Is the sky the limit?

This article appeared in the Capital News. I thought it summarized the many city centre changes I have overseen in Kelowna in recent years. 

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Beacon to the Future

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Top 10 - Kelowna Daily Courier Jan 13, 2018

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This article was published in the Okanagan Weekend paper on January 13, 2018. I was pleased to be recognized. 

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Low Vacancy Rates Continue to Challenge Kelowna

This story was in the Capital News on November 29, 2017

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New and Improved Stuart Ice rink Heater

I am really pleased that this new gas heater will warm everyone up at Stuart Park this winter. Thanks to our City staff for taking the initiative. 2017 Heater

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Kelowna's China Town (Lawrence and Leon)

One of the speakers at Saturday's event was Tun Wong, a longtime Kelowna resident who was born in Chinatown, which used to be enclosed by Harvey and Leon avenues and Abbott and Water Streets. Wong's mother, who was born in China, moved to Kelowna as a child in 1929 and raised Wong and his 10 siblings in Chinatown. “I've tried for years to try and get a plaque or a sign to designate Kelowna's Chinatown to honour its past residents and the sufferings they went through,” Wong said Saturday. “This sign has far exceeded what I ever had in mind.” The last of the buildings in Kelowna's Chinatown were demolished in the 1970s, but the new sign will preserve this history for generations to come.

The sign was designed by Arthur Lo, a retired Kelowna art teacher who sketched the design in 30 minutes during an Okanagan Chinese Canadian Association meeting in 2015.

After two years of planning, the sign was finally installed Friday.

The $32,000 sign was funded in equal parts by the Okanagan Chinese Canadian Association, the City of Kelowna through the federal government's Canada 150 grant and the Central Okanagan Foundation.

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Kelowna Fire Department Graduation

2017 Fire fighters

Congratulations to Kelowna's newest recuits. These men and women are joining the Kelowna Fire Department. Today they participated in a ceremony marking the completion of their training. Each was awarded an official hat to mark the transition.  Chief Whiting,and all in attendance, were proud to welcome them to the Kelowna Fire Department as both Fire Fighters and Dispatchers.  

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Historic Surtees' Property gets new life

2017 Sutees gets new life

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102 Day Emergency

From Castanet By Wayne Moore

August 15, 2017

It's been 102 days – and counting. That's how long the Central Okanagan Emergency Operations Centre has been up and running since floods first hit the region in early May.

Kelowna Coun. Luke Stack, sitting in as acting mayor Monday, took the opportunity to thank those who have put in time at the EOC to ensure residents are safe. "They have been doing double duty, as many have been seconded from their regular daily work to take on additional responsibility within the EOC," said Stack. "These folks, for those who don't know, are doing their regular job, and manning the Emergency Operations Centre."

The EOC was activated on May 5 after heavy rains the night before, combined with snowmelt, caused massive flooding throughout the region.The centre also pulled double duty last month after a wildfire in Okanagan Centre displaced hundreds and destroyed eight homes.

Kelowna city manager Ron Mattiussi, who helps oversee the centre, says the real story within those walls is the fact it's been a regional approach. "If you walked into the EOC on any given day, there would be a communication person from Kelowna, or Westbank First Nation, or West Kelowna and an engineer from Peachland," said Mattiussi. "It really was the strength that we could call upon the whole region, and the whole region responded by sending people who were pretty busy, to fill in."

Stack said everyone looks forward to the day when the EOC can be decommissioned, "and our lives can return to normal." While the flood danger has passed, the EOC will remain operational until cleanup is complete.

 

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RCMP Get a new Home

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(Castanet) Kelowna RCMP officers marched through downtown streets to their new headquarters, Tuesday. Dozens of passers-by stopped to take in the parade of Mounties in red serge, auxiliary constables, RCMP volunteers and civilian staff from the regional detachment area.

"This is a really big deal for our community. Most importantly, this will allow the RCMP to do their jobs more efficiently and make our community safer," said Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran. 

"It's a very proud moment for myself and the other employees of our building to move into such a state of the art facility. This is the first opportunity I have been able to work in a new detachment," said said Supt. Brent Mundle. "The citizens of Kelowna and the city council have done an outstanding job at providing us with a professional building to do police services from.

"I am pleased to have played a small part in securing this new building for the RCMP."  Luke Stack

Pictured below L-R C/Supt. Brad Haugli; Councillor Maxine Dehart, District Commander Brenda Butterworth-Carr and Councillor Luke Stack.

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MOU signed with Westbank First Nation

The Regional District of the Central Okanagan and the Westbank First Nation signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the protection and conservation of cultural heritage sites in the Regional Parks. Pictured here is Chair Given and Chief Roxanne Lindley signing the official documents. This is another important step on our journey of reconciliation with indiginous people in our region. I was honored to be a Board member of the Regional District and support this important initiative. (Picture taken at Two Eagles resort)

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New Infill Housing

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Rental Building Boom in Kelowna

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Kelowna is finally getting some much needed rental housing. 

