A group that represents around 400 paddlers in Penticton says there’s a growing need for a new boathouse to be built by Skaha Lake.
Launa Maundrell, president of the Penticton Paddle Sports Association, appeared before city council Tuesday, Aug. 15, to advocate for the replacement of the organization’s existing facility in the same area.
The group hosts the annual Penticton Dragonboat Festival, which has become the second largest of its kind in B.C.
Its current boathouse is several decades old and located by the Skaha Lake Marina.
“The building is in dire need of replacement,” Maundrell said. “We’re on the water six days a week and it’s just no longer accommodating our growing needs.”
Coun. James Miller appeared to agree with the idea of replacing the facility, calling the group’s existing boathouse “an eyesore.”
But questions surrounding the cost of a new boathouse remained unanswered.
Maundrell said the association has approached local groups about helping with fundraising and that the owners of the newly-opened Dragonboat Pub have already expressed interest in supporting the plan.
“Ultimately, I think there’s a need (for this) in our community,” Maundrell said. “This building serves as an extension of the park because it gets people on the water that wouldn’t have the ability to get there otherwise.”
Late in city council’s meeting on Aug. 15, local politicians expressed support for the project but did not commit to immediate funding.
A new, expanded boathouse in the area has been included in the city’s Skaha Lake Park East Masterplan since 2019.
In it, the city says the new boathouse would be double the size of the existing one and feature a ramp on the beach that will be extended to the water to make it easier to load and unload boats.
This year’s Penticton Dragonboat Festival runs on Sept. 9 and 10, with athletes from across Western Canada expected to attend.
Maundrell says the economic impact of the event has been measured at $2.3 million.