Canadian lawyer, journalist and fairness advocate to talk at digital UBCO occasion about racism within the office – Kelowna Information

Photo: File photo

Interior Health has confirmed another positive case of COVID-19 at Kelowna Secondary School and states this case is ‘unrelated to the exposure announced earlier today, which occurred on November 12.” 

In a new release sent out Sunday evening, School District 23 says the person infected was present at KSS on Nov. 9 and 10.

They are self-isolating at home and to ensure personal privacy rights are maintained, we will not be providing additional details.

IH is undertaking contact tracing at this time and will determine if any other member of the school were in contact with the person who tested positive. 

“Only the health authority can determine who is a close contact. If you are contacted by Interior Health, please follow their advice,” states the school.

Students are asked to continue to come to school as long as they haven’t been contacted by health authorities. 

On Nov. 15, SD23 confirmed two new cases among members of École KLO Middle School and Kelowna Secondary School.

KSS has seen several cases of the virus in the past two weeks, although IH says the virus hasn’t been transmitted within the school.


Photo: Contributed

As part of UBC Okanagan’s Distinguished Speaker Series, Hadiya Roderique a Canadian lawyer, journalist and equity advocate will be participating in an online event to speak about racism in the workplace.

‘Facing up to Racism at Work’ will take place Nov. 17 at 7 p.m.

The Public Health Agency of Canada’s data from 2016 shows that Black Canadians experience discrimination at work and during hiring processes twice as much as other Canadians, they are more likely to live in low-income housing and are less likely to enter into post-secondary institutions. 

Roderique is a highly-respected woman who has been recognized for the publication of her 2017 Globe and Mail article ‘Being Black on Bay Street.’ The article explores her experiences as a young Black female lawyer working in Toronto’s central business district which in turn, delivered a wake-up call to corporate Canada.

Roderique’s provocative talk will build on these experiences while providing a timely discussion on racial inequities in the workplace. She will explore common arguments, address barriers and challenges and share data and strategies designed to move society towards meritocracy. 

Roderique has a law degree, master’s degree in criminology and a PhD in organizational behaviour and human resources management from the University of Toronto. She was named one of Canadian Lawyers’ 25 Most Influential Lawyers in 2018 and was recognized with the Rising Star award from the Canadian Association of Black Lawyers.

The Distinguished Speaker Series from the Irving K. Barber Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences introduces compelling speakers to Okanagan residents virtually, as they share their perspectives on issues that impact the region, country and world. 

The free event is open to all however participants must pre-register online here.

Photo: Okanagan College

Okanagan College’s Kelowna campus

Okanagan College continues celebrating its diverse cultural makeup with an International Education Week filled with activities from Nov. 16 to 20.

“International Education Week is a great opportunity for the OC community to join interactive and relevant events showcasing the diverse cultures and backgrounds represented at the College,” said Meri Kim Oliver, Vice President Students.

The week is celebrated by over 100 countries, where OC community members and students share intercultural experiences and the positive impacts of diversity and international education.

Diwali, known as the Hindu Festival of Lights, was celebrated online on Friday but students still have a chance to win a gift certificate through the Virtual Light Up contest which runs until Nov. 16.

“Celebrating diversity can be done in so many ways, but most simply, we can take a moment to recognize and appreciate the gifts of diversity that are the core of our shared humanity,” Oliver adds. 

“That is the true benefit of international education.”

Students and the community can take part by:


It’s been more than three and a half years since a 17-year-old Kelowna woman fatally overdosed alone in a public bathroom, after she was unable to get the treatment she needed. Today, little has changed when it comes to recovery options for youth in Kelowna.

In a recent video produced by the Bridge Youth & Family Services, Chelsea Christianson’s mother speaks about the challenges her daughter faced before her death.

“She just was never given a chance to get better because of these waitlists,” said Kimberly Christianson.

“The fact that three and a half years later, nothing has changed, it’s a stab in my heart because it says that my daughter’s life didn’t matter.”

There remains no publicly funded youth treatment beds for anyone 17 years old and younger across the entire Okanagan. Publicly funded means free of charge, a vital feature for those who can’t afford that thousands of dollars needed for some private treatment centres.

