Lakeside Airport Inn in Lake Country becoming hotbed for criminal activity | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Lakeside Airport Inn in Lake Country becoming hotbed for criminal activity

The Lakeside Airport Inn in Lake Country is pictured in this Google Street View image.

LAKE COUNTRY - The discovery of a stolen dirt bike in Lake Country shines a light on police efforts to monitor a controversial motel that's attracted significant attention in the last few years.

Jack Almond's dirt bike was stolen from an underground parking lot in early January, adding to the growing list of stolen recreation vehicles in the Central Okanagan. Almond, a student, reported the theft and posted about it on social media, hoping to gain attention. He finally got an answer earlier this month, although it wasn't a happy one.

According to Almond, on March 21 Lake Country RCMP contacted him to let him know they'd found his dirt bike at the Lakeside Airport Inn. The good news ended there, as the motorcycle's motor was blown and the seat, battery, and hand guards had all been removed. Almond received a quote that repairs could cost over $9000, a particularly steep price considering he only paid $3000 for the bike in the first place.

Almond, who planned on using the bike during the summer when he was away from school, doesn't plan on paying $9000. He'll sell off the remaining parts and try to make some of his money back. His stripped bike is one example of stolen property being found at the controversial Airport Inn.

Sgt. Cameron Holloway with the Lake Country RCMP said police usually find stolen property around the motel. He said the area attracts transient and criminal activity.

"It's a thorn in our side," Holloway said.

The Lakeside Airport Inn has received considerable negative press for the last few years. A health inspection in early 2016 uncovered mould, water leaks, deficient smoke detectors, and unsafely stored combustible elements. The owner, Raif Fleihan, applied for a business license renewal in early 2017 and the District of Lake Country denied the request for safety reasons.

Fleihan has repeatedly lost requests for a judicial review of the District's decision, keeping his business from obtaining a license.

Holloway said the people who frequent the Lakeside Airport Inn attract criminal elements. He said Lake Country RCMP patrol the area at least once per day. When they've been called in to deal with problems, they've often found stolen property, such as Almond's dirt bike.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Sean Mott or call (250) 864-7494 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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