Boaters give thoughts on possible Skaha Lake marina development

Boaters and community members are turning to social media to make their views on the possible redevelopment known.

Prior to Tuesday night’s regular council meeting Mayor Garry Litke still wasn’t talking about the fate of the Skaha Lake Marina.

Mark and Matt Atrill, who own Penticton Yamaha and Marine, were informed the City of Penticton will not renew their lease for the store and the nearby marina when the current deal expires on Dec. 31.

But while Litke would only say the city would make an announcement after the Tuesday council meeting, boaters and community members are turning to social media to make their views on the possible redevelopment known.

Commenting on the Western News website, Steve Feindell  said he has moored his boat at the marina for several years and if the city wants something vibrant, check the area on a hot summer day.

“It’s packed. The boat launch is lined up. People are having fun. Boat and PWC (personal watercraft) rentals. This is a huge draw for tourists every year,” writes Feindell. “Where else are people going to go on Skaha for this service?”

Others, like local realtor Brian Cutler, said the area needs some expansion and the request for proposals process was a fair way of finding someone to develop the area.

He’s heard the selected proponent is planning a large development, possibly including a water slide and other amenities.

“And good, we need something on the south end of town. What is there, other than Barefoot Beach Resort?” said Cutler. At its current size, he said, the marina can’t handle the demand.

“It is basically impossible to get a spot in that marina,” said Cutler, adding that one of his clients, living in Heritage Hills above the lake, ended up purchasing waterfront property in Kaleden.

“Because he could never get into Skaha Marina,” said Cutler.

Penticton already has a vacant lakefront property it has so far failed to find a developer for.

In 2012, the Penticton Yacht club was forced to give up its lease on the building, land and moorage on the southeast corner of Okanagan Lake when the city raised lease rates too high for them to handle.

At the time, city manager Annette Antoniak said the plan was to find a new occupant to take up the lease. In the long term, however, she said there has long been suggestions of expanded tourist facilities for the property.

Litke’s only comment when questioned about the vacant waterfront property was “It’s not good, is it?”