Though Penticton city council didn’t turn it down outright, don’t expect to see the Casabella Princess docking next to the SS Sicamous next season.
Councillors stopped short of denying the Casabella Princess a docking area along the rock groin in front of the Penticton icon, but only because they were unsure of the future implications of the recommended motion from the Waterfront Select Committee, which requested council deny support for any moorage at the Sicamous after studying a request to allow the Princess to moor at the western end of the beach.
That was an immediate stumbling block for Coun. John Vassilaki, a long standing and vocal proponent of the city building a day moorage dock in the area.
He questioned whether the motion was specific to the Princess, or would preclude any kind of moorage in the future.
Neither Mayor Garry Litke nor Coun. Helena Konanz, who are both on the committee, had a decisive answer to Vassilaki’s question. Litke did say that yacht club representatives who had looked at the possibility suggested the east side of the lake was more suitable to a day moorage area.
Some of the reasons included concerns over wave and wind action in front of the Sicamous and safety for nearby swimmers.
“The intended moorage site was on the east side of the rock groin and the work that had been done by the yacht club and the SS Sicamous people indicated it was infeasible to do that,” said Mitch Moroziuk, director of operations.
Council decided to send the recommendation back to the waterfront committee for clarification, but not before the conversation branched out to include day moorage in general.
The concept of developing a new day moorage area is not new to council, and Coun. Andrew Jakubeit wondered why they had been discussing it for so long with no concrete results.
“We have talked about it, it’s been asked, there is a demand, yet we can’t find the solution,” said Jakubeit. “You would think there is a business case around it, yet we haven’t figured out that magical plan or location that makes sense.”
Proposed locations have included the Kiwanis walking pier and Marina Way Park as well as near the Sicamous.
Jakubeit said it was time to take a serious look at the issue.
Moroziuk put the brakes on having staff prepare a report on day moorage, suggesting it would be better left for the 2014 budget process, explaining there were already plans to bring forward a budget item to develop a master plan for the area around the Sicamous, including day moorage.
“To recommend this go to staff without a proper budget is not really feasible. If you want to start looking at building docks, we have to do some work related to water depths, currents, we can’t do that without a budget,” said Moroziuk. “I think it might be best if you would like us to do this work to just refer it to budget and we would then bring forward a proper budget to look at. It’s not something we can just do right now.”
Council voted unanimously to send the recommendation back to committee and defer discussions about a day moorage area to the upcoming budget process.