On Revelstoke: Weighing council’s moves

Editor Alex Cooper reflects on council's two big decisions last week.

Council made two of its biggest decisions of the year over two days last week. On Tuesday, they voted to award the highway intersection upgrades contract to Speers Construction and on Wednesday, they gave third reading to the treehouse hotel development, paving  the way for it to move forward.

I agree with council’s vote on the treehouse hotel. Setting it up so that David & Shelley Evans can only develop one-third of their property at a time, with five year gaps between phases, should give Revelstoke Mountain Resort time to progress on development of their own.

As representatives of the resort said several times during Tuesday’s public hearing, RMR has 300 acres of land for sale around the base of the resort. They need to start moving on either selling it or developing it themselves, otherwise the demand for beds will continue to be soaked up elsewhere in Revelstoke, whether its through new hotel developments or more vacation rentals.

My big fear is that the whole thing winds up in court. Northland Properties has yet to say how they’ll respond to council’s decision. It’s been an ugly fight, with ugly accusations coming from both sides; for the community’s sake, lets hope it doesn’t get worse and the two parties can find common ground and work together.

On the highway intersection, I don’t know exactly why they went with Speers’ Construction over Jake & Jay’s lower bid. The press release the city sent out indicates they feel Speers’ is more capable of doing the work. The decision was made in camera, without media present. That’s understandble, given the discussion involved critically evaluating local businesses.

They may have made the right choice, but we’ll never know because only one company gets to do the job and there isn’t a chance for  a do-over later. Still, a decision to go with a higher bid that could cost taxpayers $272,000 deserves an explanation from our elected officials and none has been forthcoming despite repeated requests.