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Campfire Ban Lifted in Most Central Okanagan Areas

Effective immediately, campfires will once again be allowed within most fire jurisdictions across the Central Okanagan.  

The lifting of the campfire ban coincides with a similar action by the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations by the Kamloops Fire Centre within the Penticton Fire Zone.  Campfires will again be allowed within the District of West Kelowna, District of Lake Country, District of Peachland and the fire protection districts within the Central Okanagan East and Central Okanagan West Electoral Areas (Joe Rich, Ellison, Wilson’s Landing, North Westside).

Campfires are not allowed at any time within the City of Kelowna.

Under Regional District and other local municipal bylaws, campfires must not create nuisance smoke and only untreated, seasoned firewood may be burned.  As well, a campfire must be continuously controlled and supervised by a competent person that has materials or equipment to extinguish the campfire.

At this time, Open Burning is not allowed.  As well, local bylaws prohibit the use of any fireworks at any time throughout most areas of the Central Okanagan.  Use of fireworks in the District of Lake Country and District of West Kelowna must be approved in writing by the Fire Chief.

Violators could receive a fine and be charged the cost of the fire department response to a burning complaint.  Residents are encouraged to report anyone who is illegally burning by calling the Regional Fire Dispatch Centre at 250-469-8577.

(August 22, 2014)

 

Swimming Advisory at Reiswig Park

There is currently a Swimming Advisory in affect at Reiswig Regional Park. For more information please visit the Interior Health Authority’s Recreational Water program at https://www.interiorhealth.ca/YourEnvironment/RecreationalWater/Pages/default.aspx.

 

(August 19, 2014)

 

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Mussel Monitoring at Regional Parks Boah Launch

A Regional District of Central Okanagan boat launch is part of a valley-wide network of monitoring stations for invasive mussels. 

The monitor device is installed in Okanagan Lake at the Okanagan Centre Safe Harbour Regional Park boat launch that is maintained by the Regional District.  The Okanagan and Similkameen Invasive Species Society (OASISS) installed the monitoring station and checks it monthly through the fall along with taking a plankton tow sample of the water for any signs of Zebra and Quagga Mussels.

The monitoring station is made of a rope with a weight at one end and a series of small sections of PVC pipe and mesh.  If the invasive mollusk species (which range in size from a grain of sand to thumbnail size) is present, it will attach to this artificial, solid surface.  The monitor is intended to act as a warning device as this would be a likely location that any mussels would show up, being transported on or in boats and trailers.

The Society and the Okanagan Basin Water Board’s Okanagan WaterWise program are encouraging all owners of personal watercraft and boats to ‘Don’t Move a Mussel’ and check their vessels for signs of the invasive mussels, especially if they have been out of the province.  By adopting the ‘Clean, Drain, Dry’ protocol residents and visiting boat owners can help protect BC lakes from these species, which have caused havoc and created a major economic cost in other jurisdictions because they rapidly colonize on hard surfaces, impacting tourism, recreation and infrastructure.

To learn more about OASISS visit www.oasiss.ca .

For information on the Okanagan Basin Water Board’s ‘Don’t Move a Mussel’ initiative and how you can help, visit www.dontmoveamussel.ca

(August 6, 2014)

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Pedestrians, Cyclists, Horse-riders - 'Share the Trail'

It’s a 16.5-kilometer multi-use recreational corridor that certainly sees its share of people each day. 

It’s estimated that more than a thousand people take to the Mission Creek Greenway Regional Park each day.   A few may be on horseback, many more are on foot either running or walking and an increasing number of cyclists use the trail for both recreation and as an off-road commuting corridor.

“We see people using the Greenway in a variety of ways,” says Communications Officer Bruce Smith.   “They may be getting their daily exercise, out for a relaxing stroll along the creek or simply getting from point A to B.  Dog owners will have their pets on leash, while others are pushing strollers with infants.  During the spring, summer and fall months there’s a huge increase in the number of people using the Greenway each day.  As a result of all these various visitors and uses, sometimes there can be near-misses and periodic conflicts.”

Smith adds, “Our goal is to ensure everyone using the Greenway is aware that they have to ‘Share the Trail’ and should be aware of other users around them when they are on the recreational corridor.”

