City, Kamloops residents concerned about Float the River event - InfoNews

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City, Kamloops residents concerned about Float the River event

Image Credit: Anthony Stahn
July 28, 2020 - 7:00 PM

A recently-deleted Facebook event hosted by an unknown individual had nearly 1,000 folks interested in floating down the South Thompson River, but city officials and locals are still concerned.

Byron McCorkell, Kamloops' community and protective services director, has one message for those interested: “Don’t do it.”

“We don’t know a lot about it, it's on a Facebook channel which we aren’t necessarily privy to so we're trying to figure out what it is and if it's anything to be concerned about. From the point of view of the city, people can use the river, but we wouldn’t suggest it,” McCorkell says. “The bottom line is, the river is not a safe place to be... this isn’t Penticton’s channel, this is a very serious piece of water that is not very safe once you get underneath the surface.”

McCorkell says bylaw officers may stop by the area to ticket or tow vehicles that are parked where they shouldn’t be, but there’s not much else they can do on the federal waterway.

“Because it’s not a ticketed event, there are no permits and no one has reached out to us at all. All we can do is get the message out that we'll be out and about and we’re advising the RCMP and looking for them to have their boat out, and our fire boat will probably be out,” McCorkell says.

McCorkell worries that COVID-19 safety protocols might not be met, as nearly 1,000 people had shown their ‘interest’ in the event. Shortly before the publication of this article, the page has been taken down. It is not clear if people will still attend the event scheduled for Aug. 8.

His concerns are mirrored by Valleyview resident April Wilds, who began a discussion about the event on a community Facebook page. The event encourages folks to partake by beginning at the Valleyview boat launch near her home, and she and several others would like to see the event cancelled.

“Our street already turns into a bit of a shit-show in the summer without inviting everyone to show up at the same time on the same day,” Wilds says. “Floaters bring a scourge of garbage and traffic and drunk drivers to the street, and this event won’t help any of that.”

Although she doesn’t want the mess and chaos on her street, she’s also concerned about COVID-19 precaution and the safety of the river.

“It’s definitely not the same as the Penticton channel. When the river is high it’s very dangerous… there are often police boats out,” Wilds says. “We floated it once and even with life jackets on we had to get someone with a boat to pull us out of an eddy down by where the school on the reserve is.”

To contact a reporter for this story, email Jenna Wheeler or call (250) 819-6089 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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