This could be your Mission
Contributed - Jan 14 - Think Local

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Available lots in Kelowna’s Lower Mission are few and far between, especially affordable ones.

In fact, there were a grand total of four sold in the neighbourhood all of last year.

That is what makes The Orchard in the Mission so unique. It is a chance for you to build a new home in one of Kelowna’s most desirable neighbourhoods.

“I don’t know of any other land that’s available to develop in the Lower Mission that’s not in the ALR,” Re/Max real estate agent Jesse East says.

The Orchard, which will consist of 103 single-family lots just off DeHart Road near Gordon Drive, will start selling on Monday morning. It is located only two blocks from Dorothea Walker Elementary and is within walking distance of Capital News Centre, H2O Centre and Mission Creek Greenway.

The prices start at $299,900, and buyers are not locked into using builders determined by the project’s developers.

“The public can bring their own builders,” East says. “There are a few that are familiar with the project and we’ve been working closely with that would be happy to work with buyers who don’t have a builder.

“The building scheme allows for a nice variety of home styles, but homes will still need to meet the architectural approval process.”

Aside from being close to recreational opportunities like Okanagan Lake and H2O Centre, there will also be two parks located in The Orchard neighbourhood. It promises to be a peaceful neighbourhood, surrounded by ALR on two sides and with a beautiful landscaping plan.

The first phase of lots should be prepared for construction this summer, with the second and third phases being delivered in the coming 12 to 18 months.

The lots will range from 4,500 square feet to 26,500 square feet, which means there will be something for everyone looking to live in the middle of it all.

It’s an Ideal giveaway
Contributed - Dec 11 - Think Local

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Staying comfortable in your own home shouldn’t be considered a luxury.

Unfortunately, this is the case for many families who struggle to keep up with their utility bills due to running inefficient and outdated systems. That gave Penticton’s Ideal Energy Solutions an idea this holiday season.

The heating and cooling company is giving the gift of warmth this winter by installing a new ductless heating and cooling system for a household that may be experiencing tough financial times and who could really benefit from one.

“We are a family-owned and operated business, and strongly believe in the importance of giving back to our community,” Ideal’s marketing director, Ashley Palmer, says. “Not only will this new system provide comfort in a family’s home, but it will also significantly reduce their monthly utility bill.”

Anyone who lives in Ideal’s service area—from West Kelowna to Osoyoos—is eligible to win the system. All you have to do is tell Ideal why you or someone else deserves it through either a written or video proposal.

“I’m grateful to be able to provide comfort to my family, but I realize the struggles that many go through this time of year so I’m excited to have the resources to do this giveaway,” Ideal owner Steve Dahl said. “My business has always been about creating relationships, and a lot of the work we have done this year comes from client referrals which we are so grateful for. It means a lot to me, and my employees, to give back and bring a little extra comfort to a household who may be in need.”

The winner will be announced on Christmas Eve, and the new system will be installed in the new year.

Click this link to nominate yourself or someone else.

Sentes giving away car
Contributed - Dec 10 - Think Local

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Christmas cheer is here at the Penticton Hyundai and Honda dealerships.

Mike Van De Leest, sales team leader with Penticton Hyundai, spearheaded his longtime wish to give a vehicle away at Christmas.

This year, that wish is finally coming true.

Penticton Hyundai and Honda have partnered to give back to the community in a massive way. The dealership, which is part of the Sentes Automotive Group, has teamed up with five sponsors and will give away a 2008 Toyota Matrix to someone who needs it most.

“You can either nominate yourself, or you can nominate somebody else,” Van De Leest says. “We reached out to South Okanagan Women in Need Society, Penticton Recovery Resource Society and also Discovery House, just saying hey, this is what we’re doing, trying to get people to fill out these forms.”

The companies that jumped on board with Penticton Hyundai and Honda were Underwriters Insurance, Schoenne Homes, Penticton Collision, Husky and VBS Excavating. More than $1,000 was spent to get the car ready for the road, and when all is said and done the value of everything that comes with the vehicle will be nearly $9,000.

Not only will the deserving recipient get the car, but they will also receive $1,500 worth of insurance, $500 in gas cards and free maintenance appointments for the vehicle. Two sets of tires will come with the car as well—four summer and four winter wheels.

“We’re just trying to do it so it is pretty much one year of no costs to the deserving family,” Van De Leest says.

