Details released for Skaha Marina plans

Andrew Bayston, operations manager of Trio Marine Group, stands in the 90-seat restaurant part of the new additions to the Skaha Marina.

Andrew Bayston, operations manager of Trio Marine Group, stands in the 90-seat restaurant part of the new additions to the Skaha Marina.

Developers who are looking to bring a massive upgrade to the Skaha Lake Marina want to assure Penticton that public amenities won’t be compromised.

“The true work of what we’re doing is enhancing this waterfront and area; taking it from an industrial point of view to full recreation,” said Andrew Bayston, operations manager of Trio Marine Group.

Last month, the company proposed to city council a substantial waterfront development – they plan to build a modern marina; replace and expand the docks, construct a new dragon boat clubhouse; relocate and enlarge the splash pad water park; and on the top of most minds – a new waterpark.

“It was well-received,” he said. “Everyone was ecstatic about the presentation we did.”

Waterslides were once synonymous with Penticton, Bayston said, as the city was home to two water slide attractions over the past 20 years.

In the second of two phases, the proposed project will include four large waterslides, attractions for small children and other amenities to cover 10,200 square metres. Bayston said the slides and features are geared to cater to the common demographics of Penticton’s residents and visitors. Depending on the success of the operation, he said there’s a possibility of adding more attractions to the water park.

To make it all fit, the nearby splash pad at Skaha Lake Park will have to be relocated to another part of the park. The time of its move and the new location are still tentative, but the waterpark will be relocated during the off season, made bigger and ready to run for the start of the following summer season.

The team has already upgraded the existing 86-slip dock. They’re planning to completely replace the docks and offer an additional  30-or-so slips, but to avoid spoiling the summer boating season, that project will commence and finish during the 2015-2016 offseason.

While the approval process is still underway, the Trio Marine Group was given permission by the city to start operating the marina at the beginning of 2015. In demonstrating their stewardship as developers, Trio has already begun renovating the existing marina space into a 90-seat restaurant in addition to repairs made to sections of the docks.

“It’s kind of like we’re putting a Band-Aid on the project before we take full charge.”

The new restaurant will be called Slips, and will be working with Burger 55 this year, creating a menu offering a taste of the popular restaurant.

“But we’ll have a lot more than just hamburgers,” he said, mentioning a variety of dishes and a liquor license.

The Slips will be easy to access by any mode of transportation – in addition to the parking lot for automobiles, there will be three first-come-first-serve boat slips, and the restaurant is situated right in front of the waterfront walkway, which offers the public free movement from one end the property to the other (except late at night when only slip holders will have access). Seating at Slips gives diners a panoramic view of the waterfront, and also offers beachgoers to order lunch through their pickup window.

But the brand new restaurant in a (soon-to-be) refurbished building will likely only spend one season in operation before Trio Marine Group tears down the old building to make room for the new. The new marina will feature an upscale casual restaurant and a retail outlet. Bayston said cater to the wants and needs of both slip holders and beachgoers.

The marina this year will is also bringing in new boats to their rental fleet this summer, which will include four jet skis, two pontoons and a runabout. By the start next season, the docks will be brand new, and grow by around 30 slips. Bayston said there’s a large enough boating demand to expand further, but the design is limited by space.

“We’re going to have a waterpark that is close to the marina, beach, and park – it’s a one-stop shop.”