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Another Big White ride record
Okanagan Edge Staff - 2:16 pm - Biz Releases

Big White Ski Resort gave a record five million rides up its lifts during the 2018-19 winter season, which lasted from Nov. 22 to April 22.

The resort released its numbers on Thursday, and the five million total included its best day in its history: New Year’s Eve, when more than 11,000 skiers went on more than 70,000 runs down the slopes.

Here are a few more numbers Big White released on Thursday:
682: Centimetres of snow that fell on the mountain during the season
28: Record one-day snowfall amount, in centimetres, that fell on Feb. 22
90: Centimetres of snow that fell between Feb. 18 and 24
170: Centimetres of snow that fell in February, the most of any month
9,356: Night skiers on $10 Friday nights
-22 C: Coolest temperature recorded, on Feb. 6
9 C: Warmest temperature recorded, on March 20
33,208: Phone calls received at central reservations
21,043: People who rode on airport transfers
1,797: Boarding passes redeemed through WestJet and Alaska Airlines Ski Free on the Same Day of Arrival deal
31,857: Rides down the lanes at the tube park
215: Big White Ski and Board School instructors
62,000: Lessons given by those instructors
13: Languages used by those instructors
1,108: Children enrolled in the after-school program
1,620: Toilet paper rolls replaced by guest services staff
41,555: Shots of espresso made at Clocktower Coffee
210: Fifty-ounce Tomahawk steaks served at Kettle Valley Steakhouse
22,050: Christmas light bulbs displayed throughout the resort

Armstrong Metal Fest set
Okanagan Edge Staff - 12:31 pm - Biz Releases

Photo: Contributed

More than 30 bands have been signed to perform at the 11th annual Armstrong Metal Fest this July.

Origin will headline the event, which will take place July 12 and 13 at the Hassen Arena in Armstrong. L.A.’s Nekrogoblikon, Paris’ Betraying the Martyrs and Entheos out of Santa Cruz, Calif., are just a few of the bands who will have the masses banging their heads in the mosh pit. Also slated to hit the stage is Centuries of Decay, the Toronto band that won the 2018 Wacken Metal Battle Canada crown.

“I’m super excited about our lineup this year,” West Metal Entertainment president and AMF co-founder Bretton Melanson said in a press release. “We’ve got some of my drumming heroes in Origin and Entheos, the super fun Nekrogoblikon, our first opportunity to have some bands from overseas in Betraying The Martyrs and Within Destruction, a few of our brothers from the states, and so many killer bands from around Western Canada.

“Our original dream of bringing the European metalfest feel to Canada is really taking shape, and I’m so grateful to still be a part of this.”

Tickets are $135, and they include access to the festival grounds, thrash wrestling, camping area and arena. Free camping is included with a ticket.

This year’s lineup features:
Origin (Kansas/California/New York)
Nekrogoblikon (Los Angeles)
Betraying The Martyrs (Paris)
WAKE (Calgary)
Entheos (Santa Cruz, Calif.)
Within Destruction (Slovenia)
Centuries of Decay (Toronto)
Sentinels (New Jersey)
Odinfist (Armstrong)
Apprentice (Vancouver)
Apollyon (Kelowna)
Road Rash (Vancouver)
Pound (Seattle)
Arkenfire (Kelowna)
Widow’s Peak (Calgary)
Nomad (Enderby)
Exterminatus (Vancouver)
Tessitura (Edmonton)
Gross Misconduct (Vancouver)
Truent (Maple Ridge)
Obsidian (Vancouver)
Death Machine (Kelowna)
The Myopia Condition (Red Deer, Alta.)
League of Corruption (Vancouver)
Arctos (Edmonton)
Hazzerd (Calgary)
Kleaver (Prince George)
Conniver (Kamloops)
Liberatia (Courtenay)
The Vth Circle (Vancouver)
Indecipherable Noise (Peachland)
Disturb The Dead (Devon, Alta.)

Big White chef to compete
Okanagan Edge Staff - 10:53 am - Biz Releases

Photo: Contributed

Another chef has been revealed as a competitor for Canada’s Great Kitchen Party culinary competition.

Big White Ski Resort’s Rob Walker will be one of the six Okanagan-area chefs competing in the regional event on Nov. 15 at Kelowna’s Delta Grand. The winner will advance to the Canadian Culinary Championships in Ottawa next winter.

Walker is Big White’s executive chef and competed in the regional competition in 2016 when it was held in Victoria.

“I can tell you from experience it is not only an amazing opportunity but an opportunity that I have considered the highlight of my career,” Walker said in a press release. “This region has a tremendous amount talent and I am truly honoured to be thought of as one of the Okanagan’s top chefs.”

Competing chefs will be asked to create a dish, pair it with a Canadian wine, beer or spirit, and then have it judged on visual presentation, texture, technical achievement, taste, beverage compatibility and wow factor.

