City of Kelowna expediting plans for hotel at airport

Hotel at YLW within 2 years

The City of Kelowna is making adjustments to the timing of several projects within its 10-year capital plan.

One of those includes the timing of a new airport hotel and parkade at Kelowna International Airport.

Plans for a hotel within the airport site were first included within the 2045 airport master plan, however, the timing of the proposed project has been moved up.

Envisioned to be constructed in 2027 or 2028 as part of the previous 10-year plan, the project is now envisioned for the next 12 to 24 months.

Airport manager Sam Samaddar says the project is envisioned for what is currently the short-term rental lot across from the terminal building.

He says requests for proposals for the project have already been sent out.

While many improvement projects at YLW have been out on hold due to the slowdown of traffic caused by COVID-19, Samaddar says it makes sense to move this project up.

"It's actually better to build it now when we have less demand on things such as parking," said Samaddar.

"When you let the years go out, we are going to end up in a situation where what do you do for parking when you are very busy. Where do you put those people while you are trying to build a facility.

"It will be easier to do it as we are starting to build up our traffic as opposed to when we are at the height of our traffic."

Samaddar says the airport is looking for a hotel that is upscale and shows the airport as a destination.

He says a hotel attached to the terminal building has always made sense.

"We also have people, if you look at Canadian Mountain Holidays, that assemble their people from around the world at a specific location before they depart on their adventure into the backcountry.

"There is also a lot of business traffic...they are here for less than a day and want their meetings at the airport then depart.

"We also have people travelling quite a distance and are departing at 6 a.m. who come in the night before, stay overnight then leave."

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