Kamloops first annual float the river, Facebook.

Kamloops first annual float the river, Facebook.

Kamloops residents concerned over river floating event amid COVID-19

About 800 people are interested in the open invitation to float down the river

  • Jul. 28, 2020 10:30 a.m.

-Kamloops This Week

Valleyview residents are concerned about an event floating around on Facebook.

Dubbed the city’s first annual Float the River, the public event is essentially an open invitation to float down the Thompson River on Aug. 8, beginning at the Valleyview Boat Launch.

The event has no organizer but states “everyone and anyone” is welcome. About 80 people have confirmed attendance online, but more than 800 have indicated they are interested.

“The people of Valleyview are like, ‘Uh, no,’” area resident Michelle Graf told KTW.

Residents are concerned about two issues — a large gathering in an era of COVID-19 and the traffic nightmare the event could cause on Thompson Drive near the Valleyview boat launch, already an area of concern during summer months.

Restrictions on gatherings in British Columbia to curb spread of the novel coronavirus currently limit events to 50 people.

READ MORE: Kamloops business owners say ‘rude, unruly’ customers need to start following COVID rules

Graf said even if a quarter of the people who have indicated interest or confirmed attendance showed up, the numbers would be well beyond that limit. She said residents would like to see the event cancelled or restricted in some ways, in order to ensure physical distancing is followed.

The event was reported to the city’s bylaws department, which is looking into the matter.

The city’s acting CAO Byron McCorkell said floating happens on the river every year and the city is not involved with what happens on the water, but it does monitor entry points, such as the Thompson boat launch. McCorkell said issues with parking have sprung up in the past. He said staff are looking into the event.

“We would obviously suggest it’s not the greatest idea,” McCorkell said.

Coun. Dale Bass, who is deputy mayor while Mayor Ken Christian is absent, is concerned about the event. She said it is not clear how attendees will physical distance while setting up for the event in a small area. Although organizers have said they will practise physical distancing, she also worries that organizers don’t know how many people will show up.

“I think it’s just one of those moments where we have to exercise extreme caution and be aware of the fact that we’re rapidly, it appears, heading back into a time when we need to really worry about the incidents of COVID cases in B.C.,” Bass said.

“And we really don’t want to see that happen here in Kamloops.”

The event description notes significant space on the river and asks people to respect physical distancing rules and regulations.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has said that outdoor spaces are generally safer than indoor spaces. However, the boat launch and parking area are limited in space and concerns persist around the number of people and vehicles jammed into that location at one time.

Whoever organized the event seems to acknowledge the event may be skirting the rules, with a post telling people to keep a copy of the event details.

“Everyone screenshot the details as this is an unhosted event this year and could or could not disappear,” a post from Monday reads.

The event also has two different Facebook pages.

Graf pointed to young people looking for a place to party and is concerned about flareups in the Okanagan.

As a teacher, she said she wants to go back to school and teach in the classroom this fall, but worries events like these will prevent that from happening.

“Go party somewhere else,” Graf said.

“We’ve done a good job behaving in our town.”

KTW reached out to Interior Health for comment, which told this newspaper it had flagged the event with public health.

READ MORE: Taxpayer-funded, two-drink maximum gets nod from Thompson-Nicola Regional Board

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. <

North Thompson Valley

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

Just Posted

Snowboarders at Revelstoke Mountain Resort heading for the gondola. (Liam Harrap/Revelstoke Review)
Another 16 COVID-19 cases for Revelstoke

The cases were identified between Jan. 3 and 9

Interior Health update. File photo.
86 new COVID-19 cases, two more deaths in Interior Health

The new deaths are from Heritage Square, a long-term care facility in Vernon

A performance by Alex Cuba will be streaming live on Arts Revelstoke platforms on Feb. 12, 2021. (Photo by Jeff Fasano, submitted by Arts Revelstoke)
Arts Revelstoke hosting virtual performances and movies this season

REVY. Live and Movies in the Mountains is returning

A woman wearing a protective face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 walks past a mural in Victoria, B.C., on Monday, Dec. 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marissa Tiel
115 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths in Interior Health

There are now a total of 4,970 cases in the region

Shrubbery peeking through snow in downtown Revelstoke on Jan. 14. (Liam Harrap/Revelstoke Review)
95% less snow in Revelstoke this winter compared to last year

However, there’s plenty of snow in the alpine

President Donald Trump speaks to the media before boarding Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021 in Washington. The President is traveling to Texas. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
Black Press Weekly Roundup: Top headlines this week

In case you missed it, here’s what made waves throughout the week

Seasonal influenza vaccine is administered starting each fall in B.C. and around the world. (Langley Advance Times)
After 30,000 tests, influenza virually nowhere to be found in B.C.

COVID-19 precautions have eliminated seasonal infection

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau listens to a question during a news conference outside Rideau cottage in Ottawa, Friday, January 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau says Canada’s COVID vaccine plan on track despite Pfizer cutting back deliveries

Canadian officials say country will still likely receive four million doses by the end of March

Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon shared a handwritten note his son received on Jan. 13, 2021. (Ravi Kahlon/Twitter)
Proud dad moment: B.C. minister’s son, 10, receives handwritten note for act of kindness

North Delta MLA took to Twitter to share a letter his son received from a new kid at school

Lilly and Poppy, two cats owned by Kalmar Cat Hotel ownder Donna Goodenough, both have cerebellAr hypoplasia, a genetic neurological condition that affects their ability to control their muscles and bones. Photo by Alistair Taylor – Campbell River Mirror
VIDEO: Wobbly Cats a riot of flailing legs and paws but bundles of love and joy to their owner

Woman urges others to not fear adopting cats with disabilities

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

A COVID-19 outbreak at Vernon's Heritage Square long-term care home has claimed seven people. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
Two more COVID-19 deaths at Vernon care home

Heritage Square has now lost seven people due to the outbreak

Chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam provides an update on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa on Friday, Jan. 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada’s top doctor says to avoid non-essential travel as B.C. explores legal options

Premier John Horgan says he is seeking legal advice on whether it can limit interprovincial travel

(Big White Ski Resort photo)
13 more cases of COVID-19 tied to Big White Mountain cluster

This brings the total case count to 175, of which 32 cases are active

Most Read