BC FIRETRUCKS TO BE DONATED TO PERU

Volunteers from Kelowna, BC and Richmond, BC will be using the weekend of June 22 to move donated fire trucks and equipment from Kitimat, Smithers, Prince George and surrounding areas to Vancouver, BC in preparation for donation to Peru.

The equipment can no longer be used within Canada according to standards established by National Fire Protection Association and the apparatus are also not practical for use by BC departments. However, the donated items are still in good working order and will provide the firefighters (known as Bomberos) with the ability to deliver emergency services more effectively and efficiently in Peru.

The City of Smithers and its fire department have donated a 1976 International/Hendrickson/Nordic LTI 1050/200/85′ Platform truck which originally served Abbotsford along with their 1987 Amertek Crash Truck 500/500/75 foam/500 Dry Chemical. These trucks are presently being stored at the Beaverly Fire Hall. The city of Kitimat has donated a 1978 Ford L900/Anderson 1500/500. FWB Canada President Bob Dubbert, Lieutenant/Acting Captain with the Vancouver Fire Rescue Services will be travelling to Kitimat on June 21 at his own expense to move the 1976 International to the Beaverly Fire Hall to join the rest of the volunteer team who will arrive in Prince George on June 22. Glenn Paley, Training Officer with the Kelowna Fire Department along with his wife Kelly will be joined by Kelowna Fire Department Emergency Vehicle Technician John Pinoli and volunteer Kevin Lauer from Summerland, BC. Together, the team will begin the nearly 800km journey to move the trucks to Vancouver on the morning of June 23.  It is anticipated that the convoy will take two days to make the journey, stopping overnight to bunk in the 100 Mile Fire Department and arrival at UBC Fire Hall is scheduled for June 24.

Along with the donated apparatus, FWB Canada Regional Representative Melanie Perrin, Fire Services Coordinator for the Regional District of Fraser – Fort George has been collecting firefighting equipment from around the Prince George area. The donations are expected to fill a 14ft cube van and will be added to the shipments of equipment bound for the countries served by FWB Canada including Peru, Nicaragua, Dominican Republic and Greece.

All of the volunteers involved in this project are travelling at their own expense and the costs of transporting the vehicles (fuel, insurance, etc.) will be funded by donations made to FWB Canada.  Donations can be made online at http://www.fwbcanada.ca/how-you-can-help/donate/ .  U-Haul is assisting with some of the cost of the truck rental. FWB Canada is fortunate to have the support of GearBulk Shipping, Pangea Logistics and ACGI Shipping to make it possible to send the apparatus and equipment to countries in need.

The Cuerpo General de Bomberos Voluntarios del Peru (CGBVP) is an all volunteer National Fire Service serving the over 29 million citizens of Peru. There are approximately 10,000 male and female Bomberos protecting the citizens and property of Peru from 196 fire stations. While the country moves forward with a booming economy, the Fire Service is also trying to modernize with their main emphasis being on improved training and equipment. Over the past two years, FWB Canada has donated three apparatus, hundreds of sets of turnout gear, SCBA’s and tons of other firefighting equipment to Peru.   The Peruvian Fire Service have expressed their gratitude for these donations and quickly become proficient in the use of these donated items and quickly put them into service in the communities they serve.

Firefighters Without Borders Canada is a registered charity in Vancou­ver BC. What began as a group of dedicated firefighters in 2008 as Engines for El Salvador, then became Firefighters Without Bor­ders BC and finally Firefighters Without Borders Canada. The mission of the group is to collect outdated firefighting appa­ratus and equipment and donate it to countries where there is a need. Since 2008, the group has donated 13 fire trucks, over 1000 sets of turnout gear, over 400 breathing apparatus and over 20 tons of equipment valued at over $2 million to Belize, Cebu Philip­pines, The Congo, El Salvador, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru and Thai­land. Also in that time they have deployed on training missions to El Salvador- 5 times; Paraguay- 4 times; Peru- 4 times and once each to Panama and Thailand. The main emphasis on these deployments is to deliver training. Firefighters from all over B.C. have participated in the training, using their own vacation time and paying their own airfares to par­ticipate.

