City of Kelowna sues Hotel Eldorado for banning public waterfront access | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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City of Kelowna sues Hotel Eldorado for banning public waterfront access

April 02, 2021 - 11:51 AM

The City of Kelowna is suing the owners of the Hotel Eldorado, claiming a gate has been locked preventing public access to the foreshore.

The lawsuit, filed by the city March 30, claims the previous owners of the hotel entered an agreement with the Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks to dedicate a public walkway along the Okanagan Lake frontage of the property.

The hotel also wanted to construct a fuel facility which required approval of a development permit by the city. It was approved in 1999, as long as the hotel maintained public access along Okanagan Lake's foreshore, according to the lawsuit.

In the spring of 2020, the Hotel Eldorado prevented public access by locking a gate at the south end of the walkway and refused to unlock it between sunrise and sundown each day, according to the city’s lawsuit.

“The defendant’s stated rationale for locking the access gate and refusing to allow the public access to the perpetual right-of-way was a risk to public health from potential COVID-19 transmission allegedly posed by the proximity of the public passing along the perpetual right-of-way to food and beverage staff and patrons,” the city claims.

The city claims the hotel’s denial of the public access to the walkway is not justifiable on public health grounds as the city has kept other public walkways and pathways open while complying with COVID-19 public health orders.

The hotel has also said it has denied public access due to safety concerns from potential pedestrian/vehicle conflicts with the Cook Road boat launch but the city claims there has been no instances of injury among pedestrians, according to the lawsuit.

The city is seeking a declaration that the hotel has breached its agreement as well as a permanent order requiring the hotel to keep the gate open and unlocked between sunrise and sunset. It also wants the hotel to remove landscaping or any other improvements encroaching on the right of way and for the hotel to pay the city’s costs of the proceeding.

None of these allegations have been proven in court. Argus Properties LTD., which owns the hotel, could not be immediately reached for comment. No statement of defence has been filed.


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