Penticton tourism visits dip slightly because of Alberta flooding

Penticton hotel only sees a couple Alberta cancellations while a few Alberta entrants pull out of Peach City Beach Cruise

Despite epic flooding last week in the province next door, a Penticton hotelier isn’t worried about the disaster’s effects spilling over here.

Penticton Lakeside Resort general manager David Prystay said the hotel last weekend saw just a handful of Albertan no-shows that were attributed to the flood situation.

“We did have a couple cancellations, but when all is said and done it hasn’t affected tourism much here,” Prystay said.

He noted that after B.C., Alberta is the second most common home province of his guests; however, there hasn’t been a wave of cancellations from people who now plan to stay home and clean up.

“We haven’t seen any of that whatsoever,” Prystay said.

Besides freeing up some hotel rooms, flooding also undercut registrations in last weekend’s Peach City Beach Cruise. Ron Muzzillo, president of the host Penticton Historic Automobile Society, said about 100 fewer cars were entered this year, although a competing show in Vancouver also siphoned off some entrants.

“There were a lot of cars that were registered to take part, but because of the flooding in Alberta they were simply not able to make it,” said Muzzillo. “It’s understandable when you consider what’s happened there and what people’s priorities are.”

But acting mayor Garry Litke said he’s not concerned those types of flood impacts will linger here.

“I don’t really think that it has an immediate impact on Penticton,” Litke said, “aside from the continuing realization that climate change is having a dramatic effect, and we need to be aware of that and how we’re going to adapt in Penticton.”

As of Tuesday afternoon, Alberta’s provincial government had 31 communities on its list of those affected by flooding, and 22 of them were still considered to be in a state of emergency. At the height of the disaster last week, upwards of 75,000 Calgarians were evacuated from their homes.

How to help Alberta:

n The Penticton Indian Band and other members of the Okanagan Nation Alliance are collecting items and gift cards to provide relief to First Nations communities there. PIB member Jennifer Houde is organizing the effort locally, and is also seeking people who can help transport items or assist with taking inventory. Contact Houde at dove22@yahoo.com or 250-488-2448.

n The Calgary Humane Society has all the volunteers and pet supplies it requires, but still needs monetary donations to help with recovery efforts. Visit www.calgaryhumane.ca for details.

n If you want to donate your time, www.yychelps.ca lists where volunteers are required and also take requests for assistance.

n Both the Salvation Army and the Canadian Red Cross have people and supplies on the ground. To donate cash, visit www.salvationarmy.ca or www.redcross.ca.