To meet summer’s moorage demands, the Kelowna Yacht Club unveiled an expansion that added 296 slips to the waterfront.
“This is a very significant contribution to the whole Okanagan,” said yacht club commodore, Ross Laing at the official opening on Friday.
“We not only provided these 300 slips with absolutely no taxpayer support, but by doing so, we have also freed a large number of slips around the Okanagan as our members move their boats to their new slips from other marinas around the Okanagan.”
The expansion makes the local club the largest freshwater marina in the Pacific Northwest, if not Canada, and makes some inroads at meeting pent-up demand for moorage.
The Regional District of the Central Okanagan undertook a major study for the development of future recreational marine facilities and found that 40 per cent of Central Okanagan households own a boat and a further 10 per cent plan to purchase a boat in the near future.
However, the study reported, there was dissatisfaction on the part of the majority of boaters with the current marine recreational facilities.”
Around 80 per cent agreed that there were not enough facilities to meet the future demand.
They also found that more than three-quarters agree local governments should invest more in these facilities, with special emphasis on boat launches.
It’s not information that’s escaped the city, and in the fallout of a fuel spill at Kerry Park last year, an opportunity has arisen that could improve the infrastructure on the waterfront.
The City of Kelowna didn’t renew the contract with the business owners Marina Concession at Queensway Avenue, commonly known as the Kelowna Marina.
The snack shack, dock, pilings and associated fuel distribution lines will be removed in preparation for a bit of new life.
In discussions about how to proceed with a new boating facility, city council expressed a desire for improved amenities along the downtown waterfront, that include improved quality of on-water structures, public day moorage, boat fuel sales in a more environmentally sensitive and technologically advanced manner that reduces potential harm to the environment and boat rentals.
Now staff will be issuing a Request for Proposals this summer that will detail the requirements for a new on-water marina.
If a suitable proposal is made and accepted, the city will purchase and install an underground fuel storage tank with all appropriate leak detection systems.
Meantime, on-water fuel sales are available at Shelter Bay Marina on the southwest side of the bridge or at the Eldorado Marina on Lakeshore Road.