B.C. Liberals criticize NDP government’s purchase of hotels to house homeless

B.C. Liberals criticize NDP government's purchase of hotels to house homeless
File photo/CHEK
The sign outside Paul's Motor Inn and Restaurant.

The BC Liberal Party is taking aim at the province’s plan to house southern Vancouver Island’s homeless population.

The opposition says since the B.C. NDP government purchased Paul’s Motor Inn in Victoria, business in the area has suffered, including Paul’s Diner.

The province bought the inn for $15 million back in June for temporary supportive housing for homeless people living in Topaz Park and along Pandora Avenue, with long-term plans to redevelop the site to create a mixture of affordable housing.

The hotel has room for about 75 people.

The BC Liberals say the owner of Paul’s Diner by Fol Epi, Cliff Leir, was blindsided by the move and is facing a mountain of debt.

“The housing minister’s decision has actually killed 20 jobs and has left Cliff and his partners heavily in debt. Crime has spiked on the property. No one wants to visit this area anymore and there’s really no path forward for this organic diner to resume operations,” Todd Stone, MLA for Kamloops-South Thompson and the Official Opposition Critic for Municipal Affairs, Housing and TransLink, said during question period at the B.C. legislature on July 13.

The Liberals say Paul’s Diner had spent $150,000 on renovations last year and now won’t be compensated for those costs or the loss in the business. Fol Epi also has two other locations in Victoria.

Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Selina Robinson says the NDP government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic is to help those who have been severely impacted.

“As I have said before in this house and in this chamber is that we have moved very quickly to make sure we have these opportunities for these folks. The hotel did come up for sale. I want to remind the member that it is up for sale and we purchased it so we can do more with this property,” Robinson said in response to Stone.

The BC Liberals have also criticized the government’s purchase of the Comfort Inn Hotel, also in Victoria. According to the BC Liberals, there was no consultation with tenants, like All About Hue Hair Design.

“As of today, All About Hue has suffered lost wages and water damage from activities by the hotel’s new residents while B.C. Housing refuses to provide compensation,” the BC Liberal Party wrote in a news release. Comfort Inn Hotel, also in Victoria.


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