Whiplash Cable Wake Park got a wave of bad news this past Friday when it was ordered to shut down its operation.
But it could be back up and running as early as next week.
Conrad Wiker, owner of Whiplash, said that a representative of the provincial government gave him a cease and desist order at 4 p.m. Friday.
According to Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Steve Thomson, Whiplash didn’t have a valid licensing or tenuring arrangement. He said that the province had to shut the business down until the appropriate tenuring was put in place.
“For liability and insurance reasons, that step needed to be taken. What’s unfortunate is that it had to be taken in the timing that it did.”
Thomson said that he has directed his regional staff to expedite the licensing process because Whiplash is currently missing out on a peak time for business.
“We’re working at a top priority to get them the appropriate tenure approval for their operation and to have them back in business as quickly as possible.”
The minister wouldn’t give an exact estimation of how long the process might take; however, Wiker said that his conversations with the province lead him to believe that the park could be back up and running as early as next week.
If the process is delayed much longer than that, Wiker isn’t certain that his dream of a cable wake park on Okanagan Lake will survive.
“We’ll have to make the decision within the next week-and-a-half as to whether or not (to continue),” said Wiker.
“Unfortunately, the shutdown may cause us to be in a financial position where we may not be able to open.”
Wiker said the cease and desist order came as a shock to him.
“We believed that we were operating 100 per cent legal. We never chose to do anything illegal or wanted to do anything illegal,” said Wiker.
But Thomson said discussions had taken place prior to the business being shut down last week.
“I think that they were aware of the requirements. I think there was some awareness that they potentially didn’t have the appropriate authorization for the business they wanted to operate,” said Thomson.
“That being said, that’s history and not what I’m focusing on at this point. What I’m focusing on is having my staff in the region do everything they can as quickly as they can to get them into the appropriate tenure.”
Whiplash first opened to the public June 30. The park includes a beginner and expert cable that can accommodate those riding on a wakeboard, kneeboard, wakeskate or pair of water skis.
Wiker said he was happy with the number of customers through two weeks of operation.
“We’ve put well over 100 people through. We’ve had numerous repeat customers. Our youngest was four; our oldest was 63.”
This past June, Wiker said that he has plans to open a 725-metre cable next year, which would be the longest in North America. This week he said that the current shutdown may hinder that type of expansion.