Jumping of the KVR trestle bridge will resume after RDOS voted to allow it to continue on July 4. (Photo courtesy of Bike Penticton)

Jump from this South Okanagan bridge at your own risk

RDOS board votes to continue to allow jumping off KVR Bridge in Ok Falls

Jump at your own risk.

That is the decision the Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen came to last Thursday when it was deciding if it should let the popular recreational activity of jumping off the KVR Bridge in Okanagan Falls continue.

At the July 4 meeting, the board supported Okanagan Falls regional director Ron Obirek and reversed the decision made by district staff prohibiting jumping and diving at the bridge. District staff had also suggested to remove the chain link fence gate, the aluminum ladders and redesign the railing so the top cap is peaked and not sloped to further discourage the community from using it to jump.

On Thursday, Obirek opposed the suggestions because he said there is no real history of people seriously injuring themselves while jumping off the bridge. He said the staff changes proposed at the meeting were going to make the bridge more dangerous—not safer.

READ MORE: Landfill charges changing in South Okanagan-Similkameen

“If we had a behaviour of over 50 years of jumping and no injuries, what’s the real risk? Well, the real risk is very small. Do we have insurance? Yes, we do. Is someone going to get hurt? I don’t know. Do we want them to play safe? Yes, we do. So how do we encourage them to play safe? We put up some cautionary signage and we try to make it as safe as we can,” said Obirek.

“But to get mean and say, ‘We’re going to take away the gate and make the railing more treacherous and remove the ladders,’ all as a way to discourage the jumping, when we know it’s not going to discourage the jumping. What we’re really doing is making it much less safe.”

Bridge jumping at the popular location turned controversial in recent months after RDOS staff put up signs prohibiting people from using the bridge. This came after Risk Management Services concluded that RDOS could be liable if an accident occurred.

Jumping off the KVR trestle into Skaha Lake in Okanagan Falls has been a popular summer activity for residents and visitors for decades. It became so popular that at one point the community installed a gate and ladder to allow access to the lake.

In May, after receiving numerous complaints from the public about the lack of access to the bridge, the Okanagan Falls Parks and Recreation Commission suggested that people be allowed to continue to jump off at their own risk and that the ladders are upgraded and a proper self-closing gate be installed. This was the arrangement the RDOS board chose to adopt last week.

READ MORE: RDOS board investigates using Penticton admin building

“It’s certainly safer than what was proposed (by the staff),” said Obirek. “The community felt disrespected and not consulted and their experience and knowledge not respected. It’s almost insulting to say to community members who have grandchildren who are jumping in the water—these aren’t people who are putting children’s lives in danger. It sounds like somebody far away in a different city knows better than the local community knows about their own participation in a recreation activity,” Obirek said.

To report a typo, email: editor@pentictonwesternnews.com.


Robin Grant
Reporter, Penticton Western News
Email me or follow me on Twitter
Follow us on Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Just Posted

Temporary wet housing facility opening in downtown Kelowna

Temporary shelter will be operated by volunteer group Welcome Inn in partnership with BC Housing

Water services return to Big White Ski Resort

Hundreds of people were without water for more than 24 hours after a main ruptured on Monday

Impairment a possible factor in Kelowna Tim Hortons crash: RCMP

One person inside the restaurant suffered minor injuries

Montreal Canadiens stars lend helping hand to Kelowna charity

John Perlinger hopes his signed portrait of Shea Weber and Carey Price will boost new website

Hospice House launches new website to support families seeking end of life care

The new website is already proving to be very helpful for families

B.C. woman charged in connection to stolen vehicle smash-up in Kamloops

Kersten Ina Peters was arrested in the Fraser Valley on Friday, Dec. 6

Tavares scores twice as Maple Leafs earn 4-1 win over Canucks

Vancouver sees two-game win streak snapped

UPDATED: No survivors in Gabriola Island plane crash: RCMP

The Island is located about five kilometres east of Vancouver Island

VIDEO: Harbour Air makes history with first electric aircraft test flight

Successful flight marks first of its kind in the world

The Grinch who Stole a Hedge: Security camera captures Chilliwack tree theft

RCMP arrives as person calmly walks away with tree in downtown area

Salmonella outbreak in Canada linked to rodents and snakes

92 cases of salmonella across six provinces, including B.C.

Meng Wanzhou wins right to more documents involving arrest at Vancouver airport

Defence lawyers allege the Huawei executive was unlawfully detained, searched and interrogated

RCMP traffic services moves to Falkland to slow speeders

Falkland detachment to serve as new HQ for RCMP’s North Okanagan Traffic Services

Most Read