Jumping of the KVR trestle bridge will resume after RDOS voted to allow it to continue on July 4. (Photo courtesy of Bike Penticton)

Jump at your own risk from KVR Bridge in Ok Falls

RDOS board votes to continue to allow jumping off KVR Bridge in Ok Falls

Jump at your own risk.

That is the decision the Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen came to last Thursday when it was deciding if it should let the popular recreational activity of jumping off the KVR Bridge in Okanagan Falls continue.

At the July 4 meeting, the board supported Okanagan Falls regional director Ron Obirek and reversed the decision made by district staff prohibiting jumping and diving at the bridge. District staff had also suggested to remove the chain link fence gate, the aluminum ladders and redesign the railing so the top cap is peaked and not sloped to further discourage the community from using it to jump.

On Thursday, Obirek opposed the suggestions because he said there is no real history of people seriously injuring themselves while jumping off the bridge. He said the staff changes proposed at the meeting were going to make the bridge more dangerous—not safer.

READ MORE: Landfill charges changing in South Okanagan-Similkameen

“If we had a behaviour of over 50 years of jumping and no injuries, what’s the real risk? Well, the real risk is very small. Do we have insurance? Yes, we do. Is someone going to get hurt? I don’t know. Do we want them to play safe? Yes, we do. So how do we encourage them to play safe? We put up some cautionary signage and we try to make it as safe as we can,” said Obirek.

“But to get mean and say, ‘We’re going to take away the gate and make the railing more treacherous and remove the ladders,’ all as a way to discourage the jumping, when we know it’s not going to discourage the jumping. What we’re really doing is making it much less safe.”

Bridge jumping at the popular location turned controversial in recent months after RDOS staff put up signs prohibiting people from using the bridge. This came after Risk Management Services concluded that RDOS could be liable if an accident occurred.

Jumping off the KVR trestle into Skaha Lake in Okanagan Falls has been a popular summer activity for residents and visitors for decades. It became so popular that at one point the community installed a gate and ladder to allow access to the lake.

In May, after receiving numerous complaints from the public about the lack of access to the bridge, the Okanagan Falls Parks and Recreation Commission suggested that people be allowed to continue to jump off at their own risk and that the ladders are upgraded and a proper self-closing gate be installed. This was the arrangement the RDOS board chose to adopt last week.

READ MORE: RDOS board investigates using Penticton admin building

“It’s certainly safer than what was proposed (by the staff),” said Obirek. “The community felt disrespected and not consulted and their experience and knowledge not respected. It’s almost insulting to say to community members who have grandchildren who are jumping in the water—these aren’t people who are putting children’s lives in danger. It sounds like somebody far away in a different city knows better than the local community knows about their own participation in a recreation activity,” Obirek said.

To report a typo, email: editor@pentictonwesternnews.com.


Robin Grant
Reporter, Penticton Western News
Email me or follow me on Twitter
Follow us on Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Summerland’s Justin Kripps picks up back-to-back bronze medals in weekend racing

Canada’s two-man bobsleigh is third in the rankings heading into the World Championships

Meet the ultimate Penticton Vees fan

Jon Race owns an epic collection of Vees jerseys and hasn’t missed a home game in 15 years.

Mink farm once operated in Summerland

From 1967 to 1973, the Nielsen family raised mink

Penticton Vees clinch overtime win against Bulldogs

The Vees came from behind in a thrilling 3-2 win over Aberni Valley at home.

City of Penticton to host annual Family Day event

Wondering what to do with the extra day off?

VIDEO: Minister reports ‘modest progress’ after blockade talks with First Nation

Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs say Coastal GasLink does not have authority to go through their lands

#FoxForFiver: Support grows in B.C. to put Terry Fox on new $5 bill

Terry Fox’ Marathon of Hope raised money for cancer research

Registration opens soon for BC 55+ Games in Richmond

2020 55+ Games have been officially scheduled for Sept. 15 to 19

Trudeau confers with cabinet ministers as rail blockades continue

The Trudeau government has been criticized for not doing more to end the blockades

Canadian nurses’ unions warn national standards for coronavirus protection too low

President says safety protocols nationwide are inadequate compared to those in Ontario and other countries

What’s in a name? The story of Revelstoke’s Mt. Begbie

It’s likely the iconic peak had several Indigenous peoples’ names before settlers arrived

Murder of sex worker exposes Canada’s hypocrisy on prostitution: advocate

A 2014 law made purchasing sex or benefiting from the selling of sex illegal

Wet’suwet’en return to northern B.C. forest road pipeline workers move through: First Nation

Opponents of a pipeline who support the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs have reoccupied camps at centre of arrests

Most Read