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Gift baskets for ICU workers
Okanagan Edge Staff - 4:36 pm - Biz Releases

Photo: Contributed

Big White Ski Resort dropped by Kelowna General Hospital on Monday afternoon to deliver some goodies to those who have been working the hardest during the pandemic.

Big White came bearing gift baskets for those who work in KGH’s intensive care unit, which is facing pressure due to unvaccinated victims of COVID-19.

“We will continue to support and acknowledge the ongoing tireless work that our ICU and front-line workers face every day,” Big White senior vice-president Michael J. Ballingall said in a press release. “It’s very rewarding to be able to celebrate and highlight the dedication of these professionals during this pandemic, which seems never-ending to so many health-care workers.”

Big White has offered perks to other front-line workers during the pandemic, but it hopes it would all just come to an end sooner rather than later, especially for the doctors and nurses in the ICU.

“Their continuing fight through this unprecedented pandemic should not be understated,” Ballingall said. “We will continue to help support the continuing efforts of our frontline and essential workers as they fight every day in our health care system.

“We hope that everyone continues to go and get vaccinated so that we can finally get our communities healthy and so that our health care professionals can finally get the break that they all deserve.”

House will cost you $1 million
Okanagan Edge Staff - 2:35 pm - Biz Releases

Photo: Contributed

There are a few ways to take the temperature of a housing market.

And one of those calculations has determined that your average, single-family home in Kelowna now costs more than $1 million.

The Royal LePage House Price Survey determined the median price of a single-family home in Kelowna was $1.025 million during the third quarter this year. It actually topped the $1 million mark in the second quarter, hitting $1.01 million during the Royal LePage survey in July.

The median price is determined by taking every sale made and finding the number exactly in the middle.

The median price of a single-family home in Kelowna during the third quarter of 2020 was only $838,000, which is a good indication of just how hot the market has been in the last 12 months.

The Association of Interior Realtors, meanwhile, uses the benchmark price, which represents a dwelling with typical attributes to those traded in a certain area. The benchmark price does not take the higher or lower end properties into account.

AIR’s benchmark price for homes in the Central Okanagan was creeping towards $1 million all year, reaching $961,800 in August, but that mark dropped 4% to $923,500 in September.

The Royal LePage survey found that the aggregate median price for a single-family or condominium home in Kelowna was $823,000 in the third quarter, which represented a $3,000 increase from the second quarter.

Keep workers safe this winter
Okanagan Edge Staff - 12:42 pm - Biz Releases

Photo: Contributed

Okanagan employers are being reminded that winter driving increases the risk of being in a work-related motor vehicle crash.

The 13th annual Shift into Winter campaign is now under way, and it is reminding employers and supervisors to be prepared and plan ahead.

“Work-related driving in winter is dangerous in the Okanagan, regardless of how much or how little employees drive,” campaign spokesperson Louise Yako said in a press release.

Statistics show that the risk of being in a workplace motor vehicle crash increases by 27% between November and January. Crashes are the leading cause of workplace traumatic deaths in B.C.

The Shift into Winter campaign calls for employers to ensure their vehicles are safe and have the proper tires. Most importantly, it will keep employees safe. It is also good business.

“Preventing work-related vehicle crashes is smart business,” Yako said. “It directly benefits the employer, especially as businesses recover from the pandemic.”

The Winter Driving Safey Alliance suggests the following tips for employers and supervisors to help keep drivers safe on the job:
• Ensure drivers are aware of the risks they may be exposed to while driving, are trained, and have the equipment and supervision to keep themselves safe.
• Ask yourself: Does the employee have to drive? Could the business be conducted online or in a different way?
• Ensure vehicles are properly maintained and winterized, and have four matched winter tires that carry the three-peaked mountain and snowflake symbol.
• Make sure drivers know when and how to safely and properly install chains or other approved traction devices.
• Equip vehicles with a winter driving emergency kit.

Portfolio manager fined $55K
Okanagan Edge Staff - 11:13 am - Biz Releases

Photo: M. B. M., Unsplash

British Columbia Securities Commission has ordered a Kelowna portfolio manager to pay a fine for a second time in less than a decade.

Kilburn Ogilvie Waymann Investment Management Ltd. has paid $55,700 to the commission for inadequate controls and supervision. Specifically, the company was fined for not managing business-associated risks and not providing reasonable assurance that it complied with securities legislation.

During a compliance field examination in 2019, BCSC staff found that the firm:
• did not maintain records capable of generating certain account activity reports
• made unsubstantiated marketing claims on its website about the benefits of investing through a portfolio manager
• failed to ensure it was registered in each province where it had clients
• paid client management fees it earned to an unregistered holding company
• inaccurately calculated its excess working capital, and
• delivered deficient audited financial statements and a deficient auditor’s opinion to the BCSC as part of its required filings.

Kilburn Ogilvie Waymann was also ordered to pay $12,000 in July 2012 after admitting it failed to establish and maintain an adequate compliance system, and failed to maintain a minimum level of regulatory capital.

BCSC said there is no evidence that any clients were harmed due to the company’s deficiencies.

Women looking for Momentum
Kirk Penton - 9:04 am - Biz Releases

Photo: Contributed

Community Futures North Okanagan is introducing Momentum, a new women’s business accelerator.

“There are some really inspiring women in the program,” says Missy Dobernigg of BX Press Cidery and Orchard.

“Running a business can be isolating. You’re never off. Having that international time to connect with other women entrepreneurs running the same grind is mentally uplifting.”

Momentum offers opportunities to:

  • Actively participate in a peer mentoring group
  • Access specialized professionals to help you overcome knowledge gaps and funding for business development
  • Achieve your goals through a structured business process and custom action planning
  • Receive target support and establish through ongoing one-on-one professional coaching
  • Gain confidence in all areas of your business through training opportunities on topics such as leadership, goal-setting, financial management, conflict management, human resources, market expansion and more.

