Levy floated for Okanagan river channel-goers

$2 environmental levy being implemented by Coyote Cruises is aimed at improving the channel experience for everyone.

Spending a lazy summer afternoon floating down the Okanagan River Channel is a little more expensive this summer.

The $2 environmental levy being implemented by Coyote Cruises is aimed at improving the channel experience for everyone, cleaning up the channel, the walkway beside it, the landing zones and maybe even some shade tree plantings.

Coyote Cruises is a Penticton Indian Band-owned company that provides both tube rentals and lake to lake bus service for people floating down the channel. Anona Kampe, one of the directors of the company, estimates that about 100,000 people from all over the world take the popular trip each summer. A majority of the people who float the river channel bring their own floatation devices, beverages and food, with the packaging from those items often winding up in the river.

The idea of an environmental levy, Kampe said, is not a new idea.

“Even before us it had been discussed, but nobody knew how to just get the ball rolling,” said Kampe. They took it first to the PIB administration and then to the City of Penticton, earning the support of both councils. Permission for a fence — intended to help collect the levy even from those not using Coyote Cruise services —- at the cruise starting point was denied.

“We had thought perhaps erecting a fence would get the traffic to go right through past the cash registers, but the fence was denied by the City of Penticton. “I understand, erecting a fence in that area might not be cosmetically pleasing.”

Kampe said they are proceeding with the levy regardless.

“I would pay $2 myself to use the stairs, for the convenience,” said Kampe, noting that the channel is not easily accessible except at their starting point.

“If people are that upset about the $2 levy for the environment and they want to jump in down the way, then so be it,” said Kampe.

Coyote Cruises understands that this initiative might be unpopular since floating the river channel has always been free for the floater, provided they use their own floatation device and transportation. However, the levy has the potential to generate a substantial amount to care for the water and the land.

“We are the stewards of the environment,” said Kampe, explaining that the funds would be used to help refresh the landscaping at the pickup points as well as keep the river channel and walking path on the western side clean.

“The pickup point is pretty shabby looking, the one at the very end near Skaha, the asphalt is coming up in the parking lot. The weeds are out of control down there, the landscaping itself just looks run down,” said Kampe. “When you are first coming into Penticton from that side and people are driving by, it looks pretty run down. We want to update the landscaping and beautify the area, and also in the halfway point as well.”

They will be looking into bag dispensers to try to deal with the large amount of dog feces on the walking path as well as talking with a local diving club to help clean up the channel bottom. Kampe would also like to see some trees planted at locations along the west bank as the city has done on the east, which would provide shade areas for spawning salmon and kokanee.

“These are all the ideas we are throwing around,” said Kampe, who added they still need to lay out a strategic plan and consult with stakeholder groups, like the PIB, the City of Penticton or the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. “We’ve got all these great ideas and it is just a matter of getting them done now.”

Just Posted

Summerland cidery Millionaires' Row is hosting a Father's Day car and art show. (Facebook)
Vintage cars, art and cider for Father’s Day

Summerland’s Millionaires’ Row Cider Co. is hosting the car and art show

This undated file photo provided by Ernie Carswell & Partners shows the home featured in the opening and closing scenes of The Brady Bunch in Los Angeles. Do you know the occupation of Mike Brady, the father in this show about a blended family? (Anthony Barcelo/Ernie Carswell & Partners via AP, File)
QUIZ: A celebration of dad on Father’s Day

How much do you know about famous fathers?

James Miller, the managing editor at the Penticton Herald, has been voted in for Jake Kimberley’s vacated council seat. (Submitted)
James Miller elected as Penticton city councillor

Penticton also voted yes to allowing up to 25 years for a Skaha Marina contract

The Eyes of the Tigers on the 2021 Beer Run on June 19. (Brennan Phillips - Western News)
Penticton Beer Runners take trip around local beaches and brews

Over 160 people signed up to come back after the 2020 run was cancelled

There was high voter turnout for the first of three advance voting days for the Penticton city by-election.
Penticton city by-election general voting day is today, June 19

737 voters on June 9 in comparison to 2018 general election, which had 1,001 on first day

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed Eli Beauregard facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

The George Road wildfire near Lytton, B.C., has grown to 250 hectares. (BC Wildfire Service)
B.C. drone sighting halts helicopters fighting 250 hectares of wildfire

‘If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft the consequences could be deadly,’ says BC Wildfire Service

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

A aerial view shows the debris going into Quesnel Lake caused by a tailings pond breach near the town of Likely, B.C., Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Updated tailings code after Mount Polley an improvement: B.C. mines auditor

British Columbia’s chief auditor of mines has found changes to the province’s requirements for tailings storage facilities

Starting in 2022, the Columbia Shuswap Regional District is extending dog control to the entire Electoral Area D. (Stock photo)
Dog control bylaw passes in Shuswap area despite ‘threatening’ emails

CSRD board extending full dog control in Electoral Area D starting next year

A North Vancouver man was arrested Friday and three police officers were injured after a 10-person broke out at English Bay on June 19, 2021. (Youtube/Screen grab)
Man arrested, 3 police injured during 10-person brawl at Vancouver beach

The arrest was captured on video by bystanders, many of whom heckled the officers as they struggled with the handcuffed man

Most Read