Redd’s Roadhouse Pub employees are hurt over the lack of communication after the province purchased the Comfort Inn Hotel, which the restaurant is attached to, to provied affordable housing to those living along Pandora Avenue and in Topaz Park. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)

Employees feel ‘backstabbed’ after hotel sold to province to house homeless

Province purchased Comfort Inn Hotel to provide shelter to people living on Pandora, Topaz Park

Employees of the restaurant attached to a Victoria hotel — purchased by the province to turn into shelter space and affordable accommodation for the homeless — say they’re hurt by the lack of communication.

Clayton Rourke has been the kitchen supervisor at Redd’s Roadhouse Pub for almost a year. He says he got a call early Friday morning, telling him to look at the news. That’s when he found out the restaurant and the Comfort Inn Hotel, at 3020 Blanshard St., had been sold.

“Everyone is hurt,” he says. “The biggest thing is they’ve put in a lot of time and energy into this building to make it a good place for everyone and it’s not a good feeling when you’ve been backstabbed by the person you’re trying to do this for.”

Rourke says he’s made at least 30 phone calls trying to figure out what’s going on. He tried to call the owner, Nikki Babie — who also owns a clothing line — but could not get a hold of her.

RELATED: Province buys Victoria hotel to be used as affordable housing for homeless

Ryan Smith, food and beverage manager for Redd’s, says that when the pandemic hit, he, like many others in the service industry, was laid off but was assured that he would have a job to return to when it was safe to do so.

“It’s really hard to even think about the next steps, I went from complete job security and trust in my employer and now I don’t have a lot of options,” he says, adding that it’s going to be hard to find work in Victoria when the industry is suffering.

The provincial government spent $18.5 million to acquire the hotel, which will provide approximately 65 rooms of temporary shelter for people living in homeless camps along Topaz Avenue and in Topaz Park. The long-term use of the facility will be determined through community engagement.

“BC Housing is looking forward to bringing many of these workers on as part of our team – they have skills that we’re looking for to help run these temporary accommodations,” BC Housing told Black Press Media in a statemetn. “We are in the process of reaching out to them now.”

READ ALSO: COVID-19: Victoria’s service industry hit hard by pandemic layoffs

Smith says even if there are jobs, he doesn’t feel he would be a good fit.

“I’m not trained or equipped to deal with that community,” he says. “It’s just not my area of expertise.”

Rourke says he’s been in touch with lawyers to try to find the best solution, as well as phoning both Our Place Society and BC Housing, who have partnered to run the hotel, but hasn’t had much luck in getting answers.

“My next steps are finding out as much information as possible,” he says, adding that he’s concerned about the other 100 hotel employees.

Babie could not be reached for comment.



kendra.crighton@blackpress.ca

Follow us on Instagram
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

affordable housing

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

Just Posted

Cancelled cruise ships costs Victoria more than $130 million

Transport Canada bans ships until end of October in response to COVID-19

Point-guard lobs no-look, three-pointer for Oak Bay High video

Trick-shot only took three times, says Oak Bay teen

Saanich residents sound alarm after second owl dies of rat poison

Great Horned Owl found in Kings Park killed by three rodenticides

Phase-by-phase look at how Greater Victoria Public Libraries will reopen

GVPL to quarantine returned material for a minimum of 72 hours before lending again

Langford pitches Westhills as Canadian Premier League soccer hub

Langford could host all eight teams for August matches

VIDEO: Victoria dental staff dance to *NSYNC to promote reopening

Urban Smiles staff ‘want you back’ after closure in response to pandemic

Feds looking at ways to reunite families amid COVID-19 border restrictions with U.S.

Some families with members of dual-citizenship have become separated due to the pandemic

B.C. aquaculture farm’s employees sweat it out to raise funds for food banks

For every five minutes of exercise recorded, Cermaq Canada is donating a dollar to local food banks in communities they operate

Condition in kids with possible COVID-19 link being studied in Canada

This month, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued an alert to doctors about MIS-C

‘I knew what he wanted’: Kootenay man spends hours in tree as black bear patrols below

Francis Levasseur is no stranger to the outdoors, but a recent run-in with a bear caused quite a scare

Minneapolis cop who knelt on man’s neck charged with murder

Arrest comes after three days of protests, which escalated in violence as demonstrators torched a police precinct

POLL: Do you agree with the provincial government’s decision to increase the minimum wage?

B.C.’s lowest-paid workers will be getting a few more dollars to try… Continue reading

Trudeau acknowledges racial unrest in U.S.; ‘We also have work to do in Canada’

‘Anti-black racism, racism, is real; it’s in the United States, but it’s also in Canada,’ Trudeau says

Large cruise ships barred from Canadian waters until end of October: Garneau

Last year 140 cruise ships brought more than two million visitors to Canadian ports

Most Read