Smoke isn’t all bad for Kelowna businesses

Gneiss Climbing has seen an increase in membership use and visitors this summer

While some Kelowna companies may be facing a profit loss due to smoky skies, a climbing gym is performing better than ever in its down season.

“We saw a 30 per cent uptick in daily traffic as compared to August last year,” said Christiaan de Vries, owner of Gneiss Climbing.

RELATED: A weather reprieve, but not out of the smoke yet

He added the climbing gym saw a 20 per cent increase in sales, as last year members may have been climbing one to two days a week, compared to three or four days this August.

“Our seasonally is pretty significant as a lot of our clients are hardcore climbers, so they sort of climb indoors all winter and try to climb outdoors all summer so the smoke definitely took some of those real climbers where you wouldn’t generally see some of their faces that much in the gym in the summer, we actually saw them quite a bit,” de Vries said. “There was a very noticeable uptick as soon as the smoke came.”

The climbing gym has been operating on Banks Road for the last three years.

De Vries also noticed an increase in clients during last year’s smoky season as well.

“Overall last summer we saw an uptick in families for sure, even tourism families that would be typically hitting the beach.”

The Okanagan has seen smoky skies on and off for the past month and a half, with warnings from Interior Health asking residents and visitors to stay indoors.

On Aug. 18, Kelowna’s air quality levels were worse than Jodhpur, India, a city considered to have some of the worst air quality in the world, according to the World Health Organization.

READ MORE: Okanagan air quality levels worse than Jodhpur, India

Sunshine and temperatures in the lower 20s are expected for the rest of the week with a chance of showers Monday evening and more on Wednesday and Thursday.


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