Airport Inn Lakeside owner Raif Fleihan points to some of his memorabilia in the motel lobby. (David Venn - Kelowna Capital News)

Infamous Okanagan motel to appeal being boarded up

‘The people that are living there today are compromised by the fact that they have to live there’

“Absolutely” Airport Inn Lakeside owner Raif Fleihan is going to petition council’s decision to take remedial action against his business.

Fleihan will have 45 days to do so, or to comply with district and provincial bylaws and regulations, according to community manager Jamie McEwan.

“Despite numerous efforts over the past years to bring the property into compliance the property remains a concern with respect to the building code, the building bylaw, RCMP capacity, among other issues,” McEwan said during the Tuesday Aug. 20 council meeting.

Council unanimously passed the motion which sought remedial action for the motel.

This means that all buildings on the property must be vacated by all occupants, including Fleihan; that all entrances, windows and other means of accessing the building are boarded up and that a 1.8 metre high fence be built around the motel buildings.

If Fleihan does not adhere to the numerous codes and regulations administered against him, the district may complete the work at his expense; Fleihan has outstanding building code and permit tickets since 1998 that have not been remedied.

READ MORE: Judge rules controversial Lake Country Inn will not get business license

READ MORE: Business as usual at controversial Lake Country Inn, despite failure to attain a license

Council took note of the tenants who will be displaced come the 45-day mark. Multiple councillors made it a point that there should be a larger effort put forth to make sure occupants can find affordable housing elsewhere.

“Leaving them there is putting them all at risk,” Coun. Blair Ireland said.

Fleihan was not present at Tuesday’s meeting, but recently stated he doesn’t know exactly how many people are staying at his motel and that the number fluctuates.

“The tenant and the owner will be provided also with housing service information,” McEwan said. “Obviously municipalities don’t have the jurisdiction or authority or capacity to deal with any housing type issue, but we will certainly provide some information with respect to resources and do what we can. We’ve also made BC Housing and some other local community resources aware that there may be impending increase in need.”

READ MORE: Airport Inn Lakeside owner cares for his residents but not the Lake Country Calendar

Coun. Penny Gambell said she would like to know if a separate motion has to be made to adopt or review the district’s strategy for providing information to the tenants.

Coun. Ireland said the district “has a concern for the people there” but that the building needs to be fixed.

“The people that are living there today are compromised by the fact that they have to live there,” Coun. Bill Scarrow said. “It’s not safe for them.”



David Venn
Reporter, Kelowna Capital News
Email me at david.venn@kelownacapnews.com
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