Kelowna’s year in review – July 2019

A look back at the biggest stories of the year in July

Okanagan cherry

grower braces

for worst

Cherry farmers in the Okanagan suffered their worst season in nearly two decades after wet weather in July.

In an attempt to try and save their crops, some farmers hired helicopters to blow dry their cherry trees, however for some that wasn’t practical.

“Most of our stock is completely unpickable,” said Shelley Kempf, owner of Kempf Orchards.

“Probably one of the worst years in 20 years.”

Shelley and her husband Herb said about 50 to 60 per cent of their cherries split, causing the early crop of cherries to be all but wiped out.

CMHA Kelowna

takes steps to clean

up Heath House

The Kelowna branch of the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) announced changes to Heath House to help it integrate into the community after its opening in January.

Located on Highway 97, Heath House offers 40-units to individuals experiencing, or who may be at risk of homelessness. Although, like any new development, this didn’t happen without its challenges.

Neighbouring residents in the Rutland community complained about increased crime, garbage and exposure to drugs and alcohol consumption in public since the opening of Heath House.

Under the new rules, all tenants of Heath House and any other Kelowna CMHA housing project are to sign a detailed tenant’s agreement that outlines expected behaviour, the rules of the house and the good neighbour policy.

If residents fail to comply with the agreement, other arrangements will be made for that individual. CMHA said since Heath House’s opening, 10 residents have been “evicted” from the home.

OGO e-scooters will roll on Kelowna streets

A new, cheap, quick and electric transportation option hit the streets of Kelowna in July.

OGO Scooters, a part of Canada West Segway, was launched on July 12, becoming the first electric scooter rideshare program in Western Canada.

West Kelowna wins

cannabis court battle

The City of West Kelowna was entitled to cancel two cannabis dispensaries’ business licences, a B.C. Supreme Court judge found on July 4.

The city was awarded its legal costs and said it will pursue further legal action against Black Crow Herbals Association and Okanagan Cannabis Solutions Society to collect fines totalling $74,000 and $76,000 respectively.

Kelowna’s McCurdy

house gets operation

model redesign

A week after presenting council with a petition that included 14,000 signatures in opposition to the McCurdy housing project, the provincial government announced it would change the model of the supportive housing project and no more illegal drug use would be permitted at the facility.

Mayor Colin Basran, on behalf of the minister, informed nearly 100 residents from Rutland and surrounding communities in the gallery that the supportive housing project on McCurdy Road would have no overdose-prevention site located onsite, nor would there be any use of illegal drugs.

“People need a safe roof over their heads to move forward in their lives,” Basran said.

Basran noted the minister said security and additional staff would be on site for the first six months when the facility opens to ensure the operation runs smoothly and integrates into the community.

First pot shop

for Kelowna opens

Kelowna welcomed its first retail cannabis shop to the city in late July.

Located at 2121 Springfirled Rd., it was Donnelly Group’s third store location in British Columbia at the time with the two other stores located in Vancouver.

Future unknown for

Kelowna seniors’

activity centre

The Okanagan Mission Senior Centre Society celebrated 50 years of memories and fun in July at their beloved centre on Hobson Road.

Cake was cut, stories swapped, art was displayed and history was relived through old photo albums during the party that drew people of all ages to celebrate the society’s 50 years in the building they’ve called home since 1973.

But underlying the buzz of the celebration was uncertainty, as the future of the Okanagan Mission Activity Centre remains unknown.

The centre, also known as Dawe’s House, could be demolished to enlarge the park space at Sarsons Beach and increase the parking lot size.

City of Kelowna parks and building planning manager Robert Parlane said the demolition slated for 2020 is not the activity centre, but rather another structure on the southern portion of the property.

The city wants to remove the hedging and fencing to expand the green space near Sarsons Beach, he said.

He added that “no firm decisions” had been made at the time regarding the future of the beloved activity centre.

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