72-room hotel planned on Diver Lake in Nanaimo


A planned 72-room hotel in Nanaimo’s Diver Lake would help alleviate the shortage of new hotel rooms, a tourism consultant said Thursday.

“I would say this is great news for Nanaimo. With the recovery of COVID, room inventory will become critical and especially newer hotels – Nanaimo hasn’t had many new hotels built in many years, ”said Frank Bourree, a consultant who has researched Nanaimo tourism statistics for over 30 years.

“There are a lot of older properties that are just tired and in need of modernization,” he said.

Plans for a new hotel are also great news for Vancouver Island’s tourism industry to see an owner ready to invest in a hotel, he said.

A rezoning proposal for the hotel site at 3679 Shenton Rd. On the north side of the lake was supported by Nanaimo council after a public hearing.

The project still needs additional city approvals.

It would be built on a 1.1 acre long, narrow lot stretching from Shenton Road to the water, with a drop of about seven meters as it leads to the swamp-like lakeside. The land is located south of Island Highway North, near Bowen Road.

A single-family house, currently unoccupied, would be dismantled to allow the development of the hotel.

Plans call for a three-story building on Shenton and four stories by the lake, where underground parking would be built.

The developer would be required to pay approximately $ 136,000 as a contribution to the development of the community. A legal right of way inscribed on the title deed is also required to allow public access to a future lakeside trail crossing the property.

It’s too early to say when construction could begin, said Bill McKay, of Bill McKay and Associates, who represents developer Western LL Holdings Ltd. from Nanaimo. The company also owns the Harbor Light Motel at 200 Nicol Street in Nanaimo.

The owner plans to operate it as an independent hotel, McKay said. Its market would include families, sports teams and trades workers coming to town.

Western LL Holdings purchased the land in 2019 for the purpose of building a hotel, McKay said.

The owner earlier looked at a number of sites in Nanaimo with the idea of ​​building a small to medium sized hotel, but couldn’t find anything in a popular tourist area and with reasonably priced parking, said McKay, who also pointed out the lack of hotel rooms.

“We have seen in Nanaimo the difficulty with a number of hotels not being able to park on their properties due to size limitations or geotechnical issues,” he said.

McKay, a former mayor of Nanaimo, noted that in 2011 the city wanted to encourage hotel development and approved a tax regulation allowing a 10-year tax exemption for new hotels and for properties that had been substantially renovated.

Among the new projects, a 45-room Quality Inn on Selby Street has opened and the 172-room Marriott Courtyard on Gordon Street is under construction.

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