The residents of Kelowna know wildfires all too well! Particularly, the Central Okanagan has seen devastating wildfires, including the Kelowna Mountain Park Fire in 2003, and the White Rock Lake fire in 2021. Both of these fires displaced tens of thousands of individuals (CBC 2021).
The fires cause poor air quality during the smoky wildfire season. What's wrose, the fires destroy landscapes and homes! In the past twenty years, the Central Okanagan alone had over 30,000 hectares burn (“Wildfire Season Summary - Province of British Columbia'' 2021).
Kelowna is exposed to low air quality on a near-annual basis due to wildfires happening throughout the western part of North America. With this in mind, every step counts as you protect your property against the wildfires!
The most vital area that needs to be protected is around your home! The City of Kelowna advises residents to remove all hazardous vegetation within 10 meters of your home. This includes the collection of dry, dead, and fine materials. For example, you should remove all dry needles and conifer prunings (“FireSmart Community Chipping Pilot Program” 2022).
In 2022, the City of Kelowna started a new initiative called FireSmart Community Chipping Pilot Program. This FREE program helps the residents of Kelowna to mitigate the threat of wildfires. The city will collect highly flammable materials from your property. The pick=up service will be for dry and/or dead materials from cedar trees, juniper bushes, mugo pines, and conifer shrubs and branches. Please note that leafy tree materials are NOT collected for this initiative.
All other organic materials such as dirt, grasses, rocks, gravel, and flowers must go into your green waste bin. The green bins will still be picked up throughout the entire time of this initiative because these materials are not suitable for the wood chipper.
The City of Kelowna has a schedule posted on their website that outlines the streets and days that the collection services will follow. The following 8 areas will be serviced this year:
Please note: the neighborhoods are chosen due to t higher rate of flammable materials in the landscapes. (“FireSmart Community Chipping Pilot Program” 2022)
CBC. 2021. “A look back at the 2021 BC wildfire season.” CBC. https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/bc-wildfires-2021-timeline-1.6197751.
“FireSmart Community Chipping Pilot Program.” 2022. City of Kelowna. https://www.kelowna.ca/city-services/safety-emergency-services/fire-department/firesmart-kelowna/firesmart-community-chipping-pilot-program#msdynttrid=OHOMXv9deHu6YuMMr-v0klmfP6YmFPQUkKgqZdS82lw.
“Wildfire Season Summary - Province of British Columbia.” 2021. Gov.bc.ca. https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/safety/wildfire-status/about-bcws/wildfire-history/wildfire-season-summary#stats.
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Traditionally on Tuesdays mornings across the Okanagan, local agents gather at their real estate offices to share a coffee, learn market stats, local issues, new listings and tips and tricks from their esteemed managing brokers and leaders. Some offices hold these meetings, and some do not. This week, I am reminded of the importance of Tuesday Team Meetings.
July 13, 2021, marks the return of my brokerages’ weekly in-office meetings for agents and support staff. Since March 2020, my office (Century21 Kelowna) has diligently held zoom and or hybrid zoom and in-personal meetings when allowed by the health order. Each week we did our best to connect our agents to fellowship, education, local knowledge, and inspiration. Yet, something is missing from internet webcam meetings.
Realtor® local knowledge and connection to local colleagues, business practices benefit consumers. Agents who attended these meetings, in my opinion, learn more, learn faster and often give their clients better service. To me, Tuesday morning meetings are part of our “great agent recipe.”
What are the benefits for agents and consumers who work with these agents? There are many, and here are my top five.
5) Better problem-solving. I am not talking grade nine math here. Agents are professional problem solvers, and every transaction, home, contract, negotiation or client need can present a unique challenge. Consistently I have been assisted by a comment, habit or suggestion from a colleague during a Tuesday morning office meeting.
4) Motivation. Real estate can be lonely work. Showing homes and writing contracts is exciting work but hundreds of hours organizing paperwork and conducting research and due diligence is more common. So a weekly boost of energy by sharing time with motivated colleagues is essential.
3) Regulatory and Ethics. Each week, it seems, agents in BC have a new rule and a new form. Yet, these rules and forms protect consumers and give the public trust that they will be treated fairly during a transaction. In addition, weekly meetings are one of the best places for my managing broker to impart her knowledge and ethical guidance to our team of agents.
2) Recent Selling and Buying Trends. My office gives agents a chance to share their new listings. We tour a selection of hi-def photos while the agent pitches the unique features of the property. It’s common for most of our office to be exposed to 30 or more new listings each week on Tuesdays alone. Afterward, we talk about buyer needs, upcoming listings, unique clients requests and troubleshooting. Client information stays private, yet knowledge and wisdom are shared.
1) Better Negotiation Skills. I believe our Tuesday morning meetings help make our agents the best negotiators in the valley. Information is power, and up-to-date and accurate information gives our agents an added advantage at the negotiating table for their clients.
Real estate trading (buying and selling) is complex. Realtors are human. Humans need connection. Tuesday are back! Let’s get it on!
Associate Broker | REALTOR®
CENTURY 21 Assurance Realty Ltd
Agent Development & Recruiting, Commercial
Real Estate Coach (NORE®)