In a perfect world, the recipient will be someone who just needs to not pay for a vehicle for a year to get their head above financial water.

“We’re trying to find that person that is right on the border of being OK and trying to get them to the next level,” Van De Leest says.

Penticton Hyundai and Honda will choose the deserving family on Dec. 20, so they urge people to get their nomination forms in as soon as possible. If the contest proves popular, Hyundai general manager Brandon Sanchioni and Honda’s Julian Smallbone would love to help Van De Leest make this an annual event.

“We’re doing it,” Van De Leest says, “to make a better impact on Penticton.”

Click this link to nominate yourself or someone else for the car giveaway.

Carbon-neutral homes possible
Contributed - Dec 07 - Think Local

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Wilden has teamed up with FortisBC to create a new energy concept for residential homes that goes above and beyond the province’s Energy Step Code. Aside from the homes being extremely energy efficient, they will also be carbon neutral thanks to the use of Renewable Natural Gas provided by FortisBC and funded by Wilden for one year. 

Lost Creek Point is a brand new townhome neighbourhood in Wilden that will be officially released in early 2019. It will feature 36 semi-detached and two detached townhomes that will push the envelope in airtightness and energy efficiency. A number of energy saving initiatives will bring the Lost Creek Point homes to over 50 per cent more energy efficient than the average new B.C. home. Carbon emissions, meanwhile, are down to approximately one-third of the average new home.

Lost Creek homes will be built between steps three and four on the Energy Step Code, which is notable because the top level is five and the mandatory level is one.

“With the extra investment we put in our townhomes we want to set an example in forward-thinking multifamily development,” Wilden Director Karin Eger-Blenk says. “It is possible to follow the B.C. energy step code and even exceed it, but developers need to take the initiative.

“We can’t put all the cost on the home buyer. If more builders and developers put in the extra effort, we can make sustainable, low-carbon homes the new norm and do our part in saving our climate.”

Fortis and Wilden joined forces to make these homes carbon-neutral for one year. Wilden is paying the premium for RNG (Renewable Natural Gas) for one year after the first owners move into the home. After that the owner can decide to keep the RNG percentage at 100 per cent, lower it or use 100 per cent regular natural gas, which will still provide a minimized carbon footprint thanks to the very low gas consumption of the home.

Lost Creek Point homes, which will range from 2,000 to 3,600 square feet, are located in the Lost Creek neighbourhood of Wilden, just north of downtown Kelowna and close to all the amenities.

You can register for updates on Lost Creek Point at

LIVE WELL and live long
Contributed - Dec 05 - Think Local

For the first time in the fitness industry, a Canadian chain of exercise clinics has proven what academics have known for years: Exercise can be more effective than medications in treating many chronic diseases.

“Many international studies have shown the benefits of exercise, but we wanted to prove it with our members—average people, many who have multiple chronic health conditions, who often do not even enjoy exercise,” LIVE WELL Exercise Clinic founder and president Sara Hodson said. “Our clientele are not typical gym-goers and yet are making huge lifestyle changes and improving their health because of it.”

LIVE WELL ( bridges a gap between fitness and health care. Chronic diseases are the leading cause of preventable death, and lifestyle modification is listed as the first-line treatment, ahead of medications, in national guidelines for most. But outside the academic realm, real-world outcomes from gyms and fitness centres are scarce. LIVE WELL has measured the vital signs and health outcomes—blood pressure, weight, heart rate, etc.—of hundreds of average people inside its clinics.

Kelownians now have the ability to LIVE WELL, as the company opened a clinic in the city on Nov. 5. If you want to take advantage you will have to act quickly, however, as the maximum number of members at the Kelowna clinic will be capped at 300 people.

LIVE WELL’s data proves it can lower your blood pressure and reduce your risk of many diseases, including heart disease, Type-2 diabetes and obesity. The new year is almost here, so there is no better time to make a change. At LIVE WELL, you don’t have to do it alone.

“Right from day one, with our intake, we dig very deep into medical history, medications and peripheral lifestyle information so that we really understand our members from the technical side,” Kelowna LIVE WELL Exercise Clinic director Cameron Biffart said. “Then we spend about an hour with them doing a full baseline assessment.”

Some of LIVE WELL’s findings, taken from a sample of 200 members who had been in the program six months, are as follows:
• An average drop in systolic blood pressure of 8.1 mmHG (6.5 per cent);
• Members with hypertension (systolic blood pressure over 140) saw an average reduction of 19.4 mmHG (13 per cent) in systolic blood pressure;
• The heaviest members experienced significant weight loss, an average of 26 pounds.