Parks Services Bylaw Enforcement Officer Blaise Laveay adds, “We’re out each day of the year patrolling sections of the Greenway and from May to September we have added staff making more frequent daily spot checks, watching for people who may not be aware of they are responsible for proper trail etiquette, in order to keep everyone safe.”

He says, “Along the Greenway, cyclists shouldn’t go faster than ten kilometers an hour and should keep to the right side of the trail, unless they are passing someone on foot.  They should also give an indication that they are approaching from behind by ringing a bell, honking a horn or simply vocally acknowledging their passing to the left.  So that everyone can share the Greenway, cyclists and pedestrians should yield to horse riders while cyclists should yield to pedestrians.  Generally speaking, for their safety, everyone on the trail should be aware of those around them. 

Under the Regional Parks Bylaw all dogs must be kept on leash and must stay on designated trails.   Animal owners are reminded to pick up waste deposited along the trail.  All residents should remember that unauthorized motorized vehicles are not allowed along the Greenway.

(August 1, 2014)

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Curbside Mosquito Control Treatment

For the second time this summer, next week you may see people driving through Central Okanagan neighbourhoods and throwing packets into curbside catch basins.

Weather permitting from Tuesday, August 5th through Saturday, August 9th, five crews (three in cars, two on scooters) will be driving by every roadside catch basin in the City of Kelowna, District of Lake Country, a portion of West Kelowna Estates in the District of West Kelowna and Sunset Ranch in the Central Okanagan East Electoral Area, treating standing water with an environmentally approved mosquito larvacide.

During this year’s second five day blitz, approximately 10,000 roadside catch basins will be treated as part of the Regional District of Central Okanagan Mosquito Control Program.

If you’d like to know more about this program and how you can help reduce mosquito breeding sites around your home, visit www.regionaldistrict.com/mosquitoes.

(July 31, 2014)

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Have a Fire-free, Safe Long Weekend

With the long BC Day holiday weekend approaching and the fire hazard increasing residents and visitors are reminded that a campfire ban continues throughout the Central Okanagan.  Open fires have not been allowed in the Regional District since April.

Violators could receive a fine and be charged the cost of a fire department response to a burning complaint.  Residents are encouraged to report anyone who is illegally burning by calling the Regional Fire Dispatch Centre at 250-469-8577.

As well, local bylaws prohibit the use of any fireworks at any time throughout most areas of the Central Okanagan.   Use of fireworks in the District of Lake Country and District of West Kelowna must be approved in writing by the Fire Chief.

The fire ban is intended to reduce the risk of human-caused fires and coincides with a similar ban on all campfires and open fires across the Kamloops Fire Centre area including BC Parks, Crown and private lands.

The Regional Emergency Program encourages all Central Okanagan residents to be especially careful with and safely dispose of any smoking materials.   They’re reminded that smoking is not allowed in any Regional Park, or parks within the City of Kelowna or District of West Kelowna.

Area fire departments welcome efforts of individuals to reduce the risk of fire around their properties.  You can find out how to apply Fire Smart principles around your home by viewing the Fire Smart Manual.

Residents are also urged to prepare their family to be self-sufficient for at least 72 hours in case of any emergency that might force them from their home.  You can find links to Emergency Preparedness information and subscribe to receive email notifications from the Emergency Operations Centre by visiting www.cordemergency.ca.   The program is also available on Facebook at www.facebook.com/CORDEmergency and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/CO_Emerg.

(July 30, 2014)

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Westshore Water Interruption Notice

Customers of the Westshore Water System along the north end of Westside Road should be aware of two planned service outages. Regional District crews will be replacing two Pressure Reducing Valve (PRV) chambers as a part of the infrastructure improvement program.

The work is scheduled to take place from Friday, August 1st through Wednesday, August 13th and will impact water service for customers on the following dates, times and addresses: 

August 6th

  • Interruption is planned from approximately 8:00 AM until 8:00 PM
  • Approximately 25 residences affected:
    • Columbia Way (even addresses from 10400 to 10484)
    • Mountain Drive (even addresses from 594 to 610, odd addresses from 407 to 659)
    • Spruce Drive (address from 36 to 78)

August 7th

  • Interruption is planned from approximately 8:00 AM until 8:00 PM
  • Approximately 11 residences affected:
    • Lakewood Rd (even address from 312 to 336)
    • Columbia Way (even addresses from 10494 to 10600, odd addresses from 10579 to 10595)
    • Mountain Drive (even addresses from 310 to 422, odd addresses from 311 to 401) 

Please note that the time that water service will be restored is an estimate only and may vary. 

