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Marina a catalyst for nautical renaissance

July 22, 2016 1:07 P.M.
Disembarking at Bruker Marina at Tobiano on Kamloops Lake. (Bruker Marina)

More accustomed to Shuswap waters, Clay Ganton had visions of a quieter pace — sort of like the Maytag repairman of Kamloops Lake — when he first took the job of managing Bruker Marina at Tobiano.

That was last year and the notion was soon dispelled. 

With a staff of three, Ganton has a busy job overseeing the province’s newest freshwater marina on a lake that saw little marine traffic until a few years ago, a beachhead for boaters and anglers of all kinds, drawing people from far and wide.

“Most people say, ‘Don’t tell people because we want to keep it a secret.’ ”

Bruker, named after Bruker Development and marina owners Bruce Robertson and Kerrie Wiebe of Calgary, is home to 110 boat slips. Only nine vacancies remain and Ganton foresees sufficient demand to drive further expansion. 

“If it fills up this summer, we’ll build another 100.”

They have sufficient parking to accommodate 200 boats and trailers.

The convenience factor looms large for Kamloops residents who used to store their craft on the Shuswap.

“If you live in Aberdeen, it’s 15 minutes,” Ganton said.  

Boaters come from the Lower Mainland and Alberta as well, appreciating the relative ease of access and a slightly quieter pace than at some marinas.

After it opened four years ago, the marina has been a catalyst in a kind of nautical renaissance on Kamloops Lake, relatively quiet for years, perhaps owing to heavy industry upstream or to a lack of amenities.

“It’s the cleanest water in the Interior,” Ganton boasted. “By no means am I putting other lakes down,” he added.

Well, maybe the cleanest among large lakes. As a 29-km widening of the Thompson River, Kamloops Lake is flushed at a relatively high rate compared other large freshwater lakes and an abundance of sand helps to filter impurities, Ganton said.

With renewed interest in fishing on the lake, he hopes to see the revival of the Savona fishing derby as early as next summer. 

That would put another feather in the cap for tourism in the Kamloops area. Visitors would be able to fish the derby in the morning, then enjoy a round of golf at Tobiano before watching the sunset at Black Iron Restaurant.

The marina is open from May 1 to Oct. 1.

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