Former Kelowna city manager Ron Mattiussi says he believes Costco’s possible relocation to the west side of Okanagan Lake could be a bargaining play. —Image: Alistair Waters/Capital News

Former Kelowna city manager downplays possible Costco move

Ron Mattiussi says if store leaves for Westside, another big box retailer will likely take the site

Kelowna’s former city manger is weighing in on rumours Costco plans to move its Kelowna store to Westbank First Nation land on the west side of Okanagan Lake.

Ron Mattiussi, who left the city last May after 22 years—the first 11 as director of planning and last 11 as city manager—said he felt he compelled speak out because of what he felt were misconceptions about what has happened.

While Costco representatives have talked to the WFN and are eyeing land on Highway 97 near the intersection with Westside Road as a possible new location, Mattiussi said he believes the move could be a bargaining ploy by the company.

Sources with Costco, the WFN and the city all say no deal has been signed yet by the company and the WFN.

Mattiussi said when he was still with the city, he talked with Costco representatives and they wanted to build a new, larger store with what he called a “sea” of parking and a gas bar on land across Highway 97 from the Kelowna airport on the former Pier Mac property.

The city, however, was against the move saying a destination store such as Costco would generate much more traffic on the highway in the vicinity of the airport.

“And we’re not sure the Ministry of Highways would even allow it,” said Mattiussi.

He said no application for such a development was ever made.

The city looked at improving the intersection at Highway 97 and Airport Way.

Describing large commercial “big box” retailers as “predatory,” Matiussi said they locate where they feel is best for their business.

“All I know is that they were looking,” he said.

But he added he feels the city is doing the right thing opposing a move farther out of town because of the traffic it would generate on the highway and the impact on access to the Kelowna’s airport. He called support of such a move for the Kelowna store “bad planning.”

“The city is doing the right thing and protecting a key asset (the airport),” he added.

As for fears the departure of Costco will hurt the city in terms of its tax base and a loss of jobs, Mattiussi isn’t buying that.

He said he believes the site will be taken by another big box retailer and said the city knows of several large hardware chains looking for just such a location in the city.

In terms of jobs, he said he doubts employees will quit rather than drive across the bridge to the Westside.

“This is a region. I don’t think there is going to any major job loss.”

In the end, Mattiussi said he feels the company will do what it wants and locate where it wants in order to create what he described as the “sea of parking” and space for a gas bar that it says it requires.

To report a typo, email:
newstips@kelownacapnews.com
.


@KelownaCapNews
newstips@kelownacapnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

UPDATE: Firefighters extinguish garage blaze in West Kelowna

Reports of multiple structures on fire were called in about 10 p.m.

Krista Mallory: Steering the Okangan’s economy into the future

She is a business development officer for the Central Okanagan Economic Development Commission

Construction for new $6.6 million Lake Country Firehall to start this summer

District councillors voted to approve funding for project back in 2018

Kelowna man charged after naked driver leads RCMP on hit-and-run spree

A Kelowna man has been charged with numerous offences

Racist incidents on the rise in the Okanagan as coronavirus spreads

UBCO professor not surprised by recent incidents

Protecting privacy key to stopping spread of COVID-19, B.C. health officials say

The number of coronavirus cases in B.C. remains at seven

Toffoli scores OT winner as Canucks beat Habs 4-3

Demko makes 37 saves for Vancouver

Private clinics would harm ‘ordinary’ people using public system in B.C.: lawyer

Health Minister Adrian Dix announced in 2018 that the government would begin to fine doctors $10,000

B.C. terminates contract with hospice society refusing assisted death

Delta Hospice Society loses hospital service fund of $1.5 million

‘Die!’: Vernon councillor mailed death threat

This story contains information that might be sensitive to some readers

Vernon tennis star Vasek Popisil named Best of BC winner

Sport BC honours tennis star for his comeback season after back surgery

Coaches take on players to honour Vernon volleyball player

Vernon Sky Club hosting event with proceeds to the Emily Dahl Foundation

Most Read