The pieces are starting to fall in place for the possibility of a new hotel in Oliver.
Both the town and the developer are eager to bring the proposed 80-room hotel to the community, a development the town has been eyeing up for nearly 15 years.
“We have a number of very good-quality motels, we’ve got a lot of bed and breakfasts, we have some very high-end accomodation out in the vineyards, but we don’t have a full-service hotel in our community,” said Oliver Mayor Ron Hovanes. “We know it has been lacking.”
With a rise in events, festivals, the Okanagan Correctional Centre opening 300 new jobs and the Area 27 racetrack opening on the Osoyoos Indian Band, there is a rising need for a full-service hotel, Hovanes said.
A 2012 feasability study stated Oliver could support an 80 to 100-room hotel. There have been some proposals, but nothing has landed concretely since. Hovanes said a lot of potential business is lost, giving the example of sports teams coming to Oliver for tournaments who stay in Penticton or Osoyoos.
A call was put out to around 40 hoteliers in January by the town and Mundi Hotel Enterprises Inc. reached out with interest.
At Monday’s town council meeting, the topic of selling two acres of the Centennial RV Park land was discussed. The Official Community Plan has the area designated as a commercial property, used for years as a RV park. The contract with those leasing the park ends with the end of the tourism season in October.
The hotel proposal includes the hotel with a pool, hot tub and an eatery on the hike-and-bike trail.
Infrastructure work will need to be completed as well before going ahead with a hotel. Road work on Station Street is in the five-year capital plan for the town and could sync up with construction.
“Every year we put it off looking for such a development as this to come forward so they can cost share,” Hovanes said.
A public notice is also required for the sale of town land.
Hotelier Ron Mundi with Mundi Hotel Enterprises Inc. owns three hotels in Kamloops, one in Lethbridge and two in Edmonton with both the Coast Hotels and Best Western chains.
Mundi was reading an article in the news where Hovanes expressed interest in a hotel. Shortly after he met with Hovanes, who showed excitement at the prospect and showcased the Town of Oliver.
“It was not just a 15-minute meeting. It was more than that. He cares about his community. He’s really excited at the idea of a new hotel,” Mundi said.
With over 20 years in the business, Mundi feels Oliver is a good place to invest. Not only because it would fill an often cited need for hotel spaces in town, but also the amount of events and unique tourism opportunities in Oliver.
“There are a lot of wineries around there, the new school, the new racetrack, lots of sports activities,” Mundi said. “Seeing that, they need a new hotel there and also there is a lot of excitement from the (town) council and the community. I feel they’re more welcome to somebody coming into the community to spend the money. That gives us excitement too if the community is behind your business.”
Mundi said should everything fall into place as planned, he is aiming to have a construction plan and be ready to start building on Oct. 15.
“We’ll try to open the hotel for the end of July 2018,” Mundi said.