A life-changing five seconds
Special to Okanagan Edge - Jun 22 - Think Local

Image: Contributed

A lot can happen in five seconds.

In five seconds the average person can tie a pair of shoes. In five seconds the average person can walk seven metres, or speed nearly 150 metres down a highway.

And if you, like so many others today, decide to quickly check your phone while you’re speeding down that highway, that will be 150 metres you don’t see anything of.

According to the BC Coalition to End Distracted Driving, the average person takes their eyes off the road for a full five seconds when they’re behind the wheel and they check their phone.

Considering an accident can happen in mere milliseconds, that’s a dangerously long time not to be paying attention. That danger is not merely hypothetical.

From 2010 to 2014, about 81 people lost their lives each year because of distracted driving, meaning it’s now more deadly to text and drive than it is to drink and drive.

Michael Yawney, Q.C., is the senior partner at the Vernon law firm Nixon Wenger. Part of his job is dealing with injury claims, and he says he’s now coming face-to-face with injuries resulting from distracted driving all the time.

“We now see it all too often in the work we do,” he says.

“Everybody does it, it seems. I’ve even caught myself doing it. I had to take a moment and say to myself, ‘what the heck are you doing?’ But there isn’t really a moral stigma attached to texting and driving in our society, and it’s becoming rampant because of that.”

Because of the pervasive nature of the problem, Yawney and other members of the Trial Lawyers Association of BC are in the midst of a campaign to promote more awareness around distracted driving and its consequences.

Yawney says that, while distracted driving is responsible for countless serious crashes and devastating injuries every year, it is also driving up everybody’s insurance rates through the everyday fender benders caused when people think it’s okay to check their phones in traffic.

“When society finally decided it was not OK to drink and drive, and there was a significant social stigma and harsher penalties attached to it, drunk driving rates and fatalities went way down. We want the same thing for distracted driving,” he says.

Yawney encourages everyone who drives to think about how often they see others on the road peeking at their phones, and how often they do it themselves.

He asks parents to talk to their kids, and make sure they take responsibility for what they do with their phones when they’re behind the wheel.

He suggests anyone who needs more motivation visit https://distracteddrivingkills.ca, and listen to just a few of the stories about the impact distracted driving can have on our loved ones’ lives.

It’s going to take some effort to end this “epidemic,” Yawney says, and we’re all going to need to do our part to make that happen.

Best grooves of the summer
Trevor Nichols - Jun 18 - Think Local

Image: Element Music Festival

What would happen if a bunch of music fans, with decades of experience in the business, got together to plan their perfect festival?

They’d find a killer venue, nestled beside a mountain lake, bring together top-tier acts like The String Cheese Incident, Garaj Mahal and Five Alarm Funk, and give them as much opportunity as humanly possible to play.

That’s exactly what the organizers of the Element Music Festival did. Now entering its second year, the home-grown festival is bringing its stellar lineup back to one of the true hidden gems of the B.C. Interior, the Snug Lake Amphitheatre in Princeton.

The amphitheatre sits snuggled amid 160 acres of wilderness, next to a mountain lake. As an attendee of last year’s inaugural festival wrote, “this is as magical as it gets for outdoor live music!”

Justin Picard is a spokesperson for the festival, and admits that, while Snug Lake is one of the most beautiful places he’s ever been, the real magic of the Element Music Festival lies in the passionate band of Canucks behind it.

Picard says he’s never met a group of organizers more devoted to making sure the music at Element is given its proper place.

“I cannot express enough how big of music fans the organizers really are,” he says. “These guys wanted to do something big with their favourite bands, and in doing that they’ve created this amazing festival that harkens back to the old jam band festivals of the late 90s.”

Everything about Element is designed to showcase the acts and make it as easy as possible for fans to actually see the shows, instead of spending their time scrambling from stage to stage as they try to catch sets.

Image: Facebook.
Snug Lake Amphitheatre

At Element, Picard says, there are no overlapping sets. Bands take to the festival’s only stage one at a time, and no show is shorter than 90 minutes.

Many of the big acts also play several times during the course of the four-day festival, giving fans plenty of opportunity to get their groove on.

“In a time when corporate music festivals are taking over and quashing the independent festivals, here’s a handful of guys who are going against that, and creating this beautiful festival in the process,” Picard says.

