Update 5:30 p.m.
Kelowna’s mayor says a report big box warehouse retailer Costco appears ready to move to Westbank First Nation land on the west side of Okanagan Lake is news to the city.
“With our ongoing dialogue with Costco, the report comes as a surprise to us,” said Mayor Colin Basran Wednesday evening.
“We have been in regular discussions with Costco, asking that they consider sites in Kelowna to address their relocation needs. Staff continue to work with Costco exploring options that would allow them to remain in Kelowna”
Basran said the city believes there are options in Kelowna that could meet Costco’s needs, but in the end, the popular retailer will make a business decision that works for it.
“The City of Kelowna and council value the business, employees and their members in the community,” said the mayor.
“We look forward to continue working with Costco to address their business need and the needs of their members in Kelowna.”
Kelowna’s Costco may finally be on the move across the bridge, though nobody is willing to say as much.
For the last two days, rumours that the WFN sold a chunk of its Highway 97 adjacent land to Costco have been circulating. Rod Shultz, one of the general managers of the Kelowna store, said he’s been fielding a number of questions, but he has no information he can share.
He pointed out that contracts take a while to take shape, and it could be years before a new store was to come together, if it ever did.
“We have no current information,” he said. We know nothing and until we’re told otherwise I can’t comment.”
Similarly, Costco’s media representative said the company won’t comment.
READ MORE: COSTCO’S MOVE MAY BE RUMOUR
“It is our company policy to not comment regarding future Costco warehouses until we are ready to share details about the new location (usually two to three months in advance),” wrote a media relations officer.
At the WFN office, they were less circumspect.
An employee who was asked if news of the move could be confirmed said, simply, “it’s on the news.”
She wouldn’t give her name and the official WFN media person has yet to return a call.
Word of the move isn’t new.
Former West Kelowna Mayor Doug Findlater said he’d heard as much late last year.
“The fellow at the Costco booth at (the) IPE volunteered that they were looking at the Westside for a new facility with more parking and it could also draw from the South Okanagan,” said Findlater. “He said their preference is the airport area but it is not available.”
Since August of 1991 Costco Wholesale has been at the current location and around 400 people are employed at the store.
To keep an eye on the movements of Costco, check here.