Become a property investor
Special to Okanagan Edge - May 17 - Think Local

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Kelowna housing prices are increasing all the time and the city’s continued growth suggests that these increases will continue for the foreseeable future. It will become more challenging to enter Kelowna real estate market.

But for those who would like a more affordable way to participate in acquiring a Kelowna home, there might be another option: become a limited partner in the project development and use the partners profits toward the purchase price to create significant savings.

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By investing now not only do you lock up a home at today’s prices you also ensure your ability to choose one of the best units.

One of the city’s major new housing projects is offering the opportunity to get in, so to speak, on the ground floor.

Promontory is located in the sought after area of Highpointe just 5 minutes from downtown and accessible to all parts of the city.

You can become a real estate investor today with as little as $25,000 and get access to a unique development project. You will profit alongside an experienced developer and have an option to acquire real estate at a discounted price when you come in as a Limited Partner.

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Limited Partnerships open the door to safe and reliable real estate investment with a low entry point.

For locals looking for more information on this investment opportunity, the development team is
hosting information sessions.

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The first will be at the Coast Capri Hotel, May 30 at 7.p.m. The second, at the same location, on June 16.

More information about the project is also available by downloading the Promontory’s online information package, or by visiting the project’s website.

The spots are filling up fast, and we encouraged anyone interested to sign up as soon as possible.

If you are interested in participating in this offering, please act quickly as we expect the project to be fully subscribed soon


Spinning for Strong Kids
Special to Okanagan Edge - May 16 - Think Local

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At the end of this month, a pair of Olympic athletes will join local bike and ski shop Fresh Air as it throws its support behind the YMCA’s Cycle for Strong Kids.

The event is the Y’s biggest fundraiser of the year and sees teams from local businesses saddle up on a peloton of spin bikes for a boisterous day of cycling and team building—all so thousands of kids get the chance to take part in YMCA programs.

For Jim Bates, Fresh Air’s owner, getting involved with Strong Kids was a no-brainer. As a cycling event it sits squarely inside Fresh Air’s wheelhouse—but, more importantly, he says the cause is a vital one.

“I knew Fresh Air was going to be a part of Strong Kids almost from the moment the YMCA approached us all those years ago,” he says. “I didn’t realize that one in five local families can’t put their kids into sports, and that really resonated with me.”

“We believe every kid should have the chance to be active and develop skills, confidence and self-esteem. Places like the Y do that, but also give them a place where they feel like they belong and are encouraged to discover their full potential,” he adds.

The YMCA’s Margo Buckley says Bates and his wife’s passion for the cause is evident in the work they do for the fundraiser.

“Fresh Air is a huge part of this event,” she says. “Jim and Karen are just so involved—they’re over the top about Strong Kids.”

Fresh Air has now been a title sponsor of the event for more than five years, shelling out significant cash to support it, donating products for raffles and silent auctions, and entering a team every year.

This year, the shop is even pulling out all the stops for that team, recruiting Olympic athletes Kelsey Serwa and Julia Ransom to hop in the saddle in its name.

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The two will be among the group that starts off the day, May 27 at 8 a.m. outside the H2O Adventure and Fitness Centre.

Along with rides happening all morning and into the afternoon, Buckley says the YMCA Cycle for Stong Kids will also feature a silent auction, food, drinks, and prize giveaways.

The goal will be to raise $100,000. She says all the money stays in the community, helping kids who otherwise couldn’t afford it to join YMCA programs.

“The swim lessons, the proper childcare, day camps, even just having a Y membership so they have a safe place to go if they’re home alone after school. This is vital stuff, and Strong Kids allows us to give it to them,” she says.

Bates encouraged anyone interested in supporting the event to check out Fresh Air’s team—and consider signing up or donating—on their website.

We’re so fortunate to be a part of an event that helps so many kids in the community,” he says. “Any money our team raises does some really great stuff.”

1 in 4 can’t hear properly
Trevor Nichols - May 14 - Think Local

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Many people take their ability to hear and communicate with others for granted, even though communication is a critical part of everyday life.

Anyone who has difficulty communicating understands that, but there are likely many more people suffering from that difficulty than you—or even they—realize.

