Kelowna Fire Department Fund Raiser

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The Kelowna Fire Department annual fundraising event raised $3,500 for burn victims. I was part of a "high-angle" rescue demonstrating the skill of the Fire Department in rescuing people from high angles. Councillor Tracy Gray was also rescued from a truck demonstrating the "Jaws of Life." It was a really interesting day and I was pleased to support the Fire Department and the Victims of burns.  

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Community Gardens Grow

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Community gardens get big green thumbs up in Kelowna

Infotel        By John McDonald                                               June 2, 2015

KELOWNA - Better support for community gardens, both public and private, can happen if there is a better understanding of what food security means for the community.

City staff hope to provide a better understanding by amending the food security policy in the official community plan and the zoning bylaw.

“This is turning a landscape buffer into functional, useable outdoor space — creating productivity,” Coun. Luke Stack says, praising the social function the 11 public community gardens in Kelowna provide.

Eight of these gardens are located on city-owned land and all are managed by the Central Okanagan Community Garden Society. The society says there is a waiting list of more than 200 people for garden plots.

There are also eight private gardens located in multi-family residential complexes and another three at local extended care facilities.

“Most of these people go to meet their neighbours, create friendships. The reality is it's a community that comes out of these gardens,” Stack says.

Urban planning manager Ryan Smith told council staff are recommending developers be allowed to swap 10 per cent of private amenity space (such as balconies or rooftop patios) in multi-residential projects for a shared garden space. As well, a one-metre strip of the current three-metre rear yard setback can be exchanged for garden space.

The current definition of food security looks to ensure all community residents have access to sufficient, safe, healthy and culturally acceptable foods produced in a manner that promotes health, protects the environment and adds economic and social value to communities. Council quickly passed first reading of all the related official community plan and zoning bylaw amendments.

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Rutland Maydays Parade

What a perfect day for a parade! Mayor and Council delivered roses to the ladies along the parade route. There were lots of people inattendance and lots of smiles. L-R Councillors Maxine Dehart (in golf cart) Luke Stack; Ryan Donn, Gail Given, Brad Sieban; Tracy Gray and Mayor Colin. Basran. 

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To kick off the event the "Political Possee" played a few tunes as well. Lots of fun by all.

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Okanagan Mission Secondary School Partnership

OKM School Theatre

Standing on the amazing rigging above the OKM theatre. The ceiling of this theatre is wire mesh. It allows students the ability to set lighting and sound for plays in a safe and secure mannor. Its like walking on a trampoline. What a great idea!

The City partnership with OKM School provided the opportunity to build a second gymnasium at the school using the "Neighborhoods of Learning" program. This beautiful new gymnasium is 3 meters higher than the existing gym allowing for vollyball. This Partnerhship allows the City to program indoor recreational activities at OKM to support the community needs in the Mission. A win for the school and the citizen's of Kelowna. The new classroom areas are also wonderful. They feature break-out study areas, open airy hallways and natural light throughout. Congratulations to SD#23 on the successful completion of this major addition to OKM. It is great to see the City and the School District working in partnership. 

 

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Pleasantvale Sod Turning

2014 Pleasantvale Sod Turning Dec 15

Dec 15, 2014 was a grand sunny winter day to celebrate the sod turning of Pleasantvale. This new development replaces 50 units of senior's housing and adds 20 new family town homes to the north-end of Kelowna. It is a beautiful location at the foot of Knox Mountain. There are many partners in this project. Dignitaries included Premier Clark representing the Province of BC and the staff of BC Housing; Mayor Basran representing the fine work of the staff of the City of Kelowna; MP Ron Cannan representing the Federal Government; Catherine Comden representing the Rotary and the Pleasantvale Homes Society and President Lorne Gerber representing the Society of Hope (Hope is the developer of the new site and future operator.) The project is now fully underway with a target completion date of February 2016. Thanks to all for the dedication to bring this project forward. It took 5 years of hard work, deal making and problem solving to reach this Sod Turning event.  

 

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City of Kelowna Says a Heart-Filled Goodbye at Last Council Meeting

Local News posted November 10, 2014 by  Cassandra Jeffery

Friendships were solidified, tears were shed, and memories were created at the final City of Kelowna Council Meeting for this council term.

Recounting moments of significant pride and rendering nostalgia from the last three years, the eight councillors and mayor Walter Gray took some time at the end of Monday's council meeting to comment on the success and woes of council and to provide some helpful advice for the council term to come.

“More than anything, I will take away the friendships I have with all of you. I've learned so much from all of you, and regardless of what happens on Saturday we are lifelong friends and will always be bonded as a result of this amazing experience. It's been an honour to serve with you and I will cherish this. If this is the only three years I get on council, I'm so proud of what we've accomplished,” said councillor Colin Basran.

Words of wisdom were shared by retiring council members and much praise was given to mayor Gray for his leadership and poise throughout his four terms as mayor and two terms as a councillor.

Phot Credit: Amatjit Lalli20141110 Last picture

Retiring councillor Robert Hobson shared his final words to council, reminding those who will serve next that it's important to remain true to their convictions and represent the entire City of Kelowna.

“Remember to take the long view, and pledge like the ancient councillors of Athens, to leave your city more beautifully than you found it. Always making decisions not with your head alone, but with your heart also,” added Hobson.

