As the Oct. 15 referendum on the proposed Active Living Centre draws near, the City of Vernon is answering more common questions about the facility.
Proposed for the Kin Park land next to Kal Tire Place, the city is seeking permission to borrow $121 million to build the multi-use indoor recreation centre.
The proposed facility includes a new aquatic centre and dry-land spaces such as a double gymnasium with multiple sport courts, an 80-station fitness centre, a 150-metre synthetic walking/running track and multi-purpose activity and program spaces.
To help voters decide, the City of Vernon is offering detailed information about the project and the referendum process through a series of weekly media releases leading up to general voting day.
What amenities are included in the proposed Active Living Centre aquatic area?
- 50m x 8 lane pool with two movable bulkheads
- Spring diving boards (1m and 3m)
- a leisure pool with play features, accessible entry, and 3 x 25m lanes
- Steam room and sauna
- Hot tubs
- On-deck viewing
- Pool support areas (i.e., change rooms, storage, spectator seating)
What are the aquatic needs of the community, based on public consultation?
Currently, the Vernon Aquatic Centre features a 25m x 8 lane swimming pool, a leisure pool, and hot tubs. Based on the results of the 2018 Greater Vernon Recreation Master Plan and needs assessment, an additional 25m of indoor water is needed to appropriately serve the current and future aquatics needs of Vernon and the surrounding area.
During the Active Living Centre Feasibility Study, the public indicated its preferred option to attain more indoor water is to have a single aquatic centre with a 50m pool, rather than having two 25m pools in different locations.
“The Vernon Aquatic Centre puts a priority on Learn to Swim programs to ensure children in our community are safer around our surrounding lakes,” said Doug Ross, recreation services director. “Because more of the aquatic centre’s available water and pool time is dedicated to learn-to-swim programs, the ability to offer public swimming time is limited.”
Aug. 21, registration opened for fall and winter programming through Greater Vernon Recreation Services. Within the first 24 hours, most swim lesson programs were full and had full waitlists.
If electors vote in favour of the referendum question, an additional 25 metres of indoor water would become available in the community by fall 2026, offering the ability to have more swim lesson capacity and multiple programs happening at the same time throughout the day such as learn-to-swim programs and public swimming, rather than having to choose to offer just one at a time. This is because of the double bulkhead design of the 50m pool, which would allow for various configurations of the pool, such as 2 x 25m swim areas or three programmable sections.
How could the proposed aquatic centre accommodate the everyday needs of the community and the ability to host events?
The proposed aquatic facility does not include fixed amenities such as a wave pool or wave rider, which may lose public appeal after time.
Instead, the recommendation is to include features such as a rock-climbing wall, water walking mat and rope swing, along with portable amenities such as a floating Wibit or Ninja course that can be brought out on a rotational basis.
This approach would provide versatility within the aquatic centre, while still offering the ability to host 25m and 50m swim competitions.
What is the plan for the existing Vernon Aquatic Centre site if the Active Living Centre is approved?
The existing Vernon Aquatic Centre is funded through the Greater Vernon Recreation Facilities and Programming Service Agreement, with the District of Coldstream and Regional District of North Okanagan Electoral Areas B and C. Should Vernon electors vote in favour of the referendum and the Active Living Centre be built, the City of Vernon will be in discussions with the District of Coldstream and Electoral Areas B and C as to the future of the existing aquatic centre.
The Active Living Centre Feasibility Study recommends if the Active Living Centre is built, the existing Vernon Aquatic Centre be decommissioned.
Click here www.engagevernon.ca/activelivingcentre to learn more about the proposed facility, the results of public and stakeholder engagement regarding the project, and how to participate in the referendum process.
A popular flick from 1991 will be featured at an outdoor movie night to kick off the Labour Day long weekend.
With the support of Tourism Vernon, the Community Foundation North Okanagan, Polson Night Market and the Museum & Archives of Vernon have partnered to present My Girl at Polson Park Sept. 2.
“We’ve collaborated with so many fabulous organizations this year,” says Mayla Janzen, Founder of the Polson Night Market. “Building community connections has always been a priority for the Night Market, so aligning with organizations like the museum who have similar objectives, just makes sense.”
The movie will start at 7:30 p.m. near the bandshell in Polson Park. Be sure to bring snacks, drinks, chairs, and blankets to complement this unique outdoor experience.
This is a free event, but donations will be accepted for the Upper Room Mission in Vernon.
In the event of rain, thunderstorms or high wind, the outdoor movie night will be cancelled.
Photo: File photo
The Vernon & District Performing Arts Centre will be reaching out to people to let them know about the SPOTLIGHT Season.
VDPAC received a $55,000 grant from Canadian Heritage under a special Re-Engaging Audiences Fund (REAF) for Professional Arts Presentations Organizations federal program.
VDPAC will use a majority of the funds for a regional direct-mail campaign to promote the return of its first full SPOTLIGHT Season since March 2020, which opens with the Juno Award-winning Joel Plaskett Emergency concert, with guest Mo Kenney, on Sept. 10.
