Shuswap company pulls controversial post welcoming houseboaters from other provinces

A Shuswap houseboat company has pulled down a controversial social media post welcoming houseboaters from other provinces.

The post, which read, “all houseboaters welcome — even ones from other provinces,” raised questions because it appeared to contradict advice from health officials.

Leaders in both B.C. and Alberta have been urging people to vacation close to home during the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The post went on to reference B.C.’s restrictions on out-of-province campers at provincial parks, stating: “Shuswap Lake is not a provincial campground. Public access beaches still available for houseboats.”

B.C. is currently telling out-of-province residents not to book campsites at provincial parks in the province.

Twin Anchors president Todd Kyllo said the ad was pulled because the company was “getting some negativity from it.”

However, he defended the post saying it was never meant to encourage inter-provincial travel.

Instead, Kyllo said the post was aimed at people from other provinces who own houses in the Shuswap, are currently in B.C. and “have quarantined.”

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The company president said the idea was to let that demographic know if they want to “isolate on the lake,” the company is open for business.

The business also has other online messaging promoting “stay-cations.”

MLA a shareholder

Shuswap MLA Greg Kyllo is a shareholder in the business.

However, the politician said he has not been actively involved in Twin Anchors operations since he became an MLA seven years ago.

The MLA said neither he nor senior management reviewed the post before it went up and when management became aware of the messaging it was taken down.

Greg Kyllo said he is happy to see that the post was removed.

However, he said, the motivation was a positive one to build bridges with residents from other provinces who may be looking to book vacations when travel recommendations are eased, not flout health recommendations.

“It wasn’t the intention of the post to contravene the recommendations of the chief medical officer. There has obviously been lots of backlash around folks that have been coming to the area. We hear all kinds of stories about folks that may not be treated very well, that may have a different coloured licence plate,” Greg Kyllo said.

“I think the intention of the post was just to be more welcoming overall to all Canadians and unfortunately it was maybe ill timed.”

Greg Kyllo has been among the officials encouraging people to stick close to home.

He shared a video on social media at the start of the May long weekend urging people to avoid non-essential travel.

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