This structure also means fans get the chance to frolic in the stunning, untapped wilderness that surrounds the venue.

Picard says there will be plenty of time for plunging into the mountain lake, or hiking and mountain biking along the trails that crisscross the area, and still get back to “soak in the amazing live music that will fill your soul all night long.”

The Element Music Festival runs from Aug 3-6 this year. For the complete lineup, and more information, check out the festival online.

Can your kids manage money?
Special to Okanagan Edge - Jun 16 - Think Local

Image: Contributed

It’s a difficult thing for any parent to watch their kids grow up and strike out into the world on their own.

When they’re young, we spend countless hours preparing our kids for that inevitable day; we teach them to be good people, help them develop their unique talents, encourage them to study hard and to get good grades.

Parents invest an inordinate amount of time and money in our kids’ futures, but many of them are missing out entirely on one of the most important skills they’ll need to thrive in the world: financial literacy.

“Each of us as adults have to make decisions every day about our financial future: our budget, where to invest, what mortgage to get, whether to take out a loan, and more,” explains Nicky Scott, a Family Enterprise Advisor at Penticton’s Canadian Family Financial. “What are we doing to prepare kids for this inevitable reality?”

Many young people who were supported by their parents growing up step out into the real world and get swamped by the hard reality of budgeting and complex financial decisions.

There are skills that are not really taught in schools, and Scott says that many young people have already built up bad credit from cell phones or credit cards by the time they hit university.

Meanwhile, they often don’t even know what a credit rating is, let alone how to manage their own.  Many also struggle to get a handle on how to manage spending.

“When kids aren’t forced to pay close attention to spending growing up, they don’t build good  skills around that. Then once they get their own place there’s never enough money at the end of the month,” Scott says.

Without the proper financial education, she says, our kids can easily flounder.

Right now, however, there aren’t many places for young people to learn how to actually manage their finances—especially if parents are busy building a business of their own, or don’t have the skills to effectively pass on sound financial knowledge.

At Canadian Family Financial, Scott works with families to help ensure the younger generations get the proper financial education to set them up for adulthood. That includes everything from helping transition a business from parents to their kids, to educating young adults on basic financial skills and more complex things like managing trusts or inheritances.

She says parents are constantly asking where they can send their kids to help them learn these skills, so Canadian Family Financial designed a program especially for young adults to teach them everything they need to know.

“A lot of people are lost as to where they might even start that process,” she says. “So we’ve made it part of our mission to help them navigate that in a way that’s actually fun and engaging.”

A few simple financial skills can make a huge difference as young person strikes out on their own, Scott says, and be the difference between their overall success or failure.

Scott and the team at Canadian Family Financial also work closely with families navigating the often choppy waters of passing on wealth or a business from the older to younger generation.

There can be a lot of emotion wrapped up in family wealth, and Scott says it’s vital for families to handle it effectively and professionally.

Often, she says, accountants or lawyers provide advice and planning for the current request (for example, an estate freeze), but do not educate the people who are taking on that responsibility in the future.

At Canadian Family Financial they have made family financial education their speciality—the firm is even run by Scott and her mom Kathy Reich—so they aim to make sure all generations are carefully considered in a family’s financial decisions.

Pair that with their experience and qualifications (Reich is a chartered accountant with experience as a tax professional), and Scott says they have all the tools to solidify your legacy.

“We eat and sleep family business, so when we give advice it’s from our personal experience,” she says.

Because what’s more important than making sure our kids thrive after we’re gone?

Help in a red hot market
Special to Okanagan Edge - Jun 14 - Think Local

Image: Contributed. The team at Green Kinash Jakes Real Estate Group

With the Okanagan real estate market in a seeming state of hyperdrive, buying or selling property today can feel like an incredibly daunting task.

According to the CMHC, homes are flying off the market at a dizzying pace, and bidding wars for the few available properties are common.

How is the average home buyer supposed to navigate these tumultuous waters, and how can people selling their homes properly capitalize on the situation?

Hiring an experienced professional is a good start, but as realtor John Green points out, there’s a ton of them out there, and finding one who will navigate those stormy seas the way you need and want them to can have an enormous impact.

“Each person is looking to get something a little different from their experience buying or selling a home,” Green, a founding partner of Green Kinash Jakes Real Estate Group says. “You should be choosing a realtor who can best help you have that custom experience.”

