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Owners pin for sale sign on Vernon bowling centre

Lincoln Lanes opened in 1968; one bowler wants to see facility remain bowling alley
Vernon’s Block family has been a fixture at Lincoln Lanes bowling centre since the 1970s. The popular facility on 25th Avenue is for sale, and one participant wants to see the facility remain a bowling alley. (Diane Block photo)

The fun, laughs, camaraderie, competition it has seen.

The league, zone, provincial and Canadian championship play and tournaments it has hosted.

People have celebrated birthdays, anniversaries, Christmas parties inside it.

And it’s now for sale.

Linoln Lanes is listed for $1.9 million on the 1.18 acre “prime development property.”

The 14-lane, five-pin bowling centre has been a family-owned business for more than 50 years.

The listing even says: “It would be a shame for Vernon to loose this iconic and long standing community use property but the land and redevelopment values now make this property/building and 10,400 (square foot) building not much more than land value.”

Lincoln Lanes has provided so many memories that at least one participant wants to see it remain a bowling alley rather than be sold to potential developers.

Cheryl Altwasser hopes people will consider writing a letter of support to the mayor and council of Vernon, expressing concerns about the potential loss of the longtime recreational facility.

“It would be quite devastating for this building to be sold to developers, who would not take into consideration the void it would leave for many people, young and old, in the Vernon, Lumby, and Armstrong areas,” said Altwasser. “And, of course the economic input it brings to Vernon, when tournaments come to town.”

Altwasser said, at present, there are between 350 and 400 seniors bowling in the daytime leagues throughout the week, and about the same numbers for the evening leagues.

Youth Bowling for kids seven to 19 is held once a week and the beloved facility often hosts weekend tournaments. The Kindale Developmental Association has groups that attend weekly, and Vernon’s Special Olympics bowling team practices at Lincoln Lanes.

“The social and recreational entertainment this facility provides is amazing,” said Altwasser.

Since opening in 1968, Lincoln Lanes has hosted the B.C. Summer and Winter Olympic Games, Special Olympic Games, and Seniors Olympic Games. Altwasser says out-of-town bowlers attending tournaments create income into Vernon’s economy by staying at local hotels, eating at a variety of restaurants and shopping at local stores.

“The city is promoting an ‘Active Living Recreation Facility’ for the community of Vernon. Lincoln Lanes fits the profile they are promoting as it enhances ‘quantity and quality’ creating physical, mental, and social entertainment for all ages,” said Altwasser.

Lincoln Lanes was originally purchased by Al and Evelyn Wiffen, and Mike and Marg Yarchuk in 1969. A year the later, the Wiffens bought out the Yarchuks and have operated the centre for the past 53 years.

The Wiffens’ children, Gord and Sandi, grew up in the bowling alley with their respective spouses –Lisa Lauzon and Ivan Soroka. They purchased the business in 1989. Their families have grown up in the alley and the kids and grandkids have decidated their lives to providing a social outing for many North Okanagan residents. But now they are retiring from the business.

READ MORE: Vernon’s proposed Active Living Centre discussed with public at open house

READ MORE: Vernon curling classic draws Olympic, provincial champs

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Roger Knox

About the Author: Roger Knox

I am a journalist with more than 30 years of experience in the industry. I started my career in radio and have spent the last 21 years working with Black Press Media.
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