Problems with Lake Country's Airport Inn have moved across town | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Problems with Lake Country's Airport Inn have moved across town

The Airport Inn Lakeside in Lake Country was boarded up and fenced off last fall but former residents are still a problem.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED / District of Lake Country
June 19, 2020 - 6:30 AM

Even though Lake Country’s notorious Airport Inn was boarded up last fall, some of its former residents are still causing problems in the community.

Last August, after years of fighting over health and safety issues, the District of Lake Country gave Airport Inn Lakeside owner Raif Fleihan 45 days to kick out an estimated 30 illegal tenants, board up the buildings and fence off the property.

That didn’t actually happen until November because it took that long to re-house the residents. Lake Country Health Planning found places for some of the residents then B.C. Housing stepped in to relocate the final eight residents to the Kokanee Beach Family Resort, through to the end of March.

READ MORE: Clock is ticking for Lake Country’s Airport Inn

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It wasn’t, and still isn’t, a happy experience for the owners of that resort.

“There was lots of drug activity and irregular stuff going on,” Gabe, one of the owners of the family-owned resort, told iNFOnews.ca. He refused to give his last name.

He said, when the rooms were booked, he was told someone would be on site 24/7 to make sure everything went well, but that person was only there during the day.

“There was supposed to have been a girl there,” Gabe said. “I complained to her something was not right. She said she told them. Nothing was done.”

Gabe said he had trouble getting full payment from B.C. Housing. There was also damage done to the rooms, such as broken windows and the rooms had to be repainted.

One unit still has not been vacated.

“They say they are leaving but they’re still there,” Gabe said. “I have not got a penny since March.”

He doesn’t know how he’s going to get them to leave and would not agree to such rentals in the future.

“I thought I was helping,” he said.

Gabe said others moved on to the Lake Country Inn.

Neither Amar Manoo, the manager of the Lake Country Inn, nor B.C. Housing would confirm that to be the case, although B.C. Housing, in an email did say it has "secured one emergency response centre in Lake Country with capacity for 10 spaces." It's policy is not to disclose the location of such shelters.

But, it did comment on its role in the earlier move.

“B.C. Housing does not have a mandate in the privately-owned and operated Airport Inn,” B.C. Housing said in an email. “After learning about the condition of the building and the health needs of some residents, B.C. Housing worked with multiple partners to look at how best to support them.”

They worked with eight people living at the Airport Inn and put them up at what they referred to as the Kokanee Beach Resort Motel from Oct. 31, 2019 to March 31, 2020 at a cost of about $116,712, the email said.

“B.C. Housing worked with multiple partners to make housing offers to all the guests once the temporary accommodation contract expired,” the email said. “Some were able to access private market rentals, while others received a rent supplement for housing. B.C. Housing will continue to work with those remaining at the motel to explore housing options that meet their needs.”


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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