For example, someone looking to buy or sell an agricultural or investment property will have wildly different needs than someone looking for the best value and quality in a family home. It only makes sense they would need different skill sets in their realtor.

The person looking for an investment property, Green says, should turn to someone like Keith Jakes. Jakes has spent decades helping clients with commercial transactions.

He’s helped clients sell everything from Okanagan’s largest vineyard, to shopping centres, industrial property and apartment complexes. His knowledge and skill is in assessing the viability of a commercial or investment purchase, critically analyzing the opportunity and making recommendations on whether the investment opportunity fits the buyer’s requirements in the short and long term.

Green says that kind of specific knowledge can also be valuable when looking at real estate through a wider lens, assessing all the variables to get the most out of real estate and the property on which it sits.

He points to Taras Kinash, whose academic and practical background in building design and property development give clients an experienced insight in how to visualize and realize more from real estate.

“Having a realtor in our team who designs buildings and assists local developers in creating more housing projects is not only a benefit to our clients but also to all looking for brand new housing options in the City of Penticton” says Green.

Green says a family looking for its next home might be better served by a realtor like Bruce Dilley, the newest addition to the Green Kinash Jakes Real Estate Group.

Dilley, he says, can draw on years of experience actually building homes to help his clients assess the physical structure of potential purchases, pointing out the details that require immediate attention and helping them figure out if the purchase is sound.

Clearly, Green says, the right skill set in a realtor can dramatically impact a person’s experience when buying or selling a home, but above and beyond that, he says you should be looking for a realtor whom you trust, one who advises you of all of your options, and one that will represent you in the best light, especially in such a competitive market.

He says he’s proud that the team at Green Kinash Jakes Real Estate Group ensures transparency in service, and believes it’s the reason why the firm is respected in the community.

“I am most proud of the personal relationships we create and the life long friendships we form in our business” he says.

“Clients before commissions is how we have grown our business. Maintaining this approach allows us to build our network and ensure we have happy sellers and buyers.”

Modern mouth magic
Special to Okanagan Edge - Jun 11 - Think Local

Photo: Facebook

The impact of a truly dazzling smile can sometimes feel limitless, so it makes sense that many of us want to do as much as we can to preserve our pearly whites.

But sometimes we need a little help to bring out the best in our smiles, and that’s when we turn to trained professionals.

These days, modern orthodontists have so many cutting-edge tools to help fix your smile they can sometimes seem closer to wizards than the highly-trained professionals they actually are.

So as the season of smiles approaches, we’re offering you a glimpse at some of the near-magical things orthodontists can do to make your mouth a happier place.

They can wave a wand to map your mouth

Remember being a kid and having to hold back gags as you struggled to chomp down on that strange pink stuff to get dental impressions?

“Nobody liked it, and now we rarely have to do it,” says Judy Meinzinger, from Kelowna and Westside Orthodontic Centres.

Today, the orthodontist at Kelowna and Westside Orthodontic Centres has a camera he can wave through your mouth to get a complete map of it—no pink nightmares necessary.

The iTero scanner is a digital scanner, that looks like a small wand, that the orthodontist moves around in your mouth, coming away with a complete 3-D rendering of your teeth.

Dr Jeff Stewart points out that, not only is this process exceedingly more comfortable than old-school impression taking, it actually gives him a more accurate picture of your pearly whites, making it easier to fit products like Invisalign.

And Invisalign has its own special kind of magic, doing almost the same job as braces, but without the traditional heap of hardware.

That’s right, you don’t have to be a metal-mouth to straighten your teeth

Invisalign aligners are nearly invisible, and in the hands of a skilled orthodontist can handle almost anything traditional braces can.

They are removable, see-through aligners, specifically crafted to fit your mouth, that gradually cause your teeth to shift position.

Every two weeks you change the aligners for a new set that will cause your teeth to move a little more.

As the treatment progresses your teeth will straighten into their proper positions, almost like magic.

Image: Creative Commons

They can literally shake your teeth into place

Dr. Stewart says Kelowna and Westside Orthodontic Centres are also using a mind-bending new product that’s changing the way people think about braces.

Propel is a product that patients wearing teeth-straightening devices can use to dramatically cut their treatment time.

