Shipment volumes to Princeton’s only grocery store are based on annual trends. With so many people now in the area, possibly hoping to wait out COVID-19, there is an increased demand for food and supplies. (Andrea DeMeer photo)

Spike of visitors to Princeton-area stressing grocery supply chain and healthcare teams

‘We are really not set up to have this many people at this time of year.’ Area H Director Bob Coyne

An unseasonable influx of recreation property owners and out-of-town visitors is stressing Princeton’s food supply, and causing concern for local healthcare teams.

That’s according to Bob Coyne, Area H director with the Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen.

“We are really not set up to have this many people at this time of year,” said Coyne.

Despite urgings from the provincial health officer that people avoid non-essential travel and remain in their own communities, many vacation spots in the Princeton area have mushroomed in the past few weeks.

Coyne said it’s difficult to quantify how many people have moved into the area ahead of the traditional tourist season, but he believes the number is significant.

Multiple problems are created by the swell in rural populations, he said.

Shipment volumes to Princeton’s only grocery store are based on annual trends, he said.

With so many people now in the area, possibly hoping to wait out COVID-19, there is an increased demand for food and supplies.

Related: Princeton mayor urges calm amid fears of food and supply shortages

Moreover, Princeton’s health care officials are worried a virus outbreak here could overwhelm the town’s small hospital.

“If you are here and you get sick you are taking one of the beds…that’s the biggest concern,” he said.

“If this goes sideways it potentially would be very difficult for our health care teams.”

Princeton Mayor Spencer Coyne expressed frustration with the situation, as the problem is out of his jurisdiction and control.

He has fielded numerous complaints about parties being held in recreational communities.

Over the weekend, he received reports about large gatherings in Allison Lake and Tulameen, where some people are allegedly flouting the open burning ban implemented by the province.

Related: Some Princeton and area residents ignoring public health orders

There are not enough first responders to deal with the issues, Coyne added.

“I have contacted the province and asked for further policing for rural communities to deal with this exact thing.”

Jamie Caruso lives year-round in Tulameen, a community of about 200 permanent residents that often sees a population of 2,000 in the summer.

She said for the most part everyone is behaving responsibly.

“There was one (gathering) a couple weeks ago with loud music and a fire but they were all family.

“Other than that I haven’t heard or seen anything. People have been very respectful so far that I have seen.”

She says she doesn’t blame people from larger centres for wanting to be here.

“I don’t think there are a lot of rentals happening, just owners of cabins keeping to themselves.

“I believe it is safer here than it would be on the coast or (in other) Okanagan-Similkameen areas and don’t blame them myself.

“I would probably do the same thing.

“We have supplies and the Trading Post has been well stocked for all of us.”

Another permanent resident of Tulameen, Randy Halyk, said people are changing their behaviour.

“We have seen a difference on the street in the last week,” he said.

“Most walkers are physical distancing with only a few still not getting it.

“It seems that some are not taking this seriously with trucks loaded with snowmobiles or ATVs arriving quite frequently.”

To report a typo, email:
publisher@similkameenspotlight.com
.



andrea.demeer@similkameenspotlight.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Over the years, Janice Blackie-Goodine’s home in Summerland has featured elaborate Halloween displays and decorations each October. (File photo)
QUIZ: How much do you really know about Halloween?

Oct. 31 is a night of frights. How much do you know about Halloween customs and traditions?

Online sales are beginning to alter the traditional sales practices for real estate developments. (Contributed)
Embracing digital sales tactics in Okanagan housing market

Real estate industry’s resistance to online sales can’t last

Tina Seminara died in hospital following an alleged brutal beating. Her husband Rod Flavell was later charged with manslaughter.
Mara Lake is one of the significant water resources across the Okanagan-Shuswap region that will fall under increasing sustainability pressure as the anticipated population growth for the region continues in this century. (File photo)
Okanagan Valley water supply sustainability reaching a critical point: Global expert

Global expert says Okanagan Basin Water Board offers sustainable path forward

Morgues.
Morning Start: Cruise ships have their own morgues

Your morning start for Friday, Oct. 30, 2020

Physical distancing signs are a common sight in B.C. stores and businesses. THE CANADIAN PRESS
272 more COVID-19 cases for B.C., outbreak at oil sands project

Three new health care outbreaks, three declared over

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

A rock slide is blocking one lane off the Trans-Canada Highway west of Sicamous. (Cindy Schedlosky/Facebook)
Rock slide closes one lane of Trans-Canada Highway near Sicamous

Single-lane alternating traffic is in effect.

(DiStefano Jaud Architecture)
Proposed development on Kelowna farmland raises red flags

Developer proposes gas station, car wash, liquor store, commercial buildings, in agricultural area

Hiawatha RV Park will be demolished starting in February, to make room for a new condo development. Residents have four months to leave. (Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
‘I don’t know what to do’; Kelowna RV park resident pleas for eviction extension

Hiawatha RV Park residents have four months to leave the neighbourhood

Titled “Dutch Underground - Laren 1944,” Mineke Spencer’s parents Johanna and Albert Jan Koeslag (centre) sit with their 13 children, who ranged in age from seven (Minike) to 28. Mineke is the little girl with the big white bow in the front, left, beside sister Marie, also with a white bow. (Contributed)
Fearless allies: Shuswap woman reflects on childhood in Dutch Resistance

Mineke Spencer was three-years-old when Germany invaded her home in the Netherlands

FILE - In this Jan. 23, 1987 file photo, actor Sean Connery holds a rose in his hand as he talks about his new movie “The Name of the Rose” at a news conference in London. Scottish actor Sean Connery, considered by many to have been the best James Bond, has died aged 90, according to an announcement from his family. (AP Photo/Gerald Penny, File)
Actor Sean Connery, the ‘original’ James Bond, dies at 90

Oscar-winner was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2000

Several police vehicles were seen at the Sagmoen farm on Salmon River Road in Silver Creek on Thursday night, Oct. 29, 2020. (Martha Wickett-Salmon Arm Observer)
UPDATE: One person arrested, released following police presence at Sagmoen farm

RCMP were at Silver Creek property where remains of Vernon woman were found in 2017

Most Read