Wilden even more accessible
Contributed - Aug 17, 2019 - Think Local

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A home in Wilden is what many in Kelowna dream about often. Living in the Okanagan’s largest master-planned community has recently become more achievable; a new strata development has been launched with spacious, semi-detached homes starting in the low six hundreds, including the first year of strata fees when you buy in phase one. What is more, the monthly energy cost when living in a Wilden townhome is significantly lower than average.

So what makes Wilden so desirable, especially right now?

Places like this are becoming rare in Kelowna.

The neighbourhoods now selling in Wilden are the last low-density pockets available on the hillside above Okanagan Lake, a short 10-minute drive from downtown. Wilden Ridge Park, with its beautiful lake-view trails and other extended park areas, are only a short walk away.

Wilden construction is building homes to future standards.

If you buy a semi-detached home in Wilden’s new strata neighbourhood, Lost Creek Point, you will get maximum living comfort at minimum energy cost. Wilden’s own construction team builds homes far ahead of the current building code. By exceeding the current requirements for wall insulation and choosing renewable energy sources, Wilden leads the way to a sustainable future in residential living.

Wilden helps to reduce greenhouse gas.

Lost Creek Point homes have substantially less greenhouse gas emissions than the average home, extremely important to those who are conscious about climate change. Wilden is the first developer to offer new homeowners 100 per cent renewable natural gas (RNG) from FortisBC to heat their homes for one year. RNG will reduce carbon emissions for the home to near zero. Homeowners will also receive a credit on the B.C. carbon tax on their bill.

Wilden takes the pressure off your shoulders while selling your “old” home.

A special “Peace of Mind Purchase Program” for buyers of Lost Creek Point Homes in phase one allows for six months of pressure-free time to sell your existing property. During this time, the home of your choice is secured for you at the current price, regardless of other buyers coming in that could offer a quicker closing. There is no “bump clause.”

Wilden is located between downtown Kelowna and YLW airport. 

Wilden’s unique location saves you lots of commuting time on a daily basis. Regardless if you work downtown, in the university area, at the airport or require air travel for your work—less time in your car is more time spent with family and the things you love.

The Wilden Market Square has just been approved by the city and is now in planning. 

Wilden’s cultural and commercial centre, which will also include an elementary school, is currently in its final planning stages. The Wilden Market Square will enable Wilden residents to get fresh groceries and other essentials a short walk or bike ride from their front door. A huge plaza will be the place for the community to meet, have coffee and enjoy local food with neighbours. Once built, the Market Square and school will elevate the Wilden lifestyle even further and increase the value of Wilden homes.

Wilden’s townhome show unit is located at 1341 Rocky Point Dr. and is open daily from 1 to 5 p.m. except on Friday. Get more information at wildentownhomes.ca or at the Wilden Presentation Centre at 250-762-2906 or [email protected].

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Promontory leads way
Contributed - Aug 14, 2019 - Think Local

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Promontory is a new Kelowna housing development in a great location, and it is affordably priced for the Okanagan.

If that weren’t enough, it is also set to become B.C.’s first solar-powered community.

“We’re going to be the first master-planned solar community in B.C.,” Promontory sales director Todd Farrer says. “Solar technology has gone so far in even the last five years that I believe—and the developer believes—that we should be utilizing this solar technology in the development. We hope to lead the way in solar communities. We want to show how well it can work.”

The triple threat of location, price and innovation is proving to be an attractive set of factors for buyers. Phase one of the project sold out within a week, and phase two will go on sale this Saturday, Aug. 17. The second phase features bigger and more unique floor plans with the best views of the entire project.

“We expect a similar response,” Farrer says.

Promontory is located on the southeastern slope of Knox Mountain at the corner of Boynton Place and Highpointe Drive. It is only a four-minute drive to downtown Kelowna and just 10 minutes from UBC Okanagan and the airport. When all six phases are complete there will be 120 townhouses and apartments.

“People are able to hike and run basically right beside our property,” Farrer says. “… All the million to five-million-dollar homes are right beside us as well. So it’s just a beautiful location with beautiful views.”

Farrer says clients are buying at Promontory for all three aforementioned reasons, but the sustainability factor could end up being a real game changer for those who live there. The use of solar panels, which will be installed by Hakai Energy Solutions, could have residents paying a grand total of only $250 a year in utilities.

