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Last two daily newspapers in Okanagan will now be printed in Vancouver

The Kelowna Daily Courier pressroom has closed and the rest of the staff are expected to relocate before the end of September.
August 28, 2020 - 12:01 PM

The last editions of the Kelowna Daily Courier and Penticton Herald to be printed in Kelowna was delivered to homes and stores today.

“The Kelowna Daily Courier pressroom has printed the last edition,” Brad Williams, one of the last pressmen at the newspaper, posted on his Facebook page today, Aug. 28. “I can’t think of anything else to say.”

The closure of the pressroom has been confirmed by sources who did not want to be named.

The pressroom printed the Courier, Herald and Okanagan Saturday newspapers from its location at 550 Doyle Ave. in downtown Kelowna. The building was sold in March and will be replaced by a UBC Okanagan hub.

READ MORE: Kelowna Daily Courier building to be replaced by UBC hub

The last six pressmen are losing their jobs along with about 20 mailroom workers who inserted flyers into the papers and bundled them for delivery drivers to take to carriers and stores, Brian Gibson, president of Unifor Local 2000, told iNFOnews.ca. Unifor represents workers at both the Daily Courier and Herald newspapers.

The papers will now be printed by Kodiak Press in Vancouver, which could mean the paper won’t get to local doors some days.

“I think there are transportation concerns in the winter any time it’s being printed four to five hours away,” Gibson said, adding the Prince George Citizen is also printed by Kodiak. There were delivery delays when it was a daily and there are sometimes still delays now that it’s a weekly, Gibson said. The union represents workers at the Citizen as well.

Of greater concern for local readers is the change in news deadlines, he noted.

“You’re probably not going to get the most up to date news, that’s my concern for the community,” Gibson said. “I just found out the deadline is going to be 6 p.m., so I guess there’s no news after 6 o’clock.”

Gibson had been told by owner David Radler the pressroom would probably operate though to Sept. 1, but said Radler was vague about the actual last day of work.

He also had heard the rest of the staff will be moving to a new office on Leckie Road. That's expected to happen before the end of September.

Stephanie Goodban, general manager for the newspaper, did not return calls requesting an interview.

This brings to an end more than 100 years of the Courier being printed in Kelowna.

According to a City of Kelowna heritage article, George C. Rose bought the weekly Kelowna Clarion in 1905 and renamed it the Kelowna Courier and Okanagan Orchardist. Three years later he moved it into a building he constructed at the corner of Water Street and Lawrence Avenue.

That building is in the process of being redeveloped into a wine centre.

READ MORE: Historic buildings in downtown Kelowna could become massive new wine centre

In 1938, Rose sold the newspaper to R.P. MacLean who shortened the name to the Kelowna Courier. MacLean, in turn, sold it to the Thomson newspaper group in 1956 who expanded it into a daily the next year.

It was moved to its present location in 1974.

A post on the Penticton Herald website says paper was launched as the Penticton Press in 1906 by W.J. Clement. It doesn’t say when it was renamed as the Herald. At one time Penticton had its own pressroom but that was closed decades ago and the work was moved to Kelowna.


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