Floating levy bound to create controversy for Okanagan channel-users

Environmental levy, even if they aren’t using Coyote’s tube rental and ride services, is bound to create a lot of controversy.

Two dollars isn’t a lot of money these days.

It might buy you an ice cream, or half a beer, or two songs from iTunes.

And now, it’s also the basic charge for floating down the Okanagan River channel in the form of an environmental levy by tour operator Coyote Cruises.

And with everyone asked to pay the levy, even if they aren’t using Coyote’s tube rental and ride services, it’s bound to create a lot of controversy.

After all, floating down the channel has always been one of Penticton’s great free activities.

But the flip side is that an estimated 100,000 people over the course of a summer leave a lot of trash, not the least of which is a number of cheap or broken floatation devices abandoned at the Skaha Lake end of the run.

We think Coyote Cruises is taking a step in the right direction with the new environmental levy.

Two bucks might not buy you much personally, but when it is collected from everyone on the channel, it should generate a substantial war chest for cleaning up after them.

There are lots of reasons why this shouldn’t be free.

Whether it’s the city collecting the levy or a private operator like Coyote, the money for cleaning up the channel and the facilities has to come from someplace.

What remains to be seen is whether people are going to be reasonable about paying the levy or try to slip into the channel at less optimum locations other than the Coyote Cruises building.

We hope people will see that this levy benefits everyone and reach a little farther into their swimsuits and give up that spare twoonie to help keep the channel one of Penticton’s premier tourist destinations.