No delay: Lake Country pushing forward on closure of Airport Inn | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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No delay: Lake Country pushing forward on closure of Airport Inn

This building is one of at least three at the Airport Inn Lakeside in Lake Country that could start to be boarded up as early as next week.
October 03, 2019 - 7:29 AM

LAKE COUNTRY - Despite a recommendation from staff to hold off closing the Airport Inn Lakeside until the end of the year, Lake Country council is demanding that it happen much sooner.

After years of bylaw and building permit violations, council decided in August to order owner Raif Fleihan to evict all residents, board up the buildings and fence off the property. The 45-day time frame means that’s due to happen Friday.

At its meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 1, council chose to move that deadline slightly but only until Monday. It will also make this a soft closing so the remaining residents can be housed. Fleihan does not have a licence to operate the Airport Inn as a motel but has been renting to longer-term tenants.

“We’re not going in and boarding it up and putting in fencing,” Michael Mercer, Lake Country’s director of policy and legal affairs, told “We will work with B.C. Housing and Interior Health to make sure residents in there are looked after.”

He understood there were about 30 people living there when the order was issued in August but the Lake Country Health Planning Society has found homes for about half of them.

“The people who are in there are a little more difficult to find places for,” Mercer said, but he didn’t know what issues they had.

The plan is to move people into alternative housing and work with Fleihan to start boarding up empty units and not bring in new tenants.

Some of the rooms are used for storage so dealing with that is also part of what needs to be done before the buildings are fully closed and can be fenced.

“The remedial action (boarding up the motel) stands and it has a reasonable amount of force behind it,” Mercer said. “Council is also sensitive to the people who are in there. They want to make sure they are taken care of.”

Fleihan told last week that, if Lake Country sticks by its order, he will take legal action.



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