“Our 2022-23 SPOTLIGHT Season brochure can now be direct-mailed to 40,000 homes, apartments and businesses all over the North Okanagan and south through Lake Country,” says VDPAC’s executive director, Jim Harding. “This is a special, one-time initiative to re-engage with our audiences, sponsors and supporters as we re-start — and to connect with newcomers to our local and regional community.”
Tourism Vernon has also approved a $5,000 Co-Op Marketing Grant in support of the campaign to help reach and attract audiences from outside Greater Vernon.
VDPAC will also be partnering with local accommodations and restaurants with special discounts for VDPAC ticket-holders coming to Vernon for performances this season.
Region-wide direct mail is only one objective of VDPAC’s REAF project, VDPAC will also introduce a “block tickets” option for sponsoring businesses as goodwill gifts for clients and staff.
It will promote new community partnerships with area youth performing arts groups, renew its customized group promotions with local community organizations and will use part of REAF funds for VDPAC’s 2nd annual North Okanagan Children’s Festival in March 2023.
Administered by the “Canada Arts Presentation Fund” (CAPF), and according to Canadian Heritage, the REAF program was “designed to help stimulate the relaunch of the presentation sector by providing support to eligible professional arts festivals, performing arts series presenters, and presenter support organizations, for targeted activities aimed at encouraging the return of audiences to the live performing arts.”
“Our REAF project also allowed us to redesign and rebuild our Classic Series Subscriptions and to restart our Pick 5 and Pick 10 options for our ‘frequent flyers,’” says Harding. “Subscribers are important because it gives us a baseline audience to help support all our guest artists.”
“Without the REAF and Tourism Vernon funding, we would not be able to afford a region-wide initiative,” continues Harding, “So we have built-in ways with this one-time campaign for supporters and the increasingly curious, to be able to access digital online versions, or by signing-up for our ‘Upcoming Events’ newsletter; or by following us on [email protected] or on Instagram @vernonperformingarts for SPOTLIGHT and all VDPAC events in the future.”
VDPAC will also host its second-ever “Free Night in the Theatre” 7:30 p.m. Sept. 14 for a sneak preview of the 2022-23 SPOTLIGHT Season, including video clips, highlights and brief interviews with this season’s special guest artists. Further details will be announced.
Free tickets can be claimed online at vdpac.ca or by visiting or contacting VDPAC’s Ticket Seller box office at 250-549-SHOW (7469).
North Okanagan-Shuswap MP Mel Arnold awarded seven more people with Canadian Platinum Jubilee pins and medallions.
Arnold made the presentation during Music in the Park at Armstrong Memorial Park recently.
The presentations followed similar presentations in Vernon Wednesday where nine community contributors were recognized during Afternoon Tea hosted by the Museum and Archives of Vernon.
Recipients were selected through a public nomination process and were presented with Canadian Platinum Jubilee pins and medallions commemorating the 70th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II’s accession to the throne.
Nominations were opened for community members that have exhibited public service, dedication and sacrifice- qualities extolled by Queen Elizabeth II over her reign.
“Communities are the sum of their members, and I am honoured to present these tokens of appreciation to recipients nominated by their fellow community members,” said Arnold. “Dedicated community service and making personal sacrifices for the benefit of our communities are the epitome of citizenship, and I am grateful for every citizen who makes contributions and sacrifices for the betterment of our communities.”
In addition to the recipients at the Vernon and Armstrong events, nominees from Salmon Arm, Sicamous, Spallumcheen, Coldstream and Edgewood will also be receiving Canadian Platinum Jubilee pins and medallions from Arnold.
“I thank all those who took the time to nominate community contributors from across our region,” Arnold concluded. “By working together and making contributions as we can, we strengthen our communities today and for the future and I thank all the recipients for their community service, dedication, and sacrifices that have made our communities better places to be.”
It was a busy night for Vernon Search and Rescue who were called to three separate incidents.
VSAR was initially called by the Vernon RCMP at 7:50 p.m. to investigate a partially submerged sailboat on Okanagan Lake.
VSAR quickly responded and launched their rescue boat, Legacy.
VSAR’s Coralie Nairn said a partially submerged sailboat was found offshore from The Outback Resort on the east side of Okanagan Lake near Vernon.
“It appeared to have been there for quite some time,” Nairn said. “It had sunk right up to the windows. There were no persons on board.”
As crews were responding to the sailboat call, they received a call to help locate an individual in the Vernon area, but were stood down before members were deployed.
Then, as the boat crew was mooring and ground crews were returning to the hall, VSAR was tasked with locating another missing person in the area just north of Vernon.
Members responded on bikes, in vehicles and on foot to search a large and often overgrown area.
The searchers were eventually stood down for the night despite being unable to locate the subject.
“We did a pretty extensive search and wrapped up about two o:clock this morning. Pending further investigation by the RCMP, there is a chance we could get called out again,” said Nairn. “We have members standing by.”
A North Okanagan man’s search for a life-saving kidney donor has met with success.