One out of every four Canadian adults has some form of hearing loss, and B.C. audiologist Dr. Ted Venema says that has a lot to do with the fact that the condition is essentially “invisible” to the outside world.

In a video series for, Venema points out that someone with vision loss, for example, might use a cane or wear glasses; society largely recognizes and understands vision loss.

But how many people know that hearing aids require a prescription, just like glasses, becuase people have different kinds of hearing loss, that affect how they hear different sounds?

Venema says the public “has a short tether of patience” for—and far less understanding of—hearing loss than other, similar conditions.

This is problematic because hearing loss can fundamentally affect people’s relationships.

“Hearing is a communicative sense, left untreated it really can deteriorate the communications between wife and husband, (or) caregivers and loved ones,” Venema says.

The most common type of hearing loss, for example, causes “trouble with treble.” People with this type of hearing loss can still hear, but they begin to lose the ability to distinguish more high-pitched consonants, and speech loses its crispness and clarity.

This is why Venema and other specialists recommend routine hearing testing for everyone older than 55.

Routine testing can give specialists a benchmark to test future hearing loss against, and can also allow for critical early intervention to help mitigate hearing loss’ negative impacts.

Venema says that, on average, people tend to wait five-to-seven years after they need them to get hearing aids.

That’s why, during Speech and Hearing Awareness month, clinics like the Okanagan’s Nexgen Hearing are offering free hearing screenings.

Nexgen’s Tom Millar says screenings are the “first step” to treating hearing loss—and treatment can do wonders for a person both in their daily life and interactions and for their long-term cognitive health.

“Improving your ability to hear and understand early on will improve your quality of life and keep you engaged longer, so that you don’t go down that road of losing connection with friends and relatives,” he says.

More information on Nexgen’s free screenings is available online.

Kelowna’s new swingers club
Special to Okanagan Edge - May 09 - Think Local

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Have you and your partner ever wanted to spice up your sex life? Have you ever thought about bringing new partners into your bed, or maybe sharing your spouse with someone else?

You might find the idea terrifying, titillating, or even intriguing, but a Kelowna businesswoman says it’s happening all the time—right in this city—and she wants to capitalize on it.

She goes by the pseudonym Paulina Austin, and her plan is to bring the city’s swingers out from their key parties and shag-carpeted basements and into the mainstream.

“As far as I’m concerned, swinging is just another form of recreation,” Austin says, “why can’t the community, or just the curious, have a safe place to come and play, too?”

Austin explains that the Playhouse’s main draw will be a fully licensed bar and lounge— spiced up with features like a dance pole, themed rooms, and a dance floor—where couples interested in swinging can gather to meet other, like-minded folks.

A separate section will feature cozy and discrete private spaces people can rent by-the-hour to enjoy some more intimate time with their groups or partners.

Finally, The Playhouse will offer a singles lounge of sorts that will operate like an in-person Tinder, giving people looking for love (or something else) a more personal way to connect with potential partners.

While all these services will be housed within the Playhouse, each will operate in its own separate section, allowing patrons more discretion in their choices.

Austin says the Playhouse will be a private club, charging patrons a small membership fee (much like a cover charge) to ensure only the sincere come out for the fun.

“Swinging isn’t really a new idea. As long as there have been couples there have been couples who like to share. And if two consenting adults want to invite someone else into their relationship, why shouldn’t they be able to do that?” Austin asks.

“The Playhouse will mean they can do that—and do it both safely and discretely.”

Austin says The Playhouse is entirely above board—not long ago she got confirmation from the city she can get a business license, as well as the all-clear from law enforcement.

All she needs now, she says, is a few savvy investors to get the project started.

So, how would you feel about a swingers club in your city? Do you think it’s immoral, or do you support it? Would you ever attend? Austin wants to know, and she’s set up an anonymous survey to suss out how you feel.

To give her a piece of your mind check out the survey here. For more information on The Playhouse, check out their Facebook page.

The future is ductless
Special to Okanagan Edge - May 08 - Think Local

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Are you tired of having that noisy air conditioner in your bedroom window keeping you awake at night? Do you think you have no options, since your home has no ducting system?

Or do you have ducting but still there is that one room that is never the right temperature?

What about the addition or that one bedroom that is always too hot in the summer, or too cold in the winter, so you only use those rooms a few months out of the year?

