Carli Berry/Capital News Whiplash Cable Parks owner Conrad Wiker shows the rising waters of Okanagan Lake which has shut down his business.

Small business owner takes huge hit

Okanagan Lake’s rising waters have delayed the season for West Kelowna’s Whiplash Cable Parks

A West Kelowna-area business owner is suffering a huge loss due to Okanagan Lake’s rising waters.

Whiplash Cable Parks sits on the water, just across the Bennett Bridge.

“It’s been awful, to say the least. The business is going to take a tremendous hit,” said owner Conrad Wiker.

Typically, the wakeboarding park opens May long weekend but it depends on mother nature. The business has been unable to start operations as Wiker has deemed it unsafe.

“The Okanagan Lake is the crown jewel, it’s what brings people to the Okanagan and for the first time ever it’s working against us,” he said.

Chris Shauf, director of marketing and communications with Tourism Kelowna said despite the rising waters, business has been operating as usual for the spring tourist season.

“We’re still seeing strong indications of visitation. Now we know it’s going to have an impact on specific water-based businesses and our visitor centre is working closely with visitor attractions to (ensure information provided to tourists is up to date.)”

The visitor centre receives up to 10 calls a day about the rising levels in Okanagan Lake, said Shauf.

At Whiplash Cable Parks, the business is prepared for preserving public safety, but can’t prepare for the financial impact of the flood, said Wiker.

“Unfortunately due to these situations, we’re not just looking at when the water goes down we can open up. We have to have the ability to assess the situation, make repairs, ensure public safety and ensure there are no environmental concerns,” he said.

“The reality of it is, this is going to hurt not just our business. We’ve received calls from people who are planning their vacation around coming to us who have cancelled their hotels and other activities because they’re nervous about the situation here.”

The docks are currently underwater but are built to withstand the impact of storms. Wiker is asking the public for assistance in locating a white wakeboard ramp, which he thinks has floated away and is somewhere on Okanagan Lake.

“When the water recedes we’ll see the damages and repair from there,” he said.

Wiker doesn’t believe he will be able to receive any financial assistance.

The provincial government is providing disaster financial assurance for homes affected by flooding and does provide assistance for small business owners, but certain requirements must be met.

The business also sits on Westbank First Nation land. According to WFN communications and economic development officer Kristy Jean, the WFN does not offer financial assistance to businesses, but does provide sandbags as part of the Emergency Operations Centre for businesses to “self help.”

She said there are options for financial assistance through the provincial government.

@carliberry_
carli.berry@kelownacapnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Smoky skies clearing throughout B.C. Interior

Environment Canada expects “widespread” improvement for all affected areas by Sunday

Stranger in truck grabs boy walking home from school in Kelowna

The 11-year-old boy escaped the incident, RCMP are investigating

Okanagan group calls for inclusive COVID-19 recovery plan

RAMA Okanagan wants full immigration status as part of COVID-19 recovery

Peachland residents march for better forest management

The Peachland march was one of many like it across B.C.

Interior Health reports three additional COVID-19 cases in region

The number of cases in the region since the beginning of the pandemic are now at 492

3 new deaths due to COVID-19 in B.C., 139 new cases

B.C. confirms 40 ‘historic cases,’ as well

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

The court’s second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington

‘This is a very difficult sentencing’; Judge delays Okanagan manslaughter trial to next week

The courts heard Friday that Bourque “did not intend to cause harm” but that her actions were “reckless”

Emaciated grizzly found dead on central B.C. coast as low salmon count sparks concern

Grizzly was found on Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw territory in Smith Inlet, 60K north of Port Hardy

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

VIDEO: B.C. to launch mouth-rinse COVID-19 test for kids

Test involves swishing and gargling saline in mouth and no deep-nasal swab

Young Canadians have curtailed vaping during pandemic, survey finds

The survey funded by Heart & Stroke also found the decrease in vaping frequency is most notable in British Columbia and Ontario

B.C. teachers file Labour Relations Board application over COVID-19 classroom concerns

The application comes as B.C.’s second week of the new school year comes to a close

CHARTS: Beyond Metro Vancouver, COVID-19 cases in B.C. haven’t increased much recently

COVID-19 case counts outside of Metro Vancouver have been level since July

Most Read