Essentially, Dr. Stewart explains, you bite into the device and its vibrations change the bone, allowing your teeth to move more freely through your gums.

“So you bite into it for a few minutes while you’re watching television, and poof, your treatment time is decreased,” he says.

“Not only does it lessen the treatment time, but it also helps with soreness. So you’re teeth don’t get as sore if you’re using this product,” he adds.

They can work their magic on patients as young as six

But wait, won’t a child’s teeth all fall out, anyway?

Of course kids will lose their baby teeth as they age, but Meinzinger says there’s an incredible amount an orthodontist can do to set a young person’s mouth straight (so to speak) for when their adult teeth come in.

At Kelowna and Westside Orthodontic Centres, they will often treat a child’s teeth when they’re young to lessen the amount of work that may have to be done later, holding space in a child’s mouth for when their adult teeth come in.

“If we see that a child’s teeth are really, really crowded, we can actually hold open space so that their adult teeth have the best opportunity to come in straighter,” Meinzinger says.

They can also remove a youngster’s ivories a little early, as well as redirect jaw growth.

There’s even more mouth magic a good orthodontist can accomplish, and if you’re looking for more information, Meinzinger encourages you to check out Kelowna and Westside Orthodontic Centres.

No referral from a dentist is necessary, and the consultation is always free. Many insurance companies will cover orthodontic work, but if you don’t have a plan, interest-free, monthly payment plans are available.

Image: Contributed.
The team at Kelowna and Westside Orthodontic Centres.

Healthy living at new heights

Special to Okanagan Edge - Jun 07 - Think Local

Image: Contributed

From the edible landscaping surrounding it, to the nano-silver flooring that kills bacteria inside of it, 2169 Pandosy is bending people’s understanding of what a healthy development can look like.

The developers of the groundbreaking new complex, which will eventually stand beside Kelowna General Hospital, researched the healthy building concept and decided to innovate from the ground up.

Sure, the building is striving to be one of the first mixed use buildings in Canada to meet the WELL Building Standard, but it is more than that; the entire structure has been meticulously designed, with components and concepts borrowed from across the leading-edge, to create a new kind of healthy-living experience.

On its surface, 2169 Pandosy is a four-storey, mixed-use development that will house businesses, commercial medical practices, short-term visitors and long-term residents.

But as lead designer Alana Marrington points out, the building will be “so much more than just a mixed use development next to the hospital.”

The way buildings are designed, constructed and maintained, she says, impacts the way their occupants’ sleep, what they eat, and how they feel.

“This is something I am very passionate about, healthy spaces to live and work, giving people the experience of a building formulated from comprehensive scientific evidence that lays the groundwork for wellness decisions. I never really considered myself a developer, but I guess I’ve now become one.“ Marrington says.

Alana Marrington

She points to the movable walls inside the units, special UVC lighting in the air conditioning that kills bacteria, the germ-killing nano-silver floors, the non-toxic and edible landscaping and the special Warmboard radiant heat as examples of the steps she’s taken to create something unique.

She has even consulted a local Feng Shui Master to incorporate the flow of energy and wellness of the entire building from the time you enter the lobby, where a sparkling atrium lets sunlight dance in.

“If we’ve done our job right, you probably won’t even realize why you can breathe a little bit better once you’re inside,” she says.

Marrington and her team pushed the envelope so far with the design and concept of 2169 Pandosy it has begun to attract attention from around the world.

Marrington says she’s been invited to speak in Portugal, at Georgia State University and a World Health Organization co- sponsored event in Brisbane, Australia. Organizations from countries as far away as Portugal, Belgium and China have asked her to collaborate and to learn more.

“We have something that’s very simple and unique, but very flexible and adaptable to different geographical locations and demographics, and that’s something people across the world are taking notice of,” she says.

“Our ideas of healthy, flexible and adaptable spaces have taken the City of Kelowna to the international map.’

Sales opportunities are coming very soon. To learn more about 2169 Pandosy, and for commercial leasing opportunities or residential inquiries, check out the project online .

Why kids who golf succeed
Special to Okanagan Edge - Jun 04 - Think Local

Photo: Contributed

Golf, for many people, is a game reserved mostly for the grey-haired businessmen of the world.

