It’s business as usual at the Airport Inn Lakeside, despite a Kamloops judge siding with the District of Lake Country on its decision to not renew its business licence.
“You see the paper bureaucracy, it doesn’t mean nothing,” said owner Raif Fleihan Friday, adding the inn along with its shuttle service from the airport are still operating and he will appeal the most recent legal decision from earlier this month.
True to his word, just a day later, cars were parked near the inn’s fading sign that reads “inquire about our 3 night special, monthly kitchens.”
The district decided against renewing the business licence last year because of health and safety concerns. Some of the issues were water-logged floors, electrical problems and mold.
“Secondary issues include frequent and recurring fire inspection and RCMP issues with the property/business,” said Jamie McEwan, community development manager, in a report presented to council at that time. Between April 1, 2009 and Nov. 25, 2016 there were 162 calls for service at the hotel.
On Feb. 16, 2016, the district’s fire inspector attended the site and noted mold in the interior, storage of household effects and combustible materials in the electrical rooms, water leaking from the ceiling, broken emergency lights, small fires in several electrical outlets and deficient smoke detectors.
The RCMP also advised that they had attended at the inn an average of 28 times per year for a variety of complaints.
Fleihan argued the district failed to send him copies of documents until after the meeting in February, 2017, where the decision was made not to renew the licence.
“There had been an exchange of information between the district and the licensee,” said court documents detailing the matter.
“There had been discussions with Mr. Fleihan; he had been told of the district’s concerns over the inn’s condition. Fleihan’s solicitor had also been involved with the discussions. At all times, the district had disclosed its concerns and had made suggestions as to how the concerns might be addressed.”
The judge added that the fact that the district did not provide a copy of the materials to Fleihan prior to the meeting is “not fatal.”
“The district was not required to give Fleihan copies – all the district was required to do was to give him access to the information,” reads the decision.
“The staff report was published on the district’s website and was available for viewing prior to the Feb. 21 council meeting. The materials were readily available with little cost or inconvenience by simply accessing the district’s website.”
At one time, Fleihan said he discussed with the city to make the inn into affordable housing, but the politicians never delivered.
Director of community services, Mark Koch said he has heard nothing about these discussions.
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