Jumping of the KVR trestle bridge will resume after RDOS voted to allow it to continue on July 4. (Photo courtesy of Bike Penticton)

Jump from this South Okanagan bridge at your own risk

RDOS board votes to continue to allow jumping off KVR Bridge in Ok Falls

Jump at your own risk.

That is the decision the Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen came to last Thursday when it was deciding if it should let the popular recreational activity of jumping off the KVR Bridge in Okanagan Falls continue.

At the July 4 meeting, the board supported Okanagan Falls regional director Ron Obirek and reversed the decision made by district staff prohibiting jumping and diving at the bridge. District staff had also suggested to remove the chain link fence gate, the aluminum ladders and redesign the railing so the top cap is peaked and not sloped to further discourage the community from using it to jump.

On Thursday, Obirek opposed the suggestions because he said there is no real history of people seriously injuring themselves while jumping off the bridge. He said the staff changes proposed at the meeting were going to make the bridge more dangerous—not safer.

READ MORE: Landfill charges changing in South Okanagan-Similkameen

“If we had a behaviour of over 50 years of jumping and no injuries, what’s the real risk? Well, the real risk is very small. Do we have insurance? Yes, we do. Is someone going to get hurt? I don’t know. Do we want them to play safe? Yes, we do. So how do we encourage them to play safe? We put up some cautionary signage and we try to make it as safe as we can,” said Obirek.

“But to get mean and say, ‘We’re going to take away the gate and make the railing more treacherous and remove the ladders,’ all as a way to discourage the jumping, when we know it’s not going to discourage the jumping. What we’re really doing is making it much less safe.”

Bridge jumping at the popular location turned controversial in recent months after RDOS staff put up signs prohibiting people from using the bridge. This came after Risk Management Services concluded that RDOS could be liable if an accident occurred.

Jumping off the KVR trestle into Skaha Lake in Okanagan Falls has been a popular summer activity for residents and visitors for decades. It became so popular that at one point the community installed a gate and ladder to allow access to the lake.

In May, after receiving numerous complaints from the public about the lack of access to the bridge, the Okanagan Falls Parks and Recreation Commission suggested that people be allowed to continue to jump off at their own risk and that the ladders are upgraded and a proper self-closing gate be installed. This was the arrangement the RDOS board chose to adopt last week.

READ MORE: RDOS board investigates using Penticton admin building

“It’s certainly safer than what was proposed (by the staff),” said Obirek. “The community felt disrespected and not consulted and their experience and knowledge not respected. It’s almost insulting to say to community members who have grandchildren who are jumping in the water—these aren’t people who are putting children’s lives in danger. It sounds like somebody far away in a different city knows better than the local community knows about their own participation in a recreation activity,” Obirek said.

To report a typo, email: editor@pentictonwesternnews.com.


Robin Grant
Reporter, Penticton Western News
Email me or follow me on Twitter
Follow us on Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

QUIZ: Do you know the truth?

In what has been described as a post-truth era, how much do you know about truth and lies?

EDITORIAL: Managing wildfires

Wildfires have the potential to cause significant damage within our province

Opening night lineup for online Roots & Blues festival released

The first night of the festival on Aug. 14 will be stacked with favourites from previous years

Revelstoke’s forestry museum launches podcasts and new website

One of their summer students is working remotely

Glimpses of Revelstoke’s past for Aug. 6

Chautauqua, CPR strike and destructive fire

53 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths cap off week of high infection rates in B.C.

Roughly 1,500 people are self-isolating because they either have COVID-19 or have been exposed to it

University of Victoria, rowing coach sued over alleged ‘fat shaming’ and verbal abuse

Lawsuit says Barney Williams subjected coxswain Lily Copeland to offensive and belittling language

Canada to match donations to Lebanon relief

Canada is directing all of its aid for this crisis directly to humanitarian organizations, not the Lebanese government

1 year since a B.C. teen died in a skate park, his family still waiting for charges

Carson Crimeni’s final moments were broadcast on social media

NHL playoffs: Canucks to meet St. Louis Blues in Round 1

Vancouver takes on defending champs beginning Wednesday

Local state of emergency declared near Okanagan home

Slope failure cited as City of Penticton issues notice at home in 600 block of Heather Road

Simon Cowell breaks his back falling from electric bike

Incident happened at his home in California

Therapeutic art for sale at Okanagan show

17th annual Awakening the Spirit Art Show and Sale presented by Vernon Canadian Mental Health Assoc.

VIDEO: Internet famous Yukon-based bhangra dancer explores Vancouver Island

Gurdeep Pandher spreads joy through dance, forms cross-cultural connections amid pandemic

Most Read