West Kelowna vet offers reminder that turtle habitat is nearby after another is crushed by a motorist | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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West Kelowna vet offers reminder that turtle habitat is nearby after another is crushed by a motorist

This crushed painted turtle was brought to Dr. Oz's team but didn't survive.
June 14, 2020 - 12:12 PM

Westlake Road motorists are being reminded again this week that they’re sharing the street with an at-risk species of turtle.

Rose Valley Animal Clinic posted a picture of a painted turtle that had been run over by a car and crushed.

“There was nothing we could do to save him, only help him cross to the rainbow turtle pond,” Dr. Moshe Oz’s team wrote in a Facebook post.

“Just a friendly reminder to everyone about the turtle crossing on Westlake road and to please SLOW DOWN. Although the city has made an underground crossing it often gets full of debris and then they begin to cross using the road.”

Concerns around the crossing, its condition, are regularly raised among those who live in the area.

They’ve reached a boiling point in the County Pines subdivision, which is adjacent to one of the ponds that are home to the creatures. A sizeable church development has been proposed for the area and the neighbours are concerned its creation and the impact it will put on traffic will be detrimental to the creatures.


Area resident Wade Neukomm said in a recent interview the significant construction needed for the project and its location to the pond, which is the lowest point in the area will mean runoff into the habitat, regardless of how many dry wells are built as per the current plan.

“This pair of water systems has been choked by humans ever since they started coming into this area, starting with the gravel pits and the development of this road,”  Neukomm said.

“So we’re all active participants in its demise, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to stop it. This would be the last nail in the coffin. This is the last frontage of the two ponds that isn’t fully developed.”

Neukomm said that longtime residents have always cared for the turtles, pointing them in the right direction when they’re lost, stopping on the road to ensure they have safe passage and giving them a clear path when they are nearby.

That said, the odds are against the creatures. A City of Kelowna pit is uphill of the pond,  and Westlake Paving is directly adjacent the pond.

Neukomm pointed out that the sheer volume of industrial activity in the area makes life for turtles challenging.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Kathy Michaels or call 250-718-0428 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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