going to be paying taxes, and provide homes for people to live in,” he said.

“This proposal does none of that.”

De Jong says it’s no secret the new Official Community Plan will include highrises in city, but says that should be the driving force behind investing money for firefighter training, not something like this.

Coun. Doug Findlater called the money a “business subsidy,” and didn’t agree with spending it this way.

Speaking in favour of the tower, Coun. Jason Friesen argued the money has to be spent sometime and, whether it’s for this building or something else doesn’t matter.

He also applauded the winery for coming back with a “classy building.”

“We have to remember that part of tourism is about the experience so, yes, it’s a lookout tower, but it’s an experience,” said Friesen.

“We want to create experiences for our residents, experiences for our tourists, and we have to spend the money anyway.”

The tower idea was voted down 4-2, with only councillors Friesen and Jayson Zilkie voting in support.

West Kelowna has a plan to keep its infrastructure working in case of a power failure

 

Plan to keep water flowing

The City of West Kelowna and the Emergency Operations Centre are putting plans in place in case the Brenda Creek Wildfire impedes the only source of power into the Greater Westside region.

The region seems to have dodged one bullet as the fire reportedly reached transmission lines but has moved past.

However, a few brief power flickers Thursday afternoon suggest they are not out of the woods just yet.

West Kelowna engineering general manager Allen Fillion tells Castanet News plans are in place to keep the city’s main water treatment plant, pump stations and lift stations operational in case of an outage.

He says the Powers Creek water treatment plant has backup generators to power about half of the facility. He says that will allow it to run, albeit at a reduced capacity.

“Most of our major water pump stations also have backup power,” said Fillion.

“On the sewer side, the major lift stations have backup power, but there’s a handful of smaller ones that don’t. We have portable generators that we use to pump them down, get the capacity regained, then move on to the next one.”

He says if there are challenges with the generators, they have a city VAC truck, and can procure others to “suck them out,” and keep the lift stations operating.

“We do have a plan in place. It’s not ideal, and it will take a lot of staff time and effort.

“So, obviously, we would really be appealing to the public to limit water consumption and sewer usage.”

Fillion says the EOC is also working to secure additional fuel to keep the generators up and running.

West Kelowna breaks ground on new skatepark, first step towards new city hall

 

Ground broken on skatepark

The City of West Kelowna has broken ground on its new skatepark, the first step in the new city hall project.

The ceremony on June 15, which was closed to the public and media,

took place at the site of the $18 million project at the corner of Old Okanagan Highway and Dobbin Road.

The current skatepark next to the Johnson Bentley pool needs to be removed to make space for the new city hall building. The 51,500 square foot, four-floor building will feature an Okanagan Regional Library on its ground floor.

The new skatepark is expected to open early fall 2021.

“We’re making history together with the Okanagan Regional Library and Westbank First Nation in providing recreation, community services, culture and learning for everyone to enjoy,” says Mayor Gord Milsom. “Breaking ground for the enhanced skatepark couldn’t have been achieved without the valuable design input of our skateboard community and the public, and we remain grateful for their participation.”

“The skatepark is the beginning of construction on the site where our City Hall/Library Building is located, and we’re so very pleased to have the Okanagan Regional Library as an equity partner. We’re also deeply honoured to partner with Westbank First Nation to incorporate Indigenous art, language and culture that can be celebrated for generations to come,” says Milsom.

Westbank First Nation Chief Christopher Derickson congratulated the city on the project.

“We are honoured and excited to be a partner in this project not only with the City of West Kelowna, but with the Okanagan Regional Library as well on their new location in the civic centre. For centuries, my people, the Syilx people and Indigenous people across this country, have gone unrecognized by the greater Canadian public. In fact, if you drive along the highways in the province of BC, you very rarely see any indications that you are coming up to a Reserve or First Nation community. However, in this community, residents of the City of West Kelowna and those who come through this building, will be able to tell whose land they’re on, where they’re located, and learn something about the Indigenous people, the Syilx people, and the Westbank First Nation community as they enter their civic hall.“

As construction progresses, the existing skatepark will remain in operation until the new skatepark is complete this fall. Once built, the existing skatepark will be decommissioned in preparation for City Hall/Library Building construction.

The municipality is seeking feedback on the design on the city hall building through to June 27 here.

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.

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.