It’s a game of lazy afternoons and strolls through the green grass—as much a pleasant pastime as anything else.

But Clay Stothers, an instructor at Kelowna’s Aberdeen Hall Golf Academy, thinks differently.

For Stothers, golf is a game of self-discipline and personal growth. It’s a game that requires a mental toughness and strength of character that’s difficult to find anywhere else.

And it’s because of this, because of what golf can teach a person, that Stothers says young people can benefit tremendously from pursuing it.

“Golf is, in my opinion, the greatest sport for a child to play in order to learn how to act on and off the course, and in life,” he says.

Stothers knows this first-hand, because the 2014 BC PGA teacher of the year works with young people all the time at the Aberdeen Hall Golf Academy, which has just opened a Junior Academy that accepts students from Grades 5-7.

Students in the academy can take both high performance and development options. They spend five hours a week doing on-course training, with the added privilege of an extra hour of one-on-one coaching with Stothers.

Their year-round personal instruction includes industry-leading technologies like a FlightScope simulator, as well as extensive courses about nutrition and fitness.

But aside from the first-class technical training his students receive, Stothers also works hard to teach his students nine core characteristics he says are vital to the game: honesty, integrity, sportsmanship, respect, confidence, responsibility, courtesy, judgment and perseverance.

“I believe that golf is a game that shapes young people’s character and prepares them for life. Our slogan is to create great golfers and even better people,” he says.

Speak to almost any young person playing the game at an advanced level, and you’ll quickly get a sense of the poise and self-confidence the game teaches.

At its core, Stothers says, golf is a game founded on the principles of integrity, self-discipline and sportsmanship.

“You’re your own referee. There’s a lot of personal perseverance. It’s a game where it’s not instant gratification. It’s a long game,” Stothers says.

Golf is a game played primarily against oneself, and in order to succeed on the course, young people have to develop the mental toughness to keep their composure and the self-assuredness that comes from not having teammates to blame or lean upon.

Few sports rely as heavily on players’ honesty, or make it as easy to cheat, as golf. Learning to resist that temptation at a young age can imbue young people with a certain kind of honesty and integrity they carry for the rest of their lives.

“It’s an honesty-based game, and if you’re out there cheating on the course, you’re really only cheating yourself,” Stothers says.

“With all the students that I have right now, with all my kids, I see it. If you want to know what kind of human being someone is, take them golfing,” he adds.

Lakefront home less than $800K
Special to Okanagan Edge - May 30 - Think Local

Image: Contributed

A comfortable home snuggled into a lakeside lot is a dream many in the Okanagan share, but few are able to realize.

Real estate isn’t cheap, and as the Okanagan grows in population and popularity, finding a lakeside home that’s both affordable and desirable can be a serious challenge.

However, McKinley Beach is on the precipice of releasing a small number of rare new homes, directly across from the lake, that are both stunning and surprisingly priced.

June 3 five stylish, modern town homes from McKinley’s beachhouse project will go on sale, hitting the market at a starting price of $749,000.

Sales Manager Sandra Matlock says the project is unlike anything McKinley has ever released.

The town homes are nestled into the side of the hill, directly on the water, and are the first multi-family units they’ve ever released. But they still hit a price point that makes them more affordable than most other waterfront homes.

“We have several single family lots on the beach, but to be able to be in a townhouse, on the beach, for under $800,000, is incredibly unique,” she says.

In addition to being competitively priced, Matlock says the town homes will envelop their new owners in the relaxing world of lakeside living, with modern interiors, rooftop patios, a shared hot tub and even private garages.

Yet the beachhouse project is still close enough to the centre of things that skipping into the city is convenient.

Where else, Matlock asks, can you cross the street and be on the beach, but still make it to downtown Kelowna in less than 15 minutes?

“It’s such a cool concept that you can be so close to the beach, and so close to that lifestyle, and have it be affordable,” she says. “It’s a fantastic feeling to be living right on the water.”

Demand for the development had been high, however, so Matlock encourages everyone interested to head to the official release party for the units, before they all get snapped up.

The official release takes place Saturday, June 3 from 12-3 p.m. at McKinley Beach and will feature a BBQ, SUP and kayak rentals, a dinner cruise giveaway and more.

For more information visit their website http://www.mckinleybeach.ca.

