While the site for a prospective hotel has yet to be determined, the property at 630 Riverside Avenue, where the foundation of a formerly proposed condo development sits, is acknowledged in a hotel marketing study completed for the district.Lachlan Labere/Eagle Valley News

District on the hunt for a new hotel

Study indiciates Sicamous can support 100-room building with conference centre

Sicamous is prime for a new hotel, and the district is now on the hunt for a hotelier to make it happen.

Specifically, council is interested in an accommodation operation with about 100 bedrooms, ideally a conference centre and more, all to be located on the waterfront.

Backing this wish list is a market study recently completed for the District of Sicamous by HVS Consulting & Valuation out of Vancouver.

Mayor Terry Rysz explained the $15,000, 110-page study is basically a tool for council to show prospective hoteliers that a hotel can be successful in Sicamous.

“We did that so we could utilize the hotel study as a tool, so that any hotelier that would like to look at Sicamous has this tool to finance their building of a hotel,” said Rysz. “It also gives us an indication as to whether or not it’s viable here… This study hopefully gives incentive to a hotelier that will give us what we like to see, and that is a hotel with a conference room and so forth.”

In the study, HVS draws from a wide range of economic, social and political factors – local, regional and national, including hotel accommodation within the region, in making the determination that Sicamous and the region is experiencing a period of moderate growth and the outlook for the area is positive.

Town manager Evan Parliament stressed the study (second draft) doesn’t speak to any particular site for a hotel.

“No specific property was targetted,” said Parliament. “So the recommendation is if you’re going to secure a hotel, ideally it should be on the water. And we’re going to work on several sites. It’s not targetted to one particular site. That’s the substantial change in the report.”

However, a zoning map included with the document shows a circle around the property at 630 Riverside Ave., the site of Three Buoys’ former condominium project. That property is currently on the market for $4.9 million.

As to what to do with the study, Parliament explained council has a number of options.

“You can just do a proposal call, an open proposal call, invite any proponent to come forward and share the results of this study with them,” offered Parliament. “What this study is, it’s a qualified appraisal, and that qualified appraisal is supported by any lending institution that wants to provide 60 to 75 per cent of the capital.

“A second option is you can do an invitation only. You can choose a particular hotel or hotels to come forward that have similar operations in similar-sized communities. Or number three, you can just go out and find one.”

The district plans to do just that. Parliament said HVS has asked the district to attend a Nov. 21 hoteliers conference.

“We’re going to be meeting all kinds of hoteliers, so we can have this discussion with any particular hotel…,” said Parliament, suggesting the district get the word out ahead of the conference so prospective hoteliers know what Sicamous has to offer. “It would make sense to do an open call and just get the word out there and by attending this conference, the industry will know about us…, the industry will be talking amongst themselves. We’ll start receiving phone calls, I guarantee it.”

Looking long-term, Rysz said bringing the right hotelier to Sicamous will mean employment opportunities for the community, as well new opportunities to host events.

“There’s two elements to this thing,” said Rysz. “First off, it’s going to create a lot of jobs to build a hotel. And second of all, once the hotel is built, there’s going to be lots of opportunity for employees to be working in the hotel, whether it’s in their kitchens or maintenance or whatever else. It’s for job creation… so now that we’ve adopted the hotel study, we can give it to whoever and say the study has been done, it’s viable here and this is what the study has given us.”