The Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit of British Columbia (CFSEU-BC), a team that targets organized crime and gang activity, surrounded the Flats of Landmark 2 on Bedford Avenue dressed in tactical gear with their weapons drawn. (Black Press)

Weekly roundup: Gang task force takedown, alleged hamster killer charged, Kelowna goes 5G

A look at the top stories of the week

Here are the top stories of the week.

Kelowna couple pedalling past loss of sight

Patience and compassion are key when it comes to weathering a storm together.

That’s according to Kelowna couple Pauline and Jim Marshall.

Over the years, Jim developed glaucoma, which he had been able to manage well. But then three years ago, he suddenly lost his vision while on a trip to California with his wife Pauline.

“I think the hardest part was that it happened so suddenly. We’re both avid cyclists and in January (2017), we were doing really well cycling. Then Jim developed a red-eye and by February, he could no longer drive,” Pauline said.

New ‘smart city’ 5G technology to be installed in Kelowna next week

New 5G sensors will be installed in Kelowna next week as part of a ‘smart city’ pilot project anonymously tracking peoples’ movement around downtown Kelowna.

Wireless internet-connected LiDAR sensors, which capture low-resolution data incapable of capturing identifying details, will be installed at Bernard Avenue’s intersections with Water and Pandosy streets. The sensors will capture data on vehicle and foot traffic patterns, which will be used by UBC research students to help find ways to improve vehicle, pedestrian and cyclist safety.

Suspected social media accounts of accused Kelowna hamster torturer emerge

Unsettling social media accounts have emerged since the arrest of a Kelowna man accused of torturing a hamster and posting the video online.

Leighton Allen Labute, 20, was charged on Monday (May 25) with three counts of killing or injuring an animal and three counts of causing unnecessary pain or suffering to an animal, stemming from a May 2019 incident.

An Instagram account with over 7,000 followers, which includes Labute’s name in the bio, consists largely of photos of anthropomorphic clay sculptures and dolls depicting gore and rape. The first post appears to have been created on May 1, 2016.

Bernard Avenue will be closed to vehicles this summer

Kelowna’s main drag is officially set to close, to vehicles, for most of the summer.

In an effort to assist downtown businesses through the COVID-19 pandemic, the city is making Bernard Avenue a pedestrian-only thoroughfare, allowing restaurants and businesses to expand operations into parking spaces and streets.

Bernard will close to vehicle traffic from St. Paul Street to the Sails statue, including a portion of Abbott Street towards Lawrence Avenue. The intersections at cross streets would remain open to through traffic. The closure would begin June 29 and last through Sept. 8.

Kelowna’s Rock the Lake officially postponed until 2021

Rock the Lake organizers have formally announced that this year’s music festival has been postponed and rescheduled for August 6 to 8, 2021.

The announcement comes after many people took to the festival’s Facebook page to voice their displeasure over the lack of communication the festival has been giving ticket holders. Unlike most festivals, organizers had yet to decide on what was to happen, whether they would refund the tickets or honour the tickets at a later date.

VIDEO: Gang task force takedown near Landmark District in Kelowna

Residents of The Flats II on Bedford Avenue woke to dogs barking and police yelling, about 8:45 a.m. Wednesday.

The Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit of British Columbia (CFSEU-BC), a team that targets organized crime and gang activity, surrounded the building dressed in tactical gear with their weapons drawn.

A man was tackled to the ground and arrested, while a woman was arrested a short time later in the courtyard of the building. The woman is said to have lived in the apartments.

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