Have you inquired about adding cooling to your home, but been told that your ducting is not sufficient to add central air conditioning?

The solution to all of these issues is simpler than you think!

Ductless split technology has been around for what seems like forever, but is just now becoming more mainstream (and a lot more affordable) for the average homeowner.

Instead of using ductwork to distribute air through the house (like a central air conditioner would do) a ductless split system utilizes individual units throughout the home. This allows for individual control in each room, which in turn provides more flexible temperature settings.

A ductless heat pump or air conditioner typically consists of one or more wall-mounted indoor units combined with an outside compressor. Unlike window units, ductless units only require a small hole in the wall for installation.

The indoor units are much quieter and look a lot nicer than your typical window AC. They are also exceedingly energy-efficient. Depending on the system you choose, a ductless home comfort system can achieve SEER ratings in the high 20’s.

SEER measures the ratio of cooling capacity to power input, so the higher the SEER rating, the more work you’re getting out of the equipment for the same dollar of energy. The lower the SEER rating, the lower the production.

Terri Wilkinson, of Comfort-Tech Heating and Cooling Ltd., points out that a lot of ductless systems also come with stellar warranties. Comfort-Tech specializes in this type of system, and it sells Daikin Ductless systems with 12-year warranties.

Wilkinson also says ductless works best in specific situations, such as:

-New additions like garage apartments, bonus rooms, sunrooms, and man caves. The main benefit of ductless is that the system will be properly sized for the space and won’t steal air from other spaces or overload your existing HVAC system;

Serving multiple needs under one roof. Thermostat wars are a real thing, so ductless is ideal for creating independent temperature zones in different rooms. You can retro-fit zoning into an existing HVAC system, however, its definitely not as efficient and unless it’s done correctly it could turn into a real
nightmare. In fact, many HVAC professionals would never recommend retrofit zoning a ducted system and the reason is simple. Your original ductwork and equipment was not sized to run in zones. If you want to do a zoned ducted system correctly you need to start from scratch;

Adding AC to a home that doesn’t have existing ductwork. Ductless isn’t cheap, but its definitely less expensive than adding a complete ducted system to an existing home.

-Dealing with a specific room that has heating or cooling problems. If you have one room that you want to use but rarely do because its never the right temperature, a ductless unit can give you back that space in your home, without having to install new ductwork;

Adding cooling to a home where the ductwork wasn’t sized for central air. Back in the day, the ductwork in homes did not have to be sized for cooling, but cooling requires far larger ductwork than heating. If you live in an older home but do not have central air installed be sure to have your existing system assessed.

Wilkinson says ductless systems (and any system, really) work much, much better when they are correctly sized and installed. In order to do that, you will need a professional to do the job.

For more information on ductless systems and how to have them installed, visit Comfort-Tech online.

B.C.’s feel-good festival
Special to Okanagan Edge - May 06 - Think Local

Every year, a motley mixture of music-lovers head to the small town of Rock Creek, B.C. to hunker down for one of the summer’s freshest independent festivals.

The Ponderosa Music Festival takes the spirit of sun-soaked campground parties and mashes it up with a killer lineup of live music.

The result is a weekend full of lazy tube rides down a winding river, epic dance parties that last into the night, and snacking on peaches plucked straight from the orchard.

“People come and they literally have the time of their lives,” says festival co-founder Kris Hargrave. “When you put cool vibes together with floating down the river, an epic festival site, a sick lineup of performers, talented artists and vendors—and then top it off with pancakes and fresh Okanagan fruits from a local farm, you have something that can’t be beaten.”

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Hargrave and co-founder Kia Zahrabi say they pride themselves on keeping the festival upbeat, intimate, and fun. That means bucking music festival norms like corporate sponsors, rave culture, cramped campgrounds, and $5 bottles of water.

“We are striving to maintain a certain vibe and are looking to build a sense of community that we feel has faded from most of the larger outdoor music events,” Hargrave says.

“We feel so passionate about this project, and take every opportunity to bring something genuine and pure to those who attend—going back to the true meaning of hosting a party,” he adds.

That means things like flapjack breakfasts, interactive art, and group yoga classes every morning. It also means enjoying it all in the breathtaking B.C. backcountry where attendees have room to breath and soak up some nature.

