Hazard marker at Channel halfway point

A hazard marker appeared on the bridge at the halfway point of the Okanagan River Channel on Thursday.

The midway point has been a cause for concern, after several incidents in which people riding floaties down the channel got into trouble.

Last week, the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure announced they were working with the city to improve channel safety by installing the markers.

"I saw them working on it, and I was pleasantly surprised," said Chief Jonathan Kruger with the Penticton Indian Band. "I am glad they are taking responsibility, it was a safety concern for our community."

The signs were planned for the bridge piers at Eckhardt Avenue, Green Mountain Road and Skaha Lake bridge across the Penticton channel.

According to the ministry, in May the City of Penticton approached them to address issues with channel users getting too close to the bridge piers.

Last week, a man who was floating down the river tied to another floatie with a rope got in trouble when the rope hit the pillar and wrapped around his arm. He was pulled into the river current and could not get loose. He was rescued by a bystander.

Since then, Castanet readers have sent emails saying they have had similar problems at the location.

Workers at Coyote Cruises, which is owned by the Penticton Indian Band and offers tube rentals, have warned people to be careful in that area. In particular, they have advised not to tie floaties together with rope, which can get caught on the pillar.

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