B.C.-Alberta feud a concern for Shuswap boat rental operations

Pipeline politics said to be more discouraging to Alberta tourists than cost of fuel

While prices at the pumps have hit record highs in some parts of B.C. – before the summer tourist season has even begun – Shuswap boat rental operators say the impact on the price of boat gas has been more moderate than expected.

Mike Helfrick, owner of Sicamous’ Red’s Rentals, which opened for the season on May 15, said he was able to start the summer offering boat gas for five cents less than what it cost at the same time last year.

Helfrick noted the carbon tax, which increased on April 1, did not raise the cost of his initial fuel delivery as much as he expected, adding the price of fuel generally rises for the peak tourist season from June to August.

Read More: Interior Health study offers take-home drug testing kits to spot fentanyl

Read More: Kelowna RCMP under fire after video shows officer interrogating Indigenous girl who reported sex assault

Much of Red’s fleet of rental boats and jet-skis has not been pre-booked for the May long weekend, but he attributed that to rain in the forecast rather than people balking at the cost of fuel.

Kim Karampelas, the owner of Sea-Dog Rentals, which operates off of Salmon Arm’s Marine Park wharf, shared Helfrick’s optimism but noted the risks of customers opting for shorter rentals or not coming at all.

The season is just starting for Sea Dog as well. Karampelas said May 14’s only customers, a group of Australians, didn’t seem phased by the price of fuel.

Karampelas said boaters recognize the price to purchase gas on the water will be above what it costs at the pumps on land, but wondered if Albertans, who make up a sizable part of their boat rental clientele, will make a trip when there is such a disparity of fuel costs between the two provinces.

Read More: Video: Security footage shows thieves stealing from auto recycler

Read More: Conference to address pressures on the planet

Colleen Anderson, operations manager of Sicamous-based Waterway Houseboats, said bookings from Albertans are down, but it is the smouldering feud between the two provinces over the Trans-Mountain Pipeline – more than the price of fuel –that is keeping them away.

“We’re open for business and we want to see everyone here and enjoying the summer,” Anderson said

“People should be allowed to come here and enjoy it and spend their tourism dollars here and not feel that they’re being gouged or disrespected over the pipeline.”

Although bad blood over opposition to the pipeline is keeping some Albertans away, Anderson said an explanation of the fuel price disparity would be helpful. She noted that a resolution which originated in the Sicamous Council chambers where she holds an elected seat has gone forward to the Southern Interior Local Government Association (SILGA) requesting an explanation for the high prices.

Karampelas expressed optimism that the allure of Shuswap Lake would overcome the cost of fuel and keep boats on the water even if prices don’t fall.

“Loyal people that always come here, they come regardless, this is where they want to be for the Summer.”


@SalmonArm
jim.elliot@saobserver.net

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

Top cop calls video of Kelowna Mountie striking suspect ‘concerning’

A video allegedly shows a Kelowna Mountie striking a man several times

$173K to support Okanagan seniors amid pandemic

United Way announces more funding for frontline programs

Okanagan home sales increase over last month, still below 2019 numbers: OMREB

Sales, listings see increase over May’s numbers but dwindle in comparison to 2019

PPE donation reaches Central Okanagan Elizabeth Fry Society

Ending Violence Association of BC received a $20,000 donation for personal protective equipment

Small business grants available through Okanagan initiative

Susie and Bryan Gay launched ‘This Bag Helps’ to help fellow small business owners during the pandemic

B.C. records four new COVID-19 cases, Abbotsford hospital outbreak cleared

Four senior home outbreaks also declared over, eight still active

Princeton RCMP sergeant kills cougar threatening residential neighborhood

An RCMP officer shot and killed a cougar, close to a residential… Continue reading

Pilot project approved: Penticton to allow alcohol in outdoor spaces

For almost two hours, council debated the proposed pilot project, before eventually passing it 4-2

Drugs, machete found in truck with stolen plate driven by Salmon Arm man

Chase RCMP arrest driver and have vehicle towed

RCMP, coroner investigate murder-suicide on Salt Spring Island

Two dead, police say there is no risk to the public

About 30% of B.C. students return to schools as in-class teaching restarts amid pandemic

Education minister noted that in-class instruction remains optional

Trudeau avoids questions about anti-racism protesters dispersed for Trump photo-op

Prime minister says racism is an issue Canadians must tackle at home, too

B.C.’s Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics goes virtual

The annual event partnering RCMP with Special Olympians is dramatically altered by COVID-19

HERGOTT: Can you get money back if COVID-19 disrupts plans?

Paul Hergott is a personal injury lawyer based in West Kelowna

Most Read