Ponderosa was born after what was supposed to be a small orchard party turned into a long-weekend bash where nearly 100 people came together to play music, tube down the river, and camp under the stars.

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The weekend sparked a dream for Hargrave and Zahrabi—and that dream became a reality the very next year with the first-ever Ponderosa Music Festival. Ponderosa is now headed into its sixth year.

While the Ponderosa has always felt like a fun-loving weekend bash, it’s also brought in some top-notch acts over the years.

“We don’t discriminate against any style of music; an amazing band is an amazing band, and that’s all we care about. It is more about discovery and creating more space for artists to perform in B.C.’s interior,” Hargrave says.

In the past Ponderosa has hosted acts like Wolf Parade, Timber Timbre, Austra, Psychic Ills, Five Alarm Funk, Braids, Black Mountain, The Funk Hunters, Plants and Animals, Jay Malinowski, Bear Mountain, Royal Canoe, and more.

It has also introduced local and up-and-coming bands like, Gay Nineties, Youngblood, Little Destroyer, Harpoonist and the Axe Murder, Andrew Judah, IMUR, Peach Pit, Art Decco, just to name a few.

This year’s lineup will be announced at a special white-pants-themed party May 11. The festival itself will take place Aug 17-19.

For more information, or to purchase tickets, check out Ponderosa Music Festival online.

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Be a part of Okanagan history
Special to Okanagan Edge - May 02 - Think Local

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The Okanagan’s sun-dappled orchards have been the backbone of the valley for more than 150 years.

Each year, hundreds of farming families nurse cherries and apples and peaches from tens of thousands of trees, sending their fruit around the valley and across the globe.

It’s an enormous undertaking—especially during those brief few weeks when farmers start the mad dash to get all that fruit off all those trees before it spoils—and that’s why fruit packing is one of the Okanagan’s most important and storied professions.

This summer, an organization with its own deep roots in the valley is giving anyone eager to become a part of that history an opportunity to do so.

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BC Tree Fruits—the collective of more than 430 families working together to produce some of the world’s best fruit—is opening the doors of its packing facilities to new cherry production line workers.

“Cherry season is a critical time for our farmers, and they have tons of work available for anyone willing to do it,” explains BC Tree Fruits’ Tanaya Marsel.

With three packing facilities and six receiving facilities, the cooperative is looking to bolster its roster of 500 employees over the critical cherry season.

It’s looking for motivated, energetic, and dedicated workers to sort and package its precious cargo—helping to make sure the farmers are able to ship their fruit fresh by the end of the season.

To make the application process as easy as possible, BC Tree Fruits is holding a pair of hiring fairs, where anyone interested can apply for positions and get all the details they need.

The first will be on May 26, and the second on June 2. On both those days, BC Tree Fruits facilities in Kelowna and Oliver will be holding the hiring fairs from 9 a.m. until 12 p.m.

The full-time cherry packing jobs pay $14-$15 an hour, are available in both morning and evening shifts, and come with ample overtime opportunities.

“This position is great as a first job, a way to gain great experience and get your foot in the door with a local company, or for someone simply looking for steady work throughout the summer,” Marsel says.

For more information on BC Tree Fruits and the upcoming hiring fairs, visit BC Tree Fruits online.

Relax at Crescent Hill
Special to Okanagan Edge - May 02 - Think Local

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As B.C.’s premier grape-growing region, the Okanagan Valley produces many world-class wines and a wonderful opportunity to explore its sun-drenched terrain while enjoying its vibrant local wine culture.

Okanagan Edge is celebrating BC Wine Month 2018 by bringing focus to some of the Okanagan Wine Region’s most renowned wineries. We encourage you to learn more about their unique features here and support them by visiting their tasting rooms soon.

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Just above Penticton is an award-winning, unpretentious winery waiting for you to drop by, slip off your shoes, and relax.

Owner Teresa Murray-Wiseman weaves a story that begins with her father, Glenallyn and his vision to create the first vineyard in Penticton. Using 100 per cent pure clones from the old country, his vision became a reality, and now the winery has three generations of history.

