New firetruck for Apex
Colin Dacre - Jul 11, 2019 - Get Involved

Photo: James Shalman

The Apex Mountain Volunteer Fire Brigade has its very first fire truck, thanks to a generous donation by Pioneer Log Homes of HGTV’s Timber Kings fame.

Bryan Reid was at Apex Wednesday to meet the volunteer fire brigade in advance of the truck’s arrival next week.

Since sustaining heavy losses in 2017’s forest fires around Williams Lake, where the company is based, Reid has been purchasing and donating fire trucks to small communities in need. Apex is the fourth such donation.

“He found out that we didn’t have a truck, or hall, and he gave me a call and said he had a truck down in Seattle and that it was ours if we wanted it,” fire brigade chief Gabe Lavoie said, calling it “huge” for the community.

The next step, Lavoie says, will be finding a home for the truck.

The 20-member Apex Brigade operates without a fire hall. Volunteers store their gear at home and drive to fires in their personal vehicles. Small boxes near fire hydrants store equipment, a system Lavoie calls “really inefficient.”

“So now with the fire truck we are going to be much more capable.”

Lavoie said the resort has agreed to let the brigade store the truck in one of their buildings while they work to find a home for a permanent fire hall.

“We have a lot of people that just assumed we had a fire hall and a fire truck, and it’s not that easy. It’s been quite a struggle up here,” he said, referring to three referendums for a tax-funded fire department that residents have voted down.

The fire department currently operates solely on donations, and Lavoie expects they will need to do plenty more fundraising to purchase the needed gear for the fire truck, which is a full-size engine from the City of Seattle.

The brigade responds to about 20 fires a year at Apex, with plans down the road to start eventually responding to motor vehicle extrications. It’s hoped the new truck will in service by the end of the month.

East Kelowna market thrives
Kirk Penton - Jun 27, 2019 - Get Involved

The East Kelowna community hall has been around for more than 80 years, which makes it a key part of the area’s essence.

It’s also the main reason why Kathy Sawchuk became a driving force behind the East Kelowna Community Market, which started in September 2017 and now runs every Sunday between May and November. She lives and works in the area, and she wanted the heart of the community to beat even stronger.

“It’s bringing back the grassroots in regards to community,” Sawchuk said. “We have the church, we have the different pubs, we have some of the golf courses … so we want to really bring back the East Kelowna hall as a community forum.”

Proceeds from the community market, which runs from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Sundays, go towards keeping the building, which opened in 1940, in tip-top shape.

In order to attract a crowd, Sawchuk went out of her way to entice some of the Okanagan Valley’s top vendors to sell their wares at the market, which has both indoor and outdoor areas. She has a rotating roster of more than 200 vendors, and that ensures variety each and every week.

“They are very unique and have great quality,” Sawchuk said. “We don’t have all jewelry. We have wood crafts. We have health. We have dressings. We have produce. We have wine tastings here.

“So there’s a bit of variety here for everybody. That way it keeps the market fresh and exciting.”

Food trucks and beverage vendors are always on hand, and there is usually a musical performer on stage for some ambience as patrons stroll up and down the aisles. Sawchuk and her team also invite community groups four times a year in an effort to get them more exposure for their fundraisers.

“We’re growing and flourishing,” Sawchuk said.

Yard Angels ready to work
Okanagan Edge Staff - Jun 27, 2019 - Get Involved

Image: Contributed

The Yard Angels are ready to strike again.

The community service project of Creative Roots Landscaping will be accepting nominations from July 1-7 for its project later in the month.

Three times per year the Yard Angels aim to lighten the gardening burden for three Kelowna residents suffering with debilitating illness or injury and unable to care for their yards. The Angels spend a Saturday landscaping the resident’s yard.

Next month’s event is slated for July 27.

Creative Roots Landscaping also recently presented a $1,000 bursary to Rutland Secondary School graduate Isaac Young, and today it is delivering a $1,000 cheque to the Kelowna Community Food Bank.

The Yard Angel nomination form can be found here.

Yard Angel Nomination Form

Senior Games volunteers wanted
Okanagan Edge Staff - Jun 24, 2019 - Get Involved

Photo: Contributed

The 55+ BC Games, which will be held in Kelowna this fall, is looking for volunteers to help make this year’s event a success.

The organizing committee needs a total of 1,500 volunteers to make the games run smoothly, and it believes volunteering is a way to make new friends, give back to your community, and gain valuable experience and strengthen your career network.

The areas in which volunteers are required include games office personnel (which needs volunteers immediately), medals, hosts, environment, ceremonies, photographers and the sports themselves.

People can register on the website’s volunteer portal, visit the office at 1940 Underhill St., or call the office at 250-826-4811. More information on the positions available can be found here.

Tolko supports new daycare
John K. White - Jun 24, 2019 - Get Involved

Photo: Contributed

Tolko is donating lumber and plywood to the new daycare centre under construction in Lumby.

The raw materials are on top of major grants from the B.C. Ministry of Child and Family Development and money from a community gaming grant.

The Bridge Educational Society is building the Early Years Daycare Centre in Lumby to serve families in the North Okanagan.

The new centre will offer 63 spaces for infant, daycare, preschool and school-aged care, serving children from birth to 12 years. The curriculum’s focus will be to provide a safe and nurturing environment that fosters wonder and imagination, where children are immersed in a culture of community and are encouraged to connect with nature.