It is recommended that on the day of the scheduled water interruption customers at those addresses impacted:

  • Shut off hot and cold faucets and any equipment that requires water;
  • Store sufficient drinking water for the anticipated period of interruption;
  • Isolate supply to hot water tanks;
    • If not isolated, avoid running hot water as impurities could be drawn into the hot water tank and may cause problems with its operation;
  • Fill a bathtub or other large container with water to use for toilet flushing and only flush when absolutely necessary; and
  • Use anti-bacterial hand sanitizer for hand washing.

After completion of the infrastructure improvements, Regional District staff will flush the distribution system to remove any impurities which may have entered during construction.  Following the interruption and after water supply has been restored, it is recommended that:

  • Customers at affected addresses should run a cold water tap until the water runs clear;
    • Once the water runs clear, it is safe to drink and to use hot water.

Roadside notice boards will be put up in advance of crews working in the area.

Only those addresses listed will be affected by the water service interruption.   No other Westshore Water System customers are expected to be affected.

If you have any questions regarding the interruption please contact Regional District Environmental Services at 250-469-6241 or email engineer@cord.bc.ca. 

For information on the Regional District six water systems visit regionaldistrict.com/water or contact RDCO Environmental Services at engineer@cord.bc.ca or 250-469-6241.  To subscribe online for Regional District water quality advisories or alerts by email visit regionaldistrict.com/water.

(July 29, 2014)

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Have You Prepared Yet for an Emergency

RCMP go door to door in the early morning hours Monday advising residents of a fire near Smith Creek.   Tuesday afternoon, another fire spreads up a west slope of Mount Boucherie.   What emergency might it be today, or tomorrow?

The Central Okanagan Regional Emergency Program asks if these events haven’t got you and your family talking and acting on an emergency plan, won’t it be too late when a knock comes at your door?

Where to start?  Visit www.cordemergency.ca and subscribe your email addresses to receive real-time information updates anytime the Emergency Operations Centre is activated.   You can enter as many different email addresses as you like, so that you and your family will be up-to-date with the latest information during any emergency response.

That site is also a great place to find links and information on preparing a family emergency plan, putting together a ‘grab and go kit’ containing important documents, items and personal effects to help you stay self-sufficient for at least the first 72 hours of an emergency, while first responders and rescue workers are focusing on helping those in urgent need.

The cordemergency.ca website also has links to the wealth of emergency planning information available through the provincial Emergency Management BC and federal GetPrepared.ca programs.

The Central Okanagan Emergency Operations Centre is also now providing social media updates.   Like us at www.facebook.com/CORDEmergency and follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/CO_Emerg.

A selection of emergency preparedness pamphlets is available at the Regional District of Central Okanagan office (1450 KLO Road in Kelowna) and the main Kelowna Fire Hall (2255 Enterprise Way).

(July 17, 2014)

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Dog Ambassadors Helping Dogs and Owners

They’re a dog’s and its owner’s best friends. 

The newly created Central Okanagan Dog Ambassador program is in full swing and is visiting popular beaches, trails and commuter pathways from Lake Country through Peachland. 

Regional District Communications Officer Bruce Smith says, “This new summer program provides an opportunity for ‘paws-itive’ contact with dog owners and park users.  Our summer student Dog Ambassadors are not enforcing bylaws or ticketing for violations.  Instead, they’re on the ground, providing dog owners with positive interaction and support for expected responsible behaviors.  Our Dog Ambassadors acknowledge dog owners that have made responsible choices, while giving those that haven’t a gentle reminder of what’s expected of them in order to comply with our Responsible Dog Ownership Bylaw, avoiding any future financial enforcement consequences.”

The Dog Ambassadors can easily be spotted with their bright coloured Dog Ambassador shirts.   So far, the reception from dog owners has been excellent!

Smith adds, “Our Ambassadors are out in the community and are a resource for dog-oriented information, not only resident dog owners but those who may vacationing with their four-legged friends.  They’re helping to educate all dog owners, whether they’re just visiting or living here year round about the Responsible Dog Ownership Bylaw and what’s expected of them in the Central Okanagan.”

