Theft problem climbing at Skaha Bluffs

A rash of break-ins at the parking lot of the Skaha Bluffs may have a bigger economic impact than stolen property.

Theft problem climbing at Skaha Bluffs

With some of the best sport climbing in the country right in Penticton’s backyard, a rash of break-ins at the parking lot of the Skaha Bluffs may have a bigger economic impact than stolen property.

Rolf Rybak, vice president and regional director of the Climber’s Access Society of B.C., is hoping to find a solution to what has become a growing problem, and he is meeting with Mayor Andrew Jakubeit, the RCMP and MLA for Penticton Dan Ashton to come up with a solution.

“Traditionally we’d get transients coming in the spring and leaving in the fall and we’d get a rash of break-ins. Now we’re getting break-ins middle of the summer, early morning hours, late evenings and it seems to be not only are they just stealing stuff from cars, but they are stealing the batteries which causes considerable damage,” Rybak said.

Lock Out Auto Crime community volunteers were out at the Bluffs last week placing notices to keep valuables out of vehicles and providing information to hikers and climbers relating to the break-ins. Police have said they are also increasing patrols.

However, Rybak said there was another break-in over the weekend. He’s looking for a more long-term solution.

“The Climber’s Access Society is looking at seeing whether we can partner with parks, the city and maybe someone else and we could purchase a video camera and maybe have parks manage the video camera. That’s the solution we’d ultimately like to have,” Rybak said.

While increased police presence is a deterrent, the fact that most people are at the Bluffs to hike or climb leaves vehicles vulnerable.

“The big problem is you have tourists from the States or Alberta and they have all their stuff, they can’t carry it with them,” said Cpl. Don Wrigglesworth with the Penticton RCMP.

The security camera would come at a bit of a cost, there’s no power or WiFi in the parking lot, but Rybak is hoping that some partnerships and fundraising efforts will be able to come up with the funds. Though that leaves the question of who will maintain or operate the camera.

“I think that’s going to be the only solution and then signage that says ‘you are being filmed.’ We have to deter theft somehow,” Rybak said.

The thefts have far-reaching impacts according to Rybak, who has received multiple emails from out-of-town climbers who have changed their travel plans because of the break-ins.

Getting a reputation as a hotspot of thefts could have a detrimental effect with tourists on a location which brings in an estimated $4-million of direct and indirect economic input for the city — according to an economic impact study done with the Climber’s Access Society in conjunction with the local climbing community.

“Climbers usually come at the critical shoulder seasons in the spring and the fall. That’s the best time to climb,” Rybak said. “This is the best sport climbing in Canada, we can’t afford to lose climbing business.”

Rybak said he is open to any long-term solutions that come up when he meets with government officials, or any drawbacks to the security camera option. He said he has received nothing but support from the community so far.

“I have to give credit to everyone involved. The RCMP, the mayor and everyone. They are all really concerned that Skaha doesn’t get a reputation as an area where there’s a large amount of crime. They’ve all been working effectively to see if we can find a solution here,” Rybak said.

 

 

Just Posted

Letter writer says COVID has created lots of newbie cyclists who don't know rules of cycling. (File photo)
LETTER: Newbie cyclists in Penticton need lessons on rules of the road

Penticton cycling group just received city funding, should give back by offering how-to lessons

No dental coverage for low income Canadians. (File photo)
OPINION: Penticton MP’s proposal for universal dental coverage rejected

One in 3 Canadians have no dental coverage, with COVID making it even worse

The weekly COVID-19 map for June 6 to 12. (BC CDC)
South Okanagan sees only 5 new cases in last week

The Similkameen Valley went a second week without any new cases

Sandra Krauer, Penticton Mayor John Vassilaki and Barb Hoolaeff were in Skaha Park to announce the return of Ribfest for September, 2021. (Brennan Phillips - Western News)
Ribfest returns to Penticton

Festival runs from Sept. 17 - 19 at Skaha Lake Park with proceeds going to new splash park

Fiery crash on the Okanagan Connector between two semis. (Facebook)
One dead after fiery Okanagan Connector crash between two semis

DriveBC estimates road won’t be open until 5 p.m.

Bear wanders Kelowna on June 15. (Michelle Wallace/Facebook)
Bear climbs fence, uses crosswalk in Kelowna

The bear was spotted on Baron Road Wednesday evening

(Facebook/Kelowna Cabs)
Kelowna Cabs reaches tentative agreement with dispatchers union

The tentative agreement could help end the dispute between the taxi company and the dispatchers

FILE – A science class at L.A. Matheson Secondary in Surrey, B.C. on March 12, 2021. (Lauren Collins/Surrey Now Leader)
Teachers’ union wants more COVID transmission data as B.C. prepares for back-to-school

BCTF says that details will be important as province works on plan for September

A boat sharing service is extending to Summerland. The company, Penticton Boat Club and Rentals, is also taking over the boat rentals at Summerland Waterfront Resort. (Photo by Chris Stenberg)
Boat sharing service extended from Penticton to Summerland

Company will also operate boat rentals at Summerland Waterfront Resort

201 First Street West 1980s. Prior revitalization. (Photo from Revelstoke Museum and Archives)
Man who redesigned downtown Revelstoke honoured with lifetime achievement award

Robert Inwood has worked on historical projects across the province

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry outlines B.C.’s COVID-19 restart plan, May 25, 2021, including larger gatherings and a possible easing of mandatory masks on July 1. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. records 120 new COVID-19 cases, second vaccines accelerating

Lower Pfizer deliveries for early July, Moderna shipments up

A heart of ribbons is seen on the fence of Highroad Academy along Chilliwack Central Road on Friday, June 4, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Orange Heart Memorial campaign launches in Vernon on National Indigenous Peoples Day

North Okanagan Friendship Center raising funds for bench, mural memorializing 215 discovered in Kamloops

A Heffley Creek peacock caught not one - but two - lifts on a logging truck this month. (Photo submitted)
Heffley Creek-area peacock hops logging trucks in search of love

Peacock hitched two lifts in the past month

Most Read