Penticton pot must wait
Colin Dacre - 4:26 pm - Biz Releases

Photo: Pixabay

With Penticton’s new city council about to debate the proposed framework for retail cannabis, the municipality says storefront weed is still “several months away.”

While a report on retail cannabis will be presented to counsellors next week, there are still several more regulatory hoops through which Penticton needs to jump.

“If council supports the proposed framework, we will be in a position to initiate the regulatory process for the amendments to the zoning bylaw and changes to other bylaws and policies,” planning manager Blake Laven said in a news release.

“This work needs to occur before the city can consider the applications for storefronts referred to us by the province.”

The city says it has received four referrals for private retail dispensaries from the B.C. Cannabis and Liquor Distribution branch and one letter of interest for a government-owned store, “however, arrival of storefront locations is still several months away.”

During public consultation, the city has proposed banning pot shops from Front Street and the 100-300 blocks of Main Street in addition to using buffer and exclusion zones to limit where the stores can set up.

Nearby Summerland has finalized all its cannabis policy and will be hearing from a proponent for a retail cannabis store during its first meeting in December.

In the meantime, the Penticton is recommending marijuana consumers use www.bccannabisstores.com to acquire legal weed.

From Paris to Kelowna, with hair
Kirk Penton - 2:28 pm - Biz Releases

Photo: Kirk Penton

Ludovic and Jessica Jan met more than 20 years ago at a hair school in Paris.

Did they foresee opening a hair salon together on Ellis Street in Kelowna, B.C., one day?

“Absolutely not,” Jessica said with a laugh.

Yet here they are, less than two months into their stint as owners of Opus Salon, and they’re loving their new life as Okanagan business owners.

The husband and wife moved to Canada 11 years ago and started working at Opus Salon in Vancouver’s Yaletown.

“We just wanted a change. We were young, and we just wanted something new,” Ludovic said. “We came on a working holiday, just like a lot of French and Europeans, and we just never left.”

They eventually bought the business and last year decided to move to Kelowna with their two children.

“It’s a bit wet in Vancouver, and I guess we were a bit tired of the weather,” Ludovic said. “But also we wanted something different for our kids, a smaller city where we could spend more time together and not so much in traffic.”

Added Jessica: “More community. More local shops. That’s what we wanted.”

They found the space near the corner of Lawrence and Ellis, formerly a hair salon that was strictly a chair-rental location, and opened up their second Opus Salon on Oct. 1.

“We looked at pretty much everything in B.C., because we didn’t want to move away from B.C.,” Ludovic said. “We thought about it, but after thinking a bit harder we said no. Kelowna was just the right place.”

The Jans are planning a massive renovation starting in January to put their own stamp on the space, but it’s been so far, so good for the French couple, which employs four workers. Ludovic also works as a teacher in the industry, so customers will always have access the latest trends.

“We’re not from Canada, so we have a different view on beauty and fashion and hair than you would have if you were coming from here,” Ludovic said. “We have a different history with it. Canada brought us a lot of different ways of seeing the industry as well.”

One bonus of opening Opus Salon where they did is Ludovic and Jessica will soon have hundreds of citizens living basically kitty-corner from them in the Mission Group’s new Ella building, which is expected to be ready in early 2020.

“We just wish it was a bit more buses and more transit,” Ludovic said. “But that will come with time. It’s a small city, so step by step.”

Kelowna posties strike again
Rob Gibson - 12:31 pm - Biz Releases

Photo: Rob Gibson

UPDATE: 10:15 a.m.

Postal workers in Kelowna walked off the job at 9:30 a.m., following a national directive aimed at taking the corporation by surprise.

Striking workers on the picket line say they wanted to catch management unprepared.

Staff are reportedly picketing at the main sorting depot on Gaston Avenue as well as at locations across the city, including local MP Stephen Fuhr’s office.


ORIGINAL: 10:05 a.m.

Canada Post workers walked off the job in Kelowna Friday morning.

Rotating strikes across the country returned to Kelowna and Victoria, the Canadian Union of Postal Workers confirms.

Castanet has a reporter headed to the picket line and will update with more details.

Meanwhile, Canadians hoping to receive packages from international shippers may be waiting a long time.

Britain’s Royal Mail says it is suspending shipments to Canada as a result of the Crown corporation’s labour dispute.

Online marketing giant eBay says it has also received a similar notification from China Post.

