An ad posted by Twin Anchors Houseboat vacations was controversial because it contradicted guidelines limiting non-essential travel between provinces due to COVID-19. It was posted to the company’s Facebook page on May 22 and removed shortly thereafter. (Twin Anchors Houseboat Vacations/Facebook)

Houseboat company partly owned by Shuswap MLA withdraws controversial ad

The ad welcomed houseboaters from other provinces, contradicting anti COVID-19 measures.

An ad posted by a Sicamous houseboat company which is partially owned by Shuswap MLA Greg Kyllo was quickly altered after it drew criticism for urging out-of-province travellers to visit the area. The ad contradicted direction from the Columbia Shuswap Regional District, the Provincial Health Officer and Kyllo himself who all stated that now is not the time for non-essential travel.

The text of the ad posted to Twin Anchors Houseboat Vacations Facebook page on Saturday, May 22 read: “Open! All houseboaters welcome — even ones from other provinces. Shuswap Lake is not a Provincial campground. Public access beaches still available for houseboats.”

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On May 21, the B.C. government announced that provincial parks would open to campers on June 1, but only B.C. residents would be able to reserve a space.

The post was removed and replaced on May 25 with a similar ad that removed the reference to out of province travellers.

Kyllo said he did not hear about the ad until a friend brought it to his attention late in the day on May 22. The MLA stressed that while he is a shareholder in Twin Anchors, which is operated by his brother Todd, he hasn’t had any involvement in the company’s operations since he was first elected seven years ago. Kyllo said he did not have a role in the ad’s posting or removal.

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The MLA said he has been very clear that everyone should be heeding directions from B.C.’s Provincial Health Officer; he called the Twin Anchors ad ill-timed but said there is no indication of what the travel situation will look like in the coming months and Twin Anchors trips are often booked far in advance.

In regards to prospects for travel in the future, Kyllo said the news has been encouraging as there was no increase in COVID-19 cases reported after the Easter long weekend and no indications that the May long weekend created an increase either.



jim.elliot@saobserver.net

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