“Chef Walker is an extraordinarily talented chef,” Big White hospitality vice-president Trevor Hanna says. “His dedication to the craft and artistry of cooking is apparent in every dish he puts on a menu. Now that Kelowna has its own regional competition as part of the Canadian Culinary Championships, it will be very exciting to see Chef Rob and the other great chefs in the area battle it out for a spot in Ottawa.”

UBCO team makes headway
Okanagan Edge Staff - 9:50 am - Biz Releases

Photo: Contributed
Gamal uses the newly developed cell encapsulation device.

UBCO researchers have been hard at work in an attempt to make the regeneration of damaged tissue quicker and more cost-effective, and it appears they have done just that.

Keekyoung Kim, who is an assistant professor of engineering at UBC Okanagan, co-authored a study in which a research group developed a device that makes encapsulating cells much faster, cheaper and more effective.

“The idea of injecting different kinds of tissue cells is not a new one,” Kim said in a press release. “It’s an enticing concept, because by introducing cells into damaged tissue we can supercharge the body’s own processes to regrow and repair an injury.”

The technology could be used to help with broken bones and torn ligaments, and possibly even organs down the road. The key, according to the researchers, is protecting the injected cells to make them effective.

“It turns out that to ensure cell survival, they need to be encased in a coating that protects them from physical damage and from the body’s own immune system,” said Mohamed Gamal, a doctoral student in biomedical engineering and the study’s lead author. “But it has been extremely difficult to do that kind of cell encapsulation, which has until now been done in a very costly, time consuming and wasteful process.”

Kim and Gamal came up with an automated encapsulation device that encases many cells in a microgel using a specialized blue laser. It purifies them to produce a clean useable sample in just a few minutes. The advantage of their system is that over 85 per cent of the cells survive and the process can be easily scaled up.

Summerland project gets OK
Colin Dacre - 8:25 am - Biz Releases

Image: Contributed

Summerland council has given the green light to a “resort condo” development proposed for the old cannery property in Lower Town.

The Lakeshore Drive development—anchored by two six-storey residential terraced towers featuring swimming pools on the patio of each unit—passed third reading Tuesday after a public hearing that saw residents voice strong support for the plan.

Nearby resident Barb Perin called the decrepit cannery building currently on the property “an eyesore.”

“It’s taking up very beautiful and valuable land on the lakeshore, and I am in total support of this development. Not only will it bring in extra tourists to the area, it will increase our tax base and look beautiful down there,” she said to applause from the gallery.

A few residents did voice concerns about construction trucks using Solly Road to access the site but were assured by district staff it’s unlikely to happen given Lakeshore Drive’s direct connection to the highway.

In addition to the residential towers, the project will also include a separate building fronting Lakeshore Drive that consists of 11 units of ground floor commercial and eight “resort condos” above.

Councillors, meanwhile, voiced their support for the project.

“This is exciting, and I think it’s very exciting also for our construction companies suppliers in the community,” Coun. Marty Van Alphen said, referring to the economic spin-offs related to the construction project.

Council unanimously passed third reading for the project’s required zoning and Official Community Plan amendments. Council will formally adopt the amendments at a later meeting.

Vernon caps downtown pot
Darren Handschuh - 7:36 am - Biz Releases

Photo: Contributed

How many pot shops in the downtown core are too many?

Vernon city council has decided six is the magic number.

City leaders said half a dozen recreational marijuana dispensaries in the downtown core is enough.

Coun. Akbal Mund raised the issue of how many is too many.

The city has received and approved 10 applications for pot shops, at least four of which are confirmed to be in the downtown area.

Mund said that does not mean there will only be six shops in all of Vernon, just six downtown.

Mund said there were concerns among downtown businesses about the number of medical marijuana dispensaries that opened downtown before legalization in October 2018. Businesses didn’t want a repeat of what some felt were too many.

“It’s not a permanent limit, and it does not limit for the rest of the city as well,” said Mund, adding shops can still be approved for other parts of town as long as proper zoning is met.

If there are no complaints or challenges, the number of downtown shops could increase.

Once the applications currently in the pipeline are processed, the city plans on putting a one-year moratorium on applications for shops downtown.

Coun. Dalvir Nahal said four downtown locations have been approved, one more application for a shop downtown is already in the works so that leaves room for one additional shop.

Nahal voted against the resolution because people are paying thousands of dollars to apply and by suddenly capping the number downtown applicants they could be out a lot of time and money.

Nahal said she believes a cap in the downtown is needed but is concerned for those who made the effort and expense to officially apply only to have the cap dash their plans.

“I don’t know if they are going to get their money back, but we did it backwards. We should have limited it and then took applications,” she said. “We don’t know how many people have put applications, but now they will find out their application is useless. I just think the people who have already done the work, their applications should go through.”

While it is up to the city to approve an application based on zoning and other criteria, only the province can issue a license.

Mayor Victor Cumming did not respond to calls seeking comment on the issue.

Calling all Okanagan swingers
Kirk Penton - 5:00 am - Biz Releases

Image: Contributed

Paulina Austin says there are plenty of swingers in the Okanagan.

