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

Just Posted

Familiar advocate now executive director at Vernon’s Upper Room Mission

Nicole Makohoniuk has been named to the position, bringing with her a wealth of experience

Vernon’s Fulton Maroons prep for playoffs with romp over Mustangs

High School Rugby: Fulton beats Penticton rivals 48-7; rematch today (Tuesday), 4 p.m., Grahame Park

Vernon gears up for Bike to Work and School week

Bike to Work and School Week runs from Monday, May 27 – Sunday, June 2

Vernon tattoo fundraiser draws record support

Lineup around the block for start and beginning of Five Fathoms Tattoo event for Children’s Hospital

Electric cars gaining popularity in Vernon

Dealership sells five in one day, EV car show coming to town

Marriage proposal on the big screen at Enderby drive-in

Kelowna man gets engaged in front of hundreds to Vernon sweetheart

Federal government funds millions to help B.C. police spot drugged driving

Many police departments have expressed wariness about using the only government-approved roadside test

Judge: Mississippi 6-week abortion ban ‘smacks of defiance’

The new law would prohibit most abortions once a fetal heartbeat can be detected

On-duty Vancouver cop facing dangerous driving charges after cyclist hit

The woman was taken to hospital with minor injuries

Government dedicates $5 million to address workplace sexual harassment

Four organizations in B.C. will split the stipend

Oil companies, 24-cent gap between B.C., Alberta to be focus of gas price probe

Premier John Horgan called the spike in gas prices ‘alarming’

Okanagan College Enactus chapter brings home national gold

Students are leading the way to social betterment

Driver, animals escape injury after collision on Highway 1 near Sicamous

RCMP say road conditions were not a factor in afternoon crash

Motorcycle deaths spike 50% since 2017

Riders were most likely fatally crash on the weekends compared with the rest of the week

Most Read