Feds announce $15m Kelowna contract for aircraft fleet maintenance

The Honourable Kerry-Lynne D. Findlay, Q.C., Associate Minister of National Defence and Member of Parliament for Delta – Richmond East, and the Honourable Ron Cannan, Member of Parliament for Kelowna-Lake Country, announced a significant maintenance contract to support the CC-115 Buffalo and CC-138 Twin Otter aircraft fleets that will sustain 54 full time jobs in Kelowna, B.C.

“These fleets are key to our Royal Canadian Air Force and its ability to carry out important missions such as critical search and rescue,” said Minister Findlay. “This contract demonstrates the Government of Canada’s commitment to ensuring our men and women in uniform continue to have well maintained equipment that is ready to support operations.”

Kelowna Flightcraft Limited has been awarded a $15 million contract to conduct
third-level maintenance activities, which include: depot-level in-depth inspection and major repair of items, component repair and overhaul, technical investigations, modification designs, manufacture and assembly of prototypes, and engineering support.

 

“Kelowna Flightcraft has established itself as a highly respected Canadian company within the aviation industry and is a cornerstone of our local economy,” said Mr. Cannan.  “Our community welcomes the federal government’s support of Kelowna Flightcraft, which provides well-paying, highly skilled jobs in the Okanagan. Congratulations to the Flightcraft team and its employees for their outstanding work.”

 

Canada’s fleet of six CC-115 Buffalo airplanes is primarily used for search and rescue duties in Canada’s west, while our fleet of four CC-138 Twin Otter aircraft support operations in Canada’s north, including transport and search and rescue. This two-year contract that includes one optional one-year extension which if exercised could increase the value of the contract to $24.9 million, will ensure that airworthiness of the fleets is supported and maintained.

 

This contract builds on the numerous initiatives pertaining to Canada’s search and rescue system recently announced by the Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence. These include the first Quadrennial Search and Rescue Review, which brings together federal, provincial, and territorial partners, as well as private sector and thousands of dedicated volunteers, to ensure Canadians continue to have the most robust search and rescue system possible.

Deer chases local dog walker out of park

If you own dogs or walk dogs you may want to watch out for some aggressive deer, after a local dog-walker got chased out of the downtown Kelowna bird sanctuary by two deer while she was walking four large dogs.

“I see deer all the time and they don’t usually bother us and we just walk by them, but these two did not look very happy and they came barreling out of the bush,” explained Doggytopia’s Alex Himer.

Himer told HQ that she was shocked they chased her even though she was walking four large dogs and that it was frightening. “It was pretty scary, not knowing what they were going to do, and them getting so close to us, thank god the dogs behaved and ran away with me.”

But as BC Conservation Officer Ed Seitz explains this is normal deer behavior at this time of year. “The female deer are having their young right now and the young aren’t very mobile this time of year so the mothers become quite aggressive.”

Seitz said it is unusual any other time of year but the babies are vulnerable right now and they need to protect them. “Most deer generally run the other way, it is only in this situation where they have a fresh fawn on the ground that is not very mobile,” explained Seitz,

He recommends doing what Alex did and walk/run away as quickly as possible in the other direction and especially making sure you’ve got control of your dogs.

“Walk away, stay away, especially if you have dogs. It is generally only if people are out walking dogs because they see the dogs as a threat to their newborn fawn,” recommended Seitz.

*UPDATE* Aircraft Emergency Near Brenda Mines

The BC Coroners Service has confirmed the identity of a man who died in the crash of a small plane near Brenda Mines on Aug. 13, 2012. The deceased male is Jayson Dallas Wesley Smith, aged 30, of Vancouver. Mr. Smith was one of four persons aboard a Piper Comanche plane that went down about 30 kilometres west of Kelowna on the afternoon of Aug. 13.