In a bulletin to its corporate customers, the Royal Mail says items shipped in the last couple of days bound for Canada are being held in its distribution centre until the dispute has been resolved.

The U.K. mail service says it made the move at the request of Canada Post, which it says has told them it is now facing delays of at least 30 days in delivering packages.

– with files from The Canadian Press

Extras needed at Prospera
Rob Gibson - 9:37 am - Biz Releases

Image: Contributed

Local casting company, Background Casting is putting out the call for extras for a movie being shot on Tuesday at Prospera Place.

Casting director Adina Willmott tells Castanet, “We are looking for about 100 volunteer extras to be hockey fans at Prospera Place on the 20th.”

Willmott says the movie is titled “Undying,” and extras must be available for the entire day, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Lunch will be provided, and selected extras will also be paid.

“It will be a long day, but we’re hoping it will give people an idea of what being an extra is like,” Willmott said. “It’s also a great opportunity to watch a film being created!”

Pot applications come in
Wayne Moore - 8:34 am - Biz Releases

Photo: The Canadian Press

Applications are finally starting to trickle in for the retail sale of non-medical cannabis in the Central Okanagan.

Both West Kelowna and Lake Country have each received a single referral application from the province for a retail operation.

Lake Country’s director of community development Mark Koch says the referral is for a location at Turtle Bay Crossing.

He says the applicant will require a variance because the location falls within 400 metres of a daycare.

However, Koch says the daycare is running with a temporary use permit and is not permanent.

He says various departments within the municipality will have to review and comment on the application before it makes its way to council. Koch expects that could take a few months.

In West Kelowna, one application has also been forwarded from the province for consideration.

West Kelowna has set a deadline of Jan. 2 for the receipt of applications. At that point, it will begin going through each one before they reach the council table.

A maximum of four retail stores will be allowed in West Kelowna, two in downtown Westbank and two in the Boucherie area.

In Kelowna, the city says some applications have started coming in, however, details aren’t yet available.

Kelowna is accepting retail applications until the end of November for the first wave of consideration. They will then be scored, with the top scoring applications getting the first crack at going before council.

YLW parking going up
Wayne Moore - 7:32 am - Biz Releases

Photo: Wayne Moore

An increase in passenger numbers means it will cost you more to park your vehicle at Kelowna International Airport.

Beginning Dec.1, fees for all types of parking, including valet, curbside, long and short-term are going up.

Finance and corporate services manager Shayne Drydal says this is the first increase since April 2014.

In a report for city council, Drydal says a 38 per cent jump in passenger numbers over the past five years means more money will have to be spent on parking infrastructure.

“This increase in passenger numbers has resulted in capacity constraints … and increased operational costs,” he wrote. “YLW anticipates there will be a need to build additional parking infrastructure in the immediate future, which will result in increased capital costs and further operational costs.”

The proposed fee increases include:

Location Description Current Proposed
Valet Valet parking $15 $20
Curbside Parking meters (30 min) $1.75 $2
Short-term First hour $1.50 $1.75
Each subsequent hour $2.50 $2.75
Daily $18.50 $21
Gold pass (6 mo. pre-paid) $900 $1,025
Long-term First hour $1.50 $1.75
Each subsequent hour $2.50 $2.75
Daily $12.00 $14
Weekly $62.00 $70

Fees for lost, damaged or not returned security passes, security keys, parking decals and fuel cards are also expected to increase.

The new council will be asked to approve the proposed fee increases when it holds its first regular meeting Monday afternoon.

Argo loses highway contract
Colin Dacre - 6:28 am - Biz Releases

Photo: Contributed

A Spanish multinational company is taking over the snow-clearing and maintenance contracts for highways and provincial roads in the Okanagan, Shuswap and Similkameen.

Acciona Infrastructure Maintenance Inc. was awarded the South Okanagan and Okanagan-Shuswap zone contracts after an open bidding process, the Ministry of Transportation confirmed today.

Acciona will replace Argo Road Maintenance in the South Okanagan zone, which spans from Oyama to the border and west to Alison Lake, including the Okanagan Connector from Peachland to the Pennask Summit.

The new agreement comes into effect on May 1, 2019, meaning Argo will be responsible for provincially maintained roads until then.

In the Okanagan-Shuswap zone—spanning Fintry north past Seymour Arm—Acciona replaces JPW Road and Bridge Inc. when their contract runs out on March 31, 2019.