Smith says, “They’ve got information on where dog beaches are located, leashed and off-leash parks as well as local vets, groomers and kennels for dog owners who might want to give their pet a special treat.   We’re also reminding licensed dog owners about the My Dog Matters Rewards program and encouraging them to regularly visit the mydogmatters.ca website, which has added several new businesses.  And we’ve got some goodies, leashes and dog treats for those pets and their owners that are doing the right things.”

There’s plenty of information available about dog licensing and Responsible Dog Ownership in the Central Okanagan.  Check out regionaldistrict.com/dogs for information about the Regional Dog service and what to do if you lose or find a dog.

Dog owners are reminded that failing to leash and failing to pick up after their pet could result in fines under the Responsible Dog Ownership Bylaw.  As well, there is Zero Tolerance for unlicensed dogs resulting in a $300 fine.   Licenses are available at the Regional District and municipal offices, the Regional Dog Pound (890 Weddell Place) and at the Kelowna SPCA branch.  With the nicer weather and more people visiting parks and public areas across the Central Okanagan, you can expect to see more Dog Control Officers out on patrol.

(July 15, 2014)

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Campfires Banned 

All campfires will be prohibited throughout all Central Okanagan municipalities.  

The ban takes effect at noon Wednesday, July 16th and coincides with the similar action announced by the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations across the Kamloops Fire Centre area within BC Parks, Crown and private lands.  The ban will remain in effect until further notice.

As a result of extremely dry conditions and an extended period of hot, dry weather, local fire chiefs have decided to implement the total ban on campfires within all local government jurisdictions of the Regional District of Central Okanagan, including the City of Kelowna, District of West Kelowna, District of Lake Country and the Central Okanagan East and West Electoral Areas.  Campfires are not permitted at any time within the City of Kelowna. 

Open burning has not been allowed within any jurisdiction of the Regional District and member municipalities since April.

As well, local bylaws prohibit the use of any fireworks at any time throughout most areas of the Central Okanagan.   Use of fireworks in the District of Lake Country and District of West Kelowna must be approved in writing by the Fire Chief.

Violators could receive a fine and be charged the cost of the fire department response to a burning complaint.  Residents are encouraged to report anyone who is illegally burning by calling the Regional Fire Dispatch Centre at 250-469-8577.

(July 14, 2014)

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Take a Tour of Gibson Heritage House

Delve into a bit of local history at the Gibson Heritage House in Kopje Regional Park on Carrs Landing Road in Lake Country. 

Gibson House is open for tours from noon to 4:00 pm each Saturday and Sunday during July and August.  Regional Parks staff and volunteers will guide you through the 1912 heritage house which has been restored and refurnished through community donations. 

For more information please visit regionaldistrict.com/parks, check out ‘Your Guide to Regional Parks’ or contact the Environmental Education Centre for the Okanagan at 250-469-6140.

(July 10, 2014)

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Families in Parks

This summer help celebrate the 40th anniversary of our fantastic Central Okanagan regional park system by joining our ‘Families in Parks’ activities.

These outings with our park interpretation staff are designed so that every member of your family can take part!  Please pre-register by either dropping in to the Environmental Education Centre for the Okanagan, email eeco@cord.bc.ca or phone 250-469-6139.  

  • Saturday, August 9th from 10:00 am to 11:30 am, bring the whole family and enjoy ‘A Forest Tea Party’ at Trepanier Creek Greenway Regional Park.  It’s located on Trepanier Road, on the south side of the Okanagan Connector – Highway 97-C.  Forests are filled with plants that make delicious teas.  Our interpreter will take you on a guide walk and interpretive tea tasting of local edible plants.
  • Sunday, August 24th from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm, we kick off our annual celebration of the land-locked Sockeye cousin with the ‘Welcome the Kokanee Salmon Festival’ at Hardy Falls Regional Park.  There’s a parking area located on Hardy Street, off Highway 97 along the south end of Peachland. Join our park interpreters to welcome the first Kokanee salmon as they begin their journey from Okanagan Lake swimming upstream in Deep Creek to spawn.  Learn more about this annual spawning phenomenon.

For more information about this or other Regional Park programs please visit the Regional District website regionaldistrict.com/parksevents or contact the EECO at 250-469-6140.