“We’ve based our solar panels on the square footage of each home,” Farrer says. “The vision there is drastically reduce everyone’s bill. It’s depending on the personal usage, but we believe with the amount of solar panels that we have that they will see a drastic discount on their utility bill.”

Promontory’s energy grid will be supported by FortisBC to ensure that there will always be power if residents go over their allotted use.

Promontory will break ground in September, and those who purchase phase two homes will be able to move into the neighbourhood in either late 2020 or early 2021. Homes will range in size from 466 to 1,348 square feet, and prices start as low $249,900.

“Everything is kind of well below what the average price point is for comparable units,” Vantage West Realty owner and managing broker AJ Hazzi says. “… They’re great for first-time buyers, because you can own them for at or less than the cost that it’s currently costing you to rent a comparable unit. So it makes sense for a first-time buyer, because it’s cheaper than renting.

“It makes sense for an investor, because you have cash flow, and it’s great for Baby Boomers who are looking to downsize.”

Promontory’s sales centre is located at 665 Boynton Pl.

More information about the entire project can be found at Promontory’s website.

Golf club celebrates 40 years
Kirk Penton - Aug 07, 2019 - Think Local

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Golfers have been lining up their shots at Mission Creek Golf Club for 40 years.

A lot has taken place since Ruth and Vic Welder, with the help of their children, opened Mission Creek Golf Club on KLO Road back in 1979.

Once a racehorse track, the Welders transformed the property bordering Mission Creek Greenway into the natural playground that it is today.

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The cottonwood and willow trees they planted are now mature, but what hasn’t changed is the welcoming atmosphere of the mid-length, 18-hole, par-61 golf course that attracts golfers from near and far, including one local member who recently celebrated playing his 4,000th game.

“One of the highlights of our course is definitely the landscape,” Debbie Welder says. “It is a natural setting with ponds, turtles, birds and trees, along with a greenway and putting greens that have well-placed water hazards and sand traps, making it ideal for golfers of all levels. Many of our golfers enjoy walking the course, which accommodates any skill level. The short game play allows people to finish a round in 3.5 hours, so they can still do other things the same day.”

What makes Mission Creek Golf Club especially unique is that it is one of the only third-generation operated and maintained golf courses left in the Okanagan. The Welders’ son John and then wife Debbie bought into the business in the mid-1980s.

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“After Vic retired, we carried on and ran it with Ruth until she retired,” Debbie says. “Both our children, Evan and Danielle, collected the cans and bottles on the course and took them in for recycling refunds. That’s how they started working on the course. It evolved for them being employed to taking it over.”

Today, Danielle manages the pro shop and does the bookkeeping, while Evan manages the grounds. The Welders’ five great-grandchildren are also getting into the family business, and are now collecting the recyclables and helping maintain the gardens.

“I have one grandson who is doing the cans and another who is doing gardening,” Debbie says. “As they get older, they’ll wash the power carts and handle the groundskeeping. The cycle continues.”

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Road trips rule with Modo
Contributed - Aug 01, 2019 - Think Local

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Kelowna’s Kodie Beckley went on a camping trip last weekend using a Modo vehicle, and he doesn’t think it could have been any easier.

“My partner and I, we took the Modo Kia Sedona—it’s right behind Interior Savings downtown—which is right beside my bus stop, too,” Beckley says. “We knew that we were going to be doing this a couple of months ago, so all we did was hop onto the website, click the days we wanted, hit ‘book,’ and it was ready for us when we wanted to show up and go. It’s ridiculously easy.”

Modo, which is a local member-owned car-share co-operative, has come up with a new bundled rate to help with that day trip or long-weekend adventure that requires putting plenty of kilometres on the road. It’s called the Day Tripper, and from $90 per day you can travel as much as 250 kilometres—all in.

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And if the trip happens to work out to be less with Modo’s regular rates, which could happen with shorter distances, you will always get the lower rate guaranteed.

Modo’s shared cars can be booked in advance or on the spot. Beckley knew several weeks ago that he and his group of 10 had booked time off, so he reserved the Sedona. He and his partner removed the rear seating and filled it with the tent, chairs, camping supplies and paddleboard.

“For something like the weekend camping excursion there’s really no other way for us to get out there,” Beckley said. “It was perfect for that.”

