Waterway Houseboats announced receivership on June 11, resulting in the layoff of 51 employees. (Martha Wickett/Eagle Valley News)

Officials remain optimistic in the face of closure of Shuswap’s Waterway Houseboats

Sicamous mayor and chamber of commerce concerned for staff who lost jobs

Although the shutdown of Waterway Houseboats due to the company entering receivership on June 11 is by all accounts a major blow for Sicamous, local officials are optimistic that the area’s tourism sector remains strong and that the 51 employees who were laid off will find work.

“Sicamous is a very durable community, we’ll be fine, we’ll get through it at the end of the day,” said Mayor Terry Rysz.

Rysz noted there is major uncertainty about the whole situation at the moment but he was optimistic; he said he doesn’t think the matter is beyond resolution, adding that perhaps the company could be purchased by outside interests.

Read More: 51 out of work as Sicamous’ Waterway Houseboats shuts down

Read More: Waterway Houseboats wins $2 million for damages caused in 2012 flooding

Rysz said his primary concern is for the welfare of the employees who lost their jobs and the private boat owners who contribute to Waterway’s fleet.

Although the shutdown of Waterway is a blow to the community, Rysz said Sicamous is still vibrant and open for business in the midst of its tourist season. He highlighted upcoming community events and the work Communities in Bloom is doing to improve the cosmetic look of Sicamous.

Rysz is hopeful that the Waterway employees who lost their jobs would be absorbed by other companies in the area.

Sheila Devost, executive director of the Sicamous and District Chamber of Commerce, said the loss of jobs cannot be trivialized but there is opportunity locally for the displaced employees; she added Sicamous has historically experienced staff shortages during the busy summer tourist season.

Read More: Video: Waterway Houseboats donation supports Shuswap rescue organization

Read More: Waterway Houseboats celebrates 50 years on Shuswap Lake

Devost said both the remaining houseboat companies in Sicamous and other tourism businesses are making every effort to accommodate people whose vacations with Waterway were unexpectedly cancelled. Despite the loss of Waterway, she said that all of the other businesses frequented by tourists are still up and running, and vacation accommodations such as campsites and AirBnB’s are plentiful.

“It’s business as usual, Sicamous is still the houseboat capital of Canada,” Devost said.

A statement from the chamber of commerce states that the news about Waterway is particularly saddening because the houseboat company marked 50 years in business just last year. The statement pledged the community would rally around the staff who lost their jobs and provide as much support as possible.


@SalmonArm
jim.elliot@saobserver.net

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Peewee Hornets sting Kelowna team for Valley of Champions win

Salmon Arm sees four teams compete in Okanagan event

Driver who killed Shuswap motorcyclist receives absolute discharge

Chase family speechless following decision by BC Review Board

Boat sails from trailer to pavement at Sicamous Highway 97A intersection

Alberta resident charged with transporting an insecure load

Collision with hydro pole cuts power to thousands in the Shuswap

Minor injuries to the driver were reported; power was restored by the following morning

Man arrested in Kelowna following Shuswap vehicle thefts, pursuit

Suspect wanted in Alberta allegdly also stole several vehicles near Sicamous over the weekend

VIDEO: B.C. MLA Michelle Stilwell takes first steps in nearly 30 years

‘It actually felt like walking. It’s been 27 years… but it felt realistic to me’

Grand Forks fire chief found to have bullied, harassed volunteer firefighter: report

WorkSafeBC, third-party human resources investigation looking into allegations complete

Special memorial service to say goodbye to murdered Kelowna teen

A memorial service and celebratio of life was held Tuesday for murdered teen Elijah-Iain Beauregard

Okanagan College campus flies Syilx flag

The Okanagan Nation Alliance flag was raised at a ceremony at Vernon campus on July 16

Dog recovering after being drenched in hot coffee, B.C. man charged

Man was taken into custody, charged, and released pending a court date

Silverbacks add experienced defence, forward to roster

Trades made with emphasis on adding veteran players to 2019-20 lineup

Taekwondo instructor, 21, identified as B.C. bat rabies victim

Nick Major, 21, an instructor at Cascadia Martial Arts in Parksville

Science expedition to Canada’s largest underwater volcano departs Vancouver Island

Crews prepared for a two-week research mission to the Explorer Seamount

Summerland clinic will be closed on August long weekend

Medical office assistant needed at Rosedale Medical Clinic

Most Read