Bed bugs only inhabitants of old Traveller’s Inn

Nearing anniversary of city motel purchase, funding negotiations ongoing

Neighbours have been complaining that the city is not keeping up the property at 120 Gorge Road East that is a former Traveller's Inn. They feel it looks abandoned and that that will bring problems to the site.

Neighbours have been complaining that the city is not keeping up the property at 120 Gorge Road East that is a former Traveller's Inn. They feel it looks abandoned and that that will bring problems to the site.

By this spring, 10 youth and 29 young families were planning to move into a transformed Traveller’s Inn at 120 Gorge Rd.

The city-owned motel, purchased with much fanfare in July 2010, now stagnates as funding sources are sought for a renovation job with a price tag 10 times the original estimate.

Until an enquiry by the News prompted action, grass and weeds had been left to grow knee-high in the courtyard, while leaf and other debris collected in the parking lot. The yard neglect left neighbours frustrated.

“It looks abandoned which could lead to vagrancy and other  problems,” said Tom Sims last week, who lives nearby on Belfour Avenue.

Bruce Parisian, executive director of the Victoria Native Friendship Centre, also noted the lot’s poor upkeep.

“Luckily nobody’s actually broken into the building,” he said. “We’re really concerned about our relationship with the immediate neighbours.”

The city has appointed the friendship centre to plan the old motel’s redevelopment, and eventually, to operate the social housing facility.

In July 2010, the city purchased two bankrupt hotels, at 120 Gorge and 710 Queens Ave., for $5.25 million. In September, the federal and provincial governments contributed $3.75 million toward the purchase. At that time, the city estimated building renovations at $400,000.

“That was an estimate based on no information at all,” said Parisian, adding the real cost is likely closer to $4 million.

The friendship centre now manages a wait list of about 60 people.

“Most of the community was given to believe we’d have this facility ready this spring, but of course, it’s taken a lot longer to get to this stage,” Parisian said.

So far, only one quarter of the needed renovation funds have been secured, but Parisian still hopes to begin construction soon. His goal is now to open the facility, dubbed Respected House, by December.

But first, he needs approval from Victoria city council to proceed. And he needs to deal with a serious bed bug infestation.

“Even for us to go and work in the building or do site visits, you’re taking your chances bringing some little friends home,” Parisian said, chuckling.

Mayor Dean Fortin would not comment on the project timeline, or the $4 million estimate.

“I don’t know what Bruce is bringing forward,” said Fortin. “We haven’t seen any formal application.”

Funding negotiations are ongoing with B.C. Housing and the federal government.

For now, the city’s focus is on the other hotel it purchased in July.

“To respond to the need on the street for the hardest-to-house, we’ve been concentrating our efforts on getting 710 Queens up and running and operational,” said Fortin.

In response to complaints about the grounds in the vacated Gorge hotel, city parks crews went to work last Friday.

“We’ll make it part of our regular parks patrol,” Fortin pledged.

rholmen@vicnews.com

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Ron Sivorot, business director at Kennametal’s Langford site, the Greater Victoria facility that made a component being used on NASA’s Perseverance rover on Mars. (Jake Romphf, Black Press Media)
NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover using piece made at Kennametal’s Langford site

The Greater Victoria plant’s tooth blank is helping the rover’s drill collect rock cores

A provincially appointed consultant has recommended a change to the funding formula for the VicPD that will save Esquimalt a significant amount of money. (Black Press Media file photo)
Esquimalt to save a bundle on policing costs under new formula

Provincial consultant studied funding model, resource deployment for VicPD

A rockfall closed Finlayson Arm Road and West Shore Parkway on Friday (March 5) afternoon. (Twitter/BC Transportation)
UPDATED: Malahat reopens following rockfall

Section of Trans-Canada Highway was scheduled for intermittent closures today for rock scaling work

A Victoria resident was scammed out of $1,700 after a fraudster impersonated a police officer and convinced the victim to pay a non-existent fine in Bitcoin. (Unsplash)
Fraudster impersonates Victoria police officer, steals $1,700 in Bitcoin

Phone call showed up as VicPD’s non-emergency line

The Tsartlip First Nation was outraged after Green MLA Adam Olsen revealed on social media that the community had been experiencing a COVID-19 outbreak – a fact the First Nation had chosen to keep private to avoid racist backlash as experienced by the Cowichan Tribes when an outbreak was declared there in January. (Black Press Media file photo)
Tsartlip First Nation ‘outraged’ after Green MLA revealed COVID-19 outbreak

Chief shares concerns about racist backlash, MLA Adam Olsen apologizes

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C. on the COVID-19 situation. (B.C. government)
Dr. Bonnie Henry predicts a ‘post-pandemic world’ for B.C. this summer

‘Extending this second dose provides very high real-world protection to more people, sooner’

Malawian police guard AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines after the shipment arrived in Lilongwe, Malawi, Friday March 5, 2021. Canada is expecting its first shipments of AstraZeneca vaccine next week. (Associated Press/Thoko Chikondi)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 cases climb to 634 Friday, four more deaths

Currently 255 people in hospital, 66 in intensive care

A crashed helicopter is seen near Mt. Gardner on Bowen Island on Friday March 5, 2021. Two people were taken to hospital in serious but stable condition after the crash. (Irene Paulus/contributed)
2 people in serious condition after helicopter goes down on Bowen Island

Unclear how many passengers aboard and unclear where the helicopter was going

Surrey Pretrial in Newton. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)
B.C. transgender inmate to get human rights hearing after being held in mostly male jail

B.C. Human Rights Tribunal member Amber Prince on March 3 dismissed the pretrial’s application to have Makayla Sandve’s complaint dismissed

Supporters rally outside court as Pastor James Coates of GraceLife Church is in court to appeal bail conditions, after he was arrested for holding day services in violation of COVID-19 rules, in Edmonton, Alta., on Thursday March 4, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
‘Law remains valid:’ Pastor accused of violating health orders to remain in jail

The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms is representing the pastor

The Netflix logo on an iPhone. B.C. delayed imposing sales tax on digital services and sweetened carbonated beverages as part of its response to COVID-19. Those taxes take effect April 1, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Matt Rourke
B.C. applies 7% sales tax on streaming, vaping, sweet drinks April 1

Measures from 2020 budget were delayed due to COVID-19

A lawyer wears a face mask and gloves to curb the spread of COVID-19 while waiting to enter B.C. Supreme Court, in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, Aug. 28, 2020. British Columbia’s highest court has sided with the land owner in a dispute over public access to public land. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. high court finds in favour of large landowner in fight over access to pair of lakes

The Nicola Valley Fish and Game Club launched legal action after the cattle company blocked road and trail access

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau holds a press conference in Ottawa Friday, March 5, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Trudeau holds firm on premiers’ health-care funding demands, COVID-19 aid comes first

Premiers argue that the current amount doesn’t keep pace with yearly cost increases of about five per cent

Free Reformed Church is seen as people attend service, in Chilliwack, B.C., on Sunday, Feb. 21, 2021. Lawyers for the British Columbia government and the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms are back in B.C. Supreme Court today, squaring off over the legality of COVID-19 rules that prohibit in-person religious services. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. top doctor has power to restrict access to a place during health hazard: lawyer

Under B.C.’s Public Health Act, Jacqueline Hughes says, Henry can restrict or prevent entry to a place

Most Read