Gas, insurance and 24-hour support is included when you use Modo, and with so many vehicle types to choose from—SUVs, pickups, hatchbacks and more—getting the right fit for your adventure is never a problem.

Beckley also uses Modo vehicles around Kelowna from time to time, which eliminates his need for a second family car. He loves how Modo sends a monthly summary of his trips, including when he booked it and how much he spent so he can see how much he is saving. When you consider the increasing costs of gas, insurance and repairs—the average annual cost of owning a car in B.C. is nearing $9,000—Modo just makes good dollars and sense.

“One of the things I like to tell people who ask me about Modo is that it’s a good way to add a second car,” he says. “If you’re a one-car family and you don’t need a second car all the time, Modo is the perfect option for you.

“You don’t need to pay all that insurance, and you don’t need to have the car sitting around in your driveway 95 per cent of the time.”

If you’re not a Modo member, you can join online today and use the promo code “CASTANETTRIPPING” to get $50 in free drive time.

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New era of quiet AC arrives
Contributed - Jul 31, 2019 - Think Local

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We all get it. In the Okanagan, air conditioning isn’t optional. It’s a necessity of Okanagan living.

What do we think of air conditioning, though, besides the obvious? That we can’t sleep without it? It’s noisy. It takes over our outdoor space. And it’s expensive to operate. So what’s the solution?

The large air conditioning units that sit outside our homes are loud, reaching up to 78 decibels. Not only that, but they take up a considerable amount of space as they sit on patios, driveways, pathways or right in our backyards, and can be really expensive to operate.

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Zac Tracey from Comfort Tech Heating & Cooling Ltd. says the Daikin FIT is the answer.

“The Daikin FIT system is quiet, efficient and has a really small footprint compared to traditional cube style air conditioners,” Tracey says.

The Daikin FIT is a side-discharge, smart HVAC system that won’t compromise on comfort and connects to your typical ducted home comfort system. The low profile of the outdoor unit offers solutions when a traditional cube style cannot.

Traditional air conditioners run around 76 to 78 decibels, which is as loud as a running vacuum cleaner. The Daikin FIT runs as low as 56 to 58 decibels, which is about the same as people having a quiet conversation in your home.

“We run into situations all the time—patios, driveways with limited space, units under bedroom windows, or simply an air conditioner where the noise and size literally take over the backyard,” Tracey says.

He points out that all of these problems can be remedied with the right solution.

“FIT air conditioners are an amazing option for people with small spaces or whose outdoor living is compromised by the typical, noisy air conditioners that are available on the market today,” he says.

 Think you can just move your air conditioner to a new place? Not as easy as it sounds, unfortunately.

“Moving an air conditioner is not as easy as it seems,” Tracey says. “When we look at moving an air conditioner we have to consider extending the linesets, moving the electrical and making sure everything is still going to work as it should.

“Keeping it simple is always the best solution. We want to give you back your outdoor living space without compromising on efficiency or quality.”

Polish your Pup’s soul
Contributed - Jul 30, 2019 - Think Local

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Tina Stewart saw too many kennels, too many white walls and too much stainless steel at dog grooming businesses.

So she figured it was time to do something a little different, and that’s how The Polished Pup was born. It’s a Kelowna business that offers a different kind of vibe for your furry friends while they get pampered.

“My whole space is different,” Stewart says. “Dogs are vibrational, so I’m trying to cater to that and nurture to that side. … We throw a lot at our companion animals, and because they’re vibrational they pick up everything. So if I can raise their vibration higher by the time they leave, they release stress. They’re happier. They’re in a different place to come back to serve you greater.”

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Stewart guarantees one-on-one attention once your dog is dropped off at The Polished Pup, which is by appointment only. Relaxing music will be playing, there is waterproof flooring, and your fur baby can relax in doggy beds or on pillows and couches. Stewart has also has anti-fatigue flooring in place in the hallway and grooming area.

“They love it,” Stewart says. “They prance around it.”

There is a rooftop deck at the 2,000 square-foot business, which is located at 844 Crowley Ave., so the four-legged clients can enjoy many different experiences while at The Polished Pup. Stewart says her goal is to get the dogs wanting to come back for their grooming.

“I want them to go home, love being groomed, and come back and just settle in a little bit more each time, and just be drooling,” she says.