New daycare needs help

Roxanne Brierley, treasurer with The Bridge Educational Society and Capital Campaign Coordinator, emphasizes that there is a critical need for childcare facilities in the Okanagan.

“Based on our research we know that parents are looking for more child care options. By making more spaces available and offering a well-rounded program, these children will have the opportunity to thrive in a caring environment and build a solid foundation,” Brierley said.

“The Early Years Centre is an incredible opportunity for the community and for our employees,” said Scot Durward, Manager, Operations and Woodlands HR with Tolko Industries.

“Finding safe and appropriate child care is a worry for many new parents. We are grateful to be part of a childcare solution that increases capacity, supports the local community and provides our employees with access to quality childcare spaces that support working families.”

The daycare is scheduled to open at the end of the summer.

RDCO needs volunteers
Okanagan Edge Staff - Jun 20, 2019 - Get Involved

Photo: Contributed

Applications are now being accepted for two commissions in the Regional District of Central Okanagan.

The RDCO needs volunteer members to serve on the Environmental Advisory Commission (EAC) and the Central Okanagan West Advisory Planning Commission (APC).

The groups work with planning services staff to advise the regional board by reviewing development applications for the potential environmental impacts, land use and planning issues within the electoral areas.

Members of both advisory commissions will be selected on the basis of their demonstrated interest and participation in community matters, academic and technical qualifications, availability, work experience, and knowledge and professional expertise of land use planning.

Information about these advisory commissions is available online by visiting, or by contacting the regional district community services planning department by email at [email protected] or by calling 250-469-6227.

Everyone can Live to Ride
Okanagan Edge Staff - Jun 20, 2019 - Get Involved

Photo: Contributed

Big White Ski Resort and Elevation Outdoors are teaming up this summer to help disadvantaged youth take to the mountain on bikes.

Elevation Outdoors is a Kelowna-based charity that kicked off its four-day adult mountain bike camp earlier this week, and it will conduct a youth one starting on July 9. Proceeds from both camps will go to Elevation Outdoor’s Live to Ride program, which gives youth between the ages of 12 and 18 the chance to learn the sport.

“Not everybody is represented, and not everybody has equal opportunity to gain experience in the outdoors,” Elevation Outdoors executive director Mike Greer said in a press release. “The participants don’t have to pay anything to come out. They have seven weeks of biking, and we provide the bikes and helmets. They just need to show up with clothes they’re comfortable in and closed toed shoes they can ride in.”

To qualify for a scholarship, youth must meet one of five different criteria: if the parents or guardians of the youth are at or below the low income cut-offs as published by the CRA; if the youth, parents or guardians are on social assistance; if they’re involved in the foster care system; if they’re on parole, probation or in a restorative justice program; and if they get a referral from a mental health practitioner.

“We really do try to open our doors to young people from backgrounds that historically don’t have access or have limited access to these sports and try to be the gateway to getting more of them out,” Greer said.

Gator raffle benefits 4-H BC
Okanagan Edge Staff - Jun 17, 2019 - Get Involved

Photos: Contributed

PrairieCoast Equipment has once again helped out 4-H BC through the latter’s biennial Gator Lottery fundraiser.

Two lucky winners rode off in John Deere Gators, both valued at $11,000, when their numbers were chosen last weekend in Kamloops. PrairieCoast Equipment has been donating Gators to the lottery every other year for several years now.

The winners picked up their new rides at PrairieCoast Equipment’s Kelowna location.

Dr. Oz joins ALERT team
Okanagan Edge Staff - Jun 17, 2019 - Get Involved

Photo: Contributed

Rose Valley Veterinarian Hospital’s Dr. Moshe Oz has signed an official agreement to help animals during times of crisis.

Animal Lifeline Emergency Response Team, also known as ALERT, has signed an official supplier consent agreement with Dr. Oz, who will be now be part of the Emergency Support Services (ESS) program in the South and Central Okanagan.

ALERT and ESS volunteers work alongside each other to help evacuees safely shelter their animals during times of crisis.

ALERT is always looking for volunteers willing to provide foster homes for animals, especially livestock.

CU celebrates with generosity
Chelsea Powrie - Jun 17, 2019 - Get Involved

Photo: Contributed

Summerland Credit Union has donated a new pop-up tent to NeighbourLink, the first of several initiatives planned in 2019 to celebrate the credit union’s 75th anniversary.

“Since our inception, with the support of our members, Summerland Credit Union has been giving back to our community. It’s one of our core values as an organization,” marketing coordinator Erin Trainer said.

“NeighbourLink does amazing work to connect people in need with available resources. They also host social events for seniors who might otherwise be isolated.”

The organization says on their website that their goal is to “provide help to all the people of Summerland, without strings and without charge.”

The donated tent will be used at events around town in order to generate public awareness about the non-profit organization, as well as providing shade for their volunteers.

“NeighbourLink wants to ensure that anyone who requires help knows we are there for them. With this generous donation from Summerland Credit Union, we will be able to have a presence in Summerland and create a welcoming place for people to learn more about our services,” NeighbourLink coordinator Mirjana Komljenovic said.

Trainer says this donation is just one of many charitable actions planned this year from Summerland Credit Union.

“We recently adopted a bold new mission statement, ‘We Enrich Lives,’” Trainer said. “It’s our goal to not only provide superior financial services for our members, but also to enrich their lives, as well as those in our community.”

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