By Lyonel Doherty
Not everyone is happy about the sale of two acres of Centennial RV Park for a proposed hotel.
At Monday’s council meeting, Mayor Ron Hovanes announced that the Town received a proposal from Mundi Hotel Enterprises to purchase the land to make way for an 80-room hotel development.
“We have believed that we could support a hotel for years. It would really benefit the whole community,” said Hovanes.
Along with the rooms, the company is proposing a pool and a restaurant patio.
Tony Munday, president of the Oliver Tourism Association, said this announcement is great news.
“In the tourism industry (in Oliver), we lack accommodation. Period.”
Munday said transforming trailer park campsites into an 80-room hotel represents a much needed number of “pillows” in the community.
“It will capture and keep some of that money in the community, which is huge.”
However, in a Chronicle Facebook post, Karen Brandson wrote: I agree that Oliver needs a hotel, but it makes me sad if the whole RV park will be gone. It is a lovely spot to camp. We are campers, not hotel people, and staying in that RV park led to us purchasing a home in Oliver.”
Duncan MacDougall said Oliver needs a new hotel. “However, the campers have helped the economy of Oliver for years. It will be a blow to the small businesses in the downtown core, when they leave.”
Daryl Wilkison said it’s about time a hotel is being proposed for Oliver. “We need a good place for people to stay in Oliver . . . no wonder why people bypass us to stay in Osoyoos.”
One resident questioned the history of the site, saying it was donated to the Town on condition that it be used as a municipal trailer park.
Hovanes said he believes it was donated to be a park but has always been operated as a trailer park business .
“Prior to the 2006 Wine Village concept, the Town purchased the property from the province which gave the designated use options to the Town,” the mayor said. “There was a sales agreement in place for a hotel during the Wine Village period but the economy went south.”
Chief Administrative Officer Cathy Cowan said they will be subdividing the property into three lots – the first lot will be adjacent to Fairview Road and will be parkland. The second lot will be two acres purchased by Mundi Hotel Enterprises Inc. The third lot will be the remainder of the parcel (just over one acre) available for future development.
Cowan said the first phase of the $8-million hotel proposal will be a pool; the second phase will be the restaurant. She also pointed out that the development will be accessed off Station Street at Bank Avenue.
Cowan said the Town has asked that the hotel provide 25 parking spots and a pathway so people can still access the hike and bike trail.
The administrator noted that the land appraisal came in at $286,000 per acre, which is what the developer offered.
Cowan said the Town has been in contact with the trailer park’s management group to advise them of the pending sale.
She pointed out the Town will provide them with written notice, ending the lease agreement in October of this year. If the hotel deal doesn’t fly, the trailer park will continue operation, she said.
Cowan explained that the Town previously sent out a letter to a number of hoteliers regarding the development opportunity available in Oliver. The mayor was also interviewed by CBC and Castanet.
“Through these avenues we received a number of queries,” she said.
A few developers came to Oliver and were provided a tour of the community, as well as shown a number of potential sites that would be suitable for a hotel.
“The Town asked for submissions from the interested parties and Mundi Hotel Enterprises Inc. submitted a proposal which council felt would work well at this location,” Cowan said.
Hotel entrepreneur Ron Mundi owns Coast Kamloops Hotel & Conference Centre.
Under the Community Charter, the Town must disclose who it is selling the property to, what it will be used for and the price that it was sold for. These notices will be placed in the Oliver Chronicle on March 22 and March 29.