Naturally, Stewart uses nothing but organic products when treating the pups. The Polished Pup offers certified organic grooming, massaging mud baths, daily lounge care with relaxing music, far infrared warming, certified accusage, touch for health and Reiki sessions, and drop-off service.

Each dog is also hand dried and is free to roam around.

“It is a very cozy and comfortable environment,” she says. “Dogs come in here who have never played with toys and they have five in their mouth before they leave.

“We’re nurturing one fur baby at a time.”

Lakeside contest brings tears
Contributed - Jul 23, 2019 - Think Local

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L to R: Audiologist Claire Beldi with contest winner Kathy Orange; Lakeside Hearing doctor of audiology Nichole Sorensen with contest winner Laurel Keeting.

The heartbreaking stories about hearing loss came in at a pace that Nichole Sorensen was not expecting.

The doctor of audiology at Lakeside Hearing in Kelowna decided for the first time this year to conduct a contest for a free set of hearing aids as part of May’s Better Hearing and Speech Month. All people had to do was submit a nomination as to why they deserved the hearing aids.

“We had sixty nominations, which far exceeded our expectations,” Sorensen says. “There is a great need out there.”

Since the contest was so popular, Sorensen was able to secure three more sets of hearing aids to give away. So earlier this month Lakeside Hearing awarded four people new hearing aids.

“There were tears,” Sorensen says. “The recipients were so grateful.”

The winners were Laurel Keeting, Laurie Guerin, Kathy Orange and James MacDonald, and each had been nominated by someone close to them who wanted their quality of life to improve through better hearing. Most mentioned the cost of the hearing aids was a prohibitive factor; the four sets of hearing aids Lakeside Hearing gave away through the contest—three from Oticon and one from Signia—were valued at approximately $5,500 each.

“It is often out of reach, and there’s no funding in B.C. for them, which is really unfortunate,” Sorensen says.

Lakeside Hearing is also involved in a hearing foundation called Hear4U that helps people secure hearing devices at more affordable prices, but the technology is not new and there are no warranties associated with the hardware.

Sorensen said the contest was simply a way of Lakeside Hearing giving back to a community that has been so supportive of its business. “It may be part of Better Hearing and Speech Month every year,” she says. “We’ll do it again next year for sure.”

Lakeside Hearing plans to do another campaign in September for those who have trouble with vertigo.

Local Marina launches tours
Contributed - Jul 19, 2019 - Think Local

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Kelowna visitors and residents can now embark on an Okanagan Lake voyage with the launch of Downtown Marina’s fully guided boat tours.

A boon to the Kelowna tourism industry, the two-hour cruise allows passengers to enjoy breathtaking views of the Okanagan shoreline and surrounding mountains all from the comfort of Downtown Marina’s 2018 12-passenger luxury pontoon boat.

Guests can expect to catch plenty of sun, learn the history and facts about the valley, see local wildlife and maybe even catch a glimpse of the legendary Ogopogo, according to Downtown Marina general manager Kyle Spence.

“Over the past five years, we have had many requests from our guests about guided boating tours,” Spence says. “Some people want to get out on the water and not have to be responsible for having to drive or to arrange vacation boat rentals.

“We are excited to be offering a tour that allows everyone to kick back and relax during an enjoyable day on the lake.”

Private tours can also be arranged for up to 12 people, Spence says.

All guests board the boat from Downtown Marina’s 350-foot long floating pier, located near the Kelowna Sails. From there, passengers cruise along the north shore past Knox Mountain Park then across the lake to West Kelowna and south under the William R. Bennett Bridge to Green Bay before heading back to shore downtown.

“All of our drivers are fully licensed, fun, friendly and lovers of the outdoors,” Spence says. “They are a part of our team because they recognize the importance of being personable, courteous, respectful and providing great service to our customers.”

Besides fully guided and narrated tours, Downtown Marina also offers temporary and seasonal moorage so that tourists and residents can access Kelowna and the lake by boat. The local boat marina also offers watercraft and accessory rentals, a retail store, as well as a fuelling and sani-station.

Tours can be booked by visiting the Downtown Marina website.

Hawks Landing has it all
Contributed - Jul 02, 2019 - Think Local

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Lamont Land Development knows there are many families looking for good-sized homes at affordable prices in the Okanagan.