Twenty-six of 28 road maintenance contracts in B.C. are being tendered and awarded in 2018 and 2019 through an open bidding process. The Ministry of Transportation says the new contracts require higher standards and a more proactive approach to winter events.

Improvements to the contracts include:

  • Increased communication with the public about changing road conditions and other incidents affecting travel on B.C. roads.
  • Return Class A highways to bare pavement within 24 hours of a winter weather event ending at pavement temperatures of -9 C or warmer, when deicing chemical use is safe and effective. The previous standard was 48 hours.
  • Increase patrol frequency to 90 minutes on a Class A highway, like the Coquihalla, during a winter storm. The previous standard was four hours.
  • When a weather event is forecast to occur, increase the patrol frequency to four hours. The previous standard was 24 hours.

Argo has retained the Thompson zone contract, meaning it will continue to maintain the portion of the Coquihalla and Highway 97C around Kamloops. A winning bidder for the Nicola zone, which includes the lower Coquihalla, has not been announced yet. That contract is currently held by VSA Highway Maintenance, and is set to expire at the end of June 2019.

The new contracts have a 10-year term with a five-year extension option for the province. Dollar values for the contracts have not been disclosed yet.

Acciona has a presence in 30 countries, including offices in Vancouver, and is one of the main civil works contractors working on the Site C Dam.

Chamber boss resigning
Okanagan Edge Staff - Nov 15 - Biz Releases

Photo: Contributed

Kamloops Chamber of Commerce executive director Deb McClelland is stepping down at the end of the year after almost two decades on the job.

McClelland’s final day on the job will be Dec. 31, according to a chamber press release sent out Thursday afternoon. She has been the organization’s executive director for the last 19 years.

“Whenever Kamloops Chamber of Commerce board directors attend events outside of Kamloops, we are quickly reminded of the impact that Deb has made to the chamber network and business community across the country,” chamber president Joshua Knaak said in the release.

“The work that she has done in developing a strong and steady chamber in Kamloops has been duplicated in so many communities through the work she has done as a provincial and national leader, mentor and guide.”

McClelland won’t be going far, as she is leaving to pursue her own entrepreneurial ventures she has created over the last several years.

Dealership giving away $10K
Okanagan Edge Staff - Nov 15 - Biz Releases

Photo: Contributed

 The new Penticton Nissan dealership has been up and running for a few months now, and it apparently has some extra cash lying around because the boss is going to give it away.

The dealership, which opened in March, is awarding $10,000 to someone who buys a new or used vehicle in November. General manager Scott Barber is throwing a party on Dec. 4 that will include a meet-and-greet and door prizes. All vehicle purchasers in November will have their names thrown in a hat, and one of them will be drawn at the end of the evening.

“For one lucky winner who purchased a vehicle from us, it’s gonna be a really great Christmas for them,” Barber said. “We want to show not only the Okanagan Valley, but the South Okanagan Valley, a sign of good faith that we’re super happy to be open here at Satikw Crossing in Penticton, and we just want to reach out to clients who purchased from us and kind of give back to one lucky winner.”

Barber said his business is doing well in the competitive Penticton automotive industry.

“It’s great. There’s lots of people flowing through the doors,” he said. “We’re selling lots of new cars, lots of used cars. We’re competing with some of the more established stores here in Penticton with larger databases than we have here, and we’re doing quite well.

“We’re really excited to be part of the dealership group here in the South Okanagan. We’re thankful for the support our clients have given us, and that’s why we kinda want to give back with this contest.”

Ebus alters schedule
Wayne Moore - Nov 15 - Biz Releases

Photo: Contributed

The company providing new bus service to the southern half of the province and Lower Mainland is making some tweaks to its scheduling.

Ebus began operating two weeks ago, replacing a number of routes offered by Greyhound before they ceased service in Western Canada.

In a news release, Ebus says it is making adjustments to all its routes based on feedback from customers.

Ebus says scheduled stops will continue in Kelowna, Vernon, Kamloops, Abbotsford, Surrey and Vancouver.  Buses will only stop in Merritt, Hope and Chilliwack if there is an advanced reservation booked.

They will no longer stop in Richmond, however.

The company says it is also working with the cities of Kelowna and West Kelowna to provide additional stops.

Click here for more information on routes and fares.

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