PHOTOS: Penticton’s top news stories of 2020 through the lens
Turning the latch on their front door, Vijay and Rachel Sehgal started day one of two weeks away from society in self-quarantine. On Sunday, March 15, 2020, the Penticton couple was in the Philippines, visiting family, but the continuously evolving situation surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic forced them to come home earlier than expected. Vijay, 78, and Rachel, 70, are two of many locking themselves away for at least 14 days or more in an attempt to avoid the virus or keep others safe. Vijay stressed the most important thing, above all else, is to stay positive. “Without being positive, you cannot achieve anything at all. Without that, you cannot survive.” (Phil McLachlan - Western News) The Christie Mountain fire went from 250 ha of fire to over 2,000 ha in just a few days in August, causing the evacuation of homes in Heritage Hills and the evacuation alert of thousands of homes, all the way to Penticton hospital. Only one home was lost to the blaze which was put out within two weeks by a deligent BC Wildfire Service. (Phil McLachlan - Western News) In addition to COVID-19, the topic of systemic racism also captured headlines around the world and right here in Penticton. Jennifer Jules, wore an “I can’t breath” mask to a rally at Gyro Park that hundreds attended. Summerland Mayor Toni Boot also spoke at the rally about her experience with racism to a crowd of hundreds in June. (Phil McLachlan - Western News) Penticton fire, RCMP and residents took to the 7 p.m. salute to frontline workers at Penticton Regional Hospital during the first months of the pandemic. For months, people all over B.C. took to ringing bells and clapping at 7 p.m. to thank all the front line workers including grocery store clerks and care aides. (Phil McLachlan - Western News) Even the Peach is adhering to the mandatory masks order as it gets ready for COVID Christmas 2020. The mandatory masks in all indoor spaces order came into effect on Nov. 19, 2020. (Jesse Day - Western News) An early morning fire on Oct. 28 at an apartment on Elm Ave. in Skaha displaced 50 residents and cost the lives of a retired couple who perished in the fire. The tragedy had dozens of Pentictonites donating and trying to find ways to help. The fire was caused by smoking materials in a first floor unit. (Brennan Phillips -Western News) More than 20 farmers rally down Main Street in Penticton in September to protest a proposed development of 300 homes in Naramata. The development proposal has still not come to city council but a website against it has already garnered a lot of support and letters to the editor against it continue to flow in. (Phil McLachlan - Western News) Kevin, the broken winged goose has stolen the hearts of all Pentictonites, including Dave who has bonded with his fine feathered friend who he has tried to rescue him several times. (Monique Tamminga - Western News) One of Penticton’s darkest chapters found some closure in October when John Brittain was sentenced to life in prison for murdering four people in a one day shooting rampage. (Black Press file photo) From March until May, playgrounds, outdoor courts and all hiking trails were closed for fear of COVID-19 transmission. (Phil McLachlan - Western News) Lorrie Blackmore expressed her anger outside the Penticton Courthouse Sept. 23, over what she saw as a soft sentence for Kiera Bourque. Bourque was given one year in prison for her involvement in the 2017 death of Blackmore’s son, Devon Blackmore. Blackmore was was 17 when he was killed by an overdose after Bourque, his girlfriend at the time, injected him with a lethal shot or morphine while he was battling pneumonia. 2020 was one of the deadliest years of B.C.’s overdose crisis, with over 1,500 overdose deaths. (Jesse Day - Western News) Penticton Indian Band Fire Department contained a large structure fire after a shed at 443 Green Mountain Road burst into flames Nov. 1. There were an inordinate amount of fires in Penticton and across the globe throughout the year. Locally we saw the Christie Mountain wildfire, multiple car fires, structure fires, a deadly apartment fire and more. It felt like the entire world was set ablaze in 2020. (Jesse Day - Western News)
Sometimes a photo can tell the story like no words can.
Here’s a look at 2020 through the lens of Penticton Western News – a showcase of how the community came together to care for one another, persevered and pivoted to the challenges this pandemic has brought. Even though a contagious virus was silently intermixing with our population all year, life goes on.
There were civic issues in Penticton like the controversial Lake to Lake bike route and the Canadian Horizons housing development proposal for Naramata.
In August, more than 3,000 Pentictonites were put on evacuation alert along with Penticton Regional Hospital due to the raging wildfire on Mount Christie. The fire grew to over 2,000 hectares but the diligent and hard work of the BC Wildfire Service put out the blaze in two weeks. In October, a retired couple perished in the Skaha apartment fire that displaced around 50 residents. The fire was was caused by smoking materials.
There is also the ongoing overdose crisis raging through our community that is only getting worse, as tainted drugs have become more prevalent with the pandemic closing borders and reducing drug supply.
We can only hope 2021 brings a better tomorrow.
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