(updated July 28, 2014)

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Park Fun Zones in Lake Country 

Our Regional Parks staff wants to have some fun with you this summer.  That’s why they’re gearing up for the Park Fun Zones program. 

Here’s where you can catch up with them between 10:00 am and 1:00 pm for games and activities in two of our Regional Parks in the District of Lake Country!

For more information please visit regionaldistrict.com/parks, check out ‘Your Guide to Regional Parks’ or contact the Environmental Education Centre for the Okanagan at 250-469-6140.

(updated July 28, 2014)

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 Story Time at the Nut Farm

What could be better than a playground, fantastic beach and a nut orchard for the setting of ‘Summer Story Time at the Nut Farm’?

Join Regional Parks staff each Thursday morning at 10:00 during July and August for the Westside edition of this popular program for youngsters age three to five and their caregivers.  Participants will be treated to nature stories, songs, a mini nature walk and engaging exploration. 

Gellatly Nut Farm Regional Park is located at 2375 Whitworth Road, just off Gellatly Road in West Kelowna.  After Story Time, you might want to stick around and tour the working nut orchard or cool off with a refreshing swim in Okanagan Lake.

For more information visit the Regional District website regionaldistrict.com/parksevents or contact the EECO staff at 250-469-6140.

(July 3, 2014)

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Summer Story Time in the Park 

Mission Creek Regional Park offers a fun and free interactive weekly program for pre-schoolers this summer. 

‘Summer Story Time in the Park’ takes place each Tuesday morning (rain or shine) during July and August for three to five year old children and their caregivers.  Meet at 10:00 am on the lawn near the playground in Mission Creek Regional Park, Springfield and Durnin Roads. 

During the hour, you’ll be treated to nature stories, songs, a mini nature walk and exploration to engage participants.  It’s a fun and active way to learn more about our Regional Parks and the animals of the Okanagan. 

For more information visit the Regional District website regionaldistrict.com/parksevents or contact the EECO staff at 250-469-6140.

(July 3, 2014)

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Interior Regional Districts Moving 9-1-1 Call Answer to E-Comm

This fall, 9-1-1 call answer services for nine interior regional districts will move to a new service provider. 

Starting November 18th, 9-1-1 calls placed from the Regional District of Central Okanagan, North Okanagan, Okanagan-Similkameen, Thompson-Nicola, Columbia-Shuswap, Squamish-Lillooet (North), Central Kootenay, East Kootenay and Kootenay-Boundary Regional Districts will be answered through E-Comm, the emergency communication centre located in the Lower Mainland.

The Regional District of Central Okanagan (RDCO) provides initial 9-1-1 call response services to the nine regional districts throughout the B.C. Interior.  The RDCO currently has a Memorandum of Understanding with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police for initial Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) service, which is provided out of the Southeast District Operational Communications Centre (OCC) in Kelowna.  That is where all 9-1-1 calls placed within the nine regional districts are answered by a Telecommunications Operator who determines the nature of the emergency call and quickly transfers the caller to the appropriate first responder agency (Police, Fire or BC Ambulance).

Regional District of Central Okanagan Chair Robert Hobson says, “For almost two years, we have been exploring various options for 9-1-1 call answer services on behalf of all nine interior regional districts.  In 2012 we were advised by the RCMP that we would be facing significant increases for provision of 9-1-1 services.   After an extensive review and negotiations, we’ve recently signed a five year contract with E-Comm in Vancouver.  The transition from the RCMP OCC to E-Comm will take place November 18th.”   View Frequently Asked Questions

Hobson adds, “By contracting our 9-1-1 service to E-Comm, over the five year agreement the regional districts will see a 25% reduction in overall program operating costs. That translates into total savings of more than $2.1-million for the program, proportionately shared by the regional district partners.  

“Public safety remains our top priority” says Hobson.  “E-Comm’s outstanding track record of high quality and reliable 9-1-1 answering services, means all residents in the affected regional districts can be assured there will be professionally handled, quick response to their initial emergency calls.”

In addition, by having E-Comm provide initial emergency call handling service, the regional districts believe they’ll be in a better position to take advantage of Next Generation 9-1-1 technology.

Until the change this fall to E-Comm, 9-1-1 PSAP calls will continue to be answered by staff in the Southeast District Operational Communications Centre.   Within the service area of the nine regional districts during 2013, a total of 226,796 9-1-1 calls were received and answered by the OCC based in Kelowna.   