“I know that there are families right now in the exact same spot I was five years ago, and searching for resources and feeling like they’re drowning and not being able to help their child,” Christianson said. “It’s just a tragedy, it’s terrible.”

The Bridge Youth & Family Service is currently working to change that in Kelowna, by retrofitting a building the organization currently owns into a six-bed youth treatment facility where young people 19 and under can spend upwards of six months, depending on their needs.

“We run a youth detox program so we know that we will have children as young as 12 in our program,” Thompson said.

The Bridge has raised about half of the $1 million needed through business sponsorships and personal donations, and executive director Celine Thompson hopes to have the doors open within the next year.

The six-bed facility is just Phase 1 of the Bridge’s plan though. They would like to build a brand-new 16-bed facility for youth in the community, as Thompson says “the demand for services is so high in this community.”

That new facility has an estimated cost of $10 million, and would likely require government assistance. In August, the B.C. government announced it would be spending $35 million through to 2023 to double the number of treatment beds for youth aged 12 to 24. But in the three months since the announcement was made, Thompson has heard nothing about where in the province these additional beds will be going.

With the opioid crisis continuing to kill British Columbians at alarming rates, it’s not an issue that can wait. In the first nine months of this year, 38 people in Kelowna died from illicit drug overdoses. 

“[Chelsea] died while on a waitlist, which is a horrific experience,” Thompson said. “These are not the children or families that are denying there’s an issue or a problem, they are absolutely motivated to get better and there is nowhere to turn.”

Those looking to help make the Bridge’s Youth Recovery Centre a reality can find more information here.

Photo: File photo

Another COVID-19 has been identified among a member of the KSS community.

Two new cases of COVD-19 have been identified among members of École KLO Middle School and Kelowna Secondary School.

School District 23 announced the recently identified cases of the virus in a news release Sunday afternoon, but didn’t say if the infected people are staff or students. 

“They are self-isolating at home with support from local public health teams,” the school district said. “Interior Health follows up with anyone potentially exposed to a confirmed case directly through contact tracing.”

The new cases comes after a single case was identified at KLO middle school last Wednesday, while another case was identified the previous week.

Meanwhile, KSS has seen several cases of the virus in the past two weeks, although Interior Health says the virus hasn’t been transmitted within the school.

KLO and KSS are two of about 15 Central Okanagan schools where the virus has been identified among members of the school.

Interior Health continues to not publicly report the number of cases linked to each school, despite Fraser Health disclosing those numbers.

While the number of COVID-19 exposures in Central Okanagan schools rise, IH has not declared any active outbreaks at schools in the region. An outbreak is declared in a school when transmission within the school is identified.

An outbreak was declared at Kelowna’s École de L’Anse-au-sable last month, but it has since been declared over, after 16 cases were identified there.

Surrey’s Cambridge Elementary School was ordered closed Saturday after an outbreak of seven cases was declared there. Two other schools in the Fraser Health region voluntarily closed due to staffing shortages from the virus. 

Photo: Mike McLaughlin

Dash cam footage of Mike McLaughlin arriving on scene to a fatal crash on the Connector Saturday night.

UPDATE: 2:15 p.m.

A man who arrived on the scene of Saturday night’s crash on the Okanangan Connector shortly after it occurred believes at least one person was killed.

Mike McLoughlin was driving on the Connector at about 8:45 p.m. when a person in a pickup truck waved him down west of the Pennask Summit and told him a truck had flipped off the highway. The other passerby carried two of the people from the crashed truck into his own vehicle, while McLoughlin went to the crashed truck.

“I called out to anybody inside the vehicle, which was overturned and quite mangled,” McLoughlin said. “I heard a call from inside the vehicle so I got down on my hands and knees and brushed the snow away … [The driver] was trapped, they were stuck. They had a seatbelt wrapped around them and they couldn’t unhook it.”

Tragically, McLoughlin said the man in the front passenger seat had died in the crash.

There was no cell phone service at the scene of crash, but another passing motorist carried on and managed to call 911.

“I stayed with the guy who was trapped in the vehicle and just told him help is on the way,” McLoughlin said. “There was not much I could do other than to just hold his hand.”

