The cost to dock Kevin Noonan’s six-metre boat would rise from $550 to $1,000, prompting him to reconsider tying up there.
“I like being in the marina. It’s something I want to do, but they didn’t have to go up that much. Not for a 20-foot slip,” said Noonan, who has had moorage there for five years.
In a letter to slip holders, Trio Marine Group said the fee hike will fund future improvements at the site, although Noonan would have preferred a more gradual increase.
“And once they change it and put in all these beautiful docks, are they going to raise it again?” he added.
“It makes me wonder if we should have given the old owners a better deal and signed them up for 10 years.”
City council granted Trio a one-year lease on the property in September and at the same time ended its relationship with long-time former operator Penticton Yamaha and Marine.
Trio spokesman Rob Campbell said his group, which is working out a long-term lease with the city, will next year replace all existing docks with aluminum-framed versions topped with composite decking and build a restaurant in the shop that used to house Penticton Yamaha.
“There are a number things we’re doing here to make this thing a top-quality, top-class marina. It’s not just going to be some place to dump your boat,” he said.
Campbell added that the fee increase for the 70 seasonal slips was also brought in to more closely match what other marinas in the Okanagan charge for moorage.
“We feel that even now we’re still on the cheaper side,” he said.
There are no other marinas on Skaha Lake. The closest is the Penticton Marina on Okanagan Lake, which is closed for the season and doesn’t have a price list available online. But at Pentowna Marina in Peachland, a six-metre boat like Noonan’s would cost $2,200 a season.
Trio will also offer other paid services, such as dry land storage and boat launching for customers, but Campbell noted people who use the public ramp won’t be charged.
Penticton Mayor Andrew Jakubeit said he was unaware of the planned increase and looks forward to a meeting with Trio to hear more about the rationale for it.
“If they can show that it’s going to improving, enhancing, expanding and making the marina more safe, then I think there’s probably a greater appetite to support it,” he said.
Campbell wouldn’t comment on speculation about Trio’s plans for the marina area, including the possibility of a water park, but said he expects more information will be made public following the next city council meeting March 2.