She just wants them to emerge from the shadows so the lifestyle can flourish.

“The market is there,” Austin said. “I have lovers and I have haters, but less haters than lovers.”

Austin is the creator of The Playhouse, a yet-to-be-established swingers club she hopes to operate one day in the Central Okanagan. She advertised on Okanagan Edge last spring, conducting a poll to gauge interest in the activity, and she found there are plenty of people who are looking to spice up their sex lives.

“I would say 75 per cent or more were for the club,” Austin said. “They said, ‘Finally. I hope you can get this going.’ Of course, 25 per cent said it’s going to destroy marriages.’ Well, then don’t go. If you don’t want to go, then don’t go. It’s like me. I don’t like hockey, but I don’t complain about it.”

Austin was hoping to find investors for The Playhouse through last year’s advertising blitz, but nothing came to fruition. So instead of waiting any longer, Austin is going to host her first pop-up swingers party on Friday, May 3, at an undisclosed location and continue hosting them until she can get The Playhouse off the ground.

“While waiting for the club, people were saying, ‘Why can’t we start with pop-up parties?’ And I agree, and that’s what I’m going to do now,” Austin said.

Swingers parties are common in the Central Okanagan, according to Austin, but they are mostly a well-kept secret. Austin wants to bring the lifestyle more into the open, which is why she is advertising her pop-up party plans.

“I would like to provoke a little bit to get it out and to get the underground up,” she said.

Austin noted new swingers can ease their way into things and will feel no pressure at the pop-up party. In fact, there are private rooms for couples to enjoy and an area where sex will not be permitted.

“There is a private room if you are shy,” Austin said. “You can just go into that private room. I want to host the parties because I was looking for a place where you can have sex instead of at home. A place somewhere different. Something to cheer yourself up with your partner or whatever. At home you have your children. They’re always knocking on the door. Or the neighbours complain.

“Go out for an evening and enjoy your romantic relationship you have with your partner. Everything is allowed, but nothing has to happen. It’s very open.”

Only couples are allowed to attend, and the party on May 3 will be capped at 25 duos. Condoms will be provided, and all participants must sign waivers and pay a $30 entry fee. Wild Kingdom has also donated a door prize to be given away to someone in attendance.

Anyone interested in attending the pop-up party or would like to know more about the swingers lifestyle should send an e-mail to Austin at [email protected] or visit The Playhouse’s Facebook page.

Free tuition program working
Okanagan Edge Staff - Apr 24, 2019 - Biz Releases

Photo: Contributed

More than three dozen young adults have taken classes at Okanagan College through the B.C. government’s free tuition program for those who were under provincial care as children.

Okanagan College is one of 25 institutions that accepts students through the tuition waiver program, which began in 2017 and has increased by 326 per cent since its launch.

The program supports the transition into post-secondary by waiving tuition and mandatory fees, and provides an increased chance for a positive employment outcome for former youth in care.

“We look forward to helping as many former youths in care as possible access higher learning at Okanagan College and find pathways into the world,” Okanagan College president Jim Hamilton said in a press release. “This is an exciting initiative that is yielding results.”

There are currently 806 former youths in care now studying across the province.

Lexaria lands new partner
Okanagan Edge Staff - Apr 24, 2019 - Biz Releases

Photo: Contributed

A Kelowna company has locked into a beverage licence agreement with a California cannabis company.

Lexaria Bioscience Corp., which is a drug delivery platform innovator, will provide its patented DehydraTECH technology to the private company whose identity has not been disclosed.

The cannabis company is producing cannabis-based beverages to be sold in California and Nevada. The DehydraTECH-enabled beverages are protected under Lexaria’s many existing US-granted patents and may include any combination of ready-to-drink beverages such as non-alcoholic beers, wines and spirits; cold or hot coffee or teas, sports drinks and much more.

The financial details of the agreement were not disclosed.

Jackman joins Okanagan College
Okanagan Edge Staff - Apr 24, 2019 - People in Business

Photo: Contributed

Helen Jackman is moving from the United Way to Okanagan College.

Jackman has been hired as the college’s new director of advancement and the Okanagan College Foundation’s executive director. She will be leaving her role as United Way Southern Interior BC executive director to start at the college on June 10.

“The college has a great reputation in terms of its service to the region, and I know that a major reason is the community support it has attracted to help build campuses, programs and student supports,” Jackman said in a press release. “I’m excited to be stepping into the fundraising role at this juncture as the college continues to grow.

“I’ve looked carefully at where I wanted to take my next career step. It had to be somewhere that I could devote myself to long-term and something that would allow me to contribute to building the region I’m calling home. Okanagan College offered that opportunity.”

Jackman moved to the Okanagan from the United Kingdom in 2017. Her last job in England was as CEO of the Macular Society, a medical research charity. Jackman recently joined the board of the Journey Home Society.

United Way Southern Interior BC will begin its search for Jackman’s replacement immediately.

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