Momentum is now accepting applications for its October intake.

More information about Momentum can be found here.

Laurel Road project planned
Wayne Moore - 8:04 am - Biz Releases

Image: Contributed

A new townhouse development is being proposed for Laurel Road in the Rutland area.

Plans for the 22-unit project were submitted earlier this week to the city’s planning department.

The proposal, put forth by Mundi Construction Ltd., includes five residential buildings comprised of triplexes, five- and six-plexes, as well as “multiple configurations based on their relationship with the topographic setting and the road/grading.”

“We believe the proposed townhouse typology addresses all significant elements of the OCP, and are deemed to be quality, yet affordable forms of housing in the Kelowna market area,” the project overview states.

“They have become an excellent product type to satisfy the mid to upper level market housing demand, much of which has not been available in the overall Laurel Road area.”

The proposal states the overall building design and landscaping will promote natural surveillance and does not provide “opportunistic hiding places.

“The social lifestyle of the site will help promote further surveillance and territorial reinforcement.”

Units are proposed to be three storey walk-outs.

The development must go through various departments within city hall before being considered by council.

Chance to win Bin 4 burgers
Okanagan Edge Staff - Oct 15, 2021 - Biz Releases

Image: Contributed

Sign up to receive The Daily, and you could soon be enjoying one of Kelowna’s best burgers.

The Daily is Castanet’s newsletter, which will appear in your inbox every weekday around 5 p.m. It will provide links to all of Castanet’s biggest headlines from the day as well as weather, community updates and more.

Everyone who signs up to receive The Daily will be automatically entered to win a Bin 4 Burger Lounge gift card.

“We know your day can be busy,” Castanet content manager Colin Dacre said. “The Daily newsletter will get you up to date quickly on everything that is happening in the Okanagan.”

Apex season passes popular
Casey Richardson - Oct 15, 2021 - Biz Releases

Photo: Apex Mountain Resort

A few inches of snow has started to pile up on Apex Mountain, while boarders and skiers hope for a winter full of fresh powder.

The snow has been sporadically falling on the mountain since August but typically won’t stick around. Apex Mountain Resort GM James Shalman said it won’t be cold enough to hold onto the snow until around the end of October.

But it seems this year more people are looking at hitting the slopes, with indications that this could be one of the best season pass sale years for the hill.

“We’re still actually doing our final tally of past season’s sales, but all indications are that that we’re probably even going to be up on last year,” he said.

“Last year was one of our best years ever.”

Apex is expecting to open for the season on Dec. 11.

Anyone looking to buy a season pass for Apex this winter can find more information here.

Cannabis shops want equality
Jon Manchester - Oct 15, 2021 - Biz Releases

Photo: Contributed
Sarah Ballantyne

The owner of a Vernon cannabis shop is leading the charge in a call for the province to level the playing field between legal and unlicensed retailers.

Sarah Ballantyne, owner of SpiritLeaf, is spokesperson for the Okanagan Cannabis Collective, which represents 20-plus legal cannabis stores.

“We haven’t seen any kind of enforcement (on unlicensed shops) or changes, and it’s been three years,” Ballantyne noted, since the legalization of recreational cannabis.

The group sent an open letter to the provincial government, saying action must be taken or Solicitor General Mike Farnworth should resign.

Ballantyne said the collective created a map showing 35 known cannabis stores operating without a licence in B.C.

Many of those stores are on Indigenous land, including several along Westside Road. But, Ballantyne says her beef is not with First Nations, it’s with the province and Community Safety Unit for not enforcing Health Canada standards.

She feels the province is putting the squeeze on licensed outlets by “opening more government stores, undercutting private stores … and making it more difficult to compete.”

She said the government’s approach to get rid of the black market by opening more of its own stores isn’t working and is only hurting legal operators who are following the rules.

The collective wants to know how the Community Safety Unit is being used “and where the money is going.”

“There’s been no progress to level the playing field with Indigenous stores,” she told Castanet.

Ballantyne, who lives on the Westside herself and drives past her competitors daily, says she frequently has customers coming to her asking if unlicensed product is safe to consume.

She says those outlets don’t have to pay licence fees, PST or the vape tax.

“There are enough legal retailers … we’re oversaturated with BC Cannabis (government) stores, and they are doing nothing to eliminate the illicit market. All it’s doing is undercutting legal retailers. It’s unfair competition,” Ballantyne charged.

Ballantyne added it’s not her place to approach First Nations on their cannabis control policies; that should be done by the CSU, and they should be the same for all players.

Barring a crackdown, Ballantyne says the province should remove the provincial sales tax and licensing fees on legal retailers.

Doyle project takes next step
Wayne Moore - Oct 15, 2021 - Biz Releases

Image: Contributed

The next phase in the redevelopment of the former RCMP building on Doyle Avenue will play out in council chambers Monday.

Council will be asked to approve an application to rezone the property to the central business commercial zone for construction of a 13-storey mixed-use commercial/residential tower.

The building proposal has also triggered the need for a traffic impact assessment which must be approved by the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure.

There will be a requirement to upgrade Doyle Avenue along the frontage of the property to a full urban standard.

The overall development is expected to include two storeys of commercial and 11 storeys of residential, along with a 6,000 square foot Creative Hub.

The rezoning application also includes the residential rental tenure only subzone, designed to create guaranteed long-term residential rentals.

Back in January, the city agreed to lease the property to Rise Commercial Development for 99 years.

Under terms of that lease, the city will be paid $7 million over the first 80 years, and fair market value for the final 19.

The city will use $4.3 million of the initial payment to construct 6,000 square feet of community amenity space, an extension of the Artwalk and a Civic Plaza.

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