Sarah Clavel and boyfriend Steve Reece

Is this summer season a washout?

Chilliwack, summer, weather, Cultus Lake Waterpark, Sunnyside Campground, Vedder River Campground, Mighty Moose Ice Cream, Yarrow

They’re not panicking yet.

While the unseasonably cool weather has caused drops in revenue for some of Chilliwack’s weather-dependent businesses, it’s still too early to tell if their seasons will be a complete washout.

Sunnyside Campground and Vedder River Campground are operating at 89 per cent capacity, down three per cent from last year.

“A three to four per cent difference is not too bad; we’re not squirming yet,” said Irene Lapointe, manager of campgrounds and visitor services for Cultus Lake Parks Board, which operates both campgrounds.

July is typically the busy season for the campgrounds, and while they have had some cancellations due to weather, it hasn’t been extreme.

“We’re holding our own at this point,” said Lapointe.

“But if it continues, the lack of summer for the whole season, then yes we’ll be affected big time. We’ll really have to watch our spending, cut back on expenditures – and that could affect all departments.”

The average temperature in Chilliwack for the first two weeks of July, as measured by Environment Canada, is two degrees colder than normal. The mean temperature (an average of the highs and lows of each day) is currently sitting at 15.4 degrees Celsius; normally it’s 17.3.

“Two degrees over two weeks is pretty significant,” said David Jones, Environment Canada meteorologist.

“It’s really been a combination of a lack of sunshine, no heat wave, no stretches of good, sunny weather at all really.”

On average, July and August are the warmest, driest, sunniest months in B.C.

And while there’s sun balls in the forecast for Saturday and Sunday with temperatures expected to get up to 26 and 24 degrees respectively, it won’t last. Come Monday, the forecast shows grey clouds, cooler temperatures and a good chance of showers.

Which isn’t good news for the weather-dependent businesses.

Paul Larsen, general manager of Cultus Lake Waterpark, said the park needs at least 12 to 20 solid hot days to make it a good season.

“We need a stretch of hot days, not just a sporadic one or two,” he said. “We need five to seven to 10 good days so they can build on top of each other.”

A portion of the park’s revenue goes into additions and upgrades done through the winter months. Last year, three new water slides were installed and the parking lot was upgraded. If this summer’s weather doesn’t improve, the park will have to look at scaling back it’s winter projects, said Larsen.

“We’re hoping for a good August.”

Lance Martens, owner of Mighty Moose Ice Cream in Yarrow, is also banking on better weather.

This is the second summer the ice cream shop has been open, and Martens was hoping business would take off. The cooler temperatures, however, have kept customers away.

“It’s slow,” Martens said. “When the sun’s not shining, people aren’t going to the lake, they’re not driving around, they’re just sticking indoors.

“It’s a little worrisome … but I have faith it will pick up soon and the weather will get better. It has too.”

kbartel@theprogress.com

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