The picture shows Lake Country’s Airport Inn before their deck collapsed an order to close down was issued. (Photo - Capital News)

Lake Country aims to find happy-medium in Airport Inn shutdown

Airport Inn residents will have until Oct. 5. to find a new home unless an appeal is approved

The residents of Airport Inn will have nowhere to go if their Lake Country accommodations are boarded up by district council next month.

On Aug. 20. Lake Country council ordered the motel of 20 years to be shut down no later than Oct. 5, with all residents gone and boarded up, with a fence around the perimeter.

In 2017, the motel was shut down for health and safety purposes after a deck collapse warranted safety measures to be taken.

Despite numerous fines by the city and a revoked business permit, owner Raif Fleihan has continued operations, currently housing about a dozen people.

Now, Fleihan is appealing the court’s decision to close down the motel by Oct. 5. Fleihan’s lawyer addressed the council on Tuesday night, asking for more time to allow his client’s tenants to find new accommodations.

“They do (council) recognize that this is a more complicated issue,” said Michael Mercer, Lake Country’s director of policy and legal affairs.

“We (staff) have been working on getting a demographic of who is there, what their needs are. We are trying to match those with various provincial agencies because there is quite a diverse group staying there with various needs.”

ALSO READ: Airport Inn Lakeside owner cares for his residents but not the Lake Country Calendar

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While the district understands the importance of taking the proper steps to ensure the safety and well-being of the Airport Inn tenants, Mercer said there is also a need to ensure what is done is in the best interest of the Lake Country community as well.

“As a municipal government, we are trying to have the least (negative) impact to both the greater community and the community at the airport in,” he said.

“With that said we need to deal with this. There are public safety issues with the building and we are aware of some people who are kind of against some of the bylaws and things that we have in place.

We have to find a balance, we have to be considerate of the people that are there (motel) and the greater community.”

Lake Country does not currently have an emergency shelter in place.

Mercer expects the council to respond to Fleihan’s appeal at their next meeting on Oct. 1.


@Niftymittens14
daniel.taylor@kelownacapnews.com

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