Congestion at the south channel exit near Skaha Lake should now subside following the City’s decision to work with the Penticton Indian Band (PIB), Kul Group, Coyote Cruises and Locatee land owners to create a walking-path to an underused parking lot adjacent to the airport.
“Given the record volume of people floating the channel, along with this summer’s need for safe social distancing, the crowded situation that surfaced at the south channel exit required an immediate solution,” said Penticton’s City Manager, Donny van Dyk. “With walking-path access to additional parking in place, combined with steps taken by PIB to limit traffic in their parking lot to passenger collection only, we’re confident this popular assembly area can function safely during the pandemic.”
To help floaters depart the area and maintain social distancing, the City has installed well marked wayfinding signage and fresh line painting for parking. Working with Coyote Cruises, the City will also hire channel ambassadors during busy periods to greet and direct the public as they exit the channel, ensure physical distancing requirements are met and restrict gatherings of large groups.
“I’d like to commend PIB, Kul Group, Coyote Cruises, Locatee land owners and City Staff for quickly addressing this issue, which has arisen as a result of the dramatic increase in visitors to our beautiful region,” said Penticton Mayor, John Vassilaki. “Please remember, whether you’re on the water or ashore, while enjoying the channel area, practice safe social distancing at all times.”
The parking lot providing the extra space was granted to the City via a 1964 access agreement with the Department of Transport, and while free to park at for this summer, in the future the City will consider adding a user fee to offset the costs of maintaining the area.