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Penticton  

Oliver wants a hotel

The Town of Oliver is making a large push to attract a full service hotel to the community.

Mayor Ron Hovanes say they have recently sent out requests to 30-40 hotel companies across North America urging them to take a hard look at Oliver.

“About two years ago we did a hotel feasibility study, and it showed that Oliver could support - with the events that it has, with the travellers that come through, the visitors and amenities we have here… that we could foster a hotel,” Hovanes said.

He says the idea has been on the books for about 12 years, and came close to fruition at one point, but fell apart with the 2008 financial crisis.

Hovanes points to the Okanagan Regional Corrections Centre and Area 27 Speedway opening up as signs it’s time to make another major effort on the file.

“We’ve got a little bit of life that’s really kicked up in the last years,” he said.

The mayor says there are a number of empty lots in the downtown core of Oliver that could support a hotel. Council has also already changed the zoning on the town owned Centennial Trailer Park, and have prepared 10-year tax exemptions for whoever opens a full service hotel.

“We’ve done as much as we can to, we are really trying to set the table, so we are able, ready and inviting.”

Right now, people coming to Oliver for events like the Festival of the Grape or to enjoy the surrounding area, are often forced to stay outside of town and take their dollars with them.

“At the same time, we lose a lot of other things too. Small weddings, we lose those to neighbouring communities because they have the accommodation where they can keep a whole wedding party in one location,” he said

The Osoyoos Indian Band is also working to attract a hotel, which Hovanes says would also be a big boost to the region.

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