“The main area that we find as the key for people is the clinical supervision and oversight of our programs,” Biffart said. “Just knowing that ‘Hey, if I’ve got a heart condition and I’m in there exercising, somebody’s actually paying attention to what my heart rate is, what my blood pressure is doing and what I’m looking like. Am I looking like I’m overdoing it, or am I working out at about the right intensity level?’

That’s the value of having clinical exercise physiologists and kinesiologists who are all university graduates providing that oversight.”

For every five per cent of body weight lost, the risk of premature death drops by seven per cent. According to a study in The Lancet, for every 10 mmHg reduction in blood pressure, there is a 13 per cent death risk reduction.

The health benefits of regular exercise to LIVE WELL members have been numerous, ranging from cancelling bariatric surgery, reducing anti-depressants, regaining mobility, getting off blood pressure medications and even reducing insulin. Where health care has struggled to adopt exercise as medicine for the patients who need it the most, LIVE WELL has created a model that achieves significant health outcomes in members with a range of chronic diseases.

The company is looking ahead to the day when doctors prescribe exercise as a matter of course instead of medications.

The Kelowna location joins 14 other LIVE WELL clinics in metro Vancouver and Ontario. Come in for a free “Try It” session or book a free program consultation by calling 250-869-8088 or email [email protected].



CONNECT now in Kamloops
Contributed - Nov 30 - Think Local

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CONNECT has expanded its fully managed IT service offerings into Kamloops.

Okanagan telephone IT company CONNECT, a leading provider of IT infrastructure and cloud management, is proud to announce the opening of a new office in Kamloops. The new location will allow the company to help small to medium-sized businesses in Kamloops to take control of their IT problems with CONNECT’s fully managed solutions.

“The Kamloops location was renovated last year to allow for growth into the IT services that we now offer there,” general manager Troy Schalm said. “Local technical support was crucial, so we made sure we had local technical expertise in place before launching IT services in Kamloops. Stephen Ronnenkamp is a well-known technician who joined our team to kickstart Kamloops in 2017.”

What makes CONNECT unique is the ability to embody a complete technology partner for small business. With today’s rapidly evolving technology landscape, it’s a great time for clients to engage with CONNECT to oversee their IT infrastructures like hardware, computer network, data security and telephone, as well as all cloud requirements like e-mail and backups. Everything CONNECT does is supported locally with 24/7 support.

“Last year CONNECT merged our services to accommodate our IT needs, and we are one of their supported managed services clients for voice and data,” Scw’exmx Child and Family Services Society executive director Yvonne Hare said. “The team at CONNECT is responsive and very knowledgeable, and they have been our in-house telephone provider since 2011. I would highly recommend CONNECT to any business.”

CONNECT is also pleased to announce its new web presence with the launch of an entirely revamped website. Here you will find updated information about the company and its services, as well as an informative blog to keep you up to date on IT trends.

With offices in Kelowna, Penticton and now Kamloops, CONNECT has been serving the interior of B.C. for more than 30 years and stands behind their service with a 100 per cent written satisfaction guarantee and a long list of delighted clients.

CONNECT is forging new roads ahead, offering full computer network support, desktop, server and hardware sales, installation and on-site service. Ownership is from within the ranks—local as ever. Future-focused, CONNECT provides expert, high-quality IT and Telecom services backed by our industry-leading written guarantee. As a trusted technology partner for businesses with decades of strong community ties, CONNECT’s mission is to understand your business needs and pain points and to reduce risk, reduce costs and increase profits.

Grief a natural part of life
Contributed - Nov 20 - Think Local

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Normalizing grief and bereavement is a part of life, remembering to allow time to grieve, to remember, to be patient and to heal.

Today is the perfect day to think about those feelings, as Nov. 20 is the second annual National Bereavement Day. Our culture tends to deny, diminish and judge the pain of grief, but the truth is grief is not something to be afraid of, to hide from or to think of as bad or weak. It is not an illness or mental-health problem. If you are grieving, rest assured what you are experiencing is not only normal; it is the very thing that will help you heal.

The Central Okanagan Hospice Association offers bereavement services to those who want help after losing a loved one. Those who have taken part in the COHA’s grief groups say the sessions have helped immensely.