Walter Gray concluded the council meeting with his bitter-sweet “swan song,” congratulating the accomplishments council has made in this past term and offering council with his recommendations for the future council as he graciously bows out of office.

“An effective and deserving council is not just about bricks, water, and pavement, pathways, and bridges, but its also about promoting efficiency at city hall and knowing how to do business, giving value to every tax dollar spent,” added Gray.

Mayor Walter Gray encourages council to keep the social well-being of citizens at the heart of decision making. Gray holds the future of Kelowna with high regard and he is confident in the future council's capacity to propel the City of Kelowna into the future.

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Headlines speak of Kelowna’s Optimism

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Luke Stack to continue community-building work in his third term on Kelowna City Council

Kelowna, BC – Holding up Sunday’s newspaper, Kelowna City Councillor Luke Stack vowed to continue his work to build strong neighbourhoods as he kicked off his 2014 re-election campaign.

“Sunday’s headlines speak of Kelowna’s optimism,” says Stack, who is running for his third term on City Council. “The City of Kelowna needs steady, healthy growth but first and foremost, a city is a community. Sunday’s headlines show the quality of life we’re building here in Kelowna.”

Stack read out the headlines to his campaign team: Kids camp renovated by army of volunteers, Drive restocks local food banks, Fun run raises $75,000 for hospital equipment, Cancer fundraiser combines fun, food, wine. “This is the kind of city I want to live in,” he said.

Stack released his full platform on his website, lukestack.com, with an emphasis on revitalized town centres, public spaces, affordable housing and improved public transit and an expanded bike network.

An avid cyclist, Stack is a strong proponent for off-road bicycle pathways. His goal is a loop of bicycle paths linking all major hubs of the city, with the next key phase being along Dilworth Drive to link Rails with Trails to the Mission Park Greenway. He also has a keen interest in securing the CN rail corridor for a 48-kilometre off-road trail to Vernon.

Stack was first elected to City Council in 2008 and re-elected in 2011. He serves as the executive director for the Society of Hope. Since its inception in 1989, the Society has grown to become the largest non-profit housing provider in the Interior of B. C.

“This current City Council worked well together and has made significant progress on the Pandosy waterfront, completing the Bernard Avenue revitalization, launching a new public pier off Queensway, completing the new Senior’s Centre at Parkinson Recreation Centre and simplifying secondary suite approvals,” says Stack. “Continued co-operation at the Council level will ensure an optimistic future for Kelowna.”

The Kelowna municipal election is set for November 15.

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Rails With Trails - Phase II Opens

Rails With Trails - Phase II Opens

Rails with Trails Phase II officially opened on June 7, 2014. Hon. Steve Thomson, Mayor Walter Gray, Senator Nancy Greene Raine, and Rhona Martin (UBCM) did the honors of cutting the ribbon. A good crowd was on hand to walk and ride the new section of trail. Phase II connects Spall Road to Dilworth Road. The budget was $4.5 million dollars. This cost was shared equally by the Federal Government, the Provincial Government (Gas tax,) and the City of Kelowna. Kelowna is clearly making headway in becoming more pedestrian and bicycle friendly. There is now 19.2 Kilometers of off-road bike trails in the City of Kelowna. Progress!

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Glenmore Footprint Days 2014

2014 Glenmore Footprint
A record 180 walkers participated in the the 6th annual Glenmore Elementary's Footprint days on May 6th. The brainchild of Nicole Kleemaier - she conceived the idea of teaching children safe ways to walk to school. These organized walks build community spirit for families that attend the School. Mayor Gray and I participated in this first walk of the week. Personally, I loved walking to school as a boy in Calgary. Walking to school is great excercise and helps children socialize. Thanks to Vice-Principle Tamalee Middleton for her leadership and support of this unique event.  

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"The Hub of the Okanagan"

"The Hub of the Okanagan" Continues to Grow Above the National Average Rate


To residents of Kelowna,  it is no secret how much the city has grown and changed over the years. From 2006 to 2011, Kelowna (and area) grew by 10.8%. This placed it 4th in Canada for population growth in metropolitan areas after Calgary, Edmonton and Saskatoon.

According to the City of Kelowna's Official Community Plan, Kelowna is projected to grow an average of 1.51% annually over the course of the 20 years that the plan encompasses. While this would make the estimated population for 2013 to be 120,890, an official at the city said that with yearly fluctuations a closer estimate is 119,445. This represents growth above the national average of 1.2%.

When asked about Kelowna's tremendous growth City Councillor Luke Stack called Kelowna the “Hub of the Okanagan”, saying that those who get a taste of the city are often the ones who end up moving here.

“Kelowna continues to experience above average growth because it is a destination city in Canada. Canadians typically discover Kelowna on a summer vacation. Once they see the natural beauty of the Okanagan Lake and valley; the vineyards and  orchards they short list the City as a place they would love to live one day. Further investigation finds an expanding international airport, a well established University (UBC), the Kelowna General hospital which is the hub of regional healthcare in the Interior of BC.

“Finally, The City provides a full complement of modern shops and services, theatres and restaurants. The economic sector is growing, particularly in the high-tech sector.  There is a very vibrant small business entrepreneurial spirit in the region.”



Stack added that those reasons influenced his decision to move here with his family in 1981 and it was “an excellent decision”.
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