Westbank First Nation councillor Christopher Derickson helps Felix Kavanagh, four, at the unveiling of a new indigenous garden last June at Okanagan College.—Image: Carli Berry/Capital News

Volunteer spirit alive and well in Kelowna

City residents surpassed a 150,000-hour challenge in 2017 by more than 60,000 volunteer hours

In January 2017, Kelowna residents and organizations were challenged to collectively volunteer 150,000 hours over the course of the year in honour of Canada’s 150th birthday.

They not only met the challenge, they surpassed it.

According to the city, the tally of hours is in and Kelowna residents exceeded the challenged by a large margin. They racked up 210,807 volunteer hours last year.

“I’m really pleased that so many residents took the time out of their busy lives to volunteer in 2017,” said Mariko Siggers, community and neighbourhood services manager with the city. “We have so many generous residents who are full of community spirit—and that’s been really special to see. I hope new volunteers have enjoyed the experience and keep it up.”

The city says another highlight of Canada’s 150th birthday for Kelowna was the sesquicentennial grant. Several local organizations were recipients of funding for projects related to the milestone.

Okanagan College established a 6,000-square-foot indigenous garden, called the na’ʔk’ʷulamən Garden, on its Kelowna campus. The garden features 50 varieties of Okanagan plants, shrubs, trees and rocks, and is home to artwork created and provided by local indigenous artists.

The Kelowna Art Gallery brought together significant Canadian works of art from private collections throughout the Okanagan for visitors to view. The selection included artwork from well-known artists such as Emily Carr, Lawren Harris and Jack Bush.

The Kelowna Dragon Boat Society, with the support of Kelowna city council, has established a Kelowna Paddle Trail—a water path created along the Okanagan Lake foreshore. The trail will be feature public beach access spanning from McKinley Beach to Bertram Creek Regional Park. The trail will have an official grand opening in the spring.

Kelowna city council will receive a final Canada 150 report on Feb. 19.

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