A somewhat unconventional resort is taking shape in the south end of Penticton.
Several yurts being built for the Barefoot Beach Resort are nearing completion and more are underway on the site across from Wright’s Beach Campground.
“Staying in a yurt is such a unique experience,” said developer Max Picton as he walked the site near Skaha Beach. “And it seemed like a perfect fit for Penticton.”
Picton has been a fan of yurts, tent-like dwellings used by the nomadic people of Central Asia for centuries and growing in popularity here, since he lived in one on Vancouver Island.
Last year when the opportunity came up to lease land on the Penticton Indian Reserve, he and his partner Ben Lindsay jumped at the opportunity.
A deal was reached with the locatee family from the Penticton Indian Band and the project began moving ahead.
“I just like the feeling of being in a yurt, it is so grand and big and open,” said Picton. “Our hope is to bring a level of amenity to this corner of town that does not exist yet, a one stop shop for tourists.”
The first phase on the property, once home to the Happy Hour Campground and Driftwood Mobile Home Park, will include 11 rental yurts. There will be three others on the site as well, a check in office, caretakers suite and coffee shop on the beach front. Around 125 tent sites will also be available at the location.
Phase 1 is expected to be completed by the May long weekend. Ultimately, the plan is to have 91 rental yurts and 20 storefronts on the property, which will include everything from a coffee shop to water craft rental.
So far the yurt construction has caught the attention of many people passing by, said Picton.
"They are curious, enough so that I am thinking about starting a side business of putting up yurts on people’s properties,” he said.
Mayor Dan Ashton said he has supported the project from the start.
"I think it is great," he said. "They are doing an incredible job providing accommodation that is long overdue in Penticton."
More information on the project is available on the Barefoot Beach Resort Facebook page.