The City of Penticton has come up with a potential solution to the tubing traffic congestion at the south channel exit near Skaha Lake. (Phil McLachlan - File)

City of Penticton adds parking lot to solve congestion problem off Penticton channel

Traffic has become a problem as visitors flock to the area

The City of Penticton has come up with a potential solution to the tubing traffic congestion at the south channel exit near Skaha Lake.

The City will 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.

READ MORE: Following series of rescues on Penticton channel, fire crews issues safety guidelines

Finding a solution to the congestion problem was urgent, according to Penticton’s city manager, Donny van Dyk.

“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 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 explained they have installed 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.

Penticton Mayor, John Vassilaki stressed the importance of finding ways to make it easy for people to social distance given the high number of tourists in recent weeks.

“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 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 will be free to park at for this summer, but in the future the City will consider adding a user fee to offset the costs of maintaining the area.

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