I agree the immediate area of Oliver needs a new, mid-price hotel. I disagree the location should be in the current RV park.
In general the information provided by the town appears incomplete or false. Certainly the lack of interaction in what was billed as a question-and-answer session at the Elks Hall was anything but. It was incomplete and seemed intentionally done in a manner to minimize and discourage open and frank discussion.
Some of my concerns and comments include but are not limited to the following… Why is the campground not open year round?
There is a shortage of campground openings in the winter months with fewer going south because of the currency exchange rates. There is a restriction in BC disallowing someone to stay in one spot continually. Other campgrounds in the Okanagan that are open year-round seem to mange this issue. Why is it deemed a problem here? Hold the manager responsible. Is there other land available which would be more suitable for a hotel whether that land was of public or private ownership?
Apparently other private lands were looked at by the hotel owner who refused due to the prices asked. What does that say?
- The price for 2 acres has been set at $572,000.
- It has been appraised at the same value as it was 10 years ago. This does not seem correct; more research needs to be done on this.
- A 0.59 acre lot next to the Fire Hall Bistro is for sale at $595,000. The RV parkland is therefore valued at a little more than ¼ of that on a gross per acre basis. The RV park location is river frontage, flat, and has much better access making it a much more valuable piece of property. But that’s not how the town has priced it. Why?
- The RV park land, while selling for $572,000 will also bring with it some $330,000 in future tax breaks. That actually makes the land valued net at $242,000 ($572,000 minus $330,000). That makes the land beside the bistro priced at 8.3 times the RV park land; put another way, the RV park land is valued at 12.3% of the bistro land. Something is drastically off.
- There is another 2+ acre property for sale just north of town at 6801 Main St. on the right past Lion’s Park. According to the sign it is zoned “T/C Tourist Commercial” and indicates a “Hotel Study (was) Completed Jan. 2017”. Price is $200,000 per acre. If council is so insistent on giving subsidies, give the developer the same ones for this property and keep the RV Park as is.
- Was a thorough cost/benefit analysis done for the sale of the land versus the continuation of the campground? With the campground on a year-round basis? If so, what does it show? If not one should be done before council makes a final decision.
- Apart from the stated tax breaks, what other concessions, if any, in financial, services or other terms, were given to the buyer?
- How does this hotel help the rest of the Oliver businesses compared to those coming to the campground? How does the hotel help improve the downtown core?
- How will this affect parking, already a problem, in the downtown core?
- What is to prevent or penalize the buyer from…
- deciding not to build and flipping the property?
- stopping construction, especially at an early stage, and deciding not to proceed with the project for financial or other reasons? What responsibility would that put on the town?
- stopping construction due to bankruptcy? What responsibility would that put on the town?
- For II) and iii), has the town asked the buyer for a performance bond? If so, it needs to ensure the town would be fully covered to complete the project? If not, why not?
- According to the little information the town has provided, it appears there is little if any enthusiasm on the part of a hotel business to build in Oliver without large financial support from the town. That obviously indicates it would be a bad financial decision. On its own merits such a hotel investment does not make financial sense.
Related to this is the obvious that in order for business investments to be made in Oliver, other issues must be addressed first by council and the town’s administration. These include but are not limited to…(1) difficult parking in the downtown core, (2) empty storefronts in the downtown area, (3) poor maintenance of storefronts in the downtown core, (4) mandatory cleanup of properties both commercial and housing of unsightly materials including vehicles, garbage, construction materials, etc. Outside businesses will be much more encouraged to come to Oliver once the town has been beautified and is seen as a place to make solid financial decisions.
Unlike the previous meeting at the Elk’s Hall, touted as a question-and-answer session but having no semblance of one (few recognized the councilors; councilors could only talk to a few people at a time; councilors were unable to answer many questions; etc), a proper question-and-answer session with all councilors sitting together being asked questions from the crowd so that all attendees are all able to hear the same question-and-answer, must be held on May 23. Anything shy of this will point to…the incompetence of our elected officials, their lack of knowledge on the issue, or their interest in masking the truth. Don’t let yourselves be put in that position. Have a fully open forum.
Unless there is a legal reason the council must make a decision soon, delay it until that open discussion has taken place.
Remember…it is up to you to convince the people of Oliver that a hotel built on the RV park is a good idea and that our best interests are being looked after.
Dan Landault, Oliver