“Attending the grief groups has given me a chance to talk about my feelings, my husband, my struggles and made me realize I am not alone,” says a woman who recently lost her husband and wished to remain anonymous. “They have been so compassionate, respectful and attentive that I feel very supported by them and the group, as painful as this time is for me.”

Grief is the instinctive human response to loss. It is a normal, necessary journey we must embark on after something we have valued is gone. Grief is the price we pay for the joy of having loved.

There is a difference between grief and mourning. Grief is what we think and feel on the inside, and mourning is the outward expression of our grief. To move through grief in a healthy way, one must actively mourn.

Mourning is crying, talking about the loss, journaling, sharing memories and telling stories. Other ways to mourn include praying, making things, joining in ceremonies and participating in grief groups. If we explore, embrace and express along the way, the pain can soften and eventually become less painful.

Mourning is how, over time, we begin to heal. It is through active, honest mourning that we can introduce hope, joy and meaning back into our lives.

That’s what COHA aims to do with its bereavement services.

“The sudden loss of my husband and wonderful father to my children has been profoundly devastating,” Chelan Ireland says. “My family and I have been very fortunate in finding the services of COHA. We found the support we needed in the form of weekly counselling sessions for both myself and the children as well as the bereavement yoga and reiki sessions.

“There is a special understanding between clients and the staff and volunteers at COHA that comes from knowing you share the experience of deep loss. There is comfort in knowing that you are not alone in your grief. Thank you, COHA!”

For more information on COHA’s bereavement services, visit its website or call Jessica Hughes, associate director of bereavement services, at 250-763-5511.

Strata industrial space launches
Contributed - Nov 14 - Think Local

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Industrial and commercial strata opportunities are extremely rare in Kelowna, especially in a central retail location, but they are an increasingly popular choice for businesses that understand the value of building equity in their own company. With continued low interest rates, increasing land prices and very little opportunity to purchase land in central Kelowna, now is a good time to think about buying industrial strata for your business.

IntraUrban Enterprise is one of the city’s few industrial strata opportunities. And it’s set in an unparalleled location, in the heart of the city’s Okanagan shopping centre district. The centrally located, 2.6-acre site will host 23 new industrial strata units on the major intersection of Enterprise Way and Dilworth Drive, one block off of Highway 97.

The entire building will cover 66,000 square feet, with the new IntraUrban units ranging from 2,000 to 3,900 square feet and offering quality flex space for general industrial use with office and retail components. The development will feature bay garage doors, built-in upper mezzanines, generous glazing for natural light and a modern, high-end product that is rarely found in other industrial projects in Kelowna.

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“Rents in the Kelowna market are on the rise, and in the long-term, owning is a prudent and more profitable idea,” says PC Urban principal Brent Sawchyn. “For Kelowna companies, owning means they can have more capital to invest in tools and growing the business, rather than throwing the money away at rent. Believe it or not, it tends to cost 25% more to rent rather than to own.”

“The attractiveness of commercial condos is that, with a low-interest environment, small business owners see real value in ownership,” says Steve Laursen, a broker with Royal LePage in Kelowna who is co-marketing the project with CBRE. “These businesses are able to grow equity through their real estate. They’re able to improve space and reinvest in it knowing that they’ll benefit once the time comes to sell the property. There are tax breaks for them if they own their own property. They’re able to control their costs and expand or contract their business instead of being at the whim of a landlord. They control their own destiny.”

In 2016, PC Urban launched a commercial strata development in the heart of Vancouver called IntraUrban Laurel. It was the first commercial strata within city limits in more than five years and it was a huge success, selling out before construction started—an unprecedented feat in the Vancouver market, one that highlighted the need for ownership opportunities for the city’s small and medium-sized businesses. PC Urban had a similar experience selling its second industrial strata project on Mitchell Island, called IntraUrban Rivershore and its third, IntraUrban Brentwood, in Burnaby. The company is now bringing their experience with industrial strata to Kelowna’s burgeoning commercial real estate market.

“There is a rapidly closing window of opportunity for businesses to invest in their own commercial property in central Kelowna,” Laursen says. “IntraUrban Enterprise will be a premier industrial development due to its location, featuring unparalleled access to retail, downtown and main transportation routes for business space as well as for recreational storage.”

