From the turquoise waters of Kalamalka Lake to the new Okanagan Rail Trail, tourists are increasingly flocking to Coldstream. As a result, the district is looking at how to best address the influx of visitors through its new tourism committee.
“We’re seeing how it affects our community and how we will deal with it,” said Mayor Jim Garlick, who would eventually like to start working on a longer-term plan.
The first meeting, scheduled for Jan. 10, will see the committee look at topics such as the rail trail, increased mobile vendors, bed and breakfasts and short term rentals.
As an example, short term rentals (or air B&Bs) can be seen as a benefit to some communities or a negative.
“I’ve already received a couple calls regarding the air B&Bs and the disruption it has to the community,” said Coun. Glen Taylor.
But in Coldstream’s case, where there are no hotels, such accommodations are all that is available.
“Coldstream is quite unique in terms of the amenities we have yet we don’t have the commercial,” said Mike Reiley, Coldstream’s director of development services.
Therefore this is one topic the tourism committee is being asked to look at.
“How do we try and avoid these problems and even if we can?” said Garlick.
This is just one of the impacts the committee will look at, which is among several that are a result of the Okanagan Rail Trail that is starting to take shape.
Coldstream has already received two rezoning applications to create residential B&Bs nearby the trail. Parking concerns have also been received as more people are coming to Coldstream to use the trail. The district recently purchased two acres of land next to Dutch’s Campground which could be looked at for parking.
Coldstream is also looking for some feedback from the committee on how it is doing overall when it comes to tourism.
“Whether we’re doing a good job or not?” said Coun. Richard Enns. “We have all these knowledgeable people on our committee to give us a report card.”
Providing attraction information to tourist publications could be another committee task.
“I was at the Kelowna airport kiosk when I pulled up the Greater Vernon guide and there was very little mention of Coldstream at all,” said Enns. “Yet the tourism guide that the province put out, there are a lot of good things about Coldstream in there.”