By ROY WOOD
A voice of protest, so far not very loud, has been raised against the proposed 80-room hotel on the site of the Centennial RV Park.
In answer to a question from a reporter on Monday, chief administrative officer Cathy Cowan told council a 15-name petition against the hotel has been received at town hall. Upon checking, she said, only six of the names were of people who live in Oliver.
The hotel proposal came to council last month from Mundi Hotel Group. Ron Mundi owns the Coast Kamloops Hotel and Conference Centre.
Successive Oliver councils going back decades have sought to attract a full-service hotel to the community.
Mayor Ron Hovanes, who called the Mundi proposal “quite exciting,” said Monday that some opposition to the hotel is to be expected but his view is that most people favour a hotel.
“I know there will be people who oppose the idea,” said the mayor. “I would welcome a conversation (with them).”
Centennial Park sits on a prime piece of town-owned property at Fairview Road and Station Street. The park operators, who lease the land from the town, have made commitments to RV owners for this season but are willing to vacate at the end of the year.
A hotel is an acceptable use for the parcel under the Official Community Plan.
It would have to be re-zoned, however, offering the opportunity for public input. As well, the town needs to provide a public notification if it decides to sell the land.
On Monday, Hovanes asked rhetorically which would be a “higher and better use” for the site, a 35-site, seasonal RV park or a year-round, 80-room, full-service hotel with a quality restaurant.
Part of the concern about the piece of land may be that it is called Centennial Park. Hovanes pointed out that it “has been a commercial site for 50 years,” and has never been an actual park.
A more formal proposal from the Mundi Group is expected to come before council later this month.