Cole Derry was placed back on the transplant list early this year after his body began rejecting a previous kidney/pancreas transplant in 2020.
The Lumby resident suffered more than two years of medical ups and downs after the first transplant was unsuccessful.
“We want to share with you all that we have officially confirmed that we have a living donor kidney for Cole!” his family posted on the Cole’s Kidney Journey Facebook page.
“It is the most amazing news ever! We have been trying to find the right words to express our amazement and gratitude, but just can’t find the right thing to say.”
Derry will head to Vancouver Sept. 6 in preparation for kidney removal (nephrectomy) surgery the following day.
Surgeons will remove the previous kidney transplant and prep the site for a new kidney.
“This means that Cole will be without a functioning kidney at all after this surgery and will be even more reliant on dialysis. Once the doctors know how his body is looking, they will be able to schedule the new transplant.”
That could happen in December or January, to give him time to heal from the nephrectomy.
“We want to thank everyone for sharing our story, signing up to be an organ donor and helpings us out in every aspect of this journey,” the family said.
In July, the family said they had been “overwhelmed, flabbergasted and astonished” by support from the community.
“It has been nothing short of incredible. We have been, in fact at a loss for words,” they said.
A barn dance was held in Lumby to support the family’s medical expenses and encourage registration for organ donation.
Derry has been in and out of hospital in Vancouver the last couple of years.
In October of last year, he was placed on an insulin pump and considered diabetic, with severely reduced kidney function.
Photo: Jacqueline McDonald
Today’s bug of the week may be tiny, but it’s fierce.
Jacqueline McDonald sent in a picture of a yellow-and-black winged insect that turns out to be a voracious hunter of other bugs.
“My daughter-in-law thinks it may be what is called a jagged ambush bug,” McDonald said in an email.
An internet search proves McDonald’s daughter-in-law correct.
Although it’s only about one centimetre in length, jagged ambush bugs are small yet mighty garden predators.
Their forelegs are thickened with muscles and resemble those of a praying mantis. Like mantids, those legs are used to snatch and hold prey.
Ambush bugs have short beaks that pierce into their prey and secrete saliva to dissolve the insect’s internal organs. The final segment of their antennae is slightly clubbed.
As the name implies, they ambush their prey by sitting motionless and waiting for the right insect to pass by. These can be flies, small moths, beetle larvae, and other soft-bodied bugs who are attracted to the plants the Phymata species sit on.
They are also capable of catching prey much larger than themselves, like bumble bees and butterflies.
Jagged ambush bugs are beneficial to have in a garden because they prey on pest species such as aphids and caterpillars.
But beware – the little critters should be treated with caution as they have been known to bite people as well.
It’s called tagging – but at the end of the day, unwanted graffiti is nothing more than vandalism.
Like so many other communities, Vernon has its share of so-called ‘taggers,’ but officials say there is a troubling new trend emerging; one they haven’t seen before.
Rachael Zubick with the Vernon Community Safety Office says there used to be a code among street taggers that they didn’t touch someone else’s works of art.
“There has been a shift in mentality and that is, prior to (this year), we would not have seen many of the murals tagged … unfortunately we have seen a change this year where we see more vandalism done to the murals than we have in previous years,” Zubick said.
Over the years, there have been occasional instances of someone vandalizing one of the city’s much-loved historical murals, but this year it has become more commonplace.
“There used to be a code. There was much more of a code where you did not touch other people’s work. However, as things shift in our communities, there has been a definite swing in terms of people not caring for other people’s things.”
To help combat tagging, the Community Safety Office has an annual Tag Team program which documents and helps building owners get rid of unwanted graffiti.
Graffiti can be reported to the office at 250-550-78840, through the City of Vernon website, and to police.
“What we would ask is that people report it to the RCMP and get as much information as possible,” said Zubick, adding the problem is often underreported.
Photo: City of Vernon
A night out at the game is always better with a burger or hotdog … but could the fare at Vernon’s Kal Tire Place be improved?
The City of Vernon wants to know if you ‘want fries what that?’
Greater Vernon Recreation Services is seeking public input on concession services at the arena.
“In order to provide the best guest experience possible, it is important that we hear from the public as to how we can make improvements to the goods and services being offered at Kal Tire Place concessions,” says Leah Walker, the rec department’s manager of customer service.
A brief survey on the Engage Vernon website asks users about use of the concession, value, and any new products they would like to see offered.
The survey will be open until Sept. 7.
Emergency crews were called to the Okanagan Landing area of Vernon Friday afternoon after a collision involving a cyclist.
The incident happened about 3 p.m. on Okanagan Landing Road, near Willow Park Road.
It is believed a cyclist was struck by a vehicle, possibly a Bobcat excavator.
Two ambulances responded to the scene, along with RCMP and Vernon Fire Rescue Services.
The severity of any injuries involved is not known at this time, although they are not believed to be serious.
A mangled bike could be seen on the side of the road, along with scattered possessions.
Castanet will have more information as soon as it becomes available.
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