The other three persons aboard the plane were all taken to hospital in Kelowna and Kamloops with serious injuries. The BC Coroners Service and the Transportation Safety Board continue to investigate this incident.

The family of Mr. Smith has been notified of his death. On behalf of family 
members, the BC Coroners Service asks that the media respect their privacy at 
this difficult time. The BC Coroners Service expresses its condolences to the family and friends of 
Mr. Smith.
UPDATE: A man and a woman were airlifted to Kelowna General Hospital and a second woman was airlifted to Kamloops Royal Inland Hospital last night from the crash site. All three sustained life threatening injuries and remain in critical condition. Efforts continue to notify their family members.
Police remain on scene at this time with Transportation Safety Board investigators and the BC Coroner Service expected to attend later today.
The West Kelowna RCMP are responding to reports of a downed aircraft near Brenda Mines.
Investigators and emergency crews are currently on scene and have located a small aircraft in the area. Search and Rescue Techs have reached the aircraft and report that there are 3 occupants with critical injuries and that one occupant is deceased. Further resources are attempting to reach the site to remove the injured so that they may receive any necessary medical attention.
Information is minimal at this time as the West Kelowna RCMP focuses on the task at hand.

PUBLIC PIER AND MARINA COMING TO DOWNTOWN KELOWNA

On Saturday there will be a public open house to display plans for a new marina and a public pier in downtown Kelowna. The open house will be on Saturday, June 23, from 1:00 to 5:00 in the afternoon, in the tent at Kerry Park. The open house will provide people an opportunity to view plans for the project and talk with the project team.

The project will be located off the shore of Kerry Park and features the following:

  • A public pier, over 6 metres wide, extending 150 metres out into Okanagan Lake.
  • Moorage slips for approximately 68 boats, including 27 for hourly and day-use moorage, 30 for temporary overnight moorage and 11 for rental boat moorage.
  • A boat and watercraft rental business and marine fueling station, operated by Eldorado Marina.
  • The existing commercial tour boats will be relocated from the foot of Bernard Avenue to a new and improved facility at the foot of Queensway Avenue.

The project is being led by Westcorp Inc., a property development, investment and management company based in Edmonton, Calgary and Kelowna.

The project has the endorsement of Kelowna City Council. With most of the City’s capital funding for the next 10 years already allocated to other initiatives, Council sees partnering with the private sector for this project as a viable means to provide a much-desired public amenity in a cost effective manner.

In 2011 the City of Kelowna publically issued a request for proposals for the project. Proponents were invited to submit designs and business proposals to design, build, operate and maintain the facility for 15 years.

The project is being built to help meet the demand for temporary moorage in downtown Kelowna in a way that benefits the boating public, the public at large and downtown business.

The estimated total capital cost of the project is over $4 million, almost all of which is being funded by Westcorp. The City is contributing $200,000. In exchange for its investment in the development and operation of the project, Westcorp will collect revenue from boat moorage and operate the pier and marina for 15 years, with a mutual option to renew for an additional 5 years. There will be no cost to the walking public for use of the pier.

In addition to its functional and aesthetic objectives, the project must also meet local, provincial and federal approvals regarding the environment, navigation, construction and safety.

Following the open house, Westcorp and their team of consultants and builders will finalize plans for the project and submit them to the various approving agencies that have jurisdiction over the project.

Construction is scheduled to start in late 2012 or early 2013. The grand opening of the new pier and marina is scheduled for May 2013.

Third Alleged Victim of Cst. Mantler Identified

A court document reveals the identity of the man involved in the second assault charge against Constable Geoff Mantler.  Manjit Singh Bhatti claims the cop used excessive force against him at the end of August last year.  Details of the incident have not been released.  Mantler also faces charges for allegedly kicking Buddy Tavares in the face during an arrest in January.

