Multi-million dollar restaurant nixed as golf club and City of Vernon continue dispute | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Multi-million dollar restaurant nixed as golf club and City of Vernon continue dispute

A drawing of the proposed clubhouse and restaurant.
Image Credit: The Rise Golf Club
February 25, 2020 - 4:30 PM

It was set to offer some of the best views around, perched 1,000 feet above Lake Okanagan but a multi-million dollar restaurant and clubhouse slated for the Rise Golf Course has been put on hiatus with the developer saying they’ll be heading back to the courtroom after negotiations with the City of Vernon came to a standstill.

According to a letter addressed to Friends of the Rise Golf Course, all work on the new clubhouse and multi-use building has been put on hold, as the company has yet to resolve a five-year-long billing dispute with the City of Vernon.

“It was a tough corporate decision to make,” general manager Ian Renton told

Renton said the project worth “millions of dollars” was due to start construction March 1, and was approved by the City last April. The 30,000 square-foot clubhouse was set to include a “world-class” restaurant with 35-foot floor to ceiling windows and 180-degree views. A bar and lounge, golf store and wedding and event centre were also planned. Set on top of the hill overlooking Okanagan Lake, the restaurant would have had expansive views along the lake and been the first of its kind in Vernon.

Renton, whose family business purchased the Vernon golf club in 2014 after it had gone into receivership, said discussions with the City of Vernon regarding a tax bill have not been settled, causing the project to be put on hold.

According to Renton, the dispute stems from a tax bill concerning a water line. The golf club owner said when the company purchased the golf course in 2014, it received a $32,000 tax bill for a waterline. Following this, in 2015 the City sent a revised bill saying they’d made a mistake and the company owed another $65,000. According to Renton, he’s never been given an explanation as to the increase and still doesn’t fully understand the charge.

“I spent two years trying to get an answer from the City as to why,” he said.

In 2017, the company launched legal action against the City of Vernon to resolve the issue through the courts.

In a response to the notice of claim filed in October 2017 by the City of Vernon, the City says it did not make any representation to the plaintiffs which was untrue, inaccurate, or misleading. The court document goes onto say the plaintiffs did not reasonably or detrimentally rely on any information obtained from the city.

According to Renton, two years later, the two parties started discussions outside of the courtroom in August 2019.

“We spent six months working with City staff trying to come up with solutions,” he said. “We tried to contact them in the new year and got the response back... that the city no longer wanted to discuss it with us and to turn it back to our lawyers."

Now, he says, the restaurant and clubhouse project is on hold and he’s waiting on a trial date.

Renton said the golf course will still open this season.

A statement from the City of Vernon said "the City of Vernon is not prepared to comment at this time, as the City is still in discussions with the Rise Golf Course Ltd."

To contact a reporter for this story, email Ben Bulmer or call (250) 309-5230 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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