Lake Country considers extending deadline to board-up notorious motel

At its meeting this Tuesday, Lake Country council is set to reconsider its stance on a “nuisance” property ordered to be boarded-up within 45 days.

In August, District of Lake Country ordered the Airport Inn Lakeside to be boarded-up and gave the owner 45 days to vacate the buildings and build a 1.8-metre high fence around the motel.

At that time, the district council deemed “the buildings on the property… dangerous to the health, safety and welfare of the general public.”

Now, Lake Country staff is recommending the municipality give the motel an extension till the end of 2019.

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That would mean the owner would have until Dec. 31 to board-up the building, vacate and build the fence.

Council will also consider an option that would see those requirements dropped altogether.

In the past, there have been complaints about bed bugs, mold and electrical issues at the motel.

Over the years, the motel’s president has disputed allegations of problems at the business and said that closing it up would lead to squatters moving into the space.

However, when Global News twice phoned the business on Sunday, a message said the line was “unavailable.”

The municipality’s mayor said in August he believed the motel was providing some benefit to the community, which has no shelters, by giving people who might otherwise be homeless a place to stay.

Mayor James Baker told Global News, at the time, that he believed a spring homeless count found no one living on the street because they had moved into the Airport Inn Lakeside.

Still, Baker said the district had to “be cognizant of the safety issues and liability.”

Baker said Sunday local officials have been working with the province to find alternative housing for people staying in the motel. However, the mayor said it is his understanding there are still people who have not found an alternative place to live.

If council does not alter the remediation order and the motel isn’t boarded-up, the district could do the work themselves and ask the business to pay for it.

Baker said the decision on how to proceed will be up to council. However, in general the mayor said he likes to keep the matters like this one out of court while still getting compliance.

The motel site, which is next to Highway 97, is currently listed for sale, as a development property, for $7.14-million.

– with files from Jules Knox

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