And that is where the idea for Hawks Landing was born.

The 84-lot, paired-home community in West Kelowna is currently in its first selling phase, during which 44 lots will be available. They are brand new homes whose prices start in the low $500,000s and offer much more for families looking to find that elusive forever house.

“The reason we purchased and developed this community is because we identified huge potential in the land given the walking proximity to so many homeowner conveniences and the shortage of new homes at an affordable price point in the area,” says Lamont Land’s Phil Moore, who is the project’s lead developer. “Based on that premise we designed the community and homes to provide great value and quality for the future residents.”

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The development, which has homes built by AARO Builders and Okanagan Sunrise Construction, is located off Louie Drive behind Walmart. That means it and dozens of other shops and services are only a walk away. Superstore, restaurants, cafes, theatres and professional services are just a few of the nearby establishments.

The homes are craftsman-inspired with high-end finishes. The current homes are three- or four-bedroom, two-storey houses that feature plenty of space, ranging from 1,800 to 2,100 square feet, although different designs are available for various lifestyles. And they are located a little bit up the mountain, offering incredible views of the valley.

“Home buyers benefit because they receive a bigger, new-home value at smaller, used-home prices,” Moore says.

Hawks Landing is being built for families of various shapes, sizes and lifestyles, and it is also perfect for the active 55-plus market that is looking for convenience and comfort. There is minimal landscaping maintenance required but just enough to keep you busy.

For those who like to be active, the community has an onsite park and playground, plenty of pathway connections and close proximity to Okanagan Lake, Mission Hill Winery and the aforementioned markets.

Brand new show homes are open Wednesday to Sunday from 1 to 3 p.m., and move-in-ready homes are now available.

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Butterfly Effect lifts spirits
Contributed - Jun 27, 2019 - Think Local

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We cannot go around the pain of grief. Instead we must learn to embrace and express it. If you or someone you know has lost someone special to them, then the seventh annual Butterfly Effect next month in Kelowna might be the beautiful way to celebrate them.

The Central Okanagan Hospice Association conducts the event as a fundraiser and, more importantly, as a way to help those on their grief journey.

“We are proud to offer this event, because it brings our community together to take part in a beautiful and symbolic ceremony, where we release hundreds of butterflies in honour and remembrance of loved ones,” COHA bereavement services associate director Jessica Hughes says.

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“Around the world people have used the butterfly as representing endurance, change, hope and life, and this event is a special way to come together with family and friends to remember loved ones and to watch the butterflies fly off into nature, which can be very healing and symbolic.”

Anyone and everyone is invited to attend the all-ages event, which will be held on Sunday, July 21, at Kelowna’s Falcon Ridge Farms (579 Rifle Rd). The program will start at 10 a.m. and go until 1 p.m., with the butterfly release scheduled for 11:30 a.m. if the weather allows for it.

“There is a ceremonial verse that we provide before the release and a song that is specifically chosen and played for the release,” COHA executive director Natasha Girard says. “And we try to release as a group if possible. There’s quite a lot of emotion in that when doing it all together, since we have come together for the day to be with one another and watch the butterflies fly to the sky.”

There will be a kids’ zone, local artisans, live entertainment, food and refreshments, and a spectacular butterfly release. Attendance has been rising every year, and last year more than 700 people came out to support COHA. More than 3,750 butterflies were released over the event’s first six years.

“We see lots of family members coming from our community but also people coming from out of town to share in this experience, as well as friends,” Hughes says. “It can be very emotional, and at the same time the feedback after is that they feel a lot lighter and that they’re supported with everyone being there, the energy that’s there.

“Any time that you can incorporate ceremony when it comes to grief and loss, it’s helpful. It’s a beautiful thing to participate in and just to watch.”

Money raised from the Butterfly Effect supports COHA’s bereavement services, which are free of charge and include grief groups, walking groups, bereavement yoga, one-to-one counselling and other wellness programs.

Hughes recalls a touching moment involving a woman who had recently lost her sister. A butterfly that had been released touched down on the woman’s hand and remained there for several minutes.

“She shared with me,” Hughes says. “She really felt her sister with her.”

Anyone who wants to purchase one or more butterflies can do so online at hospicecoha.org, by phone at 250-763-5511 or by visiting the COHA August Centre at 1890 Cooper Rd.

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