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Lake Country’s notorious Airport Inn to be replaced by hundreds of rental apartments

Plans call for demolition of the Airport Inn Lakeside in Lake County.
Plans call for demolition of the Airport Inn Lakeside in Lake County.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED / District of Lake Country

It’s been four years since the Airport Inn Lakeside, overlooking Highway 97 in Lake Country, was shut down and boarded up.

It’s been two years since the property was sold for $3.5 million.

Now, Calgary-based Eagle Crest Construction is bringing forward plans to redevelop the 5.5-acre site.

“We plan to demolish the hotel and build 360 rental units to service the demand for rental housing, which is beyond bad,” Eagle Crest partner Harsimer Rattan said in an email to

Those are expected to be in four buildings but Rattan did not provide any further details, saying the new development permit application will be submitted soon.

The company submitted development permit and subdivision applications to the District of Lake Country in May but those are being revised.

In this year’s budget, the District had a $2.5 million item to upgrade nearby Robinson Road in conjunction with a new water main to service the Airport Inn site.

The developer was asked to pay $1.4 million for a water main upgrade as part of that project by Jan. 31. That did not happen so the entire project will not go ahead this year.

The Airport Inn Lakeside was the dream of Raif Fleihan who spent years not only renovating the old motel but also fighting with the District of Lake Country and Interior Health over permitting and health issues.

READ MORE: This could finally be the end for the Airport Inn in Lake Country

Conflicts dated back as far as 1998 when Lake Country issued notices for building bylaw and code violations.

A 2018 court ruling, in Lake Country’s favour, said the motel “had mould in the interior, combustible materials in the electrical rooms, water leaking from the ceiling, broken emergency lights, small fires in several electrical outlets and deficient smoke detectors.”

READ MORE: Lakeside Airport Inn is still out: Judge sides with Lake Country in denying business licence

Fleihan continued to rent rooms right up until he was forced out in the fall of 2019.

In August, 2019, Lake Country ordered the motel closed, boarded up and fenced off but it took months to relocate all the tenants and get that done.

READ MORE: Airport Inn owner not afraid of getting the boot from Lake Country officials

Finally, in October 2019 a large and suspicious fire was doused and, a month later, Fleihan was arrested after returning to the site.

READ MORE: Airport Inn owner charged after returning to broken down hotel

Fleihan put the motel on the market in 2019, asking for $8.1 million. It was finally sold for $3.5 million in May of 2021.

Eagle Crest Construction shows about a dozen housing (and one commercial) projects on its website as completed, mosty in the Calgary area.

Another two dozen projects are listed as under construction, including some in the Lower Mainland and on Vancouver Island.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Rob Munro or call 250-808-0143 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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