As snowmobiling supports Sicamous in the winter season, the Eagle Valley Snowmobile Club says it’s time for the district to return the favour.
Eagle Valley Snowmobile Club (EVSC) general manager Natalie Sorkilmo addressed council at the March 8 meeting, asking for support, mainly with infrastructure capacity.
Sorkilmo said the Blue Lake trails are at capacity nearly 35 per cent of the time and trailers and trucks have difficulty finding parking, with early birds blocking access to later sledders. She also reported an overall 20 per cent increase of day pass users, with weekends seeing around 500 riders and the month of March not experiencing the usual spring slowdown.
With Blue Lake access a main concern, Sorkilmo said the club would like to open another access point. Opening two full parking lots in that location would allow more space for riders and for staff to safely groom trails and roads during the day, without blocking the narrow access. She said EVSC is working with Columbia Shuswap Regional District and the province to move forward with permission and grant applications for those proposals.
Sorkilmo asked council for its support with the infrastructure expansion, stressing the importance of snowmobiling to Sicamous’ economy during the winter months.
As none of the snowmobile club’s 17 employees have first aid training, Sorkilmo also asked if the district could facilitate that. Staff directed Sorkilmo to the district’s recreation manager who hosts training.
Mayor Colleen Anderson said snowmobiling keeps the town alive and agreed to look at Sorkilmo’s requests and have council support what the club needs.
“You can see over the last two or three years how much you’ve grown and how much that has supported business here,” said Coun. Ian Baillie. “It’s a big chunk of winter business and I’m one hundred per cent supportive, your growing pains are obvious. We put a lot of effort into summer and maybe it’s time to figure out how to put more effort into winter.”
Asked how many riders the club has seen so far this season, Sorklimo said around 15,000 day passes have been distributed and the club will likely exceed 20,000, not including seasonal pass holders.
Council unanimously agreed the snowmobiling industry brings tourism to the district and helps keep businesses alive, and will look at every option to support the club. A meeting will be held with the planning and development committee to further address Sorkilmo’s concerns.