By JAMES MILLER
OLIVER — A proposed hotel near Oliver’s downtown isn’t receiving the overwhelming support Oliver council had originally anticipated.
“There is opposition, I can’t lie to you,” Oliver Mayor Ron Hovanes said in an interview at the conclusion of Monday’s meeting.
Mundi Hotel Enterprise has proposed a four-storey, 80-room hotel and eatery to be located on two acres of publicly owned land which is currently home to the Centennial RV Park at 256 Fairview Road. The town has owned the land for the past 40 years and leased it to an operator.
“The main thing we’re hearing from those in opposition is they want to save the RV park and look at it as a real asset to the community,” Mayor Hovanes said. “In a lot of ways, I can’t argue with them. For many years it’s been a 35-unit RV park and the last 10 years it’s been open from April until the first week of October.
“Compare this to an 80-room hotel with a pool and nice restaurant along the hike and bike trail, one block off the Main Street. Would that help revitalize the downtown?”
Mayor Hovanes said most businesspeople are excited about the proposal. The RV park generated very little spinoff business to the downtown, he said.
Residents will have their say on Monday, May 8, at a pair of sessions tentatively scheduled for the Elk’s Lodge in Oliver beginning at 5:30 p.m. A question and answer forum with town hall staff will begin the session followed by a public hearing where residents may speak for or against the proposal.
When asked about the potential loss of green space, Mayor Hovanes said it’s open for interpretation as many don’t consider an RV park to be green space.
“We’ve subdivided off the south end and it’s going to be park forever. We will have a park in four corners of the Fairview Bridge. We have a hike and bike trail on Okanagan River that’s five kilometres (in length) and because it’s along a riparian area there’s going to be green space almost 100 feet off the high water mark.”