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Osoyoos Coyotes coming within one victory of reaching championship series garnered many headlines in March
The end of the magical playoff run by the Osoyoos Coyotes and a proposed shuttle service from Kelowna International Airport to Osoyoos made headlines this past March.
After trailing the best-of-seven playoff Kootenay International Junior Hockey League series against the North Okanagan Knights 3-1 following two lopsided losses on home, most fans believed the Coyotes would bow out quietly in March.
But that certainly wasn’t the case as the Coyotes rallied with two hard-fought victories.
But the Knights took advantage of a sold-out arena with more than 600 fans in attendance and captured game seven 4-0 to advance to the league championship series against Castlegar.
Castlegar went on to win the league title.
To win two playoff series and come within one game of making the league finals was an amazing accomplishment for a team that lost only three players – captain Garrett Kucher, Alex Grupe and power forward Brandon Watson – to graduation, said head coach Ken Law.
“We did come just short of accomplishing our goal and winning a championship, but we had a tremendous playoff run and the guys should be very proud of what they accomplished,” he said.
The amount of community and fan support during the entire season and playoff run was incredible and much appreciated, said Law.
“The community support and fan support we get in this town is incredible and I don’t think there’s any better support anywhere in the league.”
It won’t happen until 2014, but numerous key stakeholders continued plans in March to offer a daily shuttle service from Kelowna International Airport to Osoyoos.
“This is something we believe would be of great benefit to a lot of people in our community,” said Holly Plante, the new president of the South Okanagan Chamber of Commerce (SOCC), which is one of the key stakeholders involved in discussions to form a business plan that would eventually see a shuttle service offered between the Kelowna airport and several communities in the South Okanagan, including the Town of Osoyoos.
The plan would include several other possible stops along the way, including one in Oliver and Okanagan Falls.
While there are still many details to iron out, there was overwhelming consensus that a shuttle bus service would help regional community economic development and tourism initiatives, said Plante.
Plante said the SOCC believes the shuttle service must be about more than simply transporting bodies.
“When people come to the South Okanagan, it’s all about having an experience and we want to offer something where people using the service would start their experience from the second they board the bus,” she said. “We want to make this a fun thing and promote the fact you can get around one of the most beautiful regions in the country without having to rent a vehicle.”
One of Canada’s leading conservation groups made an offer to purchase another huge chunk of land near Osoyoos that would allow for years of vital research and provide a safe habitat for some of the most at-risk species in the country.
Only months after purchasing almost 1,300 acres of land near Kilpoola, the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) has made an offer to private land owners to purchase another 1,836 (743 hectares) of land the NCC is calling the Elkink South Block.
The NCC also purchased several hundred acres of land now called the Sagebrush Slopes near Twin Lakes near Keremeos in 2012.
In order to finalize this latest deal, the NCC had to raise an additional $1.4 million on top of the $2.9 million it has already raised, said Lesley Nielsen, communications manager for B.C. region with the NCC.
“Thirty per cent of all species at risk in British Columbia rely on grasslands habitat and that’s why this purchase is so important for us,” said Nielsen.
Confirmation that the Okanagan Correctional Centre would begin in the spring of 2014 was “one of the biggest announcements ever made in the South Okanagan Valley,” says Town of Osoyoos Mayor Stu Wells.
“As the government ministers talked about over and over again, this is all about jobs and this project is going to create a lot of long-term sustainable jobs that are going to have a tremendous impact across the South Okanagan, including in the Town of Osoyoos,” said Wells.
B.C.’s Attorney General Shirley Bond announced the Okanagan Correctional Centre had reached two major milestones with the signing of a historic agreement between the provincial government and the Osoyoos Indian Band (OIB) and the short-listing of three construction companies that will move to the next stage of the competitive selection process for this $240-million project.
Bond, OIB Chief Clarence Louie and Minister of Citizens Services and Open Government, Ben Stewart, signed two contracts guaranteeing the project would become a reality at a ceremony at the Nk’Mip Desert Cultural Centre in Osoyoos.
SPECIAL TO THE TIMES