This city photo from 2016 show the condition of the former Ponderosa Motel on Harvey Avenue in Kelowna. —Image: City of Kelowna

Demolish it or we will, City of Kelowna staff tell owners of derelict former motel

Former Ponderosa Motel is unsafe and used by squatters, drug users and the homeless says city

The City of Kelowna has run out of patience with the owners of a derelict former motel on Harvey Avenue.

So city staff are telling owners of the former Ponderosa Motel to tear down what’s left, or they will do the job and bill them.

City bylaw manager David Gazley told city council Monday the three buildings left on the site, near the intersection of Harvey Avenue and Spall Road, have not only become the a place for squatters,the homeless and drug users, they are also unsafe and taking up city staff and RCMP time and resources as repeated calls are made to them to deal with issues there.

Since 2011, he said, there have been more than 110 complaints dealt with at the site by police, 18 complaints dealt with by city bylaw officers since 2016 and four structure fires.

The site is unsafe and an eyesore, so the city is giving the owners 30 days to demolish it.

Coun. Brad Sieben said the city has been fair up to now, but the time has come to be firm.

Gazley said the owners took out a demolition permit earlier this year but have not done anything with it. They have also not responded to previous city requests that the buildings be torn down, he added.

Council agreed with the demolition demand, with one councillor calling the site a “blight.”

“In my opinion, this particular property has been a blight on our city for far too long,” said Coun. Luke Stack.

Another councillor, Gail Given said taxpayers are subsidizing the activities on the property by having city workers, the RCMP and the fire department consistently deal with the problems that arise there.

And she said she was worried that, if left in its current state, someone could die at the property.

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