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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Developer to get a second chance

2017 Greensquare

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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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Prepared to lose votes

'Prepared to lose votes'

"I am prepared to lose votes, I am prepared to lose friends, because I believe that this is what's best for our community.

"I will stand up for that, and I will look anyone in the eye in regards to that because that is what is best for our community."

With that, Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran cast the final affirmative vote as city council approved rezoning and OCP amendments for a four-storey supportive housing project in Rutland for men recovering from addictions.

The vote was 6-3 in favour, with councillors Charlie Hodge, Brad Sieben and Mohini Singh voting against.

"I want to thank my council colleagues for supporting this, because that has taken a lot of political courage for you to do that in light of all of the things that have been said here tonight," added Basran.

A lot was said during an emotionally charged public hearing attended by upwards of 300 people who packed council chambers and spilled out into the foyer Tuesday night.

Sixty people took to the microphone to say their piece, 35 of those against the project at McCurdy and Rutland roads, many of whom live in the neighbourhood.

Some noted there are four schools within a short distance of the apartment building, while others said they are concerned for their children's safety with "those people" around.

One resident who lives next to the property said nobody wants this in their neighbourhood and that the project was getting shoved down their throats.

Others told individual councillors if anything happens, "it's on their head."

Several of those who spoke in favour have a direct connection with Freedom's Door, the recovery house that will operate the facility. They applauded the program and the men who voluntarily enter it.

They stated the men wanted to clean up and stay sober.

While most people spoke about the program's clients in a positive or negative light, it was zoning and land use, not occupancy, that council had to decide.

Coun. Luke Stack said he had no issue with the location or the size, saying it makes sense to him. But, he did read an email that challenged him to make a decision.

"If you can look me in the eye and honestly tell me you would be OK with this building right in the path of your children or your grandchildren, then go ahead and pass it," Stack read.

"I reflected on that, and I can honestly say I can look this woman in the eye and say I am OK with this."

The three who voted against felt the building is not in the right location.

Sieben called this the most difficult decision he has encountered on council.

He said the project is part of the solution, not the problem, adding the city has a lot of drug issues that lead to crime.

While those in the gallery were vehemently opposed, councillors pointed to the Cardington Apartments on St. Paul and a NOW Canada complex on Tutt Street across from Raymer Elementary.

There was strong opposition to both and, by all accounts, there have been no issues at either.

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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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UBCM Victoria

2016 Luke Empress

I attended the annual meeting of the Union of BC Muncipalities (UBCM) in Victoria in September. This is the annual gathering of Mayors and Council members from the Province of BC. This was the most productive UBCM meeting I have attended. The week was packed with meetings with Provincial Cabinet Ministers. I attended many workshops as well. Councillors took a close look at Air B&B, and the Provincial shortage of rental housing. (This shortage is everywhere in BC - not just Kelowna) I found myself running from meeting to meeting to get it all in. (This picture of me in front of the Empress and Victoria Conference Centre - where the meetings took place. The weather was beautiful for September.)

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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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Pleasantvale Affordable Housing Grand Opening

2016 Premier Pleasantvale Opening

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