Stalled hotel project given green light

A proposal to build a vacation complex at 950 Westminster Ave. received unanimous final approval from Penticton council last week.

  • May. 24, 2011 1:00 p.m.

A proposal to build a vacation complex at 950 Westminster Ave. received unanimous final approval from Penticton council last week.

To be located at the former location of the Travelodge Penticton, the complex’s design plans include a 12-storey hotel/residential building, an existing hotel, vacation villas, an indoor pool and a 45-stall parkade, as well as additional off-site parking.

According to the city’s manager of planning Anthony Haddad, the proposal had been stalled at third-reading for over half a decade.

“This application went before council in roughly the middle of 2005,” said Haddad. “It was held at third reading subject to some conditions being met.

“In discussions with the applicant, we have recently achieved those conditions.”

One of the city’s requirements was that the developer construct Vernon Avenue from Alberni Street to Comox Street/Westminster Avenue, providing an 8.5-metre road base, asphalt, concrete curbs, gutters, a sidewalk and a storm water drainage pipe.

Instead of closing off the road via cul-de-sac, the city’s engineering department compromised with the developer, allowing him to install a right-turn-only egress onto Westminster Avenue as an alternative. According to the zoning arrangement, the developer also had to build a 1.5-metre wide sidewalk along the south side of Westminster Avenue, along with other civic upgrades and requirements.

With all the issues having been addressed, city planning technologist Darryl Haddrell said council should give final approval to the development now without having to go through the rezoning process again when the developer is ready to begin construction on the project.

Haddrell said with the economy still weak, it will likely be some time before construction on the project begins.

“The marketplace has not been amenable to the addition of a new hotel in Penticton over the past few years,” Haddrell reported. “The applicant believes the situation will change and wishes to be in a position to construct the new hotel as soon as conditions change.”

The city has been trying to attract new or expanded hotel/motel developments to Penticton for some time in an effort to bolster the municipality’s tourism industry and increase the city-owned Penticton Trade and Convention Centre’s ability to host larger conventions and events.

Last year, council enacted an economic investment zone program which, along with other targeted areas, attempted to stimulate new construction or renovations in the accommodation industry with reductions and delays to civic taxes, fees and charges.