Kelowna resident focused in hate crime at work – West Kelowna Information

Madison Erhardt

A Kelowna resident says he was the target of a hate crime in West Kelowna on Wednesday.

Micheal, who wishes to remain anonymous says he went into work at Proactive Physiotherapy in West Kelowna Wednesday morning, when he came back out to his car at the end of the day he found a spray-painted swastika directly beside his car.

“Someone has to have seen me at work wearing my Yarmulka because I usually don’t wear it in public just in terms of comfort and I like wearing different sort of hats. I don’t feel so safe,” he said.

“Between 9:30 a.m. when I pulled in yesterday and 11 a.m. when my colleague arrived after the fact she told me that at 11 a.m. It was already there. It was behind my car, it was not there when I pulled in, yet at the end of the day it was there.”

Micheal, an Osteopathic Practitioner, believes it could be one of his clients.

“Mind you then why would they want to continue being treated by me. However, in proximity to the business, someone needs to have known it was me in terms of being openly Jewish.”

Micheal was born in Montreal, his parents were both holocaust survivors.
He says this isn’t the first time he has been a target. He says he took martial arts lessons in high school after he was attacked a number of times as a child for being Jewish.

“Having to flout a symbol of hate like that especially directed at one other person. Sometimes it is easier just staring hate straight in the eye. Having it directed right in the face, but this is obviously a cowardly act.”

Micheal says RCMP Have been made aware of the hate crime.

“They told me there is not much that can be done and that the only cameras here are the ones facing the bank.”

Castanet has requested more information from RCMP.

“I hope the perpetrators are found and that in terms of law and order that this is investigated and taken care of and not just blown off and not just nonchalantly ignored.”

Photo: BCWS

It’s status quo as far as evacuation alerts are concerned for residents within proximity of the Brenda Creek wildfire south of the Okanagan Connector.

The Central Okanagan Emergency Operation Centre says all alerts and restrictions within the Central Okanagan Regional District portion of the fire are still in effect.

The alerts affect approximately 18 properties, three recreational campsites as well as Crown land within the RDCO.

The area is also affected by a BC Wildfire area restriction order.

The fire, burning for nearly a week, remains mapped at 450 hectares in size, and is still listed as out of control.

Structural firefighters from Kelowna, West Kelowna, Peachland and North Westside departments remain on the scene, assisting provincial firefighters.

Local crews are extinguishing hot spots and patrolling BC Hydro transmission lines throughout the wildfire area.

The EOC says local governments continue to work with BC Hydro, Interior Health and the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure on plans should there be an extended power outage in the Greater Westside area.

The transmission line is the sole source of power for more than 60,000 customers within the region.

While customers are encouraged to learn more about preparing for the potential of a lengthy outage, stores within the Central Okanagan are telling Castanet News generators are hard, if not impossible to come by.

Police have wrapped up their investigation into a man who allegedly attempted to set fire to a forest in a residential area of Glenrosa earlier this month. But charges have yet to be laid, and the man remains out of custody.

On the evening of July 10, residents near the top of Webber road noticed a man walking in a forested area behind a number of homes. After one resident began filming him, the man appeared to light something on fire and throw it, before running away.

A group of neighbours acted quickly and put out the fire using hoses and fire extinguishers. Police were called to the area, and within 30 minutes, officers had stopped a vehicle in the area and arrested the suspected arsonist.

To the shock of many of the residents in the area, police released the suspect the next morning on a number of conditions, pending further investigation and possible charges.

“I’m not kidding, we were freaked out going to sleep the next night,” said one resident in the area. “It’s not a very nice feeling … like, holy crap, how could they let him out of jail.

“Everybody in Glenrosa is really pissed off. As if we’re not in danger enough by the natural fires that are happening.”

On Wednesday, Cpl. Jocelyn Noseworthy of the Kelowna RCMP said the investigation into the incident had been completed, and it was now before the BC Prosecution Service for review and potential charge approval.

Dan McLaughlin, spokesperson for the BC Prosecution Service, said the charge assessment process has not yet been completed, and no charges have been laid at this time.

The incident led Kelowna-West MLA Ben Stewart to write a letter to Minister of Public Safety Mike Farnworth on July 12, seeking a review of how the Crown and police seek the detention of people suspected of committing serious crimes.

“It’s hard to understand when someone is literally caught in the act of intentionally starting a fire, that could obviously destroy many houses and endanger many lives, that authorities wouldn’t seek to have that person detained until their trial, to help keep the community safe in the meantime,” Stewart wrote.

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Photo: City of West Kelowna

Some residents within the Shannon View Drive area of West Kelowna are determined to try and put a halt to a proposed “Whistler-style resort spa” in their neighbourhood.

The development is planned for a 13-acre parcel of land sitting between Shannon View Drive and Shannon Lake Road, adjacent to a portion of the golf course.