Update: Charges Laid Against Kelowna Cop

Charges have come down against the police officer involved in the Buddy Tavares incident.  Assistant Police Commissioner Peter Hourihan says Cst. Geoff Mantler faces multiple counts.  “The two charges of Assault Causing Bodily Harm have been sworn against Constable Mantler,” says Hourihan, “these charges stem from two seperate incidents,” he says.  Hourihan explains the other incident happened on August 31 of last year, but authorities won’t release any more details.  BC’s top cop admits Mantler’s actions are a “bit of a black eye” for the RCMP.  “This type of behaviour, if substantiated, is extremely concerning for me,” says Hourihan, “its disappointing, at a very minimum.  Its behavior that falls well short of any expectations that I or any of our officers or (RCMP) members have in that regard,” he says.

More charges

Hourihan adds additional charges could be coming after another investigation into Mantler’s conduct.  He’s accused of punching a man on the Bennett Bridge on August 10th.  Police say they were not informed of the alleged incident on the Bridge until after the Tavares incident in January.  Constable Mantler has been suspended with pay since the days following January 7th.

Paycheques could be cancelled

Now that Mantler’s been formally charged with assault, the RCMP may stop paying him.  “That process is in the works and the determination will be made fairly shortly, as I understand it, by Ottawa which is where the level of decision is made,” says Hourihan.

Liberal Leadership Vote Draws Ire From Democracy Advocates

Democracy advocates say its not fair that Christy Clark could spend up to another 2 years in office before the next election.  A group called Democracy Watch wants new rules that would require an election months after a leadership change.  Co-ordinator Duff Conacher says, “the mandate should essentially require if there is a change in the leadership of the main [political] parties, especially the ruling party, between the fixed election date, there would have to be an election called sooner,” he says.  Conacher maintains his point is simple, saying “its not democratic to have one party elect a new premier and then have that premier be able to rule for 2 years without having to seek a mandate from all voters.”   Only about 57,000 BC Liberal Party members cast ballots in the vote.  That works out to a little over 1 percent of the province’s population.   Clark got a little over half of the popular vote in this weekend’s ballot.

Kelowna’s Smoke Free Parks, Beaches

Locals should know, but many residents are just hearing for the first time that smoking is banned from all Kelowna parks and beaches.

“The parks will be filled with families enjoying the sun and sand this weekend so we would like to remind everyone that they must butt out before entering City parks,” says Ian Wilson, Park Services Manager.

The bylaw was approved by City Council on February 1, 2011, to help reduce fire risk, littering and the health impacts of second-hand smoke, particularly on children.

By March signs had gone up in the parks to inform smokers that the smoke-free zone includes everything within park boundaries: parking lots, pathways, the entrances to buildings and the lawn space.

“We’re pleased that residents and visitors are refraining from smoking on the beaches,” says Wilson. “However, we are still seeing and hearing complaints of people smoking in parks as they watch their children play in the playground.”

Bylaw officers say they’ll keep focusing on educating the public and voluntary compliance, but warn they do have the power to issue $100 fines.

Atheist Bus Ads Return

They’re back on the side of 2 Kelowna Transit buses to finish off the advertising campaign that was interrupted by a case of vandalism.

The billboards have been run in cities across the world by the skeptic group Centre for Inquiry, with the Okanagan chapter booking the space in Kelowna in April.  The ads suggest there may be no God.

“Kelowna is the only place, as far as we know, where the ads have been removed; and they have been run all over the world,” says Centre for Inquiry spokesperson Guy King.

The ads mysteriously vanshied half-way through the 4-week campaign.  Transit officials believe the billboards were professionally removed while the buses were parked in the Kelowna Transit compound.

 

Investigators still have no idea who the vandals are, and King can only speculate.

“I’d like to see whoever removed the ads come forward, and maybe reimburse us for the additional cost,” he says.

The group had to chip in to get the billboards remade.

 

The new billboards will make the rounds for the next 2 weeks.