Named by Western Investor magazine as the number one city to invest in real estate in Western Canada over the next year, Kelowna’s land values are set to rise again in the coming years. For more information on industrial strata in the heart of Kelowna, check out

Live, work and enjoy
Contributed - Nov 13 - Think Local

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If you’re tired of commuting, own a small business, want to live in a beautiful new building with many amenities that make you never want to leave, ONE Water Street has the perfect solution.

This week, the downtown Kelowna project named the city’s best seller, is introducing the Live-Work Collection. It will consist of six business spaces at street level of the ONE Water Street towers along with a luxury home on the second level. They will be connected by a staircase.

“It’s a great place to work and live,” Kerkhoff Construction president Leonard Kerkhoff says. “It’s an opportunity for business owners that have a smaller practice, whether it’s an accounting firm, consultant, hairstylist or an art studio person … just those smaller businesses that want that interface with the public at street level and want to live in that same space.”

The commercial spaces, which range from 1,400 to 2,000 square feet, will be unfinished and ready for business customization. They will feature primed walls, open ceilings, a commercial-grade aluminum door, a washroom wood door, 100-amp electrical service, and a roughed-in washroom and wet bar.

The living area on the second storey will have one bedroom and a large den, or a flex space, and the finishes will be consistent with the interiors throughout ONE Water Street.

Anyone who purchases a Live-Work Collection space will also have access to all the amenities on The Bench, the 1.3-acre space on the four-storey podium between and around the two towers. The outdoor features include two swimming pools, generously sized hot tub, patio with tables and couches, grilling stations and harvest picnic tables, fire pit enclaves, dog park and pickleball court.

Indoor amenities include private health club with fully equipped gym, dedicated yoga/Pilates studio plus secondary rooms available for stretching, multi-purpose entertainment room with kitchen, seating and dining areas, business centre and guest suites.

Best of all, both your business and your home will be in the middle of all the action downtown, just steps from everything you could ever want.

“It’s a great spot,” Kerkhoff says. “Ellis is a busy street, across from The Train Station Pub and the Central restaurant. It’s a great interface with a dynamic downtown Kelowna city core.”

Not only that, but you will also have a network of hundreds of people living in the ONE Water Street community.

“You’ve got, in-house, 426 homes in the property at ONE Water Street alone,” he says. “You’ll be able to tap into that and have a built-in clientele. It’s phenomenal.”

ONE Water Street, which is being co-developed by North American Development Group and Kerkhoff Construction, is currently under construction. The first tower is scheduled to be completed by late 2020, with the second one expected to be done nine months later.

‘Okanagan in a day’
Contributed - Nov 08 - Think Local

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Local development McKinley Beach will join the Okanagan wine industry in the very near future.

The development team behind McKinley Beach, which includes G Group Land Development and North American Development Group, recently confirmed the sale of 42 acres of the McKinley Beach development land to a local Okanagan family and vintner.

“McKinley Beach is thrilled to announce this partnership with a local vintner who will bring a high level of business expertise and vision to this winery and vineyard,” G Group Land Development’s Andrew Gaucher says. “The winery-vineyard has long been part of the vision and story for the McKinley Beach development, spanning back over a decade ago.”

While the new winery’s official name is being finalized, phase one of the build has already begun with site services, utilities and soil preparation. Twelve acres of vineyard will be planted in spring 2019, featuring pinot noir, riesling and merlot grapes.

Future plans for the new winery and vineyard include a restaurant and tasting room. The new owner is planning to construct a best-in-class facility, a “place of gathering, gratitude, celebrating nature” designed to be a “calm sanctuary” set within the surrounding forest with the endless lake views for which McKinley Beach has become known.

In addition to the winery, the McKinley Beach development team will be releasing Vineyard Lots, also in spring 2019. These exclusive lots will feature views of the vineyard and lake, and will be unlike anything previously offered at McKinley Beach. These will complement the remaining lots available on the Hillside, and be released alongside plans for future townhomes and single-family homes in the new Hilltown community.

“We aim to curate an experience of ‘Okanagan in a day’ within the McKinley Beach community,” Gaucher says. “With a kilometre of beachfront, a marina and now a vineyard-winery, this creates an unparalleled community for all McKinley Beach residents and visitors alike. We have more announcements regarding this vineyard-winery to come, as well as other announcements related to new home types and more, in the spring.”

With the 2018 expansion of the private marina now complete along with phase one of the Beachhouse, the community will look forward to seeing both a lakefront coffee shop and wine bar launching in summer 2019.

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