Developers of the Baden Resort Hotel and Spa envision a 188 room resort hotel with an additional 10 two-bedroom guest cabins, staff accommodations, restaurant, spa-treatment rooms, swimming pools and hot tubs.

Residents envision a traffic nightmare with inadequate transportation infrastructure in the immediate area, parking concerns and a negative impact on house prices in the area.

In order for the project to be allowed to move forward, the developer must first receive OCP and rezoning amendments.

The land use designation would have to be changed from low density multiple family to tourist commercial, with rezoning from low density multiple family to a comprehensive development zone that would allow for a proposed destination resort spa and hotel.

It’s those changes some residents are fighting against.

“A project of this magnitude would have a profoundly negative effect on the character and atmosphere of the Shannon Lake neighbourhood. Shannon Lake is primarily residential…residents have chosen to live here to enjoy the quiet, natural beauty, and avoid more commercial use,” says area resident Tom Groat.

During a zoom public information session earlier this month. Groat says questions were raised about increased traffic, inadequate transportation infrastructure, access to the property, parking and construction.

He says answers to those concerns were not satisfactory.

The project was given unanimous support by the city’s advisory planning commission.

It has yet to go before city council.

Neighbours have started a petition to try and prevent the rezoning.

Photo: BC Wildfire Service

Brenda Creek wildfire on July 20.

UPDATE 9:10 p.m.

Winds were blowing in the right direction for BC Wildfire Service crews Wednesday, on the Brenda Creek fire.

It allowed them to reinforce sections of a guard line on the northwest corner of the fire, and to burn off some fuel.

The winds did cause some growth on the east and south sides of the fire but did not impact the BC Hydro transmission line.

Helicopters continued to drop water on hot spots. BCWS personnel will be on-scene monitoring the fire overnight.

ORIGINAL 1:44 p.m.

Forecast winds could have unpredictable impacts on the Brenda Creek wildfire, leading officials to warn about the potential impact it could have on the sole power line providing electricity to tens of thousands of local homes.

The wildfire sparked last Wednesday grew to about 450 hectares over the weekend, and despite it remaining that size over the past couple days, it’s still classified as out of control. It’s burning about 40 kilometres west of West Kelowna.

With strong winds in the forecast, Central Okanagan Emergency Operations is warning residents of West Kelowna, Westbank First Nation and Peachland to prepare for a possible power disruption.

“With the BC Wildfire Service strong wind advisory and the unpredictable impact on the Brenda Creek wildfire, the Central Okanagan Emergency Operations Centre encourages residents and businesses that could be affected by any extended power outage to make emergency preparations,” the EOC said in Wednesday’s update.

“Even with the efforts of the BC Wildfire Service and structural firefighters from Kelowna, West Kelowna, Peachland and North Westside to defend and protect the main BC Hydro line and transmission corridor, the fire remains out of control at an estimated size of 450 hectares.”

BC Hydro’s transmission line is the only source of power for more than 60,000 customers. While the fire threatened the line last week, the line has remained safe so far.

The EOC says fire crews continue to extinguish hot spots along the BC Hydro corridor.

“A mass water delivery system is now in place to protect the section of the transmission line within the fire perimeter,” the BC Wildfire Service says.

“This delivery system consists of a four-inch hose line that supplies a series of larger sprinklers. A specialized high-volume pump supplies water to the line, which can be turned on quickly if the threat to the transmission line increases due to increased fire activity.”

There remains an evacuation order for 43 properties near Headwaters Lakes, while a large area restriction near the fire was put in place in the area on Saturday. The Okanagan Connector remains open at this time.

On Wednesday, there are 39 BC Wildfire Service firefighters working on the blaze, along with three helicopters and 12 pieces of heavy equipment.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

Photo: Tina Kalbfleisch

Firefighters doused a mobile home fire in West Kelowna overnight.

Assistant Fire Chief Brent Watson says West Kelowna Fire Rescue responded just after 11 p.m. Tuesday to a structure fire in the Berkley Estates Mobile Home Park, at 2001 Highway 97 South.

First arriving units found the home’s detached garage fully involved in fire, with flames extending into the adjacent home.

Crews extinguished the fire and confirmed that the lone occupant was out of the home safely.

There were no injuries, but both the detached garage and the home suffered significant damage.

The occupant has insurance and is in the care of Emergency Support Services.

RCMP, BC Ambulance paramedics, Fortis BC, BC Hydro also responded to the incident.

The park maintenance manager also assisted on scene, and residents say a neighbour used his garden hose on the fire until firefighters arrived, while another retrieved the owner’s dog.

Photo: Contributed

Photo: West Kelowna Fire Rescue

Tuesday’s grass fire below Campbell Road was just a blip on what could be the most devastating wildfire season B.C. has ever seen.

But, it also gave West Kelowna Fire Chief Jason Brolund a chance to underscore the obvious.

