Gateway Inn owner suing City of Revelstoke over roundabout

Hotel owners furious over loss of access during construction of roundabout at Victoria Road and Wright Street.

William Zhao

The owner of the Gateway Inn is suing the City of Revelstoke over potential loss of business he says will result from construction of the new roundabout.

William Zhao filed a statement of claim in court saying the city didn’t obtain his consent before allowing the access to his hotel to be closed, that the city hasn’t offered any compensation for the future loss of access, and that no other suitable access is being provided.

The Gateway Inn sits at the intersection of Victoria Road and Wright Street, where the city is building a new roundabout as part of a two-phase project to relieve congestion at the Trans-Canada Highway intersection. The motel’s name comes from the wood-frame entrance and sign that greets drivers as they come through the railway underpass, down Victoria Road. Guests staying at the motel can turn right into the property from Victoria Road.

“This is a legal entrance,” Zhao told me “They closed my front door.”

The roundabout means Zhao will lose access to his motel from Victoria Road. Instead, guests will have to go a circuitous route through the Farwell neighbourhood, or up Victoria Road, then back down First Street.

Photo: William Zhao is the owner of the Gateway Inn. ~ Revelstoke Review file photo

In his claim, he says the motel has a market value of $4 million but it would only be worth a fraction of that if the access off Victoria Road is closed.

“I bought it because of the location. Now the value is lost,” Zhao said.

He is seeking an injunction preventing the city from closing access to his property or, if that doesn’t happen, compensation for “injurious affection to its property.”

The lawsuit cites section’s 33 and 41 of the Community Charter. Section 33 says a municipality must provide compensation if expropriates or negatively affects a property. Section 41 says a municipality must either seek permission or provide compensation if changes to a highway deprive “completely deprive” access to a property.

Construction underway

, council awarded the construction contract to Speers Construction in a closed door meeting on July 26, despite the fact Speers bid $272,000 more than Jake & Jay Construction.

Construction on the roundabout began Monday morning. The start was announced by the City of Revelstoke on Friday, Aug. 12 at 4 p.m.

The announcement prompted letters to the city from the owners of the Monashee Lodge, Days Inn and Gateway Inn, who were angry about the lack of notice and the fact access to their properties will be affected at the end of the busy summer tourist season.

“I was served notice they’re shutting down this intersection at 10 to 4 p.m. on Friday,” said Dean Lemon, the owner of the Monashee Lodge. “When you serve formal notice, there should be three months.”

After talking to the hotel owners, I spoke to Mike Thomas, the city’s director of engineering, and Dawn Low, the city’s director of corporate administration on Monday morning,

Thomas said the city had an extensive consultation process and noted the significant media coverage the roundabout project received. He said the affected businesses were invited to provide their input in March, but despite all that, the first time they heard from Zhao was last week.

“In terms of the statement of facts and the relief sought, we can’t talk about this. This is now with our lawyers,” said Thomas.

He said the construction contract was only finalized with Speers last week and construction had to start now in order to finish it before winter. “If we waited until the spring, it would mean a whole other summer with no solution for the intersection.”

Thomas said he’d never heard of any statutory requirements to notify neighbouring property owners before starting construction. “We’re not doing any work on their property and we’re not expropriating any land,” he said.

Photo: An image of the future roundabout. ~ By McElhanney Consulting

Managing traffic

Michael Fallaise, the project manager, said Speers Construction will be keeping two lanes open on Victoria Road for the majority of the construction period, though on occasion it will go down to single-lane alternative. Traffic will be routed around the north side of the intersection, near the CP Rail tracks, during construction.

Access to the Nomad and Zala’s parking lot will remain open, but access to Wright Street will be closed, which is a sticky point for the hotel owners.

“Did (the city) not think about this? Did (the city) not think about how (it) would affect the businesses?” said Lemon. “For them to do this to us is just appalling to me. It’s prime time, it’s busy. We can’t afford this.”

Fallaise said a detour will be set up to direct traffic to the Farwell neighbourhood along Victoria Road, Charles Street and Douglas Street. People will also be able to go through the Zala’s parking lot to get to Wright Street.

While access to Wright Street will re-open once construction is done, access to the Gateway Inn from Victoria will be closed permanently.

Dawn Low said the city would work with the affected businesses to address their concerns during construction.

“We’re working very hard to keep the traffic flowing and to mitigate any effects on businesses in the area,” she said. “We will look at signage for detour routes and try to minimize the amount of closures, particularly on Wright Street.”

Correction: An earlier version of this article said Speers bid less than Jake & Jay for the construction contract. They in fact bid more than them.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The City of Revelstoke has launched a community well-being survey. (Contributed)
City launches community well-being survey

Everyone residing in Revelstoke aged 12 and over is invited to complete it

BC Liberal incumbent Doug Clovechok is seeking re-election as MLA for the Columbia River-Revelstoke riding in the provincial election. (File photo)
BC VOTES: Get to know BC Liberal candidate Doug Clovechok

Clovechok talks highways, housing, childcare and the environment

NDP candidate Nicole Cherlet on the campaign trail in Revelstoke. (Liam Harrap- Revelstoke Review)
BC VOTES: Q&A with BC NDP candidate Nicole Cherlet

Cherlet talks highways, housing, childcare and the environment

A health-care worker prepares to swab a man at a walk-in COVID-19 test clinic in Montreal North, Sunday, May 10, 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes)
Interior Health records 21 new COVID-19 cases over the weekend

Thirty-six cases remain active; two people are in the hospital, one of whom is in intensive care

Columbia River-Revelstoke Green Party candidate Samson Boyer. (Contributed)
BC VOTES: Q&A with BC Green Party candidate Samson Boyer

Boyer talks highways, housing, childcare and the environment

Vernon Fire Rescue Services and Vernon-North Okanagan RCMP were called to a report of an electrical fire at the emergency response centre operated by Turning Points Collaborative Society on 37th Street Sunday, Oct. 18, just before 5:30 p.m. The fire displaced shelter residents who have been set up with services at the Vernon Recreation Complex. (Roger Knox - Morning Star)
Vernon shelter residents find refuge in hotels, motels, recreation complex after fire

Electrical fire at Turning Points Collaborative Society’s emergency response centre on 37th Street

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
Kelowna man charged after allegedly stealing senior’s car

Elderly woman’s car was stolen while she was shopping

Salmon Arm RCMP say residents have been receiving calls from fraudster claiming to be with Publishers Clearing House. (File photo)
Salmon Arm RCMP warn of Publishers Clearing House telephone scam

Police say scammer requests fee to claim sweepstakes prizes

Osoyoos Fire Department responded to reports of a vehicle engulfed in flames Sunday (Oct. 18) evening at a Lambert Court residence. (Osoyoos Fire Department)
Osoyoos Fire Department knock down car fire near home

Blaze was ‘really close’ to becoming a structure fire

Colin James put on a great show at the Comox Valley Exhibition Grounds as part of the 2019 Vancouver Island MusicFest. But his Okanagan tour for 2020 has been postponed until 2021. (Photo by Terry Farrell)
COVID-19 cancels more Okanagan concerts

The Contenders and Colin James postponed until 2021

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

A passer-by walks past a COVID-19 testing clinic in Montreal, Friday, Oct. 16, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Canada ‘yet to see’ deaths due to recent COVID surge as cases hit 200,000

Much of the increase in case numbers can be attributed to Ontario and Quebec

Police confirm human remains were found in a recycling bin in Vancouver on Oct. 18, 2020. (Black Press Media file photo)
Human remains found in recycling bin floating near Vancouver beach

Police asking nearby residents to see if their recycling bin has gone missing

Most Read