 

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May is Asian Heritage Month in Kelowna

We celebrated the opening of Asian Heritage Month in Kelowna last night at a celebration at the Okanagan College. The focus this year is on Japan. Featured performances by Alcin Ryuzen Ramos, Yaabiko Taiko and Sensei Chris Taneda (Karate). Pictured above are the many children in attendance singing along with Alcvin.

2017 Asian Heritage 

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Mission Creek Restoration Award

2017 Mission Creek Restoration pic

Congratulations to Todd Cashin, of the City of Kelowna, for being recognized by his peers for the Mission Creek Restoration Project. This multi-partnership team is a great example of making a significant environmental improvement to this valued creek in Kelowna. The award is from the "Species and Ecosystems at Risk Local Government Working Group."  In this picture Todd is being recognized by Deputy Mayor Mohinni Singh and all of Kelowna City Council. 

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Council - Midterm check-in

Kelowna City Council is at the mid point in its four year term. This editorial was posted by Alistair Waters of the Capital News

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Apple Valley Building 3 approved

The Society is Hope is pleased to announce that the Provincial Government has funded the developemnt of building 3 under the Federal Infrastructure Program. This project will add 47 new units of senior rental housing to Kelowna. It will complete the Apple Valley complex. Construction will begin in Spring 2017 and complete in Spring 2018. 

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School Tours City Hall

Kelowna Christian School

Each Year the City offers Schools the opportunity to conduct tours of City Hall. Typically these tours consist of grade 3 children. They get an opportunity to learn about municipal government and the job it does on their behalf. I have been doing these tours for many years. I always enjoy the interaction with the children. They often bring prepared questions to challenge us! The children really enjoy meeting the Mayor on their visit. In this picture the children are learning about the "Spririt of Kelowna" wall. This wall celebrates Kelowna's 100th birthday which took place in 1905.

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Protect Farmland

Council takes a stand

It won't be business as usual for a long-established Kelowna nursery and landscaping company.

Neway Landscape and Irrigation Ltd. has been in business since 2003, leasing property at 3740 Casorso Road. However, for several years, it has been a non-conforming farm use.

The property in question is on ALR lands.

The company and its agents came to council Monday seeking approval to continue operating as usual while it slowly moved to make the operation fully conform.

The timeline was 2018.

"I've been in the nursery business for 20 years and I'd like to continue," the owner told council.

"My future, my staff's future could be at stake. I'm trying to see if we could get some support."

Council said no, partly because it is within the Benvoulin corridor, an area council says is full of non-conforming uses, and one which it has asked staff to clean up.

"Really, what we see before us today is an outcome of the direction we gave to staff," said Coun. Luke Stack in leading the charge against the application.

"I think Neway Landscaping is a good company, and I wish them every success in their landscaping construction and irrigation business, but I can't believe that is the right application to be used on this fine farmland."

Stack said the business is primarily a construction business, and should be operating from an industrial site.

"Today, I think, provides council with an opportunity to send a strong, united, firm but fair message, that we can't allow our quality farmland to be slowly converted to commercial, non-farm uses.

"The application on the table before us is for non-farm use. That's what we are being asked, not to help make this a better farm."

While most did struggle with the decision, they agreed not to recommend the application.

"This is a difficult one, and usually, I try to find any way possible to let farming opportunities to remain," said Coun. Charlie Hodge.

"But about 40 per cent of this property is set towards landscaping and irrigation, which isn't allowed. As much as I appreciate there has been a lot of communication with staff, I have to support Coun. Stack on the motion. I think for the sake of farmland, we have to take a stance to protect it."

Mayor Colin Basran commended the owner of the company and understood it was an emotional issue, but stated council has to do what's right for the agricultural community.

"I recognize you are trying to take some measures to bring it up to compliance by planting more nursery stock and make it more of a farm venture," said Basran.

"But this to me is clearly what we are trying to stop in our community."

The mayor urged the owner to continue to work with the city is hopes of eventually being able to bring the property into compliance.

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Pleasantvale Grand Opening

Premier Christy Clark, MP Stephen Fuhr and Mayor Colin Basran cut the ribbon at Pleasantvale on 13th, 2016. It was a perfect day of celebration for a job well done. The residents had an opportunity to mingle with the dignataries. The Society of Hope staff and their partners, BC Housing, Rotary Club of Kelowna and the City of Kelowna had a chance to reflect on the completion of a massive undertaking. Transferring 50 residents from the old site to the new apartments and constructing 20 new townhome units. The entire process took 6 years from early planning to completion. This was a complex project that required many consultants, including Anne Stack, Juliet Anderton, Kane Bentsen, and Norr Architecture. All of us worked hard to get this project off the ground - my deep appreciation to all!  

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