“We are pleased to partner with the Regional District of Central Okanagan and are committed to ensuring residents of all nine regional districts continue to receive high-quality, responsive 9-1-1 public safety answer point service 24-hours a day,” says E-Comm President & CEO David Guscott.  “E-Comm is focused on helping to create safer communities in B.C. through excellence in public-safety communication, and we believe that an integrated approach is a key element in achieving that vision.” 

E-Comm’s integrated multi-jurisdictional call taking and dispatch centre provides economies of scale by providing 9-1-1 service for Metro Vancouver, the Sunshine Coast Regional District, Whistler, Squamish, the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District (South).  It recently agreed to begin providing 9-1-1 service this fall to the North Island 9-1-1 Corporation which is comprised of six regional districts in addition to the regional districts of Fraser Fort-George, Cariboo, Bulkley-Nechako and much of the Kitimat-Stikine RD.  E-Comm utilizes top tier technology in a Vancouver building that is secure and purposely designed and built to resist a major earthquake (7+) and be self-sufficient for 72 hours.   It has a number of backup provisions to ensure the continuity of 9-1-1 call answer services for a variety of scenarios.  In 2013, E-Comm received 861,694 emergency calls, answering 98% of them in five seconds or less. The National Emergency Number Association (NENA) standard is to answer 90% of all calls within ten seconds.

(July 2, 2014)

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Two New Marine Boats Ready to Go

 Just in time for the busy summer boating season, the Regional Rescue Program has received two new vessels.

Once training is complete over the next few weeks, the new marine rescue boats will be operated by crews with the Lake Country Fire Department and Peachland Fire and Rescue Service and replace vessels that have been operating for many years.

The boats were supplied to the Regional Rescue Program by Kanter Marine Incorporated in St. Thomas, Ontario which was the successful bidder through a public tender process at a combined cost of $305,100.   Rather than replace one boat this year and another next, some administrative efficiencies were realized by purchasing the boats for Peachland and Lake Country this year.  View Photo Gallery

Each vessel has a rigid aluminum hull with inflatable collars.   A new seating system and configuration incorporates shock absorbers to provide a high level of comfort and safety for those operating the boats.  This will help reduce the potential for injuries and provide a safe environment for crewmembers who are often on the water during extreme conditions answering distress calls.  View Fact Sheet

The Central Okanagan Regional Rescue Program has provided marine rescues since the 1980’s and with vessels stationed in Kelowna, Lake Country and Peachland, provides a rapid, reliable and trained response to marine emergencies on major Central Okanagan lakes.  While local governments fund the program, the Provincial Government through Emergency Management BC reimburses costs when boats are called to respond to an emergency.  The Regional Rescue Program also works with the RCMP and Central Okanagan Search and Rescue to provide appropriate responses to the boating community.

Boating is an important part of the quality of life for many in the Central Okanagan, not to mention its impact on tourism and recreation.   Transport Canada estimates there are 69,000 registered boats in the region and a recent survey found on a ‘peak’ day, there were more than 1,400 boats on Okanagan Lake.

The Regional approach to marine rescue is a key component of the Rescue Program in the Central Okanagan.  Since 2009, the vessel in Lake Country has responded to 21 calls on Wood Lake  and Kalamalka Lake north to the RDCO boundary, the rescue boat in Peachland has handled 85 calls for help on Okanagan Lake from south of Gellatly to the RDCO boundary.   In that same time, the Boston Whaler Fire/Rescue vessel located at the Kelowna Yacht Club operated by the Kelowna Fire Department has responded to 170 distress calls on Okanagan Lake from Gellatly north to the RDCO boundary.

All boaters in the Central Okanagan are reminded to be safe and practice smart boating.  The Canadian Safe Boating Council reminds everyone to wear a life jacket, take a boating safety course and not to drink and boat.  View more information and safety tips on the Council website:  http://www.csbc.ca/

(June 27, 2014)

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Be a 'Weed Warrior' - Help Fight Invasive Weeds

The invasion has started.  Quietly, pesky weeds have started sprouting up in fields and empty lots, acreages and naturally growing yards across the Central Okanagan.

