While at Kelowna’s Orchard Park Shopping Centre on Wednesday, July 8, Razvon Bachmeier and his boyfriend Robert Boettcher were confronted with homophobic remarks and a police report. (File)

Year in review – July 2020

A look back at July’s top stories

  • Jan. 1, 2021 9:00 a.m.

Predator mutilated cats in Kelowna: BC SPCA

The BC SPCA confirmed the mutilated body of a cat in July discovered in a downtown Kelowna neighbourhood was killed by a predator.

Brian Kijowski, regional manager for the SPCA cruelty investigation department, said a necropsy was conducted on one of the cats.

“It was a predator that committed the attack on this cat,” said Kijowski.

“We are thinking it was maybe a coyote or raccoon.”

Bodies of several cats were reported near Mantera Glen Park, Lombardy Park and Parkinson Recreational Park back in June.

For a couple of days in June, people took to social media claiming they had found more dead cats in the area.

However, since then the BC SPCA had no reports of dead cats in Kelowna.

Kijowski explained it is puppy season for coyotes in the Okanagan and mothers will be hunting for food for their pups.

•••

Couple shaken up after homophobic encounter at Kelowna mall

What started as a normal trip to the mall ended in tears for a West Kelowna couple.

While at Kelowna’s Orchard Park Shopping Centre on Wednesday, July 8, Razvon Bachmeier and his boyfriend Robert Boettcher were confronted with homophobic remarks and a subsequent police report.

The couple was at the jewelry booth in the Bay when a woman tried to cut in line as an attendant attempted to assist Bachmeier. The cashier told the woman she would be helped after the Bachmeier finished.

She went up to the counter again less than a minute later, Bachmeier said, still unimpressed she had to wait in line.

Boettcher then asked the woman if she had a problem, to which Bachmeier claims the woman told him to ‘shut up.’

After she called him gay, Bachmeier called the woman a “b–tch.”

A video which was posted online went viral. Hate directed toward the woman by the public was discouraged.

“That’s not what this is about; It’s just about raising awareness,” said Boettcher.

“This is still happening. We’re not in the States; we’re not in some little hick town; we’re in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada. And it still happens.”

•••

Migrant workers expatriated after breaching West Kelowna farm’s ‘discriminatory’ policies

Near the end of July, two Mexican temporary foreign workers claimed they were fired from a West Kelowna nursery for hosting two guests at their employer-provided housing – a policy they say was unjustly imposed solely on migrant workers.

Jesús Molina, 35, and Erika Zavala, 36, came to work in B.C. through the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program, intending to send money back to their family and six children in the Mexican state of Baja California.

They each worked separately at different farms in the province before transferring together to West Kelowna’s Bylands Nurseries in late May – a few weeks after a COVID-19 outbreak at the farm was declared over by health officials.

However, their time in the Okanagan was shorter than they thought.

Despite anticipating a full summer’s worth of work, Zavala and Molina were fired and expatriated just over a month after moving to West Kelowna.

According to Amy Cohen, one of the RAMA workers who attended Molina and Zavala’s residence, Bylands’ firing of the two workers and what was essentially a lockdown of all foreign workers on the farm constitute human rights violations – not uncommon among similar operations in B.C. and across the country.

While limitations that apply to foreign workers, but not local ones, is nothing new in the seasonal agricultural world, policies have become much more strict amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Cohen said.

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Near the end of July, Jesús Molina, 35, and Erika Zavala, 36, claimed they were unjustly fired from a West Kelowna nursery for hosting two guests at their employer-provided housing. (Contributed)

Near the end of July, Jesús Molina, 35, and Erika Zavala, 36, claimed they were unjustly fired from a West Kelowna nursery for hosting two guests at their employer-provided housing. (Contributed)

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