UPDATE 6:15 p.m.
The RCMP explosives disposal unit has now arrived at the scene after travelling from the Lower Mainland.
The highway remains closed between Spall and Cooper roads.
Police are dealing with a suspicious package, possibly a pipe bomb, near the Wendy's fast food store at 2070 Harvey Ave. It was discovered at around 12 p.m.
Photo: Madison Erhardt
UPDATE: 4:12 p.m.
Despite Harvey Avenue being closed in both directions Monday afternoon, Orchard Park Shopping Centre is still open.
The mall's guest services department tells Castanet "we are still open."
Kelowna RCMP, however, says several businesses in the area remain closed due to the investigation.
Access to the Spall Plaza is blocked off by RCMP at this time. It is unknown if any of the businesses inside the plaza are operating, but an employee of one impacted business says many are closed.
The highway is closed in both directions between Spall and Cooper roads.
UPDATE: 2:50 p.m.
The man who found the potential explosive device says he knew exactly what it was when he first saw the object.
"I was just going to grab some food. I've seen it on TV and sh** before and I just looked down at it, seen it and was like ya, that is what that looks like."
Justin says he found the device just after 12 p.m.
"It was about eight inches long and about two inches wide... just a regular pipe bomb. If you were to type it into Google that's what you'd see," he said.
He says the device was found near the Wendy's close to the sidewalk.
UPDATE: 1:55 p.m.
Kelowna RCMP tell Castanet portions of Harvey Avenue along with several businesses in the area will likely be closed for up to eight hours Monday, after a potential explosive device was found.
''We had a pedestrian walking down the sidewalk on the other side of the street on Harvey and [he} noticed what appeared to be an explosive device on the side of the road. We are unsure about it so our process is to shutdown the neighbourhood and we are bringing in the EDU (Explosive Disposal Unit) from the Lower Mainland to come and take a look at it."
"They have seen pictures and they are concerned too so we are just going to take all precautions to keep the public safe," said Const. Mike Della-Paolera.
RCMP have put out the call for as many off-duty officers to report to the area as possible.
Const. Della-Paolera says the public is asked to stay clear of the area for the time being.
"Nobody has touched it. As soon as we identified it we backed away right away. We are not experts on this matter ourselves, but we have brought the experts in," he added.
Photo: Madison Erhardt
UPDATE 1:05 p.m.
Kelowna RCMP has called in the bomb squad from Vancouver as they deal with what they believe is a bomb scare along Harvey Ave. Monday afternoon.
Highway 97 has now been closed in both directions and RCMP have put out the call for as many off-duty officers to report to the area as possible.
Officers are now going door to door in order to evacuate businesses in the area, starting at Cooper Rd. and heading toward Spall Rd.
An officer at the scene tells Castanet that a suspicious package, possibly a pipe bomb, was spotted near the Wendy's fast food store at 2070 Harvey Ave.
The RCMP bomb disposal unit will have to make its way from the coast in order for the investigation to be complete and one officer at the scene indicated that it could take 5 or 6 hours for that to happen.
UPDATE 12:46 p.m.
RCMP have now blocked off Highway 97 in both directions across from the Spall Plaza Shopping Mall on Monday afternoon. No further details have been released at this time. However police cruisers and fire trucks can be seen in the area.
ORIGINAL 12:30 p.m.
Kelowna RCMP is responding to a developing incident which has forced the closure of westbound Highway 97 at Cooper Rd.
RCMP has advised motorists to stay away from the scene due to a police incident.
"This is a developing investigation with more information to be released when it becomes available," states a news release from Kelowna RCMP.