Some disguise themselves with attractive flowers.  Others, start as a single stalk but if left to mature, spew forth thousands of seeds to continue their weedy assault.

Be a good neighbour and help reduce the threat posed by these invading species that choke out native plants that are expected to grow in the Okanagan.

The Regional District’s Noxious Weed Bylaw is in force throughout the Central Okanagan East and West Electoral Areas, the City of Kelowna, District of Lake Country and District of Peachland.   Bylaw Officer Kim Mussenden says residents can easily arm themselves with information to help keep invasive weeds in check.

“By visiting www.regionaldistrict.com/weeds” she says, “people can see photos of some of our most serious offenders and get to the ‘root’ of the problem, by cutting or pulling these plant threats.  A little information and knowledge can go a long way in helping people identify species that if left unchecked and growing in our yards and properties, can prevent native plants from growing.”

Right now, some of the biggest weed threats taking root in the Central Okanagan include Western Goat’s-Beard that looks like a tall dandelion with a much larger, round seed ball and Wild Mustard, with its small, bright yellow flower that can reduce crop value and yields and curtail livestock forage production on pastures.  View News Release and Photos

Other varieties of weeds that are common problems in the region include Knapweeds, Purple Loosestrife and the prickly members of the thistle family, like Scotch Thistle.

For more details and information on how you can become a ‘Weed Warrior’ visit www.regionaldistrict.com/weeds.   

(June 17, 2014)

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Fuel Modification Work Continues in Rose Valley Regional Park

The third year of a staged fuel modification project is continuing in a section of Rose Valley Regional Park. 

During the past two years, as crews have been available, the BC Wildfire Management Branch has been working in a portion of the park north of Bowes and Pettman Roads.  Crews are brushing, thinning and removing fire hazard trees and ladder fuels as part of a multi-year fuel modification project on a ten hectare section in the north end of the park above Bear Creek Road.  View Map

While BC Wildfire Management Branch crews are working in this area of Rose Valley Regional Park, visitors should be aware that some trails may be temporarily closed.  For their safety and that of the workers, please stay out of any closed area.

Collected wood debris will be piled for disposal when open burning is allowed next fall and winter, on days when both air quality and venting conditions are favourable.   This work has received approval by West Kelowna Fire Rescue and will be conducted in accordance with Regional District Air Quality and Open Burning regulations.

Prior to any decision to proceed with burning on a particular day, local fire authorities and media will be advised.

For more information visit the Regional District Parks Services webpage regionaldistrict.com/parks, email parks@cord.bc.ca or call 250-469-6232.

(June 16, 2014)

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Help Prevent the Nuisance of Mosquitoes

Warmer temperatures may result in an increase in hatching mosquitoes in the Central Okanagan.

While crews have been out since early April monitoring and treating almost 200 known breeding locations for mosquito larvae, residents can also play a part in reducing the likelihood of hatches in and around their properties.

The Regional District operates the Mosquito Control program in the Central Okanagan East and West Electoral Areas, City of Kelowna, District of Lake Country and the West Kelowna Estates area in the District of West Kelowna.

Communications Officer Bruce Smith says, “Property owners can help us fight the bite by minimizing potential breeding locations.  Remove standing water sources and any unused items that collect water such as old tires.  Cover rain barrels with a screen to prevent mosquitoes from laying their eggs in the water.  Drain standing water from saucers under plant pots or garbage cans.  Mosquito larvae can also develop in birdbaths, wading pools or pet bowls, so water should be changed at least two times a week.  Remove water that gathers in unused swimming pools and on swimming pool covers and aerate water in ponds or add fish that will eat mosquito larvae.”

Residents in the participating areas of the program (City of Kelowna, District of Lake Country, Central Okanagan East and West Electoral Areas and a small section of West Kelowna Estates in the District of West Kelowna) can report mosquito concerns by calling 1-866-679-8473.”

BWP Consulting Inc. is contracted to conduct all larval mosquito control within these participating areas of the Regional District.  BWP’s Cheryl Phippen says, “Crews started work earlier than usual this spring treatming early snowmelt larval development sites and so far adult mosquito concentrations appear to be at tolerable levels throughout the service area.”  She adds, “People should protect themselves by wearing mosquito repellant containing DEET and light coloured clothing with long sleeves and long pants, especially at dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are at their worst.”

