UPDATE: Costco’s rumoured move to West Kelowna takes Kelowna mayor by surprise | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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UPDATE: Costco’s rumoured move to West Kelowna takes Kelowna mayor by surprise

Image Credit: Global Okanagan/Tom Reynolds (with permission)
January 16, 2019 - 3:30 PM

KELOWNA - If Costco is moving to West Kelowna, that's news to Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran. 

He says he and the City of Kelowna have been having regular discussions with Costco about their desired need for a larger space.  

“With our ongoing dialogue with Costco, the report comes as a surprise to us,” Basran said in an email. “We have been in regular discussions with Costco; asking that they consider sites in Kelowna to address their relocation needs. Staff continue to work with Costco exploring options that would allow them to remain in Kelowna."

He maintains that Kelowna has available spaces for Costco, though Kelowna has been adamant the cost of moving Costco nearer to the Kelowna International Airport — as it wishes — is too high, considering the roads and infrastructure the city would have to lay out to accommodate.

“We believe there are options in our City that could meet Costco’s needs, but in the end, Costco will make a business decision that works for them."

Earlier today, Castanet.net reported that Costco's move to the Westside was a done deal. That may well be, but a representative of the company isn't saying that yet. 

“There are deals that are announced,” Costco spokesman Ron Damiani told iNFOnews.ca from Ottawa today, Jan. 16. “It’s because they are signed, sealed and delivered.”

A manager at the Kelowna Costco store said the company is definitely “looking at” three properties on the Westside but would not allow his name to be used.

Rumours have swirled for months that Costco was planning to relocate as they seek more space and very likely a gas bar. It even became a bit of an issue in last fall’s Kelowna election when mayoralty candidate Tom Dyas released a letter he sent to Costco begging them not to make a decision before the election.

There’s a good reason for not saying anything about a deal until it’s complete, Damiani said.

“We know we’re an anchor. We know we’re an important player,” he said. “We need, typically, 15 to 20 acres of land. It’s not a small parcel. Developers and other people coming into those areas, they depend on big anchors like us. So, if we say, ya, we’re interested, the value goes up and the developer is at an advantage. If we say no, we’re not, then the people that are trying to negotiate with the developer, then they’re at an advantage. It’s just not fair for us to ever say anything. So that’s just what our policy is.”

And he’s not bothered by the rumours of a deal being “official.”

“I’m used to it, quite frankly,” Damiani said. “It happens in every part of the country.”

Mayor Colin Basran told iNFOnews.ca that he has not received any confirmation. No one was available to comment from Westbank First Nation.

— This story was updated at 4:47 p.m. Jan. 16.

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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