Eldorado Resort opens disputed gate along boardwalk

Eldorado opens the gate

A disputed gate at the centre of a lawsuit between the City of Kelowna and Eldorado Resort is now open.

The suit was filed by the city in the spring of 2021. It claims the hotel was in breach of a 22-year-old agreement between the city and the former hotel owner that "registered statutory right-of-way in favour of the city for public access along the foreshore of Okanagan Lake" be maintained.

Public access to the boardwalk at the resort was to be maintained between sunrise and sunset.

That access, the city claimed, was denied when the hotel locked the gate at the south end of the right-of-way in early 2020, during the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

A portion of the right-of-way passes in close proximity to the hotel's outdoor restaurants.

An interim ruling that came down last fall allowed for the access to remain closed only during hours the restaurant was open.

Recently, the city applied for and was granted an update based on changing conditions.

In a statement this week to Castanet, Eldorado Resort general manager Mark Jeanes said the hotel put forward no challenge to this latest request.

“We will comply with the court ruling, as we have been doing throughout this process. We have only ever been concerned with WorkSafeBC compliance and the health and safety of our guests, staff and members of the general public,” said Jeanes.

“The outstanding issues between the City and the Hotel Eldorado will be decided at trial, which we anticipate will be held in the fall,” he adds.

The City of Kelowna also issued a statement.

"As one of our most important community amenities, the City of Kelowna continues to advocate for and defend the integrity of public access rights along Lake Okanagan. Accordingly, the City is pleased at the most recent court order, which requires the Hotel Eldorado to (during daylight hours) open the gate which had been previously used to restrict public access over the statutory right of way in favor of the City along the waterfront boardwalk."

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