Investing in Penticton’s future
Special to Okanagan Edge - May 25 - Think Local

Chase Valley’s Front Street development is unlike any the city has seen in more than a decade.

It’s a stunning and ambitious development, unlike any Penticton has seen in the last decade, and it will likely be a landmark in city’s downtown for years to come.

But Chase Valley’s proposed Front Street complex also represents something else: a firm belief that Penticton offers a solid, long-term investment opportunity.

Chase Valley is a local, family-owned investment company, with its own construction division that takes on developments like Front Street.

Trevor Caine, the company’s president, says the Front Street complex represents a step into the future for Penticton. It’s a mixed use development, in the heart of the city’s downtown, that will bring a bounty of both commercial and residential space to the area.

Although Chase Valley is still talking with the city to get the specifics locked in, Caine says the complex will come together in two phases.

The first will hold 20,000 square feet of mostly office space, complimented by four high-end, two-bedroom residential units. Phase 2 will see an additional 12,000 square feet built, which will add 12 more high-end homes to the complex.

“This will be one of the largest projects the downtown has seen for many years,” he says. “We believe there is a shortage of new, high-quality office space in the city, which is why we are so excited by this project: it gives us the opportunity to provide what we feel there is a strong demand for.”

Perhaps the most exciting thing for Caine is the fact that, even though the building is in design stages, and not yet released, 50 per cent of the commercial space has already been snapped up by renters.

Caine has every intention for the Front Street project to be a flagship development for Penticton’s downtown, and the Chase Valley Group.

He says Chase Valley sees incredible investment potential in the city, and believes Front Street could be the start of a much larger investment into Penticton.

“One of the important things about us is that we are an investment group, and we take a long-term view of our investments. Once this project is finished we’re excited to explore more opportunities downtown and in the surrounding areas,” he said.

“Right now, Chase Valley sees Penticton as an excellent investment opportunity.”

Next month the company will release eight dazzling new “Outlook” homes for sale on the Naramata bench. Other Penticton projects continue to come together. They include four new town homes that will be available for rent on Ellis Street, and new duplexes for sale on Government and Pickering Streets.

For Caine, these projects represent sound investments, and a way to give back to the community.

“We are a local company with local contacts and with local support, and if we can invest in our own community, that’s the best kind of investment,” he says.

$10,000 on one putt
Special to Okanagan Edge - May 22 - Think Local

Photo: Contributed

There’s a saying in golf, you drive for show, and you putt for dough.

And, just as the young men on the Mackenzie Tour PGA Tour Canada know good things start with a good drive, so too does the professional sales staff at Kelowna Chrysler.

When the Mackenzie Tour returns to Gallagher’s Canyon Golf and Country Club next month, one lucky person will have a chance to putt for $10,000, courtesy of Kelowna Chrysler.

It could be you.

There’s two ways to enter.

Go to www.kelownawinner.ca and take part in a fun, interactive putting game. Along with a chance to enter the draw, you’ll also win some great prizes from Kelowna Chrysler.

Or, pop down to Kelowna Chrysler at 2440 Enterprise Way, and ask for complimentary tickets to the Mackenzie Tour event, slated for June 14 to 18. That will automatically enter you into the draw.

Check out the putting green at the lot for more chances to win some great prizes.

No purchase necessary.

One name will be drawn from those received. That person will get one shot at $10,000.

For the past 45 years, Kelowna Chrysler has done more than just sell quality new, and pre-owned cars and trucks.

They have also been a strong community supporter, and a sponsor of the Mackenzie Tour’s GolfBC Championship at Gallagher’s Canyon.

“Golf is a great part of the fun and excitement of Kelowna,” says managing director Scott Amis.

“When Ram trucks went 25 per cent on clearout this month we needed to get the word out quick. We knew the Mackenizie tour was a great sponsored way to get lots of exposure quickly and support the sport we love,” he added.

If you love golf, and you’re in the market for a new, or pre-owned vehicle, stop by and see what Kelowna Chrysler has to offer.

And, during the Month of RAM, we’re offering 25 per cent off the Manufactured Suggested Retail Price on RAM truck. That could be worth up to $18,000 in cash discounts.

Who knows, that one visit could also be worth a cool $10,000.

Because, at Kelowna Chrysler you will drive for show, and maybe, just maybe, putt for dough.

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