A recent repeat winner at the Cascadia International Wine Competition, and best-in-class for its Glennallyn (named for dad, of course), Private Reserve Gewürztraminer at the Pacific Rim Wine Competition, “wine finisher” Russell Wiseman – Teresa’s husband – is a hands-on winemaker. Together, they do everything themselves, but with help from their daughter and son-in-law who are now learning the ropes.

Teresa is firm in her belief that Okanagan wines are poised to be better than California. “We’re doing what we want,” she says, “our dad’s legacy is out there and we have good wines for a good price. It’s all about the balance and appreciating the beauty that is here.”

Crescent Hill has fun with its labels; be sure to ask about the stories behind Cristal and Hissy Fit when you drop by for a tasting, or spot them at events with fellow Okanagan Falls wineries.

Township 7, all about wine
Special to Okanagan Edge - May 01 - Think Local

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As B.C.’s premier grape-growing region, the Okanagan Valley produces many world-class wines and a wonderful opportunity to explore its sun-drenched terrain while enjoying its vibrant local wine culture.

Okanagan Edge is celebrating BC Wine Month 2018 by bringing focus to some of the Okanagan Wine Region’s most renowned wineries. We encourage you to learn more about their unique features here and support them by visiting their tasting rooms soon.

Image: Contributed

With vineyards in the Okanagan and Fraser valleys, Township 7 produces top-flight red and white wines, including Seven Stars, a sparkling wine recently was named best bubbly at the Cascadia International Wine Competition.

This Mothers’ Day, the Naramata Bench winery celebrates the release of its 2017 Rosé with a special food and wine pairing seminar May 13, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The winery’s sommelier will be putting together a charcuterie board with the focus on wine. Like the Rosé, many of the aromatic white wines sold out last year; however, visitors to the winery this spring will find the latest 2017 releases of Gewürztraminer, Pinot Gris, Muscat and popular 7 Blanc filling the shelves. Before your favourites sell out, consider joining Township 7’s wine club, clubSeven.

May brings the Spring Wine Festival. Coinciding with the festival, Township 7 will be offering a Wine and Food Pairing May 5 and 12. From 2 to 3:30 p.m., the resident sommelier will simplify the relationship between wine and food, exploring the way wine highlights the array of food influences. And of course, celebrate Dad on June 17 at the Fathers’ Day al fresco luncheon.

Come June, the renovated tasting room will have an additional outdoor space. Whether you’re coming for a special event or just dropping by, Township 7’s wines will impress.

Centra windows: a glass act
Special to Okanagan Edge - Apr 29 - Think Local

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Do you know a deserving family who could use help with housing upgrades? Now is your chance to nominate them for the Centra Cares Home Renovation Contest.

During the month of May, the Centra Cares Foundation wants to give away a full house of windows to a family in need, but they need your help to nominate a deserving family.

Last year, the Centra Cares Foundation had an overwhelming response, with entries coming from all over B.C., and they want do it all over again!

The opportunity to make a difference in the health, safety, and most importantly the lives of a deserving family is so important.

When people think of much-needed home renovations they look to the interior of their home. Often they neglect some of the most significant pieces of a home renovation project and that is their windows.

We know that home renovations can be expensive, so the Centra Cares Foundation is here to provide windows, valued at up to $15,000, to a deserving family.

To nominate a family (or yourself), simply answer the following questions:

-Why are you or the person you are nominating deserving of this prize valued at $15,000?
-What does this family mean to you or the community?
-How has this family impacted those around them?
-How will this impact them if chosen?

The Centra Cares Foundation will be accepting nominations until May 31, 2018. Nominate a neighbour, friend, family member, or even yourself by visiting the contest page, or on social media by checking out their Facebook page and sending a direct message to @centrawindows.

Video submissions will also be accepted. Don’t forget to share the news with your family and friends.

“We were one of the fortunate families to win the Centra Cares Home Window Renovation contest last year,” recalls the Cooper family. “The day they showed up to replace our windows we felt like we had won the Publishers Clearing House lottery. There was a frenzy of people in our quiet little cul-de- sac and they all introduced themselves with the biggest smiles. That pure joy they showed during the install is a memory I will cherish for a lifetime. This company does not just give back, they truly change lives. They changed our lives!”

Take a look at more amazing stories of the winners from the 2017 Centra Cares Home Renovation Contest. Stay tuned! The winner will be announced the week of June 25.

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