This illustrates how incredibly dry it is out there. All it takes is one tiny spark and we can have a fire,” said Brolund.

In this case, it was a spark from a welder someone was using to make repairs on a boat near the hillside.

It’s hard to know the exact cause of every fire, however, of the 1,156 wildfires sparked in the province so far, 403 are human caused while the cause of 188 others is unknown.

And, while some of the human caused fires can be deemed accidental, Brolund says there are precautions that need to be taken if people are working with equipment which can cause a spark.

“People should have a fire extinguisher and water standing by. They can wet down the area.

“And, they should always have a lookout. Someone who is standing back from the work being done, and is able to follow through on any sparks that may be created, and knock them down.”

In the case of Tuesday’s fire, Brolund says that will go down as an accidental event.

“The person that was doing the work had taken preparations in advance and had water nearby, and had demonstrated to us they were aware of the risk and trying to deal with it,” he said.

“In this case, it would be deemed as accidental so no fine would be issued.”

However, he reminds people fines can be levied by any one of a number of agencies.

A $1,150 ticket can be issued to anyone with an illegal campfire.

Those whose carelessness starts a fire can also be fined for the fire, and for the cost of fighting that fire.

Rob Gibson – Jul 20, 2021 / 4:31 pm | Story: 340557

Photo: Contributed

Peachland Fire Department Chief Dennis Craig tells Castanet his team helped get a vehicle out of Okanagan Lake Tuesday afternoon.

“We had to get the vehicle out of the lake and perform a small cleanup on the area,” Craig says.

The incident happened just after 2 p.m. Tuesday afternoon, directly across from the Dragon Lotus restaurant, between Renfrew Rd. and Antlers Beach.

Craig was not sure how or why the vehicle wound up in the lake but he did confirm it was a single-vehicle incident and he does not believe there were any serious injuries.

“We did deploy our Canadian Coast Guard spill response trailer where we cleaned up a very small fluid spill.”

Photo: Madison Erhardt

UPDATE: 1:20 p.m.

Quick work by construction workers helped keep a grass fire from jumping Campbell Road into a heavily forested area.

Officials with West Kelowna Fire Rescue say on-site workers used fire extinguishers and multiple hose lines to keep the fire from jumping the road until fire crews could douse the area with foam and dig a guard around the perimeter.

The fire grew to about 40 metres by 20 metres before it was fully extinguished.

Two workers were treated by BC Ambulance at the scene for minor smoke inhalation.

The fire started after a spark from a welder working on a boat at the bottom of the hill jumped into the grassy hillside.

Fire officials have deemed the fire to be accidental, and are not issuing a fine to the welder.

“Conditions are obviously tinder-dry out there, so please exercise extreme caution with any hot works or related heat/spark producing devices or machinery,” assistant fire chief Brent Watson said.

UPDATE 12:25 p.m.

A grass fire burning along the side of Campbell Road has been extinguished.

RCMP on the scene say someone was doing some welding on a boat at the bottom of the hill when a spark flew into the grass.

The fire climbed the hill toward Campbell Road before it was successfully extinguished.

Fire crews are dousing the area with water to ensure the fire is completely out.

ORIGINAL: 12:10 p.m.

Emergency crews are heading to what appears go be a grass fire burning along Campbell Road.

Pictures sent in to Castanet show a fire along the side of the road above Shelter Bay Marina.

No word as to exactly what caused the fire or how big it is.

Castanet has a reporter heading to the scene.

We’ll have more details when they become available.

Photo: BC Wildfire Service

Fire crews are making “good progress” on protecting the power line that serves West Kelowna from the Brenda Creek wildfire.

Forty firefighters, supported by two helicopters and 11 pieces of heavy equipment fought the fire on Monday.

They are supported by 18 additional staff, including a BC Wildfire Service incident management team.

Six firefighters remained on site overnight to patrol and continue to work on guard line reinforcement.

The fire continues to burn out of control at an estimated 450 hectares, south of the Okanagan Connector, about 40 kilometres from West Kelowna.

The wildfire service says in a Monday night update that while fire behaviour was elevated due to increased winds in the afternoon, perimeter growth was minimal.

A structure protection specialist, task force leader, structure protection unit (five crew), mass water delivery unit (three crew), and a structure protection trailer are on site.

“They are supported by 16 firefighters from four different local fire departments, who are making good progress on extinguishing fire along the power line,” the wildfire service says.

An evacuation order remains in effect for 43 properties in Electoral Area H of the Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen.

An evacuation alert has also been issued for Eneas Lakes, Pennask Lake, Trepanier, and Pennask Creek provincial parks.

The Thompson-Nicola Regional District also issued an evacuation alert for three properties located in Electoral Area M, while the Regional District of Central Okanagan issued an evacuation alert for properties, three recreational camping areas and Crown land within West Electoral Area, south of Highway 97C and northwest of Peachland.

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