A Kelowna company that specializes in wildfire protection equipment is once again one of Canada’s fastest growing companies.
Wasp Manufacturing recently landed at No. 178 in this year’s Globe and Mail Report on Business ranking of Canada’s top growing companies, thanks to its 254% economic growth over the last three years. Wasp also cracked the list last year.
“We are extremely proud of this accomplishment for the second year in a row,” company CEO Randy Cowling said in a press release. “In the past year we have increased our U.S. sales significantly and are extremely excited to announce we are expanding into Australia beginning in 2023.”
Wasp’s most popular product is the gutter mount sprinkler bracket, which allows firefighters to get water to the rooftops easily and without ladders. The brackets are mandatory equipment for structure protection units on contract with British Columbia Wildfire Services.
Some Canadian and U.S. fire departments sell the brackets as part of a fundraiser, which has brought in tens of thousands of dollars for equipment and wildfire protection in their respective communities.
Two other Thompson Okanagan companies cracked the list, which consisted of 430 businesses. Kamloops’ Stites Consulting landed at No. 100, while Coldstream’s EZ Snap ended up at No. 260.
The inaugural Kelowna Beer Week will wrap up with a big party at BNA Brewing next weekend.
October is BC Craft Beer Month, and the recently formed Central Okanagan Brewers Association decided to commemorate it with a full week of festivities.
Kelowna Beer Week starts on Saturday, and events will take place in each of the Central Okanagan’s brewing neighbourhoods. There are 21 COBRA members, and participants in Kelowna Beer Week will be able to collect stamps on a special passport, which in turn can enter them to win prizes furnished by the breweries.
The weeklong celebration will then culminate with a bash at BNA Brewing next Saturday, Oct. 8, between noon and 3 p.m. Most of COBRA’s 21 members will be on hand to pour their product. The $20 ticket will include two drink tickets and access to discounted bowling and bocce. DJ Ghostcurb will be provide the tunes.
Tickets for the finale can be purchased here or at the door if any remain.
A sustainable fuel company is looking to open a plant on the Tk’emlups reserve that will turn canola oil and animal fats into jet fuel.
Douglas Cole, president of Azure Sustainable Fuels Corp., told Castanet Kamloops the location, next to the CN Rail yard along the North Thompson River, north of the Halston Bridge, has everything the company was looking for.
“Logistics play a very key part in in this type of a project. We need to rail in canola oil and rail out aviation fuel to its destination,” Cole said. “So the siding here with CN was particularly attractive. That’s what initially brought us here to Kamloops.”
Cole said his company has been in lengthy conversations with the band and it seems likely that construction will begin next year.
Azure, a Calgary-based company with Swiss backing that was incorporated last year, hopes to start operations at the new plant in late 2026 or early in 2027.
Cole said in addition to sustainable aviation fuel, the plant would also make renewable diesel. He said if the project is successful, Azure will be the first sustainable diesel plant in the province.
He said Kamloops’ central location in B.C. and the easy access to rail makes the area a perfect sustainable fuel hub.
“Currently, B.C. imports all of their renewable diesel fuel from from outside of Canada,” he said.
Cole said Azure is hoping to break ground on the project in a little over a year, depending on regulatory timelines.
The company said construction of the plant could mean as many as 1,500 jobs over two years. Once operating, Cole said the facility would employ approximately 150 workers.
The process of turning canola oil into fuel might produce a familiar odour, Cole said.
“Canola oil as it’s being treated, or pre-treated for this process, sort of smells like cooking french fries, perhaps. That’s probably the best description I’ve heard for it,” Cole said.
According to the company, preliminary engineering and design studies for the new plant have already been completed, and now the company is working with the Tk’emlups te Secwepemc band, CN Rail and other stakeholders to finalize a site for the facility.
After a decade with the city, Will Pearce is retiring.
The City of Vernon chief administrative officer has been with the city since 2012, and his last day will be Dec. 9.
The task of recruiting Vernon’s next CAO will be given to the newly elected city council.
“On behalf of city council, I wish to thank Mr. Pearce for his leadership and commitment to Vernon and congratulate him on a municipal career that has been nothing short of outstanding,” Mayor Victor Cumming said.
“On a daily basis, he demonstrates an unwavering commitment to excellence in public service, meaningful leadership, and a sound approach to sustainable community development and management. He has thoughtfully guided the city and three different councils through several significant milestones and challenging issues to help ensure the organization is in a sound financial position, effectively and efficiently serving the needs of our citizens and businesses, and is appropriately prepared for continued community growth.
“The work that Mr. Pearce has done over the last decade alongside his team of directors, managers and city staff, has set Vernon in a position where many of its activities are nationally recognized.”
Construction could start next year on Kelowna’s new airport hotel.
The City of Kelowna announced Thursday the Sutton Place Hotel, operated by Northland Properties Corporation, will be located directly adjacent to YLW’s terminal building.
“This new commercial development at YLW will be an economic driver for the entire community by creating jobs and promoting tourism throughout the Okanagan,” Mayor Colin Basran said in a press release.
“This is the first of many new developments for YLW, I am excited to continue to see the airport grow to meet the needs of our growing region.”
The city announced last year it was expediting plans for a hotel at the airport, bringing forward the project that was initially envisioned for 2027 or 2028.
Design and development approval work will start this year with construction planned for as early as Q4 2023. The hotel is anticipated to open in 2026 and will be the Sutton Place brand’s fourth property in Canada and Northland Properties’ fourth hotel in the Okanagan Valley.