Emergency crews arrived and fire crews were forced to cut the driver from the vehicle.

“I’m hoping that he survived, I don’t know that for sure,” McLoughlin said.

He said it had just started snowing on the Connector when the crash occurred, and he believes the slippery conditions contributed to the single-vehicle crash.

The eastbound lanes of the highway were closed until about 6 a.m. Sunday morning. 

The RCMP has yet to respond to Castanet’s inquiry about the crash. 

ORIGINAL: 7:30 a.m.

An overnight crash on the Okanagan Connector has been cleared.

The crash occurred between Elkhart Road and Sunset Main Road, about 12 kilometres west of Pennask Summit at about 8:45 p.m.

Only the eastbound section of Highway 97C was closed, and didn’t fully reopen again until 6 a.m. Sunday morning. Vehicles were directed into single-lane alternating traffic throughout the night while emergency crews tended to the scene.

There is no word on if there are any injuries or how many vehicles were involved, but Castanet has reached out to the RCMP for details and will update as more information becomes available.

Photo: Contributed

A houseboat has broken free from its mooring on Okanagan Lake Sunday.

A houseboat on Okanagan Lake broke free from its anchor Sunday morning.

A Wilson’s Landing resident says the houseboat, which is usually anchored off from the floating logs near Bear Creek Provincial Park, has drifted all the way to Lake Okanagan Resort.

“I’ve been watching it and I finally got the binoculars out and realized that’s the one from Trader’s Cove,” she said.

Bear Creek Provincial Park to Okanagan Lake Resort is a distance of about 10 kilometres.

Another Castanet reader said the boat is unmanned, and is “just drifting away.”

The Wilson’s Landing resident said she’s informed the police about the runaway boat.

Last January, the same boat had a sinking scare after significant snow weighed the boat down. 

Castanet’s week in review with Nich Johansen.

Photo: Contributed

Massive development and growth within the Pandosy-Lakeshore area has raised a red flag within the KLO Neighbourhood Association.

So much so they have called a news conference for Monday morning to air their grievances.

In a news release Friday, the association believes the city has over-developed the region without an updated plan on both density and traffic impacts.

According to the release, residential developments completed, active, planned and probable amount to nearly three-and-a-half times the 1,600 units proposed within the current 2010-2030 Official Community Plan.

They say many of the developments are creating more height, and more human density than zoning bylaws and the OCP envisioned.

“The number of potential units in the Pandosy-Lakeshore area will put enormous stress on an already overburdened and underfunded infrastructure system, especially roads and recreation facilities,” the release says.

They claim the city’s $400 million infrastructure deficit means new growth infrastructure will have to be paid for through taxation, reserves or borrowing.

They add the area needs a plan that considers the impact of numerous developments on the social mix of the community.

“The high-end nature of the proposed developments and the city’s support for them shows that the area is targeted for gentrification and a net reduction in the number of affordable housing units currently in the area inventory.

“KLONA believes that another approach to densifying the city is available. “Sprawl and tall is not the way”. Best practices indicate that “distributed density” is the best way to densify with least cost to infrastructure, traffic impacts and preserving a sense of community.”

The association has set up a website with more information on the impacts of area development.

Photo: O’Rourke’s Peak Cellars

O’Rourke’s Peak Cellars in Lake Country is seeking approval to expand its indoor and outdoor lounge beyond the parameters set out by the provincial Agricultural Land Reserve.

ALR regulations allow for food and beverage service on agricultural lands, as long as they do not exceed 125 square metres of both indoor and outdoor space.

The non-farm use application before Lake Country council exceeds the limits.

The application asks that the indoor space be expanded to 162.6 metres while the outdoor space would be expanded to 150.1 metres.

However, municipal staff support the application, saying in a report the commitment of the owner to both producing wine and celebrating agriculture into the future is demonstrated by the scope of its operation.

It further says the expanded ancillary use is anticipated to achieve a net benefit to both agriculture and the community.

In its application, O’Rourke’s owners suggest the expansion would not harm existing agriculture on the property, and will aid in making the operation more viable.

If council gives its support, the application would be forwarded to the Agricultural Land Commission for ultimate approval.

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