May 13, 2015 - 1:03 PM
PENTICTON - The idea of adding a hotel to the South Okanagan Events Centre property garnered little interest at a public hearing this week, but those who did attend voiced a wide array of views.
A special council meeting and public hearing looking at the proposed zoning amendment to add 'tourist accommodation' as an allowable use at 325 Power St. took place Monday, May 11, at the Cleland Theatre. The move was part of an initiative by the city’s economic development department to see if there is private interest in investing in a luxury hotel on the events centre complex site.
Penticton Mayor Andrew Jakubeit said approximately 40 citizens showed up to present a mixed bag of concerns regarding construction of a hotel on the site.
"Many on hand were interested in the concept of a hotel on the site, where it would be located, what amenities it would provide,” Jakubeit said, adding it was difficult to provide that kind of information at this stage of the process.
“There was a good array of questions, voices of concern and support,” he said, adding, “We have had some interest in this project — people have been ‘kicking the tires’ around the issue — we’ve never made the option available to developers for a premier hotel on the site, leveraging the convention centre as a benefit."
He hopes by having proper zoning in place, the option of hotel development might be the tipping point to convince a developer to put something together.
Council later voted to allow the amendment in addition to approving staff to issue an 'Expression of Interest,' which Jakubeit hopes will 'flush out interest' in the private sector for a potential developer.
“An expression of interest in non-binding, but it gets the dialogue going. If there is no interest in it, we’ll shift to other strategies. At least we’ll have given this a try, " he said.
Jakubeit said council hoped private interests would see the potential in Penticton in general, in addition to the benefits of locating on the events centre property.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015