“The Sutton Place Hotels are known for delivering exceptional guest experience,” said Sam Samaddar, Kelowna airport director. “Their reputation will allow The Sutton Place Hotel Kelowna at YLW to promote the Okanagan as a premier destination.”
The hotel will also include a business centre, on-site dining, personal concierge services, bellhop services, and meeting spaces for corporate and social events.
“We are excited about our new partnership with the team at the Kelowna International Airport, and we are confident this distinct destination and our elevated guest experience will appeal to visitors and locals alike,” Northland Properties CEO Tom Gaglardi said.
“The Sutton Place Hotel Kelowna is a great addition to our family-owned portfolio of hotels, restaurants, resorts and sports assets.”
Analog Coffee has become the first specialty coffee retailer on Sunset Drive.
The coffee spot can be found in The Shoppes at One Water, which is located at the corner of Sunset Drive and Clement Avenue.
“With so many residential towers on Sunset Drive, and more to come, it seemed obvious that they needed a cool cafe to serve the residents,” owner Jenna Kopperson said in a press release. “Customers love our sunny patio, west coast vibe inside and staff that are passionate about a great cup of coffee.”
Analog Coffee is holding its grand opening today (Thursday) until 6 p.m., serving all coffee and tea beverages by donation, with 100% of proceeds going towards the Backpack Program for The Central Okanagan Food Bank.
“Many kids go to school without breakfast or lunch,” Kopperson said. “The Backpack Program is working to change that, supporting seven local schools. For five dollars per day, it provides breakfast and lunch for a student going to school hungry.
“Analog Coffee is all about community, and this is a cause that benefits the whole city, and helps local schools and students in your neighbourhood.”
TORONTO — Gas prices jumped overnight in some cities across Canada, in many cases by around ten cents a litre, and by almost 20 cents in one city.
According to the CAA’s gas price tracker, the price of gas is up nationally by just over three cents on average at $1.58 per litre, with some provinces seeing bigger jumps than others.
Kristine D’Arbelles, CAA’s senior director of public affairs, said gas prices are being driven by a number of factors, including international issues, seasonality, supply and demand, and provincial taxes.
With hurricanes Fiona and Ian hitting coasts this week, delivery and supply of gas is likely affected for some markets, D’Arbelles said.
“Storms can have an effect on gas prices,” she said. “Because where gas is coming from is slightly different across the country, that might mean that one province is feeling it a little bit more than another province.”
In Alberta, provincially prices were up by six and a half cents, but up almost nine cents in Edmonton. Prices in the Okanagan jumped 20 cents earlier this week.
Meanwhile, Ontario prices averaged two cents more than on Wednesday, but in some specific cities it was a different story.
In Thunder Bay, gas prices were up by almost 20 cents, and in Peterborough prices were up 11 cents, compared with a gain of just around a penny in Toronto. In other Ontario cities, such as Brantford and Brockville, gas prices were up by four and half cents.
In Saskatchewan, prices were up almost six cents, while Manitoba’s prices saw just a one-cent rise. Quebec’s prices barely moved overnight.
In some provinces, there’s another jump in gas prices on the horizon as tax relief programs reach their limits.
Alberta’s temporary gas tax relief, introduced earlier this year when prices soared, is on its way out, albeit slowly. On Oct. 1, the province will reintroduce a tax of 4.5 cents per litre, still a far cry from the usual 13 cents.
Ontario’s gas tax was cut to nine cents per litre from 14.7 cents effective July 1 and ending Dec. 31.
The thrift store at Central Okanagan United Church is open for the first time in more than two years.
The store, which was forced to close due to the COVID-19 pandemic, has been deep cleaned and restocked in anticipation of its reopening.
The store will be open Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The Central Okanagan United Church thrift store is located down the stairs from the parking lot at 721 Bernard Ave., which is at the corner of Bernard and Richter Street.
Thompson-Nicola Regional District is looking for a new chief financial officer.
In a terse news release issued Wednesday afternoon, the TNRD announced CFO Doug Rae was no longer employed by the regional district.
Carla Fox has been appointed interim CFO effective immediately. She has been deputy CFO since joining TNRD in June.
“A search for a permanent CFO will begin immediately,” the release said. “Mr. Rae has served the TNRD for the past 10 years, and the TNRD wishes him the best in his future endeavours.”
Citing privacy legislation, the TNRD said no further details about Rae’s departure would be provided.
After a COVID-forced hiatus, the Okanagan Women’s Expo is back.
The expo is celebrating its first post-pandemic event and re-brand. Formerly known as the Vernon Wellness Fair, the event is returning for its 18th year at the Vernon Recreation Centre this Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Everyone is welcome to the free event.
More than 60 exhibitors will offer a wide range of products and services, such as fashion, natural health, home items, counselling, fitness, cosmetics, jewelry, bath products, massage and more.
“The pandemic was incredibly hard on local small businesses. This event is a celebration of the perseverance of our community. Also, many guests have not connected much with friends and loved ones over the past two years. We are excited to see people coming together again for a much-needed fun time,” organizer Chris Madsen said.
Many of the booths are interactive, with things such as health checkups, prize draws, samples and giveaways.
Guests will also gain access to special discounts and promotions for attendees.
Do you have someone in mind that you’d like to bring? Tag them on the Okanagan Women’s Expo event on Facebook for your chance to win a $500 gift basket sponsored by Life Untethered.