From their family cabin on Mara Lake across from the Waterway Houseboats property, Cease and Tim Atkinson usually enjoy the sight of houseboats heading out through the channel.
Following the houseboat company’s closure on June 11, a flotilla of boats they saw leaving the docks on June 25 left more melancholy feelings.
The Atkinsons watched the boats, about 10 in number, make the short cruise from the Waterway docks at Two Mile through the Sicamous Channel to Twin Anchors’ houseboats facility in Old Town Bay. The rest of the boats have remained at their docks when any other year at this time, many of them would be out on Shuswap and Mara lakes with excited vacationers aboard.
As keen observers of comings and goings in the Sicamous channel and active members of the community, the Atkinsons say the impact on Sicamous will be huge.
“When we saw the boats leaving we truthfully knew what it meant, and if they don’t recover from this bankruptcy it’s probably the end of this era,” said Tim.
The Atkinsons know it will be felt at future graduation ceremonies at Eagle River Secondary. The Atkinsons sponsor the Joah Atkinson/Brian Collins Forever Young Athletic Award in memory of their daughter and, at past graduation ceremonies, they have noticed lots of awards sponsored by Waterway.
“Waterway have supported the community in many ways and those scholarships they give every year, it’s going to be really missed, so hopefully other people and other businesses will pick up,” Tim said.
The Atkinsons’ cabin has been in Cease’s side of the family since the early 1960s, and she said she has fond childhood memories of watching the boats from Waterway and the other houseboat companies go by.
“It was very sad. It’s the end of the era. You know, we never complained about the houseboats – they were great for the community and great for the economy of Sicamous,” Cease said of the company entering receivership.
Although they have heard complaints about the boat traffic on Mara Lake created by the Waterway facility, the Atkinsons say they will miss the busy lakefront.
“We’ve woken up mornings and had houseboats literally sitting off the end of our dock, but you know what it’s just a part of the experience of being on the Shuswap,” Tim said.
“We’ve woken up mornings and had houseboats literally sitting off the end of our dock, but you know what it’s just a part of the experience of being on the Shuswap.” -Tim