Craig and Carole McCulloch, outside of the refurbished Oasis on Jan. 25. (Submitted)

New Oasis of long-term housing in Keremeos

The owners of the former hotel have converted the building into long-term rentals

There’s a new Oasis for people in real need of homes in Keremeos.

The former Oasis Hotel has been converted into long-term rentals to provide housing for those in real need in the community.

After buying the property in 2016, Craig McCulloch had originally planned to have the old hotel demolished, “just to get rid of the eyesore.”

While they were getting quotes on the demolition, McCulloch said that when he had talked to the Village of Keremeos, the need for long-term housing in the community was raised, and the idea of turning the old hotel into rentable space.

“It took us quite a long time to organize and to get the plans together,” he said. “It’s not wonderful looking yet, but it’s a lot better looking than it was.”

All six of the old hotel units were completely replaced inside, with one bachelor suite, three single bedrooms and two double bedroom units, and all new appliances and fixtures.

Through the renovations and inspections, McCulloch was happy to find how supportive the community was for the project.

“The Village of Keremeos has been great with us too,” he said.

“There are some people who didn’t have a place to live, and weren’t in a great situation. The village was great, saying, ‘Yes, you can have occupants, just get those people in there and out of the situations they’re in.’”

Together with Lana Gabbs, the Lower Similkameen Community Services Society coordinator for housing outreach, all six units at the former hotel have already been filled.

“We found out there were a bunch of people in need of housing, we told them there’s six units here for you to rent out, just let us know who’s coming,” said McCulloch, who met the new tenants on Jan. 25.

“We’re looking forward to seeing them all again on Feb. 1 to hand over their keys. The people who are moving in are so happy.

“My wife was in tears.”

All of the new tenants will be there for a long while, something McCulloch said is appealing to residents of the trailer-home park attached to the Oasis property.

“Lots of folks are looking forward to get to know them, rather than people moving in and out every week or two or three days.”

The whole venture into housing is a first for McCulloch, whose background is in the wine industry with Mt. Boucherie, but it also may not be the end of such ventures.

“If another opportunity came around, we would definitely listen,” said McCulloch.

“They were so appreciative to have housing, it was really heartwarming. My wife is already unpacking, helping one of them unpack.”

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