Hotel Eldorado in Kelowna. (Eldorado Resort/Facebook)

Hotel Eldorado in Kelowna. (Eldorado Resort/Facebook)

Boardwalk by Hotel Eldorado now accessible following injunction to City of Kelowna

The city filed an injunction while waiting for the full trial so people can use the boardwalk

The B.C. Supreme Court has approved an injunction filed by the City of Kelowna that would open up a portion of the boardwalk through the Hotel Eldorado’s outdoor patio.

In an oral court ruling on Oct. 13, Justice Paul Riley ruled that the hotel must provide public access to the boardwalk when the restaurant isn’t in operation. The hotel is allowed to restrict access on days when the restaurant is in operation, even if there are no diners outside.

The ruling grants the injunction pending a full trial where the city wants its right of way along the lakefront through Hotel Eldorado’s patio dining area. The hotel’s lawyer, however, argues that the right of way is not enforceable because the hotel is required to maintain and keep the boardwalk in good repair.

The city filed an injunction while waiting for the full trial to commence so people could walk along the boardwalk. The hotel argued that there is no need to grant an injunction because the city had closed the boardwalk due to COVID-19 concerns before. It also argued that the walkway leads to a dead-end, and that would be impossible to physically distance its restaurant patrons as required by provincial public health orders.

In the end, Riley ruled that the boardwalk’s closure causes irreparable harm to the public. He said the closure of the boardwalk impedes the public’s enjoyment of the boardwalk and the city’s interests in recreation and tourism, an important reason why he granted the injunction.

However, he also acknowledged the hotel’s pandemic-related concerns. Riley said the hotel’s concerns regarding physical and social distancing are fair, especially since members of the public may or may not be fully vaccinated (the province required restaurant patrons to be fully vaccinated on Oct. 24). He also said some members of the public may or may not be wearing masks as they walk down the boardwalk.

Riley then struck a balance between the two. His order would allow public access to the portion of the boardwalk while ensuring the hotel restaurant provides ample opportunity to social distance on the patio. It would also allow the city to apply to set aside the injunction once current public health restrictions associated with the COVID-19 pandemic are eased.

Regardless, the City of Kelowna is happy about the judge’s ruling. “We anticipate the boardwalk to be open more frequently as the weather gets colder and diners are less inclined to eat outside,” said city manager of property management JoAnne Adamson.

Hotel Eldorado is also pleased with Riley’s decision. “We think that this is a reasonable compromise for an interim decision and will abide by the court’s order, of course,” said general manager Mark Jeanes.

READ MORE: COVID-19 vaccination required for City of West Kelowna employees


@paulatr12
paula.tran@kelownacapnews.com

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