The Regional District Mosquito Control program attempts to minimize the impact of mosquitoes including the specific species that are capable of transmitting West Nile Virus as well as those that are known to be significant human nuisance.  This monitoring and treatment is being done in known surface water habitats as well as more than 10,000 roadside catch basins in the participating areas.

There are excellent resources available to help you and your family during the mosquito season.  Visit the Mosquito Control page on the Regional District website regionaldistrict.com/mosquitoes for information about the program.

(June 2, 2014)

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Reinforcing Dog Owner Responsibilities with a Grin

It’s said ‘You can catch more bees with honey than with vinegar.’   The Regional District hopes using a little humour will resonate with more Central Okanagan dog owners. 

New signs can be found along the hugely popular Mission Creek Greenway multi-user recreational corridor and will find their way over the coming weeks in many Regional Parks.  They use light-hearted messaging to encourage more dog owners to leash their pets and pick up after them.  These are two common sources of complaints.

For example one sign reads, ‘Make sure your dog doesn’t leave anything behind!  Catch our drift?’   Another says, ‘Attention Dog guardians please pick up after your dogs.  Attention dogs, Grrr, bark, woof.  Good dog.  Thank you!’   And a third says, ‘If your dog poops and you don’t scoop…but nobody sees you…does that mean it won’t stick to the bottom of my shoe?’

Communications Officer Bruce Smith says, “While picking up and leashing are required from all dog owners in the Central Okanagan under the Responsible Dog Ownership Bylaw, we believe that a light-hearted, message will have more impact, resulting in more dog owners controlling their pets in public places.  We all know that dog poop is a nuisance that can be easily avoided simply by carrying a bag and using it to pick up after your pet, then disposing of it in proper manner.  Having a dog on a leash of two meters or less is a bylaw requirement as it provides a handler with greater control over their animal and less opportunity for conflict with other residents.”

Smith adds, “Those dog owners that fail to clean up their dog’s poop, don’t do any favours for those that do and can give all dog owners a bad name.  Dog poo left behind in parks, on boulevards and sidewalks and on other people’s property is one of the most common complaints we and our municipal partners hear about, right across the region.   Running a close second is owners that don’t have control over their dogs.  We hope the messages from these signs will further encourage dog owners to get on board and be a responsible and thoughtful citizen.”

Also this summer, the Regional District will be introducing Dog Ambassadors and volunteer Parks VIP Patrollers to the community.   Smith says, ‘Our goal with these programs is to provide an opportunity for further awareness and information to dog owners and park users and for positive interaction and encouragement of responsible behaviors.  We want to acknowledge dog owners that have made responsible choices while giving those that haven’t a chance to understand what’s expected of them so that they choose to comply with our Responsible Dog Ownership Bylaw, avoiding any future financial enforcement consequences.”

There’s plenty of information available about dog licensing and Responsible Dog Ownership in the Central Okanagan.  Check out regionaldistrict.com/dogs for information about the Regional Dog service and what to do if you lose or find a dog.

Dog owners are reminded that failing to leash and failing to pick up after their pet could result in fines under the new Responsible Dog Ownership Bylaw.  As well, there is Zero Tolerance for unlicensed dogs resulting in a $300 fine.   Licenses are available at all local government offices, the Regional Dog Pound (890 Weddell Place) and the Kelowna SPCA branch.  With the nicer weather and more people visiting parks and public areas across the Central Okanagan, you can expect to see more Dog Control Officers out on patrol.

(May 14, 2014)

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Document Download Problems? 

Recently the Regional District has become aware of periodic problems regarding the inability of some users of our website to open Adobe PDF documents that had been previously accessible.  They've received an error notice saying that the document they were trying to open is not available. 

We understand that the problem has been caused by a recent Microsoft Internet Explorer Security update.  This update on the user's computer has broken the ability of the Adobe Acrobat Reader program to open and access previously downloadable PDF documents in Internet Explorer. 

Should this problem occur on your computer system, please download and install the latest free version of Adobe Acrobat Reader.  You can find this by following this link:  http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/readstep2.html or by clicking on the Adobe Reader icon on the bottom right corner on each page of our website. 

We thank you for your patience and appreciate your continued support of the Regional District of Central Okanagan website. 

For information or queries about our website please contact:  webmaster@cord.bc.ca

 

 

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